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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05-09-2013 / The Who, What, Why and When of Standard Costing
05-06-2013 / Effects of Barcoding Felt Well Beyond the Warehouse
04-29-2013 / Macola in the Cloud: A Match Made in Heaven
04-15-2013 / Understanding the Hidden Savings of Cloud ERP is Key
04-09-2013 / Behind the Numbers: Why Smart Money is on ERP
03-28-2013 / EDI - Taking Your ERP to the Next Level
03-11-2013 / Moving to the Cloud in 4 Easy Steps
03-06-2013 / Looking Past the Shop Floor to Improve Lead Times
02-26-2013 / In the World of Cloud Computing, Speed Can Kill
02-13-2013 / What Exactly is a "Dedicated Cloud"
02-07-2013 / 3 Revenue Pitfalls To Avoid When Moving to the Cloud
01-30-2013 / Where is ERP Heading for 2013?
01-24-2013 / Why Cloud Hosted ERP is Set to Take Off in 2013
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iPad 3 Winner
First things first, the iPad 3 winner. As much as I would have loved to keep this in my office, it's packed and ready to go to it's new owner (drum roll, please): Basilio Martinez, CFO and Corporate Controller of Peninsula Packaging!
Basilio has been the CFO/Corporate Controller for almost 8 years at Peninsula Packaging, and is responsible for Finance and Accounting, as well as all new system implementations. The Attivo Group just finished two Macola ES implementations at their two new acquired facilities.
Winning Feature Submitted by Basilio:
"The advanced manufacturing cost accounting and use of standard costing in Macola." A great feature, and definitely a topic we'll cover in our Lunch Hour of Power (coming soon!).
"We could not be happier with Attivo's dependability and professionalism. Attivo always works within the guidelines established and are continually on schedule."
Thanks, Basilio, and enjoy your new iPad!
During our customer appreciation contest, we asked our client base what software and what feature they liked best with their business software solutions. I created an infographic of our results.
These results will help us to know what features we should cover in our new series 'Lunch Hour of Power' which will start in about a month! You can also expect some blog posts and newsletters on features like inventory control, reporting, security, and traceablity.
Other great features people submitted:
Macola ES, excel add-on: "Saved more time than I could have ever imagined." - John Logan, Ever Fresh Fruit Company
Macola ES, Security rolls: "Enhanced security, prevented users from inadvertently accessing functions that they shouldn't and did not need to access." Scott Kokx, Hydro-Chem Systems
Is there a feature that you don't see that you find helpful or useful in the software you use?
Cloud computing has opened up a whole new world of technology to small businesses that before was only a luxury afforded to large enterprises. By taking advantage of cloud computing services there are scores of benefits for you to enjoy but there are also a few items of concern.
Benefits of Cloud Computing
Among the many benefits of cloud computing are cost reductions in hardware, software, IT staffing, networks, power, cooling and space; and productivity gains brought about by accessibility, communication, collaboration and mobility. Scalability also counts among the other major advantages. Cloud computing’s ease of use is so great, you may already be using it without being aware. Additionally, compared to traditional applications, new applications can be deployed and implemented faster in a cloud computing environment.
Dangers of Cloud Computing
Security and privacy continue as the top concerns of small businesses contemplating the use of cloud services. While these are certainly valid concerns, small businesses that have poor security systems in place may actually be more secure in a cloud environment. Small business cloud computing providers implement security systems for their entire customer base that are far beyond what a small business can do for their own security.
Here are some tips to help you in your transition to the cloud. Your local small business IT support or IT consulting company can often help you with following items.
Most businesses engage in the services of local IT consultants that are familiar with their industry and can perform an onsite IT assessment in order to save time, reduce risks, and develop an effective plan before migrating to the cloud.
Macola Progression vs. Upgrading to Macola Distribution Pro or Macola Manufacturing Pro
OK, so the recession is over, manufacturing is making a comeback in the US, and you’re still using the Exact Macola Progression software that has served you so well over the past 20 years. But it feels like you’re driving your grandfather’s Buick, doesn’t it? Have you ever tried parallel parking that baby? Kind of like with Progression…open this window, open these six others, and then write yet another Crystal report to get the information that you need.
Exact Software made a great corporate decision just a year or so ago to pour some significant development dollars into one of their flagship products, Macola ES. Macola ES already offered plenty of reasons to upgrade from Macola Progression. Macola ES offers much better reporting, easier grid-like screens for data entry, the Excel Add-In for financial reporting, improved security, dramatically improved cash management, and screen design and navigation that just makes life easier. There is no software charge from Exact either, if you’ve been paying maintenance all along.
Macola Distribution Pro and Macola Manufacturing Pro takes Macola ES to the next level. With tight integration to Exact Synergy Enterprise, it becomes a complete end-to-end solution. As a browser-based tool, it provides remote users with all of the CRM tools that they might ever need, eliminating the need for expensive CRM solutions such as Salesforce.com. Quality management tools are included, including a comprehensive document management system that can make ISO 9001 certification, FDA or USDA compliance, or other compliance requirement much easier. Macola’s lot/serial control supports FDA compliance, which is probably the most rigid guidelines for recall management.
Macola Manufacturing or Distribution Pro with Synergy Enterprise has full integration with item management, project management and workflow management. The Exact Event Manager works in the background as the “watchdog and the slave”, tirelessly sending out documents and notifying you of conditions in your data that warrant management attention, such as late PO’s, customers that you haven’t received an order from, or other user-defined conditions. The Exact Event Manager is the only member of your staff that will never ask for a raise or call in sick, either!
The Attivo Group has upgrading Progression down to a science. We start with using the Pulse Archive tool, which The Attivo Group co-developed with Leahy Consulting to dramatically reduce the database size (do you really need 20 years of data clogging things up?). This is followed by a test conversion to see what evil lurks in the data needing to be fixed. We then get the users trained, which is greatly assisted by a substantial library of training videos on the Exact website. Once the forms are readied (they are all Crystal reports based, and easily modified), and any custom reports are reviewed and tested, we plan the cutover and run the final conversion. No major cutoffs are required (like a year-end); most of the time we perform these conversions in the middle of the month when there is less going on.
We do suggest a complete business process assessment prior to doing the conversion to help identify process that need to be streamlined and automated. This only helps to increase the return on investment (ROI) from the project.
So what’s holding you back? We’d like to hear what the reasons are. It might be easier than you think. Contact us so we can discuss your unique requirements.(image provided by mrkholcomb Images on Flickr)
For a small to mid-size businesses, such as a manufacturer or distributor, an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system implementation can cost upwards of $50,000, and hundreds of man hours to implement. Considering that, it’s important that the implementation is done the right way the first time, making sure that your business processes are streamlined, workflow systemized and automated, and operating costs reduced. If it’s not, it can cost your organization profitability, and lead to hours of pull-your-hair-out frustration.
While reading a great article on ERP Software mistakes and how to avoid them, I thought it would be a great opportunity to write our own blog post on the same subject for our readers. The below 12 mistakes help you, the CIO, CEO, COO or CFO to help your company make the right decision on choosing your ERP software provider and business software solutions partner, and what to expect from them.
ERP Software Mistake #1: Poor planning. Just like with any major milestone in life or in business, planning is essential. You can’t just throw in any old ERP software package and hope for the best. The first part of planning is a thorough review of the business processes you currently have. Armed with that information, you can understand what is and what isn’t working for your business, what you would like to automate, and what you would like to outsource.
At The Attivo Group, Inc.:
1. Our very first step to planning is completing a business process analysis. We learn your processes, pains, and where money seems to be seeping out of your business.
2. Working with you, we arrive at solutions that can streamline and automate the processes, cutting costs and time spent.
3. Lastly, we train your staff on the new processes so that your business doesn’t just have new software, but a better way to do business.
ERP Software Mistake #2: Not properly vetting ERP vendors. Do you go and buy a new car without reviewing a single consumer report? Why would it be any different for when you’re selecting an ERP vendor? Ask for at least 3 references for any service provider before signing a contract – including yourERP software implementation partner.
ERP Software Mistake #3: Not understanding or using key features. ERP software has amazing capabilities, but that doesn’t mean you need to become an expert on the software your company uses – just an expert on what you need your ERP software to do. With understanding your needs, a good ERP implementation partner will be able to help you automate business processes, complete functions faster and meet business objectives. It’s important that your ERP implementation partner also offers training and on-going support to help you through upgrades, track usage, and offer yearly reviews that reviews the features being used and which can be the most helpful.
ERP Software Mistake #4: Underestimating the time and resources required. Let’s be honest, ERP software implementation can take some serious manhours. The simplest way to tell how many manhours a software will take is to take the cost of the ERP software and divide by 100. It’s not the best estimate, but it gets you around the ball-park figure. However, that’s only if you’re going to be using an experienced ERP implementation partner. If you’re using an in-house IT person, you’ll need to at least double or triple that number.
To help reduce this time, it’s important that the company dedicates a project manager for the ERP implementation.
ERP Software Mistake #5: Not having the right people on the team from the start. Once you make the decision on an ERP software implementation partner, you need to start involving all future major users of the software involved – not just IT. This includes key people from finance, operations, manufacturing, purchasing and warehouse management. Each department is going to have a different set of requirements, and to help save time and reduce mistakes that can derail an ERP implementation; their input will insure their support and success of the new system.
ERP Software Mistake #6: Not setting priorities. Have you ever read and replied to emails while on a conference call? Didn’t work all that well, did it? You might have gotten the gist of the conversation, but not the specifics, and in the end you might have asked for someone to repeat something in-order to respond. The same is true for an ERP system implementation.
"When implementing an ERP system, the single most important thing one can do to minimize delays and accelerate time to completion is to reduce multitasking," says Yoav Ziv, vice president, Realization , a project management specialist. "People work much slower when they are juggling multiple tasks and constantly switching gears," he argues. Therefore, creating a priority system should be a top priority for IT managers. "The priority system should not only indicate when to do which tasks, but should also provide managers with the issues they need to resolve, per priority," he says. In addition, "ERP implementation managers need to implement a rigorous issue resolution process to act upon those signals and remove issues immediately in order to avoid delays."
ERP Software Mistake #7: Not investing in training and change management. An ERP system is not going to be totally intuitive, so ERP training is a key investment in a successful ERP implementation. Any lack of training will result in misinformation, misuse and a general sense of frustration among your employees. Plus, it’s not going to happen after one training session. It’s important to be open to questions and re-training to insure a favorable outcome.
ERP Software Mistake #8: Underestimating the importance of accurate data. Mind reading has not been implemented in ERP software packages, so it is important that proper programming and procedural parameters are put in place in the beginning to minimize the likelihood of errors.
ERP Software Mistake #9: Taking the kitchen sink approach. ERP software cannot do everything, no matter how flexible, powerful or expensive. This is where planning, assessments and prioritizing process automation is important. If you try to make your ERP software to run your entire business, you’ll be sorely disappointed. However, there are many applications that can run seamlessly with each other, so although data may not be all stored in the same software, the data can ‘talk’ to each other seamlessly.
ERP Software Mistake #10: Not decommissioning legacy applications. Trying to reduce cost and waste? Then one important rule of thumb for implementing new ERP software is to plan the decommission of legacy applications during implementation. There’s no need to move over all the original legacy applications that you need to upgrade and interface with your new ERP system.
ERP Software Mistake #11: Not having an active testing environment . A few users will not give you an accurate picture of real-world of using this new system – you need an active load testing environment that allows your staff to actively use it. This will help in avoiding unplanned downtime and a smoother transition.
ERP Software Mistake #12: Not having a maintenance strategy. This not only speaks to the on-going support of an ERP software support organization, but also from the upgrades and software maintenance. Cloud based solutions are great for insuring that upgrades and maintenance is maintained.
Have an ERP software implementation issue or solution not covered above that you would like to share? Please leave a comment.
Have you ever called Dell Computer and ordered a laptop or other computer, and the salesperson starts playing 20 questions with you? “What size hard drive did you want…the 300 GB standard, or the optional 500 GB or 750 GB? The unit comes with 4 GB of RAM…would you like to order the 6 GB or 8 GB option? How about warranty? etc., etc.” The end result is a computer customized to your request, one of potentially thousands of unique model permutations, if you do some simple math.
This is what a Configurator is used for — to create a unique Bill of Materials for your computer order. The salesperson (or self-service website) used a special module in their order entry system to allow selection from a finite list of options available for each feature of the computer. The hard drive feature had three options — the 300 GB standard, plus the 500 and 750 GB options. Those two options also carried an up-charge of some kind, added to the final price. Other options, such as choice of color, may not have any price difference.
Exact Software’s Macola Manufacturing Pro and Macola Distribution Pro both have a built-in configurator as part of the package that makes build-to-order product sales a snap to setup and use. Exact ecommerce web store application supports the configurator tool, as well, making it a seamless integration between your ecommerce website, order entry system, and manufacturing assembly. Feature items are by definition make to order, so Macola eliminates the need to create a production order by automatically creating the assembly order for you. It also supports dependencies and exclusions, meaning “if you order this, you can’t have that, or you must have this” logic.
Tired of setting up and maintaining hundreds of items when you should only need to set up one? Then it is time to consider the surprisingly affordable ERP Macola Manufacturing Pro or Macola Distribution Pro and integrated ecommerce software solution. And wait until you see how easy the Macola implementation and Macola support experts at The Attivo Group make the whole experience for you!