Features - Sales and Finance

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The trouble with S&OP 22/09/2009

One man's meat is another man's poison – and so it is with sales and operations planning. The shape of successful S&OP is bound to depend somewhat on your industry and scale. However, the technologies you choose and the behaviours you enable are critical throughout, says Brian Tinham

Getting ERP best value 29/09/2007

It’s not so much about looking under the covers: getting best value from ERP today is less about functionality and more about proper business analysis, good old-fashioned ITTs and due diligence, says Brian Tinham

Free software? 25/09/2007

Open source is gaining prominence – and not just in the developer community – but can it really slash your costs? Brian Tinham finds out

Lean supply chain 11/04/2007

There was a time when e-business was for the big boys. But Howard Joseph of McGuffie Brunton tells Brian Tinham that the doors are now wide open for manufacturing SMEs

Setting the IT agenda for your business in 2007 28/11/2006

What’s hot? What’s not? Who cares? What matters to management teams running the various aspects of increasingly stretched and complex manufacturing companies today has nothing whatever to do with what analysts, journalists or anyone else see as ‘hot’, ‘in’ or ‘fashionable’. The primary concern is simply keeping the operation going, cutting costs and attempting to get production better and smarter – meaning faster, more efficient, more flexible and the rest of it. Brian Tinham talks to senior users in manufacturing for some serious clues

Napp Pharmaceutical ousts best-of-breed 31/08/2006

The argument over monolithic versus best-of-breed IT has raged for years, but the pharmaceutical sector has real experience – and doesn’t like the latter. Brian Tinham talks to Napp’s business projects head, Chris Jones, about why and what he's doing about it

Special report: Lean and agile thinking - appropriate IT for successful manufacturing businesses 16/08/2006

Lean thinking, as opposed to lean manufacturing - meaning the application of lean concepts, methodologies and supporting tools, techniques and systems to whole businesses, not just to the factory - continues to grow in popularity. As manufacturers experience worsening competitive pressures from rivals in the UK as well as those around the world, management teams seem to be realising that, while 'going lean' is neither trivial nor short and sharp, it's the only way they're going to survive and hopefully revive their fortunes.

Art meets science in glorious technicolour 19/06/2006

Advanced planning and scheduling systems and lean thinking aren't often bracketed together, but ColArt paints a picture of perfect harmony. Brian Tinham reports

Extending your ERP: spending a little to gain a lot 12/06/2006

Manufacturing businesses don't stand still, so neither can your IT. Brian Tinham examines the ERP add-on modules that can make the biggest difference

An ideal standard for Ideal Standard 11/04/2006

When Ideal Standard was going for growth across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, it solved its IT challenges using e-business and integration services. Brian Tinham reports

WD40 oils the wheels of its business 10/04/2006

Business efficiency improved beyond expectation; man-hours of effort slashed; and company data revealed in a way never thought possible: that’s how Julian Spencer, finance and operations director at global consumer products firm WD-40 summarises the benefits from its QlikView reporting tool.

To rent or to buy ERP: that is the question 01/03/2006

When it comes to choosing a new MRP system, software rental is something that few manufacturers think of first. Yet when we take a close look at the economics, a very surprising picture emerges. Traditionally, a manufacturer develops a statement of requirements – involving considerable effort – covering its needs for the next, say, five years. Then it’s the business of surveying the market, shortlisting, going to demonstrations and user sites, followed by a lengthy and detailed procedure to decide the final solution

Supply chain visibility now in real time 01/03/2006

Supply chain synchronisation is fast becoming a business focus as the returns of lean and Six Sigma run dry

Business intelligence finally comes to the masses 01/03/2006

Today’s business environment demands flexibility – whether it’s to respond to unexpected events, customer demands, or both. But to be in a position to make timely, effective decisions, manufacturers need to be armed with a panoply of information – and that’s also a requirement for those grappling with initiatives such as Six Sigma, Lean’s continuous improvement and Balanced Scorecard, which not only demand more information more quickly, but expect it to be available to many more users throughout the organisation

Quote-to-order ERP saves €390,000 pa 01/03/2006

When analytical instrument manfuacturer PANalytical added integrated sales engineering functionality the company found itself saving more than it could have imagined. Brian Tinham reports

Manufacturing to the pull of the customer 01/03/2006

Most of us know that we need to do something radical in manufacturing to tackle stiffening competition, particularly from the increasingly active low cost economies around the world – like India, China and eastern Europe. We also know from looking at what’s happening in the global automotive sector, among others, that top of the list is changing more of our production, where at all possible, to building only what customers order, rather than making to-forecast and/or to-stock

Sensing success from integrated thinking 01/03/2006

Radio frequency and sensing technologies firm e2v –formerly part of Marconi but, following a management buyout, independent and now seeing considerable success on the London Stock Exchange – is proving the immense value of an IT strategy linked in lock-step to a pragmatic business strategy, particularly in times of great change. As a result of its efforts it’s currently looking at taking some 25% out of materials and finished goods inventories, worth about £5 million, as well as improving customer service and responsiveness

The missing link in the adaptive enterprise? 01/03/2006

Even in the best run enterprise, there is one simple certainty: one second after the business forecast and plan are produced the real world takes over. According to former AMR analyst Simon Pollard, now SAP’s VP discrete manufacturing in EMEA, the secret lies in knowing just how different they are

Reflecting on lean by challenging IT 01/02/2006

Schefenacker’s UK factory at Portchester makes rear view and door mirrors for virtually all the vehicle OEMs, and is lean throughout, world class and with top honours to prove it. Instantly notable and challenging features of its operations include universal JIT (just in time) practices with relatively complex sequencing of high variety items, variability of demand and a requirement for product manufacturing and despatch within hours of the OEMs’ EDI call-off signals

Distilling the secrets of a spirited success 01/02/2006

Ian Macleod Distillers, the whisky producer, deserves its place in history not only for its products, which include Glengoyne and Isle of Skye among other brands, but because of an ERP implementation that has turned the company around. Or more accurately, turned two companies around, and already saved £500,000 worth of finished goods and materials stockholding – at least equal to the cost of the entire implementation – with another £1.5 million in savings still in sight

Bringing analytics to your global business 01/02/2006

When you’re faced with a global business environment, customers moving east and the potential threats and opportunities of Far Eastern supply, it’s time to re-evaluate your business, its supply chain and the management and optimisation of all that. Particularly when you’ve seen 60% growth in your product lines since 2001, added five new sites in that time, invested £11 million in manufacturing, IT and distribution – and your annual transaction volume has grown 15%

Linking ERP, MES and plant 01/02/2006

2bn Diageo is the world’s biggest drinks company, with brands like Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, Bells, Guinness, Baileys, Gordons, Tanqueray, Carlsberg, Budweiser and Sterling Vineyard. And with half its operating profits coming from North America, Britain, Ireland and Spain, but trading in around 180 countries. The drinks giant has adopted standardisation and end-to-end lean processes that play to the strengths of new IT

Great growth and great savings 01/02/2006

North Norfolk coast-based seafood processor Cromer Crabs, now part of Canadian FPIL group, has seen turnover more than double from £11 million in 2002 to £25 million forecast for this year. It’s also become a key supplier to major retailers like Marks & Spencer in the UK. Much of that success is due to implementing best business processes and practices, and enabling and sustaining them with brilliant IT

Agile manufacturing better than lean pro 01/02/2006

Cosworth is driving finite scheduling to enable agile, flexible and transparent working across engineering, assembly, test – in fact, the whole business

Finding the keys to standard variety 01/02/2006

Improved productivity (all the way from estimating and quoting to production and shipping), better use of working capital and greatly enhanced global business visibility are among benefits at £35 million labelling manufacturer Worldmark International. They’ve been achieved since installing a new make-to-order ERP system

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