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1997-10-24 12:20:21


Year 2000 Problem: A Blessing in Disguise (Some Disguise!)



MANUFACTURING SYSTEMS magazine (Sept. 1997) suggests that there is no big problem coming for most businesses. In fact, y2k will give businesses an opportunity to upgrade software, hardware, and systems management. I call this Bobby McFarrin syndrome: "Don't worry; be happy!"

The Associate Editor of the manazine writes:

"Millennium compliance does have a bright side. As the article "In With The New" suggests, itís an opportunity to bring in millennium-ready enterprise software with updated functionality. The turn of the century also forces many enterprises to come to grips with their information technology infrastructures. In some cases, managers will find obsolete systems that see little use, duplicate code, and poorly document modifications, and are long overdue for attention. This is not a disaster. If most enterprises systems keep running when the century turns, it wonít be because the Year 2000 problem was overblown, but because managers have guided companies through a necessary period of adjustment."óRoberto Michel, Associate Editor

What is utterly astounding is that Mr. Michel's statement precedes an article that announces the following:

"Manufacturers are vulnerable to the Year 2000 problem because they operate on long timelines. Imagine the business risks of a make-to-order manufacturer that reviews an order for a customized generator based on available capacity. When the user checks inventory levels for a specific valve, however, the system indicates the level is zero. Or, the system may show that enough valves are in stock to last until 1902. Skewed inventory levels and date discrepancies will be caused by a non-compliant system, and the company will lose the sale, even though in reality, the physical inventory was available. In another instance, what if a pharmaceutical or health care manufacturer processed products with expiration dates in the past instead of correct dates extending into 2000? The result isnít a computer failure; itís an inability to do business.

"Although most manufacturers are aware of the seriousness of 2000, many fail to comprehend the magnitude of the problem. Surprisingly, many companies have not yet addressed the issue and downplay its scope, relegating it to an information technology (IT) project, similar to installing new software. To address the problem successfully, managers should not consider the millennium bug as a technical problem, but think of it in terms of the overall business risks involved."


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