Chapter 4. Advice to the Executive Considering SAP APO and SCM

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) projects lend themselves to a particular class of strategic decision-making errors. A thoughtful study of those errors will have value both to seasoned executive hands who have already pioneered the ERP hinterlands and to leaders still looking to take the great plunge into twenty-first-century information technology (IT) and supply chain management (SCM). For those who have been there before and who may have already bloodied themselves in difficult or even tumultuous projects, an objective sanity check will go a long way to reconnoitering with past misjudgments and re-navigating a fresh path forward. For those who have not yet started the journey, well, coming from behind, while not usually advisable as a deliberate strategy, is not entirely without advantages.

Stragglers can learn from the missteps of those who have gone before. SAP SCM is a new technology and its application, as the application of the wider practice of “supply chain optimization,” has at times been rocky and fraught with misconceptions, mistakes, and poor judgment. Mature executives, project managers, and software engineers all know from painful experience the truth of this scholarly academic consensus: Poor decision making at early stages dooms projects from the start. As with most projects in business and engineering, there is an inverse relationship between outcome and its proximity: Decisions made at the most remote ...

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