Monday, December 10, 2012

ERP Solution Provider’s Understanding of Business Challenges


“VAI truly understood our business challenges and developed a flexible solution that has transformed our organizations’ operations. VAI was able to get both organizations up and running in six months and we are already delighted by the results. With truly automated operations and real-time access to critical data, we are now able to offer customers outstanding service and support that truly sets us apart from the competition.”



It is not only comforting to know that your solution provider cares, but truly understands your challenges.  You business depends on their ability to deliver the right solution.  Nice to know that your business is important to your solution provider.






The companies’ previous ERP system limited their ability to efficiently and cost effectively perform critical every day sales and service functions.  Service billing was a labor intensive process, as both organizations used paper invoices that needed to be printed before going to the customers’ sites.  In addition, sales and service reps didn’t have a clear snapshot of what products customers were using, what they were already billed for and what they already paid.  In one instance, inventory processing and billing were previously delayed by one full week as a result of the salesmen checking in on a Friday, and then the accounting department entered the sales and cash receipts during the following week.



Any system that limits your ability to do business is a problem.  The whole point of real Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions is to drive efficiency, reduce costs and make you more profitable.  Great solutions do this and enable great customer service.




Situation Summary

• Manual and offline processes used.

• Labor intensive service billing due to using paper invoices.

• Inventory processing and billing extensively delayed.

• Limited insight into inventory and customer data.



Manual anything is not good.  Labor intensive anything is not good.  Delayed anything is not good.  Limited anything is not good.  All of these “not good” items are heavy cost overhead to a business trying to compete.





GLE and HRT needed to improve service billing operations, streamline inventory management and reduce costs associated with truck routing processes.



Any company that wants to remain competitive and stay in business needs to concentrate on operational efficiencies which include billing, inventory and other processing.





GLE and HRT evaluated several ERP solutions but discovered that these offerings were not able to provide them with the manufacturing processes they needed to ensure streamlined operations and reduced costs.  Madden, along with management in both companies determined that with its ease-of deployment and real-time data discovery, VAI S2K was the ideal solution for GLE and HRT.



Good to evaluate multiple systems, you want to make sure your solution fits your challenges.  Even better is the analysis that gives you the metrics to make that decision.  Streamlining operations is key to operational efficiency.  Without this no solution would be worth the investment.




Business Results

After implementing VAI S2K remote access and service billing, the entire billing and invoicing process was completely automated, allowing GLE and HRT to significantly enhance the level of service and support they provide to customers. 


“Not only was the implementation of VAI S2K seamless and quick, but its performance has been flawless as well. Since deploying, technicians are no longer burdened with customer service and billing issues, and we have been able to integrate all of our ERP systems so that we have one, accurate view of all our data,” said Madden.



Automation is a key component to efficiency and operating competitively.  Really great news is the statement indicating that their service levels to their customers was improved.  Quick implementation is great also as long as it does come at the compromise of quality and effectiveness. 




Key Benefits

• Rapid implementation.

• Seamless integration of VAI S2K.

• More efficient and up-to-the-minute inventory management.

• Real-time accounts receivable control.

• Transitioned from paper to electronic records/management.

• Reduction of human error, manual processes and employee resources.

• DOT sheets can be printed automatically based on truck loads.

• Suggested truck loads can be obtained and altered in real-time.

• Royalties and commissions generated automatically in the system after each sale.



·         Rapid implementation is good.  Who likes to wait to open their Christmas presents. 

·         Seamless integration  is the goal of an ERP solution.  The more the left hand knows what the right hand is doing, the more likely anything is to get done.

·         Managing inventory is the most challenging and yet cost savings activity that can be done in an organization.

·         Real –time AR as well any real-time information is critical to making accurate business decisions now, not later.  Management needs information to make decisions.

·         We are all in the process of transitioning to electronic solutions.  From personal banking and other paperwork.  Our businesses should do the same.  This increases efficiencies in the back office as well as in customer service.

·         Reduction of human error is a natural byproduct of investing in an ERP solution.  Anytime a human is involved errors are likely to manifest. 

·         Producing the right paperwork, when actual paper is needed, is a good thing.  The cost of corrections and remediation far out way the cost of doing the job right the first time.

·         Real-time information leads itself to being able to be modified in real-time.  Let the efficiencies rule.





I have made many comments about the published article.  What stands out to you?  There are two that I would like to leave with you.


1.       From my perspective I see a fairly typical company that reached the strong part of the growth curve and seemingly a sudden inability to keep up.  Their old processing worked well with a lower level of business operations, but that solution did not have the ability to scale well.


 It is like a set of tires on your car.  They start out strong and well suited to the vehicle.  Over time the tires wear and you adjust to the worn tread.  Then seemingly all-of-a-sudden you find you had trouble stopping in enough time or you took a turn wider than usual.  The changes are happening all the time and you are adjusting, yet at some point you realize that the tires just need to be replaced, because they are more of a liability at this point than an asset.


2.       Customer service from the ERP solution provider, in this case VAI, to you enables you to provide better customer service to your customers.  Apply the Golden Rule here (and everywhere for that matter).  Treat others how you would like to be treated.  No rocket science here.  By increasing your ability to service the needs of your customers, you increase the ability of your customers to keep doing business with you and to spread the word about how your relationship with them helps.


THIS IS IMPORTANT:  Anything you do, in the name of your business or anything for that matter must have increased customer service as the driving factor.  Without happy customers you are out of business.  Period.  People try to draw many overlays over an ERP solution.  Kind of like throwing cooked pasta on the fridge.  Let us see what sticks and go with that. 


Bottom line – Efficiency is great.  Automation is great.  But, ask yourself, WHY?  Sure, we all would like more business.  In fact I would like you to reach out to me now so we could sit down and talk.  That is right, just talk.  No one that I talk with needs what I can offer at the time we make contact or they need the solutions, but they do not have budget.  So we talk, just talk.  Let us find out what keeps you awake at night.  Let us work on your budget so that you have the information you need to make improvements in your operations that drive customer satisfaction and increase your profitability. 


I do not expect you to say “Wow, let us go to Dolvin and buy something today”.  But, I hope and I mean this sincerely, you will engage me in conversation.  I truly want to help your organization, business, do better.  Sometimes this means pointing you in a different direction.  Regardless, we (me, myself and I) will never try to sell you something you do not need or that will not help you. 


Contact Dolvin Consulting today.  We are here to help.  Here to help you.  If you do not like what you hear, then just hang up.  We all have good days and bad ones.  Let us help you have more better days.



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