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ManuTech & EngTech Uncovered: 5 Questions You Should Consider When Choosing Your Enterprise Software

-Shashank Nanivadekar


Buying enterprise software is always tricky. Most customers today are already 60% through the buyer journey before they actually speak to a human being. While this is true for a majority of B2B software, in manufacturing and engineering technology: this statement doesn't fully apply. The reason is simple: This world operates on its own level. 


Advances in ManuTech and EngTech have introduced software at all levels performing all sorts of functions. The end result is that manufacturing plants and engineering companies are able to:

  1. Address daily needs with software.

  2. Identify when and where automation can save them money and time.

  3. Measure their productivity and quality with high visibility.

  4. Optimize the RFQ/RFP process.

  5. Maintain a lean and well-planned manufacturing operations with tools like finite capacity planning, smart inventory optimization, and process planning.

In order to do this, top performers not only choose the best software, but they also choose their partners well. Like any successful relationship, the values of your partners drive the experience above all else. Similarly, when you're choosing vendors, make sure 

Expertise: Do they have specialists and experts in the right areas?

First and foremost, you want to work with people who know exactly what they're talking about. If you want to add new tools to your manufacturing floor, design, and analysis, or you want to buy new parts or machines, you want to deal with people who are specialized in that field. You want to deal with people who are able to advise you in the best usage of their tools. 


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

-Red Adair (Legendary Oil-Well Firefighter)


The easiest way to see if your current and future software vendors have expertise is to see if they're sharing it? Watch out for presence in publications, digitally and in print, and on social. What are their priorities and are they sharing what they know. Are you able to understand your problems better after spending time on their website? If you are able to articulate your problem to an expert, the expert can help you better. If they can make you feel more informed and educated, you're in the best hands.

Consistency: Are they performing to the highest standards all the time?

It is easy to see the difference between vendors who recycle their knowledge and those who consistently research newer solutions to problems in business and manufacturing. Just because your vendor has shown some content on a blog, which is a good start, doesn't mean they have the kind of understanding that your business needs. What's important to observe is consistency.

Can you see a pattern in the way they are sharing knowledge and educating you?  Before they talk about their tools, are they talking about your status quo and your problems? And are they consistently doing it or is their performance just a one-off success?

Consulting: Are they working through your operations to identify the best deployment?

Operational change requires aligning all the actors and departments within your company. The goal is simply to achieve maturity and efficiency in your processes. The tactical steps required to do this are actually quite long-winded and complex because there are factors that you may not observe from your role in your company. You want to work with vendors who ask the right questions that consider your entire organizational structure and see where they can reduce waste and improve efficiency. Are they discussing your problems and operational structure deeply without getting to paperwork too quickly?



Team: Do they have enough depth in the team to support your daily requests?

Speaking to one specialist or expert about your operational improvement initiatives adds perspective. Speaking to a team adds depth. People can generally see when they are talking to a cohesive team where the bench is deep. When vendors are consulting with you through the process of implementing operational change, look for breadth in the kinds of questions they ask. Furthermore, understand that once you've purchased the software and are using it, the vendor must have the right teams in place to answer questions that you may run into in your daily jobs. If a team is thinking about your operational change properly, you will be able to see the teamwork show cased in the ways in which they are showing you your ROI.  

Values: Do they know the value of having values?

This is last, not first, because unless you have the others, you cannot be sure that your vendor shows their value in having values. Companies that espouse principles of "staying with the problem" or "have a genuine conversation" often can't follow up because they are too focussed in converting a lead that they ended up with.

Vendors that have the right values of driving excellence in manufacturing and business will always advise you like they would act themselves. Do you see examples of excellent processes, teamwork, and comfortable consulting when you're working with your software vendors? Do they value seamless communication and think like a uniform and organized unit? If so, this should be the deciding factor in choosing vendors.

Takeway

Companies come in all shapes and sizes but the underlying principles behind any successful business are usually in the same neighbourhood. Digital transformation is a priority for most companies of any size today. Enterprise software in ManuTech and EngTech are becoming more and more sophisticated to drive operational excellence at all levels within your organization.

Choosing the right vendors to provide your software tools for increasing your operational efficiency. Is reducing waste important to you? Does expertise within your team add value to your operations? Do you value the growth of your knowledge base? And above all: Do all those things matter to your vendor? 

What do you think the answers should be for all those questions?

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