Olin Thompson's concept of the Fatal Flaw in Software was featured in our newsletter about thirteen years ago. Today we will modernize that article with more current information.

One way to cut costs is to make the correct decision the first time. This week's discussion will talk about the fatal flaws in software that can waste tremendous money if not recognized.
What is the fatal flaw in software that can stop your business's effectiveness?

In an article from guest writer Olin Thompson of Process ERP Partners LLC, he discusses how all businesses, especially food businesses, have a certain requirement that is critical to their business.  However, when that requirement is not present in the software you are choosing to invest in, a "fatal flaw" can easily appear. This affects your ability to run your business with the software, and incurs large dollar expenses in direct labor costs from your staff.  Customer service ramifications can reach even higher levels of costs and lost customers.  

As Thompson points out in his article, the food industry is really broken down into categories, and the easiest way to understand this is to examine the supermarket.  As you know, the layouts of supermarkets are broken down into categories or departments. These departments can be viewed as below: Note: Fish is with meats and other proteins.

By viewing your business as one of those segments, you can begin to see the special requirements of that category.  In order to clarify the fatal flaw, I will review some fatal flaws by specific businesses.

Meat and Fish products:
Meat and fish, like cheese, and poultry, have a requirement to be handled by multiple units of measure, such as case (each) and pounds.  Also, in many circumstances these weights can be variable where they change per each or case basis.  The fatal flaw in this circumstance would be the software's inability to handle variable weights with multiple units of measure.

Without these features, perpetual inventory is impossible and customer billings would be a nightmare.  Most shrunk wrap software (Sage, Dynamics, QuickBooks) do not have all these capabilities. We all know a tuna just does not weigh 20 pound or a strip loin just does not weigh 10 pounds They look nice on the outside in the form of easy usage and price, but when you hit the wall your investment goes down the tube and your organization has to restart with something new.

One of the most critical costs that most users ignore is the bending of the organizations procedures to get the Company to run within the limitations of the software. A good example is translating what the customer orders into the units the software understands. If he orders in cases you translate that into pounds. This is not only poor customer service but also opens up the issue of wrong deliveries. Employees should be concentrating on critical issues in running the business. In talking with a Provisions prospect last week he was interested in perpetual inventory because his current vendor only used standard weights. This is a fatal flaw that stops the ability to do perpetual inventory.

Meat and Fish Processors:

Unlike manufacturers of appliances, cars, and other discreet products that have a Bill of Materials; Food Processors  have a very unique manufacturing function. They have several traits that are specific to the industry. The list below are some of those traits, it is very important to make sure your ERP system allows for these very specific traits.

  Meat Fish
Inverted BOM Y Y
Recycles Y N
Characteristics Y Y
Catch weight Y Y
Aging Y Y
Mixing Lots Y Y
Traceability Y Y

These elements can make or break an ERP system. They are critical in the operation of those business's.  It is virtually impossible to decide which elements are most important to a Food Company.





Issue 643 - Blocking and Tackling Revisited

I have decided to get away from all this technology discussion and dust off the archives from 11 years ago in the interest of getting back to basics. My longtime readers remember about blocking and tackling, Vince Lomabardi taught us what that meant. Making more bottom line profit is about the basics.

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