When supporting or working with Manufacturing ERP systems,
we have all either said it, heard, it or most likely both. I don't know what I don't know. This can be a defensive statement or a funny statement. It seems to be an sort of obtuse obvious statement. Much like saying, you will always find what you are looking for in the last place you look.
WHAT DOES THIS STATEMENT SAY?
But, what is this statement really saying? Is it a statement at all? No, it isn't a statement of fact it is a cry for help. It can mean many different things:
- I need help
- I need more training
- I need more clearly defined expectations
- I could be a statement cry of "I can't read your mind!"
Either way it is an opening, and opportunity to provide guidance, support, and help.
In the case of the ERP system it is very true. At a very high level, most ERP systems seem easy to use. Especially if you have run through the manufacturers demonstration. One perfectly designed and built to showcase all the system can do, out of the box, or even with a few custom options integrated in. You might think you know all the system can do, but there are not very many users of an ERP system who are true experts in that system. Making the phrase, "We don't know, what we don't know" very true, and potentially extremely expensive.
WHAT IS YOUR ERP?
Let's take a quick step back and recap what a ERP system is supposed to do for a business. Your ERP is designed to help streamline operations, automate processes, create efficiencies in the business, reduce labor costs, and help you drive more revenue. In short you are allowing this system to help control and guide every aspect of your business, and be the center piece of your continuous improvement objectives.
Doesn't is seem critical that you know that everything you can be doing has been done to optimize and fully utilize this system. It seems dangerous and almost irresponsible to be ok with you don't know what you don't know. What don't you know, and how much is that costing you?
Under performing ERP's can cause losses based on:
- Lost sales opportunities
- Lost clients
- Too much inventory
- Not enough inventory
- Wasted labor hour
- Errors due to duplication errors
- Managerial Directives based upon incomplete or incorrect data points
How can you be certain. There are several things you can do.
- Take classes on using your ERP system
- Mess around with the system
- Watch Tutorial Videos
- Buy Training classing from manufacturer
- Hire a company that specializes in Manufacturing and your ERP system to support you.
While it doesn't seem like it, given what your time is worth and what opportunity costs you face with your own learning curve; while it seems completely counter intuitive the least costly option of all of these is number 5. Because like most things we do, professionals can do it better, faster, and teach us on the specifics we need to succeed. And like most of us DIYers at home. The time we spend researching, messing around, and then trying to build it ourselves, only at the end to call in a professional means we not only wasted time, wasted money, lost opportunities, but in the end we spent far more money than we would have, if we had hired the professionals to start with.
After-all there is a very valid reason we are in business and we successfully help our clients everyday, know what the don't know.