Problem: A small manufacturer was only able to rely on their ERP system to take orders and submit invoices. They were not able to use the system to maintain reliable inventory, manage the manufacturing schedule or automate material ordering.
Solution: FaCTOR did a methodical review of the overall environment and the ERP system itself which revealed multiple shortcomings in how the system was being used and also in the operating environment. Correcting these problems in a Plan/Do/Check/Act process not only to made the ERP system an indispensable solution but also revealed multiple needed improvements to the manufacturing process itself.
Result: When FaCTOR started production planning was done on paper and in the plant manager’s head. Promise dates were routinely missed and the executive team had no visible production plan. After fixing the ERP, and the environment used to run it, the plant had excess capacity and excellent manufacturing schedule visibility – all without purchasing any new equipment or hiring any new staff.
Takeway: Operational efficiencies cannot be implemented in a big bang approach. It takes time to implement incremental changes. A fractional engagement allowed this client to receive the benefit of months of work without the expense of a full time hire.
Commercial Real Estate
Problem: The Advisor for a private-equity-owned commercial real estate firm was inundated with IT matters, including staff complaints, vendor management issues, and product implementation needs. The needs were outpacing his IT expertise and the other organizational concerns were so numerous and pressing that the IT problems were never going to bubble to the top of his list.
Solution: A fractional engagement was an ideal platform to build relationship with the team without hiring a full time resource. Detailed and continued conversations with the team brought the IT problems to light, from simple but important problems requiring basic fixes or new equipment, to complex organization concerns that required vetting and selecting new products. The quick fixes and work-arounds that had preceded the fractional engagement were causing frustration that was affecting productivity. Taking the time to understand each concern, listing the needs, and providing the best possible solution for each problem was the only approach that would leave this client ultimately satisfied.
Result: Of course, the client’s problems were all resolved, but as importantly, an approach to reporting and solving problems, and realistic expectations, were also ingrained in the environment. Additionally, underperforming IT Service providers were ultimately replaced by the service provider who could provide a better offering at a lower cost, ultimately saving the client money. The Portfolio Advisor was able to focus on the matters that were important to the company and they have done quite well.
Takeaway: True leadership cannot be provided “as a service.” It can only be provided by a member of the team whose only agenda is to work in the interests of the company and it’s employees even if that does mean giving them news that they don’t want to hear. A fractional engagement is perfect for a smaller company that cannot justify hiring a full-time experience resource but needs consistency and routine.
Problem: A commercial website producer had all the pieces in place to manage the realization of his vision but lacked a resource to coordinate the different teams and provide him with frank and open assessments about progress.
Solution: FaCTOR took the helm in a fractional role working on a daily basis with the backend developers, front-end developers, data scientists and infrastructure team to ensure that the staff’s needs were met, that progress moved forward in a secure and scalable way, and that the product releases were delivered in a timely manner.
Result: The Principal of the company was able to clear his plate of IT, and IT Admin chores to focus on his strengths – developing the vision, fundraising, and sales.
Takeaway: A product owner, product developer, and product support specialist have very different skill sets and mindsets from a CTO. A CTO-level resource is far more effective and, in a fractional role can be more cost-efficient, than asking some other resource to fulfill the CTO duties.