Software products and custom software are being used by many in the manufacturing industry. Does they really help? Or they increase the cost overheads? Hence, generally it is seen that software, for eg, in a manufacturing organizations mean an accounting software and few excels. But this is not sufficient.
Process and Automation
A growing organization has to be process driven. These processes have to be defined to suit your needs and not very “optimistic”. After the processes have been designed, the next step is to ensure that they are followed. This is generally done by controlling the process by automated software. Every step of the process has to be assigned to a person, provide job aids to ensure process step is correctly followed and have approval mechanisms for reviews and audits. Let us take an example of one end to end process in a manufacturing organization “Order to cash”. Get an order -> Review Order -> Plan for production -> check stores -> Order Raw Material -> Issue Job cards-> Start Production -> Quality Assurance at every step -> record rejections-> Dispatch -> Get Acknowledgement from Customer -> Acceptance -> Payment. In this entire cycle, problems arise if any step is bypassed or there are any human errors. To avoid this, software systems are designed to automate the processes that integrate between various departments. These systems ensure that a proper workflow is being followed, and approval mechanisms are used to minimize the errors.
The transition from a small enterprise to a medium or a large enterprises demands that such processes and workflows are well defined and proper systems are in place for controlling the processes. In short, the system should not be person dependent.
Management Information System
Effective decision making requires timely and correct information. Good software provides an effective reporting mechanism. In a form of MIS, “correct” information from all departments is readily made available on click of a button. This saves a lot of time for various individuals in doing their analysis. Quality time gets spent on debates and discussion rather than for gathering right data. In fact, the management just has to identify the growth objectives for the organization and set targets. Effective software should help management track these goals on a periodic basis. The goal tracking should be real time so that corrective actions can be taken timely and any negative growth factor can be controlled.
Gone are the days when organizations use software that need dedicated machines or installation on client machines. Using the system should be a web browsing experience. Data accessibility from your organization should be as easy accessing contact information or getting alerts from your mobile.Web based systems, accessible from anywhere in the world, should be key requirements from the software system.
To summarize, if organizations understand the need of a software from using it for beyond accounting, it definitely acts as a growth catalyst to your core business. Controlled Processes, Integrated system, Quick Decision Making, Goal tracking, Accessibility of information are key elements for continuous growth.