Tag Archive: systems pragmatist

What is Walmart Doing?

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I sat on a panel of experts for Mobility 21’s annual conference titled “Speed to Delivery: Good’s Movement’s High-Tech Future“. It was a fascinating meeting and panel discussion due to the amazing amount of technology being discussed to address the future of transportation. One of the panelists was the Senior Director of Sustainability for Walmart. Walmart has come up in several circles lately. One of our clients supports Walmart’s stores, and so we learned quite a lot about their fulfillment processes, demand planning practices and, of course, their new OTIF (on-time-in-full) metrics. We also discussed Walmart service with a 3PL partner, and, of…
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Technology – Should We Take It or Leave It?

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Technology is a hot topic. Artificial intelligence. Autonomous vehicles. 3D printers and additive manufacturing. Business intelligence. We can’t stop talking about it. Many times, these topics are somewhat like fads. Even though there are benefits, we can get carried away and not even pay attention to whether we are gaining value. Thus, we should take a step back and ask a few questions: 1. Do we need the technology or is it just cool? 2. What value does the technology provide? Does it yield a return on investment? What is that return on investment? 3. What is most valued by…
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Do You Know What Is Important in Selecting the Right System?

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ERP systems often fail to live up to their promise — even in the best of circumstances. It is a tough environment — software suppliers are consolidating, the smaller ones can disappear or get gobbled up in a moment’s notice, good resources are hard to find, and the list goes on. Yet there is no choice but to proactively address this topic to have a scalable business and to meet customer expectations as you get to a certain size and complexity. Thus, it is worth-while thinking about whether you are prepared:  Do you fully understand your business requirements and specifically…
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Case Study in the Power of Design

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Situation: Our client had implemented an ERP system several years ago. As is typical when a system is implemented, they implemented the basics and then took a break to run the business. Although you start out thinking of vast improvements and how you’ll automate all sorts of processes, getting the foundation working effectively with high levels of customer service and some level of efficiency typically takes quite a lot of effort. The team is tired and needs to smooth out the day-to-day business. Understandable. The good news is that they were set up for the future with an improved base.…
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Forget Data Cleanup and Find a Measure to Start NOW!

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If you have the systems to measure your ideal metric, go for it but don’t let it become an excuse! Find one that will measure progress and start immediately! For example, in one of our clients, not only were the run rates incorrect but they were wildly different for similar items which would make planning an utter nightmare! However, there are still ways to measure progress and plan. Find a metric that won’t change and stick to it. In this case, we used earned standard hours, and we are able to measure improvements in the metric. Of course, as data…
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Technologies Transforming Supply Chains

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Modern marvels and new information technologies are transforming supply chains. Automation, robots, AI (artificial intelligence), 3D Printing, Bitcoin technology and the IoT (internet of things) are changing the way we look at supply chains. Are you thinking about any of these technologies down-the-line? Or are you thinking about the impacts of your competitors pursuing them? You should! We partner with clients to keep them at the forefront of these information technologies. At the core, we partner with executives to help them select the optimal ERP system to support their business objectives. Certainly, automation has always been a hot topic. Recently,…
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Crowdsourcing Is In

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In asking questions about outsourcing, insourcing and near-sourcing of the executive panel at APICS Inland Empire’s Symposium, we heard several great stories. One of them was compelling about the value of crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing is the practice of engaging a ‘crowd’ or group for a common goal — often innovation, problem solving, or efficiency. It is powered by new technologies, social media and web 2.0. It is simply amazing as to what can be achieved with these out-of-the-box strategies. Many big name companies who can put “big bucks” behind their efforts have found that they can achieve far more with crowdsourcing…
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Unscrambling a Challenged System Implementation

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From time to time, we receive a call from a client dealing with a challenged ERP implementation. Unfortunately, “challenged” is a nice word for most of these! Of course, by the time the client calls, they have spent a lot of money and are frustrated which isn’t a great starting point because unscrambling the situation is never an easy endeavor — assuming you want to provide service and make money. Unscrambling these scenarios requires a unique combination of skills: 1. System thinking – as odd as it sounds, there is NOT a need for experience in the specific system. Certainly,…
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Winning Leadership Traits for Project Success

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No matter the topic of your project, it will be more successful if the project leader utilizes winning leadership traits. As our HR mentor used to say, “It begins and ends with people!” Therefore, leadership is the name of the game, assuming you want to win the game. In project management, this is even more critical because most project teams are groups of cross-functional resources who do not report to the same line manager. Thus, the project leader has to use influence leadership in addition to command and control leadership. Actually, command and control leadership doesn’t even work long-term for…
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Unscrambling a Challenged System Implementation

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From time to time, we receive a call from a client dealing with a challenged ERP implementation. Unfortunately, “challenged” is a nice word for most of these! Of course, by the time the client calls, they have spent a lot of money and are frustrated which isn’t a great starting point because unscrambling the situation is never an easy endeavor — assuming you want to provide service and make money. Unscrambling these scenarios requires a unique combination of skills: System thinking – as odd as it sounds, there is NOT a need for experience in the specific system. Certainly, it…
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