In short, to use software (such as for maintenance tracking, inventory management and accounting) successfully, requires that you adapt your operation to the processes embedded in the software. This is particularly true with off-the-shelf software. But given the relatively low cost of off-the-shelf software (compared with custom software) this is usually a worthwhile trade-off. And even with expensive custom software, you'll also have to change your processes to take advantage of the software's capabilities.
Why lead when you can follow
This saying is attributed to Bill Gates of Microsoft fame. I don't know if that is true, but I do know that you can save large amounts of time, money and energy by looking around and finding out what others are doing that can help you in your operation. And software is a really good example of this. There are many programs out there in use with operators. Some work well, some don't. But by talking to other operators, reading magazines and looking at what others are doing outside the commercial aviation business, you will probably save yourself a lot of time and get some really good ideas.
Get the training
Our company sells various software programs. One of the things that truly amazes me is that there are operators who do not take advantage of the free training we offer with our programs. They'll offer a variety of excuses, but what they don't realize is that they are really handicapping themselves.
Simply put, it is very difficult for someone to teach themselves how to use today's sophisticated software programs. If they try, they'll make a lot of mistakes, reach a high level of frustration, waste a lot of time, give the software a really bad reputation and never see the cost reductions or productivity improvements the software is capable of providing. If training is provided, get everyone who will be involved trained - even if you have to pay for it. If training is not provided, ask "why not". And if the vendor says you don't need it because the software is so easy to use É. give serious thought to not using that software.
Get everyone involved
To make a software program useful to an organization requires that everyone who needs to use it has "bought into it." This means that all potential users of the program need to have some input into the selection process. One way to do this is to get one or two people from each major area affected on the selection team. This may sound like it is a waste of time, but it's not. If it is handled right, the folks that will have to make it work will agree with you the selected software is a smart choice. They will also make sure it works for your organization.
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