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Thursday, January 06, 2011

Interview with Apparel and Fashion Veteran, Joe Fink

Recently, I had the pleasure to, virtually, sit down with a Mr. Joe Fink and talk shop around Microsoft Dynamics AX.

For those of you that may not know Joe Fink, he has been around the Fashion and Apparel industries for years, including.:

- 25 years of focused Apparel, Fashion, Retail & Wholesale Experience
- Served as CIO / COO for: Guess?, Nautica and GNC
- Specializing in ERP Implementations, including focusing on Microsoft Dynamics AX

Joe Fink's Site: FinkConsultants.com
Joe Fink's LinkedIn Profile.: Joe Fink on LinkedIn

Being now an independant consultant, Joe has actually work with us for some of our clients.

In these projects, he was a great assest to both us and the client, in helping get the project done, and done right!

So, with the new year, I thought it was time to kick my interviews off with Mr. Fink, and pick his brain a little bit about Dynamics AX, and other things. The following is the result of that interview.:

1) Joe, as a Former CIO of Guess, and now Consultant - what is your take on Microsoft Dynamics AX, and why you think it's a top ranked ERP / SCM platform?

I think Microsoft Dynamics AX is a very exciting product. There are so many things that I like about the system so it’s difficult to pick a few features, but the things that come to mind immediately are flexibility, tight integration between the modules, the layering concept, and the state of the art technology.

2) Can you give us a more detail on what you mean by flexibility, and layering?
One of my clients had a very diverse product line (Jewelry, Apparel, and Furniture). We installed Microsoft Dynamics AX and we were able to support all three areas of the business without significant modifications.

As a former CIO I love the fact that the Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP system is fairly easy to modify, and that those modifications can be carried forward into future releases of Microsoft Dynamics AX. The layering concept is what makes this possible. For any CIO this is a powerful concept because it protects your software investment.

3) If you could give a company thinking about Dynamics AX some advice, a couple of points, what would those be?

Have a dedicated Project Manager. This person should be someone that has had the experience of managing an ERP project to a successful implementation. The project manager should be a good communicator, and should hold regularly scheduled meetings to discuss the progress of the project and to solve any issues or obstacles that may impact the project. Management of the company should show support for the project and the project manager by attending the meetings, and being actively involved.

4) When companies look at Dynamics AX, what kind of ROI elements exist with choosing Microsoft Dynamics AX that might get overlooked?

Any company installing an ERP system should think about how to bring value to its customers. An ERP system should help a company improve its inventory accuracy, on time delivery, and process improvement.

The MIS / IT department can and should have benefits like reduced “Total Cost of Ownership”, reduced maintenance costs, and a lesser dependence on “technical heavyweights”. I have found that many companies don’t think of the MIS or computer department when think about quanatative benefits of ERP.

5) In the industries where you do most of your consulting, what are some solutions that that work well with Microsoft Dynamics AX in expanding the solution footprint to product development?

Most of my work is in the Apparel industry. The nature of our business says we depend on the introduction of new products. We therefore need a strong PLM or Product Lifecycle Management system. Companies like Sunrise Technologies that have a relationship with a company like PTC and can bring that PLM capability to the table with Microsoft Dynamics AX have a significant advantage.

If you are thinking about installing an ERP system I recommend that you include Microsoft Dynamics AX as part of your evaluation process. We have discussed a number of excellent features of the Microsoft Dynamics AX system, but we were able to share only a small part of the systems capabilities.

One of the most important things that Microsoft Dynamics AX can do is to serve as a vehicle that can transform a business. There are many best practices that are built into code that can bring real gains in productivity and cost reduction to any business. I can say this because I have experienced it with my implementations. If you need more information on how my customers we were able to do this please contact me, and I will share with you how we were able to use Microsoft Dynamics AX to accomplish our goals. I will be attending the National Retail Federation in NYC from 01/12/2011 thru 01/13/11. For more information go to www.nrf.com/annual11. Thank You

I would like to take the time to thank Mr. Joe Fink for this interview. I hope you have enjoyed hearing about Microsoft Dynamics AX, from a Fashion and Retail industry leader. I think such insights on Microsoft Dynamics AX and PTC's FlexPLM are most valuable! Feel free to go and see Mr. Joe Fink and Sunrise at the NRF next week!

That's all for now, check back though as more to come. We are very close to the AX 2011 Technical Conference! I will be covering from my blog and twitter account, as well as plenty of write ups afterwards!

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