One of the many challenges window and door manufacturers face, is deciding how to invest in technology that helps them grow.

In the beginning the business may only need simple spreadsheets and drawings but as the business grows, their requirements will change. Accounting and estimation software then get introduced. These standalone systems then create extra processes for transferring job information from one system to another, to begin the manufacturing process.

Window and door manufacturers have found that by integrating their stand-alone systems they can automate processes, increase their productivity and allows for business growth. It’s not as scary as it sounds and is packed full of benefits for everyone in the organisation.

Below are four steps to help you manage your system integration successfully and achieve great benefits.

Manage the project effectively

A properly defined and managed project will ensure a quality solution is delivered, in agreed cost and within specified schedules. Engaging all parts of the business to document their requirements will assist in scoping the project properly; and this will also assist with getting buy in of the project. Set relevant milestones, realistic costs and dates.

An effectively managed project will deliver a business solution which is in line with the business’ strategy and allows for future business growth.

Encourage user adoption

User adoption is another key area which determines success of an integration project. To overcome resistance and lack of user adoption, it is important to include all staff on the integration journey with information, training and education.

Ensure this is part of your project plan and take all staff on the project journey to encourage user adoption by selling them the benefits every step of the way.

Conduct a data cleanse

It’s important to conduct a data cleanse for the integration to be successful and to allow for automatic updating of product codes and lead times by you and your suppliers. Using the correct information will allow for automated requests to be actioned and orders to be successfully fulfilled.

Data cleanses can be performed:

  • manually, which involves someone checking the data, locating errors and correcting them.
  • or using an automated process. This involves using computer software that are programmed with a set of rules and procedures that are determined by the user.

Review and update your processes

Internal processes will need to be reviewed, as the integration project allows standalone systems to transfer data and information, which will affect teams and the way they do business. Mapping out current processes and how these maybe streamlined with the automation will help staff realize the benefits of the integration. This will also increase communication and collaboration between teams and help break down any silos which may exist.

Reviewing and updating processes to complement your suppliers’ processes will also be required to ensure maximum benefit and success. For example, it’s important to include a field for the product code the supplier use to enable automated ordering and orders being fulfilled quickly.

Integration success

Project scope, user adoption, data cleanse and new processes are all vital steps in ensuring your integration project is successful. These key areas will also allow for an integration project which not only deals with the now but also allows for the future, and this will provide your business with a real competitive advantage!