All posts by Lori Aleman

Could ERP Efficiencies Be Hiding In Plain Sight?

Many organizations implementing ERP drive hard to go-live, but once the system is up and running they fail to optimize for the changing business environment. Where they could utilize efficiencies within the system, they are ultimately leaving money on the table.

Some common hidden efficiencies that are missed include:

  • Automated bank transactions warehouse
  • Automated inter-company sales
  • Budget checking on PO’s (tightly controlled encumbrance process for grant tracking)
  • Landed cost linked to inventory through manufacturing to get true costing
  • Automated cash receipts / lockbox processing

In addition to the above, consider if your organization is making the most of the functionality available in the modules you own. For example, in the Purchasing module, are Approvals being utilized fully and successfully? Are Purchase Requisitions and/or Purchase Quotes used most efficiently?

In an earlier email message 8 Differences Between a Common ERP Approach and an Optimized One we discussed the example of a user interface that hadn’t changed since the initial implementation. As a result, it looked “old school” and didn’t offer the experience users were used to with other systems. By simply implementing other available versions of screens for ease-of-use, they could have easily changed processing options or data selections making data entry faster and easier, thereby increasing productivity.

By uncovering efficiencies already available in your ERP system your organization could be just steps away from realizing company-wide benefits that optimization brings and avoid leaving money on the table.

MSS can help uncover and implement new hidden efficiencies by:

  • Meeting with your JDE end users to identify usage and/or training gaps
  • Assessing your JDE environment with a focus on improving efficiencies via setup/ technology/reporting
  • Providing JDE documentation comparing your current system to the latest releases of the application


Why Change Management Isn’t Enough for Digital Transformation

There is no doubt that digital transformation (DX) has become and will continue to be a primary driver of change in organizations for the foreseeable future, and that it requires executives to think about change differently. DX is not about introducing a single change. Rather, it is about catalyzing continuous, potentially disruptive change that cascades throughout the organization. True DX effects business processes and mission critical operations changing the way a company functions and thinks. It stretches across business units, departments, and functions. It comes with large capital outlays, and it represents high risk for the organization and the leadership.

To say that most DX efforts fail to meet their objectives is almost cliché, but unfortunately, it is cliché for a reason. The most recent research shows that only 12 to 25 percent of DX efforts approach the expected level of return on investment, and these statistics do not even take into account the delayed realization from poorly executed strategies. From a return on investment perspective, DX continues to be a high-risk proposition.

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Mature Innovation

My family can tell you that I consider myself one of the great armchair innovators. Among the many things I believe I invented before they were actually invented is the Keurig coffee dispenser, Netflix (streaming AND original content), and the Amazing Race. The problem I always told myself was that I never had access to the resources required to put my ideas into the market. So when I secured a position managing innovation at a global mega-company, I was excited. Here, I would finally have the opportunity to launch my great ideas, become massively famous, and change the world. Boy, did I have a lot to learn.

What soon became clear was that managing innovation for a mega-organization is not about creating great ideas. Of course we had our chance to develop some ideas, but mostly our role was to capture the ideas of leadership, cut through the noise, politics, and disruptions, and push them forward.

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5 Things I Wish My COO Knew About Our Supply Chain

Operating in a Global Economy is not for the weak.  Organizations need to be fit.  Fit for the sprints.  Fit for the marathons.  Fit for the heavy lifting that comes with a perfectly primed pipeline of raw materials from strategic sources, WIP between plants and finished goods ready for customer demand.

If the next natural disaster, port closure and UPS strike all happen next week and you are ready, then read no further, you are a Supply Chain Rock Star.  But…even without any of these disruptions, the complexity of today’s supply chain is evident and challenging in every transaction from purchasing, inventory management, planning, production all the way through logistics and transportation.

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Complacency is the spike strip of the business world

We’ve all watched the docudramas and YouTube videos – The suspect is speeding away believing he can out-run or out-smart the police, the officers in chase call for the deployment of the spike strips, and soon the tires are flat and forward motion has stopped or greatly degraded. How is the spike strip relevant to the business world?

As spike strips are to tires, complacency it to an organization: it deflates innovation, stifles creativity and impedes or stops the organization’s forward movement, what we call Transformation. This can occur at all levels in the organization or, in its most damaging form, it can afflict the organization as a whole. We’ve seen the impact of organization-wide complacency: Motorola’s comfort level with analog and refusal to embrace digital; Nokia snubbing the touch screen on mobile devices; Circuit City, Sears, K-Mart, the list goes on and on. These corporations were once leaders in their industries!

Keep reading…

The next wave of disruption in data and predictive analytics

Lu Hao, PhD and MSS Data Scientist share that just like the rise of Uber disrupting the traditional taxi business by completely changing people’s commute behavior – disruptive innovations are also happening in the data and predictive analytics realm today. “Disruptive Innovation” is defined as technologies that emerge to challenge established incumbent businesses, i.e., the traditional way of people doing things. It is not a marginal improvement to make things a little better, but a fundamental change that make the old things obsolete.

Link to full article

5 Things I Wish My COO Knew (and told me!) About Our Supply Chain

Eileen Madden Mitchell, Management Consultant for MSS Business Transformation Advisory and Supply Chain expert, talks about what she believes every COO needs to know about effective Supply Chain Management. Mitchell states that in a global economy, organizations need to be fit for the heavy lifting that comes with a perfectly primed pipeline of raw materials from strategic sources, WIP between plants and finished goods ready for customer demand. Mitchell speaks about the ever-changing economy and some of the disruptors and how to be prepared with her best practices. They are the basis of creating a sustainable supply chain, an adaptive business model, and corporate phenomenon. Click here to read more.

Why Your IT Strategy Isn’t Working

Strategic planning enables an organization to determine how its vision and objectives will be met through its resources and capabilities.  Ultimately, the goal of strategic planning and road mapping is to determine how the business will win, what capabilities are needed and how the leadership will prioritize initiatives.

Look for these 3 warning signs that your IT strategy is all wrong:

  1. You are not seeing your IT strategy as a competitive advantage.
  2. You don’t understand the impact emerging technologies have on your immediate future.
  3. Your leadership does not have the skills necessary to take on the digital future.

Click thru to read the full article: 3 Warning Signs Your IT Strategy is All Wrong

9 Truths for Achieving Change through JDE ERP Implementation

Post ERP implementation blues are problematic for a number of reasons not the least of which is the decline of the collaborative and empowered culture that the implementation tends to create. A common cause for JDE ERP sub-optimization is that most companies do not plan sufficiently to sustain the culture required to achieve the full benefits if the system. While leaders often consider the need for ongoing technology development and maintenance, it is just as important that they plan for cultural sustainability.

Generally, leaders will make a false assumption that an ERP implementation will be plug-and- play, that performance will come naturally, and that the culture will adapt as a result of the technology. But the research is clear. Having a great company culture is no longer optional for companies who want to compete.

“If you ask a group of CIOs what their biggest barrier to change is in their organization or indeed the wider enterprise, the most common response is almost always culture or some variant thereof. In the 2018 CIO Survey, 46% of respondents named culture as the biggest barrier to scaling digital transformation. This answer isn’t surprising. But it’s also not very useful, since culture is amorphous — hard to pin down, hard to change.”
– Gartner, The Art of Culture Hacking

ERP is the backbone of an organization’s operational structure, and exists to improve information flow, reduce costs, optimize processes, link with suppliers, and reduce response times. But, to accomplish all of this, it is must also help break down silos, enable transparency, and ensure better cooperation. In other words, the ultimate result of a successful JDE ERP is empowered employees and a collaborative culture. ERP implementation is just part of the complex journey. Organizations often underestimate just how much cultural heavy lifting is required to make sure the business benefits are realized post-implementation.

The good news is that a JDE ERP refresh presents a perfect opportunity to enact real cultural transformation as well. To renew and sustain the value and achieve the benefits of your JDE ERP, we adhere to 9 tenants of ERP cultural transformation:

  1. Develop a shared vision of the desired outcomes across all units.
  2. Hinge all decisions, roadmaps, and plans on achieving the business outcomes and realizing the business strategy.
  3. Make breaking down functional silos a primary goal for the program.
  4. Make development and sustainability of the culture part of the ERP strategy from the beginning.
  5. Take a top-down, holistic approach to designing and improving business processes through the system.
  6. Appoint a business lead as the executive sponsor and treat the implementation as a long-term business transformation initiative.
  7. Create a cross functional program sponsorship structure with the task of driving organizational change.
  8. Implement a robust, structured change management process that focuses on individual change at all levels.
  9. Facilitate candid, open discussions and clarity regarding cross organizational dependencies.

Download a PDF of 9 Tenets for Achieving Change through JDE ERP Implementation


At MSS, we work with our customers to develop a transformation plan for their JDE ERP implementation. The plan will include a shared vision, a leadership roadmap and a sponsorship coalition, a cultural implementation plan, a cross functional change strategy, and a robust sustainability plan. All of these tenets ensure a result that is more than the sum of its parts, delivering high value for your transformation.


Cybersecurity and the IoT

Darryn Jones, Director of Business Development of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council and IoT expert, discusses the impact of cybercrime with IoT devices and security measures to prevent getting hacked such as adjusting default passwords. Jones uses advice from the Federal Trade Commission in securing IoT devices and the forecasted prevalence of attacks in 2018. Jones discusses the most basic requirements that CIOs should consider before setting up security settings to prevent breaches. In a world that is advancing towards more technology and innovation, connectivity is valued at a premium, while cybersecurity is often the after-thought. Considering cybersecurity in the setup of all of your devices is a good consideration. Click here to read more.