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Managing Systems Development 101: A Guide to Designing Effective Commercial Products & Systems for Engineers & Their Bosses∕CEOs

By
James T. Karam
James T. Karam
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ISBN-10:
0791802582
No. of Pages:
140
Publisher:
ASME Press
Publication date:
2007

While generally a good practice overall, I will argue vociferously that such is the only path to success when adopting enterprise-wide systems, such as MRP, or ERP, or Configuration Control, etc. I have been around several unsuccessful attempts to adopt systems from SAP, but I am sure the problem is not unique to that vendor. Rather, it is from their approach. These providers generally tout that their system is so adaptable that it can be configured so that you do not have to change your existing behaviors. What they fail to emphasize is that you have to configure every little nit and lice of your behaviors. For the companies that I was exposed to, this generally meant dedicating at least one senior member of every department for something on the order of a year. This is a huge expense and does not even count the fees for the external implementation consultants with which this staff is interfacing.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are a good thing. If Finance, Engineering, Production, Service, and Sales are not working to a common database and tracking system, myriad home grown or specialized packages are either routinely inconsistent or duplicative at best. Management spends a fair bit of their energies reconciling differences between systems, while remaining unable to establish effective feedback mechanisms.

Find the package that is least painful and adapt your behavior to it.

Notice that I did not say “the best”. I am not sure what that even means. With my automatic controls background, I am very harsh with the common abuse of the term “optimum”, which is the fancy semantics for “best”. The one thing you learn quickly in automatic control courses is that there are as many optimums as there are optimization criteria. Therefore, my response is always, “Best in what sense?” Most cannot answer. Those that try quickly realize that there are many, often conflicting, criteria that they are trying to meet.

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