The Attivo Group will get your system implemented - on time and within budget. Realize increased efficiencies, lower costs and improve profits. As trusted advisors for distributors, manufacturers and service providers, we will help you improve and automate your business processes.
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12-10-2013 / How to Use Synergy ES to Document R&D
12-04-2013 / ERP Can Help You go “Paperless”
12-03-2013 / 5 Factors for Choosing a CRM System
12-02-2013 / Setting Your Software Budget: ERP Training
11-22-2013 / 3 Things your Business Process Assessment Must Do
11-21-2013 / Put Your EDI Software to Work for You
11-19-2013 / Small Businesses Can Stay Ahead with CRM
11-15-2013 / Wholesalers Can Stay Competitive With ERP Software
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There is a lot of information out there on the cloud, and not all of it is entirely accurate. We won’t call it misinformation. However, when a recent survey showed that nearly 50% of adults think that bad weather has an adverse effect on cloud computing, it’s easy to understand why there is so much confusion.
One thing that most everyone agrees upon is that more and more businesses will be shifting their business software into some sort of cloud solution. This is also true of ERP systems. In fact, there are a number of vendors that have either introduced or are developing strictly cloud based ERP solutions.
Understanding the Differences
But what are the differences between cloud ERP, cloud hosted ERP and on-premise ERP? These are 3 very distinct ways that a company can deploy an ERP solution, and understanding the key similarities and differences will help you make the best decision for your organization.
An on-premise solution is the traditional model, where software and applications are housed on a company’s own servers, at their location, which are maintained by their own IT people. In an on-premise solution, you have total autonomy over your ERP software. This has its advantages and disadvantages, which we will explore in tomorrow’s blog.
SaaS vs. Hosted
Where some of the confusion starts to set in is when people start to explore the the difference between a hosted solution vs. a “true” cloud solution, also known as SaaS (software as a service). SaaS solutions are essentially software programs that live on the internet. Probably the most common example is Google Docs, which exists online and stores all of your saved documents online, or “in the cloud.” The contrast to Google Docs would be Microsoft Office, which would be an example of an on-premise software solution.
Cloud hosted software is essentially a hybrid of the on-premise and SaaS models. In a hosted environment, a company will purchase a traditional software license, but instead of installing it on their own servers, they hire a partner to “host” the software in a data center that can be accessed remotely. Again, there are advantages and disadvantages to both SaaS and hosted models that we will discuss tomorrow.
For more information about cloud ERP and whether it is the right solution for your business you can download this free e-book or call The Attivo Group at 877-428-8486.
Exact Synergy ES is commonly known as a CRM system designed to integrate with various Exact ERP solutions. While it is a great tool for managing the sales process, storing customer information and document management, like many CRM systems, it is capable of so much more.
One thing that Synergy can help you with is documenting research and development projects, which in turn can lead to increased sales and tax credits.
Workflow Tracking in Synergy ES
One area where Synergy is very strong is in workflow documentation. When applied to the development of new products, the economic benefits are multidimensional.
Let’s say you manufacture custom parts for the automotive industry. A client calls in requesting a new part that you haven’t previously manufactured, so a new workflow is created. All specifications from the client are logged into the new workflow and a requested delivery date is entered. Based on that delivery date, Synergy can then backtrack and put “finished by” deadlines on each step of the R&D process to ensure delivery.
Once all specs have been logged, the workflow is set up to automatically notify the next stage of development in the process that they have a new job. Your development team takes over the new workflow and designs a prototype. From there it is passed on to manufacturing to actually fabricate the part. Once that is finished, Synergy alerts quality control that it's time for testing. During testing, one of two outcomes are possible: (1) the part passes testing and is put into mass production or (2) it fails testing and is sent back to the development team for tweaks.
Throughout the entire process, Synergy’s Event Manager not only updates your team on the process, but can update your customer as well, keeping them in the loop on what's going on.
The entire process can be documented right down to who exactly worked on the project when, and for how long. Those hours can then be used as an R&D tax credit when filing taxes.
Even more important, by documenting the entire process, especially the testing phase, you make yourself more attractive to other potential clients that have a transparent view of your quality checks and balances, assuring them that they are getting a quality product when they order from you.
For more information on unlocking the full potential of Exact Synergy ES you can download this whitepaper, or call The Attivo Group at 877-428-8486.
By now you’ve probably heard that Amazon is planning on using drones to deliver packages to customers in as little as 30 minutes after the time they place an order. Based on recent Cyber Monday numbers, I envision a not too distant future where Amazon drones flood the sky, blotting out the sun, killing all vegetation on earth and thrusting us into a post-apocalyptic society.
While that scenario might be a tad extreme, the fact remains that in order to stay competitive, distributors need to keep their supply chain running as efficiently as possible. Simply implementing a warehouse management system or EDI solution isn’t enough. So much of your supply chain relies on vendors and suppliers, as well as customers. Here are some of the most common obstacles that stand in the way of a truly efficient supply chain.
Lack of Inclusion with Your Suppliers
It’s all well and good to have internal discussions about software implementation and improved processes. Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely that you wield Amazon like power over your vendors and suppliers and can simply force them to comply with any changes that you are making internally.
Include your suppliers in the conversation. Explain to them the changes that you are considering and sell them on the benefits that it will have for their company as well. Listen to their feedback, and in some cases, be willing to compromise to create a mutually beneficial solution.
Walk a Mile in Your Customer’s Shoes
There are two extremely important considerations that must be made when evaluating the affect a supply chain management change can have on your customers. First and foremost, it is important to understand what the most common complaints of your customer’s are. This can be achieved with a simple survey. There are a number of free services out there that allow you to create custom surveys and e-mail them out to your client list. Understanding complaints can help steer you to the right solutions.
In addition, it is important to realize that any changes made downstream in your supply chain are likely going to have an impact on how things run upstream. Are these changes going to have a positive or negative impact on the customer experience?
Keep Your Employees in the Loop
If you are a regular visitor of this blog you’ll recognize this as a common theme. While final decisions are made by C-Level employees, those executives are rarely the ones actually using a new system or process. For any organization change (in any capacity) to be successful, user adoption is paramount. Include key users in the process and value their feedback.
Training, Training, Training
“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” Whether or not you want to attribute that quote to legendary basketball coach John Wooden or founding father Benjamin Franklin, both men knew what they were talking about. This is yet another common theme at The Attivo Blog. Implementing a new system will never exhibit the ROI you are trying to achieve if you don’t also invest the time and money into training your team on the new system properly.
For more information on how you can make your supply chain more efficient you can download this free whitepaper or call The Attivo Group at 877-428-8486.
It may come as a shock to hear, but despite the fact that mobile technology is becoming more and more ubiquitous in today’s business world, paper usage is increasing at rate of 20% every year. While this is great news for the good folks over at Dunder Mifflin, for the typical business, that adds up to a lot of cost.
Not only is the paper usage itself costly, but the man hours it takes to sift through paper files to find information is a waste of time as well. The good news is that tier 2 ERP solutions like Sage 100 and Exact Macola ES are already equipped with the tools necessary to eliminate a vast majority of paper usage.
Time and Money Wasted
Imagine the amount of time your employees spend searching through documents for vital information or the number of times a document is copied and shared in an office. If you take the time to really think about it, the numbers can be staggering. The more paper intensive a business process is, the more time and money is wasted. This doesn’t even take into account when a hard copy of a file is lost or misplaced. The affects that a misfiled invoice or contract can have on a business’ cash flow can be dramatic.
Where ERP Can Eliminate Paper
Just using the basic functionality of an ERP system can eliminate all paper processes used in accounting. Journals, ledgers and AP/AR can all be filed and stored electronically. Month and year end closing procedures can all be done within the system, eliminating countless hours of man power. Even payroll can be automated within the ERP system, including electronic paystubs that are e-mailed to employees on direct deposit rather than printing out paper paystubs.
EDI software can completely automate invoicing and purchase orders - both incoming and outgoing - eliminating any and all paper usage in these processes. As a byproduct, human error from rekeying information is also eliminated. Integrated CRM software will allow you to attach all contracts and relevant documents to a particular account card. You can even integrate your e-mail into most CRM systems, allowing you to store important e-mails with their associated accounts, eliminating time consuming searches for specific documents.
Best of all, all of these solutions can be converted to electronic files, like a .pdf, meaning that documents can be shared via e-mail rather than having to scan and copy paper documents in order to share them.
ERP software can’t completely eliminate the need for all paper, but it can help to drastically reduce overhead and improve efficiency through paperless processes. The positive impact on the environment can’t be understated either.
For more information on how ERP can help your business go paperless you can call The Attivo Group at 877-428-8486.
photo credit: mali mish via photopin cc
Purchasing CRM software is not only a significant financial commitment, but implementation is also a lengthy process. A fully integrated CRM system can help make a number of your internal processes run more efficiently while also providing valuable business intelligence. But it can only do this if the right questions were asked during the selection process.
Understanding your organization’s needs as well as the capabilities of a CRM package is crucial if you expect a new software implementation to be a worthwhile investment. Below is a list of five things to look at before selecting a new CRM system.
Before you get down to the finer details of an implementation there are a few factors that need to be considered first.
The Advanced Class
Once you’ve got the basics out of the way, it is important to dig a little deeper and really separate one software package from another.
There are dozens of CRM options out there for small and medium sized enterprises. Sifting through them can be a daunting task. For more information about CRM software selection you can call The Attivo Group at 877-428-8486.