But what is it that changes? On most occasions it is things like: a faster turnaround required; higher performance; cheaper; better service, but the core of the business often (even today) remains relatively constant. Sometimes it may be major internal processes that change, for example a metalworking machining company may be moving from traditional machining processes towards CNC work centres or laser cutting. In essence though, they are still metal processing. This is the core of their business.
It makes sense then to base any systems that are utilised to manage your business on the core of your actual day to day work. This is easier said than done. Many business software solutions promoted to companies to help manage their businesses focus on different segments or modules of work such as purchasing, stores, sales or CRM. It is easy to see where these have originated and why they are developed and sold in this way. If you are just looking at one section of your business at a time, lets say stores for example, it is relatively easy to look at a proposed software based management system for this and say Yes I can see how we book items in, record their position in the stores and then book them out to a job. BUT, in reality, this does not reflect how you actually want to manage the items coming in to the stores, being stored, and being issued. You may want to order in items specifically for a certain job and therefore need to allocate the items as they arrive into store. It may be say 6 items required in a pack of 10 that you have purchased? You may want to keep / allocate 2 of the remaining 4 items for spares for that customer if they are long lead time or special items. Essentially, you need the flexibility of whatever system you purchase to closely reflect the way your core jobs actually HAVE to work.
Totally integrated system solutions with a core that closely matches your work profile are the most beneficial to managing this type of business. In the case above, a total production management system would be most appropriate. Finding the right system may take time, but it is well worth the search to get it right first time.