Back in the 1980s SAPICS delegates gathered at the trendy Elangeni Hotel on the Durban seafront while exhibitors faced kitchen-lift logistics to get stand equipment and mini-computers to the second floor.
Computers were loaded with the latest inventory and production software – secrets that amazed the uninitiated – “can you really do that?” – well, yes we could. This was “MRP Self Preservation Society” era when SAPICS theories were new to most South Africans.
Fast forward to SAPICS 2016 which was held at a Sun City under reconstructive surgery.
We met in an elaborate tented venue and this worked well, with coffee networking in the SYSPRO and iPlan coffee areas.
30 years on – was it different? Has SAPICS theory changed? Yes, a bit, but much like Sun City, mostly cosmetically – we now have the DDMRP nose job that simplifies materials management in palatable red, yellow and green diagrams.
Good basics don’t change much but application does and innovations like analytics, mobility and more intuitive ERP make it easier to apply – for some SAPICS was new for others it’s same old but with a nicer smile. For me, the real value is networking with this group of professionals and hearing their view of the world. SYSPRO’s Meryl Malcomess, MD SYSPRO Africa, introduced the first day and Nick Binedell’s opening address with great tips on how to do great business and stay competitive.
If you have a map and a mirror in your business toolkit, and can learn faster than the rate of change and more importantly unlearn just as quickly (like running up an escalator backwards); and understand what your business can do that the market wants or will want that no other business can do…then you’ll attain leadership in business.
Be the outsiders to your own industry like Airbnb and Uber. And remember new means your generation believes the next will wreck your future. And that’s the way it should be –innovation into the future taking advantage of emerging technologies like Internet of Things (IoT) on the solid base of more mature business IT like ERP.