Times and Technology Have Changed
This post is for small and medium-sized manufacturing companies. It’s written by Passport Software’s manufacturing consultant Dave Dorsey. We hope you find it useful.
I got involved with business software in ’81, back in the day when there were no hard drives. You played “poker” with your 8” floppy disks. Forty years later, it’s hard to reflect on all of the changes and improvements.
In 1995 I moved my focus to manufacturing solutions, and evidently found a home. The systems that were available then had tons of reports, but they were all pre-determined by the author of the manufacturing software.
If you wanted something different, you had to either pay big bucks for custom reports to be written – or you had to buy a “user-friendly” report writer.
I don’t know about you, but the term “user-friendly” and “report writer” strike me as oxymorons. Yes, if you are a very experienced user, or have a talented IT person on staff – you can get what you want, but…
It has been my experience that manufacturing companies all have very specific needs in terms of their reporting and data output from their manufacturing systems.
I could provide the exact same solution to three different companies who all make the same product – and I assure you their reporting needs will be different.
Why? In my experience, manufacturers need a much more granular look at their data to operate efficiently and effectively. There is no reason you can’t have that these days.
Today there is no reason to be stuck with what we – or some other software provider thinks you need.
We provide around 130 canned reports and displays in our manufacturing software suite, and with the various ways you can select criteria, we’re likely pushing close to a thousand.
However, within 30 to 60 days after going live, we get a comment/question that goes something like this, “Gee this is great, and I love this report, but for my business, I’d really like…”
Databases are vastly different, in that most of them are “open”, accessible by SQL and/or ODBC* and can be accessed by a variety of office productivity tools, at least one of which you are likely familiar with.
This includes applications such as Excel, MS Access, Crystal Reports just to name a few. At Passport we offer two different databases, and two different ways to give you access to the data in your system.
If you have entered the data into Passport, then you can get to it, query it and build reports to suit your exact needs.
Using one of the tools I mentioned, we can teach you how to do this – and once you’ve created your report or query, all you have to do is open it and refresh the data to get the latest data set out of PBS Manufacturing.
Many PBS users have ideas for a report that will make their job easier, faster and/or give them better visibility upon which to make better decisions to support their job.
This new level of reporting brings additional value to your system and your company with VERY little additional expense. Once you have been shown how to do this, all kinds of new reporting ideas become possible.
Another scenario I’ve often run into is that the boss isn’t actually a user of the manufacturing system. However, they want specific reports or views of the system, at a moments’ notice.
Of course, the responsibility for providing them falls on you or someone else in your organization to provide it.
What if you could, maybe with a little instruction, provide them with a way to access a comprehensive representation of what they want to see any time they want to see it?
This view could be connected real-time to PBS, and all the boss would need to do is refresh it. It could look something like this:
Yes, this can be done and done pretty easily, without customization. Many of your other reporting needs can be satisfied, quickly and affordably.
If you have questions about this, or our small business manufacturing software in general, give me a call at 888-689-2258 or 800-969-7900, extension 145.
Or contact us – we are here to help.
*Open Data Base Connectivity – ODBC is a standard interface between a database (such as a database and an application that accesses the data in the database.