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Chuck Oliver

Technician wearing an orange hardhat while working with machinery.

5 Ways ERP improves productivity in discrete manufacturing

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, ERP, Manufacturing | No Comments
Technician wearing an orange hard hat working with machinery.

Manufacturing ERP solutions help companies plan production, manage inventory and optimize supply chains.

For discrete manufacturers, efficiency pays off. Whether it’s managing supply chains, logistics, warehouses, inventory, distribution or finances, efficient operations lead to more productivity, faster turnaround times and satisfied customers.

Discrete manufacturing customers benefit from using an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that drives efficiency at every turn. Instead of using generic business software tools, consider a manufacturing ERP that gives your company better operational efficiency. Here are 5 ways ERP improves productivity in discrete manufacturing.

Tip #1: Manage your scheduling better

A manufacturing ERP system helps in planning all facets of production. With Acumatica ERP for discrete manufacturing, your business can plan materials and resources, including equipment, capacity, people and skills. Acumatica’s manufacturing ERP software lets you coordinate demand management, forecasting, material planning, master scheduling, and capacity planning. All these functions integrate with finance, HR, procurement and inventory management.

Tip #2: Project costing with improved accuracy

Cost management requires collecting and using data throughout the manufacturing process. Your Acumatica ERP system can collect cost data and embed that information throughout the business. By placing cost information into functions such as bill of material and routing, production management, inventory management, purchase order management, estimating and sales order management, your company can better predict and manage cost-related decisions. This solution lets your track purchases to a specific work order, support substitute operations and materials, and track stock and non-stock materials to be used for a production order.

Tip #3: Keep track of inventory

Inventories are the key to keeping production on track. Inventory management software helps you manage costs, multiple warehouse locations, different valuation methods, and matrixed inventory needs. Acumatica’s inventory management tools include expiration date management, lot and serial numbering, transaction reason codes, two-step transfers, inventory bin and location controls, inventory sub-item management and automated purchase orders. Integrate your inventory management with CRM tools, allowing for sales order discounting and promotion, transparent relationship management and shared contact information.

Technician working on machinery.

The Acumatica ERP helps manage inventory and warehouses for optimal efficiency and better customer service.

Tip #4: Gain control of your supply chain

Whether your business is make-to-order, make-to-stock or engineer-to-order, repetitive or batch manufacturing, having a clear view of your supply chain management is important. Gain transparency throughout your supply chain with a single source of truth via automated business processes, real-time data collection and analysis, financial analysis and business forecasting that help with supplier management and production costs. With Acumatica, the software scales as your business grows, allowing for better supplier relationships and expansion that’s not slowed by technology.

Tip #5: Boost customer satisfaction with better warehouse management

Knowing where orders and finished goods stand is essential for positive customer relationships. Advanced warehouse operations improve receiving, inventory management and order fulfillment functions. Scanning solutions using barcodes and mobile devices lead to less waste, reduced costs and more satisfied customers.

Acumatica’s discrete manufacturing ERP solution is an agile, integrated way to manage your business. At NexTec, we help companies identify, implement and optimize their business software to maximize ROI and keep operations running smoothly. NexTec and Acumatica are the right partners when you want an ERP solution platform that keeps your company connected, efficient and operating at peak levels.

Multiple plastic boxes holding various items.

Manage suppliers to optimize your professional services company

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, ERP, Professional Services | No Comments
Multiple plastic storage boxes stacked with items.

How much do your supplies really cost?

Managing supplies as a professional services organization looks and functions differently than supplies in a manufacturing setting. Instead of dealing with volume orders of chemicals, lumber, or hardware, you’re making sure you have enough light bulbs, paper products, toner, and desk supplies to help your employees serve your clients.

Still, there’s no doubt that having an efficient, reliable process for tracking and replenishing inventory is critical to business success. Your accounting system plays an important role in categorizing items properly and keeping up with expenditures to stay on budget and bill your clients with precision.

All of the above can be accomplished confidently with an ERP software like Acumatica. From financial reporting to supplies management, ERP software for professional services provides 360-degree value to fill gaps in your operations and maintain profitability.

Record accurate pricing for supplies

Woman writing on a document.

Tracking the cost of supplies is essential for bookkeeping and billing.

Professional services rely on good financial management throughout the organization, and the way you monitor supplies contributes to the overall bottom line. Maintaining accurate prices in your ERP system can help you improve ordering decisions and avoid getting hit with surprise price increases or surcharges that could cause you to go overbudget.

More importantly, using an ERP solution for supplies management can give you data-driven insights into the supplies you use and how often you replenish them in a given period. Though it might not seem like a huge expense to order a box of paper clips or a case of paper, these items can add up quickly — and once you start tracking them, you might be surprised at just how much your supplies add to your overhead!

Allocate resources to projects

When resources aren’t appropriately included in a quote for service, you run the risk of two potential errors: either billing your clients above the quoted price, which could reflect poorly on your professional image or eating the cost, which will impact your projects.

Forecasting project management costs prior to beginning work serves a dual purpose to your clients and organization as a whole. Clients can rely on accurate quotes for service without incurring expenses that haven’t been budgeted for (or inaccurately budgeted for). Using an ERP, you can gain an instant look at available resources, reserve them for specific projects, and track their costs — all while ensuring your clients are billed accordingly.

Streamline reliable billing processes

Person typing on a laptop computer while looking at sales receipts.

Accurate billing affects your bottom line.

The planning aspect in Acumatica Enterprise Resource Planning software allows you to gain a bird’s eye view into your organization so you can trade guesswork for data. You may find ways to reduce costs, make your team more mindful of the supplies they consume, and ensure the price you charge your clients accurately reflect your overhead.

The analytics and reporting tools in Acumatica ensure supplies are ordered, managed, and properly accounted for. In return, professional services organizations are better equipped to bill their clients to reflect true overhead costs rather than estimations.

As a leading Acumatica partner, NexTec works with professional service providers to customize and deploy ERP solutions and maximize your ROI. Take the Acumatica Product Tour and discover how it can help you manage suppliers for higher profitability.

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Boost billable hours, satisfy professional services clients with your ERP software

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, ERP, Professional Services | No Comments

Two colleagues looking at information on documents and a laptop computer.

Are you leaving money on the table? Many professional service providers often underestimate their billable hours, which means that you’re losing money every time you send out an invoice.

A recent study found that attorneys spend about 30% of their workday on billable activities, or roughly 2.8 hours of an 8-hour workday. Alarmingly, the average invoice only bills the client for 1.9 hours — that’s nearly one free hour of work per day!

This problem isn’t unique to law professionals, either. Anyone who relies on billing clients by the hour, including financial and accounting firms, freelancers, consultants, architects, and others, may find themselves with a significant revenue leak.

Rather than relying on guesswork, professional service providers may find it beneficial to use an ERP system that’s made specifically for the service industry. Here’s how a professional services ERP can help you track billable hours to increase your profits without increasing your workload.

Automate time tracking

Computer keyboard with the enter key labeled time tracking.

Empower automation to keep track of your time.

By definition, billable hours are the time spent working on client activities that you can charge for. Many service-related businesses base their fees on an hourly rate to fairly charge the client for work performed. However, this requires businesses to keep an accurate record of their hours every day — a task that’s complicated when working with multiple clients and projects.

Many professionals try to do this manually, which can be quite cumbersome depending on the size and scope of your business. Spreadsheets can get messy, plus you’re devoting extra time to manual entry and organization, not to mention invoicing.

Instead, professional services ERP solutions can track time automatically using a digital timer. You can assign times to each client within the ERP system and let your software take care of logging and calculating times.

Back your billable hours up with hard data

One of the biggest advantages of using an ERP solution instead of manual spreadsheets is an ERP’s ability to back up all billable hours with hard data – data that can be mined for insights over time. If a client wants to see how time was spent or how you calculated your time, you can pull up data from the ERP system to support your work.

Invoice your clients faster and more accurately

Person typing on their laptop.

Complicated invoicing can shrink your profits.

When you have accurate records, you can create and process invoices with confidence and eliminate much of the back-and-forth with clients. Each invoice is generated from the data within the ERP system, so there’s no chance that billable hours can fall through the cracks. You’ll notice an increase in profits without an increase in your workload.

Acumatica: The professional services ERP solution

Acumatica is a leading professional service ERP solution designed to tackle tough time-tracking challenges and other gaps in efficiency for service providers.

As a leading Acumatica partner, NexTec can help you implement and launch your ERP system to ensure you enjoy its fullest potential. Our goal is to get your ERP system live and functional as quickly as possible, along with helping you onboard to start reaping the benefits.

Take the Acumatica Product Tour to learn how we can help you collect every dollar you’re owed.

Two people in a warehouse.

Managing credit terms with suppliers in your distribution business

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, Distribution / Supply Chain, ERP | No Comments
Two people in a warehouse.

Securing trade credit from your suppliers helps your distribution business maintain positive cash flow and great vendor relationships.

Credit management is a sound investment for any business, no matter where they are in the supply chain.

In distribution, offering credit to suppliers gives them financial flexibility to make money, which in turn allows your business to earn more profits. The same goes for your business when seeking credit from your own vendors and suppliers.

Business credit comes with risks and opportunities. It also means having the right distribution business software for managing credit with suppliers in your distribution business as part of a bigger picture in vendor or customer management.

The pros and cons of trade credit

Trade credit is a business-to-business agreement that allows for the purchase of goods and services without paying cash up front. Typically, these agreements allow suppliers to pay 30, 60 or 90 days after an invoice is issued. It’s a way for suppliers to finance purchases on credit by deferring payment, often to account for cash flow variances.

Here are some of the core advantages for distributors:

  • Better Cash Flow. Pay your suppliers after you’ve sold your goods, reducing your risk and allowing you to ride periods of financial instability
  • Ensure Supply. You can reduce the risk of not having a regular supply of goods if demand spikes by conserving cash flow and having access to sought-after goods
  • Better Insights. Suppliers are more likely to provide you with market information on trends related to your products if they are relying on you to pay on future sales
  • Improved Creditworthiness. By demonstrating reliable payback patterns, you raise your creditworthiness with vendors and have good credit references

On the other side, trade credit does carry some risk. Penalties can be steep if you miss repayment times. This can hurt your credit rating down the road. And if cash flow becomes an issue due to declining sales, you can find yourself in a deep hole.

Woman wearing a yellow hard hat and reflective vest while holding a clipboard.

Trade credits can be beneficial to all parties in the distribution business if managed well with the right ERP solution.

Managing distribution trade credits

With Acumatica’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, your accounts payable operation gains access to shared data, customizable tools and integrated management of cash flow and credit. It’s the distribution ERP that helps your business manage money and relationships.

Among the core features in Acumatica’s distribution ERP accounts payable software are solutions that ensure invoices are paid and vendor relationships are strong. It’s all accessible via the cloud and a connected web browser.

Top Acumatica accounts payable features include:

  • Vendor Prepayments
  • Prepaid Expense Recognition
  • Automated Approval and Payment
  • Automated Use Tax, Withholding Tax and VAT Functions
  • Vendor Payment Processing
  • AP Linking of Vendors to Accounts in the General Ledger
  • Currency Management
  • Automated Recurring Bill Generation
  • Vendor Refund Management
  • AP Aging Reports
  • 1099 Reporting
  • Vendor Account Security
  • Audit Trail Management
  • Source Document Management

With advanced automation solutions, Acumatica offers key advantages to your accounts payable business, including:

  • Streamlined Processes. Approve invoices, create process flows and create optimized workflows that reduce reliance on manual operations
  • Optimized Payments. Prevent late fees and leverage vendor discounts with payments that align to your cash flows
  • Error Reduction. Intuitive user screens allow for productive, efficient and accurate data entry

NexTec works with distributors to select, install and optimize business software. Let NexTec help you find the right distribution ERP that keeps cash flows and vendor relations at peak performance levels.

Ready to learn more? Give Acumatica a try.

Common manufacturing supply chain problems from COVID-19 (+ Best Practices)

By | COVID-19, ERP, Manufacturing | No Comments
Worker moving large boxes with a machine.

Manufacturers are facing significant supply chain disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted manufacturing companies across industrial sectors. As the crisis shows no signs of easing soon, businesses are beginning to grapple with significant supply chain management issues.

The prevailing challenges and disruptions are reinforcing the value of using enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions to help mitigate supply chain issues. Here is a look at the common manufacturing supply chain problems from COVID-19 (+ best practices).

The scope of concern with supply chains

A survey by the Institute for Supply Management in mid-March highlighted the concerns companies have about the risk to supply chains. Among the findings:

  1. Nearly 75 percent of companies surveyed reported some supply chain disruptions due to the pandemic
  2. 16 percent reported needing to adjust revenue projections by an average of 5.6 percent
  3. 57 percent reported longer lead times from Chinese suppliers, with lead times double compared to 2019
  4. Companies are predicting more severe supply chain disruptions beginning the second quarter of 2020
  5. 44 percent of respondents have no plan to address supply chain disruptions from China

Building supply chain resilience

Recent global supply chain disruptions have prompted industries to rethink their approaches to inventory management. The popular phrase for this is “building supply chain resilience.” Such supply chain models have the following attributes:

  • Forecasting to detect early warning signs of supply chain disruptions and prompt responses to shift production and sourcing accordingly
  • A diversified supplier base
  • Contingency plans to use backup suppliers
  • Understanding your suppliers’ supply chains and identifying issues in those second- and third-degree sources

“Unfortunately, with something like COVID-19, an epidemic that is affecting large swaths of the world and threatening to turn into a pandemic, even the best-laid contingency plans may prove inadequate,” noted Goker Aydin of the Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School in a recent article.

Technician writing on a clipboard next to machinery.

Manufacturers need integrated ERP solutions that improve inventory management to handle COVID-19 disruptions to the supply chain.

How ERP solutions help reduce the risk

Manufacturing ERP software helps manufacturers address supply chain risks with tools that allow for better collaboration, insights and integration with suppliers and partners.

With the Acumatica Cloud ERP, for example, your business can leverage an integrated inventory management solution. Here are some of the core benefits and features of the Acumatica Cloud ERP solutions:

  • Real-Time Visibility. Improve decision-making and customer service with real-time insights into available inventory, goods in transit, inventory costs and reorder quantities. These tools help reduce held inventory and optimize quoting and fulfillment
  • Automated Procurement. Identify the right times to reorder and eliminate manual inventory tracking with streamlined supply chain management tools. Customize your data fields, generate predictive forecasts and access real-time reports for deeper insights into your supply chain
  • Stock Traceability. Acumatica Cloud ERP provides inventory traceability at every stage with tracking based on lot and serial numbers. Granular features allow for subcategories and details such as location data and expiration dates to improve efficiency and reduce waste
  • Reduced Order Times. Automated sales order processing reduces delays and allows for rules-based management of multiple warehouse sites, returns and purchasing
  • Inventory Accounting. Avoid financial errors by connecting your inventory and accounting processes, with updated transactional records and on-demand documentation
  • Single Source of Data. With one source of information, you eliminate data silos and reentry of information, leading to fewer mistakes and better collaboration across the enterprise.

NexTec helps your manufacturing company select the right ERP and business software. Find out how Acumatica stacks up against the leading systems on the market in this free report.

Technicians standing outside a garage door.

3 Ways field services businesses use ERP to plan around the COVID-19 crisis

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, ERP, Field Services | No Comments

Technicians standing outside a garage door.The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the field services industry in numerous ways. Many companies have implemented protective measures to ensure the safety of their employees and the customers they serve.

Businesses are asking screening questions while on service calls to find out if anyone in a household has been ill before sending service technicians to residences. Some local areas may also temporarily prohibit service calls, while customers may opt to wait until the pandemic lifts before allowing anyone into their homes.

Guidelines are being established to handle new virus protocols. These new changes are impacting business on all sides, and companies need a way to track all this new information.

As the national number of COVID-19 cases increased, companies tightened their service call policies. For example, many limited calls to only functional repairs, while some service providers did not work in zip codes where a great number of cases had been reported. Employees are also concentrating on sanitizing parts and other products, wearing face masks, and taking other health measures to ensure the virus is not transmitted.

Field service companies need a way to keep track of all the new information coming down the pipeline. According to a recent study, field service management is expected to grow at a compound growth rate (CGR) of 16.2%. This means that a field service market valued at $2.8 billion in 2019 will reach $5.9 billion in 2024.

Acumatica Field Service Edition is a great way to manage these changes as they arise.

What is Acumatica Field Service Edition?

Acumatica Field Service Edition is designed to increase productivity while promoting the organization. The Field Service Edition helps companies in any industry track a wide range of data and services. The tool lets you maintain a real-time view of business activities by integrating field service operations with the back office.

Acumatica helps improve field service management by streamlining dispatching and reducing response times. You can minimize costs across the board while improving customer experience. Here are three benefits you will gain by using this tool.

1. Manage scheduling

Field service technicians juggle many appointments in one day, which sometimes makes it difficult to assist customers in a timely manner. The COVID-19 crisis has forced many companies to use a skeleton crew due to answering fewer service calls. Acumatica Field Service Edition includes sophisticated scheduling features that allow flexible or last-minute scheduling when emergencies arise.

2. Manage inventory

Supply lines often experience disruption during times of crisis, and the COVID-19 pandemic is certainly no exception. The Acumatica Field Service Edition helps technicians and other field services employees keep track of inventory. This decreases delays that can occur when such information is not readily available and makes scheduling appointments easier.

3. Track costs

Tracking costs can minimize cash flow issues. During COVID-19, field service companies are looking for ways to save money, which makes this feature even more relevant. Acumatica allows you to keep track of all costs such as time, materials, and labor.

You can also compare the actual costs of a project with original estimates. The tool lets you revise and manage budgets in real-time so the most up-to-date information is always available.

Field service managers face many common challenges. According to a recent survey, 46% of companies report one of their biggest issues is keeping up with increasing demand from customers. The Acumatica Field Service Edition is equipped with all the features you need to meet those demands while improving the customer experience.

Want to get the most out of the Acumatica Field Service Edition? Contact NexTec for more information and begin streamlining your business processes today.

Find out how Acumatica stacks up against the leading systems on the market in this free report and Take the Acumatica software tour.

 

ERP

Field Services: Understand needs and build strong client relationships

By | ERP, Field Services | No Comments
Technician working on computer hardware.

Field services may not seem people-centered, but they can build strong business relationships.

Are you looking for technology that will place client information at your fingertips when you need it most? Field services technicians spend a lot of time serving customers in their homes or businesses. Understanding their needs upon arrival can be a strong differentiator for providing top-notch service.

Forming personalized connections leads to customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. People are turning to digital channels to find answers and solutions, often preferring this type of experience over traditional communication methods. According to a recent field service study, 45% of field technicians feel their tools aren’t fast enough, a problem that can be solved with the use of mobile software.

This technology is proving cost-effective for business owners by giving employees access to the most up-to-date information in real-time. It’s also easy to manage.

Improve the customer journey

Customers often prefer to experience products and make purchases from the comfort of their own homes. A field visit adds human interaction to the customer journey.

Once the customer has conducted research and made inquiries using technology, the field technician can provide further assistance in the form of an in-person connection. This can improve the customer experience by continuing to nurture the customer relationship.

As customers broaden the range of devices used for making purchases and acquiring services, the nature of the field service must change. Customers conduct much of their research before receiving a visit from the field services technician. Because of this, industry employees need to equip themselves with the right information ahead of time.

Machine-to-machine communications allow field services employees to collect and automate data more frequently. Artificial intelligence and advanced data analytics solutions help business leaders create models that predict possible issues before they occur.

Woman wearing a headset while sitting at her desk.

The right field services ERP makes things easier for dispatchers, supervisors, and field technicians.

Address field services challenges

The field services industry is presented with numerous challenges every day. Acumatica software can help mitigate issues by placing important information in the hands of employees so they can meet customer needs and improve the customer experience. Here are some examples.

Preventing the need for return visits

Return visits occur because of incomplete or inaccurate information. These visits are costly, and can be avoided by providing field services employees the information they need to complete the job during the first visit.

Acumatica allows employees to access this information prior to the visit and on-site. Knowing details such as accurate location data and the correct equipment will enable technicians to solve the problem the first time around.

Providing quick response for repair requests

Another challenge businesses face is knowing when critical repairs are necessary. Equipment typically includes sensors that alert businesses when such an issue occurs. Wireless technologies and the Internet of Things (IoT) give technicians the information needed to avoid larger repairs.

Benefits of using a mobile ERP

A mobile enterprise resource plan (ERP) system provides many benefits. Field services workers can make better decisions if they have the right information readily available when working in the field. Finances Online reported ERP software accumulates more than 25 billion dollars each year, proving its usefulness in the field services industry.

Acumatica Field Services Edition is an ERP system that provides employees access to valuable information while keeping employees at headquarters constantly connected to the field staff. This solution allows workers to access information on a smartphone or other mobile device, which increases productivity. NexTec can provide the answers and solutions you need to successfully implement Acumatica into your daily business processes today.

Field services technicians should receive training on becoming customer-centric. This, along with the Acumatica, will strengthen customer relationships while helping businesses grow.

Contact NexTec today and Find out how Acumatica stacks up against the leading systems on the market in this free report. Want to learn more? Take the Acumatica software tour.

Chalkboard with squares and a checkmark.

How to get compliance tracking right in manufacturing

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, ERP, Manufacturing | No Comments
Chalkboard with boxes.

Are you still using outdated methods for compliance tracking?

The mere mention of the word “compliance” is enough to send many manufacturing companies scrambling. Just one bad inspection or audit could end up costing thousands of dollars in fines and fixes, potentially derailing your profitability and leaving a scar on your company image.

In a perfect world, a business could continue doing everything they’ve always done to remain in compliance, but seasoned leadership knows it’s not that simple. With ever-changing regulations and technology entering the workplace, companies must continually adapt to ensure they’re in compliance and promoting a safe work environment for all.

There’s no doubt that manufacturing companies must take compliance seriously. But how can you get compliance right the first time if you’re struggling to keep up with health and safety changes while juggling your normal day to day operations?

In today’s age of technology and automation, ERP systems are becoming a viable option for companies to keep a finger on the pulse of changing regulations. By tracking compliance automatically and gaining access to real-time data, companies can move forward with confidence and without the guesswork and labor-intensive manual processes.

What is compliance tracking?

Before we dive into specifics on ERP systems, it’s important to set the right expectations for compliance tracking and what it’s capable of.

By definition, compliance tracking is the process of organizing and monitoring compliance-related information and activities to ensure that no detail falls through the cracks. It oversees the completion of compliance requirements from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), as well as any progress that has been made toward achieving compliance. Ideally, it should also keep track of audits and inspections, both internal and external,

As regulations and requirements change, compliance tracking can keep you informed of these changes and help you better understand how to plan for tasks, resources, and timelines when moving forward.

The role of ERP software in compliance tracking

ERP.

ERP is becoming a desirable solution for compliance tracking.

Historically, the compliance tracking process was largely done by hand via paper files and spreadsheets, often resulting in major time investments and inefficiencies. But without a way to track progress over time and collect and manage data, there’s always a risk of overlooking critical details that could impact the company’s health and safety.

ERP systems have evolved in recent years, bringing improved compliance tracking features with them. As automation and the Internet of Things become more sophisticated and accessible, they’re being integrated with other legacy systems like ERP that can help you improve the wheel rather than reinventing it all together.

Focus on industry-specific regulations

Regulatory requirements fall into two buckets: general regulations and industry-specific regulations. As a rule, you’re expected to master all general regulatory requirements, such as those pertaining to clean water and air. Other requirements, such as the presence of a Risk Management Plan, are only required in certain industries.

Naturally, the best place to start mastering compliance is in your own backyard. An ERP system can help you track compliance requirements that matter and develop individual plans for each requirement to ensure ongoing compliance.

Gain greater visibility and control

By design, compliance gives you a direct view into your company’s performance on specific regulations. Compliance requirements look at every aspect of a particular process to ensure it meets or exceeds industry standards, from the materials you use to how you execute your processes. By housing all of this data in an ERP system, you gain instant insight into your business operations and can better determine where you need to make adjustments.

Protect your company’s data

Cyber security issues are on the rise, costing more than $45 billion in damages in 2018 alone. Cybercriminals aren’t just targeting banks and credit card companies, either. Small municipalities, health insurance companies, data companies, hotel chains, and the government have all been targets of security breaches in recent years, and no company should feel like they’re immune to such an attack.

As security issues become more serious, compliance regulations regarding data protection will also continue to evolve.

ERP systems are repositories for mountains of sensitive data, including credit cards, banking information, and even personal health information. But they’re also regarded as the first line of defense against cybersecurity threats, offering a full suite of tools that can help defend your company against potential breaches.

Endpoint security features take inventory of the devices that are allowed to access the ERP system, while user rights ensure that only specific people have access to specific information. Because of this high level of data protection, companies can trust that the data within their ERP system is accurate, reliable, and uncompromised.

Create a digital paper trail

Tablet.

Get data-driven insights into your compliance activities.

Companies who have historically performed compliance tracking by hand may have had a literal paper trail of their activities, but there was no easy way to track this data over time and use it to develop deeper insights.

As a general rule, compliance tracking is all about being able to answer the questions of who, what, and when, with confidence. Who made changes? When were these changes made? Why were they made? Who approved these changes?

ERP software allows companies to digitize their compliance requirements and provide a single source of truth for everyone to work from, even if they’re in different locations. Every activity is properly documented and can be traced back to individual users to provide greater transparency where it counts.

Mitigating risk for manufacturers

When we think of the relationship between compliance and risk, costly penalties and losses often spring to mind. Organizations may face steep fines or expenses if they fail to act in alignment with regulations and laws.

But more importantly, the level of risk to health and safety increases when companies don’t comply with what industry regulations deem acceptable. Remember, regulating bodies have the research and numbers to justify changes in regulations. These changes aren’t made to make the lives of manufacturers more difficult, but rather to use newly available data to create a safer, more ethical work environment. Failing to comply with these changes could pose risks to your employees, property, and in some cases, the community at large.

In addition to monetary and safety-related consequences, failing to comply with regulations can also be viewed as an integrity loss. By its very nature, compliance requirements exist to ensure a company acts in accordance with what the industry has deemed fair, ethical, and safe. A breach in this regard is synonymous with a breach in the company’s own integrity.

Wooden blocks stacked up in a pile.

Risk can take many forms

Having a reliable, fail-safe way to track compliance helps manufacturing companies to mitigate each type of risk. Instead of performing manual calculations and data entry (both of which are prone to human error), users can leverage automation and data tools that do much of the heavy lifting for them and remove much of the guesswork from compliance-related activities.

What can compliance tracking do for your business?

Clearly, the greatest benefit of tracking and improving compliance is the peace of mind that comes with maintaining your high standards. Companies may find it easier to achieve greater business objectives when their processes are accurate, up to date, and not at risk of attracting negative publicity from regulatory agencies.But the benefits extend to other areas of your operations, particularly where your bottom line is concerned.

Reduce costs of compliance

Keeping up with compliance requirements is nothing short of mind-boggling. It takes a great deal of time to bring your team up to speed, implement changes, and ensure that other processes still work in spite of these changes.

Using an ERP system for compliance tracking can help you manage these changes at scale to reduce the associated costs and burden. Employees can rely on a single source of truth and know exactly what is expected of them, helping you tackle compliance with greater efficiency.

Maximize internal resources

When employees can spend less time figuring out compliance, they can free up their time to work on other business objectives. And given that time is money, ERP compliance tracking helps you save some of both.

Contribute to a stronger corporate culture

Two colleagues wearing white hard hards and looking at a tablet.

A culture of compliance leads by example.

Companies that focus on maintaining compliance often build health and safety into their company culture, and that doesn’t go overlooked by employees. In today’s modern workplace, a steady paycheck isn’t always enough to attract and retain top talent. Rather, workers also appreciate when a company invests in new technology that makes their jobs easier.

When companies appear to have their workers’ best interests in mind, employees hold the company in high esteem and may be more productive and engaged.

How Acumatica can improve compliance tracking in manufacturing

It’s not just a matter of implementing an ERP system to help you manage compliance, but rather choosing the best platform that will help you continue meeting short and long term objectives. Before you make the move to a more streamlined system, it’s important to understand what compliance looks like in your company and industry, define your goals for tracking compliance, and set realistic expectations for how it can transform your company.

As a leading Acumatica ERP vendor, NexTec has the skills and expertise to help you explore your ERP options that will make the biggest impact in your company. Schedule a consultation today and discover how the right ERP system can help you improve compliance tracking in manufacturing.

Learn more about Acumatica ERP here.

2020: Sound financial management increases field services productivity

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, Field Services | No Comments
Technician working with computer hardware.

Field services professionals need integrated access to data on customers, inventory and equipment to optimize services.

Field services companies face complex, unique challenges. Remote connectivity, access to data and systems, integration and transmission of information all demand solutions that keep employees connected and information flowing.

The right enterprise resource planning solution, like Acumatica, provides financial management features that help deliver efficiency and security for data remotely, whether in transit or at rest. In 2020, sound financial management increases field services productivity.

How financial management affects field services businesses

It may seem counterintuitive that financial management is so closely connected to productivity for a field services business. However, consider some of the core functions that drive success in the industry:

  • Scheduling Efficiency. Your business needs to schedule people, equipment and deliveries. It’s contingent on accessing customer information, including order and service histories, product history and contact information. All of these factors are at play when creating daily and weekly schedules.
  • Warranty and Contract Management. Financial tools in your ERP need to manage warranties, recurring service contracts, and renewals. When these functions are integrated with service delivery, your company increases customer service capability and response rates.
  • Inventory Management. Supply chain management is essential to sound field management. You want to make sure your systems for SCM, financials, and scheduling are integrated and can easily share data.
  • Connectivity. You want a solution that delivers reliable connectivity across devices and in remote locations, allowing field technicians to access information and systems regularly.

Excellence in service delivery requires excellence in financial services for productive operations.

Technician working on computer hardware.

With a field services solution from Acumatica, your company can connect to financial management, inventory and customer relationship modules to provide exceptional service.

Exploring Acumatica Financial Management Suite

Acumatica’s Financial Management Suite delivers core modules designed to deliver efficiency to your field services business. The modules include:

  • General Ledger. Gain instant access to financial data with easy reporting of assets, expenses, income, and accounts
  • Cash Management. Predict, monitor and manage cash across multiple entities including transactions, bank accounts, and fund transfers
  • Accounts Receivable. A major advantage for field services companies, this module helps you create invoices, confirm balances, deliver customer reports, track commissions and collect or apply payments
  • Accounts Payable. Track outstanding invoices, monitor cash flow and apply due dates, available discounts and access reports from any device with a connected web browser
  • Fixed Assets. Gain full visibility on fixed assets, including depreciation calculations, tax tracking and reporting
  • Currency Management. Calculate realized and unrealized gains and losses, revalue accounts and recalculate full financial statements

Acumatica field services management solution

Acumatica’s field services management solution integrates seamlessly with other Acumatica modules for financial reporting, sales, CRM, inventory, and purchasing. Using the modules together gives all your employees a 360-degree view of customers. The field services solution includes:

  • Scheduling employees and other resources
  • Route plotting, emergency appointment management, and service delivery optimization, including real-time information on traffic, locations, and routes
  • Connectivity on any device to relevant apps
  • Equipment service histories
  • Inventory tracking, including costs and locations
  • Warranty and recurring service contract management

At NexTec, our experienced consultants help field services companies identify the right business software solutions, including ERP solutions. NexTec assists businesses with the specs, selection, implementation, and optimization of software that drives efficiency and ROI.  Explore our field services page to learn more.

Data breaches: Are you ready to handle them this year?

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP | No Comments
Data breaches 2020

Cybersecurity challenges are nothing new, but as threats evolve, systems become more complex, and people (and things) become more connected, the stakes continue to rise.

2020 is in full swing and it’s time for us all to look back at some lessons learned from 2019.  As always, cybersecurity is still atop the list of company concerns. Though the threats, risks, and costs may evolve, it’s always important to reiterate just what challenges exist and discuss tips on how to address them.

2019 in review: Breaches bigger and more costly than ever.

Cybersecurity challenges are nothing new, but as threats evolve, systems become more complex, and people (and things) become more connected, the stakes continue to rise.

Costs are rising too.

In their annual Cost of a Data Breach report, IBM Security and Ponemon Institute found that both in the short and long-run, breaches could cripple a business.

In the United States, the average cost of a data breach hit $242 per record, taking 245 days to identify and contain and increasing from $7.91 million in 2018 to $8.19 million in 2019. These events often take years to recover from and result in lost business, damaged reputation, and potential legal consequences.

What can you learn for 2020?

While the numbers look scary the reality is that you can take steps to mitigate these risks. The first step is not to ignore the risk or think your company is immune. With 2020 now upon us, here are a few things you should know.

Know how they happen.

Luckily, if you understand how and why breaches happen, you can also work to shore up defenses. Breaches occur for a variety of reasons ranging from outside threats to accidental releases to trusted insiders.

The known threat: Hackers

It may come as no surprise that hacking takes the top spot for breach type—actors outside the organization are responsible for 87% of the breaches reported. Often targeted to get the most valuable information, hacks are fueled by financial motivations, in which these actors can sell the data on the dark web or ransom it back to the owner.

As the information is highly prized (i.e. a Social Security or credit card number is worth more than an email address or name), the information is targeted at a higher rate and is much more damaging to lose.

The data giveaway: Accidental exposure

However, it’s not the only way records are exposed. In fact, hacks only account for around 14 percent of the number of records lost. The top culprit for this? Accidental exposure of data on the Internet. According to Risk Based Security, over 6 billion records have been made freely accessible thanks to misconfigured databases, backups, end points, and services. While companies do incredible amounts of work to stop hackers, most information is just given away.

The trusted threat: Malicious insiders

But that’s not all. 7.3% of the breaches are caused by malicious insiders. Like hackers, these individuals have motive, means, and opportunity. They also have fewer barriers to entry. Misconfigured user permissions may give the wrong person access to information, lax practices may make it easy for a malicious insider to extract a password, and poor authentication practices may allow him or her to login without trouble.

Understand how they could affect you.

There are many ways that information ends up in the wrong hands, but the end result is reasonably straightforward: You lose money and your reputation is damaged.

Lost business: The biggest contributor to costs.

According to IBM, the loss of customer trust had serious financial consequences for the companies studied, and lost business was the largest of four major cost categories that contributed to the total cost of a data breach, responsible for abnormal customer turnover of 3.9 percent.

Long tail costs: Costs continue for years.

Once the 242 days are done, the costs continue—especially for those in regulated environments like healthcare and finance, two of the most frequently targeted sectors. While an average of 67 percent of breach costs came in the first year, 22 percent accrued in the second year after a breach, and 11 percent of costs occurred more than two years after a breach.

Learn how to deal with risks.

There are four primary ways of dealing with risk: avoid, mitigate, accept, or transfer.

Choose the right partner

While there are many factors that contribute to the cost of a data breach, some of the biggest drivers included third-party involvement and extensive cloud migration. However, this is no indictment of third-party providers or the cloud—most cloud providers do things better than you can. In this, the right partner matters.

Before taking on any cloud project or working with an implementation partner, it pays to ensure they are taking steps to protect you. Learn what you should look for from your provider and implementation partner, get to know what questions you should ask, and read about how to protect yourself from unscrupulous vendors here.

Address complexity

Another of the top five cost drivers? System complexity. When systems start to work individually and reach out in all directions, it’s much harder to know which one is the problem.

In today’s IT environment, complexity is easier to handle than ever. Applications can connect using secure APIs—not hand-coded ones that increase risk.

Automate and augment your security

According to IBM, organizations that had deployed automated security solutions that reduce the need for direct human intervention – including the use of security solutions with artificial intelligence, machine learning, analytics, and automated incident response orchestration – saw significantly lower costs after experiencing a data breach.

AI is the next frontier for security (not to mention the rest of the business). Get to know what it means for finance.

Setting yourself up for success: NexTec delivers.

Business threats are evolving, but with the right tools and advice, companies can overcome them and thrive. NexTec has been in the business of delivering both, implementing products that make your business better and advising clients on what matters.

For over a quarter century, we’ve seen the technology world evolve and can help you select, implement, and use the right Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), or Business Intelligence (BI) solutions for your organization. Let’s get in touch.