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4 Posts authored by: Soren

As a major global manufacturer Intel works constantly to improve its Supply Chain. Our ERP implementation and key projects are integral ingredients in the process of driving Supply Chain improvements. It was exciting that recently we saw Intel recognized as one of the top leading companies from a Supply Chain perspective. AMR Research published The AMR Research Supply Chain Top 25 for 2009.


Check out AMR’s Press release:

Intel uses the concept of corporate goals as a way to crystallize what is important across the company.  Every year the CEO and his staff agree on the big items Intel wants to achieve.  These are defined and grading is agreed on.  This is a great recognition tool in that it focuses all needed areas of the company to achieve these goals.


From an ERP perspective corporate goals have several advantages.  When running an ERP effort that is one of the corporate goals then it tends to be a lot easier to get support from matrix groups since all groups want to achieve and support the corporate goal.  Generally, groups tend to focus on their own goals (since not all groups have a corporate goal for their activities) but the corporate goals break down cross group barriers and trump group goals.  In years past, ERP in overall or individual programs were not part of the corporate goals.  When this was the case, ERP efforts could be categorized as being IT or business focused.  Items such as ERP upgrades, hardware upgrades, etc. tend to be IT focused.  On the other hand business efforts tend to focus on delivering new functionality (e.g. implement a new Advanced Planning module) that will enable some new element in the business (e.g. a new division or warehouse or improve delivery performance).  When an IT ERP program supports a business corporate goal, then that tends to be a powerful catalyst in terms of ensuring executive and senior management support, resources, and support from other groups.  But the ideal ERP program has both an IT corporate goal and a business corporate goal.  When these rare conditions exist then obstacles are removed as if by magic.  Here the business is extremely motivated as are all the groups needed in IT.  The downside is the amount of visibility and scrutiny tends to be extremely high.  But all in all the positives outweigh the negatives in this “Ideal” ERP scenario. 


Whether a corporate goal or not, I would argue that an essential ingredient in ensuring an ERP effort is successful is to ensure both the business and IT think it is a priority.  This may seem obvious but it is not uncommon for an IT department to pursue a major effort that is not necessarily aligned with business priorities.  When this happens, the risk of failure increases dramatically.  At Intel, IT can get a major program included as a corporate goal and this in turn ensures senior business management support.  Although very powerful by itself the effort becomes even more powerful when the same ERP effort is also a business corporate goal.  We have examples of this alignment and it creates a positive environment for ensuring visibility and results.



Posted by Soren May 1, 2009

ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning.  The term evolved from earlier terms such as Material Requirements Planning (MRP, sometimes referred to as little MRP to distinguish it from Manufacturing Resource Planning) and Manufacturing Resource Planning (sometimes referred to as big MRP or more generally MRPII).  Material Requirements Planning focused on time phased planning of materials required in support of manufactured items (based on a Bill of Material).  These could be finished products or components.  It ensures the right materials are at the right place at the right time in the appropriate quantity.  The techniques associated with MRP became feasible during the 1960's as computers became more available to businesses.  This approach enabled reductions in inventory while at the same time improving customer service, which had been thought unlikely with older inventory control theories.  Manufacturing Resource Planning, the next evoloution of MRP, kept Materials Requirements Planning and added to it, by including financials and marketing.  MRPII provided the coordination between production, finance, and marketing.  The idea was to create a closed loop system between these three key areas of a manufacturing enterprise.  With ERP the definition was further expanded to include additional business domains and also to support businesses/enterprises beyond just manufacturing companies.  MRP, MRPII, and ERP are a combination of both business process theory and the software application suites that enable these processes.  Today’s major ERP packages generally support finance, human resources, procurement, product development, sales and marketing, manufacturing and supply chain management.  This is not all inclusive as vendors have tended to extend their footprint to all areas of the enterprise.  Generally, application vendors aim to create integrated applications across these domains and provide a single database for one version of the truth, so to speak.  The other thing that is generally claimed is that the applications contain best practices which will help drive operational improvements as a result of implementing.


Intel started its ERP implementation effort over a decade ago.  As most large corporations, Intel has implemented elements of ERP throughout the company across this timeframe.  We did not implement all elements at once or at all our business groups.  Programs/projects were planned and launched based on business need, ROI, and business readiness.  Being an engineering and manufacturing company Intel has been able to leverage the original concepts of MRP/MRPII and the newer elements of ERP.  Moving forward I plan to relate some of my experiences and general thoughts on the ERP efforts I have been involved with here at Intel.

My name is Soren Andersen.  I work in Intel’s Information Technology Supply Network Capability group as a manager delivering strategic Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) programs and projects.  My goal is to blog about the challenges of delivering ERP in a large corporation such as Intel.  My intent is to focus on delivering ERP to enable the business.  Since I am from Intel you might expect me to blog about Intel products.  However, I will leave that to other company experts.  In this entry I will provide you some background on who I am and also provide some context and a framework for upcoming entries.


I have worked in the Information Technology/Information Systems field for over 20 years.  My degree is in Industrial Engineering.  The first 6 plus years I spent at Electronic Data Systems (EDS, which is now a part of Hewlett Packard) conducting systems integration on engineering and manufacturing systems in the Midwest.  I spent the latter part of my time there as a manager delivering imaging systems for government, manufacturing, and medical industries.  The environment was mainframe, Unix, and then PCs leading to client/server systems.  Next, with a move into a start up consulting firm I worked in the manufacturing/supply chain systems arena primarily for manufacturing high tech clients in the Pacific Northwest.  Here the focus was on both custom client/server applications and packaged software focused on advanced planning for supply chain.


After 11 plus years at Intel I have had the opportunity to work in a variety of roles in IT/IS environments.  Most of these focused on delivering Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems.  I have worked on the strategic front end defining roadmaps and budget to implement ERP.  I have delivered multiple large ERP components to various divisions within Intel.  And have had the opportunity to run a consolidated ERP support organization of up to 175 people worldwide.  I have also had the opportunity to work on multiple efforts such as B2B (Rosettanet, Web, etc), Reporting/Business Intelligence/Analytics, etc which tend to be at the periphery of ERP efforts but at the end of the day are also critical to their success.  In all of these roles the common denominator has been that I have always been a people manager while at times also carrying the program manager title.  I mention this since this is my vantage point.  There are those who are strictly people/resource managers and their focus is on developing people and there are those who are individual contributor program managers who focus strictly on the programs and leverage matrixed resources.  I have managed teams where all resources down to the analysts and the programmers reported to me and then, as I am doing now, have managed product managers, program managers, project managers, technical leads, and architects without the bulk of the resources.  But I think what permeates my perspective is the fact that I am a manager with responsibility for a team that is responsible for delivering key ERP programs.


In terms of what you can expect from me with these blogs, here are some of the topics that I work with, come across, and interest me:  Program/Project Management, Resource Management, Program Management Office (PMO), Roadmaps, yearly Budgeting, Steering Committees/Management Review Committees, Roadmaps, Methodologies for ERP (e.g. Agile, Waterfall, etc), Processes (e.g. Program Lifecycle, CMMi, etc), Value of programs, metrics, teams (geo dispersed, large vs small, in-house/outsourced/contract), Supply Chain, and whatever else I may be working with in the course of delivering ERP solutions at Intel.  I welcome your inputs for additional topics as well.  I am looking forward to not just sharing my own thoughts but also learning from fellow travelers in the field of delivering ERP.

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