Increase Productivity With Custom Software
How can custom enterprise software increase productivity and reduce costs?
Decreasing costs allows your company to improve the bottom line, even when sales are flat. But how can you decrease one of your biggest costs – employees – without downsizing or cutting pay?
Use software to improve productivity.
The right custom business software application can increase productivity by allowing employees to complete work more accurately in less time. Here are a couple of examples.
Case One – The Telecommunications Company
A telecommunications company implemented a custom software application and reduced project management time from 100+ hours to 32 hours per week.
When it began using spreadsheets to track project data, the company was small. One person could accurately enter, maintain, and retrieve all of the required information in eight hours per week or less. As the company grew, project management soon required 2+ full-time people and more than 100 hours per week. The number of errors grew in proportion to the size of the spreadsheets. Customer satisfaction dropped as project managers were forced to spend most of their time on data entry instead of focusing on deliverables.
Replacing the spreadsheets with a custom database application:
- Reduced the time required to enter and update project information from 100+ to 32 hours per week or less.
- Reduced or eliminated errors.
- Allowed project managers to focus on value added work instead of data entry.
As a bonus, having all of the information in a database instead of on massive spreadsheets allowed this DragonPoint Software client to significantly reduce the time required to create reports while improving overall accuracy.
Case Two – The Homebuilder
Builder software provided a 40% reduction of the time required to source and purchase an average of 33,000 items per home.
If you counted the number of nails, screws, boards, pipes, and other parts in your home, you’d probably come up with a number somewhere around 33,000, covering more than 220 unique parts. Builders know exactly how many of each part and how many hours of labor go into every floor plan. The builder’s purchasing agents are responsible for ensuring that every part and service are on the job site when needed. The purchasing department manages the cost per part for each supplier, comparing quality and cost across vendors to find the best value for the home buyer, as well as the highest profitability for the builder.
A large national home builder implemented an integrated software package, only to find it necessary to double the size of its purchasing team. Why? The inflexibility of the software meant the company had to change its processes to match the system’s. Business practices that had been streamlined and optimized during more than 10 years of award-winning success were replaced by system-dictated inefficiencies, and things that previously took two steps suddenly required ten. The purchasing agents, who had been hired because they understood the building industry and excelled at supplier management, were forced to divert time from business-enhancing activities and focus on data entry and management.
To solve the problem, the builder decided to increase productivity by investing in a custom software design that supported its proven business practices. Master templates for parts and labor are one example of how the new system increased productivity. Each time the builder introduces a new floor plan, purchasing starts with a proven, validated master template of parts and labor for the type of construction and tailors it to the new plan.
Another way the system improved productivity was by making it easier to find and update existing information. To track down information in the old packaged system, employees had to remember or look up meaningless codes, often navigating to three or more screens to get a complete picture. The new custom software application system was designed to make information easily accessible, so purchasing can now search for information in almost unlimited ways. For example, purchasing can find the list of parts and labor for a specific home by entering a buyer’s name or property address, or by selecting the floor plan name or community where it is being built.
What were the results of creating a system that supports the business’s proven processes? Improved productivity:
- 40% reduction in hours that purchasing agents spend identifying and sourcing all parts for a new home.
- 60% reduction in training time required for new employees to become proficient using the purchasing software.
By reducing the time required for redundant data entry and other non-value added tasks, purchasing is able to spend more hours negotiating pricing, finding new sources, and ensuring the accuracy of master data – significant contributions to lower costs and a higher bottom line.
Software doesn’t always improve productivity.
Many IT companies will tell you that software always improves productivity. At DragonPoint Software, we disagree.
Immediately after going live with a well-known ERP system, one of our clients, a large international manufacturer, lost its ability to invoice its customers. For three months, they struggled without success to get invoices working within the new application.
How could this happen?
No one defined the company’s business processes and checked to make sure the ERP package would support them. Everyone assumed that because the software was very expensive and well-known, it would work. This turned out to be a fatal assumption, because the manufacturer’s very selective clients had specific requirements for production, shipping, and invoicing that the package could not accommodate. Even costly customization failed to solve the invoicing issue; unique dependencies among the manufacturer’s sub-processes defied attempts to work around the ERP system’s rigid dictates.
Invoicing wasn’t the only disastrous result of implementing the new package. Daily production reports critical for management decision-making disappeared, and attempts to reproduce the reports identified missing data – information never entered or captured by the new ERP system. In an industry where just-in-time is critical to success, the manufacturer began to ship products late or not at all. Angry customers cancelled orders and began to source alternative suppliers.
In the previous custom system, invoices were automatically generated as soon as the order shipped. With the new ERP system’s inability to create invoices, the company resorted to an emergency manual process, and cash flow suffered.
The solution? The company turned off the big ERP application and turned back on their old custom systems. Shipments began triggering invoices. Production reports were available again, and the other broken parts of the process began working again.
The bottom line
The right software applications improve productivity, but the wrong software can spell disaster. Be sure your business’s software supports your unique processes, because only then will it contribute to lower costs and improved productivity.
Want more information about how custom business management software for your business can improve productivity? Contact DragonPoint at 321-631-0657.
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