Progress monitoring … so 2000!

What my days were like in the year 2000: At around eight o’clock, the day starts with a cup of coffee. My desktop starts up with Windows 98 SE, after which I start up my ERP application. To see how things are going, I have to print out my list of outstanding orders. I then look for my ruler and highlighters so that I can set to work. The list contains around 300 rows and I will have to go through those one by one. I start with the first row. Every single row is visited by my ruler, to view its current status. When I think an order will be on time, I highlight this in green. After half an hour, I have reached row 50 and I discover that this order will arrive too late. Argh. I then have to investigate the cause of this and what I have to do to be able to highlight this in green. I immediately wonder who I should inform about this delayed order. The row is finally highlighted in green. Two and a half hours later, I have highlighted the entire list. It has become a colourful spectacle, with green blocks and some red lines, plus a number of comments. This list will feed an email to the various departments when I inform them which orders could potentially be late. Day after day, I work for three hours on investigating where we are at.

How would things be if I had one screen? A screen on which I could immediately see orders that will be late, or where I am able to filter orders. I would be so very happy if, from that same screen, I could then look at underlying information and could add comments for colleagues. I do not need to view the rows of orders that are on time. I actually don’t want to waste any time on things that I don’t have to send. I think I could then easily save 2.5 hours a day! Time that I could use to do other things. What is my role in this company? I could be the buyer, the production planner, internal sales or even the warehouse manager. All of them only look at orders for which they are responsible. I think that many of them who play such a role could imagine themselves in the aforementioned situation. The foregoing solution of progress monitoring by Management by Exception has been around for many years. It’s just that I have noticed that people find it very hard to say goodbye to their trusted lists. Despite all the advantages of these types of screens, we are often asked by the market whether we can supply old trusted progress lists. Why keep the list culture alive? Familiar? Let us know.