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SOFTWARE

Webinar: Improve your field service management with Acumatica Cloud ERP

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, Events, Field Services, Upcoming Webcasts | No Comments

Transform your business with Acumatica Cloud ERP, an integrated financial and business management solution designed for field services. With Acumatica, field service organizations are able to manage field technicians more efficiently, improve resource scheduling and planning, better manage inventory and reduce inventory stock and much more.

During our webcast, we’ll demonstrate specific functionalities including:

  • Understanding the benefits of Cloud ERP
  • Enable your field techs with key information to properly service their customers
  • Improve inventory management at the warehouse and in the field
  • Improve work order management including escalation management
  • Gain efficiencies in scheduling your service calls
  • And much more!

Helpful resources

Outgrowing QuickBooks

Non-traditional integrations: Is it possible to get a perfect fit from ‘competitors’?

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, CRM, ERP, Salesforce | No Comments
ERP and CRM integrations

Tight integration saves you time and money, reduces the risk for errors, and simplifies a variety of processes including quote-to-cash, manufacturing management, customer service, and so much more.

A few years back, fast food giant Burger King released a marketing campaign for “Peace Day” on September 21, in which the company propositioned McDonald’s through a series of tweets and full-page newspaper ads to set aside their differences for one day to create the “McWhopper.” While ultimately dismissed, it brought up a good question, one that many questions have to ask when they are looking at business management software: Is it possible to get two competitors to work together?

The answer is yes, and for some companies, it may be the best path to finding a perfect fit if they are looking for ERP or other business management software.

There are many paths to a perfect fit in ERP software.

We’ve been spending a lot of time recently talking about the concept of a perfect fit in enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. There is good reason for this. If you’re like many decision makers at organizations, you know that the last time your company looked into a solution, 80 percent fit was considered acceptable.

Today, however, the market has changed, and an 80 percent fit is considered as table stakes, just enough for a vendor to get in the door. That last 20 percent is very possible and vendors have worked to provide the flexibility, integration, and usability to deliver this in the “postmodern ERP” environment.

There are a variety of ways to get here; some can get a solution built with few changes, many companies need extensive customization, while others can get what they want by using point solutions for unique needs connected through their marketplace.

The challenge: Bringing on a product your ERP already offers.

However, what if your business management solution features a product that would put it in competition with another vendor? There are many examples of this, including your choice of ecommerce vendor to establish your web presence, business intelligence solution to analyze data, and field service management products to manage technicians.

Each product is generally offered as part of an ERP suite, but many businesses either want to minimize the challenges that come with a complete overhaul or stick with a solution that works. One place where this really is prevalent? Customer relationship management (CRM) software.

A majority of ERP providers want to deliver a complete solution for businesses, and for those who do, many pride themselves on offering a functional and usable CRM product.

However, when you look at CRM, there is an elephant in the room, one that is loved by its users and used by over half of businesses. It’s the number one CRM for sales and customer service, and its name is Salesforce.

ERP and CRM integration can’t be ignored. Connecting Acumatica and Salesforce

So, you may think to yourself, “we already use Salesforce” if you’re in the process of an ERP change or “most of our staff already knows Salesforce” if you’re considering a complete business software overhaul that includes both ERP and CRM.

Now, you also know how hard it is to organize your entire sales and marketing staff for training sessions. You also know that if you already use Salesforce, your staff may balk at moving away from it, creating implementation risk that results from not having everyone on board.

CRM and ERP integration delivers more than data sharing.

ERP and CRM integration is a necessity for a variety of reasons. Tight integration saves you time and money, reduces the risk for errors, and simplifies a variety of processes including quote-to-cash, manufacturing management, customer service, and so much more. Something we’ve discussed in-depth in our blog titled ERP plus CRM: More than the sum of its parts, proper integration can’t be overlooked, as it provides:

  • Seamless data sharing
  • Optimized resources management
  • Faster delivery cycles
  • Improved forecasting
  • More consistency
  • Better reporting
  • A uniquely tailored product for industries who need increased visibility and control.

Connecting Acumatica ERP and Salesforce CRM

Now, as we’ve discussed, your company needs ERP and CRM to integrate, integrate tightly, and do so with as little hassle as possible. Luckily, there are ways to make this happen—even if the two may seem to be in direct competition with one another.

Thanks to its 2018 acquisition of MuleSoft, Salesforce gained the ability to reach into other applications and pull in data without needing to clean or scrub it. That means no need to build data warehouses or rely on third-party middleware customizations to use data from multiple systems. Consolidating data in one place, without disrupting its source formatting or properties, is a far better choice.

Bringing Acumatica and Salesforce together still requires the right intermediary. Get to know NexTec.

ERP and Salesforce integrations are transformative opportunities. While integration may be easier than ever, and everyone may promise that they have the skills to integrate these two, the best partner is one who knows both products inside and out. NexTec Group happens to be that partner.

Managing an ERP and Salesforce integration requires a steady, experienced, detailed-focused partner, and few have the size, scale, scope, and expertise to deliver both Salesforce and Acumatica. NexTec does. This also makes us uniquely qualified to integrate the two products.

NexTec offers expert consultants and project managers with deep expertise in ERPs, Salesforce and integration strategies. Contact us to learn more about how NexTec is the right choice to lead your integration project.

Farmer sitting in a green house typing on a laptop.

Enterprise resource planning and sustainability in agriculture

By | Agriculture, ERP, Sage X3 | No Comments
Farmer in a large greenhouse typing on a laptop computer.

Agricultural businesses need the right ERP to fully commit to sustainability efforts.

While sustainability is an important issue in many industries, it’s critically important in agriculture. Technology, including enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, can play an important role in sustainability for agribusinesses.

When it comes to enterprise resource planning and sustainability in agriculture, Sage X3 has the functionality and industry-specific features that help companies thrive.

Defining sustainable agriculture

Sustainable agriculture is a focus on practices that provide for society’s current food needs without jeopardizing future generations’ ability to meet their needs. Sustainability in agribusiness means maintaining a healthy environment while continuing to be profitable.

The challenge is that for many big agribusinesses, sustainability has not always been a top priority. A recent Medium article notes that at big farms “ideas around environmental sustainability are not only a low priority, they’re simply not discussed.” At smaller farms, while there is more discussion of sustainability, it’s sometimes just used for marketing purposes.

“Many of the farmers who care the most about sustainability can’t afford to put it into practice,” the article notes. “Raising plants and animals in a way that benefits (or at least doesn’t harm) the earth, the farmworkers, the animals, and the consumers is incredibly expensive. And Americans don’t like to pay a lot for food.”

Two farmers walking in their field.

Retailers and consumers alike are demanding more commitment to sustainability.

Why technology will make a difference

The reality is that the importance of sustainability is growing, driven by both corporations and customers.

On the corporate side, retailers are looking to their suppliers to demonstrate a commitment to and actions that drive sustainability across the board. Walmart, for example, has implemented a Sustainability Index program. The index collects and analyzes data on each product’s lifecycle, working with suppliers to improve sustainability efforts. Walmart provides suppliers with their scores, how they rank in comparison with other suppliers in the same field, and insights on how to improve sustainability.

At a more granular level, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil requires companies to comply with environmental and social criteria to be certified as a sustainable product.

Consumers are driving some of the corporate work, while the use of social media allows for consumer voices to be amplified and connected on sustainability issues.

For agribusinesses, having an ERP that tracks and demonstrates sustainability is critical. In many cases, these issues relate to inefficiencies in supply chain management. Here are some of the ways the right ERP solution can help:

  • Resource Efficiency. Supply chain optimization can reduce transportation mileage at each stage, reducing emissions and environmental impact.
  • Shipment Management. When suppliers and partners are not communicating well or have inadequate, incorrect or different information, shipments, ingredients, and products suffer.
  • Inventory Management. Agile supply chain management means a responsive, flexible and quick approach to day-to-day operations. This approach may have the greatest impact on inventory management, with real-time data on existing stock and expiration dates to ensure that the right ingredients and products are used in the right order.
  • Wastage Management. When you have better systems for predicting usage and tracking your supply chain, you can reduce the amount of waste, a powerful measure that can be used internally and externally.

Sage X3 provides agribusinesses with integrated functions designed to serve the industry. NexTec provides guidance on the selection, implementation, and optimization of agriculture ERP solutions.

Learn more about how Sage and NexTec can help your agribusiness improve its commitment to sustainability. Take a free tour of Sage X3 to learn more.

 

Digital transformation in the distribution industry

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, Distribution / Supply Chain, ERP | No Comments
digital transformation distribution

Your ability to use data will rely on your ability to digitize, gaining the speed, reliability, and control you need to take on advancing competition.

Distribution is a tough business. High levels of competition, shrinking margins, and higher expectations make it easy to feel the pressure. The supply chain is changing and with this, so is the market. And guess what? You’re right in the middle of it.

Remaining competitive in distribution will rely on a variety of tactics and strategies, but if you’re looking to get and stay ahead, you will need to transform your business and find new ways to use data, analytics, and engagement.

For the distribution industry, whose members are already pressured by competition from everyone ranging from traditional competitors to firms including Amazon and Wal-Mart, your ability to use data will rely on your ability to digitize, gaining the speed, reliability, and control you need to take on advancing competition.

What is digital transformation?

One of those phrases that has gotten thrown around a lot in recent years has been the term “digital transformation.” A term that could include anything from going paperless in the office to a complete overhaul of the way your business operates, it all starts with understanding how to apply technology—something we discussed in a recent blog.

In the blog, we used definitions from Technopedia, finding that

“Digital transformation is the changes associated with digital technology application and integration into all aspects of human life and society. […] Digital tools and technology are changing how people interact, and in turn this changes how people do business. […] In a more business-related aspect, digital transformation refers to how a company has or is transforming its core business processes using digital technology in order to gain competitive advantage and gain differentiation in its market segment.”

However, there are also challenges for companies in every industry, as too many leaders think it’s both a standard process and a metamorphosis, and that they will walk into work one day with a ‘transformed’ business. This is not the case. Digital transformation not only differs from industry to industry, it differs from company to company.

Early steps for distributors looking to transform

Knowing this, it is helpful to find a starting point and early steps, including the process of identifying where you stand, what technologies you currently have, where you hope to be, and what actions you will need to take to get to your ideal state.

Knowing where your distribution firm and your supply chain stand

As mentioned above, digital transformations are happening at different levels across all industries. As the company who often connects manufacturers or other suppliers to retailers and in turn end users, you have watched both sides adopt new digital technologies in their own ways. While this has likely changed the way you’re working with them, your competitive advantage will be built on your ability to embrace the changes they have put on you.

Addressing this will require you to take a hard look at your current business practices, technologies, and understand how you will fit into the supply chain.

Looking at your technology stack

From the c-suite to the ground-floor employees, every team member should understand why adopting digital technologies, cloud ERP software and emerging technologies (e.g. IoT, AI, robotics, next gen security), is absolutely necessary for being able to exchange data across the organization. This information can then be used to make strategic, effective decisions, meeting modern expectations from across the supply chain, and innovation.

A solid technology foundation and a clear digital strategy—which includes asking the right questions, setting clear goals and the steps to achieving them, getting input from people throughout the organization, and providing ongoing informational and training sessions—will keep the transformation moving forward.

Understanding what you will need

The digital changes also provide a window for distribution companies to rethink business models. Companies need to consider whether they will become disruptive players or are at risk of being disrupted by upstarts or competitors.

For distribution companies, this starts with being able to understand your products better. How did they get there, where are they, and how do you get them to your customers? What’s profitable? How can we do something faster, cheaper, or better than our competitors?

As we discussed in an earlier blog, there are four key components to making a digital transformation a reality: cloud computing, mobile technologies, the industrial Internet of Things (IoT), and data analytics.

Making your move: Acumatica Cloud ERP delivers for distribution

Distribution management is Cloud ERP software that helps companies manage their supply chain and logistics activities, including warehouse management, inventory management, and order management (sales and purchase orders), and integrate these activities with the company’s financials and sales. With Acumatica Cloud ERP, distribution companies can leverage technology that empowers them, improving everything from cost control to order times, supplier relationships to customer satisfaction.

As a leading provider of Acumatica for distribution, NexTec can customize, implement, and integrate the solution, training your users and setting you up for success in a digital world. Get to know more about our work and contact us for a free consultation.

Webinar: Software to overcome challenges in the cannabis edibles and infused beverages market

By | Cannabis, Events, Food and Beverage, Recorded webcasts, Sage X3 | No Comments

Watch as our cannabis and food and beverage industry experts discuss the current edibles and infused beverages market and the marketing, operational and distribution challenges companies face. Learn how our CannaBusiness ERP solution, built on Sage X3, can help you overcome these challenges.

Webcast Agenda:

  • Market overview
  • Marketing Challenges
  • Operational Challenges
  • Distribution Challenges
  • Demo

Helpful resources

Man in a hard hat pointing to pipes.

Ask these 6 questions before choosing your chemical industry ERP

By | Chemicals, ERP, Sage X3 | No Comments
Man in a hardhat pointing to pipes.

Chemical companies looking for an ERP should make sure to ask questions about key functions and capabilities.

There’s no question chemical companies need a powerful enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. Faced with more regulations than ever and increasingly complex supply chains, companies need to choose an ERP that’s designed to address specific industry challenges.

Before choosing a chemical ERP, it’s important to get the right information. Ask these 6 questions before choosing your chemical industry ERP.

1. Can your ERP track and display inventory in multiple units of measure?

Different measurement units for weights and volume are necessary in the chemical industry, and your ERP should be able to support and convert measures for use in receiving, storing, making and selling products. Static conversions are inadequate when there are density variances, for example, in lots or batches. Conversions and flexibility are necessary when multiple packaging sizes are used for the same product.

2. Can actual costs be tracked and compared to estimated costs?

Tracking actuals compared to estimated costs is an important consideration for chemical companies. Understanding inventory valuations and accurate production costs gives you powerful insights. They allow comparisons against industry or historical standards, input error reductions and inclusion of non-production costs to provide more accurate overall costs of goods.

3. Is your ERP agile?

Customer expectations and demands are changing rapidly. That’s why you need an ERP that can respond to changing customer needs and wants. You want to be sure that the ERP you select can anticipate and react quickly to rapidly changing customer requests, products, partners and suppliers. Your ERP needs to be able to adapt and add classifications, formulas, specifications, byproducts and business rules to accommodate the ever-evolving customer needs.

Man in a hard hat working on a tablet.

Chemical companies need an ERP that can optimize new and emerging technologies.

4. Can your ERP incorporate emerging technologies?

Big data and data analytics give chemical companies extraordinary opportunities for more efficient operations and deeper insights. Make sure your chemical ERP uses or easily integrates with these technologies to collect, use and distribute data to those who need it. Your ERP should provide greater transparency both internally and throughout the supply chain.

5. How does your ERP keep data secure?

Data is increasingly an asset for use both within your business and, unfortunately, by hackers. Keeping data protected while in transit and at rest is critically important, especially for regulatory compliance. While your ERP cannot be the sole source of your company’s data security solution, it should have functionality and intersectionality with your security mechanisms.

6. What mobile functionality is available?

Executives need access to dashboards, reports and data no matter where they are or what device they are using. Ask about the functionality and access to information across mobile devices. The same information accessible on a desktop computer should be available on a tablet or smartphone.

Sage X3 offers your chemical company:

  • Supply optimization to respond to customer demands and frequent changes to purchasing, production and shipping
  • Process and product consistency to ensure quality, consistency, safety and efficacy
  • Global compliance across currencies, regions and regulations
  • Inventory control to deliver accurate production forecasting, material needs and inventory optimization
  • Anytime/anywhere access with web-based interfaces

NexTec is a Sage Platinum Reseller, offering chemical companies the expertise to deploy and optimize your Sage X3 solution and provide swift ROI. Learn more about how NexTec and Sage X3 can improve efficacy and efficiency for your chemical company. Give Sage X3 a try.

Sage Platinum Reseller

ERP integrations

The power of connections; why integration is a key part of postmodern ERP

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

When speaking with vendors and implementation partners, it’s vital to ask whether the solution will integrate, how easy this can be done, and how automatic the workflows are.

As the speed of business increases, the necessity of finding a solution that works for your business increases as well. However, we no longer live in the one-size-fits-all world of monolithic ERP, and today’s businesses have more options than ever.

Following our last blog on the customization imperative that exists and the reasons postmodern ERP delivers for the unique needs of different industries, we would today like to turn our attention to the other part of customization: Integration.

When customized ERP only gets you close to perfect.

Postmodern ERP solutions like Acumatica are built around the company using the application. Through their industry editions, Acumatica Extensions marketplace, and a well-trained partner base, it’s easy for postmodern ERP solutions to get you 90 or 95 percent of the way to perfect.

Still much better than the “build your business around the product” mentality of the past, the postmodern ERP design allows you to get even more from your solution. However, this requires you to understand the last mile and the potential challenges you will need to overcome when it comes to the concept of postmodern ERP.

This said, if you are prepared to address and partner with a firm ready to overcome the pitfalls that could result from a postmodern ERP initiative, you can ultimately make your job easier.

Challenges in the last mile of a postmodern ERP initiative.

Complexity

Any time something is decentralized—or federated, in the words of Gartner analyst Christy Pettey—you add new layers of complexity to your business. While a solution may be able to do a single task more easily or make one department’s job less stressful, if improperly managed, it sometimes makes other tasks harder.

Complexity doesn’t have to overtake your business—it just needs to be addressed. Think of it like having a two-car wide driveway and buying a third car for your family. If you plan around each person’s schedules, you can avoid any unexpected maneuvering.

To address this, organizations need to understand the landscape of systems they currently have, the ones they intend to implement, and plan on a strategy to overcome the complexity. Often, the process of handling this could be as simple as developing a workflow or finding an integration.

Training

With a varying stack of applications comes multiple user interfaces, workflows, and processes. Though many solutions are more user friendly than ever, and with the right integration these solutions will work together, additional training will likely be required up front to make ongoing use easier.

As part of a larger initiative, you will need to invest in training on a broader range of systems, understanding when updates and changes will come throughout the year and planning for them.

Governance

If data is fragmented, maintaining quality becomes a challenge. This will become even more complex as data sources become more diverse.

To address this, proper governance becomes more important than ever in the postmodern ERP landscape. Ensuring things are in order before you make the move to implement solutions can prevent any unexpected challenges or potential for mismanagement.

Preparing for the move to postmodern ERP

Though many may be focused on the concept of digital transformation, your decision to embrace postmodern ERP will require preparation, planning, and the right partner.

Knowing this, the goal is to understand that systems will be more deconstructed than ever.

Start with a strong core

With postmodern ERP, there is still a core ERP, either as an on-premises or cloud solution, and this core is extended with certain specialist solutions. The core ERP would for example cover such areas as procurement, financials and order management, while special solutions will be implemented to meet specific needs.

In the decision to implement a postmodern ERP strategy, the core ERP product should be a top priority. Not only should the product be both functional and usable to make training easy and processes fast, developers should build the solution understanding that it is not the only product being used.

Understand the importance of integration

When speaking with vendors and implementation partners, it’s vital to ask whether the solution will integrate, how easy this can be done, and how automatic the workflows are. Integration is often an ‘easier said than done’ process for some vendors, and if you’re not prepared for integration initiatives, you can easily lose track of the complexity that exists.

According to Panorama, a vital component to managing pre- and post-integration is the ongoing management. After different components have been integrated, individual solution providers may change a component of their software. If that is the case, a refinement of the original integration may be required.

This makes the importance of finding a partner with the right skills all the more important, as the stack of applications you’re using will be unique to you, and your partner should have the expertise to make this work.

The right vendor, the right partner, the right solution

It’s hard to emphasize just how important a strong, easily integrated core ERP is to the larger solution-based landscape.

For example, one of the most common requirements is to integrate ERP with CRM. While there are many benefits, this is a surprisingly complicated request—especially if you want to use multiple vendors.

Few solutions exist that can provide the flexibility, integration, and functionality growing businesses need, and fewer still exist that are right for your business in the first place.

Acumatica Cloud ERP is built for these two concerns. An ERP solution that can be as broad or as narrow as you need it to be, you can easily connect the product to other necessary products your business needs to thrive.

Finding the right partner to help with your ERP selection, implementation and optimization is critical. NexTec has helped hundreds of customers identify, adopt and use business software solutions that transform companies. Learn more about ERP.

Farmer holding fresh tomatoes.

How Sage X3 benefits agricultural produce growers

By | Agriculture, ERP, Sage X3 | No Comments
Farmer holding fresh tomatoes in his hands.

Agribusinesses need effective business management software to deliver real-time insights.

Produce growers have complex challenges to ensure that products are fresh, safe to consume and flavorful. But with increasing operational costs and lower prices, agricultural producers need to do more to reduce waste and improve profitability.

An enterprise resource planning (ERP) software solution like Sage X3 gives your agricultural business the ability to automate, trace and report on production at every stage. Here’s a look at how Sage X3 benefits agricultural produce growers.

Challenges for agribusiness

Fresh produce companies are facing complicated times, with price constraints, increasing costs, more legislative control, political uncertainty with international markets and scarce resources. Here are some of the major issues facing agribusiness:

  • Compliance. New regulations, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act, have placed additional regulatory burdens on manufacturers and producers. New obligations require more tracking of pesticides and fertilizers used, storage processes, security and customers. A quality control program integrated into your work processes is critical.
  • Cost Pressure. Agribusinesses today face narrow margins that can be thrown haywire with the slightest disruption. The right ERP can give you real-time insights to make smarter, more profitable decisions.
  • Political Uncertainty. Ongoing trade disputes with key global customers have meant agribusinesses are often stuck in the middle.
  • Customer Expectations. Customers expect products today that are local, organic and grown using sustainable practices. They increasingly want flavors and products from around the globe.

The complexities and challenge make it clear that the right ERP can make a major difference.

Farmer using a tablet in a field.

Your business deserves an ERP solution that automates, manages and optimizes your operation.

What an industry-specific ERP provides

An agricultural ERP can deliver the tools and collaboration that will improve your business at every level. With an industry-specific ERP solution, your business benefits from having:

  • A centralized system that can automate processes and manage information and reporting across sales, supply chain, inventory and accounting using a single database
  • Comprehensive management of your growing operations, including harvest details and attributes
  • Optimized planning for the season with specificity options down to the day and/or the crop, including seed and fertilizer inputs, employee and machinery scheduling and harvest analytics
  • Effective inventory management tools such as expiration data tracking and first-in-first-out processes to reduce spoilage and waste
  • Data security
  • Forecasting, management and analytics on crop estimates, maturity dates, pricing using current and historical data
  • Scalability to expand as demand and needs evolve
  • Compliance management that ensures adherence to multiple regulatory mandates, including the elimination of manual processes with automated data capturing, monitoring and reporting while reducing the risk of errors

Sage X3 is the right ERP for agribusinesses looking to improve efficiency, reduce costs, provide transparency and act quickly. With a deep understanding of agribusiness’ needs, Sage delivers an ERP that features:

  • Integrated processes including planting, harvesting, accounting, supply chain, retail operations, farm management, imports and exports, human resources, contracts and sales management
  • Cost calculation functions for accurate costing, forecasting, pricing and analytics about farms, contractors and machines
  • End-to-end traceability
  • Management of formulas, recipes, byproducts, potency, shelf life and packaging

NexTec helps agribusinesses select, deploy and optimize business software and is a Sage Platinum Reseller. Learn more about how NexTec and Sage can transform your agribusiness.

Take a free tour of Sage X3.

Sage Platinum Reseller

Cannabis.

Competition is increasing in the cannabis industry: How your ERP helps

By | Cannabis, ERP, Sage X3 | No Comments
Cannabis.

Increasing competition makes it critical that cannabis businesses use ERP tools to thrive.

In 2019, Illinois became the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana sales, with more states placing the issue on ballots or in front of legislators.

As the cannabis industry evolves, it is becoming increasingly similar to other product areas. Brands are beginning to matter, especially as larger cannabis entities purchase dispensaries and growing areas.

Cannabis companies of all sizes need sophisticated software solutions that provide the functionality that lets them be competitive and build a unique brand. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions are an important way to integrate operations, inventory management, strain management, sales and compliance into one cohesive structure.

Competition is increasing in the cannabis industry. How your ERP helps can make all the difference.

State of the cannabis industry

Illinois’ action means the state joins 10 others, plus the District of Columbia, in legalizing recreational cannabis sales to those over 21. Thirty-three states have legalized medical marijuana. In October 2018, Canada became the first G7 country to legalize marijuana federally while Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled recently that prohibiting marijuana is unconstitutional.

According to Marijuana Business Daily, the retail cannabis industry is on pace to increase by as much 35 percent in 2019 compared to a year earlier, eclipsing the $12 billion mark by the end of the year. The website projects that sales of medical and recreational marijuana could reach more than $30 billion as soon as 2023.

The industry’s financing structure is also shifting rapidly, with more private equity being injected into cannabis businesses. That’s because cannabis investors are looking to get higher investment returns, a shift in just two years to a loan-based investment strategy.

According to the 2019 Marijuana Business Factbook, cannabis investors are making the following investments in 2019 compared to 2017:

  • Equity investments (78% versus 61%)
  • Public stock purchases (48% versus 52%)
  • Private equity or managed funds (26% versus 18%)
  • Interest-bearing loans (22% versus 37%)
  • Company purchase (15% versus 12%)

The optimistic financial outlook means not only more forays into the cannabis industry, but more hiring too. Marijuana Business Daily projects a 34 percent increase in full-time employees in 2019 over 2018 levels, potentially exceeding 200,000 workers nationwide. For some context, the website notes, “that’s more than the number of flight attendants in the U.S. and more than double the number of veterinarians.”

The employment gains are driven largely by the expansion of California’s marijuana market and the increasing number of new states approving recreational or medicinal use or both. Employment is projected to reach 385,000 to 475,000 by 2023.

What’s driving competition in cannabis?

Competition is fierce in the cannabis industry. Here are a few of the core drivers:

  • Customer Expectations. With more locations from which to purchase products, more information available and the opportunity to price shop, customers can afford to be picky despite the high demand.
  • New Product Mix. Flower is no longer the primary product sold in most cannabis businesses. In 2018, vaping overtook flower as the most popular mode of consumption. Other popular methods of using cannabis include:
    • Edibles. Gummy sales grew by 925 percent in 2018. Chocolate edible sales increased 166 percent and CBD chocolate sales jumped 530 percent. BDS Analytics’ tracking of retail sales in 2018 in Arizona, California, Colorado and Oregon revealed the following breakdown of edible sales:
      • Candy (44%)
      • Tinctures (17%)
      • Chocolates (15%)
      • Infused foods (11%)
      • Pills (7%)
      • Beverages (5%)
  • Beverages. While technically an edible, beverages are poised for a breakout year. Anheuser Busch and Coca-Cola are just two of the well-known international brands that are considering CBD-infused beverages. Some companies are pitching hangover-proof beer that includes THC. Lattes and smoothies are on the market, too.
  • Medicinal Products. Balms, salves and lotions that contain cannabis oil continue to be popular.
  • Social Acceptance and Consumption. BDS Analytics research notes that 71 percent of consumers use cannabis for social or recreational purposes, with 32 percent consuming products before getting together with others, 28 percent attend a public event after consuming and 18 percent consume in public. Users noted the following as popular consumption reasons:
    • A date night (or day) activity (41%)
    • Daytime fun (41%)
    • Celebrating special events (38%)
    • Going out or letting loose (37%)
  • Changing Demographics. The aging Baby Boomer population is an important demographic. They are more likely (67 percent) to consume cannabis to replace prescription or over-the-counter medications to ease aches and pain than to use for recreational purposes (59 percent).
Cannabis oil.

Oils, food products and soft drinks are emerging product lines for cannabis companies and large corporations.

Why branding matters for cannabis companies

Branding is becoming an increasingly essential factor for cannabis success. With medical or recreational marijuana use available to more than half of the U.S. population, competition is ramping up.

There are also more cannabis derivatives being used for products. While Cannabidiol (CBD) is the most common, others are making a mark, including:

  • Cannabigerol (CBG), which is non-psychotropic and can be used in pharmacological and industrial hemp applications
  • Cannabinol (CBN) is mildly psychoactive
  • Cannabichromene (CBC) has pharmacological potential for its anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and anti-depressant properties.

As more research is done, it’s likely that farmers and companies will begin to develop cannabis versions rich in one of these components, causing prices to drop and competition to soar.

Other factors influencing the importance of branding include:

  • Industry disruption. Cannabis companies are poised to be a disruptive force in the coming years, becoming a player in industries and markets such as pharma, spirits and consumer goods.
  • Big Pharma. With so many potential healing properties, large pharmaceutical companies are already making investments in cannabis.
  • Regulatory pressure. As more states legalize cannabis, there will be increasing calls to remove cannabis from the list of Schedule 1 drugs. In late 2018, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration removed some cannabidiol drugs with THC below 0.1 percent from Schedule 1 to the less restrictive Schedule 5.
  • Volume. As the number of dispensaries and clinics increases, the ability to differentiate will become more essential. To separate a cannabis business from the many nearby competitors will mean a strategic, integrated branding effort.
  • Normalization. Cannabis companies are increasingly mainstream, appearing in heavily trafficked retail locations. For example, in February 2019, Simon Property Group, the nation’s largest shopping mall operator, inked a deal with Green Growth Brands to open 108 retail stores.

“For cannabis companies, opening over 100 dispensaries across the country would be a dream come true. Instead, most have had to adopt a slower approach of either building or buying out multiple dispensaries in each state,” noted a recent article. “Many of these stores also aren’t built on prime real estate. The competition is fierce, and companies with brands that are most influential with buyers are the ones that win these locations.”

Technology makes an impact on cannabis companies

For cannabis companies looking to compete in the increasingly competitive, regulated and crowded industry, differentiation is essential. Having the right ERP solution in place is an important step to providing you with the insights and synergies to stand out.

Here are some of the major benefits of having an ERP designed for your cannabis business:

  • Integrated Functions. With a cannabis ERP, your financial, manufacturing, compliance and inventory functions will be fully integrated, giving you more details and transparency for every component of your business.
  • Real-Time Data. A cannabis ERP lets you enter, extract and report on data in the moment of need, giving you and your employees accurate and up-to-date information.
  • Regulatory Obligations. While cannabis is still illegal at the federal level, states and local jurisdictions are adding, evaluating and modifying regulations frequently, often around inventory control and tracking documentation. Your cannabis ERP can provide you with the functions to ensure audit trails, reporting and tracking of plants, lots and sales are comprehensive and available when needed.
  • Cultivation Management. Cannabis businesses have unique needs for their operations. You need an ERP that will track, record and report on growing conditions, moisture, light, pesticides, nutrients at each stage, from germination to harvesting.
  • Traceability. From seed to sale, you need to have information on the sources, products and uses of each plant. This documentation may be necessary for compliance and it helps provide valuable insights that can be used to improve growing, optimize products and understand your customers.

Sage X3 is the right solution for your cannabis business’ needs. The cloud-based ERP is built to provide the features necessary to differentiate your company in the highly competitive and growing industry, including:

  • Corrective Action/Preventable Action (CAPA) management
  • Seed-to-sale traceability
  • Warehouse, supply chain and logistics management
  • Crop management
  • Inventory management
  • Integration with government regulatory systems
  • Staff management, task assignments and labor cost analysis
  • Distribution management
  • Cost accounting
  • Tax regulation management
  • Fast recall management
  • Production scheduling
  • Integration with point-of-sale (POS) solutions
  • Analytics that compare actual production to projections to improve strain efficiency
  • Quality control functionality
  • Product demand forecasting
  • Customer management

NexTec is the leading business software consultancy, helping companies select the right ERP solution to meet their unique business needs. With NexTec and Sage X3, you have proven expertise in the development, implementation, integration and optimization of a cannabis ERP that will transform your business.

Learn more about technology that runs your CannaBusiness.

Sage Platinum Reseller

challenges oilfield services ERP software

Common challenges for oilfield services (and how ERP delivers)

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, ERP, Oilfield Services | No Comments
Common Challenges of Oilfield Services

Even in the past few decades, technology has advanced in the field to increase cost control, efficiency, and reliability. Unfortunately, for many firms, the finance team hasn’t been as lucky.

In today’s competitive, connected, and compliance-focused landscape, running an oilfield services company is often quite a challenge. The backbone of the energy industry and a key player in a variety of others, few industries can say that their products and services are used in some form by every business and consumer that exists—every single day.

Growing demand for oilfield services presents hope and challenges

Whether oil is refined and used for fuel, heating, lubrication, asphalt, or plastics, oilfield services companies can say that they play a vital role in the day-to-day lives of more than seven billion people and will continue to do so for decades or centuries to come. That said, with U.S crude production expected to set annual records through 2027 and remain greater than 14.0 million barrels per day (b/d) through 2040, the market for companies in the oilfield services industry continues to grow and become more competitive.

With increased demand for your company’s services, your ability to remain competitive will rely on your ability to provide continued financial and operational sustainability. Too often, however, the ability to see the big picture becomes much more convoluted when you grow—especially if you are employing manual, disconnected processes.

The risks of avoiding new technology for oilfield services companies

Even in the past few decades, technology has advanced in the field to increase cost control, efficiency, and reliability. Unfortunately, for many firms, the finance team hasn’t been as lucky.

Many firms, either reluctant or opposed to taking on a massive technology project—especially one that doesn’t contribute directly to the services they provide, have fallen behind their competitors who have. In fact, those who feared the risk of an implementation failure have actually set themselves up for risks in other forms.

Disjointed workflows

In the oilfield services world, process is vital—everything needs to happen in a specific order. Sadly, when it comes to things like invoicing, expenses, and financial management, workflows are often disjointed. This becomes even more of a concern for companies working in multiple locations often hundreds of miles apart.

For example, think of the process of approving and billing tickets. How long does it take and how many people have to participate?

Too often, companies like yours rely on a mess of scanners, spreadsheets, and email to process paper field tickets. One slip up along the line—a finger slip when entering a ticket information into a spreadsheet, people who end up working on multiple versions of a spreadsheet, or a missed ticket—means that someone has to backtrack to find out what went wrong and fix it. Worse yet, if the process takes a month or more before the customer even sees (and rejects) an invoice, your team has to go into scramble mode to find and rectify the error.

It goes further than field tickets too, budgeting and planning often relies on the same spreadsheet and email-based communication, it becomes easy to lose track of consumable- and rental-based inventory, and hard to keep track of compliance and more.

Compliance challenges

In today’s world where information travels faster than ever before, noncompliance could be extremely dangerous—not only in the form of cost, but in the form of reputation as well. This is especially true for oilfield services companies who have to answer to a variety of regulatory agencies.

Unfortunately, without the right technology, it becomes quite easy to lose track of your operations and potentially fall out of compliance. Staying on top of risk assessments, testing, incident capture, emissions measures, and hazard monitoring controls is a necessity, but if you’re spending hours or days trying to understand whether or not you are in compliance, you are putting yourself at risk.

Equipment and inventory issues

Whether it’s consumable inventory, tools used in the field, or rented equipment, knowing where everything is, how much it’s being used, and how much revenue something is generating presents a challenge.

You need real-time visibility into the location, rig supply, availability, and utilization of all equipment and tools required for oil drilling and operations. The right technology can help you to keep track of this, but without it, you run the risk of unexpected downtime or stockouts that cut into your margins.

Overcoming oilfield services challenges: How ERP fits in

As the oil and gas industry continues to develop and opportunities to grow your business arise, you need efficient processes in place to remain competitive. Now is the time to remove the obstacles that interfere with your productivity and make sure that your business has the tools it needs to prosper.

NexTec has the industry experience, technical know-how and the solutions to guide you to new heights. We’ll help you select the right software and process that connects your business and gives you the insight you need to make the right moves. We work with world-class technology providers, like Sage, Microsoft and Acumatica, and have a nationwide network of consultants with deep expertise in the oilfield services industry. Get to know more about the benefits of ERP, CRM, and BI technology for the oilfield services industry here, learn more about our services, and contact us for a free consultation.