Before the lean enterprise paradigm swept across the manufacturing industry, I doubt many business people would have considered accounting as a serious tool for changing the mindset of decisions makers and how businesses operate. It turns out, however, that there’s more than one way to do accounting, and the accounting approach an organization uses can have a significant impact on a business’s direction. Read the rest of this entry »
I attended the Lean Accounting Summit in Orlando in September, and I’m still struck by the totally different attitudes of companies that choose lean transformation versus conventional non-lean companies.
Lean thinking certainly isn’t new to the business community, but many managers and business influencers still have no clear understanding of lean. They typically pick and choose their lean manufacturing tools, and ignore other lean principles that contribute to success, if not playing an even more vital role. One example of such overlooked principles: lean accounting. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s been many years since this question of compatibility between lean practices and enterprise resource planning (ERP) was rigorously discussed and brought many controversial and opposite opinions to the table. Can these two work well together, or do they have no place in each other’s space? It seems like even after all this time—and discussion—the jury is still out the final verdict. The answer is not a simple “yes” or “no,” but rather lies somewhere between.
Advocates of lean concepts protect a lean manufacturing organization from technological invasions, propagating the principle that “simpler is better” and believing that almost any informational system is a waste (non-value adding). On the flip side of the coin, there are thousands of ERP vendors, users, and manufacturing managers that use traditional methods based on complex data and transactional systems who won’t accept any other alternative way of conducting business. Read the rest of this entry »
Part 1 of this blog post series discussed in general the relationship between product lifecycle management (PLM) and lean product development (LPD), and pointed out that various PLM vendors may have different interpretations of PLM functionality, as well as different levels of support for users’ LPD initiatives. In this and a few future blog posts, I will choose some PLM vendors and talk about the relationship between each vendor’s offerings and LPD, based on my personal interpretation. I will pick one vendor at a time; today’s is Dassault Systèmes (DS). Read the rest of this entry »
“Basically, lean is [focused on] creating more value with less work.” – Wikipedia, Lean Manufacturing
No matter who can be credited with making this statement, I have to thank him or her. This statement allows people to apply lean principles in broader circumstances than manufacturing. Following this idea, I’d like to define lean product development (LPD) as this: LPD is focused on developing more products better and with use of fewer resources. To be more specific, LPD contains the following three major elements, in my view: Read the rest of this entry »
Did you know that there is hidden money in your company? No, not in the safe, nor in some secret vault that you can access by pressing on a brick in the wall—it’s in your operations. At the 2009 APICS International Conference and Expo preview webinar series (session 4), Nicholas M. Testa (CEO Acuity Consulting Inc.) tried to answer the following questions concerning your company’s hidden money: How can you search for it? What tools can you use? How can you get results? Read the rest of this entry »
In the forthcoming 2009 APICS International Conference and Expo, many educational tracks will be covered by industry leaders, and lean is one of them. Since we are in a global economic crisis where every manufacturer, supplier, and producer is trying to reduce cost and minimize waste while increasing production or throughput, I am particularly interested in the “lean” educational track to hear what the experts are saying. Recently, I had the privilege of attending the preview of “Lean for Materials Managers” by Bill Kerber, President of High Mix Lean. Read the rest of this entry »
If you search for business performance management (BPM) on Google, you’ll get around 700,000 results. Out of this huge number of results, you will presumably refer to a popular source—Wikipedia. According to Wikipedia, BPM is “a set of processes that help organizations optimize their business performance.” The same source affirms that some people see it as the next generation of business intelligence (BI). Both of these explanations—unfortunately—lack clarity.
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A week before this past Thanksgiving holiday (US), I was invited by a long-term analyst relationship contact at SAP to listen to (via multimedia streaming) a panel discussion on a late Friday afternoon. The expert panel explored reasons for companies to maintain IT investment even (if not especially) during difficult economic times.
Bruce Richardson, the Chief Research Officer of AMR Research, moderated the event. The star-studded and well-rounded panel also included:
The Harvard Business Review (HBR) article by Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson entitled “Investing in the IT That Makes a Competitive Difference” was the main supplement and starting point of the discussion. In a nutshell, the panel logically (and not surprisingly) argued that enterprises should use IT solutions to innovate and create differentiation, especially during a difficult economy.
Moreover, the aforementioned SAP contact privately solicited my opinion on the extent to which these esteemed academics understand our industry. According to the “you asked for it” motto, here are my thoughts (albeit parlayed into a blog post to be shared with our readers too). Read the rest of this entry »
My office is in the downtown core of Montreal and last week I attended a briefing session by two aerospace companies, Pratt and Whitney (PW) and Bombardier, at a hotel up the street. The subject was about a new initiative by PW and Bombardier to improve supplier performance. Read the rest of this entry »
Maybe just for the sake of change (or some fun), let me start this blog post as a quiz question. It could go like this:
Can anyone name the mid-market incumbent manufacturing and distribution-oriented enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendor that has a global presence (through regional territory distribution centers and a global reseller network in the United States [US], Canada, Africa, Asia-Pacific, Australia and the United Kingdom [UK]), an install base of 12,000 companies in over 60 countries, and the channel consisting of a few hundred value added resellers (VARs) that contribute to about 85 percent of its revenues?
As some helping tips, the privately-held vendor was incorporated in 1978 in South Africa, and has since grown organically (with no major acquisitions thus far) to about $60 million in revenues. Well, for those (rare few I suspect) that have guessed we are talking here about SYSPRO, may I boldly suggest an audition for the “Jeopardy” (or like) quiz show?
In any case, for nearly 30 years, SYSPRO has been offering a broad range of extended-ERP solutions for small and mid-sized manufacturing and distribution organizations (the sweet spot being the companies with US$10 million to US$250 million in revenues).
I believe that SYSPRO has survived largely unscathed through all the mayhem and carnage in its market via the right combination of product and technologies, plus a successful “partner-dominant” go-to-market strategy that can (and should) be leveraged more aggressively going forward. Read the rest of this entry »