Thursday, June 09, 2011

When MISys customers fail.

In the 25+ years Manufacturing Information Systems has been selling PC-based manufacturing software, we've successfully placed thousands and thousands of systems in small and medium-sized businesses. But every once in a while, we hear from someone who has decided to return the product under the terms of our no-quibble money-back guarantee. Even though the returns as a percentage of our total sales is infinitessimal, each one hurts.

We have known for a long, long time that the Number One reason our customers fail in their attempt to successfully implement a MISys Manufacturing system, is lack of management committment.

Now, we're not saying that after a lengthy product search and evaluation process, followed by and expenditure of many thousands of dollars, a new MISys owner just loses interest. Rather, we think it is a matter of them failing to adequately assess the work and resources needed to properly deploy a fairly complex business management system.

Using the MISys Manufacturing software isn't anything like using a product such as Microsoft Powerpoint. You don't just throw it on the desktop and say "Here. See what you can do with this." Implementing MISys requires some detailed planning, re-examination of existing proceedures, design of new procedures, and long hours of data entry and verification.

My inspiration for writing this came last week with a phone call from a prospective MISys customer we'll call Mary.

Mary described  to me the process her boss had gone through to identify MISys as the product they wanted and their delight in the functionality of the software. Mary told me that her "regular" job was to handle all the accounts payable and accounts receivable for the company. She said the boss had asked her to help bring up MISys Manufacturing by working through her lunch hour. Her reason for calling me was to ask whether I thought she could be succssful without the involvement of others in the company. "None" I asked? "None" replied Mary. "And what about the boss?" "Oh, he's too busy" Mary added.

Now, I commend anyone who has completed a lengthy evaluation process and selected MISys but, to be honest, Mary could be my poster-child for failure. To make matters worse, I don't think there is anything we could do to insure Mary's success. She could enroll in the next MISys Training Workshops, but I'm quite sure that the wealth of information our trainers deliver would be just overwhelming to anyone working alone, like Mary. I'm trying to set up a conference call with Mary and her boss to candidly explain the importance of establishing a dedicated implementation team to work on MISys, including continuing supervision and support from management.

If anything about this scenario sounds familiar, take heart. If you don't give up on us, we won't give up on you. If you're worried that you don't have the necessary resources allocated to your MISys project, then please set up a conference call with your team and our Customer Service staff. After all, we've had thousands and thousands of successful MISys installations, and quite a few got off on a shakey start. Your company has already made a significamt investment in MISys. They don't want to lose it. If things aren't going as well as you'd hoped, maybe it's time for some tough-love from the MISys guys. The only implementations problems we can't help to resolve are the ones we don't know about.

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