There is a puzzle party game for older children. Every team gets a complete 25 piece puzzle, broken apart, and there is a table in the center of the room with the puzzle’s 4 corner pieces on display. One team member from each team approaches the table, with only one piece at a time, and tries to find this piece’s place. The team member may return to the team with or without having placed their piece. A relay ensues. When the puzzle is complete, the team with the least pieces left wins.
Now, imagine the advantage if one team was permitted to have all members approach the table at once. This lucky team could see the unfinished puzzle, their team’s pieces and the puzzle picture in a collaborative moment. Any team with this privilege would surely win because having all the information, in one place, accessible by all, is a literal game changer.
Consider that your financial data is the puzzle and your financial and operational departments the game players. Many departments often have a scattered and complex relationship with data. Payroll, tax, ordering, manufacturing stages, fulfillment, shipping, invoicing and so forth can represent chaotic and interdependent puzzle pieces. If efficiency suffers, some are tempted to add more employees to the department (more players to the puzzle-building relay team), but it would be much more effective to change the game rules and find a way to share and collaborate with the pieces. That game changer is ERP.
With an ERP system means you can enter accounting information once and then have it shared to the different departments immediately. Everything from sales to material order data could be entered and shared in real time, making gathering, processing and interlinking relevant data, from all departments, quick, coordinated and useful. This would help workload and workflow in all departments.
When data sharing is automated, workflow is smoother. No more waiting on one person to finish a manual backlog of data entry tasks, or communicate that a final review has been done, as the software helps expedite both the tasks at hand in real time and the communication of the where a department or person is in a task. Situational awareness rises throughout the organization.
The real winners in the puzzle party game are the decision makers. Once you can easily gather and compile data in one place and approach the strategy table, analyzing and compiling the data to make complete and informed decisions is easier. This, in turn, increases quality of product and service, reduces unnecessary work and excess inventory and ultimately improves cost efficiency.
Want to get better at piecing together your company’s financial and growth puzzle? Give Parallel Solutions a call at (440) 498-9920. We are a full service provider and our experienced staff can help assess all your needs from software to training and support.
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When you choose to vacation in a foreign land, there are many options. If you want everything taken care of, without much input, you can choose the coach bus experience where you are carted from one destination to the next in comfort and follow a lifted umbrella through tourist attractions. Some people may want more flexibility and might choose a small van tour of 10 or less people, which drop them in a city for a day and give guidance about what to do and see before meeting for lunch. Others still may rent a car, grab a translation book or app, and make their way across a country -- engaging with locals and destinations independently.
Of course, none of these choices are incorrect. They lead to different, but valuable experiences. As long as the person knows what they prefer going in, how to best meet their needs, then the choice can be made in the best way for each individual.
When choosing a vendor, for any business project, a similar line of discernment is required. No one vendor is ideal for every company. Yes, everyone benefits if the vendor is experienced and knowledgeable. But the way in which they work, the nature of their specific expertise and their ability to meet your company’s specific needs and preferences is what really matters.
It’s essential to acknowledge that your ERP vendor and consultant is a business partner and one that will be very active in your business for at least a year and then a steady presence for many years to come. The chosen partner will learn in-depth details and give guidance on the processes used for sales, accounting, production, inventory, HR and more. Can the vendor you choose relate to your company? Has the vendor worked with companies of your size and are they able to relate to your unique processes?
It’s also important to remember that people are paramount. ERP launch, implementation and training, is as effective as the team of people leading these efforts. When you choose a vendor, choose a group of people who have the values and level of experience you trust.
Here are five important questions to ask your potential ERP vendor:
Parallel Solutions has over 20 years of experience serving clients that range from start-up companies to those with $16 billion in annual sales. However, most of our clients fall into the small to medium business range of five to one 150 users in manufacturing, distribution, service and financial organizations. To learn more about our company, values, staff and distinct expertise, give us a call at (440) 498-9920 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Mary Jo O'Neill