What will we do when we run out of letters?

Abc_Blocks_clip_art_smallHardly a week goes by without us hearing of a new three-letter acronym.

The folks at Wikipedia probably are very busy figuring out what the new ones stand for and then scrambling to write up explanations for these.

I find it distressing to hear about new acronyms, only to discover, now and then, that I have been practicing the underlying methodology/approach for a long time.

Why couldn’t I have figured out what it was I have been doing and given it a name?

Some new acronyms are renames of old methodologies/approaches, others really are new. They all “save time and money” but beyond this, things can get confusing.

Today, I started to learn about “Demand Driven Manufacturing” (DDM).

Sounds to me a lot like “Job Shop Operations”, with an added touch of perhaps forecasting the demand for sub-assemblies so that when an order comes in, the order can be filled more quickly.

DDM may be an overarching term for Lean, ACM, BPM, CPM, CRM. The more the merrier, I suppose.

I would hope that a DDM implementation includes ECM and that it has links to ERP, MRP and who knows what else.

But wait, it seems that DDM is a subset of Supply Chain Management (SCM). This takes a lot of the mystery out of DDM.  SCM has been around for a long time and if DDM truly is a sub-set/extension to SCM ( see Madhani, P. M. (2013). Demand Chain Management: Enhancing Customer Value Proposition. The European Business Review, March – April, pp. 50-54.), then by all means let’s start doing DDM.

I need to close out here so I can find out more about DDM (Have I been practicing DDM?, should I be practicing DDM?).

The only thing that concerns me is what will we do when we run out of letters for three-letter acronyms?  Will people start bidding on abandoned three-letter acronyms for recycling, as is the practice with 800 telephone numbers?   Or, will four-letter acronyms become popular? Some of these have enjoyed widespread use going way back.

Whatever the outcome, the writing is on the wall for three-letter acronyms.  By my calculation, there are only 17,576 of these.

Who knows how many are not yet in use?

I predict when we do run out, it’s not likely to be pretty.

About kwkeirstead@civerex.com

Management consultant and process control engineer (MSc EE) with a focus on bridging the gap between operations and strategy in the areas of critical infrastructure protection, major crimes case management, healthcare services delivery, and b2b/b2c/b2d transactions. (C) 2010-2019 Karl Walter Keirstead, P. Eng. All rights reserved. The opinions expressed here are those of the author, and are not connected with Jay-Kell Technologies Inc, Civerex Systems Inc. (Canada), Civerex Systems Inc. (USA) or CvX Productions.
This entry was posted in Business Process Improvement, Business Process Management, MANAGEMENT, Manufacturing Operations. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to What will we do when we run out of letters?

  1. Jorge Díaz says:

    Excellent tone Karl, I love it when you say: “The only thing that concerns me is what will we do when we run out of letters for three-letter acronyms?…I predict when we do run out, it’s not likely to be pretty.”

    Actually I share your view and explored the same topic in my last post called “BPM labels”. Does it really matter what name we give it as long as it addresses the needs and solves the issue at hand? Unfortunately it can get even nastier with so many acronym flame wars rampaging through the Internet…


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