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August 21st 2021

Tired of being a Prisoner of MRP?

Apart from the need to punish, the humanitarian in me would like to believe that the main objective of prison is to rehabilitate inmates by getting them to conform to normal society. The system is designed to get their conduct to match the attitudes, beliefs and behaviours of normal society with zero tolerance to rule breaking. This is done by providing a highly rigid set of rules, shared by the group, that guide their interactions with society. Most inmates choose to conform because the alternative is solitary confinement, which is designed to weaken their spirit until they conform.

When I get invited into a new client to review their current processes or lecture to supply chain professional at Warwick, I more than often come away feeling that most Planners behave just like ‘Prisoner of MRP’. They are told that the rule is Forecast Driven MRP and that they need to just conform. Even though they openly admit that the process is not working they have stopped trying to look for better ways to do things and just survive with that they have. Their only comfort blanket is the Excel Spreadsheet they are given.

I am not sure if you have ever been to a prison, but it is quite a dreary place lacking energy and creativity. The guards talk more than the prisoners, and all the guards say is ‘Conform!’. No one likes to stay very long, and everybody feels that it is easier to leave than to change.

Sadly, for some companies, this is how many of their planners feel. Over decades of use they have become ‘Prisoners of MRP’ and have stopped trying to find better ways and just accept the status quo.

But I am detecting a change. A movement. More and more we are meeting ‘Challengers’ who are tired of the status quo and can sense an opportunity do things better. They are doing this by fixing their thoughtware as well as that of their organization with training. Then based in this new thoughtware they are redesign their processes. The phrases I most hear from my students after a DDPP training program is ‘that it just makes sense.’ and ‘we can do this easily’.

The journey is not an easy one as MRP roots go deep but the opportunity is BIG! All it takes is one person to start and very soon that trickle of water will become a fast-flowing river and then all the benefits will start to FLOW.