I’m often asked, when I meet people and talk to them about what we do, “why get a custom app?”. Or, more directly, “why would anyone buy a custom app?” I then take a sip of my drink as I know that this question is usually followed by its evil twin, “aren’t they expensive?”
These are actually two very good questions to ask, and the answer is often yes. Custom apps can be expensive, if your only point of comparison with a piece of off-the-shelf software is the sticker price. However, you need to assess a custom app based on the efficiencies and savings it is designed to achieve.
To illustrate this point, let’s look at a typical example of a manufacturing process in a company that makes plastic toys:
A Typical Manufacturing Process
This process is not in any way uncommon and results in a number of problems:
Excessive Paper Use
It uses a significant amount of paper, often to move data from one system to another or to get it to places where there are no computers (e.g. beside the production machines). For example, the scheduler gives orders to the supervisor and the supervisor hands the details of a particular order to the operator. In addition, time spent on the order and any scrap produced is first recorded on a paper form.
Each of the different software applications, from the order production schedule to the various spreadsheets, are separate and disconnected.
And there are a few different roles involved, from the production scheduler to the supervisor to the operative and on to the manager. The supervisor has to provide some of the connections, walking from office to manufacturing area and back to collect data from the scheduler, give it to the operator then return data to the scheduler and ultimately the manager.
As a result, there is considerable duplication of data, as pieces of information are copied from one medium to another. This provides numerous potential points of failure, such as the possibility of errors through manual data entry or even the misplacing of data. And this manual data entry and duplication is clearly labour wasted.
And finally, the manager is unable to get production summaries until the relevant data have been processed through numerous spreadsheets.
The Solution is a Custom App
The solution is to have one custom app that incorporates all the functions needed to support the order production process, one that meets the needs of every role in the process:
The Benefits of a Custom App
The benefits of a custom app are:
- The manager and the supervisor used to spend a lot of time entering data into various spreadsheets, but they don’t with a custom app.
- This means that the scope for errors is dramatically reduced.
- Production problems are spotted much earlier so wastage, machine stoppages and faults are reduced.
- Issues with order completion are spotted earlier so the scope for missing delivery deadlines is reduced.
- Production data are available in real-time so the production process can be better managed.
- Production data are validated on entry so production data errors are reduced.
So the benefits are clear: a custom app would be helpful to any organization. Contact us today to see what we can do for you!