David Taylor, president and chief executive officer, Radius Solutions
Q: How are ERP/MIS systems designed to address the unique needs of flexible packaging converters, whether a small operation or a large, multi-plant corporation?
A: Enterprise Resource Planning or Management Information Systems are designed to manage processes across all functions of an organization, and store the vast amount of data collected in a central repository where it can be accessed by all those who need it, when they need it.
Industry-specific solutions, such as PECAS Vision, offer the same comprehensive, end-to-end business management capabilities, but are designed specifically to fit the needs of flexible packaging organizations-eliminating the need to make significant modifications to fit the specialized processes of flexible packaging companies.
Q: What improvements or refinements do you find current and prospective clients are asking for in workflow management solutions?
A: The first key request has been around gaining efficiencies, especially helping flexible packaging companies get the most benefit possible from the resources they already have. To do this, we have added significant enhancements for multi-plant operations. We have added processes so companies can quickly and easily move materials between plants and schedule different stages of work at different facilities based on capacity, cost savings and most efficient use of resources. These capabilities also include work-in-process (WIP) valuation transfers so accurate costs for products can be easily tracked and analyzed.
A second key area has been to help companies leverage the massive amount of transactional data and turn it into meaningful business information that converters can use to easily measure and monitor business performance. We have also included robust capabilities in predictive analysis, including “what if” scenarios to model how incremental changes like materials costs or sales prices would impact profit margins.
A third area has been around interoperability with other applications by facilitating information exchange with the MIS/ERP software. This helps keep our product at the forefront of flexibility in the way companies can use it with third party applications, such as a financial package that they already have and like.
And finally, centralization of business processes is another key area that is growing. Since PECAS Vision is already designed to support that structure, it helps companies rapidly integrate facilities, especially acquisitive organizations.
Q: What innovations in workflow management do you anticipate will keep these suites moving forward and constantly evolving?
A: We see the biggest potential efficiency gains in business intelligence. Being able to turn transactional data into meaningful business information and share it throughout an organization will have significant impacts on which companies survive and thrive in the months and years ahead. Our clients have been working with us to focus on developing key performance indicators for measuring performance, such as profitability by customer, job or even sales executive in addition to predictive analytics or the ‘what if’ analysis capabilities mentioned earlier. Finally, another innovation includes access to key information by the various people who need it using instant email alerts to a customer service representative when a client order has been changed, or making a management report accessible to an executive using a hand held device.