Technology Comes to Rescue - To Bring Down the Lead Time!

Posted in Operations & IT Articles, Total Reads: 1021 , Published on 07 February 2013
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Technological advancements have probably always helped organizations to improve in one or many ways. Whether we talk about improvements in process or the product itself, solutions from different areas such as mechanical, electrical, or IT have helps us in making today better. If we talk about the items in a typical list of objectives one receives in a manufacturing environment, ‘Reduce lead time’, ‘optimize processes’ are probably some famous clichés. Several best practices combined do some good and give a slight improvement in the lead time.

 

Most of the industries today use state-of-the-art ERP systems to streamline their operations. Considering the order management module of any typical ERP, ‘Sales’ is the first point where a customer’s real business with the firm begins. The efforts spent by the sales force in creating links, following leads, and generating sales result in an order and making sure that the customer’s requirements are captured in real time with no time lag is as critical as anything in the supply chain. For instance, in a rural setup where the sales force is assigned to sell agro products, the way an order is captured can play a big role in the overall lead time. Typically, in such cases, a sales person records the order in his books and/or takes help of his sales coordinator in entering the order in the ERP. The time elapsed in this activity can be as much as 1-2 days or a complete loss in case of negligence.

Thanks to the improvements in the ecosystem of Enterprise Mobility, today in India, firms can afford such solutions to drive their business. Here comes an idea of equipping the ground sales force with Tablet PCs, plethora of which are available in the market today, with connectivity to the secure enterprise Wireless Data Virtual Private Network (WDVPN), which can come in the form of an inexpensive USB dongle. A simple web application developed on open source platform such as PHP can seamlessly interact with the organization’s ERP (Oracle E-Business Suite, for example) in real time to capture the order. The sales person on the field can enter the order in a go with no dependence on the physical connectivity of internet, power, or sales coordinator. The concerned department can see the order entered in the ERP from their office and shop floor making the flow smoother, more transparent to the stakeholders and faster.

What it takes?

  • A Tablet PC, for which range starts from as low as Rs 5000 for enterprises
  • A simple open source web application (may be developed in-house or outsourced)
  • A WDVPN service provider

How does it benefit?

  • Well, certainly in reducing the time spent in entering/booking the order
  • Eliminating the need of constant availability of sales coordinator
  • Elimination of the cost incurred in providing laptop and its software licensing, which is usually close to Rs 80000
  • Liberty to grab sales from any nook and corner of the country, irrespective of how severe the infrastructural concerns are

This article has been authored by Abhishek Verma from SJMSOM Mumbai.


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