MIS in label plants: why it matters and why it's so challenging to achieve.

Author:Smith, Steve
 
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In recent years, there has been much more emphasis on implementing MIS systems in even small businesses, but little written about what it means and the challenges to be faced in order to achieve an optimal solution. Let's take a look at these aspects and try to remove some of the doubt and uncertainty.

Firstly, what is an MIS? It's a wonderful computer-industry acronym that stands for Management Information System which is about as unclear and meaningless as many other such acronyms. In short, the basic concept is that by utilizing properly designed software programs you can achieve wonderful improvements in productivity and reduced overheads, while also gaining the benefits of access to historic data for business analysis purposes. Any one of those facets might justify an investment in an MIS by itself" but package them all together and it's a no-brainer ... right? Well, maybe so - but like many great concepts. the benefit is directly proportional to the amount of effort applied during implementation.

The first step in any such project is to identify the chosen solution. There are really only two options here - you'll need to decide whether to build it yourself (i.e. "custom" development) or identity a "package" that has been commercially developed for your specific industry niche. Both approaches have different challenges and benefits is follows:

CUSTOM DEVELOPMENT

I'll be honest here and suggest chat this is by far the best approach if the desire is for unlimited modification in response co changing needs, or if your internal processes are simply unable to fit into a standard packaged solution. The system will be built specifically for your needs, and you can (relatively) easily change it whenever your business changes or in response to market adjustments. The other up-side is that if you do need to make changes, you have complete control - whereas asking a package vendor to change their software to meet your unique needs is both optimistic and unrealistic. More on that topic later.

However, custom development is also a minefield for the unwary. Ics expensive, time-consuming, and typically relics on you having ongoing access 10 the same IT folks who wrote the system. Handing a system to a new programmer who wasn't involved in the initial development is like handing War ami Peace to another novelist and asking for a couple of additional chapters to be inserted so the outcome is changed to your particular preference(s). Certainly not impossible, but even more time and expense will be incurred if the original creator is no longer...

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