Companies will invest millions of dollars in commercial software and fail to achieve the expected benefits. Why is that? Is it because the cost to implement was understated? Were the financial benefits overstated? I suggest that in many if not most cases, the software did not address the real issue. A good example is the sales order process. The ERP software packages do a decent job of handling the routine process of customers selecting sales order items (part numbers) and handling the typical nuances such as allocating/reserving inventory, backordering items not in inventory, pricing, etc. But what happens when the process does not fit to the software package? The typical response is to customize the software to fit the process. Even so, many steps continue to be performed manually.
Why do companies fail to automate manual processes? There are three main issues: 1.) “We have always done it this way”, 2.) It requires change and change is difficult, and 3.) Reduction in a manager’s headcount reduces the perceived importance of the manager.
So, let’s assume that the decision is made to automate the manual processes with workflow automation to route and track the various activities. This improves the visibility and throughput (elapsed time) of the sales order process, but it still misses the mark.
So, what is the optimal solution? The optimal solution is take a step back and look at the process from how it could be if there were no constraints. We at Certusoft call this Intelligent Optimization. Intelligent Optimization is a form of Artificial Intelligence that leverages the computer to make simple and routine decisions based on pre-approved parameters of operation. It is critically important to focus this Intelligent Optimization in the process chain that has the biggest impact to the business. To learn more about Intelligent Optimization, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org