My assignment in 2008 was a major IT manufacturer in Silicon Valley who suffered a $30 million supply chain failure.  Their resident 25-year-old genius architect planned an SAP upgrade and my company won a sub-contract.  


I wandered around campus interviewing employees and found a senior e-commerce architect who mentioned a recent removal of XML formats from supplier data and I investigated further.  Large uploads came in daily with proprietary formats and were fed into a gigantor "IF..THEN" clause to parse out control signals to coordinate part orders.



We wrote up a joint presentation (partly shown here) and recommendation.

Enforce a common interface standard on suppliers and only send identifiers and timing signals into the B2B gateway.  Push parser maintenance back onto the suppliers to remove risk of a parse failure.


The project manager didn't like our slide show and the resident genius wanted me gone so I happily agreed to leave (the senior architect left later).   I was fairly sure another failure was coming.

That manager's face grimaced at my instant agreement to leave and the next week he called to discuss our meeting.  But I was already gone, baby.   A month later, the senior architect told me the project was suspended and "under review".