The purpose of this Blog is to share my personal experience on value engineering and supply chain projects. Having been involved in SAP logistics projects since 1997, I have now recently been involved in several continuous improvement (CI) engagements with clients, focusing on WM (Warehouse Management) and LE (Logistics Execution). I was struck by the value that this benchmarking and best practice review gives, even if the value comes from a different pair of eyes reviewing a supply chain operation. Implementing world class business processes or an “adaptive supply” chain as SAP has coined it isn’t just a matter of getting it right at the start. Adopting a continuous improvement mindset and supporting methodology can take you a long way to reaching those goals.
Stepping up to the challenge
The pressure on the original project implementation teams, managing change, and product knowledge and scope management often results in design compromises. Add in several upgrades and an ever changing business environment (happily business growth for our CI customers), and the business processes can then come to look a little sub-optimised. Many vertical industries insist on a continuous improvement process to protect margin and meet regulatory approval. Shouldn’t we be looking harder at this best practice in our IT systems world?
Managing SAP SCM as an asset
Apart from the CI workshop’s being productive, interesting and fun, the outputs have been well received, with improvements being as simple as “let’s put the label on the box before we start picking” to considering complex issues such as voice integration and mobilisation. The CI review has proven to be a solid tool in uncovering areas of performance improvement and incremental work. Time will tell if we can realise all of the potential identified. On a personal note it has been great to re-engage with former customers through the CI process, and see how operations running on SAP systems have matured. In my view the supply chain element has often been a little under developed, leaving room for these incremental low risk improvements and after making significant investments isn’t it time to maintain that asset!
Having just finished an SCM-EWM 7.0 implementation for another customer I was also struck by the number of issues raised in the CI review that could have been resolved if the client had been utilising the newer SCM business suit products like EWM (Enhanced Warehouse Management) and TM (Transportation Management). In future blogs I will pick out these areas and highlight them in more detail, as I have found most articles on the web to be a little too generic to be of significant interest.