Is it Time to Change

Is it Time to Change

When I started writing this article, it was about computer software. As I prepared to write this piece, I read a lot of technical information and talked with a lot of people – software salespeople and software users. The one thing that resonated above all else… “why should I change?” This theme continued to come up time and time again. So, as much as the integrated software options available are an amazing tool, that can move your sawmill, dimension plant or distribution yard leaps and bounds above the competition, the one thing you have to address first (insert brutal honesty here) is – IS IT TIME TO CHANGE?

Is It Time for Your Company to Change?

Technology changes in the blink of an eye. Believe it or not, the iPhone has only been around for six years. Do you remember the not so distant past when you stopped at a pay phone, opened up the phone book and called ahead to make an appointment at the next mill you were stopping to do business with? Now just ask Siri where the closest mill is while directions, a phone number and a website are pulled up on your phone in under a minute. The information available at our fingertips is immense, probably more information than you can imagine.

When is the last time you changed anything about how you are tracking your inventory? Measuring yields and profit margins? Estimating lead-times? Invoicing? Mike Finn, Vice President of SEEMAC put it this way, “Accuracy and timeliness of information are priorities for our customers. But each year, I could tell that our leading edge, mid-1970s era software was growing more out of step with the times and our business needs.” Does this sound a little too close to home?

“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence – it is to act with yesterday’s logic.” – Peter Drucker

Are you using yesterday’s logic and yesterday’s technology? Many will argue that counting boards hasn’t changed so why should the software used to track it. But take a step back. What has changed is, well, everything else – your profit margin, the product your customer specifies, how fast your customer wants delivery, how large (and small) your order has gotten and the quality required to get the order. With the added pressure from every side on what profit you make, how can technology advances continue to be ignored?

“Well, These Software Systems Just Don’t Know Lumber.”

I admit it, I’ve said it. Most of the inventory control systems that are out there have been retrofitted to try to address lumber. Lumber is different. It’s unique. This is a good thing – until you need software to track it. There are very few software products out there that are truly designed for the lumber industry. These will create value when they are used. Efficiency trickles into every aspect of your business. When it’s there, it shows. It leads to better employees, improved customer satisfaction and right down to a better bottom line.

So, is it time to take a hard look at your software systems?

“The bottom line is that Agility is helping us find ways to do our job more accurately and efficiently every day.” – Mike Finn, Vice President, SEEMAC

This article originally appeared in National Hardwood Magazine in May, 2014.