ARTICLE COMMENTARY: 3 Steps to Take When Your ERP Implementation Goes Wrong by Carl Lewis

READ THE FULL ARTICLE Step 1 is often not well done - ie. list the expected deliverables. Doing this up front means both the buyer and seller have defined expectations, which can often avoid confusion and frustration later in the process.

Buried in the discussion of Step 1 is the topic of "vanilla" installations or using the software "out-of-the-box". I have been on both sides of the table -as an implementing customer and as a former ERP VAR - trust me, you want to keep your ERP as close to the way it was delivered as possible. You will save money up front by avoiding (possibly unnecessary) development, save time by not having to work for the customization and avoiding custom training for your staff. You will save money on the backend by making future updates, and eventually major upgrades, much more run of the mill instead of white-knuckled experiences as conflicts occur during the process.

I remember once, many years ago, asking for a customization from the I/T t…

SupplyChainBrain -Three Digital Manufacturing Trends for 2020 (article review)

The way I read this article, the forecast is for a "gig economy" approach to machining and other "metal-bashing" industries. In the section headed "Online and On-Demand", the article describes individual part fabrication being completely outsourced through an online network of firms the way 3D printing has evolved. I see this as great news for firms looking to buy one-off items while at the same time increasing competition, and decreasing margins, for job shops.
I see this somewhat at odds with the following section on "More Partnerships, Joint Ventures". If firms can get multiple quotes and select a different supplier every time, it is hard to see the partnership aspect. Unless, of course, over time the major users of these online services decide to focus on working with a select few vendors with whom they can develop Long Term Agreements (LTAs) based on negotiating rates, volume, lead time and quality. I would see this happening to ensure con…

Introducing FarStar (video 1:25)


Lessons From the Military on Improvement

This article is about learning from "best-in-class" and applying the lessons to other industries. Although the title refers to the retail industry, the concepts apply across the board. In the civilian world we are simply using different names such as "servant leadership" and "cross training".  This is like bench-marking - look up and outside of your specific industry to see what the best are doing then borrow shamelessly to improve.  Read the article

S&OP: What is it and Why Should You Care

A nice thing about running one's own business is the ability to focus on areas of interest. For a long time, I had wanted to write practical articles of interest related to supply chain and operations. Now, I am able to so that. Thank you to ValveWorld for helping me achieve that goal.

Here is a short introduction to S&OP - Sales & Operations Planning - a decision-making process that ensures that the tactical plans in all business functions are aligned and in support of the company strategy, business plans, and goals. 

Lots of companies and people say that they do this but doing it well and regularly can pay terrific dividends. More articles will follow to guide you through a solid implementation.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Some Supply Chain Managers Just Don’t Get It

I just read an interesting article, with the above title, in SCMR (Supply Chain Management Review) online. The author talks about all the right stuff - independent processes and data points in the supply chain becoming a series of inter-connected nodes sharing real-time data.

The revolution is coming but I think we need to be realistic about when it will arrive. I think it will arrive a widely different times for different firms and their industries. The Fortune 500 or Global 1000 will have a different timeline than the small-to-medium enterprise (SME).

I spend a lot of time in the SME market space where I still see a large proportion of companies running major aspects of their business on MS-Excel, non-integrated software, and manual processes. While I believe in the technology and benefits of Supply Chain 4.0 in this article, and many similar ones, the company that is still doing a once-a-month update of inventory into their custom in-house MS-Access application or spreadsheet is not…

BACK TO BASICS - IRA (Inventory Record Accuracy)

BACK TO BASICS: I was a new hire with an organization that clearly had inventory management issues starting with poor product identification, no location control and a poor control of the manual wall-to-wall physical count compounded with the lack of an electronic system of record. That was nearly 30 years ago. Below is an excerpt from a white paper by ECI SOFTWARE from March of 2019. Hard to believe the following was identified as Pit Fall #1. 
"Inventory record inaccuracies: ... Surprisingly, many Small-Medium-sized Manufacturers (SMMs) do not have inventory record-keeping policies and processes in place, including regular inventory counts, maintenance, and documentation. Results from a recent ECi Software Solutions’ customer “Warehouse Management Woes” survey shows that 53% of small to mid-sized businesses conduct manual inventory counts at least once a quarter and 50% of respondents have challenges counting or reconciling inventory." You cannot have a robust planning p…