Your System – Not Guilty As Charged

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Forecasting Maintenance Inventory with Descriptions?

Posted by Joel Schipper on May 7, 2018

Recently I came across a discussion in which an asset-centric company — a business that has a lot of assets (e.g., equipment) they are trying to maintain — was frustrated in the forecast and purchase of the parts used to maintain that equipment.  The discussion author was seeking a “better way” to utilize the descriptive fields in the item master to help “standardize” descriptions so that purchasing could better “forecast and buy” these items.  It’s clear that without standard descriptions a given “Pump Model ABC” could have been purchased once as Model ABC Pump, another time as ABC Model Pump, and again as Pump Model ABC, etc.  The discussion author wondered if non-stock inventory items were a good pathway, and dismissed the idea of creating standard stock items as too much effort.

But when I read this discussion thread, I thought — wait, a moment, what’s the underlying business issue here?  Having the right pumps and parts in stock when they’re needed?  Or reducing the effort of Purchasing when they are scrambling to buy that pump or part?  My experience with inventory management and procurement in a maintenance-centric situation is that standard item numbers — and inventory and consumption history — will be required, regardless of the perceived effort.  And here’s why, and what I wrote in response to the discussion thread …

If you are trying to forecast the usage of, and plan the purchase of, parts that have a consumption history, and will be used again, I strongly urge you to make them into standard inventory items, and to consider adding them to preventative maintenance bills of material; you really will not be able to make any forecasts without an established usage history, and JD Edwards [or any ERP system] requires you to do this via stocked items.

In maintenance management you have two types of forecasts:  the “known” or certain forecast that comes with the arrival of a preventative maintenance (PM) event — these happen every “so often” (time, hours, cycles, etc.).  When the PM event arrives, there is no guessing — the parts on the PM BOM are what are needed.  And you can “forecast” these events with relative ease, and add that forecast to an “MRP” run to buy the parts in advance.  The other type of forecast is more statistical, and is for “Break and Fix” maintenance events.  Only a history of issues, or a “two-bin” system of keeping enough in a back-up storage so that when you go to use the first of the back-up supply there is enough time to order a new “bag” or quantity of supply – can be used for an expensive item in which you keep only one or two reserve units, or for common, lower cost items in which you keep a carton/case or other “order quantity” in reserve at all times.

I suspect using these two types of forecasts – PM’s and Break&Fix – will overall lower your total cost of ownership through less purchasing “effort” and through higher overall “uptime” on the equipment being maintained, and that “uptime” is probably the highest value driver to you.  Equipment that is down cannot bring you any value while it’s down.

This approach will keep Your System: Not Guilty as Charged.  Going down a ‘descriptive’ approach — unless your parts are inherently attribute based items (and in that case use JD Edwards Attribute Management or similar product) — will more likely make your system “guilty as charged” later on … that is, you’ll never get the result you’re seeking, and the system will carry the blame.


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Hard Coding a flexible structure can land you in a mess of Trouble

Posted by Joel Schipper on February 13, 2018

Recently I taught an introductory class on Oracle’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne General Ledger module.  I posed this quiz question to the class to bring out how the soft coding attributes around a chart of accounts can prevent the “hard coding” of organizational structure or other logic into the account — which are always very difficult to change later after an implementation has gone live.  Here’s the quiz question:

The Object account represents the “what” of a journal entry, such as cash, sales revenue, cost of goods, travel expense, etc. The next field, the subsidiary or sub-account, when used as intended by JD Edwards in best practice, represents:

A. A more detailed slice of the object account, such as air travel expense

B. A departmental characterization, such as sales department travel

C. An individual entity, such as sales to Customer ABC.

D. All of the above are best practices

The right answer is “A” because if the object account represents travel expense, then a good or “best practice” use of the subsidiary or sub-account is to break this down further, such as air travel expense, lodging travel expense, etc.

Answer “B” is not a best practice because in JD Edwards, the object/subsidiary part of the account entry is always prefixed with the business unit (aka cost center or department).  And the business unit itself has 50 user defined ‘category codes’ to soft code it’s meaning, such as “Sales Department” and “Northeast” — using two of those codes.  So if the region is redefined as “MidAtlantic”, then you simply change the value of the code, with no impact on the design of the chart of accounts.

Answer “C” is wrong is a similar manner because of the ability to ad-hoc append a very granular “sub-ledger” value — such as the address number of a customer or supplier or employee, or a work order number, or a machine asset ID — to the transaction.  Again, there is no reason to ‘hard code’ this type of meaning into the chart of accounts.

Yet, I saw a presentation from a webinar recently in which the object account was being hard coded to have specific meaning.   The 1st 2 digits of the object account were being used to identify a department/division and the next 2 digits (positions 3&4) were representing the type of amount (i.e. asset such as cash, liability such as AP, revenue such as parts sales, expense such as labor).  This is a hard coded approach that can only lead to lead to trouble later on if and when “things” change.

A better approach would be to let the department designation reside with the business unit.  And to have the more detailed information in positions 3 and 4 either be an object account, or a subdivision of the object account using the subsidiary account.

In any event, sticking to the proscribed soft coding capabilities of your system will increase your chances of  having “Your System:  Not Guilty as Charged.”


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Library Checkout Software: Guilty as Charged!

Posted by Joel Schipper on November 3, 2017

I don’t get to see that many “packaged” software offerings that are really “Guilty as Charged” … that is, the software really does a bad job of something.  And I don’t usually point out software names.  But I’m repeatedly frustrated at my local library by the check-out screen, from a 40-year old software outfit called Innovative Interfaces, and my suspicions were confirmed by the younger librarian at the desk.

There are two parts to the problem.

The first part is the user logon or sign-in.  Everyone knows that passwords emphasize the use of a mix of lower and upper case letters.  Yet this password entry screen has no upper case shift key on the screen … thus, even though you have a password with upper and lower case that works properly on the library’s web interface, the checkout kiosk ignores the upper case letters.  I fail to see the point of this.

The second part, though, is a more serious user interface problem, and has stumped me more than half the time I go to check out of a book.  Again, the web portion is great — I can search and reserve (‘hold”) a book easily on-line.  But when I go and physically get the book, and bring it to the check-out kiosk, I sign-in, and then lay the book on the scanner bed.  This part works great.  The problem is what to do next … one would expect to see a large and prominent button — probably lower right corner — that says “Continue” or “Finish” or “Press here if done checking out books”.  However, as they used to say on Saturday Night Live, “But, No!”  There isn’t any such button.  The only option remaining on the screen is in the upper right corner, and says “Sign out, Joel Schipper.”  Really?  Why would I want to sign-out before I feel like I’ve finished the book checkout function.  Every librarian I’ve encountered at my branch feels the same way.  Yesterday, the fellow said that Innovative Interfaces will not make this kind of change unless “all” the libraries who use the software demand the change.  Again, really?  Where is the desire to provide an outstanding user experience?  Someone at Innovative is way behind the curve here.

To be fair, the company is now under new (and private) ownership, with a new CEO.  A quick Google search brought up this article from the Library Journal’s website about how a new CEO (in 2013) was going to modernize the company and shake up it’s culture.  You can read it for yourself:  We’re waiting! 

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Could the world have minimized the ransomware attack on XP?

Posted by Joel Schipper on May 14, 2017

The malware ‘ransomware’ attack that hit the world on Friday, and may continue in a new form tomorrow (Monday May 15, 2017) is not preventable, but the damage might have been a lot less if those in charge of institutional computer networks did their jobs properly.

This malware, which was reportedly stolen from the U.S. National Security Administration, attacks a vulnerability in the no longer supported Microsoft XP operating system (O/S).  Even though Microsoft offers a patch for the vulnerability, Microsoft has little or no ability to promote that patch to continuing users of an unsupported O/S, and certainly not to the zillions of pirated copies of the XP O/S.

Thus, if you are CIO (Chief Information Officer) or other official in charge of institutional computers, what in the heck are you doing running the XP O/S, and most especially what are you thinking in not doing everything possible to protect it while moving at full speed to get off of it?

Here’s what the New York Times reported today (May 14, 2017) about the lack of proactive protection despite warnings in Britian’s National Health Service (N.H.S.):

Britain’s defense minister, Michael Fallon, told the BBC on Sunday that the government was spending about 50 million pounds, about $64 million, to improve cybersecurity at the National Health Service, where many computers still run the outdated Windows XP software, which Microsoft had stopped supporting.

A government regulator warned [my emphasis] the N.H.S. last July that updating antiquated hardware and software was “a matter of urgency,” and noted that one hospital had already had to pay £700,000, about $900,000, to repair a breach that began after an employee clicked on a web link in an unsafe email.

“The threat from cyber attacks has not only put patient information at risk of loss or compromise but also jeopardizes access to critical patient record systems by clinicians,” the regulator, the Care Quality Commission, wrote in its report.

There should be consequences to those in charge of these institutional computers.  This should have been a less destructive incident – especially since the attack did not go against the Windows 10 O/S which has been on the market for almost 2 years.  I think this should have been “Your System:  Not Guilty as Charged.”

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A successful ERP implementation depends upon a proper “Pre-Sales” cycle

Posted by Joel Schipper on February 18, 2017

Recently I read an article from a consulting firm that guides software selections and advises on implementations.  The article was about the top 5 reasons why executives are afraid to undertake ERP and/or Digital Transformation Projects.  Reason #1 was executive fear that the project will take too long and cost too much.  The article offered these two safeguards:

“Our annual ERP Report shows that most projects either take longer than expected and/or cost more than expected. This statistic is often what drives fear. However, implementing strong project controls and governance is one way to mitigate this risk. Another failsafe way to address this risk is to ensure that you have a comprehensive implementation project plan that includes many of the hidden costs of implementation that most ERP vendors and consultants fail to recognize.” (My emphasis added).

These are great techniques, and absolutely required for project success.  But a project with hidden (“built-in”) surprises and problems needs more than those two remedies.  The missing, key critical factor for success:  A proper “pre-sales” cycle.

I don’t mean a demo, particularly one oriented towards a huge checklist of features that all the top ERP systems will be able to handle; as I’ve written before (more than once), that kind of demo is a waste of everyone’s time and money.

A proper pre-sales cycle allows the time for sufficient “due diligence” in discovering, documenting, and examining the critical aspects of the target company’s business practices and policies, and why these practices are needed for the company’s success.  These functions are what needs to be examined in sufficient depth, compared across competing ERP vendors, and demonstrated for usability and true degree of fit.

Simply saying “we perform function XYZ in our business operations” and having a vendor say “yes, we have a feature that allows you to do function XYZ” may not be enough.  ERP sales rep’s are strongly urged to avoid getting into “implementation details” when trying to make a sale, on the grounds that these details will confuse the customer – and slow down the sales cycle.  The unfortunate phrase is “Don’t confuse implementation with sales.”

But it is during “sales” that a company has the chance to discover if what they will need during implementation is actually met by the software.  Overlooking or bypassing the detailed examination of a crtical functional fit during the sales cycle will mean an extension of time and money through a customization or enhancement during implementation – or perhaps a sub-optimal solution through “work arounds.”  Sales and implementations are indeed tied very tightly together.  In that old phrase, the “devil is in the details” … and that’s what executives are afraid of.

Insist on a full and proper pre-sales cycle.  Don’t take vendor or consultancy reassurances that everything is “covered” when you haven’t seen it yourself – at least to the extent that you are personally confident that your critical features exist and can be implemented.


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Going to be Guilty!

Posted by Joel Schipper on January 25, 2017

I had a conversation recently with someone who had a need for a software package to handle a series of transactions similar to those found in a law firm.   In fact, the operation he ran was aligned with a legal department that used just that software package, and it appeared to be a perfect “fit” for his needs as well.  He just needed to get his own license, installation, and training.  So he found some funding within the larger organization for his needs.

But, before he could execute his contract with the software provider, a Information Technology Director interfered with the process.  I purposely did not say an Information Services Director as you’ll see in a moment.  This IT Director was “pulling rank” as they say, and claiming to take the funding for his own department, which would “build” a suitable application, instead of purchasing the off-the-shelf, good fit software package.

To me, this seems a purpose case for a system headed straight for “Guilty as Charged.”  The amount of money was a small fraction of the logical cost for developing a system as robust as the desired package.  The path for custom (“bespoke”) software is clogged with failed system development projects of all sizes and shapes.  On top of that, the Director’s stated reason was that he had staff that needed to be kept busy.  Bad idea.

The correct service option for that IT Director would be to put on a customer service hat, and understand that the software package firm would indeed install the package, convert the data, and provide ‘training’ to the end users.  But an experienced and open minded Director would also know that packaged software vendors have a limited budget for training, and that end users typically need much more training to fully integrate a new software package into their policies and procedures, even when it’s providing all the needed functions.  The missing piece is a “business analyst” (or BA) that is “embedded” and “lives” in that line of business operation for a long enough time to accomplish that deep integration of the software package into the daily business operations and reporting.

So there are two critical functions needed for the success of the highly functional packaged software offering:

  1. Sufficient analyst time to understand and document the business requirements, learn the new package and work with the vendor’s trainings to envision and document how it will be used, and what training is needed; and then deliver and reinforce (and adjust) the training until the package is fully adopted and successfully integrated into daily use.  This will take far longer than any software vendor will be on site (or you can afford to hire them).
  2. Most packages today have extended feature for reporting and analytics that never get deployed because they are not used on “day one” and you don’t have the business analyst on staff to take on their learning and deployment after the initial go-live.  This is the second area where the BA is extremely useful.  The BA will work with the “super users” – those most adapt with the software – and with managers to understand how to best use the data being collected in the system as information to improve the business processes and results.

So, when you’re working with packaged software, and the “IT” department says they can “help” you, ask them to help you with #1 and #2 above.  It will transform the relationship into of service, and everyone will be far more satisfied with the result.

Comments?  Please send them in!

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Keeping Cloud SaaS offerings “not guilty”

Posted by Joel Schipper on January 25, 2017

I talked recently with an acquaintance who was working with a software start-up to provide some booking and hospitality software for his own business venture.  Overall, he was pretty happy with the software, and it’s low monthly cost.  But he wanted the software developer to add some features he needed.  And that’s where I want to discuss how to keep a Cloud SaaS (software as a service) application out of the ‘guilty’ zone.

First, let’s all acknowledge that Cloud SaaS offerings are not intended to be the same, end client specific application that a licensed, on-premise application provides.  That is, you can not expect to customize the application for your own needs.  Configure – yes.  Customize – no, because by definition, this is the same base software package that every other subscriber is using, especially so when you are running in a public, multi-tenant processing environment – that is, you’re sharing the ‘computer’ with other clients.  So it’s not practical to let each customer have their own customized version of the underlying code.

So, again by definition, your needs will match the needs of others in terms of what the software offers.  And, by definition, while this may be best of breed capabilities, it is not a unique competitive advantage for you.  It is a potential competitive advantage over those who don’t have software as good as this.  And your challenge is to skillfully utilize the existing features to best support your business model, perhaps exploiting their use in a way that others do not.

Now, if you “need” or want a new feature not already in this SaaS package, you’ll need to “ask” for it via whatever enhancement channels your vendor offers.   In a mature package,  there will be user groups, and other ways to place your request, and lobby others to support it.  At some critical mass of “ask”, the developer will add “your” feature, and everyone else will also get it.

In a start-up company, there will be many, many such requests, all pending at the same time.  And, in competition to the company’s own grand design for the product.  Yes, there are lots of software engineers at work.  But, they’re already busy with features already prioritized to get into the software ahead of your new request.  At this point, the software is “not guilty as charged” because it isn’t doing anything wrong or not doing something it was designed to do.

But you’re going to feel that it’s “guilty as charged” if your feature doesn’t get in there, and that feature is holding back some aspect of your business.  So get ready to make a case to someone higher up the chain than your software sales rep that this feature is important to “everyone” (or a large proportion of the clients) who use this SaaS application.  Make a real business case – what the feature is, why it’s needed not just by you but by most clients or all clients, the pain or penalty from not having it.  Especially focus on how it might be incorporated as a “configuration” offering or switch, so that those who do not want it can be excused from having to deal with it.  And, is there any more “business” that you, the SaaS application customer, could give to the software developer?  Perhaps a contract extension?  Perhaps purchase a related product or service?

My friend had software that handled bookings for an event that took place on the hour, but only when demanded (that is, booked).  And the software had a cut-off feature so that a “late” booking could be refused if made within a certain window of time.  While this was good, my friend had the desire to accept a “blue bird” booking – one that was unplanned and within the cut-off window – when it was profitable to do so, that is, when his facility was already in use before and after this open time slot.

One way to configure this enhancement, a way that would definitely make the system “not guilty”  would be for the software developer to add a configuration switch that allowed a booking to be made within the window, within a provisional status, with a fixed expiration time.  This is similar to booking a ticket to a theater event, where your seat selection or ticket request is valid for a short period, such as ten minutes, and you see a timer clock running on the screen.  So this less than cutoff lead time booking would be provisional while a message was triggered to my friend’s business to accept or reject the booking while the timer was running.  Since the short lead time booking is clearly an impulse purchase, the timer must be short, and my friend’s business must be alert and ready to respond.  Now the SaaS offering as a new feature that does not upset existing customers, yet may be very helpful to those customers who may have had the requirement, and worked around it.

Another, simpler configuration change, might be to trigger a message for each denied booking.  The message goes to the business, and includes a way to contact back the would-be booker. A mostly manual work-around would be to change the error message in the booking denial to include a phone number to call to manually request a less than lead time booking.

I welcome your comments!



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Talk about complexity in the Cloud !

Posted by Joel Schipper on January 25, 2017

The Wall Street Journal’s “CIO Journal” today has an article on why Cisco is buying AppDynamics just before it went public.  The bottom line is that the hybrid Cloud – the predominant model today – makes it harder to manage the overall efficiency of having applications in multiple clouds, and harder to fix problems when they arise.  Here’s the link, and some more thoughts below that.

I’ve said for a long time that if you are based around a packaged enterprise software offering, such as an ERP system like JD Edwards, Oracle E-business Suite, or SAP, then your system problems are much more likely to be something of your own doing, that is “your system” is not likely to be the guilty party in and of itself.

I’ve also said a number of times that custom (or “bespoke”) software is likely to be the reverse, simply because of the complexity of developing one-off software, and the disconnect that so often occurs between vision, requirements, design, and final delivery, and the errors introduced all along the way.  Back in the 1980’s I spoke at software testing conferences about the need to find errors early in the design process, not in the final software.

And now, today, with the easy availability of so many applications “in the Cloud”, with platforms as a service, with data bases as a service, with infrastructures as a service, an organization can be running on “stacks” of offerings from many parties.  Those applications may need to talk to each other.  The underlying data centers (in the cloud) may be diverse.  In short, the point of the article is you need a way to track all of that.

As a suggestion, consider focusing on a single “stack” – for example, get all of your Cloud from a single source – whether that be Oracle, Microsoft/Azure,, or another provider.  Consider building a “sandwich” where

  1. The bottom layer is the Cloud platforms and services from one stack, such as Oracle infrastructure as a service, with an Oracle partner doing managed services, and using Oracle platforms as a service for application integrations, mobility, internet of things connection, etc.
  2. The middle layer, or “meat”, is your core ERP application, such as JD Edwards and any related mission critical applications, such as a chargeback-rebate program, or a crop inspection program, etc.
  3. The top sandwich layer are the Cloud based Software as a Service (SaaS) applications that you want in order to augment your ERP, such as HCM, CRM, Hospitality, eCommerce, supply chain planning, etc.

By focusing on a single provider “stack” you will at least have some sense that the applications are working on the same integration platform, and that the lower layer – infrastructure and platform and perhaps data base services – will work well, or at least better, with the upper layer SaaS applications and your core (licensed) applications running in a managed services Cloud facility which your in-house staff and your contracted managed services team understands well, and knows how to fine tune for optimum performance.

Got a different view?  Please comment!

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The Internet of Things (IOT) aids in Vendor Management Inventory (VMI) of Maintenance Supplies

Posted by Joel Schipper on August 23, 2016

Maintenance supply inventories are often kept in a parts crib, which is a separate stockroom that only handles these items. Some parts cribs are unattended. In that case, how can the maintenance team (also known as the capital asset management group) know that all consumption of parts is recorded, and that the correct levels of inventory will always be on hand. The answer lies in part with vendor managed inventories (“VMI”) and in part with the Internet of Things (IOT).

To avoid having maintenance workers simply take parts, many small parts are stored in vending machines, similar to soft drink vending machines or the “traveler’s needs” vending machines seen in airports. A worker comes up to a machine, selects the part they need, such as saw blade, and uses a keypad to enter the number of the maintenance work order to which the issued quantity will be charged. The machine then dispenses the part, and records the issue. This satisfies the Accounting department, and also is a first step in automating the replenishment process.

Of course, a key consideration is that there should never be a “stock out” when a worker needs a part; that’s where vendor managed inventory comes into play. In the simplest scenario, the parts supplier (vendor) sends someone regularly to check on the machines and physically resupply all parts up to the maximum (or agreed upon level) that should be in the machine. These parts are “consigned” to the machine, and therefore to the customer who is operating the parts crib. Only when the parts are issued, and charged to a work order, will the customer pay the vendor for the parts used.

In a planned preventative maintenance situation, the needed part will likely be on a parts list attached to the work order. In a break-and-fix situation, the needed part will not be on the parts list ahead of time, but still needs to be issued and charged to the work order. If the worker is somehow trying to get the part without a work order being generated, there still needs to be a mechanism, such as departmental “charge card” or standing work order that can be used to record the issue.

Since we know that part of the cost of a part reflects the paperwork costs required to buy and pay for and replenish the inventory in a VMI situation, we want to do everything possible to reduce this paperwork, and thus the “friction” in the transaction. The less effort that is not value-added, the lower the potential purchase price of the part after negotiation.

The first step in reducing this paperwork is to have the vending machine “write” an issue transaction to the maintenance or ERP system using common interface protocols. In the case of one ERP system (Oracle’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne), a flag on the item master is set to indicate that a part can be issued, and immediately, automatically “received” against an open purchase order. This is a simultaneous issue-and-receive situation that lowers processing time and cost by the consuming organization. Since that purchase order is likely set to be for a year’s time period, it also lowers the cost for the vendor.

Finally, a function available in some ERP systems called “evaluated receipts” is run nightly that processes these issue-and-receive transactions into outstanding Accounts Payable transactions that are approved and ready to pay. Using wire transfer payment methods, these automatically approved transactions are paid without further intervention. So there’s a reduction of handling on the part of the consuming organization, and less handling, as well as automatic payment, to the vendor.

The result: less effort for everyone involved, and a chance to negotiate a lower win-win cost on the part. I would suggest that 1% is a reasonable cost reduction based upon my own experience that even performing periodic requests for quotation can result in 2-3% cost reductions.

Taking this one step further, the supplying vendor has a notification that a part has been consumed. If they can track the “paper inventory” left in the vending machine, they can become more accurate in resupplying the vending machines, with less on-site people effort. To the consuming maintenance organization, this improves the chance of eliminating a stock-out, and also is a one-time cash flow improvement since the replenishment purchases are made one unit at a time rather than in a larger reorder-point driven replenishment order. I would suggest this could result in a one-time 30 day cash flow savings.

And the lower chance of a stock-out can mean valuable additional days of “up-time” and production, and perhaps improved safety, for the consuming organization.

And … There’s the intangible benefit of this being “easy” for everyone involved. It does involve a true trust relationship between supplier and consumer that takes time and care to develop.

How does the Internet of Things come into play here? Think about if you’ve been in a parking garage that has a red or green light showing over each parking space. That’s driven by a simple laser beam that detects whether a car is in or not in that space. A similar laser beam can be installed in each slot of the vending machine at the point where the remaining quantity of parts triggers a reorder signal to the vendor. So when the quantity of parts remaining in a particular slot of the vending machine is small enough to allow that slot’s laser beam to shine through to it’s receptor, the machine can transmit a signal to a collector or “orchestrator” that translates that signal into a reorder request for that part from the supplier.

The supplier can receive these signals and dispatch a predetermined reorder or refill quantity to the consuming location. Perhaps the consuming organization will be allowed to perform the refill, even further lowering the need for the supplier to send personnel on-site, and reduce the visits of those personnel to predetermined “cycle count” visits to ensure that the machines and the refills are working properly.

This is very similar to a “kanban” system whereby a predetermined low quantity kicks off a request to a vendor to deliver a predetermined amount of replenishment inventory.

In the case the supplier has software that performs “outbound inventory management” (as would be the case with Oracle’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne ERP), then each consignment shipment of inventory is recorded as being held by a particular supplier, and even a slot in a vending machine. And each notice of consumption reduces that inventory. And when the predetermined reorder point level of inventory is reached, the software initiates a replenishment shipment — even without an IOT transaction.

Another variation on this system is where the vending machines are unlocked, but the entire parts crib requires a secure entry and exit. In that case, each part has an RFID tag, and the worker cannot exit the secure area without entering a work order number that will be automatically related to the RFID of the part or parts attempting an exit with the worker. This further reduces the effort involved, and the consuming organization can perform all the parts bin refills when the replenishment quantities show up on their dock.

In short, this is a good example of how a system can do more than you thought it could, and if you’ve been complaining about your system, it’s another chance to say your system is “Not Guilty As Charged.”

Note: A presentation on this topic was made recently at the Quest Direct INFOCUS 2016 conference in Denver by myself and Scott Hollowell, CEO and Director of Services of Asset Management Systems, LLC ( We hope to reprise this talk at Quest’s Collaborate 2017 conference in Las Vegas in April of 2017.  The presentation is here

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Data Analytics and Kiran Garimella

Posted by Joel Schipper on June 11, 2016

I am an Advisor to the Board of NVIEM, where Kiran Garimella invented the neural-visual engine that powers, a nifty new way to digitally curate useful information, both for public and for private consumption.  Examples include additional digital channels to your website and your blogs; private curation of ‘tribal knowledge’ around sales and marketing assets; and in a private instance branded as “Consultant Advantage” you can map out business process flows (instead of using Visio) to document the “WHY” of implementation configuration and enhancement decisions – this can be very powerful as time goes by and “everyone forgets” just “why” a business processing option was selected, or “why” a user defined master data element (such as a reporting code) was chosen to have a specific purpose, e.g., a geographic meaning, or the obscure coding useful in a commissions or analytics report.

Kiran’s presentation – available by clicking the heading of the following node in iKnowCentral – was recently ranked in the Top 50 resources for getting the most out of your data analytics.

So, please follow this link for two reasons:
1 – to get a glimpse into iKnowCentral (and write me to find out more…)
2 – to get a valuable presentation (free) by Kiran that will help keep your analytic systems “Not Guilty As Charged”.
Have fun!  Joel

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