Monday, November 24, 2008

ERP Helps Enable a Successful Business

Rising costs and a troubled economy have caused cost reduction to be the top business driver behind most technology initiatives today. In their report “2008 ERP in Manufacturing”, Aberdeen Research found that the pressure to reduce costs has surpassed both growth and customer service as the main business driver of ERP strategies. Not only are production costs rising, but the cost of quality, the cost of transportation and the cost of energy are becoming more and more challenging to the bottom line.

An ERP system that is properly matched to the needs of the company and utilized as an overall part of the business processes is able to serve as a business enabler to provide the visibility needed to control costs and enhance customer service. It does so by providing a framework for standardized business processes utilizing best practice concepts and allows coordination between different business functions. Some of the key benefits of a successfully utilized ERP system include:
  • Better visibility to business processes across multiple functions and departments
  • Improved customer responsiveness
  • Reduction of inventory and improved inventory accuracy
  • Reductions of administrative and manufacturing operational costs
  • Improved manufacturing schedule compliance and complete on-time delivery
  • Reduced customer lead time and improved quality performance.

Metrics to be used to measure success in an ERP environment include:

  • Inventory Days Supply – number of days inventory based on projected usage.
  • Manufacturing Schedule Compliance – percentage of work that is completed on time per the manufacturing schedule
  • Complete and On-time Shipments – orders shipped complete and on-time per the customer’s requested date
  • Order Cycle Times – various cycle times can be measured, but the customer order date to the delivery date cycle measures the time from a customer point of view
  • The Bottom Line – The most important measure! As cost performance improves, so will the bottom line.

Are you Best-in-Class?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Git-r-Dun to Make Change Successful

Any organization that is trying to make a change to how it operates will encounter issues of making the change that will dictate the level of success achieved. People tend to stay “in the mode” as long as there is more of a reason to do so than not. The longer the current practice has been in place, the more fundamental the change or the more the entire organization is affected are key issues that will determine how successfully the change is made. When an organization is making a significant change to the processes being used, it is important to realize the following:
  • Individual resistance to change is the norm, not the exception.
  • People must be informed, empowered, willing and able in order for changes to be made effectively.
  • Personal and organizational values affect how people react to change.
  • People go through the change process in stages and go through these stages as individuals.

There are several reasons that organizations fail to succeed with changes that are attempted:

  • There are unclear or unrealistic expectations for what the change is trying to accomplish.
  • The company culture is misjudged or ignored as it relates to how the change will be accepted.
  • Change management is viewed as expendable and/or is not done proactively.
  • Communication to those involved and affected is not done effectively or is done too late in the process.
  • End users who must participate in the change are neglected in the overall process.
  • No action plans or meaningful metrics are developed to provide guidance or monitor progress.

In order to manage the change that is being attempted, an organization needs to proactively:

  • Understand what the change means to the organization.
  • Assess the readiness of those involved.
  • Identify talents to be used in making the change.
  • Develop a plan and appropriate metrics that are simple and easy to understand.
  • Assess results review and adjust.

And finally………Git-r-Dun!

  • Spend time where the action is.
  • Get feedback from others.
  • Push to the next level of improvement.
  • Follow through with expectations.
  • Let people ask questions.
  • Give honest assessments.

Are you Best-in-Class?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Learning Plans Help Retain Key Employees

For quite some time, the idea of working for a single company for an entire career has been outdated with employees continually looking for opportunities that help them advance in their professional life. One of the keys to retaining good employees is to provide a learning environment where the employees can expand their knowledge base and nurture their career goals and aspirations.

According to Aberdeen Research, Best-in-Class companies:
  • Standardize the career planning and development process.
  • Have a “development” mindset within the organization.
  • Actively promote learning programs to those who can benefit.
  • Apply the learning mindset to non-managerial employees.

There are many educational sources that an organization can use to build and promote a learning program. Some of these sources include:

  • Professional society memberships, meetings and certifications.
  • Business and technical seminars and conferences.
  • Local educational institution programs such as a community college or university.
  • Private consultant companies with workforce training programs.
  • E-learning programs that include the internet, computer based learning, virtual classrooms and digital collaboration.

In order to be Best-in-Class, companies need to:

  • Apply the learning mindset to non-managerial employees.
  • Hold managers accountable for developing internal potential.
  • Define metrics that define and track educational performance.
  • Implement processes to promote learning and celebrate successes.

With a learning program that advances the knowledge of the employee, the company benefits due to the expanded knowledge of the workforce and the employees are more apt to stay put since there is a path for growth and progression.

Are you Best-in-Class?