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I cannot tell you how many clients call thinking they need a new system to support their business when they simply don’t! Certainly, there is a time to upgrade to a new business system, when you’ve outgrown your old one (for example: QuickBooks with add-ons like Fishbowl), or your old system is highly customized and unsustainable, or when you are in the midst of a merger or acquisition. However, before jumping to the conclusion that your system must be upgraded, think twice.

Any ERP transformation project will be expensive (more than you think!) and resource intensive. With that said, it is an absolute must to support business growth and success in some situations. Just make sure yours is one of them!

Is it time to upgrade your business system?

To upgrade or not to upgrade? That is the question.

It is also quite possible to extend the life of some systems. Is there a way to extend the life of your current system? We often find during analysis that there are options worth considering. It is smart to think about the timing of your upgrade and whether you can impact it. When can you dedicate the resources to ensure success? Of course, from one perspective, sometimes there is never a good time. And, on the other hand, we have seen clients wait “too long”. You don’t want to be in that club either.

Instead, complete a simple strategic analysis of your business situation and ERP needs and balance them against your current capabilities. An answer will emerge and just might “save you” either way. Perhaps you’ll be able to extend the life of your old system and maintain focus on your business OR you’ll find out that if you wait any longer, your competition will pass you by. Either way, it is better to be in front of it.


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Should You Upgrade Your ERP System?

IBM has announced it plans to spend $240 million over the next ten years to develop an artificial intelligence (AI) research lab with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Anytime these two powerhouses collaborate and put their money where their mouth is, we should at least pay attention and consider the significance. AI is popping up in conversations everywhere as all type of organizations and industries are seeing the significance of AI technology. I don’t even have to look very far. My mom said her Amazon Alexa was one of the best presents she has ever received. (And that’s solely for the ease of the alarm!)

Artificial Intelligence

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?

Artificial intelligence is certainly a hot topic! However, it isn’t just hype. Proctor & Gamble improved unplanned downtime by 10-20% with AI. Siemens is using AI to optimize industrial facilities and is employing it for a wide variety of other applications in areas such as energy distribution, electric motors, and rail technology. There are a vast number of uses. It’s time to start thinking about how it could affect your industry.

Are any of your current partners (suppliers, IT/ERP etc.) researching AI?  You do not have to do it alone. Do you want to lead these efforts or pay attention to what is going on around you? Or, perhaps like IBM and MIT, you want to create a new partnership? It is a strategic decision. One way or another, if you aren’t at least paying attention, you will be passed by.


Read more about technology trends in supply chain.


Earlier this year, I went on a tour of Skechers with my ProVisors group. We’ve heard so much about the building and related innovations from the developer, Iddo Benzeevi, and were really excited to see it in action. There are truly jaw dropping savings from the total picture – $25 million a year reduction in operating costs. Who can argue with that? Certainly not environmentally-conscious people as it is also the largest LEED Gold Certified building of its kind to be awarded with this distinction by the U.S. Green Building Council. There is no air conditioning required due mainly to the innovative design. In comparison, discussing topics like solar seems boring! And, of course, it is the picture of warehouse automation. Are you thinking beyond impossible like these folks did?

ProVisors Touring the California Skechers Facility

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?

Innovations like these should definitely get us thinking. First of all, do you see roadblocks like environmental bottlenecks as insurmountable? Or, do you see them as nothing more than a challenge? Although most would have trouble envisioning the goal of saving $25 million a year, if you never think about it, it definitely won’t occur. Think BIG!

Certainly the impacts of this type of building can be seen as amazingly progressive – or problematic, depending on your point of view. Clearly, if we can build this type of innovation into our manufacturing and distribution businesses, we will be vastly more competitive – and more likely to stay in the U.S., and even California. On the other hand, Skechers has far fewer people operating this facility than the multiple facilities they operated previously. And, in order to operate this facility, a higher level of skills is required.   Higher skills can also be seen as “good” and “bad”. There is a lot of talk about the need for higher skilled jobs in the Inland Empire to retain our students with good opportunities, yet it can also be challenging to find these skills.

Either way, hiding your head in the sand will not solve the problem. Why not join the innovators? Get out to see new and interesting ideas. I learn something every day – from every client, every tour, and every interaction. Sometimes the ideas I have do not relate at all to what I’ve seen but it prompts thinking or brainstorming in different directions. Why not consider what you’d need to go down the path of innovation?

If you liked this article, read more about Supply Chain innovation .


There is an ever-increasing interest in emerging technologies for supply chain. When thinking of your end-to-end supply chain – from your suppliers’ suppliers, through your manufacturing and distribution operations, to your customers’ customers – you must consider technology to have any hope of achieving success.

In today’s Amazon-impacted environment, rapid information and product flow must be accompanied with low-cost and efficient supply chains to maximize the customer experience, profitable growth and cash flow. Trending technologies to consider in your strategic discussions include the following:

  1. Additive manufacturing such as 3D printing – it is no longer just for R&D. The progressive distributors are printing to order for items that used to require vast inventory and lead time.
  2. Collaborative customer technologies – programs such as vendor managed inventory, collaborative planning and innovative logistics partnerships can drive tremendous value.
  3. The internet of things is certainly taking on a life of its own – how do you plan to utilize it in your supply chain?
  4. If you support retail (and even if you don’t) and don’t have e-commerce, you have missed the boat!
  5. Robotics – there are plenty of uses for robotics throughout manufacturing and supply chain. Have you considered what might add value for your business?  Robotics could give you a 24/7 flexibility…

Emerging technologies in supply chain from e-commerce to robotics are more important now that ever


What Emerging Technologies in Supply Chain Mean To You

Staying on top of emerging and/or trending supply chain technologies is imperative in order to succeed in today’s Amazon-impacted world. Don’t get carried away with the latest fads. Instead, take a step back and think strategically about what will support your business today, tomorrow and five years from now. Selectively integrate the appropriate technologies to accelerate your growth and success.


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