was alright. I explained most consultants focus on implementations and not productionsupport so they don’t get to see the consequences of their recommendations.This experience turned out to be a bit sobering for Bill. He, like many other recentOracle users simply blamed the applications for their problems. Oracle was the newmysterious entity where problems happened and never got fixed. I told him it is best tothink of Oracle as a big calculator. As long as you enter the numbers correctly, it always provides the right answer. It helps to take the mystery away from Oracle.As our conversation continued, it became a bit more philosophical. Being around Oracleas many years as I have, you begin to see the trends users develop with a new system.One is to do it the same way over and over no matter what. Usually, clients want the process to emulate whatever their process was prior to implementing Oracle. Change ishard.Bill explained it would be hard to explain to auditors the reason for the cycle countaccuracy decrease. I asked him if it was hard to explain the cycle count accuracyincrease to the auditors. He said, “Not at all. They were thrilled.” I asked, “You meanthey didn’t find it odd your cycle count accuracy increased just because you switchedyour system to Oracle?” They just assumed Oracle must be a better system. I can’t say Iwas surprised. I am just glad it didn’t get written up in Profit magazine and attributed toOracle’s superior applications.Bill and I continued our conversation. He explained the cable building operations. Quiteoften, more cable is used then is called for in the BOM. In those cases the plannerschange the material requirements in the job. This drives new requirements the next timethe plan is run and over time a shortage develops for the cable. I asked if the use of morecable was consistent or sporadic. He said it was consistent. I asked if anyone had createda non-conformance report against the situation. They had and the corrective action wasto issue more cable. I explained that is not really a corrective action because it didn’t getto the root cause of the problem. A root cause would be the engineer didn’t allow enoughmaterial in the BOM, or the cable machine generates more scrap than is considered by planning or the cable operator isn’t training properly and allows too much scrap in the process or they are making the cables longer than they should. As with many businesses,they are too busy producing than to consider how well they are producing.I explained to Bill, the problems he is experiencing are the same problems mostcompanies fixed back in the 80s. With initiatives like Just in Time, Total QualityManagement and more recently the move to Lean Manufacturing, companies resolvedthese issues and moved on to other problems. This surprised Bill since his company hadestablished quality practices with black belts and Lean manufacturing teams. I told him Ihad seen this before. Many times those efforts focus on the perceived problems drivendown from management or on problems associated with complex build processes. It isnatural, engineers and production specialists tend to focus on and fix things they know alot about. Unless upper management sees cost issues with the area, no one seems toworry about a little cable operation in the back of the warehouse.