Tag Archive: IT

IT/ Tech

May 13th, 2020

Does Technology Have a Seat at the Table?

Do you consider your technology leader an integral member of your executive team? If not, why not? Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, technology was starting to take over the world. With the acceleration of e-commerce, the expanded use of ERP systems, artificial intelligence applications to create predictable demand and automate repetitive tasks (and of course Amazon Alexa), the internet of things to connect objects and applications such as those used in autonomous trucks, blockchain to trace the chain of custody from farm to table across the globe and robotics to automate manufacturing and warehousing processes, IT was critical.

Now that the pandemic has hit, technology is playing an even more pivotal role. The world has gone remote. Users are gaining comfort with technology at a record pace. Additionally, because there are many complications in navigating coronavirus with employees (rules, regulations, social distancing protocols, and many more), executives are starting to see a greater advantage in proceeding more quickly with their technology roadmaps. By taking advantage of the opportunities to grow the business and improve the customer experience, employers can reallocate employees from repetitive tasks (which also can require close proximity to one another) to ones that will add value to the business.

Read our eBook, Future-Proofing Manufacturing & Supply Chain Post COVID-19 to dig into these concepts further as well as to debate whether to move forward with ERP upgrades or hold off to preserve cash and to be reminded of the critical importance of cyber security and protecting against cyber criminals. Also, one of our favorite topics is addressed, the MacGyver approach to moving forward with your systems infrastructure while navigating the slow ramp up following the pandemic. It is NEVER all or nothing. Invest smartly. Utilize already-existing talent and tools. You’ll speed on by your competition.

Join our Navigating Through Volatility webinar series to learn about how ESRI is using cutting edge technology and location intelligence to drive supply chain resilience and recovery. It certainly will stretch your mind when it comes to using IT/ technology to drive business value, and more importantly, value to the community. Perhaps it will inspire you to think about technology differently.

Did you like this article?  Continue reading on this topic:

Should We Listen to All the High Tech Talk?
Should I Upgrade Now or Later?


Is Your ERP System Scalable?

August 14th, 2019

erp successSince we happen to be working on 3 or 4 ERP system projects concurrently, the topic of ERP is top of mind.

Let’s start by saying upfront that we turn down ERP selection project requests. Not everyone needs a new system. Perhaps a process upgrade and better utilization of your current system will sustain your business for 3-5 years. If so, why divert attention? On the other hand, waiting “too long” will quickly spiral into disaster. How do you know which of these is your situation?

An ERP upgrade is one of the most significant initiatives a company can undertake, and the statistics aren’t good. 80% fail to achieve the expected outcome! Yet, if your ERP system isn’t scalable, hiding your head in the sand will lead straight to unmitigated disaster. Thus, it’s best to be proactive, diligent and strategic when it comes to this topic.

Selecting a system isn’t something to delegate to your IT person. Instead, it is something you must “own”. After all, if your system will support your resources so that you can grow the business with the peace of mind that your system will enable a high level of customer service with additional customer-friendly capabilities (such as a customer portal), support your #1 asset (your employees and partners) behind the scenes and allow your business to scale with minimal if any investment of time and resources, it suddenly becomes quite relevant.

The 80/20 of success relates to just two items:

  • Your critical success factors – what is unique to your company or industry and/or what drives customer differentiation and profitability
  • Your design and implementation partners – although the focus typically goes to the software, as with business, the 80/20 of success is with people and partners.

Having an ERP system that supports your business objectives is another key component of creating a resilient supply chain. If you’d like a rapid assessment on whether your ERP system will support your growth and business objectives, contact us. And please check out our resilient supply chain webpage.



Cyber Crime Is UP. Should We Be Concerned?

May 15th, 2017

I attended the DMA (Distribution Management Association) event earlier this week, and I heard a compelling speaker from the Los Angeles office of the FBI talk about cybercrime. It is simply a massive industry. In 2015, internet fraud led to a loss of $14.6 million per month. Talk about a massive amount of cybercrime, just in Los Angeles vs. bank robberies nationally in 2014 at $2.4 million per month. Are you protecting your business from Ransomware and BEC (business email compromise)? If not, I now am armed with several horrifying statistics to pass along.

internet fraud

One tip to implement this week:

Every executive should be thinking about cyber crime. Is it worth saving a few dollars on a less expensive, inexperienced IT resource? Absolutely not! 71% of breaches occur in small businesses because they tend to be more vulnerable, and 60% of them close their doors within 6 months. Certainly these types of statistics should encourage you to be vigilant.

It isn’t just IT resources. A lot of cyber crime has to do with education and culture. If employees open emails that look harmless and don’t know what to look for or how to handle the situation, it can go from bad to worse in a hurry. One executive got in a heap of trouble when attacked by BEC because the culture was such that the CFO didn’t question blindly following what looked like an email from the CEO with instructions of where to wire funds. Start by learning about cyber crime. Find out what you should be looking for and make sure your employees understand how to handle these situations. Crooks will continue to go after these untapped funds and so we must be proactive and alert.

 

Looking for more ideas to keep your supply chain connected? Access more tips and resources on my blog. And keep connected by subscribing to my newsletter and email feed of “I’ve Been Thinking…”

 



Staples & the Power of Customer Service

August 11th, 2016

supply chain

When I’ve needed customer service the most, Staples has been there! A while back, my house burned down. When that happened, the manager of the local Staples went WAY out of her way to help dig up old invoices to assist with the arduous accounting process. However, the reason I’m thinking about Staples now is because they came to my rescue again.

Last weekend, I attended the APICS district meeting in Newport Beach. After Friday’s Presidents meeting, I went to dinner with two colleagues. I left my laptop sitting on the desk in the hotel, knowing I had to write a proposal upon my return. When I got back to the room, my laptop was DEAD. I tried all sorts of things to make it work, looked up solutions on my phone, etc. It was hopeless. Thus, instead of writing a proposal, I was searching on my phone for a new laptop and sending emails to IT support resources to try to get help. Of course, my laptop would crash on Friday night with no provocation.

I have to say, several of my IT trusted advisors responded Saturday morning (nice to work with the best!); however, I couldn’t do much more until Monday. I planned to miss a session on Saturday to find a Best Buy. I looked out the window in the morning and saw Staples.

The tech guy at Staples (who was also an Assistant Manager but he came to help because the regular tech guy was tied up) was EXTREMELY helpful and tried all sorts of things to get my laptop working. He went over and beyond and made me feel much better. Although he couldn’t fix it while there, he set me up with the right hardware and people to save my data and work next steps. And he charged me $0. I left with a broken laptop — and happy.

After the meeting, I stopped at the Ontario Staples on the way home to pick up an interim laptop I purchased. Unfortunately, it turned out, it was in Ontario, Oregon; not Ontario, CA, but they were so helpful and made sure the LaVerne store was prepared for my arrival the next day that I felt good about my experience anyway. They even offered me free items for my trouble. Next, the LaVerne tech guy actually found the magic formula (that no one thought existed) and got my laptop working — same day, on a Sunday. More than the laptop help, they shined when it came to customer service. I will be back!

One tip to implement this week:

None of these folks were technically in customer service yet I will return to Staples because of their customer service. They were exceptional. They made me believe that my laptop troubles and helping me with my problem was their most important item of the day. Do you make your customers feel that way?

If you are in customer service, sales or an executive, you are on the front lines with your customers. Believe me, they always have a choice. Customer service will help you stand out from the crowd.

If you are in any other support position, you still have customers. For example, if you are in production, you probably have shipping and warehousing as your customers. If you are in production planning, customer service, operations and accounting are your customers. Everyone has customers. Do they want to work with you? This is certainly something where you can make an immediate impact. Think of how you want to be treated. What would stand out for you? Pass on the goodwill.

Looking for more ideas to keep your supply chain connected? Access more tips and resources on my blog. And keep connected by subscribing to my newsletter and email feed of “I’ve Been Thinking…”



iPhones and Mobility Have Invaded Business

March 9th, 2016

supply chainI’ve been spending considerable time helping clients select, design and implement ERP systems and leverage functionality and reports to make quick yet effective business decisions. It is considered “old school” to have to do these functions from a computer screen. We don’t even have to look solely at business — how many Grandmas use iPads, Samsung Galaxy 6’s and the like? Many!

No sales executive wants to log on his/her computer from the road instead of accessing information at his/her fingertips on a hand held device. During a customer meeting, isn’t it convenient to rapidly look up an answer to a question and show the customer a fancy graph from your iPad? Of course! Mobility has become an expectation.

One tip to implement this week:

So, how can we make progress on this topic this week? This is a tougher one as it typically involves your IT resources and ERP software suppliers. However, there is always a way to make progress. Pick one area you’d like to be able to access via your phone that would make a significant difference to your work performance. Ideally, it should involve customer service or collaboration. For example, one topic could be staying up-to-date on order status for your top customers.

If you are the leader, get your technical experts together and ask them to find a way to start down this path rapidly. Don’t worry about achieving nirvana; start with a good step forward. Keep taking steps forward while working on a more comprehensive, long-term solution. If you are not a leader, ask to meet with your leader. Explain why you think it would be valuable to automate information on the selected topic. Request that he/she pursue with technical resources. In the interim, suggest a relatively easy solution. Almost every company can provide access to email on these devices. Send a group email with updates on your selected topic. You’ll be surprised; even what can seem like a low-tech way to get started can achieve wonders as people begin to collaborate.

Looking for more ideas to keep your supply chain connected? Access more tips and resources on my blog. And keep connected by subscribing to my newsletter and email feed of “I’ve Been Thinking…”