ERP San Francisco
San Francisco is synonymous with cable cars. Ask people to picture San Francisco and almost everyone will picture the cable-operated street railway that first began running in 1873. At the beginning of the 20th century, the cable cars were in desperate need of repair and the company that owned the newer electric cars wanted to convert the cable lines. By 1912, only eight cable car lines remained. After many ups and downs and various changes in ownership, the San Francisco cable car system still operates as the world’s last operational hand operated system, although the cable cars are principally used by tourists rather than by those who live and work in San Francisco.
Bay Area commuters use the Bay Area Rapid Transit system, or BART, to get around. The system is capable of transporting over 350,000 people on a daily basis all over the one-hundred miles of track. BART suffers occasional breakdowns, but it’s usually quite efficient. By 1972, BART had a five-hundred million dollar budget and over three-thousand employees. They were in need of organizing their payroll, supply chains, and other typical business processes.
In an attempt to take control, BART acquired some basic enterprise resource planning software from MRO Software, a company IBM has since bought. The purpose of the software is to expand the ability to coordinate parts inventory with maintenance, and to advance supply chain management functions.
In 2003, BART purchased ERP software from PeopleSoft. This took place before Oracle’s announcement that it wanted PeopleSoft. In a move that worked out well for the Transit system, PeopleSoft gave them a large discount on a contract that has three more years to run.
Statistics show that the average ERP project goes over budget and over schedule. As a result almost 60 percent of all implementations end up being scaled back. With this project, however, benefits were observed almost immediately -probably because prior to the launch of the ERP software the business was being run using some very low-tech methods, including in-putting data manually.
One of the changes noted was the reduction of errors on pay checks and this helped get many employees on board. The Transit people thought this was critical. Employees also got behind the changes when they were allowed to test out a new business function before it became fully operational. This gave them a sense of ownership of the new ERP.
By the time BART was able to train thousands of their employees to use the ERP system, they noticed more efficiency and accountability. This soon translated into an overall increase in employee productivity.