Specialists in IT Strategy and ERP.

November, 2008

This month's features.

Improved Business Performance Through ERP. Our readers know that we have a fundamental belief in the power of ERP to transform businesses. But where do the benefits come from? In this issue we start discussing this topic. This is must reading for all of our subscribers.

If you missed our webinar with partner Altec, you missed an opportunity to gain insight into the power of document management to add to your bottom line. But for a primer on this topic, read our article on Document Management 

To discuss your ideas or needs for document management, just call the experts at Innovative.  

Improved Business Performance Through ERP. By Paul Sita, Principal, Innovative IT Consulting, LLC. Paul can be reached at 631-549-1685 or psita@innovativeitc.com.

Why bother with ERP? Let’s face it. ERP is expensive. And tough to implement. It can bring an organization to its knees. Times are tough. Dollars are tight. Why bother?

ERP is one of the keys to improved business performance and operational excellence.

I know what you’re thinking. No system can make my organization a better organization. You’re right. But our experience has shown that organizations that make the commitment to implement ERP end up as better companies, more focused, more efficient, and yes more profitable. We trace these benefits to two key aspects - the PROCESS of implementing an integrated system, and the INSIGHT that you derive from the system once it is implemented. Let's peel back the onion a bit on these aspects.

PROCESS. Implementing an ERP system requires discipline. The discipline to get diverse functional groups working together. The discipline to examine a business process from end to end. Successfully implementing ERP adds that discipline and teamwork to an organization and therefore provides a foundation for improved performance. The discipline and teamwork that is required for successful ERP adoption allows the organization to successfully tackle other complex initiatives that are closely correlated to growth and profitability, such as Lean and tighter coupling with supply chain partners.

INSIGHT. Insight is much more than information. It’s much more than reports and dashboards. Insight is the result of USING these tools by a management team that is focused and aligned on key metrics for their specific business. When a team has access to information on a timely basis, and when they have access to a single version of the truth – they spend more time discussing the WHY and the HOW of business information vs. debating IF and WHEN. In short, INSIGHT enables rapid reaction and action in support of the business. That’s power. And that power turns into profit.

Insight in action. Once they have successfully implemented ERP many customers find that improved business performance can be achieved. Here are a few common areas of focus:

    1) Expand your view of profitability. A good ERP system will allow you to examine the WHOLE relationship with your customers. Look at the complete picture, including customer acquisition costs, and relationship costs such as returns and re-work, to help you arrive at a true picture of the value of any customer, even relating to specific product lines that they may purchase.

    2) Look at costs from end to end. ERP should allow you to gain insight into costs at every stage of the business process, not just inventory carrying costs. You should be able to understand the impact of product mix, manufacturing setup, and engineering costs associated with specific products and projects.

    3) Minimize business risk. ERP should also allow you to minimize business risk by meeting regulatory requirements such as SOX, FDA, COOL, Lot Traceability and other complex mandates. Not only should these controls be supported, but addressing them should not add significant cost and complexity to your business processes.

    4) Adapt to changing market dynamics. To make money in difficult times, you need to be more nimble. A good ERP system should allow you to spot trends faster, and act on those trends. In addition to reducing risk, you should be able to gain maintain share as less nimble competitors struggle to keep up.

It’s there for the taking.

These suggestions come from our experience working with ERP in a variety of industries over the past 20 years. Waiting for the economy to recover will only put you at a disadvantage relative to companies who are already implemented, or who choose to implement now instead of later. So manage your dollars wisely, but get started and get finished! Don’t forget that PROCESS and INSIGHT will drive you to efficiency and profit.


Tip of the Month

More Than One Way to "Scan" a Document.
By John Pellegrino, Principal, Innovative IT Consulting, LLC. John can be reached at 631-549-1685 or jpellegrino@innovativeitc.com.

As many of you know, we co-sponsored a webinar with Altec regarding their document management system, doc-link a few weeks ago. Last month’s newsletter included a tip about one feature of doc-link and I’d like to offer a second tip about another feature this month. This tip revolves around an efficient method for “scanning” documents into the system.

No good deed goes unpunished. There are many documents that are created from your backend ERP that you may want to scan into document management. This, of course, allows you to eliminate file storage and gives you the ability to search for these documents based on various index values. But, how can you get these documents into the management system? One way is to print the document and then scan it in with a scanner. After scanning you can manually index the values. This may be a good way, but it comes with a cost; a cost in paper and time.

Killing two birds with one stone. There is a better way in doc-link known as ERM capturing. ERM stands for Electronic Record Management, a term used a long time ago to mean electronic capturing of printed documents. Basically you send the document to a specially configured virtual printer that captures the image. While it is being captured you can set this up to automatically index based on the location of data on the printed document. For example, you can capture a customer invoice and index the invoice number, customer number, and customer name. Finally, you can setup doc-link to route the document in a number of ways including printing to a physical printer, faxing or sending via email.

This is not your father's document management. Many ERP systems allow you to “attach” documents to various transactions, but you are required to manage the documents yourself. You have to decide where to store them, you have to devise a naming convention and you have to manually attach them. A true document management system does all of this for you and, as you can tell from the previous two month’s tips, it is much, much more.

What's new?

The Question of the month!! Every month we field a question from one of our fearless readers! Don't be shy. Submit your hardest question and see how we do.

Word Scramble time.
“Information used strategically for improved business performance.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _


Answer to last month's word scramble.

“ A capability of assigning relevant information to documents to simplify retrieving them when needed.(INDEXING)

Question of the month. This month's question comes from James in Melville, NY.

Our ERP implementation project has stalled. Our software vendor's team is frustrated at the lack of progress and is threatening to pull out of the project. What's the best approach?

James, this is another all too common ERP implementation issue. ERP implementation is a complex project, one that requires a lot of knowledge and experience to manage. Even good project managers who have never managed an ERP project before may not be equipped to deal with the myriad of issues that arise - everything from requirements to specs, to testing plans, resource management. The list goes on. What the software vendors and VARS don't tell you is that you will need an experienced and dedicated hand at the helm - possibly even dedicated to the project full-time. This role can't be delivered by the software vendor. Frequently Innovative plays this role for the clients, making everyone's job easier. Don't fret, call the experts at Innovative!  

A Look Ahead To Next Month

We continue our look at ERP benefits and values. Stay tuned!!  

We want your feedback. Contact us

Innovative IT Consulting, LLC
(631) 549-1685