The Sources of Innovation
 
   

The product is a mix of some true innovations, some clever adaptations from existing body of knowledge in the field of Manufacturing Planning and Control (MPC) systems. Some features of the product are simply the result of adaptations of other ERP products whereas the others are the result of making the features exactly as demanded by the earlier clients. However, the overall end result in the form of P-3 is truly innovative in nature.

 
   
Innovation
 
It is hard to define what a true innovation is.
 
    •  It can be coming up with an “original first” that has never been done before.
 
    •  It can be bringing together disparate but known technologies and methodologies and creating an altogether new usage out of them.

    •  It can be doing what the client wants you to do, building features exactly as per client's requirements and hoping that once the project is over, perhaps, others would also buy the same product.

     • Or it can be borrowing software features from someone else's product and repackaging them into another.

Our interpretation of innovation spans across all these definitions, whereas, drawing across so many sources and definitions of innovation, may dilute the innovative content within the product. But, there is one thing that has never been doubted either by us or by our clients – “The P-3 being a revolutionary and one of its kind ERP product for apparel and home textile industry”, which perhaps in retrospect makes it very innovative too.

 

True Innovation

We define true innovation as all those features in our product that had to be invented in order to create greater efficiency in business processes of this industry. These product features were neither demanded by the clients, they had not been written about in any books nor were they a part of any existing software products. They represent the joyous scream of “eureka” in its truest sense

•  Clever Adaptation from Academic Knowledge

A little less intense than true innovation, is the term ‘clever adaptation’. It describes all those product features whose theoretic framework is available in Manufacturing Planning and Control systems literature in the public domain. The concepts are taught at the Masters level in foreign universities. There are organizations in the world that promote this knowledge. There are forums where professionals exchange ideas and where eminent scholars and practitioners regularly write papers on various aspects of these subjects. However, the real limitation with any theoretic body of knowledge is converting it into practical and working application that solves real world problems in a commercially viable context. That's why, we feel a lot of pride in searching for, accessing, modifying and converting this academic knowledge into specific software product that solves real problems of the clients.

• Adapted Features from Other ERP Products

This would have been called plagiarism if software were considered work of art. Unfortunately, that isn't the case. Besides, we had to write the software requirement specifications afresh, design the database from scratch, integrate it with the rest of the product, write every line of code and test the software thoroughly before deploying it. Our only reason for adapting features of other Western ERPs was that we thought it was far better to adapt best practices of others than to try and re-invent the wheel.

•  Features Specifically Demanded by Clients

The cliché on listening to the voice of the customer has never been truer. However, for a good reason, we always decided when we should and shouldn't listen. Over the last six years, CEO's, Directors, General Managers, Merchandisers, Production Planners, Garment Engineers, Dye House Managers, Knitting Masters and Floor In-Charges have all contributed in varying degrees in adding more innovative features into the product. Especially the modifications in our graphic user interfaces, user training methodology and user manuals have mostly been driven by their invaluable inputs. This still remains to be an important source of product innovation. However, these inputs have been generally short on providing new methodologies, creating new business processes or breaking new grounds. Perhaps these users have an inherent limitation of ‘thinking from within the proverbial box’.

       
       

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