In order to understand our software, you should first know a little of its history. My company, ABIS, started back in 1983 working with CEOs to modify mainframe software to run their business more efficiently. In the 1990’s, Desktop Computers and Networks overtook the mainframe as the tool of choice and ABIS was there during that revolution. ABIS became one of the fastest growing companies in Houston, doubling in size every year for 4 years in a row. As CEO of ABIS, I had to manage that growth and all of the new people we were hiring. I knew that I didn’t want my overhead expense to explode at the same rate as my revenue, so I needed a tool to manage all of these new hires. I also needed a way to quickly evaluate each of my employees and make sure they were doing their job without devoting much time to managing them. Adjutant was born.
The dictionary defines Adjutant as:
Ad’ju-tant — noun: [Latin adutans, to help, assist] 1. In military affairs, an officer whose duty is to assist the commanding officer by receiving and communicating orders. The adjutant has to make known the orders of his chief, to receive reports intended for him, to see that proper discipline is kept, and to regulate the rotation of duty among the different portions of the body of troops with which he is connected.
I was the commanding officer, and I needed an Adjutant. I used this software in every area of my business. I realized that all of business was about managing tasks with expected results. Arthur Hays Sulzberger said: "Obviously, a man’s judgment cannot be better than the information on which he has based it." By measuring tasks and results, I would have the information to make the best decisions. I wanted my information and expected results shown to me graphically, in real-time, with comparisons to my business plan. Everyone that was working according to plan would show up on my dashboard as green. Those that were not achieving the desired results showed up as yellow or red depending upon their result. My star performers were showing up as purple.
I began our Monday morning meeting with a copy of my dashboard on a big screen in front of everyone in the company. The transformation at my company was amazing. No one wanted to come to that meeting and have their name in red. Without any work on my part, our results improved astronomically. Everyone knew what I was measuring and what I expected.
It was real-time, it was fair, and it was public. Peers could easily see who was performing and who was not. Morale went sky high and the team members who didn’t measure up soon fired themselves. The term for these measurements is Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) or Business Intelligence. Through our measurements we developed a team of winners.
During that time I was in three different CEO roundtables (YEO, TEC, and Greater Houston Partnership). Other CEOs saw the software and the results that it systematically achieved. They began asking to buy the software to manage their business. By popular demand, ABIS became a software publisher and our product became Adjutant. In our roundtables, we would present problems and be coached by some of the greatest minds in the business world. After every meeting I would return to my office and spec out how the best practices I just learned could be built into Adjutant. I created a company that automatically implemented best practices because it was built into our ERP.
Over the last 10 years I have attended and listened to over 360 presentations about every aspect of running a business. The best practices that are built into Adjutant came from those CEOs with real world problems and solutions. Here are a few of the ideas that have been implemented into Adjutant and helped people transform their companies:
* Automate the approval processes for different types of documents, especially in Accounts Payable
* Simplify the tracking of coil processing costs and related warehouse transfers
* Streamline the flow of data from project start to finish; eliminate double data entry
* Create an alert system that proactively notifies personnel before an issue arises, not after
* Automate sales tax calculation and reporting
* Eliminate missing items from shipments
Using these concepts, let’s look at a couple real world examples.
First, there is never duplicate data entry in our system. Data entered once is passed along through every step of the workflow. Second, we maintain electronic copies of all documents. Adjutant contains document imaging throughout the system, so any document you need is simply a click away.
Building Order: The Bill of Materials is imported from MBS or QUESTware. Adjutant notifies purchasing of all buyouts and direct-ships that are required. The Credit department is notified based on existing credit limits. Engineering and Drafting is scheduled allowing assignment to the best people for the job. With a load date, the production and shipping schedules are set, and work orders are produced for various departments. When the job ships, a detailed packing list is generated and checked for each truck.
Component Orders: Component orders can be placed by a salesperson or by the customer themselves using E-Commerce. Sales Tax and Delivery Schedules are automated processes within Adjutant. Roll Former Integration allows Adjutant to automatically enter and receive data directly from your roll former controllers.
Accounts Payable: When A/P invoices are received, they are scanned into Adjutant. The user types in the purchase order number for that invoice into Adjutant which matches the PO and all receivers for the PO. The AP invoice is then electronically routed to the appropriate personnel for approvals. After approvals, the invoice is then flagged as payable with due dates and discount dates highlighted to make the best cash flow decisions.
All business processes in the system have been automated with the same type of logic as these examples, allowing for employees to work more in less time than ever thought possible.