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Sustainable packaging is a buzzword these days for the food manufacturing industry, but it’s not what you think. Yes, care for the environment is important; we have only one planet that we share and if we don’t take care of it, we’ll be out of a place to live. Sustainable packaging is more than a nod to environmentalism. It’s smart business sense—and here’s why. Food Engineering, a publication for the food manufacturing industry, published an article related to this very topic. In it, they quote an article from the State of the Industry—U.S. Packaging Machinery Report 2017 from PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies in which the demand for easily recyclable packaging materials is expected to grow. If you aren’t investigating or actively using sustainable packaging, now is the time to do so, because the consumer base is shifting towards Millennials who value such touches in their products. What Is Sustainable Packaging? Sustainable packaging for the food industry is a concept with a loose definition. However, it should meet some or all the following characteristics: Safe to use – packaging that does not leach questionable (although acceptable in the industry) chemicals into food products Easy to recycle – […]

What does it take to be known as a good financial leader? Is it finding the right business systems for your company? Or is it being a go-getter, a decision-maker, and a resource-finder for your teams? It’s this and more. The characteristics and traits of a good financial leader are like those of any other leader. Many of the traits of a good financial leader are the traits of a good person in general, and of a strong leader in any role. What It Takes to Lead – 6 Characteristics of a Good Leader Ethical foundation: All leaders must have a solid ethical foundation. Financial leaders need a strong ethical framework from which to base their decisions. Accountants and CFOs must be rigorously and scrupulously honest, providing the clearest picture they can of the businesses’ situation and finances so managers can make decisions. Without the foundation of honesty, business leaders will make decisions based on incorrect assumptions and facts. Work-life balance: All work and no play does indeed make Jack or Jill dull. Good leaders understand that while hard work is valuable, family relationships and friendships, health and wellness, and a spiritual foundation are all equally important. Good leaders prioritize […]

Sage software offers several solutions to enhance productivity and business data accuracy. Now, Sage Intacct is part of the financial product family. Before buying accounting software, it’s important to do your homework and research all packages, including those offered by Sage software, thoroughly. Here, we’ve put together a special buying guide with the key questions you should ask before investing in new accounting software for your business. You can get the complete guide, 2018 Buyer’s Guide to Accounting and Financial Software, at no charge. Read on for a few important points gleaned from this document.   Accounting Software: What Does Your Business Need? Accounting is more than the proverbial “bean counting.” Good accounting data can be used to develop strategies and plans to take your business to the next level. But to have trustworthy accounting data, you need to be sure that your accounting software delivers what it promises. Financial software systems that aren’t right for your business can hinder rather than help productivity. As you explore software options, consider the answers to the following questions. These questions are intended to help you think about your software needs.   5 Questions to Ask Before Buying Accounting Software Do we need […]

The use of barcode scanners can reduce shrinkage and improve inventory accuracy in your business. Shrinkage may be caused by many things: theft, spoilage of perishable items, or mistakes. Barcode scanners help reduce mistakes by automating the inventory process. Automation improves inventory accuracy and reduces manual counting errors. Shrinkage Facts According to the National Supermarket Survey, often used as a bellwether in the area of shrinkage and loss control, 64 percent of losses are due to operational issues compared to 36 percent due to theft. In other words, problems in how a business is managed—and how inventory is managed—account for the majority of shrinkage problems reported by supermarket retailers. You’re not selling milk or soup, but what you are selling is also subject to shrinkage. And, according to the same survey, operational-caused shrinkage is often due to human error. Manual counting, for instance, opens the potential for many mistakes and under-reporting of inventory, leading to incorrect data and a higher shrinkage percent. Spreadsheets are often used with manual counts and these are notoriously prone to errors. Making one typing mistake can lead to inflated inventory counts or errors that can be carried throughout a report. This derails your best efforts […]

Among the manufacturing software solutions you may be considering, cyber security, or keeping data and systems safe from hacks, leaks, and viruses, should be top of mind. You may have a terrific IT team that pays a great deal of attention to cyber security, but it takes just one data breach to seriously damage your company’s systems and reputation. IT World Canada published facts on the cost of data breaches to Canadian companies that may surprise you. In 2016, the average cost of a data breach, as assessed by studying 27 Canadian companies, was $5.78 million, or $255 per lost or stolen record. Can your business afford manufacturing software solutions that are less than state-of-the-art? With so much on the line, it pays to find secure software from well-known manufacturers who understand the potential risk to your business. Preventing Cyber Threats with Cloud-Based Manufacturing Software Solutions You don’t need a computer science degree or expensive software, either. Much of this protection comes from applying good old-fashioned common sense to your computer use and teaching your employees to do the same. Update your software: You know those annoying update notices that pop up on your screen every now and then? Instead […]

Sage Fixed Assets software can help businesses maximize their planning processes. Projects that involve renovations to warehouses, manufacturing plants, and office buildings; machinery upgrades; additional vehicles added to your fleet; and other new projects that are part of your annual plan must be tracked to ensure that every dollar spent is spent wisely and well. As you embark on these projects, Sage software offers easy to use and reliable tools to track budgets, expenses, and planning. Tracking fixed assets, managing project plans, and handling budgets manually, using spreadsheets, can be cumbersome. It’s difficult to manage multiple spreadsheets and getting them to work well together to derive the “big picture” plan is an almost impossible task. Sage software makes it easy. Sage Fixed Asset Software (FAS) can help you plan, manage, and account for every item in your fixed asset list as you forge ahead with your projects. It’s a great tool that integrates with existing Sage products, such as Sage 300cloud (formerly known as Sage 300) or Sage EM (formerly known as Sage X3), for a robust software infrastructure to manage new company projects. Sage Fixed Asset Software Includes Tools for Planning Projects Sage Fixed Asset Software enables planning with multiple […]

Cloud ERP software can help your manufacturing business cut costs and improve productivity. With so many choices available now in ERP software and delivery methods, you can add powerful productivity packages to your company without incurring the astronomical cost of adding staff and buying hardware to maintain it. For example, cloud-based ERP software adds great functionality for manufacturers without the need to purchase new hardware. IWI Consulting Group offers Sage Business Cloud, which includes Sage Intacct and Sage EM (formerly known as Sage X3), to provide you with accounting, financial, and operational insights and tools that add great value to your business. Cloud ERP is creating quite a stir in the manufacturing world, opening up many new possibilities for companies worldwide. About 25% of small manufacturers use cloud-based software, while 20% are looking to expand into cloud software. Benefit 1: Lower Costs Anytime you can lower production costs, you have an opportunity to increase profits, even without raising the prices of your goods. Manufacturers are learning that cloud ERP can help lower production costs. One way in which cloud ERP can help lower costs is by providing useful data and accurate cost analysis. By combining data from various areas of […]

Great things are happening at IWI Consulting Group: We’ve added new products, new employees, and new promotions.             New Product: Sage Intacct   IWI is now a Value Added Reseller to sell and implement Sage Intacct. This is a cloud accounting solution that can also be used for light distribution. Sage Intacct’s core financials includes everything you need to increase productivity, make faster decisions, and grow your business. As your business expands, Sage Intacct can support that growth with advanced accounting modules. If you have unique business needs, Sage Intacct can be extended and customized to meet them. Learn more.     New Employee: Keith Kusek, Manager of Strategic Accounts Keith joined the IWI team in July as a Strategic Account Sales Manager, focusing primarily on bringing in new Sage Enterprise customers.  He is originally from Chicago, where he attended Illinois State University. He originally worked in the financial industry, and was transferred to Toronto for work in 1987. After a short job transfer to the U.K., he returned to Toronto where he met his wife and put down permanent roots in the GTA. Prior to joining the IWI team, Keith worked for an impressive list of well known companies […]

CRM (customer relationship management or client relationship management) leverages data to manage customer interactions and communications. If the data isn’t managed properly, updated regularly, or kept clean, it can create problems instead of solutions. Although CRM is both an approach to managing client relationships as well as a broader term for the software to manage it, it is really about communications. At its heart, however, is data—a lot of data. Managing that data is the key to getting the most from your client relationship management. Three Common Client Relationship Management Problems (and Solutions) Problem: Customer records lack important data. Customer records are incomplete. They lack essential data which is necessary for ongoing communications efforts. Fields are missing and you cannot continue your CRM programs without the missing information. Solution: Check with your customer service, sales, and marketing staff to make sure they are asking for all the data when they are in contact with customers. Integrate other systems in your company with your CRM system so purchasing information, orders, and invoices are also brought into the system to complete each customer profile. Make sure your CRM system is set up correctly, so it is capturing all the available information. Problem: […]

Running a small business can feel overwhelming at times. Business owners wear many hats: accounting, financial, product management, sales, customer service, warehouse, logistics. Even if you have a strong support staff, the final decisions about the direction in which your business is headed rests with you. Accounting may be the back-office folks while logistics is on the front line but both have to work together to support the overarching business goals. Without the teamwork in place to achieve common goals, you’ll end up wasting precious time and energy. Instead, shared software can help you achieve a common framework. Fortunately, Sage software products such as Sage Business Cloud Financials can take some of this burden off your shoulders. Ensuring that accounting and logistics are in sync is a big step in the right direction. Accounting and Logistics: Are You on Speaking Terms? There are aspects of accounting and logistics that, if they aren’t in harmony, can seriously curtail business. If your company ships tangible goods rather than performing a service, proper handling of its logistics is essential. Problems arise when accounting and logistics aren’t in sync. For example: Shipping fees are too high: According to a UPS survey, 79% of the […]