Thursday, 18 September 2014

How to Choose the Right Software for Your Business

We are smack in the middle of a tech era and no business can operate without software. But with new programs popping up every minute, all with different abilities and price ranges, choosing the right software for your business can be a little daunting. Here are 5 helpful and important tips to help you make the best choice for your business, your team and your clients. 

  1. A fantastic program will accomplish two things; it will do a better and faster job than you. This sounds simple, but many programs only accomplish one at the expense of the other. When it comes to software, you should be able to have your cake and eat it too. Invest in a program that will not only produce accurate, high-quality work, but will save you time in the process.
  2. Chances are you wouldn’t hire an employee with just one skill – the same principle applies to software. Rather than juggling multiple programs for several different tasks, look for comprehensive software that can benefit multiple areas of your business. Not only do you get more bang for your buck, but your team saves time by only having to learn and utilize one program.
  3. Finding software without the occasional glitch is about as futile as hunting for a unicorn. And when something goes wrong, the last thing you have time for is waiting 3 days for a solution. Before investing in new software, take a good look at the support that comes with it. Find a company with multiple channels you can use to get in touch with them – Twitter, Facebook, an online email form, a phone number, etc. This allows you to reach someone quickly and easily, no matter where you are or what day of the week it is. Check out their standard response time, too. Some companies promise to get back to you in 24 hours – others in 3 business days. Try contacting them through one or two channels so you get a first-hand idea of the kind of support you will receive. Don’t invest in software until you’re confident you can expect timely, effective communication.
  4. Your business is constantly growing and improving – so your software should, too. Choose a program that is updated regularly, rather than stuck on Version 1 from 2010. It’s important to know your software can evolve with your industry, accommodate changes to your role, and become continuously more useful to you and your team.
  5. Don’t suddenly spring a new program on your team, or they might just opt to keep doing things the old way. Take time to explain why you chose this software, how it’s going to make their jobs easier and faster, and which support tools are available. Make sure you allocate a few hours for training, and give sufficient time for everyone to become comfortable with the program. After your team has been using the software for about a month, follow-up to see whether it has been helpful, successful and user-friendly. Most programs allow you to use a trial version for the first month, so at this point you and your team can evaluate whether you want to fully invest in the software or not. 
What’s important to you when choosing software for your business? Share in the comments! 

Monday, 8 September 2014

Manufacturing Companies: 3 Ways to Improve Your Inventory Control

Inventory control is essential to smoothly and successfully run a manufacturing company. But what’s the best way to go about it? Here are 3 simple times with big impact. 

1. Up-to-the-minute data

Improving Inventory Control for Manufacturers
We hate to say it, but when it comes to inventory control, your computer is actually smarter than you. Instead of relying on spreadsheets, lists and general confusion, find a program that will do the work for you. Invest in software that automatically adjusts your inventory levels the moment something changes, and alerts you when a work order is needed for components or sub-components. That way you don’t have to worry about human error, and you can get back to the meat of your business. 

2. Set minimums

Do you refill your gas tank when it’s empty, or when it’s nearing empty? We’re going to hope you said the latter. When it comes to inventory control, the same principle applies. If you wait until you run out of parts to re-order them, your clients won’t be too happy. Determine the minimum number of components you need to successfully run your business, and make sure you receive an automatic reminder when you’re reaching that number. This way, if you receive unexpected orders or there’s a delay in receiving new parts, you don’t have to sweat it. 

3. Keep everyone in the loop

Communication is key. There’s nothing worse than one person accidentally thinking someone else was going to buy or build new parts. Consider storing your inventory data in the cloud, so that your employees can access it from anywhere in the world. If your entire team is working with the same data on inventory, purchase orders, work orders and shipments, then you guarantee nothing gets lost in translation. 

Do you have any tips for successfully managing inventory? Share them in the comments!