Highway Contractor and Aggregate Producer – Iowa
The company’s information system was based on a software product from a small software company that was gradually getting out of the business. Early on, the developer had done a considerable amount of custom work for each client, so the system met everyone’s needs. But as their client base grew and technology advanced, the software developer could not keep up. Consequently, the contractor found they were no longer getting good support and had no growth path. The product was also built on a proprietary language and database, so no one else but this developer could access the programs or database, which meant any change no matter how small had to scheduled, programmed, and paid for.
The equipment manager had gotten accustomed to a stand-alone equipment management package that included a hand-held bar code scanner. He used this scanner to control their parts inventory. While the software package the company had identified looked good in many other respects, it did not have any form of bar-code reader for inventory.
The company selected a software product that was very functional and was dedicated to the heavy-highway industry sector. It had a scale ticket interface that allowed the company’s scale ticketing products (e.g. WEM and Cardinal) to send electronic files to the system at the end of the day. BCG also identified a company that sold bar code readers for $2,500 and had a simple program built that interfaced the scanner with the Inventory Equipment application.
The company today is far more efficient in the business processes and the project managers have on-line access to their job cost information, which they did not have before. The equipment manager embraced the equipment solution because he did not feel like he was giving anything up. In fact, he gained some efficiency because the inventory was now integrated with the central system where before it was a manual posting from one system to the other.
- Operations must be involved in the decision-making, implementation planning, and implementation if you expect them to use the system.
- Sometimes challenges simply push us to find better solutions that we would not have otherwise identified.
- Anytime you have two software companies working together on a project, make absolutely sure each party understands their scope, responsibility, and schedule right down to testing and documentation.