Monday, December 31, 2012

ERP Regrets

As time passes by we are presented with opportunities to look backwards in time.  We often do this when a loved one passes or we reach a birthday milestone or whenever a significant event occurs.  Otherwise we tend to take our personal and business lives one day at a time.


The most often reported regret among older people in the fall season of their lives is not in what they did, but rather what opportunities they did not take advantage of, what risks they did not take.  Did I do all that I could have, did I waste any part of my life? 


When you are responsible for your business’ well being and growth it is important to take periodic reviews of where you are and where you want to be.  What goals are you achieving?  What goals would you like to achieve? 


At periodic intervals it is important to take stock and review.


How are your inventory levels?   Are you achieving the number of inventory turns you expected?  What is your competition doing to erode your customer base that you wish you thought of?  Would you really increase any operational efficiency by implementing a more fully integrated system?


If you are old enough to remember the Rubik’s Cube, one of the challenges of the solution was to not look at what you solved, but to look at what moves were needed to finish the puzzle.  I remember getting so close with only a few color blocks in the wrong position.  In order to successfully finish the puzzle, it was necessary to make a lot of moves that seemingly canceled what was done.  This was the most frustrating point, but necessary for the solution.


Taking a good hard look at your operations is similar to the above solution.  Purchasing, the supply chain, customer service, warehouse operations, financial reporting, check processing, receivables, manufacturing and a dozen or so other functions in your business may all seem to be working.  After all, you are making money, but at what rate?  What costs are eroding your profitability? 


In what areas could automation increase efficiencies? 


Would the trauma and risk of replacing the systems your company relies on really be a benefit?  How do you calculate the true Return on Investment (ROI)?  You know that there is a difference between the upfront costs and ongoing costs, but how do they figure in the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)?


Would just upgrading what you are already using be a better investment? 


How much would the upgrade or replacement cost?  Can I afford to do an update?  More importantly, can you afford to not update?  In many cases it may cost more to not make changes.  You want to maximize your cash flow now, but by delaying it may end up costing more.  More in terms of lost customers, lost sales, and missed opportunities. 


Today both people and businesses expect to utilize the Internet and its’ technologies to speed up purchasing and sales.  In what ways is your organization taking advantage of the great communications highway?  In what way is your competition utilizing this medium to increase their market share?


Business development and growth is a lot like a long flight.  For the majority of the flight the computer and pilot are making course corrections.  Small incremental changes to keep on course, the most efficient course.  Without these adjustments there would have to be a major change near the end of the flight to reach your destination.  A costly and time consuming change.


At Dolvin Consulting we have worked with businesses at both ends of the spectrum.  Most were actually somewhere between being completely out of date and being cutting edge.  In all of the cases we took time to figure out what corrections were needed.  Sometimes that meant a quick fix.  Sometimes a short term solution with bigger plans for the future.  Sometimes starting anew.


Honestly, we do not know who you are, so we need you to contact us.  No pressure, no sales, just conversation.  What are you doing now, what is holding you back, and where do you want to be in the future.  Let us work together to build a plan, work on the budget, and feel confident that you are making the necessary course corrections to keep your business competitive.



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