The importance of keeping up with changes in business systems and technology will be more important as your business grows. If your company’s internal business system is not maintained properly and enhanced over time, you may not be able to keep up with sales and growth opportunities.
There are four main areas to consider when auditing, maintaining and updating your internal systems capabilities:
Manufacturing resource planning
This system is designed to centralize, integrate and process information for effective decision-making in scheduling, design engineering, inventory management and cost control in manufacturing.
It gives your company real-time visibility across your entire organization, enabling superior resource planning, leaner manufacturing production processes and better supply chain management.
The net benefit is making the process seamless for customers from the time the order is taken to manufacturing, shipping and order tracking. This allows you to reduce the lag time between your customers’ demand and the ability to get their orders to them. It also allows you to gain more control over your business with real-time business intelligence.
MRP’s key features include capacity management, work order control, product history tracking, product engineering and shop-floor control.
CAD involves the use of computer systems to assist in the creation, modification, analysis and optimization of a design for customers. This technology is used by almost every manufacturing company today as a way to increase the productivity of the designer, improve the quality of design, improve communications through documentation and create a database for the manufacturing company.
This application allows your company to draft and easily revise engineering drawings and then build 3-D models to show customers how a product will work. It allows salespeople to show costs and representative models and products in a format that is easy to understand, manipulate and evaluate. The images can also be transferred to tablet computers such as the iPad, making such devices highly effective business development and sales tools.
Customer relationship management
By its very name, CRM is about managing customers. Manufacturers no longer simply build and market products; they now manage customers’ expectations and needs.
CRM changes the focus of manufacturing to a more customer-centric environment.
Through the investment in CRM software, businesses can gain a greater insight into manufacturing demand, changes in markets and the prediction of business trends.
Website for e-business
Modern-day business owners simply cannot ignore the Internet as a means to market and sell products. The Internet opens new markets immediately, as even the smallest stores can sell products worldwide. Besides, online stores don’t have opening and closing hours, so business owners can earn money even on off-hours.
A potentially successful website needs to be easy to browse, which requires a well-crafted, intuitive site architecture. Customers need to be able to find the products they need without wasting their time or getting frustrated. Build your e-business website to generate sales, not just amuse casual browsers.
With these four tools as the primary components of your business system, you will better understand your customers’ needs, gain a greater understanding of your market demand, and you will leverage your limited resources. This leveraging allows smaller businesses to work globally at a fraction of the cost.
Matthew P. Figgie is chairman of Clark-Reliance, a global, multi-divisional manufacturing company with sales in more than 80 countries, serving the power generation, petroleum, refining and chemical processing industries. He is also chairman of Figgie Capital and the Figgie Foundation.
Rick Solon is president and CEO of Clark-Reliance and has more than 35 years of experience in manufacturing and operating companies.