At the time, Marsulex employed 100 and the company had not invested in PCs. It still consisted of a terminal mainframe environment. “The new version of SAP was what we all take for granted today, thinking of Windows and how intuitive that system is –everything prior to that was still DOS-based.” Only a half dozen people that knew how to use a PC, posing a barrier to the initiation of the technology. This was a huge change- management challenge.
It became clear to him that the staff needed to be taught how to use both a PC and SAP. “I realized it wasn’t wise to do both at the same time and the first half million was spent buying everyone brand-new PCs.” It was 1994 and PCs still were not commonplace in the business environment.
The issue of came up again during the acquisition of several chemical plants in 1996. “The only computers they had were three or four PCs in a separate room. Nobody had a personal computer.” This posed a problem when he tried to integrate SAP.
In the process, Tugman recognized the need to treat the installation of the system as a capital project “My experience at Suncor and to a certain extent, both at Tricil and Dynatec, taught me how to execute capital projects. The biggest mistake people make in terms of systems is that they forget that they are just a capital project. The easiest way to blow your budget and your schedule on a capital project is to change the scope after you start – or never define it at the beginning.”
He began by determining what the scope was, and insisted on a couple of simple rules. The first was to not allow anyone to change the code. “We changed it twice and that was only because SAP agreed and said that we needed to. But otherwise it was a pure SAP application as it was intended.”
Clearly, the second was not to change the scope. “It was run like a capital project, which I think some people found strange because no one ran a system installation like that.” This was critical in order to achieve the on time and on budget mandate.