Recent Adventures in the Cloud

It’s been a while since my last post. I have been active in the web-space, mostly on LinkedIn where I manage a few special interest groups: (1) The Virtual Lawyer, (2) Future Automation (Documents, Data and the Cloud), (3) Time Matters Connection, (4) HotDocs Wizards, and (5) Amicus Attorney Wizards.  The first two groups have been pretty active, growing with interesting discussions, but I have neglected this space where I have a better opportunity to express myself. And so, below are some thoughts on areas I have been exploring.

Cloud-Based Practice Management

I have done reviews of AdvologixPM, RocketMatter, Clio and Houdi.  These systems do much to remove remove the shackles of an office-based, big-hardware, client server based system.  They enable lawyers to “be virtual” and to be free.  And in these times of downsizing, resizing, and cost-cutting, the ability to have a flexible and scalable practice management system that doesn’t require too much capital investment is quite worthwhile.  It allows attorneys to form “ad hoc” groups, practicing together, often from their homes, or wherever there work in.  The potential of cloud based practice management really lives in the “collaboration features.” For those who have followed my discussions on LinkedIn or participated in them, the economics of Cloud based practice management have come to be comparable to those of a client-server model.  If your firm is looking at getting a “new license” and getting “new hardware” or replacing a “server”, the economics of a Cloud solution start weighing in their favor.

Most practice management vendors have moved to “annual pricing” for their software.  This is often in the form of an annual maintenance plan, or some other structure that requires users seeking tech support, service releases or upgrades to pay some percentage of the cost of the software each year.  Fees range from 20% of list up to 33 1/3%.  In my view, these fees are reasonable and justifiable.  They provide ongoing revenue to the software vendor to improve the software and fix the software, as well as pay for responsive support staff.  That said, these costs need to be factored into a TCO (“total cost of ownership”).  If you already have a functioning server; and already have case management software in place, you need to be aware of some significant costs that should be considered in making a decision to move.

Pro-Cloud Costs

You need to factor in the software vendor’s annual maintenance fees.  You also need to factor in the cost of applying service releases and upgrades.  Just because the software is “included” doesn’t mean that you will not have disruptions in service during the upgrade or application of the release.  Some of these disruptions come form the time of migrating the data to a “new platform”.  There are consulting and training costs surrounding the new features.  Some upgrades have required new hardware and new operating system and database software.  If you haven’t put a backup system in place, you need to factors the costs of that solution.  You need to evaluate what “redundancies” you have in your hardware and software in the event of disaster.

Costs of Moving to the Cloud

If you have “nothing in place”, the start-up costs are negligible.  You can take your “Outlook” contact list and synchronize or import it into the cloud system.  However, if you have been running as a business for a while, you will have large contact lists, active matters, email repositories, and documents.  The decision will be what to do with these items.  You may decide to “import” this data into your Cloud system.  If it is just contacts, that can usually be done pretty easily with wizards.  If you wish to bring in custom data, you will be best served to work with a consultant.  They will identify the fields that need to be customized in the practice management system, help you cleanup your data, and set up import templates.  If you are moving in “documents”, you need to be aware of “size” limits.  The base fee includes a certain amount of storage.  If your files exceed that storage, you will incur extra changes.  In the greater scheme these are nominal, but you need to be informed what the charges are and be realistic as to what you are storing in the cloud.

There is so much more I could write, but I will be coming back to this topic on a more regular base.  As many of you know Basha Systems has signed up as reseller partners with AdvologixPM and NetDocuments. There is a philosophical reason.  I believe that lawyers have different needs and uses for their practice management systems and that no single configuration of intake forms and calendars will satisfy all attorneys.  In that light, I prefer the “platform” approach adopted by Time Matters (in the Client-Server world) and by AdvologixPM in the Cloud.  The platform approach presents a base configuration that meets MOST of the needs of MOST attorneys.  But at the same time, it allows the individual organizations to disable features they don’t need, modify features they do need, and extend the program by adding additional features.  Moreover, a platform approach allows 3rd party vendors to create applications that extend the features of the shipping application.

As for NetDocuments, I favor that platform over DropBox, Box.net, iGNYTE, and GoogleApps, for two reasons.  First, it was developed “FOR LAWYERS”.  That means it was designed to meet the security, encryption, and document integration needs of lawyers. Second, you cannot adopt a Cloud practice Management system and then leave your documents in the “MyDocuments” folder or on a local Server; this position is inconsistent.  So you need a viable cloud-based stoage.  Moreover, you need a system with an API (Application Programming Interface) so it integrates with your cloud solution and isn’t a separate repository.

Ease of Use—Not a Good Thing?

John Heckman in his recent blog post, When Is Ease of Use Counterproductive? raised an interesting issue and one I have struggled with in designing advanced interview systems for document automation.  He posits that making something too easy encourages foolish and stupid behavior.  There is a balance between “constraints on behavior” and making something too simple.

John was likely thinking of practice management systems that strive to use wizards to paper over the complexity of their systems.  As a person who routinely turns off the wizard, I can see his point.  If you don’t ever confront the data entry form, you will not know enough about the structure of the system to be able to properly work with the data you have entered.  I can appreciate a well designed wizard, but too often the wizard makers make assumptions that simply don’t apply to you.  And unless the user is exposed to the non-wizard approach, they will often be unable to get the result they desire from the software.  Extensive wizards can in fact cripple good software.  It is not that they break the software.  Rather, it is that they obscure the functionality of the software.

In building document assembly interviews, I am constrained to balance simplicity of design with the complexity of reality.  Make an estate planning system TOO SIMPLE, and the templates it produces will only be functional 80% of the time, requiring constant vigilance and tweaks of the final Word document.  Make it too complex and the user will not know how to answer particular questions that appear unfamiliar out of the context of the documents they used to edit manually. The solution that I have come up with is a balancing act.  Rather than push the complexity under the rug with a wizard, I script the dialogs with an “advanced” option that allows you to expose more complex questions in a particular area.  Questions are carefully grouped under headers.  There is help text both associated with the variables and on the dialog.  With document assembly tools I can also add constraints that prevent bad data from being enter, such as an “division of assets” that might exceed 100%.

There are many purported “simple systems”.  The iPOD app store is an example of “simple systems”.  DISCLAIMER: I have 2 iPOD Touch devises and a Blackberry Storm.  In their advertisements, Apple toots:  “There’s an APP for that”.  And yet, the sum of the parts is often less than the whole. And that is because each APP is an Island, requiring you often to dual enter data and maintain the same data in multiple places.  I find the approach by Salesforce.com and Mozilla Firefox to be quite different.  The “APPS” in these cases are plugins that extend the core functionality of the system and allow you to do more with forcing you to separate your data in different Island.  Yes, there are thousands of apps for Salesforce.com; but each APP assumes a core set of shared data (Contacts, Accounts, Opportunities) and so these apps together are MORE than the sum of their parts.

And so, when you think of “Ease of Use” bear it in mind with a grain of salt.

Living with the Dragon; Talking back to your computer Day 3

Honesty by Computer.  There is one aspect of Dragon NaturallySpeaking that might end up being quite beloved by executive management types.  Having to speak out loud into a computer tends to cut down on non-work Internet surfing!  There are few employees who would have the guts to say out loud “Seach web for beach houses available in June 2010”.

This might be just one of the vaunted productivity gains touted by Dragon NaturallySpeaking.

Non-standard windows, such as Time Matters, seem to work best with a combination of spoken commands and mouse positioning.  I noticed that Dragon NaturallySpeaking tends to favor commands that are actual word commands.  By this, I don’t mean Microsoft word commands per se, but commands such as “File, save and close”.  It does less well with picture icons or long, nonstandard, picklists.  This may be a matter of training-my training Dragon, I mean.  I was quite excited, however, when I successfully created a step-by-step command that allowed me to create a bill slip from an event record in Time Mattters.  Still, it required that I highlight the actual event to to create the bill slip.

I’ve found so far that the Step-by-Step keystroke commands work the best in Time Matters.  I’ve managed to create some useful new record commands and saving commands. The “Give Me Help” command is a G_dsend – the index is very easy to work with.

Note From Seth: Dragon is like the Tour de France.  There are some days where you race ahead of the pack and feel as if you are on top of the world.  There are other days where it is a long slog as you climb mountain after mountain to get to a goal that seems just out of reach. As with the Tour de France, practice makes better so don’t let the minor hills keep you from your course.

Life with the Dragon: Day Two – Talking Back To Your Computer

Working with Dragon NaturallySpeaking reminds me very much of one of those old movies in which you see an executive dictating to a secretary. I am now gaining a good deal respect for both executive and secretary.

The dictating executive had to be clear and concise and the secretary had to be able to understand him (face it, it usually was a him), even when he was not.  Without a doubt, the program that Dragon NaturallySpeaking seems to work with most easily is Microsoft Word.  This makes perfect sense as it is a dictation program.  You do, however, come to realize, that you must slow down your speech and speak to the program as clearly as you would to a recalcitrant 4 year old.  Like the 4-year-old, Dragon learns a little more every time you speak to it as long as you speak to it in an measured and even tone.

Sometimes, Dragon NaturallySpeaking will mistake words for commands.  For instance, when I used the word “tone”, Dragon read this as “Home” and proceeded to fly up to the “Home” key, ready to click.  There are a few ways that I have noted that will allow you to avoid this issue.  When you dictate a word that is read incorrectly more than once, you can use the “spell that” function to “train” your computer to understand the way you intone a particular word.  If you mean to use a command, you can hold down the control (CTRL) key and Dragon NaturallySpeaking will understand that you do not intend to dictate that as a word.  I have noticed that speaking in phrases of 3 words together with a pause after each tends to minimize the errors.  The best way, although probably not the easiest or fastest way, is to create user commands that will give you different ways of asking for common commands such as end of line or inserting a commonly used address.

Note from Seth: Do not have too many windows open at a time when you are using Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Otherwise, you will find extraneous codes and remarks in places you never intended them to appear.  You should silence the “Dragon” when you finish your dictation.

Life with the Dragon: Day one-talking to your computer

Can Dragon Naturally Speaking enable you to throw away your keyboard and control your computer with just your voice?  Basha consultant, Rose Rowland, a newly certified Dragon Naturally Speaking reseller, tries a week without her keyboard to see how far the limits of spoken technology can go.

I have been typing for a VERY long time.  Just to give you a sense of how long, when I first took typing in high school, we all worked on manual typewriters and only the very best were allowed a shot at the fancy new electric IBM Selectrics.  Now you can go play a guessing game about my age (no, not THAT old!).

Therefore, entering the world of computers and keyboards was no great challenge to me.  I have never, however, up until this point had the wizard-like option of talking to my computer and having it do what I tell it to do.  So, Harry Potter fan that I am, I was eager to try Dragon NaturallySpeaking.

Having passed my exam, I decided to spend a week with the Dragon.

On Monday, I started. First impressions.  Much like wizarding skills, working with Dragon is exceptionally cool but mastering it does require a degree of patience.  Not because the program is difficult to learn-far from it.  It is one of the most easy to master out-of-the-box products I have seen recently, The difficulty stems more from the wizard than the wand.  However, if you can stick with it, I am assured that it can speed up your work considerably.  I can already tell that my searches, whether on the Web or in my computer are considerably faster using Dragon Soft.  Check back tomorrow for my further adventures talking back to my computer.

NOTE from SETH:  While working with “text” is easy, navigating the commands of a new program can be challenging.  Your friend is the “mouse grid” command.  Before you go on long adventures, be sure to keep a hand “command” guide at your ready or say “What can I say?”

Future Automation and The Virtual Lawyer

Some have asked why I don’t enable comments for this blog.  The answer is two fold. First, moderating and filtering the “spam” wasn’t worth the benefit.  The second reason is that there are better and more effective forums for these discussions.  They include “The Virtual Lawyer” group on LinkedIn.com and my new group “Future Automation (Documents, Data and the Cloud)” also on LinkedIn.  I am also managing a group for HotDocs Wizards, Amicus Attorney Wizards, and “The Time Matters Connection”.  So if you find anything I write provocative enough to comment on, I hope you go to one of those groups and have your say.

Future Automation represents an attempt to bring together the thinkers and developers who are shaping the future of document assembly and legal practice management.  It’s goal is to be forward thinking and positive; to celebrate what is good; and to occasionally point out what is not yet good enough.  Future Automation recognizes that much of software is still “too hard” for people to grasp.  Much of that difficulty has been in the hardware and management of networks.  In this “Wild Wild West” with malicious attacks, trojans and virus, just running a server can be an act of faith, or a very expensive proposition.  So much energy has been directed to “protecting” and “defending” that many have forgot that computers are about “doing” and planning, and structuring data for quick retrieval, and integrating data for “document assembly” and other forms of automation.

And so, Future Automation is about looking at a bring future for software that bring real productivity to lawyers and business people; to celebrate software that “makes lawyers smarter”, that “makes lawyers more productive”, and that “makes lawyers richer”.  For face it; if the technology is not bringing a tangible return, why invest in it.

Upon Returning from Banff

I have just returned from the Amicus 2010 Consultants conference in Banff.  They were kind enough to invite me to speak on document assembly to their consultants and to demonstrate how Amicus Attorney can support and facilitate complex document assembly workflow.  The setting, high in the Canadian Rockies, was nothing short of spectacular.  Some days were sunny and warm (I wore T-shirt and shorts) and other days it snowed.  But what was real exciting was the transformation from Amicus Attorney from the “warm familiar” attorney practice management system that “anyone” can use into a powerful, fully customizable, extensible workflow powerhouse.

Workflow Possibilities

I took several days to prepare for my session, evaluating just how far and how easily Amicus could be modified to support complex workflow.  The answer was that “within constraints” there was no limit to how far it could be customized.  Customization is permitted on Contacts and Files in the form of “Custom Pages”.  Each custom page can be designed.  All field types are supported.  You can layout the prompts and the data entry boxes in any fashion you want.  You can (and are recommended) to use the same fields across multiple file types.  However, you can apply them in a different order, in a different grouping, and on different pages across multiple file types.  You also have “custom records” which can be used on files and contacts, with no restriction on the number and type of custom records.

This is all done without substantially altering the familiar look and feel of Amicus.  But in the process, it truly transforms the product.  Gone are the limit of 50 custom fields for Files and 20 custom fields for contacts (assuming of course you are using Premium Edition).  In preparation for the session I prepared 3 custom pages with a total of 100 custom fields of various types including dates, picklists, checkboxes, text, and memo fields.  I also added custom pages for contacts on the file.  And I created two new record types.  It was all done rapidly.  I was able to define the field names, the prompts, the size of the text boxes, the location on the page, and even use alignment fields to make everything “pretty”.  I was also able to add text label boxes to provide further clarification.

The fun begins

This would have been enough, but the focus of my presentation was document assembly.  Amicus lets you access all the fields, including custom fields, in both “merge templates” and through HotDocs.  The merge template builder gives you access to the custom data on the file with fields grouped by file type.  If you are “rigorous” on your field naming, your field lists can self organize by subject area.

As for HotDocs, Amicus takes full advantage of the HotDocs API.  You can use a default “map file” which will automatically create a HotDocs component file will all the data on the file (with the exception of custom records at the present time).  This include all matter data, including custom fields, all data on the “primary client” including custom fields, basic information on people on file (in a repeat) and special fields for data on events, tasks, notes, calls etc.  It creates a CMP file and will generate the requisite answer file without any mapping required.  That doesn’t prevent you from creating your own custom maps to an existing set of HotDocs templates.  Nor does it prevent an advanced HotDocs developer from creating his or her own master component file and using an INSERT command to bring the interview into the template.

Even more exciting is the ability made possible by SQL Server that ships with Premium Edition.  You can create a database component in HotDocs and “query” the database for any data that is not coming over automatically.  You can use the Short Filename in your query to go back and grab more related data. Or, you can build your own dynamic reporting system.

Conclusion

As you can see, it was a busy few days.  I learned a lot about Amicus and met a lot of great new consultants and made some new friends.  In my standing room only presentation, it is my hope that I have excited them as much about document assembly and its possibilities, as I am now excited about Amicus.

Time Matters Installer Error – On Loading Internet Explorer After Upgrade to Time Matters 10 SR2

It happen on a client. Every time they opened Internet Explorer or Outlook, they would get a Time Matters error and it would attempt to run a setup file.  It was looking for a file called infoent.msi. No matter what you did, click Cancel, OK, the problem would keep recycling.  A reboot didn’t solve the problem.  Nothing would make the darn thing go away.  I thought this was isolated to my client, until I started discussing it with other CIC’s.  Marc Wexler had seen it and had a solution.  The best solution came from Wells Anderson.  Read on for the solution.

The True Cause

The cause of the error had to do with a Windows installer that had not “completed” all steps of its installation.  The incompletion was triggered when you opened Outlook or Internet Explorer, most likely because the installation routine, in my case, an upgrade to Time Matters 10 Service Release 2 was trying to build integration to those applications and was interrupted.  When you open one of those applications, it would then try to complete the installation, but since the installer had closed and removed itself, it could no longer find the file “infoent.msi” to complete the action.  I am sure programmers could come up with a more precise explanation.

The Solution

You could call techsupport, if you were on annual maintenance.  Or, you go to the Microsoft Knowledgebase and click on the article titled: Use the Windows Installer CleanUp Utility to remove Office 2000, Office XP, or Office 2003 (found at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/290301).  Or you could just click here to download the Cleanup Utility.

(1) Run the EXE to install the Cleanup Utility
(2) Find “Windows Install Clean Up.
(3) Find the entry for LexisNexis/Practice Advantage installer
(4) Click on Delete.
(5) When done, go into File -> Setup -> General -> Workstation Level and run both the Word Processor Setup and the Additional Program Setup.

The problem should go away.

Document Assembly – The Contenders

When you think “document assembly” for law firms, who do you think of?  For many years, there has been a single answer, HotDocs.  This is not because of any great marketing effort by LexisNexis (the former owners of HotDocs). Rather, it was a combination of “automated forms” delivered by LexisNexis and a grass-roots movement of lawyers and consultants building systems from the ground up with a “cheap” software tool.  It was word of mouth that caused the spread of HotDocs, one license at a time.  Now that HotDocs is “established”, who are the contenders.  I was given the following list of contenders: ActiveDocs, Business Integrity/Dealbuilder, Epoq/Rapidocs, Exari, Korbitec/GhostFill, Napersoft, Pathagoras, SoftPowerHouse/PowerReuse, Thunderhead, and Zumesoft.  It is interesting that despite my 15 years in the business, this list failed to include some interesting contenders, but also included some contenders I had never heard of.  So, who are these contenders?

The text below is drawn directly from the website of these vendors.

ActiveDocs

ActiveDocs Opus facilitates the simple and effective creation of your essential business documents and the automation of a wide range of mission critical communications. A scalable, affordable, high-performance document production solution, ActiveDocs Opus enables you to quickly create accurate, professional documents that meet a variety of business needs.

Business Integrity / Dealbuilder

Business Integrity launches ContractExpress.com, the world’s first premium document assembly product to be delivered exclusively as “software as a service,” requiring no set-up costs or infrastructure. ContractExpress.com builds on Business Integrity’s trusted DealBuilder technology, which is used by many of the world’s leading law firms and corporate legal departments.

Epoq/ Rapidocs

– Rapidly automates legal and business documents
– Creates dynamic and interactive interviews
– Delivers to end-users instantly in the browser
– Displays real time document changes live to the user
– Supports all popular web browsers
– Handles both text and PDF forms
– Offers ‘try before you buy’ technology for your customers

Exari

Exari accelerates your contracts, reduces costs and risks, and streamlines authoring complex documents.  …. With Exari, business people create their own legally pre-approved documents and agreements by completing a web-browser interview. It eliminates the need to wait for the legal department while still providing legal compliance and contract visibility. Exari saves time, lowers costs, improves document quality and minimizes risk. Exari contract creation and contract management solutions are used by leading companies to automate various document types including those used in sales, insurance, and banking.

Korbitec /Ghostfill

GhostFill is no longer offered directly for sale.  However, GhostFill is embedded in several applications, including AIA Forms, DWTA, and Nebraska Probate System V.

GhostFill is one of Korbitec’s flagship document assembly software engines, and has over the last decade been utilized in thousands of document-centric software solutions at law firms, banks, publishers and other institutions, world-wide.

Napersoft

Napersoft CCM (Customer Communication Management) solutions streamline business processes for document creation, personalization, publishing, distribution and archiving. Quickly & easily create complex real-time customer documents, including correspondence, letters, emails, notices, alerts and confirmations and distribute them via print, email or the Web.

Pathagoras

Pathagoras™ is a multi-faceted document authoring tool. First and foremost, Pathagoras is a ‘Plain-text based’ document automation system.  In just two clicks, using your current collection of documents, Pathagoras can present a list of forms or clauses on a designated topic. From that list, you would select an appropriate form, group of forms, or a subset of clauses to be assembled One more click presents your selections, fully assembled, onto the editing screen for final processing.  No complex or time consuming setups are required. You can create automated documents within 5 minutes of installation. You will begin cutting document produc-tion time immediately.

SoftPowerHouse/PowerReuse

PowerReuse is a document assembly software designed for boosting productivity for professionals (lawyers, insurance agents, real estate agents, project managers, sales, marketers and consultants) in small and medium-sized companies. Taking advantage of its patent pending technology, it organizes related Word, Excel and PowerPoint files into projects for better accessibility, updates many documents at a time and pastes pieces of text from the created library by simple drag & drop. The functions ensure accuracy and consistency of all your documents.

Thunderhead

[With the CorrespondNOW module] customer communications are as personal as they get with this module, which allows you to create individual ‘ad hoc’ communications quickly and simply. Streamline correspondence creation, allowing your customer service teams to respond more quickly and efficiently to customer inquiries while bringing new levels of control to the desktop.

Zumesoft

WordFusion is an advanced web-based Document Assembly Platform.  In very simple terms, WordFusion allows you to automate document templates, and then distribute them within your organisation or across the internet. WordFusion also provides work-flow management for the preparation, review, payment and finalisation of documents. This enables professionals from a number of disciplines to effectively collaborate on the production of a document. In essence, WordFusion is a project management tool, to connect you with your clients and other professional partners, to efficiently collaborate on the production of sophisticated and high-value documents.

There were a few MORE that should rightly have been on the list.

XpressDox Docussembly

XpressDox Docussembly™ saves you time, saves you money.  XpressDox Docussembly™ is a document assembly system that will help you become more productive when creating repetitive documents. Using XpressDox, you can easily create a template that asks you for only the information which changes. This improves your efficiency and effectiveness, and ensures that all documents you create conform to your organization’s standards. The result is faster, more accurate documents, which saves you time. And saving you time means saving you money, too.

ActiveWords

ActiveWords relates words and actions, giving you instant access, making you more productive, and improving the quality of your work.

Memba Genesis

The Memba Contract Management Platform is constituted of three main components which work integrated or independently. Memba Genesis Editor is the editor of contractual documents and templates. Memba Genesis Formation Server supports contract drafting and negotiation. Memba Genesis Execution Server supports portfolio and diary management.

Intelledox Enterprise

Intelledox Enterprise is the fully featured Intelledox document creation software solution. Built on Microsoft technology, Intelledox Enterprise is a user-friendly, document creation solution that enables the fast, accurate and compliant production of documents; tailored to individual business requirements and delivery methods.

DrawLoop Technologies

Drawloop is a complete document automation service. We help businesses, organizations and individuals close more deals, increase revenue and improve productivity through automating document creation. In minutes, you can web-enable the same Microsoft Office files your business has been using for years. There is no hardware or software to buy, install or maintain. All you need is your documents and a web browser!

Ultimus

Ultimus automates and simplifies key business processes so you can dedicate more time to your business and customers. Ultimus’ Business Process Improvement Suite reduces the potential for human error, eliminates waste, and decreases the amount of paperwork companies use on a daily basis. Moving far beyond standard workflow automation, Ultimus (Business Process Management) BPM Software provides a flexible solution that connects technology systems to enable data sharing and enhanced visibility throughout your entire organization

Ultimus has automated more business processes than any other BPM software provider worldwide and has over 15 years experience helping organizations across many different industries implement business process optimization. We have more than 1,900 customers and thousands of process templates to enhance every division of your company.

*This list is by no means an endorsement of any or all of these products.  As independent document assembly specialists since 1996, we have worked with a number of these products.  Our entrepreneurial clients have generally favored HotDocs as the best dollar value, given its historical pricing.  However, over the years we have partnered with GhostFill, DealBuilder, and Exari on projects, and we have carefully evaluated a number of other products.  Any decision on a document assembly platform should at least consider these contenders.

Merge Templates and Clause Libraries

Early Days of Automobiles

In the early days of the auto industry, a team of mechanics would put together a car in a week.  This was no mean feat of engineering.  In many cases, the car would have “custom parts”.  There would be “user” preferences.  And there was the inevitable unintended variation.  To achieve efficiencies (and thereby profits which was the ultimate goal), the engineers would create a template (a master design) with instructions to be “manually” completed by the engineers.  Further efficiencies were achieved by laying out the workspace; adding labeled shelves with all the key auto parts.  Some items were “pre-assembled” or partially assembled, leaving a few remaining steps that could be used for customization.  Nevertheless, it required a team of skilled engineers to put together a car.  Quality control was a matter of “experience” and not something that could be measured.  Each car had a unique character.  And of course, cars were expensive; in fact, too expensive for most people to afford.

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