Chapter 13. The Lucky Chapter: Of Boats and Software—Four Keys to Unlocking SCM

Call this the “lucky” chapter. The act of writing a book, like the similar act of teaching a class, inevitably has the effect of teaching the author much that he or she either did not or could not know before engaging in the writing enterprise. I came about my knowledge of SAP SCM (supply chain management) the hard way: I took lots of classes, several of them twice, and I worked on a variety of projects, solidifying my learnings and putting them to good use on development and deployment projects. Though this is the way that most people acquire expertise in SCM, it remains a “high road,” expensive in both dollars and time, that is not sufficiently open to the many who need to acquire expertise in the tool in order for their organizations to best exploit it.

In writing this text I have noticed that as vast as SCM is, it has patterns: There are certain critical details that repeat themselves everywhere across the product. Opinions of purists and elitists notwithstanding, if you can drive a Dodge Neon, you can drive a BMW. I believe that if the student is primed to know the right key patterns, patterns that became evident to me only as I carried out the process of distilling my own knowledge to the written word, then he or she should be able to step into one or another module or tool of SCM and learn the way around quickly, like an old driver on a new car. Can we cut the learning curve in half? That would ...

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