Today we continue our latest blog series offering a peek into the daily lives of IQMS’ directors. From human resources to testing and training to development, meet the key department leaders who are molding our company’s future and continually advancing the EnterpriseIQ ERP and MES software.
Meet Lee Filbert, Director of Professional Services, who manages IQMS’ talented in-house team of implementation specialists.
Tell me a little bit about your department, Lee, and the role they play in bringing online and supporting IQMS customers.
The Professional Services Group provides implementation training and technical service for new and existing customers of IQMS. Our main workload is for new customer implementations of EnterpriseIQ. Typically on average, a Professional Services team member that is assigned to a new customer account is on site for about 35 days over the course of four to six months to help them convert their existing business systems over to EnterpriseIQ.
In addition to the implementation side, we also work with existing customers to help them bring online additional modules of IQMS, help them better use the tools that they have today and even help them bring up new facilities that they’ve since acquired. We also have some customers that like frequent meetings with a Professional Services team member, either monthly or quarterly, to help them write reports, implement new pieces of the system and make sure they are using the software to the fullest.
The other area I am responsible for is our IT Services department. That is a relatively newer group that we developed about a year and a half ago that provides contract IT services to help customers with implementing or installing new systems, installing upgrades and installing upgraded hardware, either on site or remotely. We also sell hardware, such as Dell servers and computers that the customers can run EnterpriseIQ on. Our other big selling item is Motorola scanners that customers can run our warehouse management software on and Motorola wireless local area network devices so the scanners can connect back to the network and communicate with the EnterpriseIQ servers. We also sell Zebra printers for barcode printing and time and attendance clock-in devices like proximity readers, biometric devices and simple barcode wedge scanners.
You have been hiring like crazy lately in your department. What sort of candidates seem to fit best into the Professional Services Group?
For the Professional Services Group, there are several pools that we can hire from. There are ex-EnterpriseIQ users that come to us and say, “Hey, I have experience with EnterpriseIQ and I would like to work with IQMS.” There are also ex-ERP consultants that have done implementations of other ERP systems. Obviously, they know the consulting side and the implementation process, so they just need to come up to speed on EnterpriseIQ capabilities and how to implement that. Finally, there are folks who have been in the manufacturing industry and led ERP implementations for a specific manufacturing company. It may not have been with EnterpriseIQ, but they may have implemented other ERP systems, and they obviously have the background of not only the manufacturing side but also the ERP implementation side. So those tend to be the three pools of candidates that we look for.
IQMS does not utilize value added resellers or third party implementation teams – Our consultants are completely in-house. Lee, what are some of the benefits of this method?
IQMS’ internal consulting group has worked out very well. First off, we have direct access to all the resources that are necessary. I have interviewed a lot of people who have worked for value added resellers (VARs) and the frustration they have is they don’t have access to the people who are not only writing the software, but also are supporting it on a day to day basis. They have to go through a lot of hoops in order to get changes or enhancements made to the software during an implementation. We do have that direct access, which is great. Also from a product training perspective, we have the people who are developing the software and training our customers training us. So we obviously get the best training for our implementation team members who are coming up to speed on the software.
Lee, what are you passionate about? What keeps you coming into the office day after day?
I think one of the things I am passionate about is putting systems into place. My degree is industrial systems engineering, so I have always had a passion for trying to systematize everything. I really enjoy working with customers and even internally, trying to systematize a process in order to make it more repeatable and reliable in the future and continuously improve it. One of the quotes that I live off of is: “If it ain’t broke, keep looking.”
As you and your team work daily with IQMS’ customers, have you noticed any exciting or upcoming trends in the manufacturing industry?
One of the trends I have seen recently is the consolidation and acquisition activity that has been going on in manufacturing. One of the things we have been working on with existing customers is the implementation of new facilities, including the data conversion that is involved and the training of new users. A lot of the system is already set up, but we may have to accommodate new variables that come into play if they have purchased a facility that does some different processes than the other facilities that are already on the system.
And there is obviously the trend toward newer technology such as mobile devices. It’s exciting to get our ERP and MES software out onto the shop floor more on tablet-type devices or our new product, the RTStations. The implementation team has been working with a lot of new implementations that have been rolling the RTStations out and the response has been great.
Is there a tip you can offer to our readers who are about to embark on an ERP implementation?
I would say that one of the biggest things is having upper management support. We’ve done hundreds of ERP implementations and the ones that tend to struggle the most are when the upper level management isn’t involved. We don’t see the resources at the lower levels being really dedicated to the project because they are not being pushed by the upper level managers. So I would say if a new customer is coming in that they have senior level management involved with the project from an oversight standpoint.