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SaaS supply chain execution solutions and golf...

By Steve Simmerman | 09/17/2010 | 9:06 AM

In my previous blog, I highlighted an IDC Research study that discussed how SaaS will overtake traditional software deployment.  No doubt the SaaS, or on-demand, market is growing for supply chain applications. Over the past few months I have engaged in many, many conversations, presentations and proposals for on-demand supply chain applications.  Yes, on-demand applications can provide companies with tremendous benefits including:

  • elimination of up-front license fees
  • elimination of hardware and 3rd party software purchases
  • elimination of long-term support & maintenance agreements
  • minimize the impact on IT resources

However, that does not mean that the project is simply plug and play.  You don't just flip a switch and instantly install your WMS or LMS application - there is still work to be done.  This is especially true in supply chain execution applications that involve the movement & management of inventory, people, equipment as well as integration with complementary applications (ERP, TMS, WMS).  A SaaS-based WMS or LMS can clearly help reduce project costs and time, but project discipline, change management, testing, data conversion & integration all still need to be accomplished for the project to succeed.  Newer SaaS-based supply chain execution solutions are more configurable and flexible and that too will help reduce project costs and time. However, the human element of any system implementation still takes good 'ol Project Management and people skills. I like to draw an analogy to the golf equipment industry.  Yes, today's golf equipment allows you to hit the ball farther and with better control (supposedly), but it still takes practice and you still need to play all shots over an 18 hole round extremely well to win.  Supply chain execution projects are no different.  SaaS-based solutions allow us to implement more quickly and in a shorter total time frame, but we still need to execute well across all project phases to succeed.  A successful and sustainable WMS or LMS project requires commitment to 'practice' each and every day in order to deliver the desired results on an on-going basis.  "Course management" is not something the average golfer thinks about, but those golfers who really understand the game and are committed to continuous improvement know that course management (like Project Management) is essential. We may not all be PGA or LPGA material, but there is no reason we cannot win our share of "tournaments" in supply chain execution projects as long as we commit to continuous practice and diligent project management.  Discipline, "course management" plus leading edge technology can help you take your game to the next level.

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About Steve Simmerman

Steve Simmerman

Steve Simmerman is a Senior Director with JDA. Simmerman has more than 25 years of experience in the supply chain industry including software, consulting and material handling. He has focused his efforts on working with clients to achieve high performance supply chain results through partnerships and creative solutions. He is a member of CSCMP, WERC, and MHIA and is a regular contributor to several industry publications and events. Simmerman holds his undergraduate and MBA degrees from The University of Notre Dame.


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