Daily Archives: January 8, 2010

Facebook at the Factory?

Sure! Why Not? While we’re at it we can get Plaxo for the plant, MySpace for the warehouse, and Back Orifice for the Office! After all, why shouldn’t we let our employees SuperPoke their buddies all day, flit away their day following their contacts’ twitter feeds, or hack into their supervisor’s computer … it’s not like they have anything better to do with their time! Right?

Needless to say I was outraged when I saw Facebook at the Factory: Manufacturing Must Become More like Social Media headlining over on the Supply & Demand Chain Executive site — because it’s such an idiotic idea. I’m faceless, spaceless, and twitter-free for a reason … and that reason is because these platforms offer zero value to a hard-working professional.

So I’m going to take a moment and point out the dumb conclusions the article reached … which were especially idiotic given that the writer(s) had access to a study with valid results and lots of information easily available through a Google search upon which to draw more realistic conclusions.

The article started by quoting a finding that said “62% of respondents want their ERP system to capture and record the knowledge of senior experienced engineers and professionals so that it becomes part of the corporate knowledge base”. That’s knowledge management, not social networking.

It then quoted the CTO of IFS who said “Enterprise 2.0 and social media tools are designed to draw information out of people, to get them to talk”. While this is true, it bluntly failed to mention what kind of information Social Networking sites draw out of people … their entertainment preferences, their personal preferences, and where they went to get blind drunk last night (with potentially embarrassing pictures they don’t remember taking). And what use does that information have in the daily operation of your business? That’s right. None!

Finally, it quoted the CTO of IFS who, correctly, said that web 2.0 tools like wikis, threaded discussion boards, and other features of social media will become common fixtures in enterprise software. That’s right, useful tools will become incorporated in enterprise software as time goes on. And Facebook, as of today, does NOT fall into that category.

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Why Haven’t You Applied Automation to Global Trade Yet?

Considering that

you have to be either extremely organized and knowledgeable about your global operations or a complete idiot not to.

And now Hausman and Lee from Stanford University and Napier and Thompson from TradeBeam have released the full study on How Enterprises and Trading Partners Gain from Global Trade Management (A New Process Model for the China-to-US Trade Lane) which found

  • $ savings of 1.7% to 2.4% in Annual Sales for Exporters
  • $ savings of 0.6% to 2.2% in Annual Sales for Importers
  • a 28% to 40% increase in Annual Profit for Exporters
  • a 10% to 37% increase in Annual Profit for Importers
  • Manufacture-to-Invoice Cycle Reduction of 9% for Exporters
  • Days Sales Outstanding Reduction of 28% to 29% for Exporters
  • Order to Receipt Cycle Reduction of 35% for Importers

Extrapolating these benefits to total worldwide trade Exports and Imports based on World Merchandise Exports of 13.6 Trillion in 2007 and World Merchandise Imports of 14.0 Trillion, this suggests that the annual benefit to global supply chains would be:

  • $194 Billion to $263 Billion to Exporters and
  •   $54 Billion to $109 Billion to Importers.

That’s free savings there for the taking! All you have to do is some business process re-engineering, which consists of:

  • modelling “as-is” processes,
  • designing “to-be” processes,
  • benchmarking the current state,
  • defining the target state,
  • identifying the skills, partners, processes, tools, and technologies to get to the target state from the current state, and
  • implementing, measuring, and continually improving in a methodical, step-by-step fashion, until you get there.

There are a number of Global Trade companies out there with SaaS solutions ready and willing to help you. And if you don’t know where to start, [shameless plug] you could always contact the doctor and I could help you with a needs assessment and RFP to find the right solution and partner(s) for you.

So go out and get yourself a Global Trade solution. You’ll be glad you did … especially when you come out looking like a Global Trade Hero.

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