Monday, June 23, 2008

ERP Talk


Business Times Singapore, Friday, 06th June, 2008

The Chronicles of ERP: the Cashcard, the IU and the Gantry

Even your mechanic won’t be able to fix this

By Jaime Ee

WHICH came first, the chicken or the egg? I don’t know, but I bet the same logic could be applied to another question: Why wouldn’t the ERP gantry deduct money from your cashcard? Is it because of the cashcard or the in-vehicle unit (IU)?

Since neither the cashcard nor the IU would admit to being the cause of the problem, it was decided that I, your friendly neighbourhood blame specialist, would step in to try and find out why neither side believes that it is in the wrong.

Hence, I carried out several counselling sessions and this is what I found out.

Me: So, how do you feel about the IU claiming that it is your blue butterfly design that keeps it from deducting money when a car goes through the ERP gantry?

Cashcard: Well, that’s just typical of the IU isn’t it. It’s always something else. Never mind that sometimes it just beeps for no reason, and sometimes it just refuses to read my credit balance and flashes ‘Err’ no matter how many times the driver tries to put me into the slot. I think it’s just jealous that it’s stuck to the windscreen all day, rain or shine, and doesn’t get taken out to be topped up once in a while.

IU: Don’t be ridiculous. You can’t even decide what design you want - first you want a blue butterfly, then you decide to go with a solid colour with a few gold highlights, and now you want to be a summery orange - I told you before, I will only deduct cash if you have the word ‘Gemplus’ on you, but no, you decided to take it out because you think it clashes with your other colours!

Cashcard: What? How dare you? What about you? Do you know how many times you’ve embarrassed me at carparks when you refuse to let the exit machine read me, and you force the car to literally kiss the barrier before you finally let the machine deduct the parking fee? You’re just a cheapskate trying to get away from paying, hoping they’ll raise the barrier and let you through because you’ve caused a major traffic jam behind you!’

IU: Look, it’s your fault. You’re just not very well made, you can’t withstand the local weather, you’re poorly designed and made of inferior plastic.

Cashcard: If I’m so poorly made, how come I can be used to buy other stuff at petrol stations or 7-Eleven stores? You’re the one that’s made of inferior quality material - face it, we’re just incompatible.

Me: Okay guys, take it easy. Have you ever considered that maybe both of you are at fault? That maybe each of you has a design flaw that under certain circumstances will cause malfunctions and hence ERP glitches?

IU: Nope.

Cashcard: Hmph.

Me: Look, someone has to take the blame, and it has to be fixed, alright?

IU: Well, you know what they say - 0.003 per cent isn’t a high enough percentage to justify a solution. Besides, it’s not my fault.

Cashcard: Don’t look at me. I’ve only just released my summer orange collection.

Me: So if it’s not your fault, then whose fault is it then?

IU/Cashcard: You know, the ERP gantry itself has been keeping mighty quiet all this while. Do you think…?

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