As a business grows, fragmented processes often develop with it. For example, those involved in production/manufacturing planning may use an Excel spreadsheet to track orders through the various stages of manufacture,

but this will not talk to sales, warehouse or shipping—each of which may have their own system. Companies have even been known to plan schedules using Post-it notes on a wall! Staff in each department has to continually duplicate data, drastically increasing the possibility of error. Data is not updated between departments, which often results in wrong or no information being available when the staffs need it. Reporting also is an issue, as collating data across departments and then number crunching to get the required figures takes time and may even be impossible if the data simply isn’t there.

The paper trail generated by each order can also be frightening, as each department struggles to maintain data integrity on its own localized system and pass information to the next or previous link in the chain.

One of the biggest areas for potential losses is warehouse. With no accurate way to plan ahead, companies often wildly overstock, tying up significant amounts of cash. Also, the above mentioned issues of duplicate entry of data and paper trails can require constant inventory checks, which take up valuable time and often throw up inaccurate figures. All of this can lead to negative consequences for management, as they are unable to make informed decisions without a clear view of the company’s position.