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Several years ago, Jerry Skoff, president of Badger Metal Tech Inc. (Menomonee Falls, WI), saw the rapid growth that his company was experiencing and questioned how it would accomplish this growth without losing its ability to respond to customers’ needs and keep employees fully informed, on a need-to-know basis, of all aspects of the changes and procedures being made at Badger Metal Tech. The company was computerized, and all employees had a working knowledge of its systems. The problem: employees would spend hours looking for documents or files on the computer to respond to customers’ requests or find information. The larger the company grew, the harder it became to stay organized and maintain good customer relations.
Because of this, Skoff developed a mental wish list for a single software program that would address all of the company’s needs and concerns. It would have to monitor everything regarding customers and vendors, and keep tabs on complaints, documents, management reviews, audits, company personnel and equipment.
Things became more difficult as Badger Metal’s vendors to the automotive industry began to request that all second-tier suppliers be at least QS and ISO compliant, and Tier One suppliers QS and ISO registered. “I spoke with a number of my closest business friends and inquired about software that could do what we needed, yet not beyond our budget scope,” Skoff says. “In every instance I came up blank. Badger then decided to make its own hodge-podge system to do this, but fell far short in a number of critical areas. We even attended numerous seminars in a search for the elusive golden ring. None were found.”
While shopping at Radio Shack, Skoff met a salesman for Proquis (Kent, UK), a company that makes software for business management. The president of the company was in the United States for a visit, and Skoff had an opportunity to meet him and see his software in action. Skoff liked it, but wondered how Proquis would integrate with his current systems. “After all, I was definitely not going to reinvent the wheel and most assuredly did not want to have to purchase additional software to make the system work or manage my already existent data files and documents,” Skoff says.
He decided to try it and start using it at Badger Metal. In a few days, all of his current customer and vendor data was imported into Proquis; in a few weeks, he had the staff using the software, although reluctantly. Within a few months, Skoff realized that the software went beyond the scope of his carefully crafted wish list.
“One year later, one of my employees came to me and thanked me for forcing her to learn and start using the Proquis system,” Skoff says. “She said it was the best thing that ever happened to Badger Metal Tech. I then queried my other employees who all had similar opinions. It is not often that this can be said about new software, upgrades and successful implementation.”
Skoff says the software is easy to learn because every screen and module is set up the same way. Learn one, and you have learned them all, he says. He also says it is not expensive considering the possible cost savings and improved company efficiency.
The software is able to keep all of his employees well informed, yet has security options that could be tailored for an individual, department or groups. Proquis is able to control each module and sections of modules to the ‘nth’ degree regarding adding, editing, deleting, printing or just reviewing database records. When denied access, the individual usually does not even see the option he is missing on the menu or tabs, so they do not know what they are missing.
The software can control of all of the documents, and operators can use every piece of software currently on their system to create the documents or manage them without actually ever needing to store the files on their computer. The company also provided an excellent response to needed help, with response time usually in 24 hours or less. The software provides compatibility with all current Microsoft operating systems including Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000 and XP. Modules are inter-relational and similar in appearance and operation, which flattens the learning curve.
The document control section uses existing programs to create, edit and save documents-Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OmniForm, OmniPage, Publisher, Photoshop-in an encrypted manner inside the structured Proquis database. This keeps documents quickly accessible with no danger of being incorrectly used or changed. Proquis uses any program that is set up on employees’ computers for creation of the required documents without having to purchase software upgrades. The software also has the ability to upgrade to a true enterprise system. An internal e-mail system is built into the program for keeping in touch with employees, customers and vendors.
“Quality is everyone’s responsibility,” Skoff says. “With Proquis we now have the control, flexibility and power to manage the quality of our business management systems which translates to the bottom line without sacrificing our customer relations management. Another side benefit is being totally ISO and QS compliant without having to spend the money to receive the shield of registration we choose.”
Benefits• An internal e-mail system is built into the program for keeping in touch with employees, customers and vendors.
• The document control section uses existing programs to create, edit and save documents in an encrypted manner inside the structured database.
• The software is able to keep all employees well informed, yet has security options that could be tailored for an individual, department or groups.