Question: From time to time our paint line goes down. Totally without warning, and never at a convenient time. What is the quickest way to launch an emergency Epicor subcontracting purchase order operation that is not in the Job MOM?
While policies differ from company to company, this simple approach may help you. I sense that you need to issue a subcontract PO. And that you already have a business relationship with this subcontractor (and maybe even have an agreed-upon price list) since the paint line issue happens with some frequency. And it appears that the paint line goes down unexpectedly, which means the Job MOM has the paint operation as an internal operation.
Here’s an approach. Involve your purchasing department right away. They can create a subcontract PO in such a way that it automatically adds the subcontract operation to the released job. This is base functionality in most versions that I’m aware of. It works in Vantage 8.03. It works in Epicor 9.xx, and it works in Epicor 10. It may likely work that way in older versions as well. This approach provides the proper linking of subcontract PO to subcontract operation on the job. You don’t have to go into Job Entry and add the subcontract operation first. In fact, unless you want to reschedule the job, there is no need to go to Job Entry at all.
The 1980s were a golden age for independent music in America. Shunned by popular radio, American indie bands filled their Econoline vans with amplifiers and drum kits and set out for the open road. At a rate of a show a night, they reached their audience from beyond the confines of the traditional recording industry. And in the absence of major label coddling, they founded independent record labels and created independent distribution networks, all outside of the mainstream. In doing so, they reconceptualized the Do-It-Yourself (D-I-Y) ethos as applicable to areas well beyond basement breweries and backyard patio projects.
This D-I-Y ethos is not unfamiliar to most ERP consultants. The popular conception of consultant life resembles the back sleeve of a men’s magazine: a life of executive suites and first class flights, champagne after takeoff or a plush robe and a goblet of brandy before bed. The reality of the average consultant’s life resembles that of many indie bands: tightly packed flying closets with dive-bomb economy landings onto the short tracks of major airports, so vast and confusing as to comprise cities within cities, compact car rentals and hotels splitting the five star rating system in two, with a glass of OJ from concentrate and a reconstituted egg patty for breakfast. We make it work on a shoe string to keep the costs of implementation down for our clients, while providing the best personal service necessary for project success. Even still, the costs of travel figure significantly into the overall costs of an average implementation, comprising as much as 30% or more of project budgets.
This D-I-Y mentality finds a place similarly in the hearts of many small and medium-sized companies implementing ERP. When discussing consultation options with a prospective client, it is not uncommon to hear phrases like “we prefer to go-it-alone and pull in help only when it’s absolutely required.” Because of the costs of consultation, many small and medium-sized businesses view consultation as an either-or proposition: either implement independently and keep costs in check, or introduce consultation and blow the budget. Not surprisingly, many such companies choose to implement independently, but by choosing to do so, they risk falling into one many ERP implementation pitfalls, the kind that seasoned consultants could help a project team to avoid.
To mitigate this risk, some companies employ hybrid approaches, and technological innovations increasingly allow for such alternative implementation models. Some examples might include the following: * Many consultation efforts do not require full-day allocations and onsite visitations. Quite often, a two-hour prototyping session, facilitated by a web conferencing application, can move a project team forward. * A consultant with a VPN connection and a remote desktop can review a client’s GL structure and make recommendations. * Remote user training allows for modular and incremental learning, apportioned into manageable two-hour blocks that helps to avoid the educational fire hose-effect associated with full-day training sessions.*
Remote sessions help keep teams from stalling into idle between consultant visits, which reduces the pressure to pack all project progress into a monthly onsite session. Fundamentally, consultation is of benefit to clients when it furthers their project’s best interests—when it helps project teams gain the necessary traction to implement a system to meet the needs of the business. And such traction need not require an hourly quota. When working with your consulting partners, explore the options for remote work. Many projects will likely require some form of onsite engagement, but remote consultation may better fit your budget and your company’s culture, especially if you intend to D-I-Y.
If your business operates with silos in place it’s time to tear them down for good!
Many companies boast they have found the ERP software that is fully integrated and will serve the entire organization. When the principals make the decision to implement they are making a long term commitment. Once the company administrators and directors have performed their due diligence, a “new” integrated solution for the organization is born. The new addition will include a comprehensive ERP Solution together with state of the art technology. Does your business plan include an integrated solution? And if so why would you want to expend thousands of dollars to install and implement this new system without a firm commitment by all the employees in your company?
A Project implementation team cannot operate in a Silo
With each part only focusing on his or her area of the project, your company should be concentrating on breaking down silos in business. A well-managed organization with good leadership, will address how to handle and produce a quality implementation with its employees, and will take the time to motivate the employees to function as a team. I have been in several organization where the end users as well as the functional leads will only look at his or her area or department and refuse to take a look at the whole picture. Investopedia’s definition of ‘Silo Mentality’ as a business organizational structure is: “An attitude found in some organizations that occurs when several departments or groups do not want to share information or knowledge with other individuals in the same company. A silo mentality reduces efficiency and can be a contributing factor to a failing corporate culture”.
This kind of business organizational structure can also be one of the reasons an implementation project will fail. What’s more is some of the departmental employees operating in silos are not willing to spend time on the “Project” because they only have enough hours in the day to work on his or her “normal” work this will present a problem and slow progress. If a work plan was properly laid out at the beginning of the project there should be minimal grumbling by those that need to put in extra effort to achieve the overall organizational goal. Proper planning and expectations need to be set from the beginning, or employee cooperation and morale will erode quickly. The detailed work plan should be monitored and meetings held on a weekly or by weekly bases.
Finally the Project Manager will set the tone and take the lead, if he or she lacks the leadership ability and the skills require to spearhead the project, the project will be ill-fated and may require reorganization.
EstesGroup Remote Consulting can save you money and provide you a better implementation if done right. Watch how:
EstesGroup remote consulting mixes in with onsite visits to provide you a more flexible implementation schedule when the work still needs to get done. See more about our approach here: Epicor Consulting.
The Prospect has Objections What are the Common Ones & How Do You Handle Them?
Prospect objections arise for different reasons and have different implications on whether you selling anything or not. Some objections will be legitimate, but many times prospects will just make the statement when they’re just trying to brush you off. Below are four common prospects “delay or blow-off” statements and a few suggestions on how to handle them.
“We’re just starting to review our purchasing options”What it means is: Your prospect is in the early stages of their buying/bidding process. They tell you they’re “just looking” because they want to continue to maintain control of their buying process and it’s too early for them to engage with a salesperson right now. Most manufacturing salespeople will take that at face value and allow the prospect to end the conversation. But this is the wrong approach, because the next time you contact them, they’ll most likely provide you a similar answer.A better way to handle the objection might be: To stop selling and acknowledge that if you’re a little early in their buying/bidding process that you’re not trying to sell anything, but you’re just inquiring to what products they might need you to quote on down the road so when they do go out for bid, you’ll be prepared to be of service. A common, but the wrong response is, “I’m glad to hear you’re looking. Here are a dozen reasons I think our products, company, services, etc. would be a great fit for you.”
The correct response accomplishes three (3) things. First, you’ve shown that you listened to the prospect by acknowledging they’re not ready to buy. Many prospects use this delay phrase because they’ve gotten the hard sell too early far too many times before. If you’re polite and calm with your prospect they shouldn’t be afraid to continue the conversation and give you a little more information.
Second, you’ve let the prospect know you’re interested in getting to know them, so you can be helpful and provide a service at a later time. Third, maybe the prospect didn’t think they had other buying options. Providing a quick example of how you’ve helped your customers with a similar approach of getting a list of parts/products earlier to start thinking about Vs when it’s actually out to bid/quote might provide them a viable reason to engage with you further either on your current call or subsequent calls. If you’ve gotten a better understanding of your prospect’s problem, you might tell them, that you’ll follow up your call with some helpful information, not on your company, product or service, but with some information that can be of help to him/her, so they remember the next time you contact them that you’re not one of those salespeople that’s only interested in selling stuff.
“We’re going with the lowest bid/quote when we make our decision”What it means is: You haven’t established the value of your service, product or company.How to handle it: This objection might come at several points in the sales process but is a common sales objection manufacturing salespeople need to address when it comes up and your prospect is trying to blow you off.
Your job is to show your prospect the value of having them work with you Vs just considering the price. You need to emphasize your value over price. Remember “Value Statements” about your product/service/company need to be specific that can be tied to a dollar equivalent that represents your higher price (i.e. If you work with XYZ manufacturing, because of our cloud ERP system we can provide you an online portal that you can monitor your inventory levels of your product(s) as well as order online which saves you “X” numbers of hours/month, etc. etc. )
“We’re not ready to make a buying decision right now.”What it means is: This objection is commonly heard when a salesperson is trying to close the business. Assuming your prospect has the authority to purchase your product or service and you have thoroughly qualified the opportunity (Budget, Authority, Need and Timeframe (BANT)), this objection means they still might need more information or it could signify that they’re waiting to hear back from your competition.How to handle it: Take a step back. Don’t be defensive. Ask your prospect if you can review their buying process to make sure you haven’t missed any steps to cause the delay? If you’ve taken the time to understand their buying process (which oh, by the way, should resemble your selling process) and documented that process and shared it with your prospect along their buying journey, it might expose the prospect, in a nice way, to provide you information about your competition to gain an edge when it comes time for final negotiations. It might also be noted here if you’re in a competitive situation, ask what points of vendor differentiation your prospect is examining, and provide resources that show why your offering is the best option. If they simply need more information, drill down to the area of your solution they’re still uncertain about.
“Is this your best price?”What it means is: “Can I get a better deal” (i.e. your value statement, above, didn’t help and the price is probably still the primary determining factor of who they’ll buy from.How to handle it: Your prospect’s voice tone is important here. How you respond to this objection depends on your ability to read your prospect. Do they sound like they’re ready to play hardball, or are they asking, because that’s expected in your industry?
You can either give a discount or hold firm. Your product is priced the way it is for a reason, so don’t give away the store! Remember if do go down the path of offering your prospect a discount you need something in exchange for the discount (i.e. a longer-term commitment, a signed contract on the spot, a larger quantity purchase, etc., etc.). There are of course hundreds of other objections or variations of the above objections a manufacturing salesperson hears if they’re selling long enough. The bottom line here is if you take the time to get to know your prospects and thoroughly understand their buying situation (BANT), you should be able to overcome most objections like the ones above; which should result in more sales. Don’t be just another bid or quote.