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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A recent survey done by MFG.com provides some positive signs that US manufacturing industry is making a comeback. For years, jobs have been outsourced abroad to countries like China and India. The financial advantages of cheap labor outweighed the convenience of sourcing jobs closer to home. But steady improvement in labor conditions abroad are starting to make domestic manufacturers more competitive on price, and some jobs are coming back home.
The Wage Gap is Closing
According to the survey, the average hourly wage of a worker in China has increased by nearly 700% in the last decade. While the improved average hourly wage is still cheaper than what can be found domestically, it has served to begin to level the playing field. Couple the closing gap in wages with the fact that orders can be turned around and shipped from the manufacturer to the end destination much more quickly domestically, and business is starting to trickle back to US shores. In fact, of the manufacturers that responded to the MFG.com survey, 40% said that they have regained business that had previously been lost overseas. Those numbers are both a reason for optimism and a little bit of anxiety.
Are Manufacturers Ready for a Boom?
One of the industries hardest hit by the recession was the manufacturing industry. Mass layoffs were common, and as a result, the labor force has been forced to retrain and rejoin the workforce in different careers. The issue that manufacturers could now face is a lack of qualified workers to fill positions needed. As business slowly trickles back, so do jobs. But it’s difficult for an individual to leave a steady paycheck to return to an industry that still hasn’t fully recovered — a much more uncertain situation.
Over the course of the past several years, manufacturers have had to become more agile. Whether that meant cutting the work force or reorganize their business processes to be able to take on smaller jobs while remaining profitable, the industry has managed to survive. But a labor force that was desperate for jobs seems to have moved on just as the demand for skilled labor seems to be rising.
Make no mistake about it; with the number of unemployed in
the United States still in the tens of millions, there are plenty of
individuals eager to rejoin the workforce.
Training those individuals might fall on the shoulders of the
manufacturers themselves. But if business is returning, and the path to growth
runs parallel to the need for more skilled labor, that might be an investment
worth making for some manufacturers.
What do you do when you have over 20 years of industry knowledge and a contact list of industry experts thicker than a phone book? Why you start a podcast so you can share that knowledge and expertise with the people that would find it most useful.
On Wednesday, July 25th, the Attivo Group will be launching the first installment of a monthly podcast called The Supply Chain Gang. We will be bringing expert panelists for each discussion where we will be tackling issues facing the manufacturing and distribution industries.
Orange Jumpsuit Not Required
Today’s economic challenges can have a tendency for small and mid-market businesses to feel trapped by their current circumstances — either unable or unwilling to grow and expand due to any number of factors.
It’s very easy to feel like a prisoner of an outdated software system or feel chained to the old ways of doing things. Change is rarely easy and it’s never completely free. But change is often the difference between keeping your head above water and thriving.
Our goal each month is to provide creative solutions to common problems. We hope to provide a different angle of attack for the challenges that manufacturers and distributors face each and every day.
When you think of a chain gang, it probably conjures up images of prisoners working on the side of the road, while officers armed with shotguns watch their every move. Ironically, our first podcast will focus on security threats that manufacturing and distribution companies face, both online and the physical world.
Our “chain gang” is a group of experts on keeping the bad guys out. Our first panel includes Ronald D. Heil, a former Air Force officer and antiterrorism expert. He is a Certified Protection Professional who will provide insight into keeping your physical operations safe from threats.
Knowing that the manufacturing and distribution industries are also a part of the technological revolution, we have enlisted the expertise of a virtual security expert, George Waller. Waller helped found StrikeForce Technologies, and holds multiple software patents designed specifically to prevent data breaches and identity theft.
We invite anyone who is interested in hearing more about security solutions for the manufacturing and distribution industry to join us on Wednesday, July 25th at 10:00 a.m. PST. For those that can’t join us, the podcast will be available on-demand here.We can’t wait to launch this program and look forward to your feedback. If there are any topics that you want us to talk about in the future, feel free to leave us a comment right below this blog post
While there is no doubt that we live in a digital world, there are still quite a few people that haven’t gotten the memo. While it might seem that everyone you know has a smartphone in their pocket, a recent study by comScore showed that less than 30% of the US population has a smartphone. And while you can buy everything from a new refrigerator to the groceries that go in it online, e-commerce retail sales still only account for less than 10% of all retail sales in the US.
That said, brick and mortar retail stores see online shopping as a huge threat, and are taking their fight to congress…again.
A couple of years ago the state of California passed a law requiring the collection of sales taxes by e-commerce retailers based in the state of California. The result of that decision was that big online retailers like Amazon immediately cut ties with all California based affiliates. The State eventually reached a compromise with Amazon, delaying the inevitable, and allowing California based online retailers to continue doing business through Amazon without having to collect sales taxes.
The issue has resurfaced in recent weeks - this time with national implications. A bill is circulating through Congress that would require all online retailers to collect sales tax on all purchases. To further complicate things, the tax that would be charged would be based on where the purchase is being shipped to, rather than based on where the e-commerce company is located.
Surprisingly, Amazon is completely supporting the new bill, which appears to e a total 180 from their position two years ago. Why exactly they have decided to do this is a completely different blog post. For now, if this bill becomes a law, any company that offers national shipping would have to calculate sales taxes for nearly 15,000 different jurisdictions across the United States. Yes, 15 THOUSAND.
Needless to say, for smaller businesses, this would be nearly impossible to manage on their own. There are tax software programs like Avalara Avatax, designed specifically to manage this particular aspect of running a business, but that might not be enough to keep small operations above water.
Even with the benefit of sales tax software, it may be difficult for smaller businesses to survive if the competitive price advantage offered online is lost. As expected, brick and mortar stores are all in favor of the proposed bill, saying the current loophole that online retailers are using to avoid charging sales tax gives them an unfair competitive advantage.
It is estimated that state economies lose out on a combined $23 billion in sales tax revenues not collected — half of which is directly lost through online purchases that aren’t taxed. Obviously, given the current economic climate, cash strapped states are trying to capture any revenue slipping through their nets. What sort of impact that has on small businesses with an online presence only remains to be seen.
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We’ve talked about cloud computing in the past here at the Attivo Blog. At this point, chances are that you understand the basics of cloud computing. And odds are that your e-mail and some of your other day to day computing needs are already utilizing a cloud based solution. But the idea of moving everything offsite either hasn’t crossed your mind or has become the subject of a lot of debate and even more meetings between multiple departments.
We’d like to help you move forward on this issue, even if it is to help you realize that cloud computing isn’t a good fit for you. That’s why we are offering an on-demand webinar that will answer all of the questions that you have most likely been asking your management team. The webinar has been divided into two videos and can be watched at your convenience, shared with your team.
What Is Cloud Computing?
By now you probably have a general idea of what cloud computing is. You probably even have some applications in the cloud, like e-mail. But we want to provide a brief but thorough overview of various cloud hosting options and explain the differences so you can move past that initial hurdle.
What to Expect from a Cloud Hosted ERP or CRM System?
You’ve seen the benefits of a cloud based e-mail solution. You’ve might even have your basic applications like Microsoft Office hosted in the cloud. But the idea of moving the lifeblood of your business into the cloud can be intimidating. We take some time out to provide you with realistic expectations of how your ERP and CRM systems will perform in the cloud.
We’re not all talk either. We will provide a live demo of Macola ERP and CRM systems running in the cloud. Even if you run an ERP or CRM solution from someone other than Exact, this will give you a great understanding of how your current systems will look in the cloud.
Still Not Sold on the Cloud?
At this point, you might be satisfied with the functionality of an ERP or CRM system in the cloud, but you still have questions. How secure is the cloud? Is my data safe? Is it backed up anywhere? What sort of tech support will a get if I move everything offsite?
These questions are important to ask, and they aren’t very difficult to understand if you’re asking the right person. Thankfully for you, we’re the right people to be asking. We’ll cover all of those questions and more.
Brass Tacks: What’s This Going to Cost?
At the end of the day, functionality and security might be secondary concerns to cost. We understand how budgets have tightened in the current economy. While the concept of cloud computing might be nebulous, pricing should never be abstract. We’ll close the webinar with a clear, easy to understand, overview of the Attivo Dedicated Cloud’s pricing structure to help you make a fully informed decision.
While all the pieces of this on-demand webinar may or may not add up for you, we will help you take the discussion of cloud computing out of the conference room and provide a more tangible understanding of the outlay required to transition into a cloud based solution for your business.
When people think of CRM software, they immediately think of a program designed to help their customer service. It’s a logical conclusion to jump to considering that CRM stands for Customer Relations Management. But a robust CRM system like Exact Synergy CRM offers so much more than that.
In addition to general CRM functions, a robust CRM solution should also be able to help a company manage their human resources, workflow and project management, inventory management, as well as organize all documents in one central location that can be accessed by anyone.
When it comes to Synergy, there really is no install exactly like another. Its multiple features and customization is what helps it stand apart from most other CRM software packages available on the market.
Because Synergy is so unique and capable of tackling so many different tasks, we have put together a PDF document detailing real world applications of this software by our clients. You can access the document here, and continue reading after the break for an excerpt of the document.
Can Inventory Items be Shown in Synergy?
Yes, items are either uploaded from a Macola Back Office software package, or they may be Synergy Only Items used in capturing data used in workflow requests. An example of an Item Card is shown below.
From this screen, a Resource may click on a link to see all Orders for a specific item.
Additional links will allow a Resource to view Documents, see Production or Shop Floor Orders, Purchase Orders, Inventory levels of a particular item.