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1998-03-13 10:22:22


Union Pacific's Solution: Redefine Mission-Critical



Union Pacific a few weeks ago had 16,000 suppliers. Today, only 800 of them are mission-critical. All the rest are . . . ?

This is the strategy adopted by government agencies, too: redefine mission-critical.

I could have posted this under "Domino Effect." It is about suppliers and survival in the year 2000.

This article also covers Merlill Lynch and Nabisco.

This is from COMPUTERWORLD (March 9).

* * * * * * *

With 22 months to identify, fix and test every supply-chain system, failures will occur. Here's a look at how six companies plan to minimize the damage. . . .

Union Pacific Corp. in Omaha has whittled its list of 16,000 outside vendors to 800 critical suppliers of everything from wheel bearings and brake shoes to PC-based software. . . .

The suppliers have been further categorized into four groups: software vendors, makers of equipment with embedded code, service vendors and providers of other products such as office supplies.

So far, 60% of those product vendors have responded to the railroad's queries. The least responsive, at 17%, were service vendors, such as utilities and banks.

But what most worries Fred Krause, the 41-year Union Pacific veteran charged with tracking suppliers' year 2000 plans, is computerized equipment, such as trackside event recorders and the black boxes on locomotives. Four in 10 of those vendors have responded to Union Pacific's year 2000 survey, but not all of the information has been reliable.

As a result, Union Pacific has begun its own year 2000 testing of computerized equipment, everything from overhead cranes in rail yards to trackside microwave communication units. . . .


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