Daily Archives: March 23, 2011

Innovation is Not Baloney

Unless, as this recent post on the HBR Blogs on the power of a common language, you don’t have a common definition and understanding of what innovation means to your company. At which point, one of you will be thinking “absurdity” while another will be thinking “lunchmeat”.

As the article notes, in order to achieve innovation, a company must have:

  1. An overarching, commonly understood, definition of innovation.
  2. Well defined innovation categories, and a primary focus.
  3. An owner for each innovation category, and each approved innovation project.

Otherwise, one team will be working on process streamlining while another tries to reinvent the process. And both will announce success at the same time, only to realize failure.

What To Look For in a Modern Inventory Management System

A recent article in Canadian Transportation and Logistics on when choosing new logistics software, true competitive value comes from creative execution not just buying the hottest system made some great points in what to look for when choosing a new inventory management / warehouse management system. Often overlooked, the following features are important:

  • multi-mode inventory update
    The system should accept automated updates from POS systems and manual updates from individuals who “eyeball” inventory.
  • automated “push” updates to individual locations
    A user shouldn’t have to log-in to a central portal to get inventory updates across corporate locations. The updates should be “pushed” to individual clients automatically, just like RSS feeds are “pushed” to client readers.
  • integration with Excel
    Let’s face it, some locations aren’t going to have modern inventory management systems and some users just aren’t going to let Excel die.
  • one-time event tracking
    Not all inventory moves in regular shipments. Unless one time events are tracked, the full picture is not gained and an understanding of the breakdown of regular inventory movement vs. special / expedited inventory movement will be missing.
  • equal support for inbound and outbound
    A storage container behind a store can be a “warehouse” which can redistribute inventory to other stores where its needed. Thus, inbound (to the store) and outbound (to other stores) are equally important.
  • Business Intelligence (BI) support
    Either built-in, or easily supported through XML export.
  • a Multi-Tenant SaaS Implementation
    The “cloud” is where it’s at for many companies, so failing to support the “cloud” will limit adoption and integration options.