Wednesday, December 14, 2011

SBM Manufacturer Looking for a Solution, and we are on a Budget

I happened to notice this recent post in one of the many LinkedIn Groups that focus on Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions.  It is hard to say why it caught my eye.  What catches anyone’s attention?  It is one of those things that sit in the back of your head and make you wonder.

The issues manufacturers face are pretty common.  We are not talking General Electric here.  Most businesses are small-medium sized.  Different people will draw the line at different revenue levels to decide what constitutes a small or medium size business.  Manufacturers need to keep their costs down, drive efficiency in their operations, distribute their product, attract new customers and keep everyone happy.  They also need to minimize errors, manufacture and ship their products on-time, reduce manual time consuming processes, schedule, plan and forecast their resources and improve quality, just to name a few of the many challenges they face day in and day out.

A company looking for a new solution?  Are we not all looking for something more efficient that drives profit and revenue?  Are they old problems, new problems, or has this company reached one of the glass ceilings on their growth path and cannot seem to get out of their own way?  The problem with glass ceilings is that they are transparent to those involved and they just cannot see what is holding them back.

Is it the fact they are on a budget?   Well, I am not new to this field and I certainly do not have the most experience, but I have never met any company that was not on a budget.  Many ponder what is an appropriate percentage of revenue that should be invested/reinvested in technology.  It seems that it is never enough, no matter what the figure is.  Does it really matter how much is invested, if you truly believed that the Return on Investment (ROI) was achievable?  Of course there are upfront costs and ongoing costs that figure into the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).  Many small businesses are in a Catch-22 situation where they are financially strapped and could grow if they had the capital, but they cannot get funding, because they have not grown.  Only a few companies grow significantly in a tough economy, while many hold tight and the weak perish.  I was advised that the best time to apply for credit was when you did not need it.

Suggestions?  Then there was the onslaught of suggestions from dozens of people in the group that may have meant well.  Here is my web site, call me, email me, we have a budget solution, we are great, we are leaders, blah, blah, blah, blah (oh, did I forget to mention “blah”).

Maybe it is the forum, maybe it was the desperate plea, and maybe it was just more-of-the-same.  Did anyone bother to ask any questions before offering a solution?  Oh, yes of course, there were a few questions, but mostly there was the tone of so many trying to improve their sales quota.  How would anyone know what was appropriate without doing some sort of study?

It is like a soccer game with young kids.  They are all running around the field going after the ball instead of playing their position contributing to the team and being ready when the ball comes their way. 

The requesting person may have meant well and truly wanted to get some feedback and direction.  And after all one of these eager beavers might just get a sale.  I hope they are both happy. 

The Internet provides a great source of information, right at our fingertips.  Perhaps that is part of the problem.  How do we know what is right, wrong, appropriate or not.  It is “free”, but anyone that has been around a few years tends to know the value of “free”.  Most times you get what you pay for and when it is free, well, it is free, and worth what?

I would be happy to talk to the owner after the frustration level reaches epidemic proportion, because there was not a good fit, the software did not work as expected, the users are fed up, the cost overruns exceeded their tight budget and now they are motivated to take the time learn what they do not know.

I will not promise anything except to ask questions.  Hopefully they will be the ones that help us both determine if there is a good fit between your challenges and the available solutions.  A solution that fits your budget and has a reasonable return on investment and powers the company with the resources they need to grow.  We have a mutually vested future in your success.  

We do not know who you are, so you need to contact us to see why Dolvin Consulting may be the right trusted advisor, the right choice for the future.

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