Why get better software? Why now?
Manufacturers think constantly about improving their products and processes. Inevitably they think about what their software does when they consider process improvement. It has never been more evident that software and technology are key components to continuous improvement and business success. Every aspect of growing business value requires technology to support and control improvement activities.
During the recent economic downturn, many manufacturers learned a lot about how good their software was. Business leaders began to realize just what the company’s software provided as fewer staff was available to supplement deficient software with spreadsheets.
Suppliers and customers began to require compliance with more efficient electronic processes (use of portals, EDI, and EFT) as they worked more efficiently. Marketing and sales increased its focus on the Internet and Social Media, requiring software to be web enabled and configured for remote access from tablets and phones.
As business continues to rebound from previous lows, the plan is to grow without adding overhead. This means that software and technology needs to be most effective in supporting how they company does business and executes every day transactions most efficiently. The key is linking suppliers, customers, and the company profitably.
And it is no longer a given that your software needs to reside on a server in your building. Opportunities for minimizing in-house technology via running your software in the cloud (cloud computing) or having your software vendor provide a solution from their secure facility (Software as a Service or SaaS) are growing quickly.
As you plan for 2012 and beyond you should carefully consider the role of updated software for your business. Your objective should be to make sure that current software technology is available in your business so that your remaining employees provide the greatest value to your company.
Along with enhanced responsiveness from lean improvements, software can best present you to your customers as their preferred business partner. Web customers will appreciate how you respond to their orders and inquiries about your capabilities. Your suppliers will be very responsive to a customer who works most effectively with them to communicate changing needs for the goods and services they produce. Customer service will be enhanced by the access to information that a well-structured software solution provides.
Contact the DVIRC to learn more about what the right software can do for your company. We’ve seen good and bad software solutions at hundreds of customers, we’ve heard the frustration, and we can support improvement in this valuable set of tools.