Years ago I worked as a junior procurement officer at a medium sized Canadian manufacturing company. Within my first year, our production scheduler resigned and to my surprise, I was promoted to her position. I was terrified because I didn’t have a background in operations management and I didn’t understand its mysterious jargon. Acronyms like MPS, MRP, BOM, and the like were foreign to me. I also did not have a good grasp of our ERP system (SYSPRO).
The title that comes to mind and feels very personal is a term coined by SYSPRO’s Cape Town office: “Meryling”. I think this comes about as I can be pretty elusive and abstract but completely on the mark when I need to be. Meryling revolves around mulling, meddling, musing, and finally finding the mark, which makes SYSPRO so successful in Africa.
Recently I was watching one of those “how things are made” TV shows which featured a saw mill. I was amazed at the vast range of waste factors eating away at the profits of the hardworking lumber millers. From the felling of the tree to the final delivery of sawn timber products to their customers, their raw material is whittled down to a fraction of the original volume.
Isn’t it interesting how people give route directions differently, each believing to get the listener to his rightful destination in his own way? So often they start off with: “You know where XYZ café is? Well, from there take ….” Others may draw a crude sketch, showing the number of traffic lights you need to cross before turning left; but always adding “I think” before continuing. Still others take a map book, open it on the right page … and before providing directions, turn the book to face true north!
The travel savvy enquirer mostly stops listening and asks for the street address. He knows that his trusted GPS will get him to his destination in no time without counting traffic lights, memorizing upside down street maps or figuring out the assumptions (mostly wrong!) of confused co-travelers.