The economy is on practically everyone’s mind these days. We know we’re in for a bumpy ride over the next several months, and perhaps even years. Everywhere we turn, organizations are “battening down the hatches”, learning to do more with less. One way to do that is to evaluate our tools as well as our approaches to some of the routine tasks that we perform.
In other words, one way to do more with less is to do it faster and better. By applying a process mindset to routine tasks, you can indeed become more productive, and therefore become more valuable to your organization.
I know I’m always harping on transforming your organization into a “process enterprise”. Understand though—”process” is not a technology—or even necessarily a product—it’s a mindset, a philosophy. One of the keys to becoming process-driven is to use the processes and best practices that you already have—that’s why you implemented Lawson, right? Are you really using Lawson (and the other tools you have available) to its fullest potential?
If you’re like most clients I meet, you’re probably only exploiting about 50-60% of Lawson’s functionality. A lot of the “out-of-the-box” horsepower sits unused. Michael Hammer said most ERPs fail because “these companies did not appreciate the nature of ERP. Because its modules are so tightly integrated, an ERP system is, in effect, a tool for supporting end-to-end processes”.
Do you continue to use your current tools and processes without thinking “isn’t there a better way?” And, even if there is a better way, why do we always just immediately assume that it’s too cost-prohibitive? Think about some of the routine tasks that you and your staff perform. In a lot of cases, I’ll bet there are at least 5 tasks you perform on a routine basis that you can automate, or at last semi-automate.
Here are some ideas:
- Microsoft Add-Ins. I use them on an almost daily basis these days with clients, in ways that I had never even considered. If you and your staff can save an hour or two a week by using them, doesn’t that easily justify their cost? If you do use them, are you using them for journal entries? How many of you create Excel files as “backup” for journal entries only to have someone rekey it into Lawson?
- Automate routine processes using multi-step jobs and recurring jobs (this doesn’t cost a cent)
- Use a Lawson ProcessFlow to send the SysAdmin an email when a job goes into recovery
- Route invoice and journal entry approval processes using Lawson ProcessFlow
- Integrate other systems with Lawson with Lawson ProcessFlow Integrator
- Harness the power of LBI dashboards to monitor processes and metrics before they blindside you
- In Procurement, Analyze stock-outs and adjust re-order points
- In HR/Benefits,
- Use Personnel Actions to structure your employee-related processes.
- Use Manager-Self-Service/Employee-Self-Service for routine tasks, like address changes, without requiring HR.
- Track dependents in HR and Benefits enrollment to avoid duplicating the effort of entering them into a provider’s system
- In Finance, use Allocations to spread overhead-type expenses efficiently and accurately
- In IT, employ server monitoring so that you’re alerted before an outage becomes a crisis
You get the idea. The approach I take in my consulting is to provide my clients with the ability to re-think an approach that isn’t working efficiently and help them devise a better solution. I’m continually amazed after I work through the problem with them, and show them some different alternatives, how often we devise a better approach, sometimes even after just a few minutes.
In this ever-fragile economy, with layoffs by the thousands, the way to persevere is to continue to improve your skills and streamline your processes, through innovation and creativity. Think of it as an investment in working smarter. Become the value driver for your organization.