Why Your Supply Chain Technology Doesn’t Work

In today’s market, there are many software packages available to assist companies in their supply chain operations and management. Too often companies view best-of-breed systems and ERP solutions as a “silver bullet” to their supply chain issues, yet fail to see that there are many factors outside of the core technology that dictate the success of their system. Ultimately, successful supply chain management is a marriage of strategy, people, process and technology.

Supply chain optimization solutions can provide a wealth of information to an organization, but require dedicated individuals and teams to turn that information into a tactical and strategic benefit.…

A Day in the Life: The Industrial Engineer Edition

The idea for this blog came to me last week when I presented my mother with a homemade gift; it was a scrapbook of sorts. After the “oohs” and “aahs,” my mother asked me how I was able to create such an elaborate gift in such a short amount of time. After I explained my approach to the construction, she nodded her head and remarked, “I knew you would have a strategy with that engineering mind of yours.” At first, I didn’t think anything of this comment and it wasn’t until later that it had me reflecting…what else do I inadvertently plan or optimize in order to save time, money, or both?…

Four More Considerations for Your Next Deployment

I recently wrote a post about considerations for an international deployment - key items that need to be planned for or mitigated to avoid trouble down the road. To follow up on that post, I wanted to discuss some additional items that aren’t necessarily specific to an international deployment, but really are more relevant for any migration, large or small, local or global.

1.     Backup, Backup, Backup!

At the end of the day, either the business must be comfortable with the risk of data loss during migration, or it must do something to mitigate the risk.…

Great Outlook for Dynamics CRM in 2015 and Beyond!


The 2014 CRM User Group Summit occurred this past week in St Louis.  I was fortunate enough to be able to attend and the conference opened with a very informative Opening General Session featuring Juhjar Singh, the GM for Dynamics CRM at Microsoft.  He began the presentation with the usual stellar digits … 40 straight quarters of double-digit growth and a user base that is at 4.2 million.  While all of the stats he shared were impressive, I was really anticipating seeing the CRM Road Map and all of the “goodies” we can expect from the upcoming releases. …

What is Risk Management and Why is it Important?

Risk Management is a combined and continuous process of decision analysis and proactive management. It identifies and quantifies opportunities and threats. There are four phases of Risk Management that every project manager should follow:

  1. Identify Risks – Review baseline cost, and assess baseline cost and schedule risks
  2. Analyze Risks – Assess and quantify risks as it relates to project cost and schedule
  3. Plan Risk Responses – Develop response strategies to management risks and quantify impacts based on project cost and schedule
  4. Monitor/Control Risks – Be proactive versus reactive

Now you should have a better understanding of what Risk Management is.…

3 Best Practices for Managing Calls Driven from Other Departments

A high percentage of the call volume into a contact center stems from customer complications in other areas of the organization. This is especially true in utilities. A utility contact center will inevitably receive calls due to discrepancies with the customer’s bill, late service appointments, problems persisting after a service visit, and so on. As a result, contact center agents are tasked with managing customer service issues that originated in other lines of business.

In an organization where departments are operating independently, or the contact center manager doesn’t have much influence over the other lines of business, how do you reduce the issues that drive calls into the contact center, handle the calls you still receive, and maintain a positive customer experience?…

CSO as the Chief Change Officer

The position of Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) has started to grow in number and prominence since the early 2000’s and yet to many organizations this position still remains a mystery, or so says a study by George Serafeim and Kathleen Miller. In the article, “Chief Sustainability Officers: Who Are They and What Do They Do?” the authors use survey and interview data to analyze the range of CSO authorities and responsibilities.

In their analysis the authors first describe three stages of organizational commitment to sustainability: Compliance, Efficiency, and Innovation.…

Maximizing your Workforce Performance

For any operation, Engineered Labor Standards (ELS) provide a tool for you to benchmark how well your operation can perform.  The challenge for any operator is answering the question on “how” to achieve that level of performance.  Engineered Labor Standards require both the building of the standards and the ability to execute on those standards.

There are three main phases that should occur to ensure you can achieve the performance levels provided by the standards:

  1. Be involved in development of the ELS
  2. Train your employees and supervision
  3. Execute to the scheduled plan

Gathering Feedback and Securing Buy-In
Let’s start by reviewing the first item: “Be involved in the development of the ELS.”  In developing labor standards, a specific method is identified as the “correct” way for the work to be completed. …

Xamarin University

If you keep up on technology news, you have likely heard of a product called Xamarin. Xamarin is a powerful mobile application development framework that allows you to develop fully native, cross-platform mobile applications using C# and Microsoft.NET. As Xamarin has been rapidly gaining traction, they’ve rolled out “Xamarin University” to enable training and certification of Xamarin developers.

Xamarin created a unique process for certifying developers. Before you can take the certification test, you must complete the required classes through Xamarin University.…

Transform your Retail Pharmacy through Process Innovation

Why should you invest, innovate and launch a new store concept for your pharmacies? There are many factors. Typically, a total redesign for a store happens once every few decades. So, when is the right time to do this time and cost intensive investment? Often, it is dictated by external signals – regulations, competitors, customer expectations, new offers in the market or the desire to offer omni-channel access. Mostly, it is a question of growth and long-term viability.…

Day Dreaming and Preventing Nightmares in the ExactTarget Marketing Cloud

It’s no secret that Salesforce does some really cool stuff when it comes to enabling Marketing.  Through tools like ExactTarget Marketing Cloud and the Journey Builder, marketers can do things that were merely dreams just a few years ago – creating a customer journey through a user interface that empowers a marketer to create rich and interactive experience for customers.  Technology is awesome.  But technology is MORE awesome when it’s more than just a flashy tool and something that enables a process.…

Clean Air Act: Maintaining and Strengthening Relationships More Important Now than Ever


Recently adopted and proposed federal environmental regulations can have potentially far-reaching effects on State-level planning and policy making, particularly for states that rely heavily on fossil fuels for energy production and use. These regulations can also add significantly to the costs of doing business in that state.

The proposed rules for power plant carbon emissions will require diligence on the part of affected parties in identifying “best-value” compliance strategies. It is clear that the role of the states’ in developing plans and ensuring compliance is being strengthened.…

Latest News Around Clean Power Plan

There has been a lot of media attention surrounding the Clean Power Plan. Here is a round-up of some of the most important industry related news and how it may impact you.

Ameren Missouri Responds to CPP with Plans to Build Natural Gas Plants

If finalized, the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan will require many utilities to shift their power generation investments and operations. Officials at Ameren Missouri have already begun planning for the changes it anticipates having to make to comply with the rule, which aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants in the state by 21 percent by 2020.…

Clean Power Plan: State Targets for State Plans

The EPA proposed Clean Power Plan rule is premised on a straight-forward concept: to identify the best system of emission reductions (BSER) that can be implemented to reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants. To the EPA, the BSER is composed of the four building blocks of the Plan:

  • Improve the heat rates at existing fossil fuel plants.
  • “Re-dispatch” existing natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) power sources, which means to dispatch them more often in order to increase their utilization up to an average 70% utilization rate.

Deploy Windows 10, Windows Server, and Hyper-V Server Technical Preview Using MDT 2013

When Microsoft released the Technical Preview of Windows 10, I was excited to try deploying it using WMP’s Automated Build Environment (ABE) deployment tool. For those that have not yet used ABE, it is a customized version of the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT). ABE extends MDT by automating operating system import, task sequence creation, and by automatically including support for all the major hardware manufacturers’ drivers. We designed ABE to get MDT functional on an enterprise scale very quickly.The current version of MDT 2013 does not support the deployment of Windows 10.…


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