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The third example is probably the most obvious. This involves receiving, planning, and scheduling customer orders and then converting them into supplier or manufac­turing orders which end up as a finished good or distri­bution inventory. The next step is to assure timely delivery to the customer. The interfacing of these functions is one of the most critical. Departmental walls are really not al­lowed since these are the core coordinating functions to assure timely customer delivery. Contrary to this state­ment, walls do exist since frequently the managers in charge of these functions have very strong personalities. Purchasing and distribution professionals are usually strong-willed individuals, which leaves P&IC managers in the middle. P&IC must assure that commitments are met and these commitments change more often than desired Customer promises must be reconciled with purchasing and shop cycle times, inventory levels, efficient transpor­tation methods, and strategic channels of distribution. In order for these efforts to materialize, it is critical that the functions work closely as a team. Perhaps this is one of the purposes for having a materials and/or logistics manager.

The fourth example is that of field service. Whenever decisions are made within an organization, we seldom spend much effort concerning field service needs. This reminds the presenter of a situation discussed by a field service manager of his role within the company. Usually, field service not only services products, including installa­tion, repair, warrantee, etc., but can act as a valuable source of marketing intelligence. Many times, whether a customer buys another product depends upon the customer's level of satisfaction with the service after the sale has been made. One particular field service manager indicated that he is never involved in cost savings analysis and that a very favorable internal cost savings can really become totally cost ineffective when looking at total cost. As an example, if the change involves retraining the servicemen, reprint­ing documentation, retrofitting units already sold, etc., the savings can quickly turn negative. Therefore, walls do exist, in many cases, among the functions. Design engi­neering, sales/marketing, field service, accounting, manu­facturing, all must work together in order to not only assure, but be assured that the customers' needs are satisfied.

The fifth example involves systems integration. During this presentation, we have been discussing interfaces. Interface means the points where functions come together, meet, or touch. Integration in systems means that one transaction updates many data files across functional lines. Therefore, the goal of integrated systems is to speed information flow, thus improving communications. In or­der to accomplish this task, it requires the teamwork of everyone in the organization, from top management to the technicians (production floor) and across all functional areas. To begin, top management must approve the project providing priorities and resources. Top management, in this situation, consists of the executive committee, which usually is represented by marketing/sales, manufacturing, engineering, and finance (really cross functional). When a project team is selected, each major department is usually represented consisting of; production, order entry, market­ing, cost accounting, design engineering, industrial engi­neering, and/or a technical representative, purchasing, production and inventory control, and data processing, as well as human resources and quality control. The purpose, once again, is for the users to take ownership of the system. By accomplishing this effort, a great deal of decisions need to be made and in doing so, the walls between departments come tumbling down.

Hopefully, the above examples representing the four mod­ules of CIRM will give the listener or reader some concrete thoughts regarding the importance of lowering barriers between departments. We should think in terms of a relay team involved in a track and field race where the objective is to pass the baton quickly and cleanly. With this example, we should be able to understand that the only way to win the race is to work as a team with a common goal.

To be Continued


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