Another Chain Unbound

by Aaron Lazenby, August 2011

Every issue of Profit comes into focus over the course of a six-week editorial cycle. We may start off with an ideal lineup of stories, but then real life happens—executive travel schedules, holidays, system upgrades, staff departures, and product releases all humble our best-laid plans. And after a lot of phone calls and e-mails (and a few all-nighters), Profit ends up being something slightly different than what we had initially planned. In the process, new themes and trends often emerge that define the content of the book.

This issue highlights Oracle customers who are dealing with a similar kind of volatility—in this case, the kind that comes with the post-New Normal marketplace. But for our customers, the stakes are much higher, and they do not have the luxury of discovering the forces that shape their products along the way. Instead, many customers in this issue of Profit showed us how extending their idea of what “supply chain management” means in order to gain more control over volatility is helping them do new and exciting things in their businesses.

Here are two great examples: The IT department at Plantronics has built demand management functionality into the core of the company’s supply chain processes, getting a clear understanding of what the market needs before products are built and warehoused. And, Tecumseh technologists have built a manufacturing system that allows the company to custom-build some products and mass-produce others, based on known customer demand. Both of these IT projects are closely aligned with the business goals of the companies they serve—a factor Dell CIO Robin Johnson told me is essential for CIOs who want to be successful in the future.

It’s learning lessons like these as we develop our stories that makes producing Profit so rewarding to create.

On a side note, we are now deep in the process of redesigning the magazine, with an expected launch in February 2012. As we work through this process, we’d love to hear your thoughts on how we can make Profit better. Let’s start the conversation on Twitter—just contact @OracleProfit.

Aaron Lazenby
Editor in chief, Profit