Monday, May 6, 2013

Belief, ERP and All

It does not seem too long ago, my wife and I purchased a live (balled) tree for Christmas.  We actually did that for our first three years together.  I was looking out in the back yard recently and was just staring.  You see we live in a neighborhood that was built a number of years ago on what was a golf course.  The houses are relatively close together.  We have nice neighbors, but we also like to feel like we have some privacy.

It is called “Green” now, but I just liked the concept of having a live tree that could be planted instead of thrown out on the curb for garbage collection a couple of weeks later.  The trees took to the yard just fine.  Taking an outdoor tree, bringing it inside to a warm environment, then back out in winter can stress the tree.  When they were planted each was four or five feet tall.  In a few years they towered over the yard. 

And that was what I was contemplating.  The trees are probably 35 feet tall now.  I might need to find a geometry book and figure out the calculation of angle-side-angle so I can calculate the actual height.  A somewhat nerdy thought, I agree.  It really is not that important to know how tall they are.  What is important is the transformation of the yard.

I did not plan on having a green fence that gave shade and privacy all year round.   The evergreens are so nice, even in the winter season, having some green around.  The snow on them looks nice too. 

A few years ago our older neighbor moved out.  She was a really nice lady and we had respect for each other’s privacy.  Knowing that new neighbors would move in, we replaced a 4 foot chain link fence with a vinyl 6 foot privacy fence.  The first thing the new neighbors did was erect a 12 foot tall play fort for their kids right next to the fence.  No zoning laws for that unfortunately.  The kids and parents like to climb up and stare and comment on our yard.  So we planted some fast growing cedar trees.  At the time they barely topped the fence. 

We believed the nursery when they told us they would grow quickly and return our privacy to us.

Now just a few years later these new trees, green all year long, are 30 feet tall.  At the time we did not know what to do.  What we thought we wanted would not have helped.  The nursery owner became our trusted advisor.  He understood the problem and had the knowledge of what would work.  It really was not that uncommon a problem and he had dealt with it before.

Looking at your situation in business sometimes takes forward looking back sight.  Are you seeing your business as it is now or as it could be?  I did not plan to plant trees for privacy, but the results were worth the effort and expense.  I am glad I made the investment when I did.

Looking back it really was not that much effort or expense.  The results are worth everything to us.  There was waiting, faith, belief and a trusted advisor.

As a business owner you need to keep current and keep up with the demands from customers whose expectations are always changing and evolving.  Your competition is doing that all the time.  A happy customer is a loyal customer.

Any update, upgrade, new, or replacement of software should have the goal of increasing customer satisfaction.  Efficiency is important and it is how you can afford to serve your customers better.  It is like your optimal weight.  You belt has another notch free, your clothes feel good and your walk is lighter, but are you any happier?  Did the weight loss enable you to do anything more or more efficiently?  If the result of the efficiency does not serve your customers, then you will not have customers.

A fresh set of eyes to look at what you are doing is a valuable investment.  It is hard to look outside of the box when you are in the box.  One of my favorite sayings is: When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

Many companies look to a trusted advisor when they realize that what they are doing just does not work anymore.  Sometimes this is due to an increase in business.  The business grows, sometimes rapidly, and they just do not realize right away that the software that worked really well at one business level, just cannot keep up anymore.  At the other end of the spectrum is a business that is losing ground.

The purpose of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software solutions is to seamlessly integrate as much of the business operations together as possible.  The best way for management to make intelligent decisions is to know what is going on, what are the trends and financial outlook.  ERP enables the left hand to know what the right hand is doing. 

This much you already know. 

In this day and age, we know what ERP solutions are supposed to do.  What we may not know is in what way the investment, which can be significant, can produce a Return on Investment (ROI) and in what time frame. 

This is a really big point. 

If the ROI will essentially pay for the solution in one to two years, any longer and it probably is not the right choice, then you are losing money/revenue right now.  This is a fact, not a sales pitch.  Think about the fact that if you can achieve a reasonable return, then that is most likely due to inefficiency in your operations.  Inefficiency can be costly.  It is money that could be used to improve customer service, grow market share, expand capacity, save jobs, take a vacation, etc.

Sometimes it takes a leap of faith.  You have to believe. 

A trusted advisor can help bridge the gap.  Dolvin Consulting works with industry experts to help you look at what you are doing today and where you want to be in a few years.  We start by working with your people to define areas that need improvement and have potential for great ROI.  Sometimes we just do not realize how much pain there really is, because we have always done “it” this way.  Then we work with your decision makers to define your budget and find solutions that will work. 

The final decision is always yours, but would it make sense to know what your options are?  Contact us today to see how we can help.  That is why we are here.


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