The development of service-oriented information systems and industrial automation
Nowadays, the issue of cost optimization has become one of the most acute for virtually all companies. This task is by no means new, but now it is the time when the business environment stimulates companies to put maximum effort into its finding its solution. Cost reduction is one of the key survival components in the period of crisis. However, unsubstantiated decrease of cost, hunkering down and tightening the belts can lead to negative consequences and losses that in many cases are unrecoverable. In this situation, it is smart to follow the conventional wisdom: measure thrice and cut once.
Companies should struggle not for decreasing absolutely all costs, but for reduction of counter-productive, inefficient, irrational costs, the things that are unnecessary for reliable achievement of corporate objectives.
We recommend to pay attention to the following solutions for corporate business process automation:
Document workflow and electronic archives;
Report collection and report processing systems;
Production process optimization;
Improvement of financial accounting processes.
Why are the solutions that you mentioned so important?
These concepts and solutions have become widely discussed quite a long time ago, but cases are not uncommon when the implementation of the abovementioned tasks is postponed, or finding the solution of these problems is considered to be a low priority task.
If you ask, why is document workflow so important, my answer will be very simple. There is no such other business tool that can be compared to document workflow in terms of making the executives sure that the tasks are fulfilled and the requirements are met. The implementation of such solution allows to reduce the risks of agreement loss, minimize the possibility of signing a contract on unfavorable terms. Using an electronic archive allows to considerably reduce the costs for paper document storage, the time required by employees for document search and access. These factors can also be monetized. If some groups of employees work with a large number of standardized document forms, combining the electronic archive with a recognition system leads to excellent results. All the abovementioned issues are very important for many businesses, and we have case studies describing such implementations.
You have mentioned the report collection and processing system. Tell us more about this system and describe how businesses can benefit from it?
This is a very good question. This is a know-how of our company, a solution that has no out-of-the-box analogues among our competitors. Reporting data provide the foundation that helps executives make the right decisions. Many executives pay insufficient attention to task of data collection. They consider it simple, but in reality it is rather labor- consuming.
Cases are not uncommon that when it is necessary to collect specific type of data in a distributed network, people write both e-mail and paper letters. They waste a lot of time waiting for answers, they make reminders, the processed data are entered into some database or Excel spreadsheet (in the better case). Generally speaking, all these actions can be easily carried out in our solution. Furthermore, there is no need in bothering IT specialists for their maintenance. This system allows to reduce the number of errors when filling the initial report due to development of form templates and applying formal logical checks on the data input stage, reducing time costs for generation and provision of summarized and analytical reporting, as well as solving many other tasks.
This solution combines efficiency, business value and reasonable cost. All these benefits are very important for businesses in modern economic situation.
Production optimization seems to a well-studied problem. Are there any innovative approaches to it?
In a number of branches of industry, for example, oil and gas segment, the level of automation is rather high. But, on the other hand, there still exists a lot of production enterprises, wherein the cost accounting is still performed using the old methods inherited from former decades, such as writing-off by norms. This means excessive warehouse stock which is often unnecessary, increased operating assets and making unnecessary loans. Other problems are obscure and inaccurate calculation of production natural cost and increased risks of malicious actions and wrongdoings. I do not need to explain how important these issues are. In general, the implementation of MES systems has been held back by affinity of senior managers to obsolete practices and absence of efficient solutions. But at the present time there are a lot of enterprises, where new, more progressive executives have entered the scene, and new powerful technologies that have hit the market. We are able to offer a broad range of platforms for fulfilling these tasks: affordable and efficient solutions from 1C, specialized Wonderware platform, and the almighty SAP systems.
The most important issue is the capability of the top management of the enterprise to overcome the resistance of dishonest employees. Only MES systems can make it possible to provide production transparency both in terms of consumed resources and performed works.