There are ways to run business, but automation remains the way forward for anyone wanting to increase productivity and focus on core strengths of his trade. The accuracy of this vintage truism was exhibited right before my eyes when I recently accompanied a cousin, one of the co-owners of a fairly large familyowned milk manufacturing company in Punjab, to a software company office in Mohali. He wanted tech wizards to develop an application to take care of data management and reporting issues for his factory’s production, sale and inventory.
Over a fascinating detailed presentation lasting well over three hours, he outlined the problem and the customised solution desired.
His primary concern and requirement from the application was to see at a glance key figures relating to his business operations as of now – milk production, distribution and its ultimate retail sale at small confectionaries and shops – after he keys in the master data. He wanted umpteen reports, sets of figures and other technical details to be available to him in a simple, easy-to-use interface.
This experience showed me a side of business processes that can be summarised as monitoring and tracking everything that happens in your work field and domain expertise. All businesses need this, especially those where there are a large number of variants of a product for a manufacturing company. For instance, in milk there are five colour-coded packets available to us for choice every morning and this is just one kind of master item for the maker, who, at his end, tracks the sale of each packet of any variety and then can be in a position to take a call on increasing or decreasing production and maintaining inventory.
Another thing that becomes easier after one uses a tracking application is the capability to know your strengths and weaknesses to the minutest level and balance them accordingly.
Which market route has the least leakage ratio in milk packets and which retailer has maximum sales can be seen at the click of a button.
Apart from milk, almost all manufacturing companies need this convenience to track quality, know their markets, etc. Most forms of organised retail in the tricity use barcodes on each piece of item sold, at least in the relatively well-off sectors.
Still, 100% compliance is the need of the hour because if it cannot be done here, it is very likely the populace of other places will struggle with the concept. However, as the software engineer who now has a new client in the form of my cousin puts it, “Our work remains to aid in decisionmaking using the power of computing and logic. Life is easy when you can cut out the repetitive tasks and we are trained to do just that for our clients.”
As we bade him goodbye, I had almost done a refresher course in milk distribution and inventory management and ways to capture market share. All of which, unfortunately, remains too detailed to fit into this column, but will be shared with interested readers over time.