There was a new LANSA case study released yesterday that really grabbed my attention. LANSA is a Chicago-based developer and IT services provider that is primarily known for its solutions for legacy systems users who generally want to upgrade their systems but are not ready to shake the entire company up with an implementation of brand new software. Companies may feel that after many years their existing system is tuned to the company’s needs and works like a well-oiled machine, whereas there’s no guarantee a new system would work at the same level. Also, new upgrades and development tools of legacy systems can sometimes be so advanced that making a replacement with a new software is unnecessary.
Kawasaki operates using a just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing environment in their assembly plant in Lincoln, Nebraska, where a paper card-based Kanban inventory method has been successfully used for a long time. However, according to the manufacturer, this system has its own issues related to the cards themselves and employee discipline issues. So a decision was made to develop a new electronic Kanban system in-house using the existing IBM i LANSA ERP and its brand new development tool. As a result, a team of developers was able to create and install an eKanban system on the first assembly line in two months using the vendor’s new development tool. The new eKanban system leverages mobile technology and the newest available devices so the shop floor workers can now manage inventory using mobile devices.
This case is a shining example of how business can achieve more than expected using an existing technology without the risk of spending a lot of money for a new system and going through a painful and disruptive implementation process. As Kawasaki IS supervisor Jay Kamradt mentioned, the projects’ ROI is now expected to be less than six months, so I believe that this project turned out to be even more effective than the implementation of a third-party cloud application would have been.