Many organizations move into Latin America with experiences and lessons learned from other countries. However, as we stated in a previous article -- you better be sure to evaluate your vendor solutions carefully. In this blog, I wanted to provide some examples of the issues we are hearing from global companies dealing with support or in many cases the lack of it:
- Lesson #1-- Keeping up with the changing mandates -- Ensure you ask your vendors how they keep up with the legislation and if the updates are included in your annual maintenance fees. Many companies are shocked that even some of the more well known local vendors are not keeping their teams up to date with the legislation. Remember, there is most likely ERP configurations that you will have to do. Ask:
- What is covered in the maintenance?
- Will you have to use internal resources to implement anything?
- Will you have to budget for time and material consulting projects from your vendor to implement the changes?
- Do the changes also include the required updates to the ERP system or is this your responsibility?
- Who does the end to end testing?
- Lesson #2 -- Support Languages -- If you don't operate your ERP center of excellence or implementation in Latin America, ensure you have the ability to work with the provider in nativ
e English Many companies are running their SAP COE in the US or Europe. Look for a provider that offers multi-lingual project management and day to day production support in Portuguese, Spanish, and English. You have to be able to work with your local teams as well as your global SAP teams seamlessly when implementing your project or reacting to daily issues.
- Lesson #3 ERP Process Knowledge - The process doesn't stop at a signature. You will need to be able to print and also manage synchronization with your ERP system for processes including cancellations and acknowledgements. If your nota fiscal is not registering or printing out, a company that states that they sent the file to your ERP system doesn't help you when your truck is waiting at the warehouse ready to leave. Review the concept of STP - Service Transfer Points -- and fully understand what your obligations are. You might be surprised at how much work you still have to do even with some of the larger EDI providers or software solutions in the market.
Production support and ongoing change management are the largest costs associated with Latin American eInvoicing. Ensure you are asking the proper questions, as mistakes in this region of the world cause delays in collections, delays in shipments, and trigger financial penalties.