Search the Blog

Previously in this series I wrote that the principles of agile software development are more important than the development process (see Agile Software Development: It’s not a process). Consequently there isn’t just one correct way to do software development – the approach must be based on a careful examination of the needs of each project.


Continue reading »


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Source: MIT Sloan Management Review

In my last post, I introduced the longitudinal study that MIT Sloan Management Review has been conducting over the past five years. From 2010 to 2012 they indicated that 67% of those surveyed believed that analytics gave their organizations a competitive edge. In 2013, that figure stabilized at 66% revealing the so called ‘Moneyball Effect’ where leaders lost their competitive edge that they once enjoyed because followers matured and made analytics core competencies. In 2014, that trend continued, falling to 61%.

 

But why?


Continue reading »


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 

When supply chain professionals plan for future demand, their thoughts gravitate to meeting customer service levels while minimizing the amount of capital tied up in inventory.  Demand planning is about having the right product in the right place at the right time … right? Four occurrences of the same word would cause my old English teacher to shudder at this excessive use of a word in a single sentence. However, let us return to the important business of meeting consumer demand without incurring the cost of excess inventory.


Continue reading »


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 

If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything!

 

That was one of my Dad’s favorite expressions and I think it’s wise; I try to live by it every day. It applies nicely to software development too where I put it in the following terms:

 

If you don’t have a vision for your product you’ll clutter it with lots of unnecessary features!

 

I’m sure that makes you think of some bad examples, eh? Me too!


Continue reading »


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Once upon a time, agile software development was revolutionary and cellphones were for making cellphone calls, but those times are long gone. Agile is a mainstream best-practice and if you aren’t applying it then I must brand you a laggard. But agile has changed in the last decade, and not always for the better.

 

Back in 2001 it was generally recognized that the principles behind agile were its most important characteristic, but nowadays there is an unhelpful emphasis on its mechanics. The phrase “an agile process” is often heard even though one of those principles states that agile values “individuals and interactions over processes and tools”.

 

Or to put it another way:

 


Continue reading »


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

By now, most of you have probably heard of, or read, the book entitled Competing on Analytics by Thomas Davenport that demonstrates how some of the most successful organizations in the world have made analytics a core capability and integral to their strategic planning. MIT Sloan has been tracking this phenomenon since 2010 echoing Davenport’s findings. From 2010 to 2012 they indicated that 67% of those surveyed believed that analytics gave their organizations a competitive edge. However, in their last installment of their longitudinal study, something interesting happened. Something that I like to call the ‘Oakland Athletics Effect’.

 

Findings from the annual MIT analytics study


Continue reading »


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Choosing the technology for a long-term project is a risky business – this season’s hottest software may be horribly out of fashion a year or two from now. That’s a big problem if you’ve built your supply chain on it; no-one wants to upgrade their software platform very often.

 

It’s a lot easier with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight. If you were building a new enterprise application today you’d choose a web architecture for maximum flexibility in deployment (i.e. servers either local or in the cloud, clients on any kind of device running a browser). On the server you’d probably choose to build on a software ecosystem like Java since it runs on any hardware and has wide industry support. But a lot of enterprise software vendors chose something else when they began their long-term development projects and are left regretting that now.


Continue reading »


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

TECSYS develops innovative software products.

 

Yes, we are a provider of supply chain solutions (and hey, Your Supply Chain Matters!), but underpinning all of that is a team of software development professionals who build our products with the latest technologies and tools. And you, dear blog reader / TECSYS customer / supply chain professional, while assuredly you are interested in our solutions in areas such as demand planning and healthcare point-of-use, I thought you might also want to read something that appeals to your inner software geek!

 

Because we’re all software geeks these days – software is everywhere.  Or as the internet visionary Marc Andreessen says, “Software is eating the world”. His thesis is that the ubiquity of software products and mobile devices has brought our society to a tipping point that will lead to profound change in business, education and healthcare. (Check out this fascinating interview with Andreesen.) The products we build at TECSYS are part of the process that he describes. So in recognition of the significance of software to all we do, I thought I’d tell you some more about our software – how it’s made, and why it’s made that way.

 

In the next few posts I’m going to write about about the technology and design decisions we are making at TECSYS and the rationale behind these decisions; I’ll describe how we go about developing software and the principles we use to guide our work; and I’ll give you some insights in to the challenges we face and how we overcome them. You will see that our clients and the users of our products are key players in our software development, and you’ll learn how you can influence that development. You’ll also gain a perspective on software development which can help you assess and evaluate all of the software you interact with, whatever its origin.

 

Software is eating the world; let TECSYS feed your inner software geek.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Improved forecast accuracy leads to many downstream improvements in operations and ultimately, on the balance sheet. That is why Gartner, Inc., a highly respected information technology research and advisory firm, puts forecast accuracy at the top of its pyramid of supply chain metrics. In a study published in February 2012, Gartner stated that a 6% forecast improvement could improve the perfect order by 10% and deliver a 10-15% reduction in unnecessary inventory. These are very impressive numbers and a very good reason to work towards improving forecast accuracy.


Continue reading »


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I was reminded recently that there are really only two ways to improve your organization’s profitability; increase revenues or decrease costs. Arguably, increasing revenues does not necessarily translate into higher profits.Take a moment to think about how much revenue it would take to bring the same amount of dollars to the bottom line as would a 2% decrease in operational costs.

 

Consider the cost of a shipping error. Shipping errors results in lower customer satisfaction and potentially affect customer retention rates. Customer service personnel can spend hours addressing a shipment error. Warehouse personnel must investigate what happened, potentially restock the wrong item then pick, pack and ship the correct item. A rush delivery further erodes any margins left on the sale. Even cash flow is affected. Accounts receivables staff may need to be notified.

 

Shipping the wrong item or the wrong quantity of an item is the most common error. Perhaps the wrong unit of measure was picked; say one carton was picked instead of one unit within the carton. Other types of errors include shipping multiple boxes when only one box would have sufficed and also errors in packaging that cause an item to be damaged while in transit.

 

Part of the problem is that the fulfillment process is often tedious and repetitious. When employees are not paying attention at each and every step, errors will happen. Manually checking every outgoing shipment is too costly. The answer to reducing shipment errors is automation. Studies have shown that automation not only increases inventory accuracy up to 99% and higher but also substantially decreases shipment errors. When automation includes built-in checks and balances such as visual cues and voice confirmation you have both automation and validation. Wow!