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He Chose Poorly

You must choose… but choose wisely.

I received an e-mail from a M2M customer last week regarding problems he had using the system. He complained that the system was too rigid, required too much work to maintain the data, and kept his company from being more productive. I’ve had experience with many different kinds of companies which use M2M. Most were manufacturers who used it to varying degrees of success, as well as one service company which uses it but doesn’t really manufacture products at all.

After investigating this reader’s situation, his problem was obvious to me. He chose the wrong system to run his business. Made2Manage is a tool which controls and tracks business operations for small to mid-sized manufacturers. In order to gain full benefit from it, standard operating procedures need to be followed to provide all of the underlying information it requires to track and automate your manufacturing processes.

A company I used to work for is a prime example. They are a made to order shop and most of the products were unique. They offered more than a dozen different product lines, and each of those product lines had so many options and variations that everything was made to order. This company would have required two additional full time people just to enter in new part numbers, bills of materials, routings, etc. In fact to enter just their tier one raw material parts, was a monumental undertaking, which they are still working on today. As far as I know, they never got farther up the manufacturing chain because the part quantities rise with each level.

Therefore, their sales orders only reflect about 20 products they sell with very generic part numbers like Widget A, Widget B, etc. All the pertinent details of their sales orders, purchase orders, invoices, etc. are in the free form notes sections. It’s nearly impossible to extract meaningful data from their system. So yes, they are a slave to the system and it returns very little value to them. However, that’s not the fault of the system. I wouldn’t go to the store to buy butter knives and attempt to work on my car engine either.

This is not to say that the M2M product doesn’t have flaws, it certainly does. In fact, one of the primary problems with it is just the opposite. I’ll elaborate on that next time.

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