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Expert Insight: Guest Contribution
  By Rod Winger, Senior Director, Product Marketing, Manufacturing and Supply Chain Solutions, Epicor Software Corporation  
  Jan. 30, 2009  

Supply Chain News: Next Generation Enterprise Resource Planning Leads Truly Lean Organizations


Connectivity Across the Enterprise and Extended Value Chain is Critical Foundation for Lean



Winger Says:
The challenges of a global economy and expanding markets in an increasingly customer-centric world create the need for truly Lean manufacturing organizations.

What do you say? Send us your comments here

Today’s market demands Lean principles. The challenges of a global economy and expanding markets in an increasingly customer-centric world create the need for truly Lean manufacturing organizations.

Shorter lead times, improved quality, reduced cost and increased profits have become a vital industry focus in recent years. In the past, enterprise resource planning software presented challenges in going Lean. Technology was too inflexible.

Effective ERP Software with Lean In Mind

Now, as technology advances, ERP software is designed with Lean in mind – combining the latest in 100% service-oriented architecture, Enterprise 2.0 concepts, extensible markup language (xml) programming, EDI, as well as mobile and network technologies. The result is true, end-to-end solutions, providing insight into all aspects of a user’s business.

The question of how to implement Lean presents a unique set of challenges to the global midmarket – continuous process improvement and waste elimination requires true, real-time insight into traditionally separate business functions.

From product lifecycle management, planning, production and supply chain, to financials, sales, customer service and relationship management, connectivity is essential. Despite the demand, a recent AMR Research report states: “While our recent IT spending survey shows 15% of companies said the application of Lean practices across the organization was the single most important business initiative affecting IT investment decisions, our interviews indicate companies have been slow to adopt the broad range of functionality offered by Lean software providers.”

Effective ERP software aids in the implementation of Lean. AMR Research explains “A modern, integrated ERP suite that supports not only manufacturing, but also financials, supply chain and customer management – and is supported by functionality for tracking a company’s performance – can help support the proliferation of Lean throughout the enterprise.”

Agree or disgree with our guest expert's perspective? What would you add? Let us know your thoughts for publication in the SCDigest newsletter Feedback section, and on the web site. Upon request, comments will be posted with the respondent's name or company withheld.

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February 16, 2009

I am of the humble opinion that the article and statement is partially true.

My reasoning behind it is the profile of the organisation. If you are in a sector where you are producing a small product catalogue for an extended period of time with reasonably predictable demand over a wide demographic (bread for instance) the enormous expenditure associated with dramatic system renewal and supplier and customer interfacing will not necessarily result in as much business benefit, as it would for a niche electronics manufacturer with short product life cycles and high variability in demand.

In essence my point is that there are variations of lean and a sliding scale of system supported business benefit. Each organisation/sector will fall on a different grade on this scale and must properly investigate the tangible benefit of investing in fringe or replacement technology.

Gerrit Fourie
Senior Consultant


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