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Investing in Growth through Capacity Creation

Unfortunately for many companies – COVID-19 will create dire situations of insolvency and ultimately, bankruptcy.  

Fortunately, Dane Manufacturing has maneuvered the COVID-19 crisis capably, and is sprinting towards a future of growth in capacity – both in people and equipment.
We’ll be using this blog article as an outline of how Dane Manufacturing (and many other companies) begin
s the growth planning and executing process within an organization.  

To fully understand what it means to grow the capacity of an organization, we’ll begin with a detailed list of high-value deliverables necessary to gain the capacity needed to achieve large goals, and even larger results.  

  1. Hiring Leaders 
  1. Capacity Planning 
  1. Adding Products and/or Services to the Company’s Matrix 
  1. Purchasing or Leasing New Equipment 
  1. Commercial Property Purchasing or Leasing 
  1. Enterprise Software Implementation and Integration 
  1. Evaluating Capacity through Data Acquisition and Visualization 

Hiring Leaders 

“What separates great organizations from good ones?” Answer: Great organizations have great leadership throughout. Dane Manufacturing is always seeking new leaders to bring into the organization – in good economic times and bad. Hiring the right leaders, and putting them in the right positions is our secret sauce when it comes to organizational and capacity planning and execution. The leadership quality on the plant floor must be equal to or greater than the level of leadership in the front office to ensure our customers’ KPI’s are met. Here’s an excerpt from an article written by Mondo: 

“Rather than solely looking for a strong leader for management-level roles, you should be looking for strong leaders for the open roles at every level of your company. Why? Being a strong leader provides more than just leadership and management abilities.  

Natural leaders are proactive and integrate into a new work environment faster and form connections with co-workers quickly, making collaboration on projects easier and more effective. Leaders drive innovation, regardless of their title. By doing so, they also encourage and inspire those around them to do the same. These types of people are always up-to-date on the latest trends and insights in their field and looking for ways to enhance strategies and initiatives. Their own curiosity and passion push them to constantly improve themselves and the companies they work for.  

Leaders bring their best to everything they do. They actively care about the company’s success and what they can do to add to it. This mentality and integrity can be the lifeblood of a team hitting roadblocks implementing a new software or one having trouble integrating and collaborating effectively. Natural leaders excel at recognizing and hiring other leaders and actively attract them because leaders want to work with similar, strong-minded individuals.” 

Blog Article:" 

The blog article from couldn’t be more on point with the hiring philosophies and methodologies utilized by Dane Manufacturing. In an ever-changing socioeconomic environment, it is critical to constantly evaluate the current leadership status of the company’s staff, and to deploy consistent improvement efforts through training and recruiting initiatives. 


Capacity Planning 

Like all good things, growth requires a sturdy foundation throughout the organization to ensure future demand is met not only with the correct equipment and human resources, but also the necessary software, processes and reporting metrics. Below is a five-part checklist for capacity planning and execution described by author Aakash Gupta:  

  1. Capacity Versus Demand Forecasting Reports  
    Capacity management analyzes your resource capacity in advance. The capacity planning reports within intuitive resource management solutions to roll out future capacity estimates based on current demand patterns. It ensures optimal performance and right investments in future, with manifold benefits. For one, any deviations from the task objectives affecting your staff can be detected and resolved in the early stages. Besides, your team members can support one another on different bodies of work and keep abreast of upcoming training dates for in-demand skills. 
  1. Booked Versus Actuals Reporting Function  
    The Forecast Versus Actual time report, better known as the Booked Versus Actuals, consolidate all time-sensitive bookings such that you’ll accurately estimate your resources’ investments on future projects.  
  1. Utilization Percentage Rate Reports  
    Resource utilization rates measure your staff’s long-term productivity and let you allocate optimally balanced workloads. Over utilizing your existing staff not only induces stress but also creates a schedule where tasks spill over with no accountability whatsoever. 
  1. Forecasting Financial Reports  
    You can reconcile your budget portfolio by calculating your predicted(forecast) and actual costs. While the former is generated by multiplying prospective hours with your staff’s billing rates, the latter is derived from the actual hours your staff spend for which they price their billing rates. A variance occurs from the difference arising between your actual and future costs down the line. You can make an informed decision on allocating resources based on the forecast versus actual costs report analytics. 
  1. Resource Availability Reports  
    Be it peak or off-peak times, resource availability reports help you take a proactive approach towards optimal work allocations. After all, even with the right number of hands, you can’t assume they’re all readily available and adequately prepared for the next project in the works.  

5 Capacity Planning Reports To Keep Your Project On Track - By Aakash Gupta 07/06/2018 - 

Aakash’s list is a great starting point for Capacity Planning. At Dane Manufacturing, we value useful informational resources like the one above; but ultimately rely on people first. The teams that make up Dane Manufacturing are our greatest resource, and we depend on our staff to put planning efforts like the one Aakash outlined into action and see it through to completion.  To complement our team capabilities, we continued to stay on track and complete our ERP Go-Live through this COVID period to enhance the capabilities within our organization of these exact reports amongst other benefits.   

Adding Products and/or Services to the Company’s Matrix 

No growth plan would be complete without at least an evaluation of new product and/or service offerings in an effort to grow revenue. The addition of new products and/or services is often the most enjoyable process for internal teams. The ideation and iteration of new products and/or services is engaging and reward, but must be tightly managed or soft-costs to an organization can become immense – quickly.  

Here’s some useful information we’ve assembled regarding the entrepreneurial process of new product and/or service creation within an organization by 


Entrepreneurs understand that product innovation is a continual process of incremental testing and refinements to figure out what works and what doesn’t, and that failure along the way actually leads to knowledge, breakthroughs, and growth.  

That being said, they also like to remove much of the risk and uncertainty around new ideas by arriving at the most viable product concepts faster — or getting on the right track earlier on.  

How do you do this?  

The practice of front-end development used to apply to software development, but now it’s widely used by many industries to identify, validate, and prioritize opportunities before you build or redesign anything. In simple terms, it’s how you determine the customer need, or needs, that you’d like to solve and the best ways in which to solve it.  

Instead of throwing the proverbial spaghetti on the wall to see what sticks, you take a stepped approach:  

  1. Gather ideas based on customer studies and research using approaches such as online methodologies, focus groups, in-depth interviews, etc. 
  2. Develop product concepts that fit consumers’ needs and preferences. At the same time, conduct a competitive analysis to make sure the concepts resonate within the larger competitive landscape. 
  3. Validate and prioritize concepts through concept testing as a way to compare and move forward with the ones that perform at the top. 
  4. Assess the market by using a customer segmentation process to form a picture of your target customer, and determine the concept(s) that may be the most profitable. 
  5. Refine the concept by developing a prototype to put into a formal product development process and incorporate user testing to iterate further. 

Each step leans heavily on customer feedback and user testing, making space for multiple iterations and incremental innovation. If something isn’t working at this stage, there’s less of a worry that it will make it into development, only to have you find out later when it’s still sitting on the shelves that it was a mistake.  

The beauty of front-end development is that it can be combined with agile methodologies to:  

  • Bring more transparency to the product development process  
  • Increase the speed of product development  
  • Allow initial ideas and concepts to flex and change (fail fast) based on customer feedback and other factors  
  • Reduce the wasted effort and resources that are so often a byproduct of the old waterfall approach to product development  
  • A customer-centric approach  

Keeping customers at the center of product innovation sounds like a no-brainer, right? Taking a customer-centric approach allows you to solve customers’ very real pain points by uncovering and incorporating their preferences, habits, and buying behaviors into every stage of the product development process.  

But although customer preferences and behaviors have always played a role to one degree or another in new product innovation, organizations haven’t always been guaranteed success with this approach.  

While conducting customer surveys to capture customer likes and dislikes or using demographics like household income, age, gender, and geographic location does help you gain an important measure of insight into your audience, what you’re often missing is the deeper, more granular insight into your customers’ personalities — the underlying traits and characteristics that make them tick. Being able to see your customers in a more holistic way, and from that, understanding how best to reach them, is how you can really drive successful product innovation.  

Today, through the wonders of big data analysis, we have better ways than ever to segment and target the customers with the greatest likelihood of adopting a product and influencing others to use it. For example, you can conduct a customer survey as you normally would and then connect the results to a scan of big data points that includes things like the respondents’ social media activity, media consumption, and personal interests and hobbies. With qualitative, quantitative, and personality data, you can form a holistic view of your customers.  

This level of granular customer information enables you to segment and sub-segment to get to the most viable audience to target with product innovation. Furthermore, it helps you market and advertise to that segment — over the right channels, during the right times, and with the right packaging and product placement — to increase their awareness of your new product.  

In this way, your product has the highest chance of landing and — this is key — truly resonating with your audience in the market. You decrease the possibility that some of your customers will buy your new or revamped product or service initially, but then ignore it over time. And because you developed, packaged, and marketed to the right segment(s) at the outset, you increase the likelihood that:  

  • Your customers’ needs and desires will be met. 
  • Those customers will broadcast their delight farther into their spheres of influence, thus widening the network of potential buyers  
  • Your product or service will have a greater chance of profitability and long-term adoption 



Dane Manufacturing’s focus on new product and/or service development – like most things at Dane Manufacturing – starts and ends with people. The perpetual investment in our teams’ and team members’ successes ensures that when the opportunity appears; our entire organization is ready, able and willing to rise to the occasion and capitalize a new opportunity   


Purchasing New Equipment or Other Capital Assets 

As new product lines, services or growth through sales begin to infiltrate the operations of an organization, often new equipment or other capital assets need to be purchased. The process of capital expenditure evaluation must be approached from multiple fronts, and at Dane Manufacturing it is certainly a team effort.  

Here’s a look at how Julie King  CEO of BIZ ZONE evaluates equipment purchases as outlined in her blog article from 2017: 

There could be several reasons to consider buying new industrial equipment. You may wish to develop new lines of business, replace equipment that is reaching its end of life or save money by switching to more efficient equipment, both in terms of operating cost and space used.  

Purchasing industrial equipment is an important business decision. A key part of that decision is how much benefit (return) the business will realize from the purchase (investment.)  

This article will explain how to calculate the return on investment when purchasing industrial equipment.  

Evaluating Your Purchase Decision  

The purchase of industrial equipment typically requires a large, up-front capital investment. There are several financial factors that can help you decide whether to buy or not.  

Return on investment (ROI) is the one of the most useful decision making tools, because it will help you compare how one capital investment compares to other options.  

The Pay Back Period (PBP) is useful because it pinpoints when the equipment will have paid for itself. It is important to also consider the useful life of the equipment in combination with the PBP, so you will be able to estimate the total revenues the equipment will be able to contribute to the business once it has paid for itself.  

The residential value is important as it indicates the cash you will be able to get back out of the equipment when it is time to sell.  

Estimating Revenues and Expenses  

While simple to calculate, the process of determining the expenses that you will use in both the ROI and PBP formulas is a complex, time consuming process.  

On your topline, you will need to estimate the revenue the company will generate from the product manufactured with the new equipment.  

Regarding expenses, there are many things to consider. When calculating the expenses, be sure to include the cost of:  

  • Shipping, duties (if applicable) and taxes,  
  • Installation and training,  
  • Labor to operate the equipment,  
  • Operating the equipment, including supplies like chemicals as well as utilities,  
  • Inspections and maintenance, and  
  • Debt servicing costs.  

The manufacturer or distributor should be able to help you calculate the cost of electricity, supplies and labor. Be sure to do a "sanity check" on their estimates and hedge for the manufacturer presenting the best possible scenarios.  

If the equipment is to support an existing line of business, it can also be helpful to calculate the labor cost savings compared to your current costs. To do this, you will need to calculate the current operating costs against the expected savings when the new equipment is up and running.  

As technology gets smaller, space savings can be another significant benefit to consider when making buying new industrial equipment.  

Calculating ROI  

Return on investment (ROI) is an indicator of the profits the business will earn from its investment and is calculated by dividing the net income generated by the equipment by the cost of the investment.  

The resulting number, expressed as a percentage, can be a good indicator of whether the investment is worth making.  

Here is a sample calculation.  

Return-On-Investment (ROI)  

What it means: The gain from each dollar invested  

Ideal Range: Higher percentages are more desirable, although the ideal range is dependent on the equipment  

The Calculation: ROI = Net Income/ Cost of Investment  

Example: Two years ago, Joshua invested $65,000 into a digital printing press and has generated $95,000 in net revenues from the equipment.  

ROI: $95,000/ $65,000 = 146%  

Calculating PBP  

The Pay Back Period (PBP) is another useful calculation that identifies how long it will take before the equipment has paid for itself. PBP is calculated by dividing the cost of the investment by the annual cash flow, which are the amount of cash the equipment is expected to generate for the business each year.  

Here is a sample calculation where the cashflow generated by the equipment is even year over year.  

Pay Back Period (PBP) – Even Cash Flow Scenario  

What it means: The number of years taken to recover the investment  

Ideal Range: Shorter PBP is ideal, although each situation is dependent on the industry and type of equipment being purchased.  

The Calculation: PBP = (Cost of Investment / Annual Cash Flows)  

Example: Candy Co. invests $400,000 into the production of a new line of candy. This produced cash flows of $50,000 per year.  

PBP: ($400,000 / $50,000) = 8 years  

Pay Back Period (PBP) – Uneven Cash Flow Scenario  

In many companies, the cash flow generated by the equipment may vary year over year. While it is possible to add the estimated cash flow and then calculate the annual average to use in the formula above, this is not ideal if the higher cash flow amounts will be generated in later years of ownership.  

This scenario looks at how to calculate PBP by looking at the cash on hand after at the end of each year of ownership.  

What it means: The number of years taken to recover the investment  

Ideal Range: Shorter PBP is ideal, although each situation is dependent on the industry and type of equipment being purchased.  

The Calculation: PBP = (Cumulative Cash Flow Balance at the Beginning of the Year + Cash Flow Generated During the Year)  

Example: AutoCorp invests in new automotive manufacturing equipment that is expected to produce more cashflow in future years that the initial years.  

PBP: brackets () indicate negative cash flow, note that we start with year 0 when the equipment is purchased  

Year , Cash Flow , Cumulative Cash Flow at Year End  

0 , (1,500,000) , (1,500,000)  

1 , 250,000 , (1,250,000)  

2 , 325,000 , (925,000)  

3 , 575,000 , (350,000)  

4 , 650,000 , 300,000  

PBP: 3 years + (-350,000 / 300,000) = 3.86 years  

Experts note that while the PBP calculation is useful due to its simplicity, one drawback of this calculation is that is does not account for the time value of money. This can best be explained in lay terms by the popular saying a "bird in hand is worth more than two in the bush."  

It can be worthwhile to factor the discounted value of cash over time into your PBP calculation by using a discounted payback period calculation, which progressively suppresses the cumulative cashflow projections at year end. Your chief financial officer or accounting professional can help you estimate the amount to reduce the cumulative cashflow projections for each year.  

Once you have calculated your ROI and PBB, and factored in the end-of-life disposal of the asset, you will be in a good position to make a final purchasing decision.  


“Purchasing Industrial Equipment: Calculating the Return on Investment (ROI)”, By Julie King | March 13, 2017 


Commercial Property Purchasing or Leasing 

Inevitably, increasing capacity of people, equipment, and/or products will create a need for additionally space to operate – especially in manufacturing environments. This truth requires organizations to have a tight handle on the physical space it occupies, and/or intends to occupy. The two primary methodologies of commercial space management are buying and leasing.  

Below is a high-level overview of each discipline:  

The first is by Michelle Black -  

“1. Understand your motivations for investing in commercial real estate.  
Why do you want to invest in commercial real estate? It’s an important question to ask yourself before you start hunting for properties.  
Do you want an apartment or office building that you can rent out to many tenants to help reduce the risk of non-payment? Are you searching for a property you can use, at least in part, for your own business?  
Perhaps you’d like a larger property with the potential to appreciate and build equity over time. Maybe you’re looking to take advantage of tax benefits or scale your investment portfolio.  
Whatever your motivation, it’s helpful to identify your “why” before you invest. Knowing why you want to purchase commercial property can help guide you as you search for the right investment opportunity.  

  1. Assess your investment options.
    If you want to invest in commercial real estate, it helps to understand the different types of commercial properties. For example, commercial properties may include:  
  • Apartment Buildings  
  • Office Buildings  
  • Retail Buildings  
  • Malls  
  • Warehouses  
  • Industrial Buildings  
  • Mixed-Use Buildings  

As you can see, commercial properties are used for business purposes.  

  1. Secure financing.
    Before you find a commercial property, you wish to buy, it’s wise to line up your financing options in advance. Step one to securing commercial real estate financing (and other types of business financing as well) is to check your credit.  
    Depending upon your lender and the type of loan you apply for, your business credit scores and reports could come into play. Some lenders may check your personal credit too.  
    You should review your credit and make sure that the information contained in your reports is accurate. You can check your personal and business credit scores for free when you set up an account with Nav.  
    Once you verify that your credit information is accurate (you can dispute errors if you find them), take an honest look at the type of financing you might qualify for now. Depending on your credit, the type of property, and other factors, you might consider one of the following financing options:  
  • Apartment Loans (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHA)  
  • Bank Balance Sheet Loans  
  • Commercial Real Estate Loans  
  • Business Loans  
  • Hard Money Loans  
  • Seller Financing  
  • Etc.  

Be sure to compare interest rates, fees, repayment terms, and other factors as you shop for the best financing option available to you. The Nav Marketplace is a great resource for reviewing business financing choices.  

  1. Partner with the right team.
    Buying commercial real estate involves a lot of moving parts. In other words, it can be complicated. Even experienced investors know that it’s important to surround themselves with the right team of experts to make sure their investment has the best chance of success.   

Here are some of the experts you may need to make sure your commercial real estate deal goes as smoothly as possible:  

  • Commercial Realtor  
  • Accountant  
  • Commercial Real Estate Attorney  
  • Commercial Lender or Mortgage Broker  
  • Tax Attorney  

Before you start shopping for potential properties, it’s wise to have your team already on hand. If you find the right help upfront, you’ll immediately know who to turn to when questions or problems arise. Assembling a team of pros might not be cheap, but it might save you from costly mistakes in the long run.  

  1. Find the right property in your market.
    Once you know your “why,” you understand your investment options, you’ve secured financing, and you’ve put together a team of experts, it’s time for the fun part. You’re ready to start shopping for the right property in your market.  
    Your commercial real estate agent can help you locate properties that meet your criteria. Pay attention to important factors, like usable square footage and location. However, don’t be distracted by a good deal if it doesn’t satisfy your reason for investing. For example, it doesn’t matter how great an office building looks on paper if you’ve decided you want to add an apartment complex to your investment portfolio.  
  2. Do your homework. 

When you finally locate a property, you may want to buy, it’s time for some heavy research. Again, your commercial realtor may be able to help you here, but it’s wise to make sure you’re personally doing your due diligence on the property as well.  
Remember, you can never have too much information about a property you’re thinking about buying. Some questions you may want to ask or research include the following.  

What has the property been used for in the past? (Do you plan to continue using it for the same purpose?)  

If you wish to use the property for a different business purpose, is it appropriately zoned to support your plan?   

Can you request a change in zoning, if needed?   

How much income or rent does the property currently earn on an annual basis?  

Will the owner show you the rent rolls? Can you confirm that the units listed on the rent rolls currently have the tenants reported?   

What are the property taxes?   

Is the building in need of significant repairs now, or will it need repairs soon?   

Is the property located in a desirable area? (Ideally, you should look for locations that have less than 5% vacancy if you want to command higher rents and enjoy potentially high appreciation rates.)   

Does the deal make sense for your investment portfolio?  
Buying a commercial property is quite different from purchasing residential real estate. Making a bad investment could be far more costly. If you’re new to the world of real estate investment, a wise place to begin is studying resources and real estate investment books from other successful investors.   

  1. Make an offer and close the deal.  

When you find a property you want to purchase, it’s time to make an offer. Your commercial real estate agent will generally help you write up your offer to purchase, but it’s wise to have your attorney review it for good measure before you sign and submit it. Be prepared for the seller to ask for earnest money (potentially 1% of the purchase price, though sometimes more or less) when you go under contract.  
Above all, make sure your offer has a due diligence period with an escape hatch if certain things go wrong (like zoning issues or the property failing to pass inspection). The technical term for this escape hatch is known as a contingency clause.  
During your due diligence period, your lender may require an American Land Title Association survey (aka an ALTA) as a condition of closing. An ALTA survey can give you valuable information about the property, including boundary lines and the location of improvements, utility lines, and easements (if applicable).   
If all goes well with your ALTA survey and the rest of your due diligence, you can continue to move forward toward closing. Your commercial realtor and real estate attorney should be able to guide you through the many complex steps involved in this process. Again, it’s crucial to set up a reliable team of experts you can count on in advance, long before you draw near the closing table.” 

“7 Steps for Buying a Commercial Real Estate Property”, Michelle Black, December 19, 2019, 


The second excerpt is from Brette Sember, J.D. regarding commercial leasing -  

Negotiating a favorable lease places your business in the position to succeed. Remember that a real estate lease agreement is prepared by the landlord to favor the landlord. Your responsibility as a potential tenant is to read it completely, understand what it says, and then ask for modifications that will favor you.  

  1. Evaluate the Length of the Lease 

Once you’ve located a commercial rental location, completed your commercial rental application, and successfully applied for a real estate lease, you will receive real estate forms for your lease. One of the first issues you need to work out is the length of the lease. A term of one to two years is usually best for small businesses, with an option to renew included. This doesn’t tie you in for too long but gives you the option to stay if it is a good fit. If you feel that you could easily find a comparable location, a shorter lease is better for you in case rents in your area go down or it turns out to be an unfavorable location. However, if your business is going to be very location-dependent (such as a restaurant), you will want security, so a longer term makes sense.  

  1. Research Comparable Rents 

The amount of rent you will pay is an important consideration in a commercial lease agreement. Do your homework and know what the going costs are in your area so you can negotiate a fair price. Part of negotiating renewal options includes specifying rent increases so you won’t have any surprises ahead. Your landlord will likely want to increase the rent for each additional year. Try to work out a cap on these increases so it remains affordable for you to stay in the commercial real estate location. You can also negotiate the amount of your security deposit and the conditions for its return.  

  1. Look for Hidden Costs 

Your lease may be a “gross lease,” in which all costs are included, or a “net lease” in which there are costs in addition to your rent. Many commercial leases make the tenant responsible for costs such as maintenance or upkeep of common areas. Get the details on these costs up front and negotiate this section to be as favorable as possible. Find out if your business will be responsible for specific systems maintenance and learn the current conditions of those systems so you can estimate costs. Negotiate dollar amount caps to these costs or negotiate for a slightly higher rent in exchange for the landlord taking on all costs. Determine whether there are separate utility meters or if utilities are apportioned among tenants by square footage.  

  1. Ask for Favorable Clauses 

Ask for modifications to the lease that will benefit you. For example, a clause allowing you to sublease the property can be important should your business suddenly relocate or close. You may want to ask for a clause that restricts the landlord from renting out any other unit on the premises to a business similar to yours. A co-tenancy clause will allow you to break the lease if a large anchor tenant (which drives business to you) leaves. It is also possible to negotiate for the landlord to be responsible for making improvements to the property before you move in. Make sure you are permitted to put up signage for your business.  

  1. Check the Termination Clause Closely 

Read the terms of your commercial property lease as it pertains to default and termination of the lease. You’ll want a clause that allows you time to cure a default before eviction, particularly one that allows you to pay one month’s rent instead of the entire amount owed on the lease. You will want to negotiate any penalties for early termination of the lease should you decide you need to leave before the lease term is up.”  

“5 Tips for Negotiating a Commercial Lease”, Brette Sember, J.D. 

Whether you purchase or lease your company’s physical expansion, planning is clearly paramount to the process and will be an enormous determining factor to long-term success of capacity growth. Dane Manufacturing employs a team of accountants, managers, financers and attorneys to examine each property opportunity in its entirety; from multiple perspectives and vantage points. Dane Manufacturing’s approach to acquiring new physical space aims to utilize these key team members as experience multipliers for the property purchasing or leasing decision, which points back to a common theme of the Dane Manufacturing organization - People 


Enterprise Software Implementation and Integration 

As organizations grow in the current global business environment, software capacity and utilization has become a staple of the conversation. The landscape of software providers, implementers, and integration specialist evolves, it is necessary for organizations to evaluate their own software state-of-affairs as it relates to what’s happening on a micro and macro level for enterprise software. Below is an example of how companies like Dane Manufacturing manage their IT infrastructure and capacity expansion.  

  1. Consider Your Processes and Procedures 
    If you’ve done your homework during the software selection phase, only minimal alignment between your software and your processes should be required during implementation. Keep in mind that there are always adjustments and alignments to be made: you must look at process fit while making your software selection.  
  1. Assess Your IT Infrastructure 
    If your organization will be implementing a cloud-based solution, be sure your internet connection is secure and reliable—that connection will be your lifeline for every operation performed with your new software.  
  1. Ask What Existing Software (if any) is Being Retained 
    What provisions have been made for functions or business processes that will not be supported by your new software? If you plan to continue using any of your existing software solutions, will they be able to communicate/integrate with the new system? Make sure that any software that’s being retained is compatible with the new solution and, if necessary, will be integrated with the new solution during implementation. 
  1. Define User Roles and Security Levels 
    Think about who will use the new software and the departments or business units they occupy. You’ll want to assign your users to job functions so that applications and data can be accessed, viewed, and modified by the correct user groups. 
  1. Clean Up and Prepare Your Data 
    Just as when you prepare to move house, the pre-implementation phase gives you a chance to trash some unnecessary clutter. In addition to the data you regularly access, consider what to do about these four possibilities: 
  1. Entries that have been duplicated and which now reside in more than one location 
  1. Outdated data (this must be archived properly, if applicable) 
  1. Data from outside the system (such as from spreadsheets) 
  1. Data containing personally identifiable information (PII)—especially if your business must comply with GPDR or other such regulations, it is important to keep safeguards in place 
  1. Getting Reporting in Order 
    Much like data, it makes sense to use this time to clean up your reporting as you head into an implementation. The primary consideration is to ask how your reporting aligns with your organization’s goals and objectives. 

The implementation of a new software system can be a time-consuming and sometimes difficult process. By taking the time to properly prepare for your implementation project, you can increase your chances of success. 

“Software Implementation Plan Steps: Process & Procedures”, Written By: TEC Team, Date Published: March 3, 2020, 


Recently, Dane Manufacturing underwent an enterprise software transition through the implementation of ECi’s M1 ERP system. The process in its entirety took about six months of work from multiple team members across multiple internal and external teams. The project has since gone live, and has been successfully integrated across the organization and is nearing the closing phase as the final team members are trained and final integration points are buttoned up. Additionally, Dane Manufacturing has brought on HubSpot as its DeFacto CRM solution to best manage prospects, leads, and existing customers.  

The power of these two software solutions has yet to be fully realized, but will allow for enough growth runway that it’s anticipated they will prove to be invaluable to the team members, vendors and customers of Dane Manufacturing respectively in both the near and distant future.  


Evaluating Capacity through Data Acquisition and Visualization 

No capacity building initiative is complete without the ability to measure results against historical and/or forecasted outcomes. One of the hotter topics of 2020 in the manufacturing space is data visualization, which has been led by a company (and software) called Tableau. 

In Tableau’s own words:  

“The manufacturing industry is moving faster at the pace we can imagine. The industry is constantly challenged with rising business demands such as improving production line, maintaining product quality, mitigating supplier chain complexities and cost and meeting strict regulatory compliance. So, there comes a need to invest in BI software that can help you monitor all your manufacturing operations smoothly. The software that helps your manufacturing industry with insightful reporting and key metrics from production to daily sales. The software that can help you quickly dive into your pending orders, analyze production units, review factory output and give you a 360-degree view of how your business operates on micro and macro levels...” 

“...The manufacturing industry is embracing Tableau software to win big in the smart era. They are improving supply chain visibility, streamlining sales and operational planning, evaluating revenue sources, forecasting future revenue opportunities and risks and responding smartly to competitive pressure in real-time. “  

“How Tableau Helps the Manufacturing Industry to Stay Agile and Win Big”, 


In closing, it’s important to remember and point out that each organization operates differently, sees opportunities differently, and reacts differently. Regardless of how an organization chooses to grow its capacity, there are underlying common denominators required to scale up capacity and the abovementioned provide a high-level view of how companies like Dane Manufacturing approach the necessary tasks to set big goals, and more importantly – to accomplish them.  


Thanks for reading, and if you’d like to discuss growth opportunities with Dane Manufacturing, please reach out to us directly at or give us a call at (608) 849-5921.