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Outgrowing QuickBooks: Securing the go-ahead from the C-suite

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, ERP, Replace old software | No Comments
Outgrowing QuickBooks

Throughout the C-suite, you may have individuals who are skeptical of a software upgrade. This is especially true if the executives have never been part of an organization that used a solution beyond QuickBooks.

In the move from accounting software to Enterprise Resource Planning, it’s incredibly likely that you will face pushback, distraction, or other challenges. It’s an exciting time for your organization (you’re growing), but it can also be a stressful one (you’re about to embark on a major software project). These two competing factors often present challenges. However, if you can take the right steps leading up to an implementation, you will save yourself time and headaches.

Following our previous blogs documenting the warning signs and communications initiatives you should take on your path to fully-functional Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, we would today like to explore a couple of the hardest and most crucial steps on the journey: Securing executive buy-in.

Pitching the investment: Securing executive approval for an ERP project

Companies start out with QuickBooks for a variety of reasons. It’s familiar for users and makes it easy if you choose to outsource your accounting work. It gives your first few accounting users a reasonably functional accounting solution for small business needs. Small businesses could buy and implement the software in an afternoon.

Most importantly for companies just starting out, however, is that it’s insanely affordable. As an accounting software, it’s not meant to do everything an ERP solution does.

Accounting software like QuickBooks is affordable in the same way that a studio apartment is more affordable than a three-bedroom house. Both offer a roof and walls, but each serves a different purpose. ERP software is the three-bedroom house. It does more, is ready for growth, and ultimately provides more comfort and utility.

Challenges in securing executive buy-in

Selling the idea to executives is a challenge, however. While you may know the struggles faced by end users, the extra hours it takes to generate a basic report, and the frustration experienced trying to bring everything into a spreadsheet, when you’re trying to pitch someone who isn’t on the front lines, they may not see the same value in an ERP investment as you. This is especially true if the executives have never been part of an organization that used a solution beyond QuickBooks or worse, have seen an ERP project fail.

Throughout the C-suite, you may have individuals who are skeptical of a software upgrade.

For example, your CEO, known for his or her big picture ideas, may not use the accounting software. The CMO may have his or her own agenda and feel that the organization should look towards something for the front office before the back office. The CFO, responsible as the gatekeeper and steward at the organization, may not feel the investment is worth the cost.

Getting the C-suite on board: Different rationales require different tactics

While all of these individuals (and others) may be skeptical, they are also among the biggest beneficiaries of ERP. Selling each of these is a process.

Convincing the CEO: Readily available insights

The CEO may not use accounting software. However, he or she would benefit greatly from real-time, customized dashboards that can present exactly where the company is. No more asking for a report and waiting hours or days to see it. Simply log in and see the big picture metrics.

Selling the CMO: Integration makes everyone’s job easier

The CMO might feel that the sales and marketing departments should be the top priority when it comes to business management software and think ERP is just fancy accounting software. Not the case. Today’s ERP includes or is designed to integrate with CRM, inventory, and business intelligence tools.

With accounting standards like ASC 606 impacting the entire company and requiring increased attention to the way contracts are managed, alignment between finance and sales will become an imperative. A simplified quote-to-cash process and easy performance obligation tracking will save the entire organization time.

Facing down the CFO: Improve finance productivity and satisfaction

While in many cases, the decision to move from accounting software to ERP is made by a CFO looking to make finance better equipped for company growth, sometimes you still need to do a bit of selling. In recent years, the role of the CFO has continued to evolve, and as the company grows, the responsibilities will continue to add up. CFOs are moving into operations, risk management, and more.

Now, rather than being the head accountant and chief of the ‘no department’, the CFO needs to increase visibility, control, and decision-making—three things ERP is known to help with. Added to this, the move to ERP Is going to save time for many people in the organization, including the finance department. With a current talent shortage in finance and accounting, a move to ERP will result in fewer late nights at the office and more satisfaction.

Informing the CIO: More security, less scud work

Another person who may be a driver of an ERP decision, the CIO may also be the person pushing back against a software change. The most likely of the group to have read an ERP implementation horror story or to have experienced failed software implementations previously, getting the CIO on board is either incredibly easy or annoyingly complicated.

Whether there’s pushback against the cloud or against the risk that comes from a complex software implementation, the CIO is another one to benefit from the move to ERP—especially in the cloud. Inherently more secure, cloud ERP will reduce the risk that the IT department faces. Added to this, cloud ERP is designed to reduce the amount of maintenance that the IT department has to accomplish, making for less time spent troubleshooting servers or hand coding and maintaining integrations.

Reel in the buy-in: Take time to talk ROI

While you may have everyone on board with the benefits of upgrading from QuickBooks or any other entry level accounting software, if you’re not talking about the costs associated with the benefits, you’re just pitching a pipedream. This is where ROI comes in.

Justifying a large expenditure requires estimating the cost of the investment, from licensing and implementing it to training users and maintaining the system. Cost (and timeframes) can be gleaned from your ERP vendor. The total cost is then weighed against the benefits of a new system.

Whether it’s in the form of reduced costs, better access to business opportunities, or improvements to employee and customer satisfaction, the decision to implement ERP often presents real, measurable benefits for your company.

In addition to the measurable financial benefits of a move to cloud ERP, you likely can present additional benefits—both tangible and intangible:

  • Improved customer satisfaction with faster response times
  • Increased data analysis and visibility for better decision making,
  • Improved employee productivity through more comprehensive and intuitive workflows.
  • Centralizing documentation online for constant availability of a single source of truth
  • Minimizing Accounts Receivable days outstanding

Calculating ROI should be done at a couple points in the ERP decision, but to get a high level overview of the benefits (without sending out for quotes from vendors), this free calculator from Acumatica will help you to understand the value of making a move to ERP, comparing it with your current expenditures. Simply enter a couple numbers about expenditures today, and it will help you to understand whether a move is beneficial.

Outgrowing QuickBooks: your next steps

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 work, compare QuickBooks to Acumatica using this helpful tool, and contact us to discuss your needs and learn more about your next steps.

Cloud Digital Transformation

The role of the cloud in digital transformation

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, Cloud | No Comments
Cloud Digital Transformation

Companies that succeed in digital transformation have plotted their course along two dimensions—operational efficiency and customer experience.

It’s a term that could mean anything from ‘going paperless’ to ‘changing the way your business operates’. It affects everything from intraorganizational communications to the way you work with suppliers and customers. It is digital transformation and it’s something many organizations are either late to the game on or struggling to catch up with.

Defining digital transformation

Business leaders expect and demand certainty, and any form of transformation is inherently uncertain. However, when it comes to planning the long-term goals of a company, knowing how, when, and why you need to take risks and dive into uncertainty is necessary for growth. The path to and through digital transformation is one of those risks, and in fact, it’s even more risky to ignore transformation than it is to embrace it. So… What is digital transformation?

What defines digital transformation?

There are many ways to define digital transformation, but nearly all of them revolve around doing more for your business by leveraging technology.

According to Techopedia,

“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.”

Wikipedia adds that “Digital Transformation (DX) is the novel use of digital technology to solve traditional problems. These digital solutions enable inherently new types of innovation and creativity, rather than simply enhance and support traditional methods.

Challenges in defining the term

Like many terms dismissed as jargon, the reason companies fail to embrace digital transformation is because digital transformation journeys rarely follow the same path from company to company and have no clear endpoint.

Digital transformation isn’t a standard process

A digital transformation journey is going to look different for your company than it will for a competitor—even if you are in the same industry or have similar revenues or valuations. Some companies are much closer to digitizing processes and others are still much further away, making it hard to deliver exact steps. Knowing this, there are general focuses and goals present for all companies looking to transform their business, some of which we will discuss below.

Digital transformation has no endpoint

Added to the fact that there is no clear starting point, there also isn’t a clear endpoint. The thing about digital transformation is that it’s not a ‘caterpillar and butterfly’ metamorphosis. You’re not going to walk in one Monday and be transformed. Think of digital transformation more as a snowball rolling down a hill—it gets bigger and moves faster as it gains momentum.

In essence, digital transformation means that you are moving faster and embracing more digitalization than the status quo and are able to do more than your competitors. However, as businesses move faster, it becomes harder to catch and keep up if you don’t take steps in the right direction.

Two key components on the road to digital transformation

As mentioned, it’s hard to make a plan for something with no starting or ending point. However, recent MIT research found that companies that succeed in digital transformation have plotted their course along two dimensions—operational efficiency and customer experience.

“They knew they had to become great in operational efficiency: increasing automation, standardization, reuse and productivity. And at the same time, they were really ramping up on their customer experience,” said MIT research scientist Stephanie Woerner, who works on business transformation at MIT Sloan’s Center for Information Systems Research (CISR) with Chairman Peter Weill.  In other words, digitally transformed companies are “ambidextrous,” she said — both efficient and big on customer delight.

Woerner goes on to explain the four quadrants of digital transformation and four pathways to success:

  • Focus on a platform and make solution-based decisions.
  • Encourage a minimum viable product approach and think like an early stage company looking for promoters, not just customers.
  • Keep your team on the same page by providing the right information at the right time to the right people using dashboards.
  • Focus on agility, making big changes with big ideas.

Many ways to the end goal, but the first step is the cloud

As you look to transform your business, the process may seem complex. However, one of the best steps toward a transformed business is to find a solution-based product that can deliver the platform you need, offer dashboards, allow your business to focus on customer experience, and ultimately get your business on the right path quickly.

In a recent whitepaper from Mint Jutras, this leading analyst firm explored the path to digital transformation and the value of acting now. This guide, “Digital Transformation: It’s Time to Develop a Sense of Urgency,” will discuss:

  • Why technology adoption is like a hip replacement, not brain surgery.
  • How technology is leveling the playing field for smaller companies.
  • Why it’s dangerous not to be concerned about disruption.
  • The surprising truth about spreadsheet-dependency in today’s companies.
  • Shocking stats on how few companies have invested in digital.

Click here to download this free guide, courtesy of Acumatica.

At NexTec, we have spent decades helping businesses like yours to leverage the right technology to and through their digital transformation journeys. While one single solution may not be a cure-all for your entire business needs, one of the best places to start is to leverage ERP solutions that can deliver better results and more visibility. Get to know more about our work and contact us for a free consultation.

Outgrowing QuickBooks

Outgrowing QuickBooks: The early stages of communicating a change

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, ERP, Replace old software | No Comments
Outgrowing QuickBooks

Getting to know what your users want from your QuickBooks replacement will do two things. Not only will this help you to weed out certain products from the outset, it will help to increase optimism about the project.

When you outgrow entry-level software like QuickBooks, you know it. Your business starts to slow down, the lights at your office stay on a bit later each month, and you begin to worry if everything is accurate.

Following our last blog on the major warning signs that QuickBooks is failing to deliver for your business needs—namely spreadsheets, lack of visibility and auditability, and data instability—we would today like to turn our attention to your company’s first step in leading the charge to a new, viable, and innovative ERP solution: Communication.

Start talking with users

QuickBooks is built for simplicity and ease of use. Used by tens of millions of users at millions of small businesses worldwide, the company’s success in this market is also the reason it’s often hard to convince people it’s time to move on—many users haven’t seen better options.  For these users, manual and spreadsheet-laden processes and software crashes are considered part of life, and few people have seen the alternatives or next steps for growing businesses.

QuickBooks is familiar, and the reality is that there’s probably more than one person on your staff who has never used a different accounting solution. Change is stressful, and while the thought of more automation, flexibility, and functionality may be welcomed by some, others may dread or even fear the change.

To address this, you need to speak with (and listen to) those who use the product. Your goal here is not just to “rally the troops,” but to understand their concerns and get to know what features their ideal solution will have.

Rally the troops

Throughout the ERP implementation process, there will be many things that could lower morale and ultimately derail the project. Knowing this, it pays to start off with high—but tempered—hopes. Help users to understand that despite the challenges and stress that may come about throughout the implementation process, the company is moving to something better.

Allay fears

While many of your users will be optimistic about the move to automated and advanced software, some may fear for their livelihoods. Just as in the Industrial Revolution, people fear that automation would replace them, and the same fears pop up when you decide to move beyond QuickBooks. As you begin to communicate your company’s decision to select and implement new software, it’s vital to remind these people that these fears are unfounded.

Automation is going to give your people more freedom to help the business. Without the manual processes that exist, your team will have more time to analyze and deliver insight about data, providing context for decision-making. While some of your staff may need to learn new skills (communication, strategy, creativity, etc.), the decision to implement new ERP software will not result in massive staff cuts or layoffs.

Understand what your people want (and need)

Communication is a two-way street, and possibly the most important part of speaking with your users about this change is to listen. End users are the most heavily affected by a change in technology, and should play a major role in informing the functionality your product will have.

Getting to know what your users want from your QuickBooks replacement will do two things. Not only will this help you to weed out certain products from the outset, it will help to increase optimism about the project. Listening to the wants and needs of your staff will instill a sense of ownership in the project and reduce the likelihood they push back against some decision that didn’t include them.

The long journey to ERP starts with the right information and advice

Over the next few months, we at NexTec look forward to discussing the ongoing path to selecting a replacement for your underperforming QuickBooks product. While getting your users on board for a change is one key part of your decision, you will need to build a project team, discuss internally the budget and opportunities, discuss potential ROI, and more.

For our growing midsized 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 work, compare QuickBooks to Acumatica using this helpful tool, and contact us to discuss your needs and learn more about your next steps.

Is QuickBooks quick enough to keep up with your growing business

Is QuickBooks quick enough to keep up with your growing business?

By | ERP, Replace old software | No Comments
Outgrowing QuickBooks

Enterprise resource planning software, or ERP, is the next logical step for growing businesses, allowing you to use a solution that can grow with your company, deliver increased functionality, and ease any growing pains that come about.

If you’re like many businesses, you started out with QuickBooks. An easy choice, the software is familiar, reliable, affordable, and easy to use—perfect for entry-level businesses who just need the basics. This software has become a mainstay at your organization and for many years has facilitated your business growth. There comes a time, however, when you begin to realize that you aren’t an early-stage business with basic accounting needs.

This is an exciting time for your company, however, now is not the time to rest on your laurels. Your “small business agility” got you where you are today, but if you hope to keep up the pace when you are ‘not so small’, you need data at your fingertips. While QuickBooks was able to get you to where you are today, there comes a time when you need more than accounting software.

The right tool for your journey: Fully-featured enterprise resource planning software

QuickBooks, whether you are using the desktop version, enterprise version, or QuickBooks Online, is designed to be an accounting software—great for small businesses with limited needs and accountants who need to complete simple tasks. Knowing this, while the product may make life easy when you have one, five, or ten users who only need to close the books each month, you are entering a stage in which you need more.

For example, this time last year, if a salesperson needed to check on the available inventory or a customer credit line, it was simple—send an email and get a response within minutes. Now, the number of salespeople has increased along with the number of customers—getting this information isn’t as easy. From here, filing the expense reports for your salespeople or staff adds another layer of complexity; what once was a simple email with receipts is now dozens of receipts, an expense policy, and a lot of extra work to see if each hotel stay and meal is reimbursable.

Say you need to generate a report for your board, an investor, or the CFO. How long will it take to complete and will it be 100% accurate when it’s done?  Start adding locations, working in different currencies and tax codes, and you realize, “we need more.”

Is it time for ERP?

For many small businesses, choosing QuickBooks was a rite of passage and honestly, the product is still the ideal small business solution. Much like your first apartment out of college, the software served its purpose. But now your family has grown and your needs have evolved; you need something that can deliver.

Enterprise resource planning software, or ERP, is the next logical step for growing businesses, allowing you to use a solution that can grow with your company, deliver increased functionality, and ease any growing pains that come about.

You need more reporting

As your business grows, you need to act fast if you hope to capitalize on an opportunity. Knowing this, you can’t afford to wait hours or even days to collect data, organize it, and turn it into something useful—you need information now.

One of the biggest benefits of moving to an enterprise resource planning solution is its ability to leverage real-time reporting and business intelligence, bringing together a wide range of data points to empower decision makers and make reporting easy.

So many spreadsheets

Excel is one of those tools that works well when you don’t need to process a lot of information. Once your business grows, it becomes harder and harder to organize your financials in these personal productivity tools.

  • Need to use data from another application? Spreadsheet.
  • Need to create a report? Spreadsheet.
  • Need to close the books? Spreadsheet.

With spreadsheets being so common in your accounting, you are getting neither the accuracy, timeliness, or visibility you need. If 88% of spreadsheets have errors, how can you be sure you are even making a decision with the right information? ERP is designed to handle the entirety of your business processing, automating a wide range of formerly manual processes and providing accuracy.

Audit ready?

When you’re buried in spreadsheets, you barely have enough information to make a managerial decision; considering yourself audit ready is a whole different ballgame. Growing companies face new risks and scrutiny, and having both a strong audit trail and clear picture of where you stand is critical. Another key benefit of ERP is its ability to provide both an audit trail and offer audit-ready financial statements, allowing you to rest easy knowing that changes are tracked and reports can handle scrutiny.

Outgrowing QuickBooks: your next steps

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 work, compare QuickBooks to Acumatica using this helpful tool, and contact us to discuss your needs and learn more about your next steps.

ERP and Business Intelligence in the Distribution Industry

ERP and Business Intelligence in the distribution industry

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, Dashboards and KPIs, Distribution / Supply Chain, ERP, Warehouse management | No Comments
ERP and Business Intelligence in the distribution industry

The right ERP solution for distribution is essential. Pair it with a BI solution and you can get that bird’s eye view you need to make your business really shine.

Your warehouses, inventory, and business generate a lot of data. When all this data enters your supply chain, it can quickly overwhelm both you and your vendors. Unfortunately, for distribution businesses whose success relies on their ability to deliver products to customers in a timely manner, a mountain of data can harm visibility, reduce timeliness, and ultimately slow the business to a halt.

To solve the problem, you need to have the right tools and skilled data analysts to guide your data through the system in a way that makes decision making easier and decisions smarter. Distributors that turn to dashboards, analytics, and business intelligence (BI) software integrated with ERP and other key internal systems are able to unlock the secret value hidden in their data and make wise choices based on what they learn.

The many benefits of BI for the distribution industry

Business intelligence brings together a wide range of data from a wider variety of sources. Those in distribution know first-hand how difficult it can be to combine sales, finance and invoicing data from multiple warehouses, vendors and partners. BI software can help solve the problem by pulling the data together so that it is easily accessible and makes sense.

Link your BI software with your ERP software and you have a tool that can help you make instant and powerful changes that will put your business on the path to greater success.

Here are 3 key benefits to combining BI with ERP software.

1. Better planning and inventory management

A powerful inventory management solution is key to maintaining stock, planning for variability, and minimizing inventory costs. But if the people running your warehouse aren’t “data” people, you may never know how well your inventory is being managed.

Enter business intelligence. Rather than forcing these non-financial people to adapt and adjust to the complexities of an ERP solution, you can provide information at their fingertips with customized dashboards and readily available insights. Dashboards can be customized by role, by user, or by position and keep the people on the front lines informed in real time.

By making data more accessible, accurate, and understandable, you can improve planning, ordering, and much more. Get to know more about the benefits of integration and its role in managing complexity by reading our blog, “The Need to Know is Always Now in Warehousing and Distribution.”

2. Increased profit margins

Distribution operates as a low-margin, high-volume business. Any ding or dent in your profits will impact the bottom line much more quickly than another business. And there are so many ways those dings can happen – inventory storage costs, customer preference changes, reputation hits from lack of inventory. You need a clear picture not only of your inventory situation, but how inventory decisions will impact finances.

BI software can take a wide range of data out of your other systems such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Inventory Management, ERP, and more, and give you intuitive drill-down functionality that you can access from anywhere at any time. Want to know what your most profitable product is this month? Want to understand how each warehouse is performing? Want to know which warehouse is the best location for a specific product? Learn all this and more from your BI solution while at your desk, at a café with your laptop, or on your way to work with your mobile device.

Learn more about how ERP empowers you to keep up with changes in the supply chain here.

3. Reduced delivery time, fewer issues, happier customers

A distributors’ profits connect directly to well controlled inventory and warehouses. One of the most common places that profits can take a hit is through lost sales and returns. Customers are less tolerant of mistakes than ever before. So, when the wrong item is shipped, or the item is defective, the customer does not care if it was your shipping firm or 3PL that dropped the ball, they will blame you. Get it right always and your customers will love you for it.

By integrating your processes and systems with BI software, you can gain a clearer understanding of what went wrong, where it went wrong, how to rectify it and keep it that way —before your reputation takes a hit.

Pair your ERP with BI to make your distribution business a success

The right ERP solution for distribution is essential. Pair it with a BI solution and you can get that bird’s eye view you need to make your business really shine. NexTec Group consultants have been helping distribution companies select and implement ERP, BI and CRM for a quarter century. If you believe 2019 is the year that you truly take control of your supply chain, let’s talk. We’re here to help.

Distribution Multi-Location Visibility

Multi-warehouse woes: challenges in maintaining visibility

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, Distribution / Supply Chain, ERP, Warehouse management | No Comments
Distribution Multi-Location Visibility

Distribution firms with good visibility into their operations, inventory, and financials are able to deliver on the promises they make to customers.

Distribution firms pride themselves on being able to provide customers with the products they need—when and where they need them. Often, this means multiple warehouses across states lines, shipping zones, or international borders. There are many benefits to employing a multi-warehouse strategy for your distribution, but alongside these benefits comes a wide range of challenges.

Benefits and challenges of running a multi-warehouse distribution firm

Does the decision to open additional warehouses reduce your shipping costs, reduce your delivery time, and allow you to handle more SKUs? Yes. However, with the benefits that this strategy brings, it also makes it much more challenging to maintain accurate stock counts, ensure that ordering goes smoothly, handle taxes and currency, maintain control over inventory storage costs, and much more.

That said, we would like to turn our attention to one of the biggest challenges that exists in maintaining a multi-warehouse distribution center: Visibility.

Distribution firms with good visibility into their operations, inventory, and financials are able to deliver on the promises they make to customers.

While the decision to add new locations is an investment that can pay for itself in a variety of ways, it also represents a significant increase in labor, capital, and operating expenses. Added to this, the decision to open another facility requires new systems and processes to route and ship orders. Now, rather than simply sending an order down for fulfillment, you have to forward the order to the proper facility, who in turn has to fill it.

This makes it very easy to end up with mixed messages, inefficiencies, or stock-outs at one location, which ultimately results in your firm losing the efficiencies that come from opening the second location in the first place.

How to deliver visibility across multiple warehouses

Whether you are opening your second, twentieth, or two-hundredth warehouse, visibility is always a concern. However, with integrated ERP solutions, you can bring together the data you need to control inventory, increase profitability, decrease costs, and increase satisfaction.

This, of course, requires proper planning and execution to control inventory, gain a single version of the truth, and see a clearer picture of your warehouse operations. In order to embrace the true benefits that visibility can provide for your growing distribution business, businesses like yours are turning to enterprise resource planning software to take control and gain the visibility they need—no matter how many locations they have.

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.

You’ll also experience better decision-making with more timely and accurate financial data through Acumatica’s Financial Management software, which includes the core set of financial applications, fully integrated with customer management and operational software for distributors and wholesalers.

The benefits of our cloud ERP software can be seen in:

  • Improving customer satisfaction while minimizing cost: Efficiently manage distribution processes with real-time visibility of available inventory, inventory in transit, reorder quantities, and inventory costs. Minimize inventory and costs; optimize quoting, acceptance, entry, and fulfillment processes.
  • Reducing order times: Eliminate delays through automated sales order processing and shipping order generation. Set rules to manage multiple warehouses, returns, credit limits, drop shipments, and more.
  • Knowing where your business is: Ensure a steady supply of materials by optimizing and automating your purchasing process.
  • Knowing your true costs: Determine real-time profitability by warehouse, product line, location, or business unit. Use real-time information to control costs across the entire supply and distribution chain.

In the coming months, we look forward to discussing even more of the challenges that multi-location distribution firms like yours face and explore how Acumatica can help your company to overcome these challenges. At NexTec Group, we understand your pain points and know how to help. 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.

Inventory control

Food and beverage inventory management: How to take control

By | Food and Beverage, Inventory control | No Comments
Inventory control

Take control of your inventory management by using the right enterprise resource planning solution.

Inventory management can be a challenge for food and beverage companies. With effective inventory control, companies can realize significant improvements in wastage, traceability and compliance.

Having the right enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution helps companies discover how to take control of food and beverage inventory management.

Why focus on inventory control?

Inventory is at the heart of food and beverage operations. Without sound inventory management, companies are likely to have costlier manufacturing processes, poorer outcomes, strained supply chain relationships and shakier regulatory compliance.

Often the issue is a lack of good data. More precisely, it’s about being able to collect, manage and use that data to make better decisions in the moment.

The right food ERP solution helps companies resolve some of their greatest inventory management issues, including:

  • Poor stock rotation leading to spoilage
  • Too much capital tied up in stock
  • Inadequate stock levels
  • Inaccurate sales projections
  • Slow turnaround time on customer orders

Solving those issues requires a food ERP that can collect and display data in the moment of critical need, drive better decisions and improve output.

Inventory control.

ERP solutions provide the data, insights and tools to reduce spoilage and ensure regulatory compliance.

Solving the big three challenges of poor inventory management

Food and beverage companies grapple with inventory issues daily. Here’s a look at three of the most critical issues and how the right ERP platform solves them.

1. Reducing food waste

Food waste costs companies millions each year in disposal costs and reordering. The issue is compounded today by customer expectations for rapid introduction of new products, ingredients and recipes.

Reducing food waste means a focus on three core areas:

  • Overstocking. Without clear predictive models on demand, food companies can understock (and risk losing revenue) or overstock and suffer from reduced cash flow and increased spoilage.
  • Spoilage. Companies need data generated by their ERP tool to track products by lot and vendor to prevent spoilage. An ERP tool can also optimize and accelerate production scheduling to factor in expiring ingredients.
  • Cross-Contamination. Tracking products to avoid contamination is a regulatory and safety issue. With the growing number of food allergies, inventory needs to be stored, handled and packaged properly to track products and manage workflow. Your ERP solution can help map where products are stored and trace usage at every stage.

2. Traceability

Farm-to-fork traceability is the expectation today among customers and consumers. Providing this information means having ERP capabilities to track sources, locations, handing, processing, delivery dates, quantities and quality.

Traceability is a critical part of recall management planning and execution. With track-and-trace functions in place, your company can respond faster in the event of a recall, providing the public, customers, stakeholders and regulators accurate information faster.

3. Compliance

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) has changed the regulatory landscape for many food and beverage companies. You need an ERP tool that can properly track, record and report on various compliance mandates from different regulating agencies. Automation, quality control and IoT objects connected to your ERP solution are critical to remaining in good standing.

Finding a solution

Sage Enterprise Management (formerly Sage X3) gives your food and beverage company the ERP solution designed to meet your inventory management challenges. Sage Enterprise Management offers shelf-life management, production planning, stock management, lot management, formula and recipe management, quality control and allergen tracking tools designed specifically for the food and beverage industry.

NexTec works extensively with food and beverage companies to find, implement and optimize their ERP solutions. Our consultants have years of experience with Sage Enterprise Management. Take a free tour of Sage Enterprise Management to learn how to transform inventory management and reduce costs for your company.

Worker with orange hard hat taking inventory by hand.

Enhance inventory control & speed up order fulfillment

By | ERP, Inventory control, Manufacturing | No Comments
Worker with orange hard hat taking inventory.

Digital tools can reduce the need for manual counting and tracking of inventory.

Inventory control is dynamic and complex, requiring tools that allow for accurate, real-time management of raw materials, products, sources, and supply chain partners. Fortunately, the recent advancements in enterprise resource planning (ERP) technologies have improved the management and impact of inventory control.

How can your manufacturing ERP software enhance inventory control & speed up order fulfillment? By giving your employees access to real-time data that allows for better decisions, improved quality, and better customer outcomes.

While there are standalone inventory control and management software products, those that are integrated with your ERP solution are able to leverage the many benefits of having data collected and accessible in the same platform. As seen in the recent post, Strategic Guide to Planning Manufacturing Production Cycles, ERP solutions offer considerable upside to inventory management and many other areas of your manufacturing company.

Here are a few of the ways your ERP solution helps inventory control.

Replenishment management

ERP inventory management helps you plan for replenishment ordering. By tracking parts and part categories, your ordering can be triggered by indicated or projected demand parameters. Other triggers can include price levels or other factors built into your system. ERP systems help reduce the quantity of orders and project the right timing for when orders should be placed.

Surplus inventory management

Inventory surplus can cause significant issues, from wastage to improper usage to cost considerations. With ERP inventory controls, surplus inventory issues can signal alerts and warnings requiring action. And with ERP integrating information from finance, sales, and operations areas, the decisions about what to do about surplus can be made with better information and collaboration as necessary.

Woman worker with a white hard hat taking inventory.

Inventory management tools connected to your ERP help make better decisions about products and parts.

Better order fulfillment

Market demands are pushing order fulfillment needs every day, as customers and consumers expect rapid turnarounds, low- to no-cost shipping costs, and transparency in the tracking of shipments throughout the transportation process.

ERP tools allow companies to build materials and complete kitting work, track serial numbers, print barcodes and labels, and manage SKUs. Other tools allow companies to value inventory on hand.

When companies have large amounts of inventory on hand, ERP tools also allow manage spend levels and manage cash flow.

Inventory analytics and management

Turnover is crucial for inventory management and profits. Does your company know all it should about what products and parts are moving? Are parts for just a few customers sitting on shelves longer than is financially prudent?

Understanding inventory dynamics helps manufacturers consider whether products should be purchased in smaller or larger quantities, improve shelf life conditions for products and ingredients, and determine optimal levels of items. You’ll reduce carrying costs, warehousing fees, and product maintenance.

ERP solutions can also provide better information about where products are using tracking and mapping tools that reduce the amount of time and expense in locating items in your inventory.

Better customer relations

Better inventory management results in fewer backorders, lost sales, and unhappy customers. Orders will ship more accurately, faster, with less processing time necessary.

At NexTec Group, we help companies identify the ERP solutions that meet their unique manufacturing needs. Contact us to see how NexTec Group can help in finding the vendor, product, and features that will drive improved operations.

Warehouse with large blue barrels.

Inventory control in the chemicals industry and your ERP choice

By | ERP, Inventory control | No Comments
Warehouse with large blue barrels.

Managing your chemical inventory means having the right systems that integrate key functions and provide real-time data and insights.

Chemical companies today need robust solutions to ensure inventory control. With dynamically changing markets, increasing customer demands for new products and a global competitive landscape, companies need to manage inventory on multiple levels.

As seen in the recent post, Why chemical businesses should choose an industry-specific ERP, you can transform your chemical company’s production, compliance and efficiencies with the right enterprise resource planning solution. Using a generic ERP means trying to shoehorn a solution that does not meet the regulatory and efficiency needs of modern manufacturing.

When it comes to inventory control in the chemicals industry and your ERP choice, consider using a solution that is designed from the start to address the unique challenges of chemical manufacturing.

Inventory Management Components

Inventory management has several components that your ERP solution needs to address. They include:

Compliance. You need a solution that will address the myriad federal and international agencies’ guidelines that govern chemical manufacturing. These guidelines include the need to track and measure inventory, provide detailed information about materials, products and byproducts of production, and ensure accurate handling and transportation of these materials.

Accuracy. Your customers demand accurate batches and quality levels. Knowing that the materials being used are the right ones, with proper labeling, measurements, and yield analysis ensures consistent manufacturing standards and efficient use of warehouse inventory.

Track and Trace Functionality. Inventory control begins with the proper identification and documentation of materials in your possession. These become essential in the case of a recall event. Your inventory management should be able to track and trace products and ingredients, ensuring that the source is identified and any actions related to existing inventory are taken quickly.

Workers with orange vests and green barrels in the background.

Inventory management functions in an enterprise resource planning solution allow for more productive operations and less waste.

Functional ERP Needs

When you’re deciding on an industry-specific ERP for your chemical company, you need a solution that has several essential components. Your inventory solution should include:

  • Strategic sourcing. Improved supply chain efficiency is imperative, providing you with transparency and easily accessible information about vendors and partners, availability, pricing, and market trends.
  • Inventory transparency. Your ERP can monitor and track inventory at multiple locations with accessible information on lot numbers, serial numbers, grades and container types.
  • Documentation. Track shelf life requirements and other properties such as expiration dates, potency and volatility to ensure that chemicals are being used in a timely manner, reducing waste and inaccurate results.
  • Predictive forecasting. Gain access to real-0time reports on inventory levels, allowing your team to integrate inventory levels with anticipated or actual orders, allowing for better purchasing and optimized use of inventory space.
  • Compliance. Your ERP should be able to monitor and track processes and products using automated tools. The same goes for quality control measures to ensure that finished products are made to the proper internal guidelines and regulatory mandates.
  • Safety. Track Safety Data Sheets in an online database to provide information to employees and reduce accidents, injuries, and improper handling incidents.

Choosing the right partner to help select and install your chemical ERP solution is an important step. NexTec helps our clients by understanding their needs and pain points. We help companies identify the products and features that will have a profound impact on operations, from inventory to production to distribution.

Contact us to see how NexTec can help your company select the right industry-specific ERP.

Man watching the manufacturing of liquid in bottles.

Inventory control ERP functionalities in foods and beverages

By | ERP, Inventory control | No Comments
Man observing the manufacturing of liquids in bottles.

Tracking inventory in the food and beverage industry becomes more streamlined and powerful with an enterprise resource planning solution.

Managing inventory control has major advantages for food and beverage manufacturers. With proper inventory controls, companies can accurately predict supplies, manage ordering more efficiently, and improve operational performance.

Inventory control also helps to eliminate spoilage and waste, both critical and costly areas to corral.

As seen in the recent Comprehensive guide to key ERP functionalities in foods and beverages, having a sound approach to inventory management is one of the main advantages of a modern enterprise resource planning platform.

Here is a closer look at inventory control functionalities in foods and beverages.

Holistic view of inventory

With the right ERP tool for inventory management, companies gain a real-time view of their entire inventory system. From stock levels to locations to inventory activity, managers can gain a keen understanding of their inventory at a moment’s notice. And with automation tools, companies can also improve the picking, sorting, and operations of the warehouse and its employees.

Using these tools, more accurate decisions can be made in the moment about inventory, ordering, and operations.

Inventory level management

One of the major issues for many food and beverage companies is having the right level of ingredients and raw materials on hand to meet anticipated demand. With inventory controls, companies can hold accurate levels in inventory to decrease overhead costs.

Forecasting improves with better understanding of available products, anticipated orders, and historical trends. Having the right inventory level means not losing out on sales due to a shortage of needed ingredients, too.

Large collection of mason jars.

The right inventory control system helps eliminate waste and improve warehouse functions.

Quality control

With inventory control tools, companies can better assess quality of the products and their vendors. Using quality management tools, inventory management can develop quality assessment measures to inspect and test lots as they arrive and once they are in the warehouse. These tools can ensure that products meet provided descriptions for what was ordered.

Companies can manage their inventories to look for defects, leaks, tears, or other discrepancies soon after acquisition. Doing so ensures that that the right products are available and intact when needed for production.

Spoilage reduction

Perishable items need to be managed carefully while in inventory to ensure they are used in a timely manner so that they are not wasted and that finished products are also consumed in the proper timeframe.

Inventory management tools can track and monitor usage, available products, and ensure that those closest to expiration are used first.

Production management

Use data collected and shared by inventory controls to project production needs and schedule work, workers, and equipment. Proper production management leads to increased efficiency and usage of available capacity.

Warehouse management

Inventory and warehouse management go hand in hand. Your ERP solution needs to manage warehouse functions and improve supply chain efficiency.

ERP tools can help with bin location, stock transfer, label generation and verification, quality control checks, and movement into, within and through the warehouse. With accurate RFID and barcode tools, companies can improve the speed and accuracy of warehouse management.

At NexTec, we help food and beverage companies identify the right ERP solution to maximize inventory control functionality and improve efficiency. Read our recent study on the food industry to see how NexTec can help your company become more efficient and generate higher profit margins.