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Multi-Warehouse Woes: Challenges in Maintaining Visibility across Multiple Locations

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, Distribution / Supply Chain, ERP, Warehouse management | No Comments

Warehousing and distribution companies pride themselves in being able to provide customers with the products they need when and where they need them. Because warehousing and distribution business is demand-driven, this often means that most companies require multiple warehouses across various state lines, shipping zones or international borders. Any seasoned distributor knows the challenges of employing a multi-warehouse strategy for distribution, but the benefits of this type of approach far outweigh these challenges.

Below, we discuss both the challenges and benefits of running a multi-warehouse strategy for distribution and how cloud-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software can help increase visibility across locations and provide you with the insight you need to grow your business. 

The Benefits and Challenges of a Multi-Warehouse Strategy

The benefits of opening additional warehousing and distribution centers are clear: you can reduce shipping costs, reduce delivery time and handle more SKUs. But additional locations also makes it much more challenging to maintain accurate stock counts, ensure accurate order processing, efficiently handle taxes and currency and maintain control over inventory storage costs.

Multi-Location operations require increased visibility.

The root of all these challenges can be grouped into one overarching issue most distributors struggle with daily: visibility. 

Warehousing and distribution organizations with good visibility into their operations, inventory, financials and supply chain management 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. In addition to these challenges, the decision to open multiple facilities requires the implementation of new systems and processes to route and ship orders. Now, instead of having one fulfillment department responsible for every order, multiple fulfillment teams at multiple locations will have to communicate with each other to ensure accuracy and efficiency.

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

How to Increase Visibility across Multiple Warehouses

Whether you are opening your second, 20th or 200th warehousing or distribution facility, visibility between locations is always a concern. With the help of integrated ERP software, however, you can bring together data from across your entire organization to better control inventory, increase profitability, reduce costs and increase customer and supplier satisfaction.

Cloud ERP software integrates operational processes at all of your locations into one solution, providing you with accurate real-time information that helps you better manage your business, anticipate issues and resolve challenges as they occur. Software designed for the distribution industry helps businesses like yours gain complete visibility into their inventory levels from multiple locations, which helps them create proactive workflows for replenishment processes and minimize inventory costs.

But increased visibility into your operations does more than help with just your inventory management processes. The benefits of a cloud-based ERP solution can also help your distribution company:

  • Improve customer satisfaction while minimizing costs

Efficiently manage distribution processes with real-time visibility into available inventory, inventory in transit, reorder quantities and inventory costs. You can also optimize quoting, acceptance, entry and fulfillment processes.

  • Reduce 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.

  • Anticipate future business 

Take a consumer demand-driven approach to ensure a steady supply of materials by optimizing and automating your purchasing process.

  • Understand your true costs

Determine real-time profitability by drilling down on data based on warehouse, product line, location or business unit. Use real-time information to control costs across the entire supply and distribution chain.

Solutions like Acumatica Cloud ERP help distribution companies automate processes and reduce errors in purchasing, order fulfillment, inventory tracking and customer support. By embracing a robust and flexible solution to manage all of your finance, operations, supply chain and distribution processes in one place, you can transform your business and ensure success. To learn more about how Acumatica can work for your distribution business, reach out to us. We’d love to chat.

Seven Signs it’s Time to Change Your ERP System

By | Accounting software, Acumatica Cloud ERP, Cloud, ERP, SOFTWARE | No Comments

Seven Signs it's Time to Change Your ERP System

An Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementation is a huge undertaking, so it’s no surprise that many companies adopt the saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” when referring to their ERP systems. But what happens when the system is broken and begins causing you problems rather than providing you with solutions?

A major reason companies refuse to look at new ERP solutions is that most small and medium-sized business leaders don’t have the time, personnel or budget to take on an update to their ERP legacy system.

Implementing a brand new ERP solution affects the entire organization and the way it operates. From reevaluating current processes and team configurations to revisiting workflows between departments, a new ERP forces management to examine the way their company currently operates and map out the ways it should operate within a new system.

But for most businesses, the benefits of implementing a modern ERP solution that streamlines processes and helps manage business growth far outweighs the costs.

So how do you know if your company is ready to take the plunge into implementing a new ERP? Here are seven signs it’s time for a change:

1. Small Inefficiencies Are Adding Up

Chances are good that there are more efficient ways to accomplish many of your business tasks. Tech moves fast, and the loss of efficient processes is a hidden cost, especially for non-cloud software. An outdated ERP legacy system also increasingly redirects resources into maintenance instead of allowing you to focus that money and energy on solving real problems.

2.  Business Needs Are Outgrowing ERP Capability

You know why you bought your first ERP system—to help manage a growing company. But if increasing maintenance and license fees are adding up as the team’s headcount grows, you may be dealing with a legacy system that doesn’t scale well. ERP software should support and streamline your team’s growth, not hinder it or generate more work.

3. Customer Needs Aren’t Being Met

Customers, suppliers and partners expect direct access to billing, shipping and inventory data. They don’t want to call someone to get this information and you don’t want to generate unnecessary customer service calls. Older systems weren’t designed for multiple user access and tend to be less customer-service oriented. These complexities are forcing many companies to rethink their software’s user experience. A cloud ERP solution can provide instant, anywhere access to real-time information. If you’re not providing that business value, your competitors might have an edge on you.

4. Workplace Dynamics Are Changing

Today’s business leaders are often working with employees or whole branches in remote locations due to telecommuting or hiring off site contractors. Operating with a business model that depends on a centralized office is simply not practical anymore. The user experience should extend beyond company walls so that productivity is never interrupted.

5. Employees Are Mobile and Information Needs to be, Too

By leveraging the potential of this decentralized world, more and more of the workforce is doing work from mobile devices on the road using tablets, laptops and phones. A cloud ERP solution turns this mobility into a clear business advantage by providing a seamless user experience from the office to home to mobile and back. An upgrade to a cloud-based ERP empowers scalability as you add employees, anywhere in the world.

6. You Don’t Have Access to Real-Time Information

If you have to dig for up-to-date information, it slows critical decision-making and impairs problem-solving capacity. With the Business Intelligence (BI) capabilities available in today’s data-driven business environment (Microsoft’s Power BI, Google Analytics, OData, and so much more), it’s going to be critical to add the value of interpretation and curation to that information. You need to know what parts of your business are working and what aren’t—and you need to know fast. This is one of the key drivers to consider when you replace your ERP.

7. Your ERP Isn’t Keeping up with Changing Regulations

Tax rules (and other industry compliance regulations) change every year, if not more often. For many businesses, compliance demands are constantly shifting. A cloud-based ERP solution allows companies to keep pace with changing compliance information. Legacy ERP solutions simply weren’t built for agile business pivots; what would happen if your company experienced a sudden increase in demand or was hit with an opportunity to expand? Could your ERP system scale to meet these changes?

If you’re a small or mid-sized business leader looking to streamline operations and ensure scalability, this is a great time to consider an ERP upgrade. A cloud-based solution provides the advantages of enterprise software without needing an enterprise-sized IT budget. As your business continues to grow, a cloud-based ERP will be able to grow with you

Learn how a cloud-based platform like Acumatica Cloud ERP provides customers with the accounting, finance, operations, distribution and inventory functionality they need to be successful by reaching out to us. We’d love to chat.

Six Reasons Your Business Needs Cloud ERP

Six Reasons Your Business Needs Cloud ERP

By | Accounting software, Acumatica Cloud ERP, Cloud, ERP, News | No Comments

As your legacy systems age, it may be time to start thinking about implementing a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. While your list of requirements for new software may include items that are feature or module specific, it’s also critical that you take the time to decide on which deployment option is right for your business.

Below, we highlight the advantages of choosing a cloud-based ERP solution over an on-premise one.

Six Reasons Your Business Needs Cloud ERP

Get your team productive fast; cloud-based software is easier to migrate and usually has an intuitive interface that lessens the learning curve.

1. Cloud ERP allows you to migrate off of outdated systems quickly, easily and more affordably

Installing on-premise ERP applications is daunting. It often requires downtime and always means significant time and effort with choosing a system, negotiating a price, installing, troubleshooting and maintaining the system. Cloud-based ERP is different. It requires no extensive installation and the workload can usually be migrated immediately, meaning no lost downtime. Many cloud ERP applications often offer a straightforward pricing structure, which is also a huge plus.

2. Cloud ERP reduces the workload of internal IT staff

After the system is up and running, most of the support comes directly from your cloud ERP partner. If you need changes made, have questions or experience issues, there is no waiting around for IT to have time to fix the problem or answer your questions. For businesses where IT is already overloaded (which includes most companies nowadays), cloud software is incredibly helpful in reducing the stress on IT while keeping workers productive.

3. Cloud ERP is available anywhere, anytime

A cloud-based solution is not dependent on your internal infrastructure, so workers can access the system anytime they need it from anywhere they happen to be. This means that they can work from home, work while traveling and work during hours when systems are normally down for maintenance (such as over the weekend or late at night). Even if your entire IT infrastructure is lost in a fire or natural disaster, your data and workflows remain intact and accessible via the cloud.

4. Cloud ERP is compatible with other tools

A common problem found in many legacy ERP systems is a lack of compatibility with other systems, especially as you upgrade to new software. Cloud-based software often employs standard tools to quickly facilitate integration with other technology so that you can stream data from other systems into your ERP for a more complete, accurate, up-to-date view of your company’s data.

5. Cloud ERP always gives you access to the latest version

Updating and upgrading on-premises software is costly, time-consuming and sometimes just doesn’t get done. Updates generally bring downtime, which most companies can’t easily afford. An upgrade is expensive, and also comes with downtime, troubleshooting and all of the issues your IT department faces when installing any new software package. Cloud-based ERP gives you constant access to the latest version, without paying more or shutting down production for an installation.

Six Reasons Your Business Needs Cloud ERP

A software licensing audit begins with a lot of work and often ends up costing you big money. With cloud-based software, you never have to face an audit by one of the big vendors again.

6. Cloud ERP means you’ll never face a software licensing audit

Software companies have gotten more aggressive in recent years about auditing the businesses that use their software. Even if your business is compliant with licensing requirements, it is expensive and a hassle to go through the auditing process. With a cloud platform, there is no in-house software to audit. You never have to worry about getting one of those dreaded audit notification letters.

If your business is struggling with an on-premise solution or legacy software and is ready to learn more about how cloud-based ERP can help streamline your operations, we’d love to chat. Acumatica Cloud ERP and NexTec provide best-in-class business software for companies like yours. To learn more, reach out to us. We’d love to chat.

Three colleagues discussing information on documents and a laptop screen.

5 reasons professional service firms should connect CRM and accounting

By | Accounting software, CRM, Professional Services | No Comments
Three colleagues sitting at a table discussing information on documents and a laptop screen.

Professional service providers need a bird’s eye view into their operations.

Most businesses are using different software to serve different needs, but is this truly the best practice for a professional service provider?

For attorneys, accountants, architects, engineers, and other services, the core of your operations relies on two unique sets of data: customer information and finances. Rarely are the two connected, often because they don’t connect in a valuable way to the organization.

But it’s essential to match your revenue and cash flow with the work you perform to ensure profitability for short- and long-term success.

Here are five reasons why integrating your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) with your accounting software is a must for any professional service provider:

1. Get a 360° view of every client

One of the greatest advantages of integration is having a holistic customer profile. The entire client history is in a single location, from customer lifetime value to order history and more. Service providers can use this data to identify opportunities and gain deeper insight into the customer journey.

2. Know your real profits

An influx of orders looks a lot like profit, but how much money are you really making? Even though clients are buying, you’ll still have expenses related to those orders, and you need an easy way to compare the two.

Integrating CRM software and accounting software can help you track the numbers with data rather than guesswork. Accounting can keep an eye on who and how to invoice, while sales and marketing can see exactly how they’re moving the needle.

Wooden scale.

Revenue doesn’t equal profit.

3. Improve process efficiency

A new project often starts in CRM as a lead or opportunity, then ends up in accounting as a paying customer. Integrating these two systems can create a smooth, seamless transition that saves time and eliminates details from falling through the cracks.

4. Manage costs more effectively

Transparency is essential for managing costs, especially in the subscription software era. Many companies invest in tools to help them manage costs and improve efficiency, but there’s also a cost associated with investing in multiple software products that only satisfy one job.

Integrating CRM with accounting can help you eliminate the need for multiple systems and lump your software needs into a single expense.

5. Eliminate duplication

Working in two siloes can lead to error, particularly concerning duplicate records. It creates confusion and costs time when you or your team are doing double data entry. A centralized system can set the record straight.

Integrate CRM and Accounting with NexTec Group

These are just a few of the benefits of integrating CRM with your finance and accounting software. A one-stop-shop for all information that connects client project work with revenue and expenses will help you get a clear picture of your business and save time and improve the way you work.

Let NexTec help you put it all together. We have been in the business of connecting CRM with accounting software for over 25 years. We can help you select the right CRM and accounting system made for the professional service industry.

We highly recommend Acumatica Cloud ERP for professional services firms. It lives in the Cloud and has all the essential functions that service companies need, including CRM, project accounting, project cost tracking, purchase order management, time and expense management, sales order management, service and support automation, and more.

Take a tour of Acumatica and discover how an integrated approach can help you run a more profitable business.

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A brief Intro to Acumatica Cloud ERP

By | Accounting software, Acumatica Cloud ERP, Cloud, ERP | No Comments

Acumatica Cloud ERP software wins multiple awards for it’s cloud-based ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning). It is considered one of the best business management solutions for mid-sized and small companies, and can run your entire company, including finance, project accounting, operations, the supply chain, field services, and more.

Nucleus Research ERP Value Matric June 2020According to Nucleus Research, Acumatica is the leader for greater usability and better functionality. It is a cloud-native SaaS business management solution with industry editions for manufacturing, distribution management, field service management, professional service, construction, and more. Acumatica focuses on product development, innovation, and customer support. It relies on its partners, like NexTec Group, for selling and implementation.

Acumatica helps your business to grow by:

  • Empowering your employees to work anywhere at any time via their web browser-based accounting, inventory management, and financial management applications
  • Enabling you to take control of your business with increased visibility into your business management processes from end-to-end
  • Streamlining your core business functions so you can concentrate on your strengths and find areas of opportunity and growth

With Acumatica, both in-office workers and remote teams will get data in real-time because Acumatica is an ERP solution that is available on any of the following platforms and Internet-enabled devices:

  • Apple iPad or iPhone
  • Google Android tablet or smartphone
  • Windows OS
  • Mac OS
  • Linux OS

To learn more about how Acumatica Cloud ERP can streamline business processes, and increase profitability, check out these additional resources:

Video: Acumatica Cloud ERP Product Tour

Forrester Report: The Total Economic Impact™ of Acumatica

Looking for an Acumatica solution for your company? Choose your industry from the list below:

As a gold-certified Acumatica partner, NexTec has been implementing Acumatica for years. Our dedication to customers has given us a 95% client retention rate. Contact NexTec today and let us become your Acumatica partner.

PMI

Manage project communication and documentation easily with Acumatica

By | Accounting software, Acumatica Cloud ERP, ERP, Project accounting | No Comments

(Source: PMI)

Effective project communication with all involved stakeholders is one of the most crucial drivers of successful project management in field services.

Oft-cited research from the Project Management Institute (PMI) revealed that among companies with highly effective communication, 80 percent of projects met their goals, compared to a 52 percent success rate for those with minimally effective communication. Further, the degree of effectiveness of communications significantly impacted whether projects were delivered on time and within budget.

Field service managers who use multiple applications for project communications may find it challenging to achieve the level of communication needed to ensure project success, especially when key stakeholders are distributed across different geographical areas. Without the right enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution in place, project management and communication can become a labor-intensive, frustrating chore riddled with inaccuracies, outdated information, and poorly communicated objectives that lead to costly project delays and budget overages.

Acumatica Cloud ERP enables you to manage all aspects of your projects in one place! Access the information from any internet-enabled mobile device including your laptop, tablet, or smartphone anytime, anywhere. Your project managers and teams will be well-informed and up-to-date at every stage of the project cycle.

How Acumatica facilitates project communication

Acumatica enables you to manage your projects from start to finish with the following functionalities:

Notifications that require action

These notifications typically include the URL link of the item that requires action, making the process easy and user-friendly. Examples include:

  • Workflows
  • Approvals
  • Revisions

Simple informational communication

The purpose of simple informational communication is to maintain a well-informed team. Stakeholders in the field can then take action and/or make decisions when needed. Examples include:

  • Assignment of tasks or projects – “A new Project has been assigned to you”
  • Sales have increased by 10%
  • Project budget spending has reached 75%

Communication logs

Communication logs allow users to maintain a history of internal/external communications. They can manage project communication, documentation, and forms from the office or the field. Examples include:

  • Client communications
  • Internal communications/collaborations
  • Document management (e.g., attached project contracts, requisitions, purchase orders, contractor’s insurance information, field services documentation)

Automatic report delivery

Schedule report delivery with Acumatica based on a pre-defined schedule and/or when certain criteria have been met. This is an efficient way to provide stakeholders with an up-to-date status of the project. Examples include:

  • Monthly delivery of project profit and loss
  • Periodic delivery of expense/revenue analysis
  • Monthly delivery of project budget
  • Delivery of AR aging when Invoice(s) Past Due is greater than 30 days
  • Delivery of AP aging when Voucher(s) Past Due is greater than 30 days

The right project communication tools are key to successful collaboration and team decision-making. Acumatica is the right ERP application to help you efficiently manage project communications while achieving organizational goals.

Learn more about Acumatica Cloud ERP and fill out the form at right for more information on how Acumatica can streamline your project communication and management today.

The implementation process: Staying organized, motivated, and on path

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, ERP, Replace old software | No Comments
ERP implementation process

Completing an ERP implementation project requires you to stay organized, keep your people motivated, and ensure the project stays on path. Here are a few tips to make that happen.

So you’ve made it to the final stages of your ERP journey—you’re just an implementation project and a go-live away from a business management solution able to facilitate your next decade or more of growth.

After realizing that your outdated or entry-level solution can no longer meet your needs, communicating the change, securing buy-in, and completing a vendor analysis, you’ve selected a solution and partner and are now entering the home stretch. Congratulations, after months of planning your move beyond QuickBooks, this long journey is coming to its conclusion.

However, if you’ve ever completed an endurance sport, you know that there’s a big difference between ‘almost finished’ and ‘completed.’

The same goes for your ERP implementation. You’ve gotten so far—why stop now? It’s time to buckle down and make it to the finish line.

Will there be a bit of a headwind or a couple hills? Yes. However, you’ve prepared for this and understand that even if an ERP implementation may not be “easy,” it can be manageable. Plus, if you’ve followed our advice, you’ve chosen a partner who has done this many times before.

The home stretch: Getting from implementation to go live.

As the title of our article implies, completing an ERP implementation project requires you to stay organized, keep your people motivated, and ensure the project stays on path. Here are a few tips to make that happen.

Planning for the process

Before completing an endurance race, you’re going to at least look at the map. Should you conserve energy for a big climb? Is there a stretch heading southeast in which you can expect a bit of sweet, sweet tailwind? At which mile markers should you break out your energy gel? Are you aiming for simply completing the race or are you going for time?

The same goes for your implementation. Prior to starting, you will work with your partner to determine which type of implementation project you will need, discuss your vision, needs, and project scope before writing up an implementation strategy. During this phase, you will discuss more about how your business works and work with your partner to establish timelines, benchmarks, and goals.

Maintain pace

You’ve planned for the hills. You’ve set a goal time. Now you have to follow your plan. When completing an endurance event, it’s important to stay focused on the finish line. But the old adage, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint” exists for a reason. It’s imperative that you maintain a pace that allows you to get to the end.

The planning process tells you a timeline. Project management is what gets you to the end. Project management is all about comparing the progress made against the original plan and thereby updating the plan.” To accomplish this, assembling a Project Management Team to guide the project from beginning to end is necessary.

This team includes an executive sponsor, a person high on your organizational hierarchy who is there to discuss expectations, answer questions, settle disputes, and keep spirits high. It also includes a project leader, someone who is knowledgeable about your business, has previous management experience, and can communicate clearly. This person is also in charge of setting team member responsibilities and keeping people on task within your organization.

Stay organized

When you make the move to implement ERP it’s easy to get distracted. Maybe you start to thinkof adding more nice-to-have features. Is it doable? Of course—today’s ERP is customizable, and your partner will be glad to take on the additional work.

However, you need to know each addition will shift the timeline and ‘additional work’ means more billable hours to build the product to your new needs. It’s much cheaper and much less risky to discuss every element before the project starts.

Keep your spirits up

Getting to the finish line is hard. There will be trying times and frustrating moments in both implementation projects and endurance races. Keeping spirits high throughout the process can help you get through. For ERP implementations, this means effective communication.

If you’ve followed our series, you know that proper communication prior to implementation helped you document your needs and instill a sense of ownership among the employees who will be affected most. However, now you need to expand this communication across the organization.

It’s also important to note that communicating exactly what is happening, why it’s happening, and when it’s happening throughout the process will keep everyone in the loop and mitigate the anxiety ERP implementations can bring.

Surprises can be both good and bad. If your employees – the end users – understand from the beginning that adopting ERP technology is a business initiative and strategy and not just a new software package or an IT project, then they are more likely to support the entire process.

The journey to ERP starts with the right advice

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

A single version of the truth: Why today’s CFO can’t waste the next decade herding reports

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, Dashboards and KPIs, ERP | No Comments
CFOs real time numbers

Today’s CFO can’t wait days for an “accurate” report—information needs to be accessible today and it needs to be infallible.

The term ‘herding cats’ has long been used in the management world to denote the futile attempt to control or organize a class of entities which are inherently uncontrollable. Have you ever tried to get one unwilling cat into its carrier? Now multiply that by hundreds.

It’s entertaining to think about, and is why the “Cat Herders” ad still appears on the list of most memorable “Big Game” advertisements two decades later. However, the phrase still holds true: some things are harder to control than others—especially when put into large, dispersed groups.

For today’s CFO, the roles may change, but some remain the same.

As we discussed in our last blog, today’s CFO has a more important, diverse, and exciting role than he or she did even a decade ago. Knowing this, even as the role evolves from ‘head number cruncher’ to core influencer and organizational catalyst, some of the responsibilities remain. It’s still on you to build a financially sound strategy built on historical data, current results, and projections.

However, say you’re trying to build out the budget for 2020 right now. How would you define the process of sifting through email chains and watching your team trying to piece together reports? Is everyone on the same page? How long will it take to complete, how accurate is the information, and if there is a disparity, how can you find out whose information is right? Is it akin to herding a certain feline?

The speed of business is increasing, and opportunities pop up and fall by the wayside faster than ever. Today’s CFO can’t wait days for an “accurate” report—information needs to be accessible today and it needs to be infallible.

Centralize your system, see changes in real time, and take charge of your strategy

Now more than ever, CFOs are expected to have real-time numbers at their fingertips. In fact, they must also be able to generate reports and offer their insights on that data in near real-time, as well.

The key is to have the flexibility to access the data you need from your ERP database in whatever manner is most convenient to you—whether it be for export to an Excel file, as a graphical display on your dashboard, as part of a report, or even as data that will be passed to another application for more analysis.

The right ERP system can deliver this, empowering organizational leaders to understand where the business was, is, and will be. Armed with the right ERP system and analytical tools, you can get to your data and make sense of it, giving your organization the insights it needs to not only survive, but to thrive.

Ready to learn more? We invite you to download two free guides from our friends at Acumatica: Top technology challenges for the modern CFO and cloud ERP buyer’s guide for the modern CFO.

Few solutions provide today’s CFOs with the flexibility and adaptability they need as well as Acumatica, and as a leading Acumatica Partner, we can help you on your journey to this powerful software. Let’s get in touch.

Outgrowing QuickBooks: Training employees, going live, and using a new ERP solution

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, ERP, Replace old software | No Comments
outgrowing quickbooks training

Based on the scope of your project, you’ll work with your partner to develop an implementation project plan for your project team.

It’s been a journey. But at long last, it’s coming to an end. It may feel a bit hectic at the moment, but the finish line—your ERP go-live date—is in sight. One last hill to get over and you can officially say that your company has completed the ERP implementation marathon and has a solution able to facilitate years of growth.

The path to ERP: A recap of our outgrowing QuickBooks series.

Before getting into the final steps—training, the go-live, and the ongoing use—we invite you to read the entire series:

  • Realizing that it’s time to make a change: This article explores the first steps you should take when your long-trusted QuickBooks application starts to show wear and tear, and answers how to tell that your business is ready for fully functional ERP.
  • Communicating a change: If you’ve used QuickBooks for years, convincing users that it’s time for an upgrade may present challenges, but by talking with users, you can allay fears and understand what users want and need.
  • Determining and documenting your needs: Getting from communication to decision requires you to know what you need. In this article, we explore how to determine where you are, outline a project strategy, and decide on what features you will use.
  • Securing executive commitment: ERP is a big investment, and getting your C-suite on board for a move from an ‘incredibly affordable’ product to a much needed one could require a bit of convincing. We explore some key talking points and tactics.
  • Completing an ROI and vendor analysis: An ROI analysis identifies both direct and indirect benefits of an upgrade to determine if you can afford a move, how quickly a move will pay off, and how much the investment will generate over its life.
  • Finalizing your software decision and selecting an implementation partner: Getting from numbers to decision requires an innate understanding of how each product will affect employees. This article answers how to get from shortlist to selection.
  • Getting through the implementation process: With the decision made, the final step in this marathon is often the hardest. In this, we explore the steps to complete an implementation and the best practices to get to where you are today.

Training your employees

Based on the scope of your project, you’ll work with your partner to develop an implementation project plan for your project team. During this phase, you’ll develop a training plan alongside the implementation plan.

As the go-live date approaches, the training process begins. Depending on the tech-savviness of your team, the preferences and learning styles, and the budget, you will have a variety of options available including but not limited to:

  • On-site/face-to-face: The most customizable, hands-on, and flexible training, face-to-face is structured around the learning styles of your employees.
  • Classroom: Like it sounds, in-person classroom training can work for the right people, in which a trainer can educate your employees in groups.
  • ELearning: Likely the most cost-effective training method, eLearning can range from videos to learning paths or online classrooms.
  • Train the trainer: A final step in which users demonstrate their knowledge by showing a trainer how to use the software.

An ERP deployment may be the most intense IT project your company ever undergoes, and at times it can be overwhelming. Be sure to allocate plenty of time for training and prepare for the associated costs.

Added to this, many ERP vendors offer free ‘open university’ programs where users can learn the basics at their own pace.

Preparing for go-live

The culmination of your ERP implementation project is when you “go live” and actually start using the system to support day-to-day operations. This is the day (or process) the product is ready for use. Data is converted, users are trained, tests are completed, and your IT team is ready for a vacation. How do you intend to get from theory to reality? With the help of your implementation partner, you will choose an option that works for your company, often one of these three:

  • The Big Bang: Your employees walk out Friday and your IT team gets to work. Walk in Monday, and everything is new. This is the “big bang” go-live, and it’s perfect with the right preparation, training, and alignment.
  • The phased roll out: Changeover occurs in phases over an extended period of time. Users move onto new system in a series of steps. While it avoids the risk and system shock by replacing one big bang with a series of small ones, it also creates an environment where you’re trying to work with two different systems.
  • The parallel operation: Both the legacy and new system run at the same time. Users learn the new system while working on the old. While low risk, it’s also the most labor intensive—approximately twice the work. As a result, neither system will get the proper attention.

Using, maintaining, and expanding your system

With day one out of the way, you’ve done it. Users will begin to get more comfortable with the software, operate faster and more accurately, and hopefully realize that they have a few more hours each week.

If everything was done properly, you will begin to recognize value quickly. However, you can’t rest on your laurels, in today’s world of technology, new products, new techniques, and new business processes are emerging at a breakneck pace. Most vendors will introduce functionality twice per year, and if you feel something is missing, you should remain active on the boards to request functionality.

In addition, we recommend the following:

  • Keep your software up to date: Internally, be sure your system remains up-to-date with new applications, new capabilities, and new “releases” that the developer will issue on a regular basis (or will be continually released in some cases) to make sure that your system continues to grow and adapt to changing needs.
  • Expand when needed: As discussed in previous blogs, ERP is flexible. In fact, it’s one of the selling points and the reason we recommended you don’t need everything on day one. As your business grows, you can easily add more functionality.
  • Keep employees in the know: Your system changes, but so do your people. There is a continuing need for user training and education – think of it as CPA’s CEU requirements – to enhance skills and understanding, prepare users to exploit and benefit from new functionality or new responsibilities, and continue to expand the utility and benefits from your new ERP system.

Your ERP partner: NexTec

Whether you’ve been anxiously awaiting each new installment of our implementation series or stumbled upon this article, know this: the ERP implementation process is complex and it pays to have a partner who has been there and done that.

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