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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sports Management & Manufacturing: What's the Difference?

I added a new link to Your Scrumhalf Connection. While I was looking at her site I noticed a post she made about the official sponsor for the Women's National Team tour of England (taking place soon, or now, I forget). The sponsor is First Sports International. They're a software company providing products for sports teams and event management. Interesting, I never really thought about that side of things. I'm used to software for manufacturing, warehousing, inventory management, and the associated accounting and customer management, and all. Which brings me to my point (oh, and thanks to First Sports for their sponsorship), what's the difference between manufacturing and sports management? Not as much as you think.

The core of both industries is managing resources. The resources are different, but the management of them is not that different. And when it comes to software to help run your business, the differences are even less. The first thing to remember is that software is a tool. When the right tool is used, and used correctly, it is a big help. If the wrong tool is used, or if the right tool is used incorrectly, it hurts more than it helps. Technology will not solve your problems. It can help you run your operations more effectively, or it can send you quickly into a downward spiral. The choice is yours.

The choice is yours because before you look to a technology solution to solve your problems, do some analysis of your business first. Look at how you do things, what works, what's causing you trouble. Then work to improve your basic processes and look for ways to improve the entire organization. If technology can help you improve, along with or after you've got all your processes working well, then use it. And remember that you can't just buy some software, install it, and expect everything to be all hunky-dory. A software implementation is a huge undertaking, especially if it's and enterprise wide system. Besides all the training, pre-, during, and post-installation, it's a huge cultural shift for the organization. Even if you've already got an existing system, switching to a new one is just as big a deal.

So, sports management and manufacturing. Not much of a difference after all.

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