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Bringing Technology to Your Business - Part IV: Better Business Management

Proven methods to enhance your management reporting systems with custom design and off-the-shelf software

Is your documentation scattered? Do you know your key business indictors? What about your yield, cycle times, lead times, and inventory – both product and supply? Do you track your equipment and resource utilization? Are you on top of your serviceability, traceability, and financial data? Do you have a quality monitoring system in place? Do you ever neglect your EC (engineering change) levels?

It is vital that you evaluate your business by asking and answering these questions to determine what parameters are most important or need work. Monitoring the performance of your processes and operations on a regular basis is crucial to effectively debug systems, manage resources, and improve process flow. Management reporting systems and operations monitoring can be attained by using either custom design software or off-the-shelf software adapted to your business needs. These are some of the most important steps when employing this practice:

  • Determine key parameters and control levels required for your enhancement goals.
  • Ensure that you do not have isolated or independent databases that do not interact with each other.
  • Provide tools to consolidate interface between databases to get one set of reports and control mechanisms.
  • Access your data remotely with reports that can be web enabled, securely transmitted on any media so that you access it at home, on the road, or anywhere in the world.
  • Avoid manually entering data by implementing voice recognition systems, scanners, sensors, and RFID (radio frequency identification data).
  • If you find yourself overly dependent on Excel spreadsheets, set in place database engines that can be customized to fit your needs, from off-the-shelf solutions and cost-effective programs to fully blown ERP systems that cover all factions of running a manufacturing operation.

Should you choose to pull out all the stops to enhance your management reporting systems, you will be taking a giant step forward in sustaining ISO quality standards. At the very least, it provides a strong platform for a transparent quality management system.

For a manufacturer in Orange County, NY, a reformed quality reporting system has helped pave the way toward significant gains. The new system tracks serviceability by checking the current inventory along with orders that are incomplete or on hold because the materials needed are not in stock. It also tracks the original promise date when created compared to the current promise date and its changes over time, ensuring that on-time delivery is under constant examination. Finally, the company implemented a report of its monthly quantity, value, and count. This system tracks the numbers of orders made, the quantity of materials sold, and the total value per month or any other specified time. Reviewing these key performance indicators, the new system has filled gaps in the reporting ability of their sales management system.

Another monitoring software system was installed as a database for their processes to achieve the necessary level of control documentation. Also helping improve quality and traceability, this system replaced a series of spreadsheets with a database that easily describes and records every aspect of the process, from weight and moisture content to mixing instructions. It tabulates the information into the database that is easily accessible and updated not only by management but by the entire staff.

We told you that Part IV would be the final installment of “Bringing Technology to Your Business,” but we want to keep going! After focusing on operations monitoring this month, we’ll have a brand new installment on operations control in June. For more information, please contact Business Development Advisor, Ralph Brown, at 914-393-9876 or ralph.brown@hvtdc.org, and make sure to stay tuned for our bonus story in our next newsletter.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3