Group of colleagues standing together smiling.

Efficiency is leverage in professional services: Does your ERP deliver?

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, OTHER, Professional Services | No Comments
Group of smiling colleagues.

Professional service providers struggle to remain competitive

Professional service providers have to measure things differently than product-based companies. Because service professionals are usually providing “brain work” instead of a physical, tangible product, production values and operating costs look and function differently.

Still, they share one major characteristic: efficiency is the key to protecting profit margins.

Your agility when delivering services can help to build client trust and satisfaction while allowing you to maintain an edge on your competitors.

The right ERP can empower service professionals to measure critical key performance indicators (KPIs) that will keep you on track to a productive, profitable business. Here are some of the top considerations when vetting ERP systems:

1. Define the right KPIs

KPIs are the driving factors behind business growth, and service professionals should identify and understand exactly how they impact your company. Suggested by Service Professional Indicator’s 2016 Professional Services Maturity Benchmark report, these KPIs include, but are not limited to:

  • Year Over Year revenue growth
  • Employee retention and attrition
  • Project profitability
  • Employee utilization rate (an employee’s available time for productive, billable work)
  • Employee satisfaction

There may be other important metrics that are significant to your growth, but the bottom line is that service providers need a fluid, reliable way to track these figures.

2. Gain greater visibility into operations

By establishing and monitoring the right KPIs, service providers can use their data to understand more about how their busines

s operates and identify efficiency issues.

For example, are you consistently delivering your services on-time and on budget? Are there steps between project onset and delivery that could be eliminated? Lag can not only kill your profits but also your client’s satisfaction and trust.

Person typing on a laptop keyboard.

Tracking the right metrics is critical to success.

3. Identify opportunities for improvement

As service providers gain a better understanding of the business’s operations, they can use their data to identify bottlenecks in processes that could derail their profits.

For example, you may discover that you aren’t utilizing your team to their fullest potential, which is contributing to project delays or slimmer profit margins. By optimizing your existing human resources, you may be able to avoid hiring additional employees or outsourcing tasks to freelancers.

As a result, service professionals can better manage resources, improve the customer experience, and help each employee thrive.

How Acumatica and NexTec empower service professionals

Acumatica, a leading ERP for the service industry, was designed to help professionals better leverage their data to monitor KPIs, understand their business and customers, and improve efficiency to maintain profitability and competitiveness.

Service providers can gain a 360-degree view of their clients’ activities and requests, along with other critical details like revenue per billable person, profit margin, project overrun, and resource management. As a result, professionals can focus more of their efforts on core business processes and make decisions driven by data versus assumptions.

As an Acumatica partner, NexTec works closely with service providers, including lawyers, accounting firms, architectural and design services, and consultants, to identify the right ERP and automation tools that can help you maintain profitability and provide a higher level of service to your clients.

Take the Acumatica Product Tour and discover how it can benefit your professional services organization.

Man standing in front of a maze.

4 Professional services challenges in 2020 & how Acumatica meets them

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, ERP, Professional Services | No Comments
Man standing in front of a maze.

What are the top industry challenges for professional service providers?

Professional services developed in response to businesses that need solutions to a problem. The irony, of course, is that these services experience their own unique set of challenges, and they must first overcome their own issues before they can adequately serve their customers.

Now that 2020 is here, professional services organizations should be preparing themselves for the obstacles they’ll encounter through this year. Here are four critical ones.

1. Achieving business growth

When professional services look at their overall growth picture, there are two directions they can take: out or up. Growing vertically requires companies to stay niche-focused and identify other opportunities within that niche. Expanding outward allows them to tap into new markets (geographically, industry-wise, or the development of a new product or service).

In either case, expansion forces companies to re-examine the ways they deliver their services to the customer. In many cases, a business’s existing system or methodology may be unable to accommodate new growth, which means other alternatives will need to be explored.

2. Automating manual tasks

Computer monitor with gears on display.

Managers spend more than 36% of their time on admin tasks.

A recent survey of 500 managers in the U.S. discovered that a majority of them spent more than 36% of their day on administrative tasks. In a 40-hour week, that’s about 13.5 hours of lost time that could otherwise be devoted to business growth or other objectives.

Automation is no longer an unrealistic idea, nor can it be considered a luxury. Rather, many businesses would agree it’s a critical growth component they can’t afford to do without. Companies that find themselves knee-deep in tedious manual tasks should look for ways to automate some or all of these tasks at scale to free up valuable time across the organization.

3. Responding to market shifts

Like the professional services industry, the clients you serve will also experience their own shifts in the marketplace. Savvy companies must keep a finger on the pulse of the industries where their customers are, so they can understand the challenges they face and be prepared to respond. This will be particularly critical in 2020 as many experts are predicting a recession, combined with the potential for economic uncertainty during a presidential election year.

4. Mastering profitability

Wooden blocks spelling out profit.

Maintaining profitability is a priority in every organization.

Each of the other three professional services challenges can impact your overall profitability, but that’s not all there is to maintaining a healthy bottom line.

To truly master profitability requires you to be able to provide accurate quotes, bill with precision, and reduce surprise costs that can derail your projects. Having a deeper insight into your project metrics can help you improve your chances of winning more business and hitting your targets on every project.

Filling in the gaps with Acumatica

A professional services ERP like Acumatica can be your best defense against these and other challenges you’ll face in 2020 and beyond. With features that specifically assist the services industries, Acumatica can address critical industry challenges, including task automation at scale, improved cash flow monitoring, project management, and relationship management to help you remain competitive in your market.

Choosing the right Acumatica partner to implement and roll out your new ERP is key to gaining the swiftest ROI. Let NexTec help you take the next steps in adding value and improving relationships with every customer.

Give Acumatica a try.

Supply chain

Overcome distribution and supply chain disruptions with ERP analytics

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, Distribution / Supply Chain, ERP | No Comments
Man looking at documents on a clipboard.

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) data analytics tools resolve supply chain problems quickly.

Supply chain managers face the continuous threat of disruptive actions that can derail operations at any turn. However, when business leaders integrate enterprise resource planning (ERP) data analytics solutions into supply chain management, problems can be identified early on or eliminated.

Uncertainty and supply chain management

Supply chains are, by their very nature, prone to uncertainty. However, your operation can overcome distribution and supply chain disruptions with ERP analytics.

Let’s consider some of the most common challenges faced in supply chain management:

  • Last-minute changes to customer orders
  • Compliance issues with suppliers or their suppliers
  • Unexpected machine input and output variances
  • Inaccurate measures and tracking of inventory
  • Transportation delays
  • Sudden changes in supplier quality
  • Lack of traceability
  • Poor communication and collaboration among suppliers

While headline-making natural disasters or geopolitical issues get the most attention, usually these more mundane but real day-to-day issues cause the most headaches.

The strength of data analytics

Data analytics help predict and preempt the most common supply chain issues. Forward-thinking companies are turning to data analytics to get ahead of supply chain complexity, simplifying processes, using data effectively and transforming operations.

Data analytics have long been a part of supply chain management. The difference today is that more data are available and trackable; companies can do more with the data they have to develop smarter solutions, often in real-time.

Data analytics are generally bundled into one of three types:

  • Descriptive Analytics. These insights use data to illustrate past performance or behavior. It gives your organization a clear and detailed picture of what has happened. It’s the most foundational and basic type of analysis and plays an important role in planning, strategy development, and decision-making.
  • Predictive Analytics. Data that are collected, organized and reported upon in a coherent manner can help managers make better projections for future behavior. For supply chain leaders, these projections can help forecast events that could be disruptive.
  • Prescriptive Analytics. While the first two categories model data, prescriptive analytics go a step further. They start with a corporate goal and use your predictions, along with rules, real constraints and limitations. These analytics will identify disruptions and help to find a solution.

Collectively, analytics programs provide insights from massive data sets, leveraging the Internet of Things, cloud computing, machine learning, and automation to provide a real-time of your supply chain and related business metrics. They offer insights needed for better decisions in the moment of most crucial need.

Supply chain.

Make better supply chain decisions with real-time ERP dashboards and analytics.

Acumatica and business analytics for your supply chain

At Acumatica, data analytics are a critical component of our ERP solutions. Start with a single version of the truth with a unified data collection and reporting system. Use multiple display options that generate reports for key staff based on role, visual dashboards for KPIs and exports to Excel for use with programs like Power BI.

Acumatica data analytics solutions include:

  • Business intelligence and analytics from data collected from Acumatica and external sources
  • Generic Inquiries, which extracts data and allows for multiple reporting and analytics applications
  • Acumatica Reporting, with access to more than 250 standard reports, and report creation and modification capabilities
  • Acumatica Dashboards, customizable by role, department or person

NexTec helps businesses identify, install and optimize the right ERP solution for their unique needs. Our experts help you leverage supply chain data for better solutions completed more quickly.

Get our short guide to BI and what it can do for your business.

Worker fixing an electrical box.

Meeting the challenge of managing inventory in field services

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, Field Services | No Comments
Man working on an electrical box.

With mobile applications and real-time knowledge, field services companies can track inventory and equipment better.

For field services companies, managing equipment and tools is a complex task. These assets are often spread across multiple job sites, within warehouses or on trucks or other equipment.

Tracking these valuable assets is essential. Your business needs to manage usage, maintenance and billing across multiple operational areas.

These operational complexities can be solved with an enterprise resource planning solution. When your business is looking for a business software tool adept at meeting the challenge of managing inventory in field services, an ERP like Acumatica is the smart choice.

Inventory management in field services

Inventory management in field services is all about money and risk. As soon as it hits your site or warehouse, tools and equipment start to cost money. Depreciation, obsolescence, internal and external theft and deterioration are all risks to the value and efficacy of everything that has value.

In field services companies, inventory is used far more heavily than in other sectors. Efficient tracking is a financial and logistical imperative.

What do you need from your ERP to ensure inventory optimization? Here are a few of the key features to look for:

  • Access from Anywhere. With products and tools in fleets of trucks, multiple warehouses and at multiple worksites, you need a solution that gives you secure access to items at any time located anywhere.
  • Secure Access. You want to make sure that only those who need access to information and assets can know where items are located.
  • Valuation Flexibility. Your ERP needs to accommodate multiple valuation methods, including standard cost, moving average and first-in, first-out approaches.
  • Data Entry and Tracking Ease. Inventory data entry needs to be automated in most cases and in others, done via user-defined screens that make it easy to quickly and accurately record information. Lot and serial numbers, along with other user-defined fields, need to be accessible in a logical, easy-to-find and use layout.
  • Integration. Your ERP solution needs to integrate the inventory management tools with connected and relevant other parts of the enterprise, including purchasing, general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable, operations, payroll and scheduling.
  • Deeper Insights. The right ERP software can incorporate other insights, including information about customers, contracts, orders and technicians, all in one system. With an ERP, you do not need to manage a separate customer relationship management (CRM) solution with redundant data and difficult reporting schema.
Mani installing solar panels.

Acumatica’s Field Services Edition ERP integrates inventory management with core functions such as finance, purchasing and scheduling.

The Acumatica solution

Acumatica’s Field Services Edition suite is an ever-improving solution designed to streamline dispatching, scheduling, inventory management, finance, and operations. Among the top inventory management features are:

  • Location and cost control
  • Integrated inventory and purchasing functions
  • Automated replenishment orders
  • Parts delivery alerts and service appointment scheduling

Other related features include:

  • Scheduling, dispatching and call center management
  • Route planning
  • Map integration and real-time graphical interfaces and change management
  • Mobile service management that allows technicians to access inventory, see locations and routes, place orders and see customer information and history
  • Emergency service call management
  • Equipment maintenance records that include order and maintenance history and specifications
  • Service contract management
  • Warranty management

Acumatica understands the complexities and needs of field services companies. NexTec helps those companies select, install and leverage their ERP solutions with expert advice and best practices.

Take the Acumatica Product Tour to learn more.

Is your distribution business getting the benefits of a true cloud solution?

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, Distribution / Supply Chain, ERP | No Comments
distribution true cloud solution

Seamless integration, improved security, and the ability to incorporate emerging technologies are just a few of the benefits companies are getting with true cloud solutions, leading to increased productivity and higher ROI.

Wholesale distribution is a complicated business. An industry in a constant state of change, companies in the distribution industry need to work faster than ever. Understanding inventory, cash flow, and the market as a whole requires the right information at the right time provided to people who can use it—no matter where they may be.

Distribution firms are turning to the cloud. But is it true cloud?

To make this all happen, distributors of all sizes are turning to cloud business management solutions. Designed to increase visibility, provide anytime and anywhere access, and deliver information in real time, the cloud provides companies with the mobility they need to make fast and well-informed decisions.

However, not all clouds are created equal. As with any technological movement, there are always fakes. Many legacy vendors worked to repurpose their solutions, slap the cloud label on them, and milk a few more years of revenue from their aging product. These fake cloud products are simply legacy applications that are adapted and hosted on the internet, never truly designed to be delivered and used via the cloud.

Unfortunately, this “cloud” is nowhere near as innovative, efficient, or useful, leaving distribution companies who choose it with an unreliable solution that likely costs much more and delivers much less than expected. Whether it’s limited availability, poor integration, or increased complexity, fake cloud products can hold distributors who choose them back, increasing ownership costs and hindering your scalability.

Knowing the difference between true cloud and fake cloud is critical to the long-term success of your software initiatives, and luckily, a new guide was released to help distributors understand.

What do distribution firms get from a true cloud solution?

Seamless integration, improved security, and the ability to incorporate emerging technologies are just a few of the benefits companies are getting with true cloud solutions, leading to increased productivity and higher ROI. Paired with improved visibility into your sales, order management, inventory, purchasing, production and services, and accounting information and the ability to scale, companies who embrace true cloud solutions can reap the rewards for years to come.

The recently released Acumatica guide, True Cloud vs. Fake Cloud: How Distributors Can Tell the Difference, explored many of the benefits of true cloud solutions and the additional risks of falling into the fake cloud trap.

So why does the cloud hold so much promise? Simple. It tears down barriers to productivity. How?

  1. Functionality and innovation: Distribution firms have unique needs, and business management solutions need to be customized to meet these needs. The cloud makes it easier for vendors to create a distribution-focused solution and for partners to customize and deliver it—no matter how many SKUs, warehouses, or currencies.
  2. Integration made easy: When you choose the right cloud ERP system, that platform will serve as the hub for all your business applications. Knowing this, it’s imperative that the product can connect to all of them. True cloud products were built with this in mind, making it easier and more affordable to integrate.
  3. Data security made simple: Trying to keep track of the software side and the hardware side was often challenging for companies using on-premises products. Luckily, the cloud has that covered. No good cloud vendor can survive without making and delivering on security promises, and they put huge focus on keeping data locked down.
  4. Delivering what’s new and what’s next: With so much on the horizon for the distribution industry, keeping track of it is hard enough—leveraging it is even harder. Luckily, cloud solutions were built to adapt with the market, helping you control your supply chain and ultimately, improve your bottom line.

The true cloud imperative: How to avoid falling into a faux cloud trap.

So how can you avoid getting trapped by fake clouds? Start by understanding what they are. Fake cloud software occurs when legacy applications are adapted and hosted on the internet, but never truly designed to be delivered and used via the cloud. Often, this means you will need additional products to access it, require hand-coded customization,costly, ineffective integrations, and poor scalability.

Ready to learn more? We invite you to download the entire True Cloud vs. Fake Cloud: How Distributors Can Tell the Difference guide to understand:

  • Three reasons mobile devices alone can’t meet the need for real-time information
  • Four ways the cloud can enhance productivity for distribution companies
  • Five reasons legacy applications don’t play well with the internet
  • Eight ways to identify true cloud software for distributors
  • Where to see true cloud software in action

Do you have the right software for distributors and other tools you need to succeed in the age of technology? Download the NexTec Corporate Overview Brochure to learn more about how NexTec can keep the gears moving throughout your organization.

Additional Distribution Resources

Distribution: Key metrics/KPIs for distribution

Distribution: How to control cash flow alongside product flow

How Acumatica data-driven insights help distribution businesses

Acumatica Cloud ERP 2019 Year-End Guide

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP | No Comments

Acumatica 2019 Year-End Close GuideAs 2019 comes to a close, now is a great time to review the year-end closing process so you’re prepared at the end of the year. We’ve created a step-by-step guide for year-end closing for Acumatica Cloud ERP that can help you through the entire process. Whether this is your first time closing the books or if you need a little refresher, this guide will help you and your team through the year-end closing process. We understand how stressful this time of year could be and want to make sure you and your team have a smooth and seamless closing process.

We cover all the proper procedures and processes to ensure your organization successfully closes your year end books with ease. Our comprehensive guide walks you through the following year-end closing processes in Acumatica Cloud ERP:

  • Accounts Payable Period Close
  • Accounts Receivable Period Close
  • Banking Period Close
  • Inventory Period Close
  • Fixed Assets Period Close
  • General Ledger Period Close
  • Year-End

We’ve included screenshots, links and tips to help you through each of the processes.

Download the guide

If you have any questions about Acumatica Cloud ERP’s year-end closing process or if you’d like to learn more about how Acumatica Cloud ERP can benefit your business, please contact us by using the form to the right.

Getting the most from an Acumatica implementation: Nucleus guidebook

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, ERP | No Comments
Acumatica Implementation

Industry focuses, customizations, and developments—vendors are empowering their partners like never before. As a result, giving the partners the tools to innovate on the platform provided by the vendor becomes a key differentiator.

Getting the most from an ERP investment may seem like a challenge. However, if you know what to look for in ERP, you’ll be in a better position than most. So what should you look for?

Luckily, a new report from leading analyst firm Nucleus Research looks to discuss the growing importance of vendors like Acumatica as the cloud market matures. In the Nucleus report, titled Acumatica Platform Guidebook, analyst Seth Lippincott explored just how Acumatica continues to deliver for its customers.

Whether it’s through their stable technological backbone, allowing for easy expansion and innovation or their flexible Cloud xRP Platform to integrate applications across their operations and add flexibility to their software ecosystem, Acumatica is expanding and improving.

When flexibility is table stakes, what’s next?

The last time you probably looked at ERP software, companies on the leading edge pitched themselves as flexible, touting themselves as a cure for the traditional, rigid, monolithic suite. However, in today’s ERP market, flexibility is expected. Today, it’s all about how a vendor (and their partner network) can answer your exact business needs.

Just as the vendor’s role has changed, so has the partner’s. The role of the partner ecosystem for ERP vendors is shifting along with the market, with partners focusing more on value-add services and products rather than annual maintenance fees.

Industry focuses, customizations, and developments—vendors are empowering their partners like never before. As a result, giving the partners the tools to innovate on the platform provided by the vendor becomes a key differentiator.

How Acumatica is delivering more than flexibility.

In their report, Nucleus interviewed partners and customers to determine how both groups were realizing value by using the Acumatica Platform. Whether they came from entry-level products or legacy ERP, many of the companies Nucleus talked to needed a platform that could help them grow and expand, move with their business, and keep up with their industry.

Among the benefits of the solution, as cited in the report:

  • The choice of deployment: Cloud-native at heart, many companies opt for their product to be deployed through a software-as-a-service model. However, Acumatica does allow customers to host the software in a private cloud or on-premises.
  • The freedom to grow: Unlike many other vendors in the ERP space, Acumatica’s pricing is not on a per-user basis, and instead offers a consumption model based on transaction volume and data storage requirements.
  • The industry-ready solution: Another one of the key areas Acumatica has been improving is in its industry vertical approach. With core competencies in manufacturing, distribution, service industries, retail and e-commerce, software and technology, their partner network can mix and match to create the right solution for your business as well.

Three reasons Acumatica continues to grow

Nucleus found that customers and partners selected Acumatica for several reasons including ease of use, belief in the technology, developer community, and the prospects for growth.

  • Ease of use: For some customers, Acumatica represents their first ERP software after moving away from a hodgepodge of spreadsheets and QuickBooks. For others, it’s their first foray into the cloud. Either way, the companies who have made the move cite this usability and user interface as a value driver at their organization.
  • Direction: Nucleus found that customers have bought into the technology vision for the Acumatica Platform, especially as Acumatica continues to expand its partnerships. Thanks to platform openness and freedom for innovation, companies see the software heading in the right direction.
  • Ready to scale: Nucleus found one of the primary reasons customers picked Acumatica was the ability of the software to grow with their businesses. With no additional marginal cost to add a new user to the system, customers don’t have to worry about license fees getting in the way of expansion. The result is that customers can grow with the confidence that the solution will continue to aid their businesses rather than hinder them.

Learn more: Grow with Acumatica

As your business grows and changes, you’ll need your ERP platform to keep up with you. If you’re looking to learn more about all the market drivers and how Acumatica is staying ahead of the curve, we invite you to read the entire Acumatica Platform Guidebook, which will discuss the above topics in more detail as well as discuss:

  • Why it’s now essential to work with a skilled implementation partner.
  • What a cloud ERP with the highest levels of usability looks like.
  • Why one customer compared Acumatica Cloud ERP to a “box of Legos.”
  • How cloud ERP is likely to change in the near future.
  • How cloud ERP can help you increase process efficiency and reduce costs.

Click here to download the entire report.

If you are in the market for a modern enterprise resource planning solution to take your business through the 2020s with ease, look no further than Acumatica. With an experienced network of partners like NexTec Group, Acumatica can work for your business today and in the future. Get to know more about us and contact us for a free consultation.

Additional Acumatica Resources

How to choose an Acumatica partner

The benefits of a mobile ERP solution

Growing companies rely on Acumatica Cloud ERP’s scalability

ERP

New features to look for in Acumatica 2019 R2

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, ERP | No Comments
Acumatica 2019 R2 Features

Acumatica 2019 R2 has a wide range of new features designed to make your job easier, your visibility better, and your decisions smarter.

Companies in need of flexible, scalable, and accessible business management or enterprise resource planning (ERP) software have spent the better part of the last decade heading to the cloud—with good reason. Providing customization, industry focused technology, and robust, easy updates that don’t cause headaches, cloud providers deliver for the needs of today’s businesses, and few if any do it better than Acumatica.

From their five-star channel program to their status as a visionary on the Gartner Magic Quadrant to high showings on both the ERP and CRM Value Matrices from Nucleus Research, Acumatica continues to deliver. However, this company is not one to rest on its laurels, and has once again made improvements to the platform in the newly released Acumatica R2 2019.

New functionality added to Acumatica Cloud ERP

No matter your business focus, Acumatica 2019 R2 has a wide range of new features designed to make your job easier, your visibility better, and your decisions smarter. From across-the-board improvements to industry enhancements, Acumatica’s latest update delivers more usability and functionality than ever before.

These enhancements are twofold, as Acumatica relies on both a push strategy and a pull strategy, responding quickly to user requests and releasing new features to stay ahead of the competition. Among the improvements added in their latest release:

Financial management:

At the core of any business is the financial management functionality. Without this module bringing in information from across the ERP platform, companies can’t see where the money is going, or track where money is coming from., making the payment application difficult. As always, Acumatica delivers. Among the improvements to the financial management platform:

  • Corporate credit card support and reconciliation
  • Application of payments to particular lines of Accounts Payable documents
  • Simplified approval of Accounts Receivable invoices, credit memos, and debit memos
  • Accrual of the costs of non-stock items

Project accounting

From hours tracking to allocating people, the project management functionality is vital to the long-term success of the business. Project-based businesses need accurate time and expense, project management, budgeting, and forecasting  in order to execute a profitable project—and Acumatica delivers:

  • Budget control on document entry
  • Detail level of the project budget
  • Two-tier change management for change orders
  • Project budget forecasts which allow comparisons of actual project costs and incomes with the forecasted, original, and revised budget amounts for each financial period.

Inventory and order management:

No matter your line of business or industry focus, having the right materials, inventory, or supplies on hand at the right time is necessary. Whether you produce, distribute, or use items to service your clients, you need an ever-evolving inventory and order management solution, and Acumatica makes that happen:

  • Prepayment enhancements
  • Changing the vendor in purchase orders
  • Enhanced linking of direct sales order invoices
  • Validation of customer order number on sales orders
  • Accrual of the costs of non-stock items to calculate their approximate net income.
  • Warehouse management System (WMS) advanced picking

Field service:

Modern field service businesses need to deliver the highest levels of service to exceed customer expectations and increase profits. A leading provider of software for these businesses, Acumatica has long delivered improved visibility, control, and customer service over the years, and has added the following to their product in 2019 R2:

  • Service orders automatically defined by user or appointment type
  • Supports creating service contracts, project schedules and tasks with default cost codes by service order type
  • Calendar enhancements for simplified appointment creation
  • Mapping enhancements to track technician location in the field

Manufacturing:

Manufacturing is in a constant state of change, and today’s businesses need an ERP and manufacturing management product that can keep up. In the latest Acumatica release, manufacturers are treated to the following improvements:

  • Engineering Change Control (ECC) streamlines multiple change requests
  • Material Requirements Planning (MRP) improves forecasting and exception handling
  • Outside processing of manufacturing operations by suppliers

Innovation and partnership: The Acumatica advantage.

While there are many benefits to working with Acumatica, one of the biggest is their ability to innovate. Thanks to their 100% partner model, the company can focus a high percentage of their staff on research and development while allowing a selective and well-trained group of partners, like NexTec Group, the freedom to customize a solution for customers like you.

NexTec Group is a leading provider of this powerful, innovative platform, and recommends the solution for many of our growing customers. Get to know more about the update and contact us for a free consultation.

How to choose a software and implementation partner when you outgrow QuickBooks

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, ERP, Replace old software | No Comments
outgrow QuickBooks implementation partner

The right partner is often one who is big and diverse enough to handle your needs, who has proven they can innovate, and who is ultimately honest about the challenges you will go through.

The process of outgrowing QuickBooks is both an exciting and challenging time, and it’s something that happens to nearly every business at some point. As you grow and realize that the product has become less of a solution and more of a challenge, knowing when and how to make the move is critical for your business.

Following previous blogs on the path to moving beyond QuickBooks—recognizing that the product isn’t able to deliver for your business, communicating a change and asking questions, securing executive buy-in, and comparing vendors by return on investment—we would today like to turn our attention to the process and best practices that go into finalizing the software choice and selecting an implementation partner.

These two concepts are intimately intertwined. The right software is the most obvious consideration, but the implementation partner can enhance or diminish what the software can do. Not all partners are created equal, and even the best solution for your business—if implemented poorly—can fail to provide the value you expect. So today, we’d like to explore the most necessary things to look for in a vendor and discuss a few secrets for finding a partner who puts your business first.

Choosing the right ERP solution for your needs.

ERP has been around for decades, so expect that nearly all ERP products have essentially the same core functionality, more or less. So, with that being the case, how does one choose the best system for a company’s specific needs? It all starts with understanding the “three-legged stool” of ERP.

Balancing three necessary criteria.

Like a real three-legged stool, a product will only stand if each leg is in working order. Lose one and it falls over. For ERP, these three legs are functionality, ease of use, and support:

  • Functionality: Match the specific functionality that you need today (per your requirements definition) with the ability to adapt the system to change when your needs change.
  • Ease of use: Evaluate the design of the user interface in how familiar and intuitive it is – it must be simple to learn and easy to use.
  • Support: Finally, the system developer and/or implementation partner must be reliable, trustworthy, and compatible with your needs and company culture.

Five most important elements of ERP.

In narrowing down your list, selecting the top three or so vendors you want to hear from, there are many things to look for. However, successful implementations can be distilled into the following criteria:

  • Functionality: While also one of the three legs of the ERP stool, functionality really just means, “does it do what it’s supposed to do, and if not, can it be customized to make it work?” Focus on software that fits your business. That is, it is successfully installed and in use at companies in your industry, preferably companies of about your size.
  • Maturity: While the beauty of the cloud is in its rapid update process, allowing your business to get new features twice per year, it’s important to work with a vendor who has been there before. It’s nice to have the “latest and greatest,” but it’s risky to be on the “bleeding edge” of technology. You should look for a system that has been field tested and proven in actual use… in your industry.
  • The Vendor Itself: Your ERP provider will be a partner for the long term, not just a supplier of a product. Be as sure as you can be that they will be around for the long haul. Check their financial stability – do they have the resources to support the product in the coming years?
  • User groups and software community: You need to be able to ask questions and get answers. Ideally, you should be able to find customers like yourself who have solved similar challenges. Whether they can help you find a customization or can answer a not-so-frequently asked question, the user community should be a good resource.

Choosing an implementation partner: A proposition that can make or break your ERP project.

As mentioned above, a vendor can provide the best product, but a poorly selected implementation partner could cause it all to fail. A good vendor will create a good partner program (ranked by CRN), but knowing what to look for from a partner will go a long way in ensuring your project is a success.

As a company who has been in this business for a quarter century, we have found that the right partner is often one who is big and diverse enough to handle your needs, who has proven they can innovate, and who is ultimately honest about the challenges you will go through.

  • Proven innovation in the VAR community: Becoming ‘certified’ is one thing; but having the experience to back it up is another. Bob Scott’s Insights VAR Stars is an annual listing of these value-added resellers who lead all others in growth, innovation, and industry leadership. NexTec is proud to be a mainstay on both the VAR Star list and the Top 100 VARs list.
  • Big enough to meet your scope, not too big to forget about you: While innovation is one thing, size is another—especially for midsized to large companies. A partner who has the scale, scope, and size to deliver services no matter how big you are, what you do, or where you are, but not someone too big that they treat you like just another project.
  • Experience and honesty: This is what makes it so important to find a partner who has been around the block, who has the skills to adapt to changes, and who can walk you through the process. When we launched NexTec, we did so because we noticed that software sellers that had never walked a mile in the customers’ shoes. Over the last 25 years of growth, we brought on some of the greatest minds in the business and kept them happy—our average consultant has 25 years’ experience in software, consulting, and industry.

When you begin to outgrow QuickBooks, you are facing one of the most exciting challenges that exists. It means that your business has grown, and you are ready for a solution that can take you to the next level. NexTec helps organizations just like you to move beyond QuickBooks and into a more robust accounting and ERP software designed to meet the needs of your business today, tomorrow, and ten years from now.

For our growing small and mid-size (SMB) clients, we recommend Acumatica, a solution that features flexible deployment, scalable resource-based pricing, and the functionality and usability you need. We invite you to learn more about our workcompare QuickBooks to Acumatica using this helpful tool, and contact us to discuss your needs and learn more about your next steps.

Get to know NexTec

We chose NexTec because they were the only provider that spent the time getting to know and understand our business and our employees.” – Janet O’Neal, Planning and Control Manager (Kellogg Garden Products)

Since 1994, NexTec Group has been in the business of software, and as a leading reseller of Acumatica, we have helped customers just like you to realize the benefits of the product and implement the solution without any hiccups. Get to know more about our work herefind your local office, and contact us for a free consultation.

Overcoming growth challenges in distribution: Preparing for a strong 2020

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, Distribution / Supply Chain, ERP | No Comments
growth challenges distribution industry

Companies in the distribution industry will face a wide variety of challenges meeting the needs of an increasingly savvy and demanding customer base.

Whether you’re adding SKUs, warehouses, or simply looking to grow your customer base and revenue, successfully growing your distribution business in 2020 may seem like a monumental task. An industry readying itself for disruption, increased competition, and calls for transparency, companies in this industry will face a wide variety of challenges meeting the needs of an increasingly savvy and demanding customer base.

The 2020 distribution outlook

Much like other industries, disruption is on the minds of distributors. As technology continues to improve, buyers expect the B2B purchasing experience to become more commoditized and similar to their B2C experiences, and your customers are finding new ways to use data to drive purchase decisions.

Three forces challenging the status quo.

A recent McKinsey article found that the coming year will see an acceleration to disruption coming from three forces—your competition, your customers, and your own supply chain.

Fast-moving digital players eyeing the industry’s trillion-dollar revenue pools have begun to offer more convenience and improved transparency. Paired with this, sophisticated customers armed with new data are demanding deeper discounts and better promotions on more commoditized products.

How to address this: Keep up with your customers and competition.

Transparency, speed, and responsiveness are all imperative to the way you run your business. Whether by thriving in the commoditized environment or by making the shift to provide even more value-add, whichever approach you take needs to be smarter.

With countless customer-SKU combinations and constant margin pressure from manufacturers on one end and customers on the other, it pays to use the right customer data at the right time. The best distributors equip sales staff to act as business partners who can identify customer pain points and co-create business solutions. To make this happen, you need to break down silos and empower your sales staff with the right information at the right time.

The right customer relationship management solution, integrated with your ERP and warehouse management solutions, can go a long way in providing your sales, marketing, and customer service staff with the right information to help customers. Better yet, it can provide your warehouse the ability to fill orders more quickly and ultimately give you more speed if you need to succeed in a commoditized environment. Check out the following resources to learn more:

Finding a way to maintain or increase margins

With increased competition, faster shipping expectations, and continued wage pressure, distributors need to find ways to make sure their products continue to work for them. Your ability to maintain or even increase profit margins in 2020 and beyond will become even more important. Success in the coming decade will rely on your ability to retain customers, replace departing ones, and deliver in a distribution environment that is increasingly transaction focused.

How to address this: Smarter scaling.

There are ways to address this, however. Scale will continue to be an important factor. Scale helps distributors gain purchasing power, create denser delivery routes, optimize warehouse locations, increase coverage of products and sales, and reduce redundancies.

However, knowing how, where, and when to scale is vital. Whether through mergers and acquisitions, focusing on specific products, or expanding your reach, each provides a way to increase margins if approached properly. There are many ways to approach this; an engaged leadership team, well-resourced integration office and functional teams, a rigorous cadence, and careful performance management top the list.

Also imperative to scale? An understanding of your current business. One tool to help you see the bigger picture is through business intelligence. Such a solution can provide better planning and inventory management, increased profit margins, and more control of delivery, accuracy, and customer service. We recently discussed this topic in a blog, ERP and business intelligence in the distribution industry.

New technologies

New data and advances in computing power, data storage, analytics, and mobile platforms are turning industries as varied as music and healthcare upside down. Wholesale distribution is not immune, of course. Predictive and prescriptive analytics are helping the most sophisticated customers and manufacturers use dynamic pricing, predict churn, and optimize workforces and capital.

How to address this: Embrace new technology yourself

While new entrants, current competition, and buyers are leveraging new technology, it’s important to recognize that you’re not excluded from the technological improvements.

Whether it’s in the form of automated warehouse operations to speed up delivery, an investment in the future of autonomous vehicles to replace an increasingly expensive shipping landscape, or software to automate, improve visibility, and increase control, there are many opportunities to stay ahead of the curve in the coming years.

One of the first steps to taking control of your distribution business is to leverage technology that empowers people, provides visibility, and accelerates your business, helping you move faster, identify opportunities for growth, and move on them.

Taking control of your distribution operations with ERP

Finding a flexible, user friendly, and innovative ERP solution can connect your business and help you grow. With the competitive landscape more intense than ever, the right ERP can go a long way in getting your business where you need it to be.

Acumatica provides accurate and timely information, as well as the functionality needed to readily resolve issues and update management and customers. Our modern distribution business software provides true, company-wide inventory data that lets you create proactive, responsive replenishment operations and minimize inventory costs.

As a leading provider of this powerful cloud ERP, NexTec Group can help you implement this software and use it to stand up to the competition in 2020 and beyond. With more than a dozen locations and nearly a quarter of a century of experience in the distribution industry, you will be in good hands. No matter how large you are or complex your needs, we would love to help. Let’s get in touch.