Infor SyteLine is a leading ERP system and is very function-rich. It has the ability to reach across a business’ processes, from identifying a potential lead, converting to a new customer, through engineering, supply chain, quality, manufacturing and order processing and all the way to invoicing.
All of the above is basically identifying a customer, getting them on board, providing them with a service and receiving payment for it. But that’s not what I want to talk about here.
All straightforward enough, right? You’d think so. But let’s just think about two phrases:
“Get things right”
“Put things right”.
One is a one-time process, the other will most certainly be repetitive, and at a cost. Get things right the first time and you will always reap tangible benefits. Revert to ‘Put things right’ and you will be doing the same thing over and over, making the same mistakes thus failing and at worst alienating your customers.
There’s only so much of this that a customer will tolerate.
What’s the difference?
Let’s put this into perspective. You have a new, high-profile customer who is influential in their field, and getting them on board is seen as a bit of a coup. They want some of your manufactured products, are working with you to engineer them to their requirements, agree on prices and lead times, and finally place an order.
The product is manufactured, due diligence has been applied (in a form), quality checks have been completed (to some degree) and traceability of all component parts has been recorded (manually, by collecting all the certificates and filing them, in a cabinet, with lots of other paperwork). The product is finally shipped to the customer and the payment is received. You seem to have “Got things right”.
Some way down the line you receive a phone call from this customer. The product has failed and they want a full check on why:– the manufacturing process, the quality procedures linked to it and results thereof, all supporting documentation right back to raw material supplier compliance certificates. That’s a fair enough request until you begin to try to gather this information.
It then becomes clear that the checks put in place were a bit ‘woolly’, the paperwork is filed somewhere and the criteria used are not very well defined. Locating the paperwork in the first place is a chore because the filing cabinet was not very well marked and it’s not easily available. You’ve been meaning to improve your quality processes for a while, but other things have taken over from this – may be a decision from the top. The paper trail is now a nightmare and you have a team of people searching for all the supporting documents amongst a sea of files that were not successfully collated, sorted or put away in the right place.
Meanwhile, the customer is waiting on an update because their own customer is making waves. What do we tell them? And how will they react?
There’s a good chance that being honest will at least placate them and buy some time. There’s also a good chance that being honest – which means revealing your flawed quality processes – will lead to very severe implications. Remember: this customer is high-profile; they are very influential, they can make or break a supplier. They can make or break you.
This is potentially a very serious position to be in. You’re now in the “Put things right” camp, and this scenario tends to be played out repetitively, over ensuing orders, until you have the correct processes and procedures in place, which may actually be never.
Do you need the SyteLine Quality module?
If you were to use SyteLine, then this is where the QCS module comes to the fore. Within this, there are processes for supplier and purchased product management, first article testing, production process and inspection – including dispositions, test programmes and recording of results, C of C, sales order inspection, customer returns and everything in between.
When using QCS, there are forms that allow the easy set-up of products to require inspection or testing and these can be set to being inhibitive, which will stop further progress if data is not entered. The range of testing is exhaustive and gauges are saved separately and can have calibration periods set against them. Vendors and Customers can have a ‘quality’ status to allow us to create reports as to their, or our, performance.
But – I think – most importantly this module allows us to set the exact quality processes and procedures that we need, in the right place, at the right stage and with the right output. Test results can be saved and cross-referenced to outgoing paperwork. Bought-in products can be set to require inspection and testing on receipt. All this detail is then captured through the transactions within Syteline to record all of this data within an order or a job, being then made available at the touch of a button when, or if, required. Maybe by your new customer, who may be about to become your best customer, and spread the word.
So, the decision here is:
Do you want to be in the “Get it right“ camp, or in the “Put it right” camp?
The answer should be simple enough.
If you would like to know more, please feel free to contact us.