In what to Invest ¿Technology or Processes?

In what to Invest ¿Technology or Processes?

José Alfredo Velasco – March 30, 2015

The main thing is to have well-defined processes and invert in technology that will support these processes, this way the results will be extraordinary. If "invested" in technology without well-defined processes, the result will be an expense without any satisfactory result.


In what to Invest ¿Technology or Processes?

Both subjects are very important, however, in this article we will expose some experiences that will help the reader make decisions.

Technology without well-defined processes does not work and the application of well-defined processes without technological help makes obsolete the product offered in market, because we are in a world overrun by technology.

The most important thing is to have very well defined processes and apply the technology to support those processes.

Long ago, in a company I used to work, I saw the selection process of a system “Resource Planning Enterprise” known as ERP for its capital letters in English.

After comparing several of these systems, the CEO of the company asked his friends -that where also CEO’s- for an advise. After that, he told us which advice he took, and it was the following: “If you want to finish implementing a system, you have to do what the system asks you and adapt to it”.

The above idea is terrible, because it involves not following a process, but simply provide information to the system for it to give you information.

I’ll explain why I say this is terrible, exemplifying a process in stock:

Well defined Process and Technology:

The storekeeper knows what materials he will receive each day, because it already has the shipping orders from suppliers that this derive from purchase orders issued to the buyer in the system, where characteristics are defined, as in case of being products in bulk, what should be the tolerance for excess of this as it was agreed.

When the storekeeper receives the material, he checks it and captures into the system the amount received, issues by a receiving system, he checks it, he verifies that it is correct both the material and the amount received and he gives it to the delivery man who signs of acceptance. The storekeeper will not accept that the document has incorrect information, like for example a bigger amount than the one he received, since he will be asked for the inventory results.

At that time the delivery man knows the material and the amount he delivered, and he will not sign if the document says other material, or an amount less than the given, since he has to give good results to the one who hired him.

In the above process you can see two natural evaluators that are involved in the process and if they detect a mistake, they should be able to correct it at the moment -changing the information in the system and re-printing the document.

Now lets apply only technology without a well-defined process in the same situation:

The storekeeper receives the material in the morning and fills a format by hand indicating the material and the amount received, the deliveryman signs it.

At night when there is the shift change, it’s up to an assistant to put in the system all the vouchers that were issued during the day, this assistant does not know the materials and can make a mistake without a third party involved. The mistake will probably be detected later on, when the system shows a quantity in stock that does not correspond to the one that is physically there.

In this case the company invested in technology, but it neglected their processes and probably stay with the idea that the system does not work.

There is a saying generalized to a system that says: If you catch garbage, you will process and get a lot more garbage.

Well-defined process without technology:

Now imagine that the process is well defined, but we do not count with the help of a system that is consistent with the process.

What will happen is that the process will be very slow because they made the records manually, this situation causes bottlenecks and eventually will make the company less competitive, loosing business opportunities and market. Not having on-time real information is a big risk for companies that want to grow or at least that want to maintain in the market.

Refusal to change:

It is normal in people, when trying to change habits, to offer resistance because he/she is moving out of the boundaries of its comfort zone.

When in a company, the processes and technology are changed, this phenomenon of rejection is common to appear, so we must prepared them first, to adopt the changes proposed with conviction.

There are motivational courses that will help eliminate this rejection and that will prepare collaborators for these changes, not only in the workplace but also in their personal life.