Sending Inventory to the Clouds


Since the creation of inventory management software, many small businesses have not been able to take advantage   of the expensive computer solutions available only to large corporations. But things are about to change, thanks to  BrightPearl and cloud. The Internet cloud, that is.

In traditional inventory management systems, the company is required to purchase the software and install it into the specific office computers that need to use it. The cloud changes the way people can access the software, and it can support hundreds of computers simultaneously. It also can save companies money by regularly updating, without having to install new versions manually. Initial installation is low cost, and does not require highly skilled IT professionals to set up. Brightpearl currently supports Magento, eBay and It starts at only $99 per user each month, and there is a $120 connector fee to set up the connections to different e-commerce


The Cloud is useful in a number of ways. Real-time monitoring allows the system to update across the entire system instantly, therefore reducing the amount of error that can occur between the transfer of information from one computer to the next. Just like Google Drive, the cloud will update across offices, and will allow everyone to see the inventory purchases across divisions. The cloud even supports devices such as smart phones and tablets, so you can monitor your inventory at home, in meetings, or on the go. Departmental communication will also be increased, so everyone will know each departments demand, inventory, or when items need to be restocked or shipped. It also allows you to see where the bottleneck issues are, what the fixed orders should be, and how to calculate ROP.

Although there are many upsides to the cloud, there are also several drawbacks. Security is main concern for the use of the cloud, and is very controversial within the industry. If the system was hacked, people could see how many orders are being made, and therefore use the information to their advantage. It could also lead to a loss in IT workers, since the cloud service would handle all customer service problems and issues. IT people would no longer be of service, and many would lose their jobs. Another drawback to using an inventory monitoring system in the cloud is performance risks. According to IT specialist David Kim, “Leaving out integration issues alone, cloud-based ERP are essentially related to threatened speed, reliability of network, outage risks, and limitations on data transfer” (Kim, 2013).

Do you think BrightPearl and the cloud is a good place to monitor the entire inventory for a company, or should they stick to the original software systems? Do you think the cloud will eventually take over business computer systems, or is it too risky for companies to vitally important information like their inventory management systems in a cloud that could be hacked by outside competitors?



Intel: losing its core or struggling for innovation?

Andy Bryant, who is the chairman of Intel, has been scrambling frantically to find a new and innovative way to put the “chip” back into technology. In recent years, technology has evolved tremendously and nowadays, our society is more dependent on smaller forms of technology such as, our smart phones and our tablets. Unfortunately, this has taken a huge toll upon laptops and computers due to the fact that with smaller technology, there may no longer be a use for the computer chip.

Not only does declining PC sales affect this, but also the industry is constantly changing to the point where Intel has not been able to keep up. Recently the new and innovative Cloud technology has been creating a huge demand for basic servers, proving that there really is no need for the computer chip anymore.

While this is on the executives’s minds, they’ve also been in turmoil from the fact that their Chief Executive Officer, Paul Otellini had made an unexpected announcement in November that he would be resigning. He has been serving on the board since 2005. His reason being “It’s time to move on and transfer Intel’s helm to a new generation of leadership.” Intel has been looking for a new successor since. They’re expecting it to be an internal hire, although they are open to externals. So far, Otellini has about a month before he leaves and no one has been able to fill his position yet. Intel has been considering Brian Krzanich and David Perlmutter, who are supposedly their best candidates. They work very closely with the core business of Intel, both overseeing chip design and how it is made.

In the meantime, Mr. Bryant has been preparing his employees for a huge change within the company. He understands that now it is a new era, and that both the company and its employees must make the adaption to this change in order to hopefully continue making positive revenues in the future. He has admitted that “the customers have changed, and we have to as well…where the revenue is now is not where it is in the future.”

To try and keep up their revenues with their crisis in hand, Intel has recently been working with companies outside of the U.S. to create smartphones and tablets that they claim as their own. They are also creating a television set and a subscription service.

Noted in Chapter 1 of our management book, there are 10 crucial areas that operations managers must make their decisions on and the very first one listed is “design of goods and services.” Unfortunately Intel chairmen have run into this problem and need to find a way to either create a new product, or make their existing product better to be able to compete with other rival companies that are doing the same. With this decision, it also leads into the other decisions that must be made, such as “process and capacity design,” “supply chain management,” and especially “intermediate and short-term scheduling.” Although these are only a few other decisions that need to be focused on, they all contribute to what it takes to be a good manager.



Should you be friends with your coworkers?

My previous blog post  covered the increasing use of Agile development methods in mainstream and large scale projects.  Another trend that L. Leroy Ward of ESI International listed in his recent article on the top 10 trends in Project Management for 2012 is Collaboration.

In this post, I’ll discuss the use of collaboration software as an integral tool for project teams.   Project success depends on timely communication within the project team and sharing of information to get tasks completed.  The ability for teams to easily share information and interact with each other quickly and effortlessly can positively impact project results.

A crucial technology that makes this possible is cloud computing which provides a platform to bring together collaboration tools and a centralized data repository to manage projects.  This technology along with social acceptance of sharing information online has given rise to numerous applications that integrate social and functional aspects into a single tool. Project Management tool vendors have noticed this shift and have created applications that integrate cloud and social networking to provide teams with a powerful set of tools.   Products such as Teambox, ProjecTruf, Teamwork PM, BaseCamp, Huddle and numerous other web-based project management tools are being adopted and used by project teams worldwide.

I work for a large multi-national technology company with global development teams across at least 3-4 different time-zones that work together on various projects.  For years, we have used internally developed communication tools which were not integrated with our project management tool; however, we are now in the process of selecting an integrated web-based tool that will combine project tracking and reporting capabilities of project management along with collaboration tools.   I see a lot of positives in using a tool that seamlessly integrates collaboration with project management. For one, the global nature of our teams and business lends itself to the use of such tools.  Second, the ability to easily access key documents anywhere anytime is essential in an increasingly mobile workplace.  I see this trend being widely adopted by the business community.

Have you used any web-based project management tools?  What are your experiences in using them on small and/or large projects?