Monday, April 29, 2013

If it ain't broke, then what?


It is not old school to be using junk to
manage your business.
One of my colleagues as a joke posted this article on his Google+ feed.  It seems that a manufacturing plant has been using the same IBM 402 system to manage its payroll since 1948.  Let me put it this way, they have been using the same computer for 65 years to manage accounting.

At first I was dismissive of this article saying they should get a more modern system.  Then it dawned on me this is what my company is up against when I am attempting to sell my company to other businesses.  Sparkler Filters of Conroe, Texas would rather manage its accounting with punch cards and form feed paper than upgrade to a more modern system like J.D. Edwards or SAP.

The Computer History Museum in Mountain View California sent a group to ask Sparkler Filter to donate the old system for the museum.  The company politely said no claiming that everyone at the firm understood punch cards and the last sixty year of reports were formatted for the IBM 402 system. To this company, the system was not broke so they decided never to replace it with something more modern and efficient.  A PC with the standard version of Quickbooks could run circles around a device like this but because they are comfortable with punch cards they are going to keep it.

I run into this situation all the time when I am attempting to deal with companies which have thirty year old AS/400 systems.  It happened that fear and inertia are making it hard for people to upgrade their corporate systems.  This is going to get scarier as many of the people in the Transportation and Logistics industry retire and are replaced by this generation’s current supply of employee.  These are individual’s accustomed to smart phones, cloud based computing and social media so when confronted with green screens and systems they cannot access via their phone are going to enter other lines of work.

This, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” mind set is holding back economic growth and technical innovation.

A trucking company today would not dare use vintage 1970’s trucks to transport products today just because today’s trucks have better gas mileage and provide direct savings to the company.  The same holds true for software and services.  Today, thanks to cloud computing a company can have the computing power of a Fortune 500 company at a fraction of the cost.  With contemporary systems you can reduce administrative costs and enhance customer service without having to hire more people.  This gives you the gift of time because you are spending it in the office tracking down paper work; instead, you are selling customers and spending time with you family.

This is why I founded E3 systems.  We want to give you the means to make more money and save time by having technical systems which will make you swifter than your competition.

Until next time.