May 22 2013
“… the lack of interest [in Lean] comes through loud and clear when you read the none-too-subtle message in this interview with Melissa Cook from Microsoft, ironically titled with a quote from her, Microsoft Director: ‘Manufacturing Is A Hotbed Of Innovation’. She is all about creativity, speed and innovation so long as it happens within the ERP framework. Her examples of manufacturing’s creative culture is simply the evolution of MRP: ‘going through MRP, MRPII and ERP. Manufacturing is a hotbed of innovation’…”
For decades, Microsoft has made money from selling buggy and functionally mediocre software to customers who couldn’t tell they had alternatives. And once Microsoft dominated a market, their products were a standard and mandatory if you wanted to exchange data with anyone you did business with.
With this background, I don’t find it surprising that the Microsoft people should consider ERP a success story. In manufacturing, a first generation of ignorant managers was sold the MRP bill of goods. It didn’t produce the expected benefits, but then, a new generation came on board that was the perfect mark for Closed-loop MRP, and the pattern repeated itself on a larger scale with each generation all the way to ERP.
It is a marvel of marketing that the failure of each generation of this type of software has not hurt the marketability of the next. And I think the key reason is that new managers are born, if not every minute, at least at the end of every academic year.
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