25 Years. Since January 1996.
Software vendors include: Microsoft Navision, Sage, NetSuite, QuickBooks, IFS. Engagements include vendor selection, implementation, operations realignment, data conversion/migration, user rights/roles security, reporting, usage, business process improvement, EDI integration.
Software vendors include: Kissinger, TrustedLink/Inovis/OpenText, SPS, TrueCommerce, DiCentral. Engagements include vendor selection, implementation, ERP integration (e.g., NetSuite, Sage, IFS), operations realignment, data mapping.
Reduced annual supply chain chargeback penalties beginning and ranging from $100,000 to $1M (representing 1% to 2% of gross annual sales) within weeks to months. Achieved success via collaboration with customers, contract manufacturers, and contract distributors (e.g. 3PLs). Targeted both operational and technical compliance issues.
Served as Supply Chain Consultant to VICS (Voluntary Interindustry Commerce Solutions), the retail industry’s trade association, from 01/2008 to 12/2011. I authored an e-learning supplier education course on best practices in supply chain applications and business process optimization. Presented on committee actions at meetings and conferences.
Served as Supply Chain Consultant to NMMA (National Marine Manufacturers Association), the marine industry’s largest trade association, from 01/2003 to 12/2007. In this capacity I led marine industry’s meetings between manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. I advised and directed the development of a marine industry EDI platform, developed barcode standards, and presented findings and updates at industry meetings.
Developed mission-critical software, including:
At the beginning of 2019, a twice-former client of mine contacted me and asked about my availability, and how soon I could assist them with a supply chain vendor compliance issue of great urgency. Given our excellent history and their knowledge of my expertise in this area, I told them that I would make myself available to assist. This company had amassed $1M in financial penalties from their largest customer – Amazon – in the latter half of 2018, and the chargebacks were continuing with no abatement, and the company did not know why.
Over the course of seven months, I performed: deep-dive data analysis into their order processing and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) data; analyzed the chargeback data from Amazon; examined the software code in their order processing and accounting system (effectively their home-grown Enterprise Resource Planning – ERP – system); engaged with their contract manufacturers and distributors in examining the data they were exchanging and understanding their individual software systems and operations; auditing and preventing full commitment to a new distribution warehouse partner whose software systems and business operations would have resulted in excessively more financial chargebacks (9,000 shipments reviewed).
Real and permanent savings gained via internal company software fixes and external partner software corrections that overall improved data to meet customer (retailer) Amazon requirements were proven to be at $750,000 by the end of the 7-month period based on chargeback reduction analysis, and continued to hold steady in the successive months and through 1Q 2020 as the fixes remained in place.
In early 2014 I was contacted by the US partner of a China-based footwear manufacturer to “barcode” his factory. He had provided what he determined was his own timeframe and fees without any background or experience in the project.
After twice rejecting his proposal, he came back a third time, convinced that I was his expert. I asked him to have his factory send me three key pieces of data (in spreadsheet form) to analyze, after which I informed him that this project was unwise and, if attempted, would fail to perform to his expectations as well as my standards.
In disbelief, he pressed on for me to accept the project. I compromised and suggested a one-week discovery assignment at the facility (factory and warehouse) in China. I then was informed that the discovery would be at the old facility and the new facility which was twice the size at 500,000 square feet and, while in use was also still in construction.
In the one-week (5-day) discovery, I accomplished the following: improved inventory storage efficiency in the warehouses which reduced space need and decreased inventory damages; improved inventory flow from warehouse to shop floor, reducing shop floor inventory build-up bottlenecks; cancelled a custom software project for inventory tracking; met with the software reseller to review current financial and operations features in-use and other software features that were available, and made recommendations for feature acquisition; convinced US partner that barcode inventory would not be practical or beneficial; created and trained a team on my findings and to carry on improvements after my departure. All conversations were translated in real-time English-Chinese and Chinese-English.
Savings to company resulted in $75,000 in consulting fees and estimated (realistic) $500,000 in software, hardware, and infrastructure expenditures for the barcode inventory project.
I was providing vendor compliance / EDI consulting for a consumer goods manufacturer and distributor and already making great strides in helping them successfully enter national retail chains. A great part of this success was in stretching their EDI software functionality to accommodate for their restrictive legacy order processing and accounting software, creating custom software for labeling and data analysis, and creating and supervising a stand-alone end-to-end operations team dedicated to handling national account order fulfillment. I also held the company back on more than one national rollout at the outset because the company was not technically and operationally ready. We worked with the retailers to slow the national rollouts, and in collaboration, each rollout was a big success.
During this time the company was committing to what started as a custom warehouse software project but grew into a full-fledged order processing, accounting, inventory, and contact call center application. The group of software consultants had set up shop in a corner of the company’s offices, and rarely if ever did they let anyone else in. After 2 years, $4.5M, and 12 go-live attempts, the software was a complete failure, and the company was left in a critical situation. I was asked by the CEO and CFO, two principals of the company, to step in and evaluate the situation. Upon my recommendation, within 2 weeks the software group was fired and I was asked to co-lead an ERP selection and implementation project with a $1M budget, and given a 12-month timeline for completion. We met the budget and timeline, and as the technical lead on the project, kept the modifications to $12,500 (5% of the software price). I handled the key data conversions (items, customers, vendors, inventory) and had oversight on the remaining data migration and conversion efforts.
During the interim time period in which the project was taking place, because the legacy accounting system had been so badly modified, it was no longer able to accurately maintain inventory counts, and the warehouse personnel were having to take excessive time daily to continually count and adjust inventory. At my suggestion, and to the complete disbelief of company management, I successfully implemented a low-cost off-the-shelf inventory management solution that kept warehouse inventory accurate and synchronized to the legacy accounting for nine months. This became the source system that was used for the data migration to the new ERP system. My solution was a $90,000 savings versus trying to patch the legacy accounting system which the IT Director at the time was trying to sway the company to do.
(The above interim inventory project success story is available on the Articles & Audio page for download. Please reference the Katzscan Backtrack article. )