“Job Control Software...
...Not Feelin' The Love”
Whenever I think about shop control systems, I think “How is this system going to make my work easier?” Sounds pretty simple right? Well, contrary to popular belief, many of the systems out there actually make the job harder. “But the software salesman said it was going to be easier.” Wrong!
Why systems go wrong
Much has been written about the problem of job control systems not being up to snuff and frankly it boils down to two issues that unfortunately conspire together to sink many installations.
1) Most systems are written by IT folks that have little or no background in manufacturing
. The accounting side of most software for the most part is pretty good but manufacturers have some specific needs in regards to purchasing, cost accounting and what and how they want to view the data.
In addition, the shop scheduling components are weak and mostly non-functional for most job shops.
2) Many software vendors ask the wrong questions of the manufacturers
. Unfortunately, most manufacturers have no clue what questions to ask so they rely upon a sales pitch or video to judge the software. Since the software company will only show the good things and not the negative, you are likely to get a skewed view of the functionality of the software. Unless a company has had a bad system, has done a lot of homework and really
asks the hard questions, some may fall for the pitch and take a flyer with the software that “looks” the best.
“What to do”?
1) Need to have vs. nice to have
First, you need to review your current system to determine what are the key functions that you would need to have or you currently use. These are your ‘line in the sand’ and must be addressed to your satisfaction by the salesperson. They either show you how their software handles these functions or get you a price to add them.
Either way, these should be non-negotiable. Period.
2) Budget, budget, budget
Second, you have to establish a budget for the software. This will include the software, installation, hardware, licenses, and of course the maintenance expenses. Just keep in mind that saving money now will cost you money every day until the software is replaced if it really doesn’t make the job easier.
Any package that is capable of more than just accounting will cost at least $15000-$20000 and go up from there depending on the number of licenses and equipment needed.
3) Just the facts, ma’am
Third, my principal focus is costing. I want to know what this job costs as well as how if it compares against my quote for the job. I’d also like to how it compared against past runs of the same item. This information should be very accessible as well as informative to the point of overkill. In other words, it shouldn’t take a PhD in IT to get this info from the system. Also, report driven systems look neat but I prefer an menu driven system that brings up screens that show you what you want without entering lots of parameters.
4) A little detective work
And finally, do some homework. Read online about each software package you are considering. There are tons of forums and other sites that will give you good background information and will raise questions that the sales force will need to answer.
Just Google the software or company name and look for these forums and other comments that current users are posting. It’s amazing what you can find with a little effort.
The info above just scratches the surface when it comes to shop control software. For more information or if you have questions, give me call and we can discuss what your situation is and how we might help to solve your shop control problem.
A Step You Can Take Today!
Get your manufacturing team together and spend 1 hr discussing your current job control software or what you might like to have if you don't already have one.
Make sure to determine the 3-4 "must haves" that you are not getting from your existing system or ones you want from one if you don't have software yet. That way, you'll be ready to pull the trigger when the time comes to find the new software system your company deserves!
Check out our new "Exhaust Notes" video using the link under the picture of my 1967 Chevelle to the right. In this month's video, you'll come to understand some of the shortcomings of existing job control software are and what you can do to prevent a costly mistake by buying and inferior product.
To check out our Profit Power video series, click on this link. http://tinyurl.com/age9a9n In the coming months, look for more and exciting content that will surely help you improve you business in this very competitive industry.
Please feel free to explore my website at www.topgunconsulting.com and see how we can help you improve your efficiency and get you on the road to higher profits and greater success!
I look forward to talking with you soon at 602-510-5998 or email me at email@example.com
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