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From Guessing to Measuring: Relating Physics to Your Factory

In order to remain competitive and continue to improve your complex manufacturing processes, it is essential that you have the data readily available to make informed decisions and drive actions.

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Optimizing Patient Flow

Every hospital organization is unique and has attributes that separates them from others, these can include: number of beds, programs and services, budgets, patient population served, models of care and staffing models. However, there are many similarities – there never seems to be enough beds and inevitably patients have to wait for services, whether they be internal services or those provided by your community partners. Patient flow and patient throughput is a major focus in all hospitals. The question remains, how do we measure patient flow and what is the gold standard or benchmark for excellent patient flow?

Due to the uniqueness of each organization, there is no one metric or statement that can be set for all hospitals. The targets will continue to evolve and new goals should always be reached for. The key is to start measuring and continue to strive for better.

IDENTIFYING OPPORTUNITIES FOR PROCESS IMPROVEMENT 

How do you know where to focus your efforts? That’s where Medworxx can help. Like the old adage says, you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Medworxx data is already doing the measuring—you just need to start looking at the data and creating the internal benchmarks for your unique organization. Monitoring data to identify where process improvement efforts should be focused can include:

  • Admission day practices – are we admitting the right patients? Medworxx data on Avoidable Admissions will give you the insight into the data to understand who is being admitted and if those patients are appropriate for that level of care
  • Discharge practices – are we discharging or transitioning patients as soon as they are clinically stable? Medworxx RFD/T data will provide organizations with the number and percent of potential avoidable days, often referred to as the ‘low hanging fruit’. Even a small reduction in avoidable days can result in aiding significantly in daily bed flow challenges.
  • Focus on organizational (internal) barriers - Anecdotal information can help guide organizations to areas in need of process redesign. Are there clear referral processes to multidisciplinary team members and are diagnostic tests being ordered early enough in the stay of the patient?

TRENDS FROM PATIENT THROUGHPUT REVIEWS 

Through the work Medworxx has completed in the past year conducting Patient Throughput Reviews (PTR), we have documented the following patient flow trends in Admission Day Practices, Discharge Practices and Internal Barriers.

Admission Day Practices

Potential avoidable admissions ranged from 10-19% with an average of 13%
This number represents all patients that did not meet the clinical criteria for admission. What does this mean for an organization? Those patients occupied a bed but did not require that specific level of care. This prevents other patients that do meet clinical criteria for admission to come into hospital and obtain the required treatments and services. This creates bottlenecks and backlogs in all areas of the hospital. Organizations that measure and create strategies to reduce avoidable admissions will have a positive return on patient flow and throughput. 

Discharge Practices

RFD/T days ranged from 23% to 35% with an average of 31.5%
This represents the patients that were clinically stable but remained in hospital due to barriers, interruptions or delays in their care. Potential avoidable days is an important metric to measure as these are days that could have been saved and beds turned over for other patients that would clinically require the bed. Reducing these numbers is vital to creating capacity and flow in your organization. It also leads to greater patient and staff satisfaction.

Internal Barriers

Waiting for allied health assessments/treatments, medication treatments such as IV antibiotics and diagnostic testing orders/delays, are the most commonly documented reasons patients remain in hospital after they have been deemed clinically stable.
Understanding the precipitating factors that contribute to these delays is important. Data can help determine:

  • When are these delays occurring? Time of day or day of the week, could the issue be related to weekend or off hour coverage issues?
  • At what point in the patient journey are these delays noted?
  • Are tests and services being ordered late in the admission or could these services be provided on an out-patient basis? 

Objective data enables your hospital to create strategies for improvement. So remember, start small but think big and before you know it your organization will look back on your journey with a true feeling of accomplishment and the knowledge that slow and steady always ensures successful results.

OPTIMIZING PATIENT FLOW  

Benchmarking is key. Begin by getting a baseline to jumpstart your measurements. Start small and ask questions. Develop a culture of continued improvement throughout your organization by:

  • Engaging and communicating with staff
  • Developing a plan - start with something attainable and create a plan that strives to keep the finger on the pulse
  • Revisiting your data on a regular basis
  • Setting new benchmarks and goals monthly, quarterly, and yearly

These are just a few strategies that will get your started. Medworxx is committed to helping your organization realize its potential. Please reach out to a member of our team as we are excited to help you develop the plan that works best for your organization.

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Clinical Engagement: A reciprocal commitment from staff & their organization to improve patient satisfaction

Remaining in the hospital when a patient no longer requires an acute care setting puts them at risk for many reasons: nosocomial infections, physical deconditioning, and decreased mental status are some key examples.  The longer the Length of Stay (LOS) exacerbates these and results in poor clinical outcomes and dissatisfied patients and families. In hospitals we, the care providers, are overwhelmed and are often task focused, which prohibits us from not focusing on progression of care. We need to be go back to basics and put the focus back on the patient and providing quality care.

Clinicians and Care Providers

  • Engage Earlier - start engaging the patient and the family about their goals of care on the day of admission.
  • Make Care Coordination Patient Focused in Real Time - assign a target Estimated Date of Discharge (EDD) on the day of admission and continue to review it daily as the patients progress through their care journey to discharge. Discharge can be to their home or transition to an alternate care setting.
  • Be Proactive - discharge planning must be proactive not reactive.
  • Identify Barriers and Delays on a Daily Basis - focus on patient flow daily to identify any barriers, delays or interruptions in the patient journey. These barriers should be identified and acted upon daily in real time to ensure the patient is receiving the best care, the right level of care and having progress in their care path daily. Keeping patients involved in their daily care and hospital LOS goals with improved communication and collaboration puts the patient first and will improve patient satisfaction.

The Organization

  • Standardize Processes - hospitals need to standardize their patient flow processes, make them visible, and communicate across the organization. 
  • Encourage Collaboration - embrace a culture where every member of the Multidisciplinary team is involved in the care plan of the patient which includes the discharge plan. Although many hospitals now have discharge planners, social workers, patient flow coordinators to facilitate discharge plans, it is still the responsibility of all members of the care team. 

Care delivered must be a value-add to the patient.  We do not want our patients sitting around wondering what is happening with their plan of care.  Communication is key among the care delivery team and, more importantly, with the patient and their family.  

We have all heard the phrase "happy wife, happy life."  For clinicians out there, "happy patient, happy nurse."  

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Taking Human Error Out of the Hacker Equation

Think about the vast information you have stored on your phone; contacts, family pictures, passwords, emails, and your favorite apps. What would happen if that information was left vulnerable for hackers to obtain? What if the manufacturer sent out an update to protect your phone from potential hackers, but you did not to install it because your phone was turned off? All of your precious and personal information would be left vulnerable to hackers wanting to steal and use that data. This same scenario is what companies combat every day except on a larger scale.

Companies at every level have to combat the possible attacks of hackers. In today’s world, the potential of your company being hacked is not a question of “if” but of “when”. According to a 2015 study by Duke University and CFO Magazine Global Business Outlook Survey, hackers have successfully infiltrated more than 80 percent of U.S. companies. Smaller organizations are more prone to breaches as they have fewer resources to allocate to potential threats.

Businesses are often more susceptible to these attacks because proper measures have not been put in place to effectively combat and protect against significant attacks such as malware or ransomware. In relation to the various attacks that companies may see, there are two major levels of cyber-attacks.

Breaking down what’s out there

Cyber-attacks can range from soft/medium grade attacks such as phishing or hackers receiving information from a disgruntled employee to hard attacks which requires hackers to get direct access to the information through breaking in or hacking the firewall.

There are specific gatekeepers to each level that can help identify and prevent potential hacks. All in all a lot of the responsibility comes down to how you manage your electronic lifestyle.

Soft/mid-grade attacks are the more common form of hacking that companies face. The gatekeepers for this level of attack include the employees and the IT department. With this type of attack, hackers are able to enter into a company database through phishing or exploiting a known password schema to gain access into the system. These attacks can also happen due to insider information from disgruntled employees given to hackers.

Forrester’s 2016 Global Business Technographics® Security Survey revealed around 49% of global network security decision-makers reported that they had experienced at least one breach over the past 12-months. Soft/mid-grade attacks can be avoided by the implementation of employee education such as online security courses that require a refresher every year. Other measures to stop such attacks include a vigilant IT, having a strong rotating password in place, and ensuring that any suspicious emails or activity is addressed immediately.

The second and more extreme level of cyber-attacks are known as a hard attack. Malware, Ransomware, and Denial-of-Service (DoS) viruses are examples. These attacks are more difficult to engineer as they require more leg work. Hackers are searching through code, looking for various security holes and may even necessitate physical access to company buildings in order to retrieve the information they need.

In a recent Forrester study found that software vulnerability is responsible for 42 percent of attacks. These threats can inflict significant monetary damage to a company. The majority of these threats exploit known software vulnerabilities. For this level of cyberattacks, it is vital to keep the company’s software updated. Immediate and frequent updates of security software, application of security patches, and better physical security are the best precautions a company can take to deter these intrusions. The immediacy of these updates can sometimes be the difference between a small or non-issue and a major issue; it is crucial that IT departments have the tools to update their software.

Becoming more proactive

Although educated employees and a strong IT department are crucial to keeping hackers out of the company’s data, these best practices and solutions, such as anti-malware, virus-protection, and firewalls, are useless without the proper implementation. The real security holes are found when IT cannot update or have not updated their equipment. Machines that are in a low power state are typically unreachable and, as a result, unavailable for an emergency security update.

Enterprise-wide, effective wake solutions are an investment that companies should make in order to ensure their networks are effectively executing software patching updates. Machines that are powered down will not receive or process updates sent out by IT departments until they are awakened. Implementation of wake software allows machines that are powered down to be awakened and alerted to the updates so that their systems can adapt and download the changes that help to lessen their cyber vulnerability. Power Management solutions that include enterprise-wide wake help solve the waking issue as a complement to their function. Companies using this technology have seen increased success in software updates, from about 60 percent before the implementation of the wake solutions software to about 95 percent success after the use of this software.

Being aware of the multi-pronged problems that arise as a result of software not being patched or installed is a major step in protecting yourself from an attack against your company and ensuring the security of your information.

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Social Media: Opportunity for engagement or cause for complaint?

Millions of people are using social media to network, sell products, to extend influence and inevitably, complain about poor service. A recent report on social media use reveals 1.59 billion people engaging with Facebook, 320 million with Twitter and over 100 million people on LinkedIn. Beyond these impressive numbers, do you really know the extent to which this activity impacts on your customer service?

Before the rise of social media, if you had an issue with the service you received you could complain face-to-face. Another option was to ring the company later, or write a letter and wait patiently for your issue to be resolved. All these pathways to customer service are still valid, though each has their own problems. Face-to-face conversations can be confrontational. With communication increasing via screens, confrontation is something many people shy away from.

A browse through Facebook or Twitter reveals a world where even the smallest everyday occurrences are shared publicly. For many people, it’s not even a conscious decision anymore to let your social network know what you’re up to. Any interaction with a business - good or bad - is likely to be highly visible. Can you really afford to ignore this trend? As an enterprise with ‘key stakeholders’ and ‘margins’, you really need to know what these people, your customers, are saying aboutyou.

Doing the right thing

While some share complaints immediately, many customers still choose to contact the company directly – via social media – to share their concerns and look for an appropriate resolution. Industry research reveals the alarming statistic that from January 2014 to May 2015 the use of social media for complaints had increased 300 percent.

That represents a lot of complaint traffic. However, there’s no reason for panic. Complaints aren’t new. As you already know how to provide great customer service – why shouldn’t you be able to translate it into excellent social media engagement? This is your opportunity to visibly do the right thing in a very public setting, to promote outstanding customer service and turn your critics into advocates.

Terms of engagement

To achieve an online presence that is proactive and customer-centric, requires precise targeting. Adequate software to capture complaints and analyze data is a must; as well as policies and procedures in place for colleagues to exemplify good practice.

Equip your customer service team with the right skills to respond. A badly-written response or negative tone may do as much damage in a public forum – if not more – as not responding in the first place. All employees should be aware of your company’s mission statement and objectives. All levels of the business, from the boardroom down, should be engaged and positive.

Ensure your customer service and marketing departments are communicating effectively. Empower your employees to make good decisions. Once they’re confident with their own judgement, you minimize risk. Technology is available to add layers of protection, if required.

Great customer service looks the same on all channels. Customers want the same things: they want a swift response; they want you to be honest and acknowledge your mistakes; and they want a satisfactory outcome.

Are you genuine?

Train your staff to recognize genuine engagement: let them use their own natural tone of voice; their own words; and their name to ensure that personal touch. Placatory comments without substance, or using obvious cut and paste templates should be avoided. One engaging, conversational response addressing the customer’s concerns directly, offering an appropriate solution, is much better than going through the motions. Reward colleagues who demonstrate the best you have to offer.

A public apology and transparent ownership of mistakes show customers you care. However, you could set a precedent for every customer to demand the same outcome. You might even encourage unscrupulous people to make false complaints if you offer public compensation. If you need to have a conversation about sensitive data, let the customer know that you will contact them privately. Avoid pushing the initiative back on to them to complain again elsewhere, especially via a different channel.

Technology answers back

Invest in software to analyze your presence and feedback on the main social media channels. It’s not just complaints - many people will share positive experiences too, or even seek the answers to basic service questions. Every customer who comments about you must be addressed; the one you overlook is the one that will escalate and damage your reputation. Technology can help you to catch negative feedback before it escalates. Have a system that alerts you to a problem and aim to resolve it within a set time.

Some people just want to cause trouble. Identifying trolls and dealing with them effectively is a key part of your strategy. Again, look to your processes – do your employees know what to do? Make sure you teach them how to handle potentially sensitive public situations.

A clear brand vision

Communication at all levels is vital. Align skills and knowledge about best customer service practice. Possess a clear vision that is shared throughout the business. Ensure marketing provides feedback and reports on social media analysis and that customer service craft responses that reflect this vision. If you have a separate complaints team bridge the divide by creating one team, or by improving connections.

Effective social media management helps to develop and maintain a healthy brand and improves relationships with your customers. Reinforce your vision daily and show it working publicly through social channels. As your customers are talking about you – you have nothing to lose, and much to gain – by giving them a platform to talk to you. Most importantly – you remain in control.

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From Guessing to Measuring: Relating Physics to Your Factory

Recently, I came across a best-selling book on the history of physics and was intrigued by the many stories of discovery over the centuries, but equally interested in the challenges of what we have yet to understand. In the 4th century B.C., ancient Greek philosopher Democritus postulated that the world is made up of atoms, particles too small to be seen, which are the building blocks of all matter. The next 2,300 years were filled with competing ideas about the nature of the universe, but it wasn’t until the 20th century that this “Atomic Theory” was finally confirmed.

The beginning of the last century was the dawn of a new revolution, unlike others before. Industries were developing methods of mass producing goods and delivering to market more efficiently to drive down the cost per unit. Governments were finding new ideologies, nations were preparing for war, and technology was developed to gain strategic and tactical advantages. It is clear that science was moving beyond millennia of observation and intuition into an age of experimentation and measurement. It was in 1905 that a young Swiss patent clerk’s ideas would fundamentally change the way we understand the universe.

This young man was Albert Einstein and, he did what no one over the millennia has been able to do: confirm that atoms in fact existed. Until this time, scientists could not figure out how to measure an atom, much less view one. Einstein’s solution was simple. He would measure the amount of wiggle that particles like pollen or dust exhibit while in a fluid. Basically, these molecules vibrate and drift while in suspension, and - by measuring this amount of movement or drift, you could calculate the size of an atom based on their collisions, thus confirming 2,300 years of intuition.

As a result of Einstein’s confirmation of the atom, photoelectric effect, and the theories of general and special relativity, quantum physics emerged as a new field with a focus on understanding sub-atomic particles. At this smaller-than-the-atom perspective, things do not occur intuitively. In fact, much of classical physics principals no longer apply, as observation and logic alone could not be used to understand this quantum level. Measurement and mathematics emerged as the best way to unlock further understanding.

Likewise, in the second half of the 20th century, Japanese engineers were developing methods to improve efficiency in their manufacturing plants in order to rebuild their war-torn nation’s economy. Lean manufacturing, as we know it today, is the combination of those techniques and the use of quantitative objective measurements by American engineers focused on understanding and refining manufacturing processes. Years later, Six Sigma methodology was born as an extension of these objectives to control variation in processes. In more recent years, advances in technology have provided teams of operational leaders with the tools needed to understand what is happening on their shop floors. Gone are the days of using intuition to determine whether or not you had a good day. Today, tools like Factory MES provide you with real-time metrics captured directly from your operation.

In order to remain competitive and continue to improve your complex manufacturing processes, it is essential that you have the data readily available to make informed decisions and drive actions. Now, when you want to know whether you had a good day, you simply pull up a report and, based on your predefined criteria, you no longer have to guess….you know. Intelligent, real-time action can be taken, problem solving activity can be launched, and countermeasures deployed, all with the use of data captured from your shop floor.

Let Aptean partner with you to ensure that your Factory MES application is optimized and providing you with the critical information you need. Over the more than ten years of working with Factory MES at customer sites across the globe, we have developed a gold standard of what system and user configuration looks like. We have examined what strong users are doing, developed modules and functionality where a need exists, and given attention to new and creative ways the application is being used. We want to hear your voice and engage with you and your team to make Factory work even better for you.  

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Initiate Change, No Matter How Small

According to industry analysts, there are many facets of asset maintenance that can be articulated and quantified as characteristic of best-in-class companies. There are also many consulting companies who can help you achieve improvements in your business. However you can make progress yourself by applying just three elements – persistence, focus, and data. While this premise sounds simple, its execution is not; otherwise there would be no unplanned downtime in manufacturing operations. Imagine being a maintenance expert, working only 9 to 5, with no midnight calls that the equipment has shut down operations. While that scenario may not be realistic any time soon, there is no doubt that it can become more so with these three principles.

Remember that progress seldom is easy, though is certainly worthwhile. Persistence is the hardest of the three disciplines, yet the most important one. Focus allows you to avoid distractions that can allay your initiative. Good tools are essential in supporting your persistence, once you push your initiative uphill.

Your persistence and focus in executing depends on obtaining, analyzing, and acting on good data. Data, and its analysis with clear visualizations, is vital to supporting any initiative you undertake. Without it, you do not know where you are, where you are going, or where any improvements are being made. Without that information, your desire to persist will wane, and with it, your initiative. You will then be resigned to a tale of “well, we tried that once but…”

We all have so many initiatives that we wish we could tackle, but none will happen with just thoughts and wishes. You can only achieve success one step at a time. So consider your most important initiatives and apply these three disciplines to impact your current results. I suggest starting with an initiative that has a high impact, and a high chance of success, so that you can see positive results quickly and feel encouraged to tackle the next one. If one asset in your facility quickly comes to mind as one you would like to throw out of the window because it causes you so much trouble, then consider focusing on improvements to it. Just that one asset. Remember that a high-impact initiative does not have to be a broad one; it only has to positively affect your work environment in one small way. Once you see success there, you will be energized and more confident in tackling the next one.

Mark Twain said that “the secret to getting ahead is getting started.” Decide to tackle one asset. Decide to organize and control one small area of the storeroom. Own it. See results. Sell your success to your colleagues and management. And watch it grow. And then brag to me about your success, because I would truly enjoy hearing about it.

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April 27, 2017 Kay Jenkins Jump to Comments

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Software Investment is Crucial as VAT Collection Enters New Era

The system for collecting value-added tax (VAT) in the European Union has always had its critics.  When the European Commission announced its VAT action plan in 2016, part of their stated ambition was to make the current EU VAT system simpler to use and, as a result, more business-friendly. 

The Spanish government is responding to the challenges of the Commission's action plan by further strengthening measures to reduce the VAT gap by applying a strategy to modernize VAT administration, through the introduction of a new system incorporating the "Immediate Supply of Information" (SII).  SII is another key step in the process of continuous improvement the Spanish authorities are undertaking.  The mission involves upgrading systems and creating the system of the future.  The government's intention is to improve the information they gather, both to gain more effective control of the system and to focus on generating more revenue.    

In this whitepaper, Jaume Carol, Senior Manager Customer Solutions, breaks down who will be affected and what needs to be considered when selecting a financial management solution.   

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April 11, 2017 Jennifer Stancil Jump to Comments

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The Future of MES

Being a manufacturer is not easy these days. Margins continue to shrink, regulations are being tightened, and a considerable skills gap is taking hold. One of the many challenges the industry face is asking for better, more visible data, yet many manufacturers are still struggling to gather this information. There is a lack of visibility, a lack of usable metrics, and very little real-time information. And while enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems house some of the data, they lack the functionality to deliver information to the shop floor, which is necessary to address issues as they occur.

This is where MES makes the difference. It tracks and documents the entire production process from the raw material to the finished product. This data is then fed back into the production process.

The deployment of MES can help manufacturers to use capabilities they were not even aware they had, and to better allocate resources with great potential to become more efficient.

It pays to be picky

Although 2017 is a good a time as any to get into MES, many forward-thinking food and beverage manufacturers did so years ago, and a growing number of them have now reached a point with their MES solution where they are asking for add-on features and functions that further capture production process data, and using it in a way that expands the footprint of the MES solution. Making the MES data a visible part of the overall supply chain is also crucial, and key to ensuring the four walls of the factory do not represent a black hole of information. Manufacturer wish lists are expanding.

Having proven itself a very viable tool for improving efficiency in manufacturing, MES has reached a point where it is crucial not only that you deploy the system, but also how you do so.

For some manufacturers, deployment on their premises will work best, while others will receive greater benefits from a cloud-based solution. A combination of the two will be the way forward for many. Subscription-based models are prevalent now, making it possible for users to deploy MES quicker and with less effort.

Manufacturers have also started to ask for mobile features that allow the data that is collected by the MES solution to be displayed on tablets and other devices. This demand is also driving MES providers to advance app-based solutions.

It’s only data – unless you use it

Data collection is not the difficult part; organizing the data in a way that makes it useful to manufacturers is. There are two phases. This first is selection: what data can be used for which purpose? The second is intelligent presentation: how can this data be arranged so that it has real value for those looking at it?

MES solutions of the future will have to become better and better at getting the right kind of information to the right person at exactly the right time. There is no point in gathering huge amounts of data if people then have to go and dig for it. For MES solutions to be effective, what is being recorded needs to be automatically turned into targeted actionable intelligence, facilitating improvement, and a culture of action at all levels of the organization.

Industry 4.0 is coming – prepare yourself

Smart manufacturing is more than just a buzzword now: as machines acquire more and more intelligence, the idea of a so-called Industry 4.0 is starting to become a reality. Scenarios where machines order their own parts according to their needs are not pipe dreams. In less than ten years’ time, something close to full automation might be possible.

But although some manufacturers stand prepared to embrace such a future, others- the broad majority, in fact- will take time to adjust. Advanced MES solutions will help them along the way. Using the right kind of data in the right kind of way, manufacturers can make themselves more flexible and more efficient – steadily progressing to what the manufacturing industry will look like in a decade.

The future is tailor-made

Over the coming years, MES is only likely to grow: the global market for technology is projected to reach $7.4 billion by 2020. With users who are already deploying MES solutions becoming more demanding – and with new users joining their ranks – 2017 looks set to be a year where MES takes another step towards providing the tailor-made, purpose-built solutions that will help food and beverage manufacturers to be as efficient as they need to be in order to stay successful, and continue their drive towards lower cost producer status.

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March 22, 2017 James Wood Jump to Comments

CUR versus SAFER: Are they complementary or in conflict?

Both of the NHS England initiatives (Clinical Utilisation Review and SAFER) cite evidence that patients deteriorate physically and cognitively in direct proportion to their length of stay; and for elderly patients this has a significant impact on life-expectancy.  Their common goal is to minimise inappropriate delays to ensure Safe, Rapid Discharge or Transition of Patients and to avoid unnecessary hospital stays at an inappropriate level of care.  

In this whitepaper, Peter Ellis, Managing Director Medworxx UK, discusses how both Clinical Utilisation Review (CUR) and SAFER (RED2GREEN days) intend to provide transparency and rigour to managing the patient's journey to ensure, at a minimum, daily assessment of key activities and status.  These initiatives are interdependent and if appropriately integrated and harnessed, provide a comprehensive picture of the appropriateness of days of care across the organisation.   

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March 15, 2017 Jennifer Stancil Jump to Comments

Tags :Medworxx

Organize Around Customer Experience

Today’s competitive consumer market means that companies have to differentiate themselves in a number ways, not just on their product offerings. Consumers have a number of outlets to provide the goods and services they want, but they want more than just the product. They want a positive experience. My recent closet redesign experience is a great example of how one company exceeded expectations.

The first step in creating a great customer experience is providing a great product that brings value to the customer. Every bedroom has a closet, and every closet serves the same basic function. There are several stores that sell closet systems; most of them carry the same brands for approximately the same price. I chose a store that is well-known for its organization solutions. Because of this store’s specialized focus, I knew I would find exactly what I needed for my closet.

Aptean specializes in industry-focused enterprise solutions to support the evolving operational needs of our customers. Our software can be tailored to specific industries, ensuring that the functionality can meet each industry’s business requirements.

Having the right product does little good if consumers are not aware of it. Strong marketing is necessary to elevate awareness and drive demand. The specialty store knows its customer base and tailors its approach to this demographic. They also periodically advertise sales to drive traffic. The best marketing, however, is word of mouth. Most consumers will believe recommendations from family and friends over all other forms of advertising. In my case, a friend had recommended the product from this store, and a sale happened to be running at the same time.

Aptean strives to provide valuable insights to its customers and prospects through multiple channels. We offer a wide variety of educational content, such as case studies, webinars and whitepapers, to raise awareness of how our fit-for-purpose solutions can drive measurable value for our customers. Our product leaders are also industry experts, sharing their insight in a variety of trade publications. Aptean also works closely with industry analysts to refine our product strategies

Once the customer has chosen their product, offering expert guidance through the buying process often results in a bigger sale and a more positive customer experience. For my closet project, I worked with a store designer to select the right product and configure them to the necessary specifications. The designer suggested an experienced installer to make certain the final results would meet my expectations. This expert advice is another reason I chose this particular store.

Aptean knows that every company is different. We create integrated solutions to serve the complex needs of key market segments. Aptean has created a best-in-class solution for the Food and Beverage industry that integrates Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Manufacturing Execution System (MES), Enterprise Asset Management (EAM), and Warehouse Management (WMS). Our Metals industry solution boasts an ERP designed specifically for that industry, complemented by EAM, Business Intelligence to collect and organize data that can be turned into actionable insight, and Event Management Framework which helps automate alerting and complex workflow processes.

Perhaps one of the most important steps in creating a positive customer experience is setting expectations and following through with the promises made. Following my purchase, I received a detailed email containing the order information, the images of the new design, and instructions for picking up the materials. Before the installation, I received a phone call to confirm the appointment. On the day of my appointment, the installer showed up on time, was courteous, did great work, and cleaned up after he was finished. Shortly afterwards, another phone call was placed to make certain I was satisfied. All of these touchpoints showed the company appreciated me as a customer.

At Aptean, we foster an on-going relationship to ensure that our solutions continue to provide the value that our customers expect. Our user conferences and executive customer advisory boards allow our customers a platform to share best practices and give feedback that can help shape our product roadmaps. We also spotlight our customers’ successes through press releases and on social media.

This example from the retail world is relevant to the B2B world. A company needs to be focused on more than just the product its sells. The right product mix, combined with effective marketing, deep expertise, and quality service creates an experience that customers want, and one that they want to share. 

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March 08, 2017 Ed Stone Jump to Comments

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