Saturday, March 19, 2005

The Business Process

One of the fundamental components of my approach to solving problems is to listen. Listen to the owners, the employees and often the customers of the business to get a real feel of how all these components of a successful venture are working, or not working. I've often said "Nothing happens until the phone rings, or the customer walks in the door." Today, that 'phone ring', or 'door' could well be a virtual store where the customer 'clicks' their way in. In other situations you may want to make customer statements available 'on line', or email them. The same principal applies to order confirmations, delivery status, available inventory updates and so on.

One of the most innovative projects I developed for the then SBT Accounting system (now AccPac) was to create a predictive purchase order system based on customer orders and available inventory. Nearly fifteen years ago we were delivering systems that would literally maintain predefined stocking levels and utilize the appropriate economic order quantities based not only on, on hand inventory, but pending sales and purchase orders as well as 60 day sales trends! We did that in FoxBASE+... imagine what can be done for you, and your business with either Visual FoxPro, or .NET!!

The process, as well as the flow of work through an organization is very a fluid component of the operations. It's not static, it's constantly changing, evolving as the company and it's customers change. I believe that for a system to fulfill the promise of an improved cost model it has to be fluid as well. I pioneered a modular approach to business systems nearly 20 years ago, and continue to further that work with every project.

The basic concept is that every business has discrete units each with its own set of requirements, yet overlapping with other units as well. One 'system' that tries to encompass all of those, is destined to fail, at some level, for one or more units. The compromise that's required to combine them all, forces some items to be 'less than perfect'.

My approach is to build modules, that can be 'plugged-in' to the overall application. Each module specifically designed and tailored to the unit it's intended for. Further, each of these modules is comprised of subsystems that can be put in, and taken out as the needs of the unit change. Underneath it all is a core set of rules that govern the overall process.

3 comments:

Ilene said...

Bill,
Thanks for your nice comments about my Blog. Now I have read yours and found out a lot about what you do -- how about something about who you are? (smile)

Rootietoot said...

thanks for dropping by my blog. Give me some warning next time and I'll fix a pot of virtual coffee. I read your post twice, and I think I might understand what it is you do.
Peggy

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