infoBoard an der Ostküste der USA

infoBoard on the East Coast of the USA


It was our first flight to Boston. Fortunately, the check- in was faster than the usual, because there were self-served terminals, where you could have your passport, fingerprints and photo controls done by yourself.

Once I arrived I wanted to – as suggested by the guide – get a water taxi from the airport to Boston City and I looked for a taxi sign but didn’t find any…..later I discovered that our hotel actually had a water taxi stop but I told myself it would be for the next time. The visit to the headquarters of our new customers’ company, which works in the aereospace sector, was a “very american” experience and we had so much fun. Everyone in the group could ask questions, it was a very colligial relationship, as you can read in the pertinent books. The easy-to-use database interface was especially appreciated.

There is no planning interface in the new ERP system, and new options are kept on being added: personnel planning, vacation planning, time recording. It will be easier to use also for the companies here in the USA since we have already solved the difficulties in the material supply processes in the German production plant. It took them almost two years to decide for infoBoard, they needed to first understand they wouldn’t find anything comparable to infoBoard in the Us.

On the highway, that led us past some famous universities on the East Coast, we learn how exit numbering with letters works and the difference between “58 a” and “58 b”; first one is a 7 mile drive, the second a 25 mile one.

We will travel from Massachusetts to the nearby state of Conneticut to meet a potential new software and hardware partner, whom we met at a fair in Chicago in September of the previous year. We are received by one of the three owners together with a consultant from the manufacturing industry. After we had made some conversation with them we realized why infoBoard was so different to them. Our hosts were astonished to be able to visualize the dependencies with connecting lines in the resource instead of the business processes -I, myself, could hardly believe it-. Infinte scheduling, linked to capacity was already available but now also the so called “dynamic scheduling”, the function that permits dependencies to be shown. It became clear that we not only could visualize the actual data from the production, but had also a powerful planning tool in our hands. When we later used the guest access to internet, we understood by the network’s name “Jesus Reigns” that we all had the same beliefs. At lunch we would all pray together for the food we were about to receive.

After two days of Conneticut we drove through New York, on the other side of Manhattan, to New Jersey. By the way, we are fans of “The Jersey Boys”, we saw the musical in London and on Broadway. We took the highway from Newark airport and pasted the Atlantic coast: we drove on the old 2-3 lane highway while an of another three lanes with a guardrail was being built built next to it three lane. It was a highway in a highway. There was in fact just enough space! Now…how do we turn right into an exit? On the left there was a service area accessible to us and the opposite direction. How could the service area be on the left side of the highway? My brain had difficulties adjusting to the american customs, I had to react quickly; driving on the right is always right! And finally we were able to exit the highway thanks to a bridge. It’s crazy how much space it consumed! We switched our navi – or better in English our GPS-  to English. The German pronunciation of the US street names was not funny anymore, like it had been in the beginning.

We payed a visit to a potential new customer. As always we are happy with Excel and a cardboard planning board. This will be a technological leap! The interface  was completely irrelevant to the ERP, but the automatic scheduling alone with sample orders and connecting arrows would make them save a lot of time, said the two invited production planners. Our contact person ha been complaining for 5 years that he wants to have the cardboard on the wall.

We drove on to get to our customer, 45 minute drive from where we were. A “pimped” warehouse management program generates production orders that are scheduled manually with warehouse orders for infoBoard planning objects. The production itself was brought from almost 0 to 100 within 4 years. The stock list has been now set up in the infoBoard panel and scheduled as needed. “Keep it simple” is the motto, for God’s sake no interface!

We almost took the same path to travel back to Boston. From experience, I knew that Google Maps calculated reliable travel times, but that didn’t work so well in Google’s homeland. The two-lane freeways and highways of New England are full of rush hour traffic until 9pm but we had planned ahead of schedule at the hotel that was 2hrs drive outside of Boston.

Once back in Hamburg we began to post new online presentations for New Jersey companies. We drove past tose places. And the only direct connection between Hamburg and the USA is: Newark Airport in New Jersey. That creates a certain feeling of closeness!

P.S. Three months later my family and I learned that one of my three daughters was moving to Boston with her family. Good thing we had been in Boston …