13 Jul

Considering a new technology or automated process? Ask these questions.

When it comes to your manufacturing, logistics, or warehousing company’s next step — like implementing mobile scanners on your shop floor or automating a production process — you need to know the right questions to ask a prospective partner before you can have all the answers.

This is especially true if your company is looking to automate a process, either in the front or back office, or implement new technology on your shop floor. Your company will save time and money by automating a paper process or a process from your manufacturing floor, but the journey may be a long one if you don’t start with all the information you need. And, unfortunately, you often know all the questions you should have asked after you’ve completed a process.

To help with your transformative efforts, this blog post will share questions you can use to vet potential partners.

When your company wants to implement mobile computers or scanners on your shop floor –

Make sure you ask your potential partner:

  • What type of devices do you support?
  • What operating systems do you support?
  • What kind of ongoing support staff do you have after the system is set up?
  • Will you come on site?
  • Do you have remote support?
  • What do you offer beyond simply providing the 1-888 number of the device manufacturer?

When your company wants to automate production processes on the manufacturing floor –

Ask your potential partner:

  • Can you write the program in the language we want it written in?
  • Can you set up the process to integrate it into our current interface? Note: Not every system has open APIs that you can tie into. You’ll need to ask about your existing system specifically.
  • Do you have the capabilities to create this as a real-time application?
  • What support from a plan, build, run perspective can you give us?
  • Can you provide support for the program based on the language you will write it in?
  • How future-proof is this process? Note: consider external factors like changes in the Windows support and factors based on your partner, like their future communication and support.

When your company wants to take a paper system, make it automated, and put it to real-time –

Make sure you ask:

  • How much experience do you have automating a process and putting it in real-time?
  • Can you create a foundation for this process that is scalable? Note: There are faster ways to automate a process, but they may not give you the “guts” needed to grow.

In addition to the project-specific questions mentioned above, make sure you do your own background research on the partner. Today’s customer reference websites and even social media groups can be a useful source of information. However, your web searches can’t tell you everything. Here are a few questions to ask them yourself.

When you are vetting a vendor, regardless of the project –

Ask them:

  • Do you have any customer references that can vouch for your work over the phone?
  • How many implementations / customers have you served in a similar space?

Let us help

If you’re looking for a partner to guide you through your data integration or automation process, get in touch with The SMS Group. Our team can help you find the right systems, lead you through the process of purchase and installation, and make sure that your applications make the most of today’s technology. Contact us online to learn more or call 937-498-2700.



Share this