NCOF Sneak Peak: The Mirror Doesn’t Lie

One of the biggest mistakes companies make when purchasing technology, equipment, or services is not fully understanding their needs. Frank McCabe, director of business development for Beacon Systems, a Tewksbury, MA-based material handling integrator, says companies invariably jump in the deep end of the pool without having all the facts. He’ll address this common mistake in “The Mirror Doesn’t Lie: An Action Plan for Business Process Improvement,” his session at this year’s National Conference on Operations & Fulfillment (NCOF), to be held April 10-12 in Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, FL.

One way to see how all new technologies can affect your operation is to conduct a thorough business process review. The basis of such a study is to spend the time, and sometimes the extra money, to truly understand your own operation before making any major decisions. Purchasing, receiving, put-away, order management, picking, packing, shipping–you should have your arms around all of them. Once you have a clear understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of your business, you can put a plan together to tackle some, or all, of the problems.

Another session speaker and Beacon Systems director, Ian Hobkirk, will explain the steps involved in conducting a comprehensive business process review as well as reference a real-life example in Glamorise, a manufacturer/distributor of undergarments for women.

While some larger companies have the internal resources to conduct such an analysis, most smaller organizations lack the engineering depth to do this and need to look outside for help. Regardless of whether this is an internal effort or a joint partnership with an industry professional, the important thing is to take the time to understand the problem before simply buying the “latest and greatest” solution. Before making any major capital expenditures, gain a clear perspective on exactly where your pain exists, and then plan for how your company will alleviate it. Automation? Software? Labor? Once you have completed this process, all the little decisions made in the warehouse on a day-to-day basis can be made with confidence in the context of a larger operational strategy.

The presentation will show some examples of what not to do through the movie comedy “Tommy Boy,” the story of underachieving, overzealous Tom Callahan III (Chris Farley), heir to an auto parts business. When his father dies suddenly, Tommy must save the day or the factory will go out of business. Surprisingly enough, amid the slapstick, “Tommy Boy” sheds some light on many of the supply chain issues that companies face each day.

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