We recently posted on our twitter account (do follow us at @supplychainmech)

So why is it so useful?

Firstly let’s take a look at what the VLOOKUP formula does.

Check out the following link, courtesy of those friendly people at office.com the ins and outs of the formula – if you don’t know what it does pop on over and take a look, but be sure to come back afterwards 🙂

Why vlookup formula is so useful for Supply Chain professionals.

Why vlookup formula is so useful for Supply Chain professionals.

Look here for Vlookup guide

OK – Back? Good.

I find as a Supply Chain professional I need to analyse data sets at various times and to help with various processes for example:

• BOMs (Bills of material),
• Orders,
• Quotes,
• Planning records,
• Supplier reports –

I’m bombarded with data sets from different people in different formats all day long.

Using Excel, Vlookup let’s me join data sets together and allows me to take information from one and populate it in another –

Still not sold? Here’s 3 everyday examples of just how useful it is:

1/ Using a suppliers purchase order list I use VLookup against the part number in the a separate BOM sheet to pull in the drawing version allowing me to check the suppliers working to the latest design.

2/ Using the Purchase Order number I use Vlookup to pull in the delivery date from a delivery promise sheet to compare against the original requirement in my outstanding PO list.

3/ Using Vlookup I can investigate a suppliers outstanding invoice list against my own list to investigate current status.
Of course VLookup is just a formula – it’s the broader context behind it that’s important.

Supply Chain professionals as data warriors

Of course while VLOOKUP is great, it’s not the complete point. In today’s world supply chain professionals are expected to have the skill sets that can analyze and interpret data. Of course Excel is just one tool (and perhaps a blunt one at that) but the point is if you don’t have the skills to understand and analyse data in a function like supply chain your sunk.

  • Want to Profile Category spend information?
  • Need to understand the demand plan?
  • Need to research suppliers?
  • Need to analyse cost structures?
  • Need to deliver logistics optimization?

All of these common tasks (and more) need data analysis skills. And as such knowing your way around those tools that you have on your PC is crucial. We all know that skills like negotiation, interpersonal skills etc are important but we mustn’t forget the skill of analysis is fundamental to the job.

So we love Vlookup, what about you?

Transitioning an acquisition into a business is never a simple thing to do. You have acquired a new business or new type of business, with maybe different cultures, processes and systems. What could possibly go wrong? It will all merge together perfectly, won’t it? Well quite a lot could actually go wrong! There are so many opportunities for failures when it comes to acquisitions that without careful transition planning serious mistakes can be made that can affect cost and performance for both organizations.

There are real dangers when it comes to transitioning an acquisition businesses should not fool themselves in assuming that everything will be ok and that structured project management is not required.

Transition team

Many organizations will appoint a transition team who’s role is to transition the new organization into that making the acquisition. They will assess the various functions of the new organization and develop strategies that will include

• Will the new business be a stand-alone Business unit or incorporated into an existing one
• What organization/personnel issues exist
• IT Systems
• What back office functions need to be merged
• Commercial/contract issues
• Supply Chain planning
• Customer management
• etc

Organizations must ensure that the transition team has appropriate resources, authority and capacity to manage and deliver effectively. Managers are often left to ‘manage’ the transition process when an acquisition takes place – leaving key personnel juggling multiple roles. For acquisition transitions to work well a significant level of support is required some of which may require dedicated resource.

Compatibility issues are common but rather than ensuring that the new company should simply ‘fit in’ with how things are done – best practice should be sought out. This can often be quite a challenge for personnel within the acquired company. They will have had their own way of working and some people will find it very difficult to adopt new working practices. Looking for synergies between organizations to understand how the new organization will function can be perhaps the most complex task often hampered by key stakeholders being protective of their own resources, processes and systems.

Change management principles are key to transitioning the new organization – Within any organization there are people who really dislike change. In addition, there is a strong probability that personnel within the acquired company may well be harboring resentment at having been ‘acquired’ but instead of openly expressing this resentment it can be expressed in a variety ways. Resentment or lack of trust of the acquiring company really is an issue that cannot be over emphasized.

Only with strategic planning and a robust transition management policy will the transition period be free from disastrous hazards, but you do need to manage these hazards out!

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