Eliminating inefficiencies – no matter how small – will help you to reap the benefits of your production MIS/ERP.
An impending MIS/ERP implementation or upgrade is a fantastic opportunity to spring clean your processes. It’s a time when companies can turn their focus inward and identify processes that can be rationalised, removing wasteful steps that steal value from jobs.
A proliferation of unnecessary interactions, steps or touchpoints can quickly lead from profit to loss but aren’t usually perceived as doing so as they’ve always been the norm. For many businesses, the justification is that “it’s just how they’ve always done it.”
Analysing these practises is a healthy exercise at any time as staff can become aware of better ways of working by simply discussing current processes with their colleagues, but it’s a must-have for an MIS/ERP implementation as it’s the perfect time to question existing processes at every point, and also to challenge whether one process fits all.
There is of course a time investment to be made in this exercise but it can reap huge benefits. The below categories are areas where we see businesses benefit the most from making changes.
Review existing workflows
Are all steps necessary for all types of work? Can a reduced subset of workflow with fewer inputs and touchpoints be utilised for certain types of work? Indeed, even certain customers or types of order (a web to print order for example) may need far less customer interaction than a campaign of differing products and services.
What processes can be removed from the workflow for each scenario? Are multiple points of input necessary, or can processes be simplified. Is data entry duplicated? Are there opportunities to automate? Is all the necessary information captured to ensure no assumptions are made during manufacture?
Review your company-wide strategies
Are they all aligned to ensure that each department is pulling in the same direction? It’s quite possible that conflicting strategies may cause inefficiencies and loss as work crosses departments. For example, a process deemed as efficient in one low cost area may steal value from a high cost process by enforcing a less efficient working practice on that area. Analysis of where the value is added can help with redefining these strategies.
Where do delays lie in the production cycle? Artwork approvals are an example where effective milestone management can be a key enabler to ensuring an efficient production plan that can be adhered to.
Review your cost base
Cost calculations relating to departments and machinery can be revisited to ensure accuracy. When was the current costing data validated? Prior to the last MIS go-live? When a new machine was brought in? If so, what performance metrics were used? It may be that they were supplied by a vendor. If this is the case, has the machine’s performance to date been validated against these figures? Make sure that the cost base data for your new system is verified and tested. The goal should reflect reality, however if reality hasn’t been the base historically, then a common symptom or side effect of this process can be the perception that “The new system doesn’t deliver prices as good as the old one!” Thorough testing and analysis will bring these situations to light and may create an opportunity to review pricing strategies too.
Microsoft Dynamics NAV/PrintVis can help by providing a unified platform for all types of print work, each with tailored workflow requirements. As a unified platform, all data is held in a single database, reducing the requirement for import/export breakpoints between systems. Defined roles and responsibilities allow the most suitable individuals to input their relevant data at each stage with KPIs driving their interaction, and milestone planning with follow-up reminders will help to reduce delays in the production cycle. Reporting of actual costs against estimate by product, job or customer can provide valuable insight into problem areas.
Small tweaks for big gains
Eliminating inefficiencies -no matter how small – will help you to reap the benefits of your production MIS/ERP. Reviewing and maintaining it will empower you to improve your processes and ensure its fitness for purpose.