This is a story about John. John has been saving up and manages to upgrade his trusty, but bland Yugo to a shiny new Corvette ZR1. While the Yugo got the job done taking John from place to place, it didn't have the features, performance and just plain "cool" factor of his new Corvette. John was thrilled. He went out and became part of a car club. This group was having a club day at Laguna Seca and this seemed like a great opportunity to see how the new car would perform.
John signed all the necessary paperwork, rolled out onto the track and was as ready as he could be to race. After all, he knows how to drive a car and he knows everything about this car from the pictures he has seen. This should be a piece of cake. John launches the car down the lane through turn 1, quickly gaining speed and ... promptly crashes his brand new $110,000 car in the hairpin at turn 2.
OK, now what went wrong here? John has driven cars for a good portion of his life and this never happened before. He knows that a car is supposed to drive on the road, he has a steering wheel to navigate with, an accelerator and brakes to control speed and lots of interesting gauges to give him information. Why then did it crash?
Fortunately, this sad story is fiction. For one, John has kids and therefore cannot afford a $110,000 car. Not only that, but not many people I know would pay a significant amount of money for a car and expect to take it out racing without first understanding how the vehicle reacts, learning the environment that they will be driving in and understanding what kind of information they are receiving from their vehicle. Spending a little quality time learning about what you intend to do goes a long way to providing a rewarding experience.
The same thing can be said in the business world. A prime example of this is the EDI module in the manufacturing ERP software, EnterpriseIQ. There are many EDI systems out there with varying degrees of capabilities. Knowing what someone is moving from and what they are moving into is extremely important for getting the most bang for your buck out of the system. Our support team usually knows we have a challenge on our hands when a customer refuses formal training or implementation assistance because "they have experience in that area already."
While that may be true and they certainly do understand the mechanics of the task, they also need to be familiar with the process of accomplishing that task within the environment they are in. What does that button do, or how does that check box affect the outcome of a process within the system? Did the rules of our environment change with the new business process that was put in place? These kind of considerations are critical to the effective use of any part of a complex system, especially one running a business.
I mentioned only the EDI module, but the same idea is true across the whole EnterpriseIQ suite of tools. The ERP system is diverse and extensive in its capabilities. If time is not spent using the different components and testing out what the different switches do, then much of the system benefit could be misunderstood or overlooked.
Fortunately, there are several avenues to becoming more familiar with the system. IQMS provides a set of help files as part of the client install. These provide a significant amount of information regarding the screens, fields and options within the system. Formal training in the form of Internet-Based Training (IBTs) or classroom training is available to cover topics of interest. If your environment has an IQMS training server in place, put some time into that to learn what specific options do and see how the system reacts without affecting production data. This is especially useful after some form of training since it will be possible to put into place your new knowledge against data from your specific environment.
Taking ownership of one's area of responsibility and making the best of the tools available ultimately make for a better experience and more productive environment. Don't crash the car when a little effort can help you win.