Well, you know, were fighting the good fight. So, whats up?
Dunston picks up a legal pad, a pen, and his half-full bottled water and
eases into a seat across from Sedgewick. Bill, I want to get back to that
Web services discussion we were having the other day. I want to see if
theres a fit for some of your ideas on Web services to some of the strategies
and business initiatives I think well have to embark on over the next two
years. Now, you know Ive talked about using a few strategic acquisitions
to beef up our R&D and product pipeline, right?
Yes, Bob, and Ive got a team working on an integration strategy that
will allow us to very quickly absorb acquisition targets, first for financial
reporting purposes, and then complete integration of all order entry, prod-
uct and customer master data, fulfillment and logistics processes, as well as
other key business processes and functions, too.
Sedgewicks face lights up as he explains this point. He is clearly
excited about implementing corporate strategy using his information man-
agement organization, processes, and capabilities. Well have a draft strat-
egy document to show you early next week.
Dunston nods vigorously, clearly eager to hear this information from
Sedgewick. Good, I like that. Were already evaluating M&A targets
based on a rigorous profiling methodology, and we should have a short list
ready by the end of the month. I want you involved in the due diligence
process as we get that short list pulled together.
In addition, though, you know were under continued pressure to
drive productivity and improve operating margins. Im concerned with our
core businessestheir organic growth is slowing and margins are deterio-
rating, so Im looking at a number of programs to reverse these trends.
Inventory management could be improved. Reducing cycle time in manu-
facturing is important. Ultimately, Id like to shift a large percentage of our
business to a make-to-order model, much like Dells, versus our current
inventory-intensive make-to-stock model.
As Sedgewick rapidly scribbles notes, Dunston continues. Take inven-
tory management, for example. We need better visibility across our entire sup-
ply chain to effectively manage inventory. That means tapping into a bunch of
different systems in order to expose inventory informationcomponents and
stock, work-in-process, and finished goodsat every point in our supply
chain. If we cant see it, we cant measure it and reduce it. Id like to get your
help to make that program happen. You need to talk with John about this,
but let him know weve talked and youre to help drive this initiative.
Sedgewick nodded. John Bentley was the Chief Operating Officer (COO)
responsible for manufacturing, R&D, and overall operations for the com-
pany. Bentley was fairly receptive to new ideas if they could drive the metrics
of the business, so Sedgewick was confident about defining and implementing
the processes and systems to help better manage the companys inventory.
A Day in the Life of a CIO
74188_WY_Marks_01 2/5/2003 4:08 PM Page 3