A floor plan system is a collection of processes designed to accumulate, organize, and report on inventory that is financed for a dealer. The goal of a floor plan system is to facilitate the dealer’s purchase of inventory for sale while managing the risk to the financial institution.
To integrate a new floor plan system into an organization it must go through a process referred to as an “implementation.” An implementation involves a series of steps that begins with a plan and ends with the achievement of a “go live” milestone.
The following list of steps is an overview of the implementation process for a generic organization. Various factors influence the design and the related implementation steps required to achieve the go-live plan.
An implementation should begin with a project plan. The plan should list all milestones, the related timeline, and the resources required to get from the beginning to the end of the implementation.
An individual should be designated as the implementation’s project manager. The project manager will be responsible for managing the implementation team. It is recommended that the implementation team be comprised of stakeholders who come from cross-functional areas within the organization. This way, the process will include individuals that are representative of the areas that have a vested interest in the new system.
Data Conversion Plan (Mapping)
An implementation needs to consider whether data from the existing floor plan system needs to be converted into a format that is compatible with the new floor plan system. Depending on the system “coming from” and the system “migrating to,” the data conversion process could be relatively simple or complex. Data mapping is an element of the conversion process.
Conference Room Pilot
The implementation can include a Conference Room Pilot (“CRP”). A CRP is an essential step in the implementation. The purpose of the CRP is to expose managers and power users in attendance to the functionality of the new system and identify opportunities as well as limitations of the transaction processing in the new system compared to the transaction processing of the old system. In some cases, users will have to adapt to the new system and in other cases the new system might have to be modified. During the CRP opportunities for process improvement are frequently identified.
At the end of the CRP there may be a determination that one or more of the applications in the new system needs to be modified to better facilitate the processing of the organization’s transactions. On the other hand, the CRP might reveal opportunities for process improvements.
As mentioned earlier, one of the expectations of a new floor plan system is to generate reports to assist management with the decision-making process. A common difficulty (“opportunity”) encountered in an implementation is the ability to satisfy users who request that the system provide reports that are the same as the reports users are already accustomed to. Frequently, to satisfy this request, custom reports will have to be created.
Training on how to use the new system is an investment of resources that needs to take place both before and after the go live. Management should recognize that certain processes might take longer because of the ramp-up speed with a relatively unfamiliar system. Hopefully, the investment in training will mitigate this slow-down.