In our previous article, we interviewed Léane Ursprung who helped you understand how to start your APS project. To stay in the analogy of building a house, to ensure the success of your project, you must surround yourself with good professionals, reliable and experts in their trade. When setting up an APS (Advanced Planning Systems) solution, the technical consultant is a bit like the electrician on your construction site who will ensure that your electrical network (and home automation if you opt for a home connected) is operational. The role of the technical consultant is to set up the connections, interfaces between the customer information system and the advanced planning solution. Let’s discover together in more detail and through this interview the role of this expert in the implementation of an APS solution.
Meet our technical expert
Today we give the floor to one of our Technical Consultants. He is an experienced consultant, specialist in programming languages and database management tools and more generally information systems. Based in Strasbourg (France), it operates throughout Europe. His mission starts from the installation of the tool until it goes into production.
Can you describe your background?
After obtaining a DEUG Sciences, I passed a MIAGE master’s degree (master’s degree in computer science applied to business management). Then a DESS in computer engineering. I joined QAD DynaSys during the post-study internship early 2000’s. I was hired after my six months of internship as an R&D development engineer. Then I moved to the client side about five years ago as a technical consultant.
What are the qualities necessary for the technical consultant?
My time in R&D helps me a lot in my day-to-day job because it helps me to become extremely rigorous. When you do IT development you have to be logical, rigorous and pragmatic. But also autonomous, able to adapt quickly and listen to others. Otherwise, failure is guaranteed. In my role as a technical consultant, I have capitalized a lot on everything that R&D has brought me. I now put it at the service of our customers.
What qualities are required in this role?
Well, it starts with a good sense of customer service. When the customer contacts you and whatever his problem, you have to find a quick and adequate solution. When we are in the process of implementing the solution, it is a continuous flow, so we have to be reactive.
This responsiveness requires meeting deadlines. The project manager defines the main project stages upstream until the start of production. I have to ensure that deadlines are met by working closely with the project team on the client side. But also on the QAD DynaSys side.
Analytical skills are needed to quickly understand what the customer needs. As a technical consultant, you have to know how to translate your language to identify the source of the problem and put in place solutions adapted to your needs.
You also need to be organized and be precise in order to guarantee the quality of the data in the application. You all know this computer expression “Garbage in, Garbage out”. I have to ensure the quality of the input data. This is to guarantee the quality of the output data for a good performance of the tool.
A very good knowledge of the tool, from a technical point of view; there is all the installation, configuration, configuration part… You have to be sharp on the tool and know its every nook and cranny.
What are the skills of the Supply Chain Technical Consultant?
I’m here to bridge the gap between the vision of the functional consultant and the reality of client-side data.
To be honest, having gone through computer development on the R&D side lets me know what tool and program I’m working with. It is extremely comfortable to use what I have been able to develop, I know the environment of the tool perfectly, which allows me to be as responsive and precise as possible for the client.
My role is to provide a technical analysis of the project. This involves setting up and describing the different flows between the IT systems (different client applications) and our solution, in both directions. In fact, it concerns everything that enters and leaves the application. I set up the interfaces, but also the management of the scheduled and automated tasks of the application.
It will also be necessary to be able to identify the various problems that can arise, such as volume, processing times, data consistency, etc. My role ends when the project becomes live. Once finalized, the application goes to customer support.
Your recent successes?
We managed to deploy our application globally at a manufacturer of automotive and aeronautical components, which had the problem of working with different ERPs and applications. We had to make sure that all of our systems communicated with each other. A successful challenge!
I also sometimes have to deal with very large volumes of data. It is important to optimize and make each of the steps more reliable in order to remove any blocking points that could affect the performance of the system during the import phases (data integration).
Data is critical in a supply chain planning project, which is why you have to work closely with the IT teams on the client side, but also with the functional teams to fully understand the business issues. This is a real team project!