Manageable Chunks In mainstream heavy manufacturing, the budget watchword is caution.At Paccar, Flynn said, multiyear projects are not on the front burner: "What can we get done in 2003 and not let linger on? Weve tried to carve up projects into manageable chunks." But Flynn wont be facing budget cuts, as will many CIOs. Hes counting on an IT budget that is at least as large as last yearsmaybe larger. "The company continues to believe that IT is an important part of value creation," he said. Still, Flynn is being cautious. "Were not going to go out and hire a bunch of people. Were focusing on things that add bottom-line value," he said. Rather than launching big, open-ended projects, Flynn is planning to do proof-of-concept deployments in several of Paccars worldwide locations. If they work, theyll be tried elsewhere. This cautionary approach extends to watching expenses. "Were being smart about managing costs," said Flynn. "We have been using Microsoft NetMeeting much more [than traveling or videoconferencing]. Our videoconference costs are down 75 percent over the last two years." Flynn is also keeping an eye on which vendors can survive these trying times. "Weve been much more careful about writing contracts. Were also taking a jaundiced look at startups," he said. Flynn is interested in consolidating servers in Intels Itanium-based clusters. Hes also investing in SANs to conserve data center space. Disaster recovery figures in his thinking, especially since the Seattle area withstood a major earthquake in February. "That made us look at our disaster recovery plans," said Flynn. "Our previous plan was to put tapes on an airplane, but 9/11 showed that would not work. We may be better off just building redundancy and resiliency in our network." Even with the near-term focus, Flynn is trying to keep his eye on a more distant horizon. "Its all about extending our corporation up and down the supply chain, the value chain," he said. "How can we provide what our customers need on a global basis?" Executive Editor Stan Gibson can be reached at email@example.com.
"Its going to continue to be a tough economy. That will influence how many things we do and how fast we go," said Pat Flynn, CIO of Paccar Inc., a truck manufacturer in Bellevue, Wash.