Posted by: Matthew Molinari | April 18, 2012

Planning for the Future

I am currently involved in a project at work that involves switching a major point of sale from one software to another. It is our hope that by bringing all of our lines of business onto the same platform we will be able to better serve the customer and control all the outlets more efficiently.

The overall scope of the project is set up to take about 6 months and we are in the infant stages of planning the switch. What I’ve found most interesting is the way in which I think a project like this should be looked at.

Yes, our end goal is to set up a new system within 6 months that will better serve customers and the business but there is something that must also be planned for that is much more difficult. For the context of this blog I am going to frame the plan in terms of our supply chain.

If we are planning to rework our inventory maintenance system and were to plan for simply what our current needs are for the next season, we would be missing the bigger picture and setting us up for the need of another conversion in a few short years. The hardest part of setting up a current platform is to gauge your current needs as well as the needs of your company for the next 10.

You do not want to overspend on an issue you may face three years down the road but you also want to be able to set up your company for success over the longterm. The best way to do this is to think realistically about your short and long-term goals so that the steps you take now help you to accomplish future goals.

The other important thing to think about is that if you are tearing something down, don’t be afraid to question everything. While the proverbial drywall is down in your operation you are able to see all the wiring and whether there are issues that need to be addressed. Something that has always been one way now has the opportunity to be changed. The important thing to do is to rethink everything and seriously question whether it is the best way or just the old way.

Changing systems can be an overwhelming task but it also affords you a great opportunity to rethink your operational systems to ensure that they are functioning at the most efficient level. If you think long-term and across the entire chain of your business you will be set up for success.

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Responses

  1. Hi Matt,

    The way I see it is that the planning of the future is just good requirements gathering. If you gather the right requirements the right way (see here), then I don’t think you need to be afraid of the future at all!

    • Thanks for the comment. I couldn’t agree more. The more time you spend planning the less time you have to spend thinking about what you should have done.


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