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Warehouse management

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.

Additional distribution resources

Streamline supply chain management with a ERP solution

The need to know is always now in warehousing & distribution

Why inventory control is a must and how to do it

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.

Food processing software

FSMA standards for warehouse management. Are you compliant?

By | Food and Beverage, FSMA, Inventory control, Sage X3, Warehouse management | No Comments
Technology is transforming warehouse management and compliance.

Technology is transforming warehouse management and compliance.

With the implementation of key provisions of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) now in play, food and beverage manufacturers need better technologies and tools to monitor and manage their supply chain. Warehouse management is a critical component of food safety. As a food manufacturer, there is an important question you should ask yourself regarding FSMA standards for warehouse management: Are you compliant?

FSMA addresses prevention, inspection, compliance, response, and import management. At each step, the act’s provisions are focused on accurate measures that will drive better oversight of the entire food supply chain.

Many consider the FSMA to provide an opportunity to shift from reaction to prevention. New technologies in the warehouse are one key way to ensuring companies can comply, while also improving food safety and providing functionality that improves efficiency.

Warehouse management has traditionally been a predominantly manual system. That is changing as companies embrace new technologies and integrate warehouse management systems into enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms that facilitate multiple functions.

These technologies ensure better accuracy in picking, mixed SKU pallets, and other areas of warehouse management. In turn, these innovations help ensure food safety and FSMA compliance.

For example, the growth of the Internet of Things can connect objects in the warehouse that can track, monitor, record, and transmit information as inventory moves in and out of the warehouse, a major boon to the food and beverage industry.

Food processing software

Technology makes for more accurate picking and safer warehouse conditions.

Consider some of these other new technologies that are transforming warehouse management…

Paperless processes. For far too long, the picking process has relied on paper. Today, with the new federal guidelines in play and more demanding specificity by customers, warehouses need more accurate tools. For example, a customer may insist on products that have an expiration date that is no more than X days away. With electronic picking, it is easier for warehouses to manage such specifics.

Voice commands. Voice-activated controls provide far more inventory accuracy, order accuracy, and better warehouse control. Such systems are optimal in cold environments where gloves and cold fingers can lead to more mistakes.

Laser-guided pallet trucks. These systems move automatically to the proper picking location within the warehouse and move the appropriate pallets to the shipping dock, often with little to no need for a picker. The tool offers more accuracy and saves time by eliminating the need for drivers to enter and exit repeatedly.

RFID technology. This technology is semi-automated, relying on a mapped route to bring a truck to the right location and a lift that ascends to the proper height automatically. Routes are optimized, saving time.

Electric trucks. Electric vehicles have a dual benefit. They reduce the level of emissions and lower the risks of permeating increasingly thin plastic wraps on product. They also make the warehouse a safer environment for workers.

To be successful, food processing manufacturers need robust warehouse management systems that integrate warehouse functions with data from purchasing, operations, distribution, sales, marketing, accounting and billing. Sage X3 is an ERP that delivers exactly that at a fraction of the cost and complexity of typical ERP systems. NexTec has the largest, most experience Sage X3 team with deep experience implementing ERP for food and beverage manufacturers. To learn more about how NexTec and Sage X3 can help your food and beverage company, download NexTec’s Food Brochure


Why inventory control is a must and how to do it

By | Distribution / Supply Chain, ERP, Inventory control, Manufacturing, Sage X3, Warehouse management | No Comments

Smart inventory control keeps your operations moving.

As inventory items change over time, what began as a well-planned, well-organized system can become disjointed, disorganized, and out of control. There are multiple theories on how to organize inventory items. Regardless of how your warehouse is organized, the latest in inventory control software can help determine how best to control your stock.

Good inventory management is very much a matter of predicting market demand, improving means for forecasting demand, and smart management of the supply chain so that you’re never caught off-guard when a supplier can’t deliver what they’ve promised.

The benefits of smart inventory management

When inventory is managed properly, less of your inventory spoils goes out of date or becomes obsolete. Dead stock that isn’t necessarily expired but is, nonetheless, not salable takes up valuable space in your warehouse. But space is just part of your worries. Dead stock ties up your capital, limiting your ability to use your capital for other matters. Since it’s difficult or impossible to offload dead stock at full price, you face having to sell it at a loss or for scrap value.

Both viable and dead stock come with considerable storage costs. Running out of inventory may lead to costly production downtime. Keeping plenty of inventory on hand assures that you can meet your customers’ demands even when there’s a hiccup with one of your suppliers. Keeping too much inventory ties up your cash. It’s a never-ending balancing act.

How to achieve optimal manufacturing inventory management

Manage your relationships with customers and suppliers so that you get access to limited supplies and can easily smooth over an occasional hiccup in delivery times or quality.`

Manage your relationships with customers and suppliers so that you
get access to limited supplies and can easily smooth over
an occassional hiccup in delivery times or quality.

There are some best practices that you can use to optimize inventory management so that you can assure customer service and keep productivity high, without having to over-invest in stock that just sits there, dying.

  • Establish a baseline for low inventory. The amount of inventory you should keep on hand depends on how long the stock lasts, how quickly you go through it, and the solvency of your suppliers. The baseline might be a week’s worth of stock or a month’s worth, but it should make sense given how frequently the item is unavailable, how long it keeps, how quickly you run through stock, etc. Set a threshold which you don’t drop below. When stock threatens to dip below the threshold, reorder. This effectively ends the “seat of the pants” method of inventory management.
  • Adhere to the “First In, First Out” (FIFO) rule of inventory management. Make sure that the oldest inventory is used first. While usually applied to perishable stock, it’s also an excellent strategy for non-spoilable goods, because it assures that those items turn before they are replaced by new versions or new packaging designs.
  • Manage supplier relationships. Say your supplier does have a problem. Maybe their raw materials were affected by recent storms or difficulties in logistics. Perhaps their operations were shut down and they’re running behind. Temporarily they have only a limited supply available. Will they sell it to the customers who are always griping and complaining? They’ll likely offer it to the customers with whom they have the best relationships. Pick up the phone from time to time and check in with them. Personalize supplier relationship management. You will be more likely to have better access when their supply is limited and will be in a better position to negotiate prices and terms when all is well.
  • Manage customer relationships. When you have a solid relationship with your customers, they’re far more likely to be okay with some occasional bumps in the road. Manage your customer relationships like the most valuable things you’ve got, because they are.
  • Think in terms of “worst case scenario” and have contingency plans. Have a plan for a supplier that suddenly goes out of business or a situation like Hurricane Matthew when logistics can’t get your supplies to you as usual. Make sure you have enough inventory to keep on going even when something goes wrong in your supply chain.
  • Conduct regular inventory audits. Don’t wait until year end to reconcile your physical inventory and book inventory. Conduct regularly-schedule cycle counts. Inventory management is a continual process, not a once-in-awhile affair.

Inventory management shouldn’t be a mad dash at year end

Effective manufacturing inventory management is a practice that you must continually develop and improve. Better systems and processes make it much easier and take the guesswork out of managing inventory. Contact us to learn how we can work together to create an inventory management solution that is right for your business.

Warehouse, Barcode & RFID

Barcode & RFID can help you take back control of your warehouse

By | Inventory control, Manufacturing, RFID / Bar Coding, Warehouse management | No Comments
Warehouse management

Take control of warehouse management with RFID and barcodes

Some manufacturers are enjoying an 80% improvement in their warehouse management using shipping and packing accuracy through RFID and barcoding.

Is that you? Or are you one of the millions that doesn’t have a handle on your inventory?

One of the best ways to save money is to get control over your inventory and your warehouse. Learn more in the blog “RFID help manufacturers take back control of their warehouses” from our RFID partner, Element ID.

Read all about it

Sage X3

Use automatic data capture (ADC) and RFID to get more from Sage X3

By | ERP, Manufacturing, RFID / Bar Coding, Sage X3, Warehouse management | No Comments

Sage X3Sage X3 is a robust and powerful platform and becomes more powerful when using automated data capture (ADC) in your warehouse.  To make this a success, take a look at the top 8 components for leveraging Sage X3 by adding ADC capabilities from the team at Element ID, a leading RFID company.

8 Components for Leveraging Sage X3 by Adding ADC Capabilities

NexTec Partners

By | About NexTec, Cloud, Inventory control, Sales, Shipping, Traceability, Warehouse management | No Comments

Preferred partners

Act-On

Act-On Software is the leader in adaptive marketing solutions that empower marketers to achieve the purposeful and personalized engagement that their business needs to thrive — all with the fastest time-to-value.

Akvelon

Akvelon Global Search displays your CRM records from multiple catergories through a single search inquiry. Akvelon has years of experience helping clients drive innovation, productivity and business performance.

American Payment Solutions

American Payment Solutions offers a certified, integrated credit card processing for Acumatica. Their solutions are made for businesses of any size and are PCI Compliant

Anthea

Anthea

Designed exclusively for cannabis operations, Anthea is a complete retail management system for online, offline and your back-office. It gives you the tools and insights you need to make business decisions with confidence.

Avalara

The market leader in sales tax automation, Avalara works within your own financial, billing, ecommerce, or point of sale system to deliver accurate tax calculations in real time via a secure Internet connection.

Binary Stream

With over 15 years of experience, Binary Stream provides unique and scalable software products, designed to be easy to manage and integrate seamlessly with Microsoft Dynamics GP.

ClickDimensions

ClickDimensions is a top-rated fully-embedded marketing solution for Dynamics 365. Create emails, forms, nurture campaigns and more with their intuitive drag-and-drop functionality.

DB Sync

DBSync is a complete on-demand integration and replication provider, empowering the customers to connect their applications without the burden of installing and maintaining software and hardware.

Dimo Maint

Effectively manage and schedule your maintenance tasks with Dimo Maint. Handle requests, send updates and automate scheduling with this complete maintenance management tool.

Element-ID

Element ID offers full turnkey RFID solutions and equipment for manufacturing and warehouse businesses. Together, we helped companies integrate RFID and barcoding into ERP systems, resulting in lower warehouse management costs, streamlined production, better inventory control and traceability.

e-One Solutions

eOne developes “no code” software for businesses, enabling them to fit their systems to their requirements. With eOne’s most popular add-on for Dynamics GP, SmartList Builder, you can create both new and modify exisiting SmartLists.

Infinity

Infinity provides complete solutions for benefits enrollment and administration and HR process management for small- to mid-sized businesses. They provide state-of-the-art security so the data loaded is never compromised.

InsideView

Embedded in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, InsideView supports sales and marketing by providing rich market intelligence.

Key2Act (WennSoft)

A construction and field service management technology leader, Key2Act (previously WennSoft) provides software solutions to keep your projects on time, on budget, and on task.

Lascom

Lascom has developed and deployed comprehensive software solutions to manage complex business processes and information. Their software is used across the globe in mid-sized and large organization in a variety of industries.

MaxQ

MaxQ specializes in providing business solutions to the consumer goods, manufacturing, distribution, and professional Services industries. Their commitment to innovation, industry expertise and exceptional service is one of many reasons why many have remained clients.

Mekorma Software

Mekorma’s best-selling enhancement for check printing and EFT security targets shortcomings and corrects them. Designed and built exclusively for Dynamics GP, it continually adapts to system improvements and gets better with every update.

Netstock

Netstock’s intuitive cloud-based inventory management system helps you place orders faster, minimize stock-outs and reduce excess stock. With an easy-to-use dashboard, you can see your orders at a click of a button and forecast with ease.

Nodus Technologies

Nodus is a leading provider of electronic payment, e-commerce and retail business solutions, focused on enhanced security and seamless integration with all of your account receivables.

Plumbline

From help desk to software development to implementation support, Plumbline is a premier resource with over 35 years of experience to help enhance and expand your service offerings.

Provenio Technology

Provenio focuses on specialty chemical manufacturers, providing software to help them compete in a fast changing industry, built to handle the unique requirements for industry.

Retail Control Systems

Retail Control Systems

Retail Control Systems offers retail POS solutions to help run your business effectively and efficiently. Founded in 1987, RCS has the experience and expertise to meet the unique needs of any business.

Sage

Sage offers business management solutions for small and midsize companies. NexTec has partnered with Sage for years and supports Sage X3 and Sage 500. We are proud to say we have the largest, most experienced Sage X3 consultants anywhere.

SalesPad

SalesPad has been helping businesses increase producivity and efficiency for over 10 years. They create software solutions for businesses everywhere – from statups to mom-and-pop shops to mid-sized and enterprise companies.

SAP Concur Partner

SAP Concur

The world’s leading provider of integrated travel and expense management services and solutions, SAP Concur helps organizations of all sizes, industries and locations run better. They offer cloud-based solutions to deliver an effortless experience for employees.

Scribe

Scribe’s cloud-based and on-prem data integration platforms offer pre-built integration into dozens of applications, databases and systems, making your integrations fast, flexible and future-proof.

SK Global

With over 10 years of experience, SK Global Software is known for bringing valuable enhancements to Microsoft Dynamics with a primary focus on banking, treasury and revenue automation.

Solver BI360

A leader in Business Intelligence (BI) solutions for mid-market companies, Solver is at the forefront of BI technology for cloud and on-premise ERPs. Solver’s BI360 solution is a powerful and intuitive suite of modules for reporting, consolidations, budgeting, dashboards and data warehousing.

SPS Commerce

SPS Commerce provides EDI services and retail-focused solutions for retailers, vendors, brand, distributors, grocers, and more. Their platform provides visibility, analytics, collaboration and communication so that you can thrive in the digital retail world.

The Portal Connector

With The Portal Connector for Dynamics CRM and Dynamics 365, you get a secure online mobile-friendly portal providing you with immediate connection to your customers, vendors and partners. The integration is seamless and with no need for complex technical requirements.

TrueCommerce

True Commerce provides EDI (Electronic Date Interchange) technology which allows one company to send information to another company electronically rather than with paper. Enjoy the peace of mind of a proven platform that reliably handles tens of millions of transactions annually.

V-Technologies StarShip

Work less, ship more with StarShip. NexTec and vTechnologies have built a StarShip integration with Sage X3 that simplifies the entire shipping process and improves accuracy. Ship parcel and freight shipments from one user interface that connects shipping with order entry, accounts receivable and customer service.

Wurk

Manage human resources, payroll, time keeping and tax compliance with Wurk’s all in one workforce management system. This intuitive system will help streamline your operations and minimize compliance risk.

ZAP

ZAP BI makes it easier for businesses to organize their data and comes pre-packaged with data-models, integrations and analytics. Reduce the time, complexity and cost of creating consistent and reliable information with ZAP BI.

Distribution / Supply Chain Management

By | Distribution / Supply Chain, Inventory control, Warehouse management | No Comments

ERP | CRM | BI software for
distribution and supply chain management

Are you streamlining processes, controlling inventory levels and reducing labor and other costs while meeting set KPIs?

Among the distribution challenges faced by B2B and B2C organizations, including retail, wholesale, and transport and logistics industries, is the complexity of streamlining operations across multiple locations, as well as the constant pressure from changing regulations. It has become critical to the success of your business to maintain an efficient workflow and automate labor-intensive activities such as reporting, managing inventory and coordinating logistics. An efficient operation requires real-time visibility into all aspects of your business, so that your company can win new markets, satisfy customers and consistently deliver high-quality products.

Today’s competitive, global business environment requires companies in supply chain management / distribution to be nimble and flexible in order to respond to market demand and to grow. Does your company have the software tools to efficiently plan and manage your supply chain, order management, and inventory, provide high customer satisfaction and avoid costly errors — all while maintaining the bottom line?

To solve these challenges, distribution companies are adopting new tools that combine multiple data points, in real time, into one integrated platform. These tools — Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Resource Management (CRM) and Business Intelligence (BI) software — help increase profits and foster growth by streamlining operations, saving costs and managing regulatory demands.

NexTec partners with world-class technology partners, like Sage, Microsoft, and Acumatica, and has a nationwide network of consultants with deep expertise in the distribution industry. As an award-winning business with a track record of more than two decades, NexTec offers innovative, affordable and personalized software solutions that are tailored to your needs and will help move your business to the next level.

Contact us to learn more.

2018 BP Pulse

2018 BP Pulse: A Distribution and Manufacturing SurveyA Distribution & Manufacturing Survey

The BP Pulse Distribution and Manufacturing Survey is compiled every year by Berntson Porter and CAMPS to help you understand the trends impacting the industry. This year, NexTec Group also had a hand in developing the survey.

VIEW STUDY

Warehouse Management

By | Distribution / Supply Chain, INDUSTRIES, Inventory control, Manufacturing, Warehouse management | No Comments

RFID and Barcoding

By | Inventory control, RFID / Bar Coding, Warehouse management | No Comments