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Supply Chain Bootcamp…Notes From the Road!

by Marcy Rizzo

June 17, 2010

By Marcy Rizzo

Oakbrook Illinois is the home of the Supply Chain Bootcamp, where Day 2 has launched with a few questions from the podium that leave nearly all of our 95 attendee’s cringing (and nodding);  “Are you using safety stock as your reorder point?” followed by “If you are, don’t…” “Are you running Z programs when SAP standard functionality can serve you?” “Are you running your supply chain from Excel spreadsheets?”

People are attending for many different reasons but there is a common ground. Before I address that further, it is first important to define who the supply chain includes. Anyone dealing with demand and / or supply related data; whether it be purchasing / procurement, planning, production, logistics (warehouse and transportation), and inventory management.

That common ground; frustration - the knowing that their supply chain can work better, more effectively with less waste…if only! They have come to the Bootcamp to gain skills that most people don’t even know they need, much less have the solutions for (at their fingertips). But something about the b rochure resonated with attendee’s as they sought approval to attend.

Sarah Lowery, Supply Chain, C&O Inventory Management from Pepsico is looking to get away from customization and use more standard SAP functionality but has not been able to find the proper instruction.

Chuck Laub, Business Process Engineer Specialist and Dan Spoone, Manager, Business Process Engineering from Seimens Energy division are here to gain tactical strategies that help “the business” accept and understand the need for change.   

Patrick Hopkins, Manager - Material Master Data from Coca-Cola Bottling Company is the Manager for Material Master Data – he is responsible for ensuring master data, including info records and contracts help to streamline procurement and minimize operating costs.

Ken Heslin, Corp Master Scheduling Manager
is attending from Sun Systems with 3 of his consultants who are helping Sun to implement SAP – a project underway for the past 6 months with 10 more to go and 65 people working on it. He is looking to establish a solid foundation for deployment. 

Sue Hudson, Purchasing Director and Pennie White-Fields, SAP Team Lead from Firestone are here to gain strategies for enhancing communications and processes between the business and IT – within the system instead of outside of it.

Overall the impression that strikes me again and again, in talking with attendee’s to the Bootcamp, is their wish to work more effectively, in an integrated fashion, where the gains are shared. No one is looking for a quick fix or to be the lone salvation. These supply chain stakeholders understand that any improvement that sticks is part of an intentional process, and they have taken on a leadership role in educating folks back home as to how the information from the Bootcamp can help.

There are a number of themes that recur in the education being presented. Managing a supply chain by exception (using only ERP functionality that everyone already has) addresses; “quantity and time,” “rules and behavior,” change management, and the knowledge of the to ols available.

How to work in a “change-minded” environment instead of a fixed mindset world? People are getting excited by the promise of dropping inventories up to 30% or even 45%. This is about how to use the system to drive change.

We’re only half way through the seminar and I can already see frustration turning into the lights of possibility and opportunity for attendees. I have to go now…we’re learning about the cost of lead time and it appears to have hit a nerve!

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