Bespoke By Stealth

May 8, 2014 -- Javelin Account Manager Andrew Mills says that given the speed of technical advances and innovation in manufacturing ERP MRP software, even versions a couple of years old can be well behind the times now!  

Some manufacturers are becoming increasingly aware of this. Those at the forefront see the need to maintain their position by timely upgrades and development of mutual collaboration with their software providers. However, others have neglected to upgrade their system, for any one of a number of reasons. This is known as “System Neglect.”

Others are only now looking to replace control spread sheets with purpose developed manufacturing control ERP software.

One of the major problems encountered by companies wishing to upgrade is the practice of buying a system that meets the basic needs, and then applying “Bespoke” program modifications. Once applied these modifications have the potential to make future upgrades anything from impossible to very expensive. This inability to act in the present has never been more apparent than now, in what is an emerging economical manufacturing environment.

“Bespoke” as applied by the software vendor is a serious consideration at any proposed software upgrade. Now consider that a third party has been introduced to add system modifications. I propose that this could be identified as “Bespoke by Stealth.” From my recent involvement with proposed upgrades that have these conditions, this situation is well worth consideration. This would ensure that the same mistakes are not repeated in the future.

The catalyst in this three way relationship will be a host system expert. Business software evolution is littered with acquisitions and partings that liberated individuals with the relevant skills. Some of these people recognised the opportunity at the time and became parasitic to the host system. With very little investment or overheads they accessed readymade client lists and unleashed some very good consultation rates and attentive service levels. With manufacturing in the doldrums this was a proposition too good to miss for the host system client. The unregulated and unapproved consultant would then be at liberty to use his chosen data base interrogation software to develop unique client functionality in whichever direction was required.

Fast forward to the future now and the client “needs” to upgrade! The existence of an unapproved consultant is by nature fickle and short lived. With no development plan, backup or records, time produces a natural divergence. I would suggest from my personal experience that this divergence is not reconcilable. I recommend that only one outcome exists, and that this is the immediate consolidation back to a healthy and sustainable version of a properly managed host system.

Bespoke programming by the software supplier is to be avoided but “Bespoke by Stealth” is eventually terminal to the host. In short, there is a real risk of “Critical Business System Failure” if this type of bespoke is at the root of “System Neglect”.

• Javelin Manufacturing Resource Planning and Production Control Software from the Vero Group provides intelligent and scalable solutions for all manufacturing needs. Javelin allows SME organisations to successfully compete in difficult economic and market conditions, through direct productivity improvements and detailed management information.  Vero has direct offices in the UK, Italy, France, Japan, USA, Brazil, Netherlands, South Korea and China, while supplying products to more than 45 countries through its wholly owned subsidiaries and reseller network.

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