Build scalable solutions
The right supply chain solution is rarely found on a shelf in a box which is purchased, installed and delivers your organisation the right results within budget. As each organisation has unique processes, specific financial reporting standards and a range of documentation requirements, reaching the final design involves a lengthy process and is reliant on a number of factors. Although the implementation phase is more prone to failure due to the visible impact on the business, the success rate of the project can be increased by managing the design phase closely to minimise or eliminate project specification creep.
Based on the proof of concept outcome, a functional specification set is developed that forms the basis of the design phase. It is critical that this functional specification not only deals with specific functionality, but also supports business process mapping, document creation and specific flows unique to the business.
The design team should be made up of topic experts, systems specialists and business analysis that have a strong awareness of the business. The strength of a team will be its ability to convey business requirements to design requirements and then validate these in reverse. Staging the design would be very advantageous as it simplifies the validation process for all stakeholders and keeps modification costs down.
In complex projects where a number of hardware and software vendors may be required, the overall process of vendor selection should be standardised and based on specificly defined vendor criteria, namely: product suitability, product fit, level of scalability, after sales support, company's financial state, project methodology and experience of the team.
The design environment will require management and coordination to establish the correct platform for designing the final product. This is typically set up at the vendors premises as all resources are readily available. In complex projects, a level of integration may be required between multi vendors systems where either transactions or documents are created and need to flow to the interfaced system.
Design standards are strict and are predetermined by the programming language used to create the customised solution. Forms or documents can vary as these are not usually part of the source code and require verification.