Implementing an MRP (Material Requirements Planning) system is a lot like picking up your house and pouring a new foundation under it while you continue to live in it. The foundation of your house supports all other functions of the structure much like an MRP system supports all aspects of your business. Replacing both requires extensive planning, very high motivation, determination, stamina, and agility. How do I know? I have recent experience on both fronts.
My wife and I live in a house that was originally built in the mid-1800s and has been added onto several times. A section of the house which was originally a barn was on shaky ground and needed a new foundation.
I did extensive planning, consulted with several carpenters, structural experts, and friends with experience, and then got a few quotes on the concrete work and excavation, prepared a budget, and a schedule. A few people looked at the complexity of the barn, looked at me, shook their heads, looked back at me, and said; “Are you nuts! That’s a big project!” I had confidence that I could get the job done and despite the naysayers, I pulled the trigger. I thought I was prepared!
Sweat Equity is the Best Kind of Equity
Even with all that planning I still had no real idea what I was getting myself into since I had never done a project like this with this level of complexity. Like many big projects, had I known back then what I know now I might not have started it at all. Supporting a 150-year-old two-story structure with a roof, siding, electrical, plumbing, windows, and doors that are connected to an existing house while you pour a frost wall and concrete floor can be a very complicated process with many unforeseen challenges. As I got further into the project I got to a point where I had taken apart almost every aspect of the barn. The siding was off, the first floor walls were cut away, the old wood floor was gone, and there was a five-foot trench for the footings, and jack posts supporting the second floor and roof. What a mess! There were plenty of occasions where I wondered what I had gotten myself into or if I had the skills and stamina to complete the project. To make things worse I decided to start the project in September and the unpredictable New England winters offered a whole new level of the unknown. Would I be pouring concrete with two feet of snow and subzero temperatures to deal with?
With the old rotted worn out and obsolete components of the barn removed it was time to start the reconstruction. That’s when I called in the experts to build the forms and pour the concrete. That part of the rebuild went pretty smoothly (at least for me) and then it was up to me to put it all back together. New walls, new beams, new doors, new windows, new wiring, insulation, siding on the inside and outside, and then clean up all the mess outside and plant new grass. Done! Just like that, piece of cake, right? Not quite. It’s the end of April and the vinyl siding isn’t done and the front lawn still needs work. It was a tremendous amount of work, more than I ever could have predicted, and still well worth all the blood sweat, and tears. We added stability and value to our home and it is something we can be proud of.
The Joy of Deeds Well Done
Oh, and the MRP project? Still not done yet. It too is over budget, overwhelming at times, and definitely a lot of work with many challenges, unforeseen issues, and problems. It was still definitely worth it and it will add a lot of value and stability to our business.
Ken Abbott – ABTech President and Founder