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process-improvement-checklistIt’s already nearing the end of 2016. Crazy how fast time flies! For many people, this time is the busiest, filled with corporate events, family gatherings, holiday shopping, vacations and more. For many businesses, especially in the retail industry, it’s also one of their busiest times of the year. However, there are those industries or companies where December is a quiet month, making it the perfect time to look ahead and plan for the upcoming year. It’s when executives can finally set aside a few hours or days to establish and finalize next year’s budgets, prioritize upcoming projects, assess employee performance and review goals and benchmarks for the following year. What our consultants always encourage is to also set some time aside to review business processes and determine which ones aren’t working well anymore. For example, are you noticing an increase in unhappy customers, an increase in manual data entry, duplicated work, an increase in costs, missed deadlines, frustrated, and unproductive employees…? If so, it’s definitely time to improve the processes that don’t work and are leading to these problems.

In today’s world, things can change in an instant. Therefore, your business processes may have been efficient 5 years ago (or even one year ago!), but today, they are considered inefficient or outdated due to new technology, new goals, industry or consumer changes, etc.

So what can you do about it?

We’ve compiled an End-of-Year Checklist for you so that you can overcome challenges and improve outdated processes for 2017;

  • Write down the main problems/challenges you’ve noticed this past year;
    • Where are costs going up? Where are most of the delays occurring? How come customers or suppliers are growing more unhappy? Why are deadlines constantly missed? Why are errors increasing? …
  • Analyze these processes. Focus on either one or many of these problem areas and make them your priority for 2017. A great way to really understand what’s going on is to speak directly with the employees who are affected by the processes and get their feedback on why things aren’t working so well anymore. Perhaps they have an idea on how to improve them. It’s critical that you and everyone involved understand exactly what these specific processes are meant to do before addressing the problems and redesigning the processes.
  • Restructure those inefficient processes; brainstorm with your team and jot down all the ideas to solve these problems. Many companies refer to a consultant during this step, to help them find possible risks and points of failure of each possible solution.
  • The next step involves securing the resources required to implement change (change = new processes or process alterations required to improve efficiency & solve current challenges/issues). Do you need to hire someone new? Do you need to implement new software applications or outsource an IT provider for their services? Whatever it may be, now’s the time to set the budget (make sure it’s a realistic budget!).

For example, let’s say you realized that costs rose with the increase in incoming purchase orders in 2016. Perhaps this was due to hiring more sales reps to input all of these orders into the management system. Now you have more salaries, more manual data entry, and in turn more errors (human errors are likely to occur with data entry). With more errors in customer orders, there are more unsatisfied customers. What is a possible solution to this problem? Reduce the manual data entry or human intervention when it comes to incoming purchase orders through the use of an automated and integrated Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) service. With EDI, incoming Purchase Orders (POs) can be integrated directly into your management system. No human intervention required! This then reduces errors, plus improves the speed in which orders are processed and delivered to customers. A new budget will then be required for 2017 for an EDI integration project.

Going through the above checklist before the New Year will allow you to see real improvements next year. Now’s the time to ensure that your processes are effective and streamlined, your employees are productive, happy and properly trained, customers are satisfied and the technologies used are up-to-date, simple and a good fit for your business. We find too many businesses with complex software solutions, at which point their executives then wonder why their processes are so complex. By 2017, companies will look to have more affordable, flexible and simple solutions in order to have more agility for change. Set your plan and realistic budgets in order to benefit from efficient, streamlined processes.

Warehouse ManagementHere’s my answer in one simple phrase: Track your stock properly!

This may seem like such an obvious thing to do if you are in the Manufacturing industry but funnily enough, there are still tons of companies out there that are not tracking their inventory correctly or with the proper tools. These companies are then left with either too much or too little inventory. How can this affect their business? Read more

Millennial WorkforceCan one generation truly make such a big difference in the business world? Absolutely!

Millennials are quickly becoming the largest generation in the workforce. According to Dan Schawbel (Forbes, 2013)3, “by 2025, Millennials will account for 75% of the global workforce”. Compared to the Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers, Millennials go into the workforce with different work and culture expectations. They expect transparency, collaboration, a great company culture and tech innovations. Read more

Namtek Consulting Services' Top 10 Blogs from 2015We’ve compiled a list of our most read and shared blog posts in 2015. These posts cover tons of different topics ranging from EDI communication to Productivity Apps to ERP Implementations to IT Business Tools.

False Advertisement: The Truth about ERP Implementations

This article really touched upon the negative experiences of ERP implementations at businesses. It goes on to answer the question: “Why do companies have such terrible software implementation experiences?” Our experts’ conclusion was that either their ERP Provider is only providing them with half-truths about implementations to sell their own products OR business executives make their own assumptions and do not do the proper research required beforehand. Getting the RIGHT and TRUTHFUL information from IT Providers as well as doing your own research on implementations is absolutely critical. Read more to get the real story behind those false statements about ERP Implementations. Read more

Business Pain PointsWhen asked by your IT Service Provider, “What would you like your Management System to do for your business”, you should already have a list of the exact business areas and aspects that need improving. Perhaps you’ll want to be able to send out invoices quicker, complete customer orders faster, ship out deliveries on time, receive purchase orders electronically, eliminate manual data entry for these orders, etc.

Therefore, in order to figure all of this out, you’ll need to make a list of your company’s pain points and problems (these can be issues your company is currently facing and/or issues you may foresee in the future).

Here are some examples of common business pain points: Read more

Reasons-to-Upgrade-Management-SystemIn today’s article, I will mention two major reasons for ditching your old legacy system or Excel Spreadsheets for a new, flexible, integrated Management Solution at your company, as told to us by our customers. This isn’t to say there aren’t a hundred other reasons to make this change however this post isn’t about listing all the benefits and improvements associated to a flexible ERP software system. Our customers, who currently use our latest ERP solution, erpWizard, came to us with two of the most important reasons that forced them to upgrade their out-dated Management System (and they couldn’t be happier!). Read more

Here’s a short infographic comparing BUYING vs. RENTING an ERP Software Solution.

Start-up companies normally start off with free business applications for many different functions or begin using Microsoft Office and emails. In the beginning this can handle their low volume of orders and manage their business processes sufficiently. However, as the company grows, processes become more complex and their current way of managing the business may […]