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Cost-effective IT the answer for struggling supply chain firms, claims guru

  • 21 January, 2008 11:18

<p>The greatest challenge for Australia’s supply chain companies lies in remaining competitive, according to industry expert Steve Bridges.</p>
<p>Bridges speaks from experience. His career at senior management level in distribution, manufacturing, and information technology spans 28 years, mostly with multinational corporations specialising in project management of new ventures, business process re-engineering of existing operations, and computerising business support systems.</p>
<p>He says today’s suppliers are operating on ever diminishing margins. Revenues are tight and companies need to find ways other than sales margins to salvage their bottom line results.</p>
<p>“The obvious place to focus is on internal cost cutting, but without jeopardizing customer service levels,” says Bridges. “Ironically, more and more customers are saying that an efficient, accurate, and reliable supplier is often more important than bartering for the cheapest price, simply because their own customer service level is compromised if stock is not available when their customer wants it.”</p>
<p>Fundamentally solution customers are seeking an information technology system that will provide tangible improvements in efficiency, accuracy, and reliability, without having to undergo mammoth staff retraining programs. Most SME operations undergoing rapid growth do not have the luxury of staff with spare hours in the day, since they are flat out doing business.</p>
<p>Bridges says: “Usually management have only a vague idea of how processes can be improved - they don't know what they don't know - and are relying on their software to provide the answers. The other common request is for "a solution that will future proof them". The problem is that they normally have only a vague idea of their business operations direction beyond the next year or two, so mostly they are not really looking beyond rectifying current practices.”</p>
<p>As CEO of supply chain software solutions house Mid-Comp International, Bridges believes the days of boutique software solutions are rapidly ending. He says these are usually hard wired to meet today's needs of a specific industry vertical and are often locked into a specific piece of hardware, operating system, database, and delivery mechanism.</p>
<p>“These extremely focused solutions have little hope of morphing to address any significant future business or technology shift without the customer being saddled with an expensive totally custom and 'orphan' installation,” he says.</p>
<p>According to Bridges, any future supply chain software solution worth its salt will provide enough application flexibility in the base offering to cater for any shift in business focus or expansion. Diversification by the customer into other product lines or industry verticals will need to be configurable 'on the fly' by the customer. It will be hardware, operating system, and database agnostic. Both business dynamics and technology developments are moving too rapidly to do otherwise.</p>
<p>About Mid-Comp International</p>
<p>Mid-Comp International Pty Ltd (www.midcomp.com.au) is an Australian developer and supplier of business software solutions that encompass intelligent supply chain, managed availability and IBM systems management. Recently Elders Ltd chose the firm’s Odyssey intelligent supply chain solution in preference to systems from 100-plus vendors including SAP AG and Lawson Software. Odyssey is believed to be the worlds largest pure Java system. Stockman, Mid-Comp’s scaled down version of Odyssey, is targeted at SME supply chain customers. Both solutions are based on Internet delivered technology. Mid-Comp enjoys a strategic relationship with IBM, and supplies products and services to a client list that includes dominant Australian commercial enterprises. The company also supplies product to organisations in 26 countries, including many Fortune 500 companies.</p>
<p># # #</p>
<p>For more information</p>
<p>Steve Bridges,
CEO, Mid-Comp International Pty Ltd
Phone: (03) 9915 5200 or 0407 498 400
Email: steveb@midcomp.com.au</p>

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