Read the fine print on your ticket?

What I meant by “guarantees” in my last post was that there are certain requirements you’ll want to determine within your change improvement process that you can NOT compromise on. I understand there “are no guarantees in life.” But, if you’re paying for an outside vendor to help you with implementing improvements within your business, you better demand some guarantees. Like in our continually-running travel analogy, make sure you read the fine print before purchasing ticket; otherwise you may be stuck with a nonrefundable ticket that’s going somewhere you don’t want to head to any more and you’ll be slapped with a 300% upcharge on your original ticket price just to switch your destination. Yea…bull**** is what I’m thinking, too.

So to avoid the unnecessary and ridiculous added charges from the airline or other transportation venue, (a.k.a. make the right choice in partnership for building and improving your manufacturing process) take your time and read the fine print. Even getting additional input from other customers who’ve used this vendor’s services would be very helpful. I don’t know of a Yelp® for manufacturing consultants, (anyone have a recommendation on where to get this information?). But, asking for previous customers’ summary of their experience with said vendor couldn’t hurt, right? Or at least looking into your professional network and their input is a fairly common practice that needs to be approached with a grain of salt, for realistic purposes.

Investing the time to be diligent in reviewing the important details ahead of time can save many growing pains and headaches later on down the road when the new system has been implemented.

I’m unfamiliar with the bidding process with construction companies, but I imagine this same method could be used in determining the best system to implement with improving a manufacturing process. By getting job proposals and quotes from all potential business vendors, or like with booking a plane ticket through Kayak®, one can cipher through all the options with a feasible apples-to-apples comparison. You’ll be able to have the concerns about whether they’ll be able to supply the desired changes within a feasible timeframe and budget seen across all vendors at a glance. Again: these summaries should be taken with a grain of salt and accessed with a fine-tooth comb to make sure no small discrepancies are overlooked. Investing the time to be diligent in reviewing the important details ahead of time can save many growing pains and headaches later on down the road when the new system has been implemented.

The one example I can give that I’ve heard multiple times as being a nightmare of an implementation for process improvement is SAP. Not to bash them for a wonderful product they create, I’ve just seen and heard many complaints about the ever-growing problem of implementing SAP within an already established manufacturing environment. SAP post production implementation = no fun. But, again they’re a great company with a wonderful product; I’d just recommend maybe doing it at the same time as company launch just to avoid the headaches later. Sigh…if only we lived in an ideal world J

Let me know about a time where working with an outside vendor for implementing changes within your process, either good or bad. What would you have done differently if you could do it over again?

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