Michael Krigsman at the IT Project Failures blog at ZDNet has an analysis of an ERP project failure: Customer blames bankruptcy on IBM IT failure.
American LaFrance (ALF), the “leading brand of custom-made fire fighting, fire rescue vehicles, ambulances, and heavy-duty work refuse vehicles,” has declared bankruptcy, blaming IBM and a failed ERP implementation.
Michael has gone to some effort to ferret out the details behind this particular project failure, but the numbers involved are pretty big. It doesn't help American LaFrance that the market for their products started dropping just as they did the switch to the new system. But does all the blame for the failure and subsequent bankruptcy lie on the head of the IT integrator? That said, if the new system got in the way of their ability to get components into their shop, something was seriously wrong.
And when I see ERP as the source of the problems, I immediately wonder about a Theory of Constraints view of the world. Rather than ERP, it sounded like they needed a good supply chain solution that replenished their parts inventory based on consumption and replenishment time. Most ERP systems operate on forecasts and variations on min/max.