Monthly Archives: May 2016

How to avoid system migration nightmares in your supply chain optimization

Supply chain optimization


Have you ever had to consolidate various software systems from different providers? What a mess, right? 

When a business is growing, chances are application systems will become obsolete.  Technology may also become obsolete; however, some systems will remain in use for years after they should have been replaced.  This is a downfall to growing and evolving.  Whether you are a 3PL who grew from the ground up, or merged with other 3PLs, or a retailer with multiple supply chains, such as DC, DSD and Drop Ship, at one point or another, you will need to take a look at your systems and re-evaluate.

We all agree that procurement, inventory management, flow management, transportation scheduling and sales forecasting are concerned with Supply Chain Optimization.  It is certainly a top priority in our industry.  It can make or break a retailer (think about Target Canada!).

Technology has allowed companies to optimize their supply chain solutions with Business Intelligence and Dashboards that can help render the decision making process faster and more precise, as well as significantly improve customer experience.

Most software vendors offer Supply Chain Optimization as a packaged solution, integrated in ERP software, but what happens when you merge companies, all of which have different application systems dealing with different software?

I once met with a large 3PL in Toronto; a good customer of ours whose company is the result of a merger between multiple companies.  Their CFO presented a flowchart that illustrated the complexities of his actual business systems, ranging from Sage Accounting packages (supplier, Maintenance Company, etc.) to Warehouse Management Systems, to EDI software, to communication between their different servers.  None of these systems were communicating, and to top it all off, none of the suppliers within these systems would talk to each other.   It was more of a “That’s the other guy’s responsibility” scenario.  Some of the application system suppliers’ were even closed and some systems had become obsolete!

He drew little boxes on a piece of paper, and wrote each company name in the boxes. He then looked at us and said: “I need someone who will get out of his box and talk with the other guys, in the other boxes”.   I felt his pain.

Providing that collaborative leadership with other resources can make a huge difference in terms of deadlines, as well as the success of any Supply Chain Optimization project; the collaboration that will yield the best results is that between the players and the Change Management Team.

We are a small player in the equation when it comes time to optimize, merge and re-architect supply chain processes, so partnering with the right players who have this customer focused value is extremely important to us.  We found several very valuable partners that allow us to offer the optimal collaboration to our customers.  We discuss the projects, evaluate the best architecture and determine the solution that will yield the best result for our customers.

Companies such as BSI (Business System Integrators LLC), Sologlobe and Bond Consulting Services all work with us to offer the best possible service in the industry.

In other words, seek out companies who have a Network of customer-focused providers that will complement each other’s value proposition, and offer you the advice, execution and support you need to accomplish your Supply Chain Optimization project as seamlessly as possible, while avoiding all the nightmares associated with spaghetti mapping and incomprehensible system architecture!


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Sophie Barbara Desilets

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