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Briware Solutions Inc.

Is Distrust Killing Your Chances for Efficiency?


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Distrust wastes time.

Distrust invariably leads to time consuming manual steps in processes that have no actual benefit to the process or the company.

For example, I worked with a distribution company several years ago.  Like many companies, the invoicing team and warehouse team were at different physical locations.  Like many companies, neither team trusted the other – and nobody trusted the systems!  While picking, the picker would enter the transaction into the Warehouse Management System (WMS) via scan gun.  At the same time, the picker would manually populate a paper picklist with the same information.  The shipping manager then copied the information from the manual picklist into an Excel spreadsheet.  At the end of each day the spreadsheet for the entire day’s shipments was sent to Billing via email.  All paperwork was couriered to the billing department as well.  The data in the WMS was already integrated to Dynamics GP automatically, and transactions were sitting waiting to be posted.  The next day the billing department compared the manual picklists to the spreadsheet and the spreadsheet to the shipments in Dynamics GP before invoices could be issued.

When I asked why there were so many manual steps that really only seemed to duplicate effort and added no value that I could see:

  • The warehouse told me they like to keep manual records because the systems always screwed things up.
  • The billing department told me that the manual checks were required because the warehouse made so many mistakes.

Rather than trying to convince everyone that their processes were unnecessary through simple discussion, we decided to do an experiment.  We implemented a cycle counting process at the warehouse, and we asked the billing department to track the number of times they had to change something on an invoice.  We ran the experiment for just over a month.  (The company is very high volume, so a month of transactions was a good sized sample.)

As it turns out, the warehouse had a less than 2% inventory variance when they were counting on a regular basis and the invoices had less than 1% error rate.  Like the people who created automatic paper towel dispensers, the users had found the solution to a problem that didn’t exist.  And the solution was taking up far more time and effort than finding and fixing the few mistakes would take.

I believe that as long as you can accept that humans are human and there will therefore be exceptions in every process then you can move past all that mistrust and eliminate those external manual processes that don't make any sense.  You just need to define the acceptable level of error and find a way to track the metric.

Mistrust doesn’t have to be about errors, though.  I once worked with a company who had properly implemented the purchasing module, and set up approvals.  The operations team loved the PO module and the whole company agreed that they were doing a great job of following their processes.  But when the voucher came in – even if it matched what was on the purchase order – the Accounts Payable team still put the voucher through a full approval process.  Almost like they didn't trust the first approval process.  That just doesn't make any sense to me.

Human Resources is notorious for not trusting Dynamics GP, or any system for that matter.  Even though Dynamics GP now includes unlimited employees with a full HR suite and both US and Canadian payroll, a number of my customers need convincing before they’ll use it.  I’ve seen so many companies that track certain “sensitive” employee related data outside Dynamics GP in some funky Excel or home-made Access system.  Nine times out of ten when you ask them it's because of they don't trust the Dynamics GP security.  But in fact, Dynamics GP security goes down to the screen level.  We can easily stop anyone from accessing that data.  It is just a question of setting Dynamics GP up properly.

Don’t waste time because of lack of trust. If you are ready to get a review of your processes to see where you can save time and be more efficient with your Dynamics GP system, contact Briware Solutions.
(844-BRIWARE)

by Briware Solutions

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