Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Looking for an ERP solution - with interface to a Retail Food POS

Okay, I admit I wrote about a similar type of LinkedIn posting several weeks ago, but somehow I cannot resist adding my unsolicited opinion on this one too.  Mr. R. is taking advantage of social media forums to vet his inquiry about a new solution.  Apparently they have a working POS system and want to replace the back end system to bring that up to speed as well.

With what is no doubt information overload his idea to tap social media to at least get a direction makes sense at one level.  Unfortunately it prompts a Sales-101 type of response from otherwise well meaning people hungry for a sale.  Lookout, it is a Feeding Frenzy for the sharks. 

You see postings like:
·         Let me be the first to tell you how long my company has been in business.  Unless you just incorporated last month, this is irrelevant.  What counts is evaluated experience, not how long you have been doing your job.  Like the sales person in business for two decades and tells you he has twenty years of experience.  By that statement alone, you know he has one year of experience twenty times.

·         Contact me or look at this pretty web site.  Really?  A web search has already overloaded him with 3 million matches.  That is why he is reaching out to social media.  A web site can provide information which you have to sort through, but the marketing information cannot tell you if this solution meets your challenges.  That takes several conversations after which he is then prepared to wander through your web site.

·         Our solution does this or that.  Who cares, when did you ask me if that was a concern?  Who likes the sales person that shows up and then throws up?  I have talked for an hour about myself, now it is your turn to talk about me. 

·         Wait.  Someone actually asked a question.  Congratulations!  Now we might learn why he is even looking in the first place. 

·         Wait again.  Too soon, our question asker gets an answer, then starts giving a solution.  Way too fast.  I know he is trying to be helpful, but by suggesting that some solutions can be integrated with CSV files is a certain recipe for disaster.  The whole idea of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution is to have integrated systems.  Not one that has to pass information back and forth and who knows how much human intervention that will take.  Okay, you might be able to automate it, but why bother.

·         Great, more information.  Mr. R is responding to the question.  Good, no bad, wait, he wants to update inventory and sales data from the POS to the ERP system.  Do I really need to expand about how bad an idea this is.  Call me if you really need help with this one.

·         We have a proven system.  Great, but has your proven system worked in my industry, with my volume, my customers, my payment types, my anything?  Sounds like he sells cars, run (quickly) or at least change your contact information and hide.  Sorry, no offense to the auto industry, it is just that most of you guys never seem to learn.   Maybe that is where this software company is getting their sales people now.

·         Wait, we not only have a proven system, we can customize it for you.  Glad to know it is flexible.  I am sure it does not matter to you what happens to me if your customizations get me fired.

·         Hey we have an integrated system that includes a POS system.  Great, this is actually a really good idea.  Instead of trying to integrate separate systems, let us start with one that is integrated.  Only problem is, did you ask me any questions about why I was looking in the first place?

·         I represent (insert big company name here).  Wow, I am impressed.

·         Thank you for your inputs (part 1).  This means I am overloaded with worthless information.  I tease you with a statement that I will follow up only certain people that replied.  Maybe you will be one of them.  Maybe everyone will stop replying now.

·         You may want to look at this too.  Okay, so you are late to show up and throw up, so let me mention my company name.  Who knows, after all what does it hurt to buy a lottery ticket?  You cannot win if you are not in the game.

·         Go to this web site and make your own comparisons.  Okay, not a bad idea, but does this site include all solutions or just the ones you get commissions on?  Do I as an end-user have any idea of what questions to ask?  I do not even know what I do not know yet.

·         Thank you all for your inputs (part 2).  This translates to: now I am convinced that I made a bad decision and am totally confused.  I tell myself that I should not have ever tried social media.  I wish I had not run over my kids bicycle this morning on the way into work.  I am looking for the extra caffeine they took out of the decaf stuff to add to my 32 ounce cup.  I think I have a headache, maybe I can get into a small accident on the way to work, nothing too serious, no bodily injury, just enough to turn around and go back home.  Somehow I should have known this was going to be a bad idea.

Okay, I have to admit that writing this was fun.  I do hope Mr. R. finds an appropriate solution.  After all, his job depends on it.  Do you think he would be wasting his time and/or money with a consultant?

Now I hope you understand, I am not a cynical person, but I see this all too often.  I see it online, I see it at networking functions, I see it at the supermarket.  I just thought someone was listening when they outlawed answering unasked questions.

No promises.  No magic wand.  Let us talk about your challenges and see if we can find a solution to match that fits your budget.  If you are looking for perfection, keep looking, because we are not it.  Dolvin Consulting works hard to be a trusted advisor to their clients.  We have a vested interest in your success.  Contact us today if any of this makes sense to you.

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