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Embrace Your Dark Side!

Michael Roman - Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Plan, Execute and Control!

Most companies are reluctant to change their business management software, and rightly so.  Nobody likes change. It is the scary unknown -- the Dark Side, where evil monsters and murderers lurk. Taking the plunge into the deep well of an all new system is a frightening prospect to a business leader, and it is not surprising that many companies choose to continue using old systems, old ways, and old assumptions.

We know that fortune favors the brave, but bravery isn't enough. The real challenge is to journey down the right path and understand what to expect along the way. Choosing the right path means choosing the right business management system, and that is a critical first step that I covered in a previous blog (Wishes). But once you make that step, that's when the journey toward your fortune begins, and you need to be sure you are prepared for what lies ahead. It's time to plan, execute and control!

Below are a few challenges you can expect on your journey:

Growth

"Grow or die" is not just a cliche. Every company must move beyond its beginnings to remain competitive and profitable. Operationally, that means finding proper tools to plan, execute and control future events. Companies that do not plan their future are setting sail across a vast ocean without charting a course, risking everything on an uncertain implementation that cannot be properly executed and controlled. If growth is causing execution and control concerns in your processes, your toolsets or the manner in which your people use the toolsets may be the cause.

Information

Properly managing financial, production, sales, inventory, and labor information allows a company to know when they are on course with their goals and objectives -- and when they are not on course. If information is not timely, if information is not consistent, and if conclusions about what data means are not accurate or impossible to create, your toolsets or the manner in which your people use the toolsets may be the cause.

Coordination of Effort

The manufacturing process leads to conflict; it is the nature of the beast. To seize investment opportunities, finance teams want inventory investment dollars to be minimal, while sales teams want inventory stacks above the rafters so that all inventories are available at all times. The production teams prefer to run without changes to earn efficiency, but management often intervenes to change the schedules. And when schedules are not followed, or when schedules are inaccurate, everyone suffers. Sales cannot make their numbers, and production chases its tail trying to make the right thing at the right time.

Such activities are a red flag and a signal that it is time for something different. The problem is that a proper plan-execution-control system does not exist or is being under-utilized.

Duplication of effort

In a proper plan-execution-control system, there is one set of numbers and that data are always shared by all. The planning system creates data for the execution system, and the control system alerts planning and execution when the organization does not follow the plan.  More than “one set of numbers” is an indicator that a new method must be found.

 

So... Now What?

These issues are all signals that indicate it is time to do something different. But what is that "something different?" Does your current system need replacing?  Is education and training the solution?  Are system-tuning actions the right thing? The answers are not readily evident until your company more clearly defines its journey and ultimate destination. You may be brave enough to seek your fortune, but what does that fortune look like? Once your company knows where it wants to go, you can then assess whether current toolsets will provide the best light to illuminate your pathway -- and eliminate the Dark Side altogether!

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