Have you ever experienced the clash of terminology that results when supply chains are brought together, due to acquisition or merger? The typical scenario: different groups using multiple terms to describe where product is manufactured at and shipped from; folks use terms like “location”, “plant”, and “site” interchangeably, and confusion can result – are we talking about SAP configuration? Wide-area network architecture? Rollout plans?
To communicate effectively, it helps to clarify things. Here is a starter list of terms from projects I’ve been involved with. Care to add / edit the list?
- A building is what it sounds like – four walls and a roof.
- A facility could refer to one or more buildings.
- A campus is a generic term for a group of buildings.
Specific Terms – ERP
- In SAP, a Plant is a place where materials are produced, or goods and services are provided. A Plant is made up of one or more buildings.
- In some Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), a Warehouse refers to a single building. In SAP, a Warehouse is a collection of Storage Areas; a building can contain multiple storage areas, and a warehouse can span multiple buildings.
Specific Terms – WAN
- A Site typically designates a point-of-presence to the Wide Area Network (WAN) – a cluster of WAN devices that connects one or more buildings to the network.
A Chinese proverb states, “Wisdom begins with calling things by their right names.” When bringing companies and cultures together, project managers need to pay special attention to the words; we must be very precise with our language, so everyone understands that we are all talking about the same thing.