Jim, information technology (IT) director of MegaResistCap Inc., was finally getting back to a reasonable schedule 3 months after the “go-live” date of the company’s new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. He was hoping to spend the weekend in the garden, and was looking forward to checking messages on Sunday to get ready for a productive week. That was, until he saw the memo from the company’s chief legal counsel, forwarded by his chief information officer (CIO), Mike.
Sent: Saturday, 8:15 AM
Subject: FWD: Congrats, you are now deemed an exporter
Hi Jim, please see below from Legal. Get back to me with a response by Monday. Tx, Mike.
Sent: Friday, 2:20 PM
Subject: Congrats, you are now deemed an exporter
At the Friday meeting of the executive operational committee, the human resources director told us that because of the status of a potential summer intern from India, we need to operate as a “deemed” exporter of our resistor technology. We are all impressed with the ERP system you have completed rolling out and wanted to confirm whether the system will support compliance with the relevant regulations as defined by the U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS).
Please respond with the next steps at your earliest convenience.
Jim first thought the e-mail might be a long awaited thank you from Legal after closing out the ERP contract. However, when Jim re-read the message, he realized that the garden would be going back to seed. He thought the message was also clear to his CIO, who was supposed to give the message to the executive operational committee that the new ERP system wasn’t the cure for everything that ailed the company. But Jim had been around long enough to know that these “little details” often evade the executive team, and it was time to put on a pot of coffee—and the Giants/Dodgers game would have to wait.
About the Company
MegaResistCap is a manufacturer of large-scale, proprietary resistors and capacitors for electric utility companies based in Topeka, Kansas. Continued revenue growth had moved the company solidly into the medium-sized business category, with revenues now exceeding $25 million (USD) annually. The company’s recently installed ERP system came in at a total cost of $1.4 million (USD), including software, services, and infrastructure. The company currently only sells and ships products to US-based companies.
With the growth of the company, the human resources (HR) department decided to start up a summer intern program. Forthe second year of the program, one of the lead engineers, Singh, submitted an application for his nephew from India to join the InternsForMega team at their US headquarters. HR thought he was a great candidate, but the department’s manager knew that if they hired Singh's nephew—who is not a US citizen—the company would be classified a “deemed exporter” and be subject to all the rules and regulations inherent thereof. The long-term strategic direction of the company is to “go global,” but the strategy has a timeframe of 2–3 years for international expansion.
Company’s Problem Becomes Jim’s Problem
Jim knew that he needed to have at least some answers to Mike before the end of the evening. A “response by Monday” meant Mike wanted some answers by 5 am Monday, at the latest. Mike would need background in case the chief financial officer (CFO) decided to stop by his office to “chat.” Jim knew Mike was already wondering why he hadn’t responded to the e-mail forwarded on Saturday, now more than 24 hours ago. MegaResistCap didn’t spend the money on executive smartphones and data plans just so Mike wouldn’t get lost on his way home from work. It was 7 pm, Sunday.
This concludes Part I of our series. Stay tuned for Part II, where we’ll see how Jim responds to MegaResistCap’s growing business needs.