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FLEXO Magazine : February 2011
Technologies & Techniques Automation & Integration Builds Effective Business eRP, Mis: Powerful Tools Differentiate great Companies from good ones By David Taylor In the book “Good to Great,” author Jim Collins indicates a key factor that separates great companies from good ones: their perception and use of innovative technology. • Great companies see innovative technology as a power- ful tool to improve aspects of their operations and gain valuable insight into their business performance. • They use technology to automate operations, improve customer relationships, gain organizational efficiencies and measure outcomes against set goals, so they can constantly make adjustments to further improve their business performance. • “Great” printing and packaging companies we work with-- the profit leaders--have more automation of their processes, complete integration across their organiza- tions and greater visibility into operations. It makes them more profitable, efficient and results in higher customer satisfaction than good companies. Great companies also invest in various forms of manage- ment information systems (MIS) or enterprise resource plan- ning (ERP) systems because they understand the importance of connecting all their business pieces, processes and people together through automation. These automated systems track all pertinent data, from the initial estimates through production through cash receipt, keeping all transactional data in a central database. Informa- tion only needs to be entered once and then flows throughout the business. In doing so, MIS/ERP systems eliminate manual touches from each step of the process, while enabling employees to have real-time access to information, so they can make more effective business-critical decisions. These systems automatically generate the necessary transactions, paperwork and data with greater accuracy-–ultimately lead- ing to healthy operations and lower overhead costs. EstImAtIng & QuotIng Estimating and quoting should be done directly in your sys- tem software to get the full advantages from your investment. A cornerstone of integrated, state-of-the-art, print and pack- aging industry ERP/MIS software is the ability to address the estimating and quoting needs of companies, directly in the system. This means that even with complex needs; such as short run, long run or contract estimating requirements, the software can compile accurate, profitable pricing estimates, and configure them in such a way that they can be presented as professional quotes to clients and prospects-–quotes that help them win business. World class systems enable compa- nies to perform this activity without the need to augment their system’s capabilities with tools, such as spreadsheets, word processing, or the like. These types of systems enable the information used to generate the initial sales estimates to automatically flow through to quoting, then production estimating, scheduling and costing- --eliminating manual rework, reducing errors, saving costs and decreasing delays in business operations. They also ensure that companies can easily compare sales estimates to actual costs, al- lowing businesses to quickly and easily see which jobs are the most and least profitable for their organizations. Once companies can leverage their data in this way, it en- ables them to make mean- ingful changes in the way they do business, so that they can become more profitable, such as raising prices to correct projected unprofitable jobs or deciding to focus exclusively on winning and producing the most profitable business. Go with the Flow-–automate production planning and management. The move should be driven by the estimat- ing data in your system. From streamlining and automating information flow, to estimating and production, the additional advantages of integration start to compound via automated production planning. By automating your production plan- ning, you ensure that all estimates approved in your system are planned for production in the most cost-effective means, while satisfying client deadlines. And, with sophisticated systems, schedules can be configured based on goals, such as lowest cost, client priorities, or combinations of several variables; thereby allowing you to optimize the productivity of your equipment and your personnel, while maintaining ac- curate order completion and on-time deliveries to clients. A system like this will also enable you to project, based on past performance, which jobs and repeat contracts can be produced profitably, so you can make adjustments to optimize your business performance. As the information from estimates flows through production, all costs in the produc- tion process are captured--costs such as what you paid for the materials to produce each job, how many hours each job actually took and how much waste was generated to pro- duce each job. This allows organizations to quickly see and understand actual performance against estimates, a task that is nearly impossible to reconcile manually, consistently and accurately. PErformAncE DAtA Planning production automatically, so your skilled profes- sionals can use their expertise to further optimize and man- age schedules, instead of compiling them manually, is a great start on the road to improved business performance. Along with automated production planning, companies should al- Pressroom Management at Your Fingertips Nothing can convey the power of integration and auto- mation better than the success of companies who are leveraging this type of technology. Below are some quotes from some great companies. • “ With our old systems we had a lot of duplication in the processes required to service our customers. Today with EFI Radius, we are using half the num- ber of people to service our customers, which has absolutely had a positive impact on our overhead costs. ” — Nancy Smith, vice president of customer assistance, Multi Packaging Solutions • “ The system is helping us accomplish what we expected. The Production Scheduling, Materials Resource Planning and Inventory Control capabili- ties are very strong. By leveraging this technology we have substantially reduced our administrative and working capital costs. ” — Steven Rosenberg, presi- dent, SPR Packaging • “Fully integrated, from front-end operation through to shipping, the system allows us to respond quickly to our customers and helps us utilize the most efficient means of running each project across whichever plant capabilities best meet the needs of the job. ” — Greg Myers, vice president of information technol- ogy, Multi-Color Corporation Automatic scheduling capabilities can replace manual processes and planning boards with integrated and sophisticated capabilities to optimize your production plans and improve your company’s performance. 34 FLeXO FeBRuARy 2011 www.flexography.org FLX_Feb11_mech.indd 34 2/16/11 8:50 AM
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