Expert's Panel

A collection of timely and important topics posed to our panel of experts.

Back to Expert's Panel

    Our machine configurations and order entry are not linked and we experience many errors. What would you advise?

  1. Previously we talked about global trends and one of them was "supply chain management." This is part of it because this decade your customers are going to demand that you have some type of web-based systems that link these things together provide them a window into some parts of it. Have you ever had an order where the configuration wasn't changed at least once? Having been in the automated wet bench business previously, I always experienced changes. The customer wants to be able to look into your system—to see into the soul of your company—to see where you are in the manufacturing, order entry, and shipping processes. If you sell a "slot," for example, the customer wants to know if I bought slot #122 how far along it is and how close to delivery, etc. Believe it or not, your customers are going to be demanding that these things be linked so they can put their hands in it. You are going to have to be very careful, of course, how much you allow them to see into your system.
  2. This has another aspect to it, which is machine configuration. If you go into a marketing group that does not have a clear, hard "configurator" system, you are looking at a group that is not doing its job and a company that is going to get in trouble. It is absolutely marketing's responsibility to have a clear cut, written configurator that engineering already has the Bill of Materials organized around; that manufacturing knows how to execute; and no order can come through without a check and okay. It you don't have your order entry set up that way and the products designed that way you will be in great trouble as soon as your business gains steam.