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processes may have been efficient 5 years ago (or even one year ago!), but today, they are considered inefficient or outdated due to new technology, new goals, industry or consumer changes, etc.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We’ve compiled an End-of-Year Checklist for you so that you can overcome challenges and improve outdated processes for 2017;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.

business-IT-relationshipI am sure many of you, in the business space, have a smartphone, tablet and/or laptop, where you have already downloaded tons of the latest apps for your own personal use. It can be to manage and track your financial spending/expenses, to better communicate with relatives or friends from abroad, to manage your agenda and schedules, to take and edit photos, etc. There are so many applications out there that have made people’s lives that much easier. So then, I ask, why can’t companies also benefit from simple, affordable, easy-to-use, flexible software applications to manage their business operations? Why are there still too many complaints against business software systems and IT Providers?

Every time I speak with business managers about their company’s management system there is never anything good they have to say about it. How can this be? Why, in this day and age, where technology has advanced so much and where we can literally manage every aspect of our lives through apps, are businesses, large and small, still unhappy with their IT Providers and software solutions? Too many complaints are being shared out there by many business managers about their management systems, their IT Providers and the service they are provided.

Common Complaints

Below are a few common phrases I keep hearing from business managers. Let us know if you can relate to any of them;

  • My IT provider is never available when I need help or simply have a question.
  • My system is not flexible.
  • I am spending way too much money on this system and not seeing improvements.
  • My system implementation has cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars and has lasted over 2 years – how is this possible?
  • I do not feel I am getting innovative solutions to tackle our business challenges.
  • I do not have a relationship with my IT provider.
  • Our system has caused my entire team too many headaches.
  • Integrating my system with a third-party ecommerce site or another software system is a hassle; my IT provider is not making it easy to give me access to the company’s database for integration purposes.
  • Prior to the implementation, I was never told there would be all of these additional costs.
  • My employees hate using the system.
  • We have a full ERP system and yet we still need to extract our data into Excel spreadsheets to analyze our data.
  • My software issues aren’t being resolved in a timely fashion.
  • I am not happy with my system but I’ve already spent too much time and money to switch now.

Our team believes it’s about time that business people actually enjoy using their management system and have a positive, strong, close relationship with their IT Provider. This is exactly why we develop high-quality, flexible yet affordable software solutions and provide available support. We want to help businesses overcome their challenges through innovative solutions and accessible IT services. We aren’t here to make it MORE difficult for business people to complete tasks and manage their operations. I know that “IT” has had a bad rap and business owners associate it to more expenses and more headaches, but this isn’t the case with all IT providers. You just have to pick the right one that fits well with your business environment.

We make it a priority to treat each and every customer like a valued partner not as a sale, like most software providers. We strongly believe that when there’s a good partnership between the IT team and the Business team, a company can truly see real improvements and benefit from efficiencies throughout their entire organization. Many business owners don’t realize that this relationship is crucial for a positive software implementation and a positive IT partnership for years to come. Simply going with brand names or popular providers doesn’t necessarily mean that this is the best solution and fit for them.

Aside from concentrating on the software system itself, companies should also pay attention to the IT company. Who’s behind these systems and services? Who will be my main point of contact in the sales department as well as in the software support department? Am I simply given a form to fill out if I have an issue or can I email or call someone directly and get immediate assistance? Looking into the after-sales support service is extremely important because it is not enough to simply assume that the responsiveness of the support team will be the same as the sales team you dealt with prior to your software purchase. Many businesses have noticed that their post-implementation support was unavailable and unresponsive for weeks at a time. This is truly unacceptable. Companies rely heavily on their software systems to manage their operations and if there is an issue, it should be acknowledged by the IT provider and handled in a timely fashion.

This is how Namtek Consulting Services has differentiated itself from other IT providers. We’ve taken the time to listen to our customers and pay attention to their challenges so that we can be available and responsive to tackle their issues and provide helpful, innovative solutions for them. Customers can pick up the phone or email a support staff directly when needed. This makes for a better relationship and a happier software user. We continue to work hand in hand with our customers, even after any software implementation, since we understand that the business world is constantly evolving and technology is continuously advancing, so business and IT must work together to ensure company efficiency.

We are trying to change the perception that many business managers have of the IT industry where software providers charge high fees for inaccessible support and inflexible, complicated solutions. We treat our customers like a partner, rather than just another customer. Removing this love/hate relationship between IT and business is the goal. Technology in the business world is extremely valuable and everyone can benefit from implementing innovative, flexible, high-quality software systems that are a good fit for their business.

Therefore, to ensure that you and your team are happy with your IT provider and the software and services they offer, tick off the following:

  • The software solutions are flexible, scalable, easy-to-use and affordable
  • The support team can be reached by phone and/or email and you have a point of contact
  • The IT team is honest, reliable and transparent in all of their dealings
  • The IT team treats you like a valued partner and takes the time to listen to your business and IT needs
  • The IT provider is continuously offering valuable, innovative solutions to fit with your growing business to ensure continuous efficiency

Inventory!!! Here’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

When 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

EDI Translation Methods_Pros + Cons

It’s difficult for SMEs to find a ‘middle ground’ solution when it comes to EDI translation & communication. When looking to get started using EDI, there are currently three options:

– buy an EDI translator, targeted to developers

– go with a large EDI Vendor to outsource your EDI communication

– do it all from scratch, in-house Read more

2 Major Reasons to Upgrade your Management /ERP System

In 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.


EDI Communication is an electronic communication method used by businesses typically in a B2B environment. It is used to exchange data via electronic means. Many companies today unfortunately still send purchase orders or invoices via email, mail or fax. This would then entail employees to manually input this information into their system. Many errors are likely to occur at that point which can eventually lead to late and/or wrong shipments to customers. EDI has eliminated many supply chain inefficiencies and has provided accuracy and timeliness when it comes to order processing. Read more