PHS implementing supply chain management

Implementing Supply Chain Management

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Implementing Supply Chain / ERP Systems

Sadly, despite all the work that has gone into the development of 'best practice' in this field - whether we use the term MRPII, ERP or Supply Chain - and the evolution of many packages of varying degrees of sophistication, it remains a sad fact that few implementations deliver the benefits we might feel entitled to expect.

Why should this be? Are the software providers to blame or is it the way in which companies go about introducing their offerings? In fact, it is a mixture of the two. There are many examples of software failings in even the biggest sellers - often the big names felt to be the definitive standards in the field impose ludicrous procedures on businesses trying to use the system. All too often we see instances of companies working for their system when, of course, life should be the other way round.
Having said that, the major cause of failings is in the way companies go about implementing the systems.

There are a number of common fundamental flaws:

  1. Implementations are all too often seen as an exercise in IT
    1. rather than as one of business performance improvement
  2. Key tasks are omitted
    1. such as defining the future business processes and mapping the system to these!
    2. automating what we currently do is unlikely to offer a step change improvement
    3. 'keep doing what you've always done and you'll keep getting what you always got'
  3. Management commitment to the project is inadequate
  4. The project goal is GO LIVE rather than business improvement
  5. Inadequate education is provided in the management concepts behind such systems
  6. The new ways of working are not thoroughly checked and proven
    1. 'piloting' is seen as an exercise in system testing rather than what is really required - that is, proving procedures and supporting disciplines
  7. Systems and new procedures are often too sophisticated
    1. which may be another word for complicated
      1. success comes from properly applying the KISS (keep it simple, stupid) principle

There are ways to avoid these traps and these are the subject of a separate article.

~ Ian Henderson ~

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