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IFS: 3 approaches to make your business look good

Written by Oliver Franks, IFS Presales Consultant

In all the time I’ve consulted in IFS, there has always been one thing that’s pestered my colleagues and customers alike – dates!

I’m writing this to help you try to resolve that issue – whether you are an IFS Apps user, an administrator/analyst, or a frustrated member of a senior management team wondering how to release the true value of IFS Applications.

Letting the right hand know what the left hand is doing

IFS Applications does exactly what it says on the tin – it’s a truly integrated suite of applications where an action on one side of the system immediately updates the other. In other words, it’s an extremely efficient way of solving the old ‘right hand/left hand co-operation’ problem. But it’s down to you to let it do so.

Dates, dates, dates!

The main driving forces, throughout the entire application, are dates. If you run MRP but don’t look at it, the chances are it’s loosely because of dates. If you find yourself constantly chasing information and lead times, it’s probably because of dates. If the business always feels like it is chasing its tail, it’s probably down to dates. Good management elsewhere will foster time to get that data right.

Remember – the PO that you are confirming dates on can potentially be a component for manufacturing, a spare for preventative maintenance on the shop floor, or a critical piece part for service to customer. Or it could even be all three. If it’s right, everyone’s informed, everyone looks good.

So – I’ll keep it short – here are just a few things you, as members of the IFS team in your organisation, can do to make everyone look good…

Making full use of the system

Users of IFS: Use all of the system! Make sure your personal use of the application is as true to the real world as possible. If you can’t hit the dates on that shop order, your supplier has let you know they’ll be late, or hasn’t informed you – make use of the system to update that.

Update and reconfirm the dates on that PO. Close that PO line that hasn’t been backordered. Change, or request a change on, the lead time on the Supplier for Purchase Part! As users, you need to act to keep the hedges trimmed and the data right. The application will not make you look good, and make your life easier, without it. Badger others into doing it right too for extra brownie points…

Empowering all system users

Administrators of IFS: Empower your users! If they ask for a report, challenge them to see if they can achieve it with an advanced, saved search and teach them to fish. Provide users across the business with GUI mailshots with tips and tricks on a regular(ish) basis – obviously, try not to be annoying, but never assume that everyone knows about saved searches, charts or even conditional formats (spoiler alert: they don’t).

Prioritise and help them out in cleaning up old data that’s confusing and unnecessarily complicating jobs like acting on MRP messages and rescheduling the shop floor. Fingers crossed, you’ll also see a reduction in last minute requests for reports and scripts.

Practice change management

Senior management teams: Accept change! Accept that it’s not only possible, but very likely that the business IFS was implemented into has changed. Give your key users spare time in their calendars to review what was originally implemented. Is it still correct? Has the team changed? Is further training needed, or do you suspect that something just isn’t quite right? Express on your end users the criticality of dates within IFS and hand out praise when they’re in good shape.

In all implementation projects, good system behaviours come from the senior leadership team believing in what the application can truly provide: Better data for better business decisions.

Ultimately – IFS Applications is supposed to be there to make everyone in the business look good.

If you are not sure where to start, Anthesis can help you understand where you can release the value of IFS in your organisation. Speak to us today or call us on +44(0)1260 296 530 or email IFS@anthesis.co.uk.

Author Oliver Franks is an IFS Presales Consultant with a history of successful implementations and a growing industry reputation.