Technology is undoubtedly a huge boon. Its rapid evolution however, makes it difficult for companies to stay current. Couple it with mobility and the constant security threats—the magnitude of the problem at hand shoots up drastically. “IT Staffs are overloaded with daily system maintenance and user support, and do not have the time or resources to update their skills,” states Ron Ketterling, President and Founder, Business Automation Specialists of MN, Inc. (BASM). Enterprises on the other hand, lack the tools to help CIOs or CEOs make technology recommendations and informed decisions.
With a tagline that reads, “The Right Mix of Technology and Practical Business Experience,” BASM’s recommendations ensure high payoff automation or programming that reduces time-consuming data entry and reporting issues. “We play the devil’s advocate to help CIOs evaluate the effectiveness of their requests as they relate to the business objectives,” adds Ketterling. Does the request provide meaningful benefit greater than the cost? Is this a “nice to know” or a “need to know”? By asking the right questions, BASM evaluates value compared to effort. “This results in flatter bill of materials, reduced inventory stocking, focused supply chain management, optimized purchasing decisions, and better tracking of containers and shipments for our manufacturing and distribution clients.”
Consider Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) for example. Many times a customer’s needs are limited in scope. BASM can provide a quick customized export or import to facilitate the customer’s requirements for electronic information on shipments, receipts, on-hand quantities, and et cetera. While EDI requires significant upfront expense and on-going monthly VAN fees, “BASM’s solutions, using Microsoft NAV’s functionality, are faster and less expensive,” asserts Ketterling. An import might involve customer resupply orders in Excel spreadsheets. Importing these orders allows BASM’s clients to provide more services without requiring their customers to be on EDI.
Since companies often have bigger requirements than their budgets, BASM focuses on improving efficiency to drive down costs. “Our training for mid-sized companies is performed remotely in two hour sessions and recorded to provide clients with a customized library of training videos,” explains Ketterling. However, the company takes a “rip the bandage off” approach with smaller clients where BASM performs a go-live only training. “It’s one week of pain rather than three months of pain.” This enables smaller companies to quickly and economically switch over to new software without significant business disruption. “We use this approach for simpler implementations and then add more sophisticated processes once users are familiar with the software.”
At its core, BASM is not about computers, networking, or software. “We are interested in the business side of the equation. We want to reduce the ‘drudge’ work and free up employees to use their creative capacities to build the business,” states Ketterling. This is evident in the work they have done with clients across manufacturing, distribution, and finance sectors. “Our first NAV sale was to a medical products manufacturer who was struggling with legacy software,” recalls Ketterling. The company had trouble coping with large bill of materials and paperwork. BASM implemented Microsoft NAV and showed them how to reduce the complexity, bill of materials, and production orders. “We minimized their paperwork, eliminated the paper sales order copies, and freed up staff to work on more important tasks,” he adds. The client was able to recapture the entire project investment in just 18 months.
BASM is dedicated to improving its services. “I tell our staff and clients, we are all on a five year extinction cycle. If we don’t reinvent ourselves we will not survive or prosper,” he emphasizes. “Change is not comfortable, but is necessary. We can either embrace change or be crushed by it. I choose to embrace it,” ends Ketterling on a strong note.