Filed under: — Doug Contreras @ 2:11 am on
The crew chiefs and line mechanics had the greatest impact on productivity, and Acme thought they had no way to analyze and measure their initiative. The company was capturing and recording tons of valuable information each day in an outdated database program, but their report format for production was nothing more than a neat regurgitation of what had been handwritten before the software was installed. Since the software did an acceptable job in managing the company’s inventory, management was willing to live with what they had.

Larry, the new Director of Operations, was convinced they could do better. However, as the new kid on the block, he was unwilling to suggest a big upfront cost. Similarly, he was concerned about a change that would require retraining an already overworked staff.

When he contacted us to address the situation, we saw a simple solution that involved three steps:

  • First, we created a separate database program that imported the daily productivity input from the existing system.
  • Next, we met with Larry and set up a series of reports to provide the specific type of analysis and measurement for which he was looking.
  • Finally, we recommended and implemented two additional reports - one that evaluated equipment utilization and another that provided job profitability by customer.
Here’s what we accomplished:
  • Data entry workload did not change. The staff continued to enter the information in the old software as they had in the past. To generate the reports from the new software, the data entry clerk simply opened the new program and pressed CTRL-F7. By executing this macro, the information was automatically imported into the new database and the new reports were printed. This step took less than 5 minutes.
  • Acme continued to use the older program to manage their inventory.
  • The new reports were instrumental in the company’s successful effort to assign accountability and improve productivity.

Larry was delighted with the results and referred to the information in his old software as his hidden treasure.

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Filed under: — Doug Contreras @ 6:53 am on

A properly designed ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system can enable a company to integrate its key processes. A typical system might include some or all of the following modules:

Business Intelligence
- Data Analysis

Checks & Forms Solutions
- Checks & Forms

Contact Management
- Contact Management

Customer Relationship Management
- Activity Scheduling
- Contact Management
- Customer Self Service
- Email Integration
- Help Desk Support
- Marketing Management
- Project Opportunity Tracking
- Proposal Tracking
- Sales Force Automation

Document Management
- Document Management

- Business-2-Business Commerce
- Business-2-Consumer Commerce
- Catalog Management
- E-Invoice
- E-Order
- E-Purchase

Electronic Banking
- Credit Management
- Download Transactions

General Accounting (GL, AP, AR, CM)
- Accounts Payable
- Accounts Receivable
- Bank Reconciliation
- Budgeting/Forecasting
- Cash Management
- General Ledger
- Inter-company Transactions
- Multi-Currency
- Multi-Lingual
-Trial Balance

- Bar Coding
- Inventory Transfers
- Lot Expirations
- Multiple Units of Measurement
- Multiple warehouses
- Negative Quantities
- Track Lots
- Track Serial Numbers
- Track Vendor Part Numbers
- Warehouse Management

- Bill of Materials
- Capacity Requirements Planning
- Discrete Manufacturing
- Engineering Change Notices
- Labor Performance
- Make to Order
- Make to Stock
- Material Requirements Planning
- Process Manufacturing
- Quality Assurance
- Sales Forecasting
- Shop Floor Control

- Change Orders
- Inventory Control
- Purchase Order Processing
- Receiving
- Returns
- Shipment Invoice Matching

Report Writer
- 3rd Party
- On-line Inquiry
- Proprietary
- Web/HTML Reports

Sales Distribution
- Bill of Materials
- Customer Self Service
- Inventory Control
- Invoicing
- Sales Force Management
- Sales Order Processing
- Sales Returns
- Shipping

Supply Chain Management
- Demand Planning
- Replenishment Planning
- Supply Chain Management
- Warehouse Management

In evaluating your need for an ERP system, answer the following:

  1. How much is the initial outlay for the software, installation expenses and hardware upgrades?
  2. How much is the ongoing cost (annual licensing, hardware upgrades, internal IT support)?
  3. How much will you save initially?
  4. Will the system allow you to grow your business without adding staff?
  5. Will the system allow your business to operate more efficiently and make you more competitive?
  6. How long will it take to get the system running?
  7. Are you and your key managers totally committed to its success or will you back off on the implementation in favor of managing a busy workload?
  8. Will the software be flexible enough to allow you to manage your business as you have in the past or will you be required to adapt to what they provide?
  9. Are there more cost-efficient options or services available that are better suited to your business size and needs?

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Filed under: — Doug Contreras @ 6:57 am on

People ask "What’s the difference?"


  • Faster & easier to prepare
  • Within the scope of an average PC user to prepare simple reports
  • Good for one shot projects
  • Easier to generate graphs


  • Can hold a very large number of records allowing for a history
  • Highly suited to analysis providing detailed reports
  • Suited to both arithmetic and text storage
  • Easy segregation of records based on detailed find & sort criteria
  • Easier to share (Multiple users at the same time)
  • Relational allowing one database to share the information with another
  • Significantly less hard drive space and RAM for the same amount of information

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Filed under: — Doug Contreras @ 5:15 am on
While there are a number of ways to describe a database, the following definition is suited to the type of databases we use at Performance Data Management LLC.

A database consists of a group of records. For each record a series of fields are defined that create a place to store and classify key data. Each record represents a collection of information concerning an event or series of events. Records are stored in a computer in such a way so that the database program can selectively retrieve and sort the data to provide information that can be used to make decisions. While the data that is actually entered in a record may involve only a small number of fields, there may be hundreds of other fields that can include mathematical calculations and summaries that can serve as analysis points.
Defined fields can be classified as follows:
  • Text (names & places)
  • Number (values that might be used in calculations or totals)
  • Date (can be used in calculations)
  • Time (can be used in calculations)
  • Timestamp (combination of date and time - typically used at the initial point of record entry or at the point of modification to pinpoint a precise date and time).
  • Container (Videos, photos, sounds, spreadsheets, text files which are stand-alone and do not react with the program in anyway).
  • Summary (can produce totals, subtotals, averages based on the found records and how it is displayed on the layout).
Data files can be set up to interrelate with other files. This can be done to expand the knowledge base and/or minimize the need to enter repetitive data. For instance, entering a customer code number in one file can query a related file and automatically enter the customer name, address, phone, etc into the first file.

Layouts are set up to serve as a point of entry, a place to view the record and/or generate a written report. Layouts might have summaries and sub-summaries and can include or exclude any field that has been defined. For people to read and benefit from the resulting reports, layouts should be neat and orderly containing only the information that is needed. Reports should be designed and presented in a way that is simple and direct. Aesthetics are highly instrumental in producing effective reports.

Visit my profile on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/dougcontreras
I welcome your invite to connect!

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