Friday, 11 September 2009

The 2nd in a series of articles following the implementation of Lean Manufacturing in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 to a Medical Equipment Manufacturer

Last month I detailed how my customer is preparing to implement Lean Manufacturing in Microsoft Dynamics AX. Part of this preparation involves the implementation of a Plan for Every Part and over the past few weeks our customer team has been preparing this plan in detail. Much of this has been of a fairly mundane nature, converting existing spreadsheets into a format that can be used by Dynamics AX and although this part seems more like an exercise for the techies, there is something pretty exciting seeing the Kanban data in the system and ready for testing.

There's no substitute for seeing real data in the system and it does help reinforce the message that the new system is not far away.

Although receiving the data in spreadsheet form saves one heck of a lot of legwork, when it finds its way into Microsoft Dynamics AX and testing follows, several inconsistencies come to light. Sometimes the supply chain turns out not to be entirely continuous with materials being called-up by one work centre not necessarily being supplied by the right warehouse. The other 'biggie' we encountered was one work centre which seemed to hold its inventory in several warehouses. When I asked about this, it seemed that the reasons were entirely sound (largely to do with available space), but the method of controlling this overflow inventory seemed to be surrounded with a little mystery as nobody seemed to know why it was controlled in the way that it was!

This is entirely reasonable and it's good to find these 'funnies' now, rather than after go-live. There is not a company in the world that doesn't have a few inventory skeletons in the closet, and although the reasons may not seem sound today, chances are there was a good reason for them once. The secret now is to address these anomalies and find a solution which can be tested before the Big Day when it all becomes live. Lean transformations are often triggered by compelling events and in turn, our ERP implementation can be used as an equally compelling event to identify, question and eliminate the inconsistencies in your internal value chain.

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