An Expert in Every Chair - Knowledge-enabled MRP

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Let’s face it; everybody’s got tribal knowledge trapped in the minds of a limited number of experts within their organization. Yet, the data and daily transactions that drive business are handled by those that don’t hold that tribal knowledge. We can’t put an expert at every desk, but we CAN wire their brains into ERP to guide those who lack that tribal knowledge.

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  • In every organization there are those with specific expert knowledge & those without specific expertise. Yet, those with the expert knowledge are rarely the ones actually doing the transactions.
  • When a system is implemented, the module owners that implemented everything know everything about the system, but these are not the ones doing the day to day work. The people doing the work are the ones that lack specific expertise.
  • As the workforce continues to age, so do the expert knowledge holders. With more and more of these experts retiring, companies take on risk as work is being done by those that don’t have the expert knowledge. The other risk is that the experts retire and take that knowledge with them.
  • Here are some very real examples of how the loss of expert knowledge can really effect a company.
  • There are a couple ways to deal with the issue of losing expert knowledge. The 1st is to hope for delay. This hopes that your experts will work longer because they still want to work or feel they cant retire yet.
  • Option 2 is passing the torch or attempt to create “new” experts by training younger, less experienced people. But, there is risk to this as well. With the younger generation, employees aren't as likely to stay at the same company for an extended amount of time. This can really cost the company in the long run.
  • There are 3 basic software approaches to deal with the problem.The 1st is with a configurator. Configurators are the most widely recognized instance of “expert” systems. They guide and help you determine the structure and build of a product or process. The output of this is a BOM and route or in AX a configured item.
  • The 2nd is diagnostic and decision support. These are questionnaires that can help you identify what might be wrong. A good example of this are medical questionnaires that help determine a diagnosis. In business this might be an automated approval process running in the background-that ultimately makes a decision for you.
  • The 3rd option is knowledge enabled ERP or business process support. This can be integrated with the ERP experience to enforce rules and allow the user to make appropriate choices, or ensure accuracy.
  • Scenario 1- This is an example of where the expert would be very active and involved. They are actually guiding you through diagnosis of the problems and what parts you need to use in order to repair the problem.
  • Scenario 2 is more subtle and the user isn't calling up the expert. The expert is influencing what the user can do. For example, the expert is preventing you from making an inappropriate decision. The user doesn’t even realize the expert is involved.
  • The 3rd scenario is an MRP coverage plan scenario. The expert basically takes over the keyboard and you don’t even realize you are being controlled. For example, in creating a part number the expert can “enter” fields on the screen without the user even recognizing or noticing.
  • The keys to knowledge management are identifying your experts and then capturing their knowledge so that others in the organization can leverage it effectively. This keeps the knowledge documented with the company, for others to use after the expert is gone.
  • An Expert in Every Chair - Knowledge-enabled MRP

    1. 1. AN EXPERT IN EVERY CHAIR Knowledge-enabled MRP Chan Stevens Cincom Systems
    2. 2. Reality check • We’ve all got our experts, the go-to people with the knowledge, experience and answers for every question • They led the ERP implementation, developed all our systems, built our empires • Then there’s the rest of us… Additional Notes: In every organization there are those with specific expert knowledge & those without specific expertise. Yet, those with the expert knowledge are rarely the ones actually doing the transactions.
    3. 3. Who’s flying this plane? • Systems designed by experts, but who does the day to day work? • Issuing quotes • Creating BOM’s, routings • Updating costs • Entering sales commitments • Purchasing materials Additional Notes: When a system is implemented, the module owners that implemented everything know everything about the system, but these are not the ones doing the day to day work. The people doing the work are the ones that lack specific expertise.
    4. 4. Getting older • Percentage of workforce aged 55+ • 1990—13% • 2010—16% • 2020 projected—20% • Roughly 10,000 people retiring per day as baby boomers leave the workforce • How much knowledge will we be losing? Additional Notes: As the workforce continues to age, so do the expert knowledge holders. With more and more of these experts retiring, companies take on risk as work is being done by those that don’t have the expert knowledge. The other risk is that the experts retire and take that knowledge with them.
    5. 5. Not-so-hidden-costs • Boeing—lost 9000 employees to early retirement offer • Unexpected demand from new ordersshortage of assemblers • Replacement workers not as experienced, resulting in delays • Ensuing chaos forced 3+ week shutdown in production • NASA “moon shot” • Bush 2004—”Let’s return to the moon” • NASA—Blueprints, parts, tooling, technology from 1969 lost • 400,000 engineers from Apollo program retired • Majority of development was outsourced, compartmentalized • Result—billions to re-invent 40-year old technology Additional Notes: Here are some very real examples of how the loss of expert knowledge can really effect a company.
    6. 6. Option 1—stall tactics • Longer lifespans • Medical advances • Healthier lifestyles • Financial pressures • Need larger nest eggs too for longer retirement • Financial crisis wiped out many investments • Flexible work schedules • Part time/semi-retirement • Work remotely Additional Notes: There are a couple ways to deal with the issue of losing expert knowledge. The 1st is to hope for delay. This hopes that your experts will work longer because they still want to work or feel they cant retire yet.
    7. 7. Option 2—Passing the torch • Mentoring programs • Expert systems • Configurators • Diagnostic support • Business process support Additional Notes: Option 2 is passing the torch or attempt to create “new” experts by training younger, less experienced people. But, there is risk to this as well. With the younger generation, employees aren't as likely to stay at the same company for an extended amount of time. This can really cost the company in the long run.
    8. 8. Configurators • Logic tree type approach to build up product structure or narrow down range of selections • Rules-based enforcement of options and combinations Decision 1 • Option 1 • Option 2 Decision 2 Decision 3 • Feature 1 • Feature 2 • Accessory 1 • Accessory 2 Additional Notes: There are 3 basic software approaches to deal with the problem. The 1st is with a configurator. Configurators are the most widely recognized instance of “expert” systems. They guide and help you determine the structure and build of a product or process. The output of this is a BOM and route or in AX a configured item.
    9. 9. Diagnostic & decision support • Self-service websites • Medical diagnosis • Mortgage application/approvals Additional Notes: The 2nd is diagnostic and decision support. These are questionnaires that can help you identify what might be wrong. A good example of this are medical questionnaires that help determine a diagnosis. In business this might be an automated approval process running in the background-that ultimately makes a decision for you.
    10. 10. Business process support • “Knowledge-enabling” ERP • Enforcing rules • Helping users make appropriate choices • Ensuring accuracy and completeness of transactions Additional Notes: The 3rd option is knowledge enabled ERP or business process support. This can be integrated with the ERP experience to enforce rules and allow the user to make appropriate choices, or ensure accuracy.
    11. 11. Scenario 1—Field service support • Pump manufacturer field service technician on site • Given product attributes and symptoms, the “expert” helps narrow down the list of possible problems • Provides detailed instructions to determine the exact problem • Once problem determined, creates custom BOM, route, instructions to complete the repair Additional Notes: Scenario 1- This is an example of where the expert would be very active and involved. They are actually guiding you through diagnosis of the problems and what parts you need to use in order to repair the problem.
    12. 12. Scenario 2—Sales order entry • Delivery method options influenced by leadtime • Short leadtime prevents/restricts to ground or overnight • Longer leadtime opens up rail, ocean, etc. Additional Notes: Scenario 2 is more subtle and the user isn't calling up the expert. The expert is influencing what the user can do. For example, the expert is preventing you from making an inappropriate decision. The user doesn’t even realize the expert is involved.
    13. 13. Scenario 3—Master planning coverage • Engineer creates new part, knows basic information • Type of part, make/buy, approximate value • Engineer doesn’t speak “APICS” • “Expert” reviews information, assigns appropriate coverage based upon multiple attributes from among • Min/max • Kanban • Lot-for-lot • Period coverage (short and long periods) • Bonus—any time this information subsequently changes, the expert is automatically re-invoked Additional Notes: The 3rd scenario is an MRP coverage plan scenario. The expert basically takes over the keyboard and you don’t even realize you are being controlled. For example, in creating a part number the expert can “enter” fields on the screen without the user even recognizing or noticing.
    14. 14. Avoiding memory loss • Keys to knowledge management • Identify critical knowledge, experts • Acquire/develop “knowledge database” • Teaching or interviewing? • Deploy • Knowledge worthless if not used • Put the expertise at the fingertips of the people doing the transactions • Endless possibilities to improve our decisions and systems Additional Notes: The keys to knowledge management are identifying your experts and then capturing their knowledge so that others in the organization can leverage it effectively. This keeps the knowledge documented with the company, for others to use after the expert is gone.
    15. 15. If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough. - Albert Einstein
    16. 16. • For more information • www.dynamics.cincom.com • kkorn@cincom.com (sales) • cstevens@cincom.com (functional/tribal knowledge)

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