Project Management is a Changin’


We are seeing a trend in IT project management methodologies : the need for projects to be smaller and faster. Gone are the days of the multi-year, beaucoup dollars, cast of hundreds kind of  project. Rather than planning a huge project from start to finish before  holding the “kickoff meeting,” CIOs need to fly with shorter projects which keep the customer on top. There is a need to learn to manage unknowns until they are known. There is also a need for speed in project management methodologies. CIOs must adapt their IT project management methodologies while still limiting risks and taking care of business problems.

Project management is still a methodical approach to planning and guiding project processes from start to finish. What’s different now is that the five stages of IT project management methodologies (as defined by the Project Management Institute) — initiation, planning, executing, controlling and closing — need to be applied to smaller projects. These projects have to make a quick difference for the business, because speed is now a  competitive weapon for the company. So, CIOs are adapting agile methodologies for projects companywide and considering cloud-based project collaboration tools.


The Relationship Between ERP, CRM and SCM

We have recently lookeImaged at various Supply Chain models including “Lean” Supply Chain and virtual manufacturing. There are others too; for instance, distributors who purchase everything they sell. We have looked at what kind of software constitutes a Supply Chainsystem.

Some of our conclusions to date are:

  1. Very few Supply Chain models are identical.
  2. Yes, a company MIGHT be able to purchase a single system to cover the entire Supply Chain. Some ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning software) vendors furnish enough modules to do everything, but a lot of companies need extensive modifications to complete their mission.
  3. A lot of companies use their ERP as the “engine” to power their other applications like CRM (Customer Relationship Management software).
  4. Sharing data with partners has become a necessity to remain competitive. EDI is the enabler to wrap in supply partners, customer, logistics partners, etc.
  5. Many of the existing ERPs are not suited for all Supply Chain models (example: virtual manufacturers).

Big Player in EDI Industry Visits Nice, France and talks to Penney


Recently we had the opportunity to talk with one of the “near great” visitors to Nice: Todd Gould, President of Loren Data. His company is the leading Electronic Commerce Communications Provider (ECCP) firm in the EDI industry. An ECCP is a neat way of handling all your EDI communications in a centralized and efficient manner. An ECCP replaces a VAN for you; but if your trading partner utilizes a VAN, an ECCP still interfaces with your partner through his VAN. An ECCP is far less labor-intensive for you than either AS2 or MFT (Managed File Transfer).

We met at a beach-front cafe right next to his hotel, the famous “Palais Méditerranée”. While Jen, his wife, went off to explore the “Monday Market” at Cours Saleya in the Vieux Nice, Todd kicked off our discussion with the statement: “Interconnects are what make a network a VAN”. We thought about it for a couple of seconds and quickly agreed with him. He is so very correct. If a network cannot (or will not) interconnect with all the trading partners, then it surely has no value added.

Companies (GXS specifically) are sabotaging the VAN Network by refusing to interconnect with other networks. Is this company trying to “corner” the VAN market or kill the VAN and replace with their own proprietary network? They already “ate up” (politely: mergers) some of their competitors. Bet they want to end up as the only way for a company to reach ALL their trading partners.

But Todd’s little company is going after them in the US Federal Court system. Sounds like they are really scared of him too.

The truth of the matter is that the growth of EDI is “sort of flat”. The big companies already have their trading partners ramped in, and the smaller companies do not have the “clout” to do the same with their even smaller partners.

We understand that a leading Supply Chain/Electronic Commerce online magazine will be addressing a new approach to increasing the number of new EDI implementations: “Hubs and Spokes, Spokes and Hubs”.

Much of the EDI community sticks with a VAN because it is an outsourced operation and because many of us hold to the old saying: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Are CIO’s a Dying Breed?


We have previously covered a lot about the Chief Information Officer (CIO): The CIO‘s qualifications, the CIO‘s relationship to the supply chain, and the CIO‘s relationship to EDI. But the biggie is now how the Cloud will impact the CIO. Does the CIO go away or does the CIOget stronger?

Do you really need a CIO? According to a report from Getronics cited on, 17 percent of corporate financial leaders believe the chief information officer position will disappear by 2017.

It is all because of the Cloud changing how companies handle technology.

CIO‘s who do not value the Cloud in today’s current IT environment are putting an expiration date on their usefulness in the enterprise,” the article says. “The role of the CIO is not disappearing into the Cloud; instead, it is becoming more strategic because of it.”

C-Level For Supply Chain Management?


C-level is used to describe high-ranking executive titles within an organization. C, in this context, stands for Chief.  We have a CIO (Chief Information Officer), a CTO (Chief Technology Officer), a CMO (Chief Marketing Officer), a CFO (Chief Financial Officer),  a CCO (Chief Compliance Officer), a CFO (Chief Knowledge Officer), a CSO (Chief Security Officer) , a COO (Chief Operating Officer) and, of course, a CEO. What is the head of Supply Chain Management going to be called? More importantly, is SCM a “C-Level” or is SCM a “corporate utility”?

The “Chief Supply Chain Officer” (CSCO) needs to be involved in developing the business strategy rather than just somebody else’s strategy.

Putting Your Supply Chain In The Cloud


If your business is up and running, you probably already have an IT infrastructure, and want to continuously improve that infrastructure. The Cloud could be your answer. Now that the Cloudis here, mainstream IT is figuring out how to best make use of it.

What does the Cloud do for Supply Chain management?  Supply Chain is, by nature, inter-company, so you already the Internet to manage your partnerships. Supply Chain Management must look at the Cloud for communication between businesses. Most business software is only designed to work within single companies, not between companies. Here is my list of things to think about when starting to move your supply chain to the cloud:

Lance Armstrong in IRONMAN at Nice, France


On June 24, 2012 Lance Armstrong is scheduled to take part in his first ever full distance Ironman in Nice France.

This is without a doubt one of the most anticipated events in the long and storied history of the Ironman triathlon.

It`s not so much about how Armstrong almost won his very first race as a pro in Ironman 70.3 Panama, how he struggled to balance nutrition, bike speed and run endurance in Ironman70.3 Texas and Ironman 70.3 St. Croix, or how he put it all together to dominate in Ironman 70.3 Florida and most recently in a record-setting performance in Ironman 70.3 Hawaii on June 3, 2012.

It`s not even so much about how he won the Tour de France seven times before descending into the world of Ironman with all the subtlety of a rampaging herd of Texas Longhorn steers.

What it is truly about is the courage and tenacity that he displays on the playing field of life that was instrumental in his successful battle against cancer when it seemed that all was lost.

See more about Nice, France

2012 US Golf Open

The USGA hosts the 112th edition of the U.S. Open on the Lake Course at Olympic Club in San Francisco, and it’s the fifth time that the historic venue has hosted the national championship.From Jack Fleck‘s improbable upset over Ben Hogan in a playoff in 1955 to Lee Janzen‘s come-from-behind victory, thwarting Payne Stewart (for the second time in six years) in 1998, Olympic Club hasn’t just identified the best golfer, it’s leveled the playing field. Figuratively, and literally.

Olympic Club is a par 70 that can stretch to 7,170 yards. Its greens average only 4,400 square feet. Eight holes will feature new angles off the tees, and seven greens are accompanied by closely mown chipping areas.

Adding to the challenge is the largely universal notion that the first six holes at the Lake Course “offers the hardest start in golf,” according to USGA Executive Director and setup guru, Mike Davis. And that opening doesn’t even include the longest hole in U.S. Open history, a 670-yard behemoth of a par 5 at No. 16.

The weather forecast is extremely favorable. There is a zero chance for rain, and temperatures will top out in the high 60s to low 70s. However, early-morning marine layers can never be ruled out as a threat for delays. Prevailing winds from the west and northwest are expected to serve the primary challenge at a sustained 15 mph.

Could be Luke Donald, Lee Westwood or maybe Tiger Woods? But how about Phil Mickelson or Jason Duffner?

Don’t forget Rory McIlroy or Ricky Fowler

A dark horse, but not that dark, is Graeme McDowellImage

See more about the US Open

Considering SCM Software


Just what is software for Supply Chain Management? To answer that, first let’s see what makes up SCM. Supply Chain Management (SCM) is the combination of art and science that goes into improving the way your company finds the raw components it needs to make a product or service and deliver it to customers.

SCM consists of: (1) Planning – company strategy and metrics; (2) Source – suppliers of goods and services; (3) Make – the manufacturing step; (4) Deliver – logistics; and (5) Return – customer support plus excess/defective products.

Read more:

Drop-Ship – The Ultimate


Imagine the bicycle delivery person in the picture pedaling through a “pedestrian zone”. His first stop is a small T-Shirt store. He brings their package inside and gets a signature on his hand-held device. Next, he delivers a smaller package to a teenager in a nearby apartment. Again he gets a signature. You have just seen the tail end of a World-wide “drop ship” scenario that is highly dependent upon COLLABORATION.

Let’s walk back up the supply chain and see what we find. Our first observation is that all the  interfaces are electronic. It goes from BECYCLE, the company making the actual delivery;  through DHL Logistics, to a virtual manufacturer, then on to his manufacturing partners, 3pl logistics providers and suppliers. Even the teenager ordered his shirt from the manufacturer’s  on-line store and the T-Shirt store ordered from the same company’s B2B WebSite.