Friday, March 28, 2014

Are Some TMS Solutions Too Difficult & Too Costly To Work With? - Some Final Thoughts From The 2014 Atlanta Supply Chain and Transportation Expo

While attending the Supply Chain and Transportation MODEX show in Atlanta, GA a week ago, we had several senior supply chain professionals come to our booth asking to view our transportation management software, FreightMaster TMS in action.

During our exchange, what we found curious, is that many of these folks already had sophisticated enterprise ERP software in place! So the natural question we asked was "Why Aren't You Using The TMS You Already Have and Paid For?"  (see recently published study on this issue)

They included statements such as:

1) Too difficult to understand, we don't have PhDs
2) IT department wanted it, but our users don't like it and just put up with it
3) Looks like Excel or Access on Steroids, all rows and columns
4) Too many "clicks" to book a load
5) Costs too much too keep updated
6) It doesn't do what we were told it would
7) We are disappointed in the results
8) A year later, little or no ROI
9) I can't get basic enhancements in time, I need them now
10) We don't want to wait for the next release to get basic functionality

Making complex transportation software user friendly is difficult not easy, it takes time, it takes domain knowledge and continues to be a primary issue for even large "Magic Quadrant" companies.

Most software developers do not have specific domain expertise in every single discipline and therefore, are not aware of best practices. Consequently, in transportation software, we have found that corporate and independent developers have taken a "Tell Me What You Want and I'll Program It For You But We Have To Develop It Quick and Easy For IT" approach. (see recently published on IT and supply chain misalignment) 

Unfortunately, this approach is shortsighted because it will likely ignore several aspects of transportation management requirements beyond the current company's sphere of knowledge, current industry best practices, local and global regulatory requirements to name a few.

The Complexity of the Supply Chain Process

Thursday, March 27, 2014

66% of 2013 ERP Implementations Are Only Receiving 50% or Less Promised Benefits !

In a recent survey of ERP implementations conducted by the Panorama Consulting Group, it was discovered that over 66% of those ERP implementations say that they are receiving 50% or less of the promised benefits. Additionally, the study revealed that it did not matter who the ERP vendor was, Oracle, SAP or Microsoft Dynamics. This revelation should come of no surprise to seasoned ERP professionals.

Many times the companies hire as a "General Software Contractor" the very same value added reseller who marketed and sold them the ERP solution. As companies and users become more sophisticated in their requirements, it has become unreasonable, not to mention expensive, for any one single entity to successfully implement all the various modules that exist in advanced ERP software let alone begin "enhancements" into areas that they have no deep domain expertise in. As a result, you have over commitment, under performance and customer dissatisfaction.

To be certain, the customers themselves are to be held accountable for some of their own disappointment. All too often we have seen that new software implementations are used as a club to facilitate "process re-engineering" in companies without fully understanding the organizational impact. Furthermore, user departments and communities have become subservient to misguided IT policies direction at the expense of the organization.

As it becomes increasingly difficult and expensive to implement "enterprise" ERP software, companies need to focus on removing "silos" in their decision process and making Benefits Realization an essential part of the overall initial implementation process and not as an after thought to be completed in Phase 3 or 4 ....


The Complexity of Supply Chain Management