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Business systems that enhance supply chain visibility can help your business grow. A study conducted by IDG research for Sage provides insights into these and other methods that manufacturers consider to be of primary importance for business growth. Top Considerations for Business Systems: Integration, Automation, Mobility Among the top three priorities for technology investment by manufacturers, integration leads the way. Manufacturers want their inventory systems to integrate fully with their CRM systems, accounting, and sales software to help customers track shipments and provide real-time updates on where items are in transit. Automation is also among the top three investments cited by the survey respondents. Manufacturers are looking for more ways to automate their businesses from front-end operations to sales and back-end fulfillment. Automation cuts down on costs, reduces human errors, and makes companies more efficient. All three lead to greater profits. Lastly, when asked where they plan to invest their IT dollars, manufacturers cite using mobile technology to make sales and customer service departments more efficient. Cloud-based business systems and enterprise software are making data available to all employees, no matter where they’re working. This provides better information and updates which can, in turn, lead to higher customer satisfaction. The faster […]

Have your business systems been pieced together over time? Do you have a patchwork of software at different levels of technological maturity? Are you having interfacing and maintenance issues? If your software systems are not communicating, it may be time to switch to an integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Just like team sports, your business systems need to work together in order for your company to meet its goals. Many players working together can achieve much more than one player who is acting alone. While different business functions require tools that meet their specific needs, a problem occurs when the functional software is so isolated that it can’t work with any other system. They contribute to functional silos. It’s a common problem that high-growth businesses share. As you add new offices, sales channels, products, and processes, you may have implemented short-term solutions to meet revenue goals. As a result, software applications were installed at different times and in different areas resulting in business process inefficiencies, software incompatibility, data loss, human error, complexity, and higher costs. When you have functional silos, challenges arise that can impede growth. Perhaps your company is already in this place. Or perhaps, you are headed […]

As mobile devices gain more capabilities and become more cost-effective, they are a driving force for change on the manufacturing floor. Mobile interfaces have enabled manufacturers to add new services and cut costs. Advancements in technology have allowed for greater innovation and efficiency. Workforce mobility is a top priority among manufacturing companies. In fact, best-in-class manufacturers and distributors are 119% more likely to provide mobile access to their business systems than their counterparts. (See How Do Your Business Systems Compare to Best-in-Class?) Mobility is impacting all areas of the manufacturing process including order management, inventory management, material and asset tracking, labor tracking, and field sales and service. Mobility is a key enabler of lean automation by increasing productivity, accuracy, and communication. It enables mobile business intelligence through more devices on the factory floor collecting, transmitting, and using data. Integrating mobile technology in your manufacturing solution will bring significant benefits to your business. Better Business Intelligence: Using mobile devices to capture real-time data on the manufacturing floor enables business managers to make better decisions with more accurate data. They are able to manage any process from any location, making decision-making more agile, as managers are not tied to an office but […]

Companies need to constantly measure key performance indicators (KPIs) to ensure that they are achieving their operational and financial goals. Over the last few weeks, we have discussed how best-in-class organizations use enterprise software to become more profitable. One of those best-practices is that these companies can measure their performance and understand how their actions help them to reach business goals.  In fact, best-in-class distributors and wholesalers are twice as likely as their peers to use KPIs to track their business success. In our first blog on this subject, (See How Do Your Business Systems Compare to Best-in-Class?), we showed that best-in-class companies have better inventory accuracy, timeliness and profit margins than their peers. These organizations understand the importance of monitoring their performance so that they can act to improve their operations using enterprise software. Best-in-class wholesalers and distributors are twice as likely to have a centralized repository for metrics and KPIs. They also provide instant access to the KPIs with a user interface that is tailored to the employee’s needs. Top-performing companies use business intelligence integrated with their enterprise software to provide real-time insight into key processes and data. ERP systems like Sage EM (formerly known as Sage X3) and Sage […]

One characteristic that best-in-class wholesalers and distributors have in common is that they use integrated enterprise software to run their entire business. In fact, 81% of these high-achieving companies have integrated business systems. They are almost four times more likely than other companies to have cross-functional collaboration within their organization. Best-in-class organizations have moved their warehousing operations from behind the scenes, and have turned it into a strategic process that integrates sales, marketing, product development, and service. Business systems integration is critical to enable your company to move toward optimal performance. Cross-functional collaboration is best facilitated by integrated enterprise software because standalone systems impose informational and operational silos. Departments cannot be integrated unless your business software talks to each other. Installing the most comprehensive system in each area that doesn’t communicate isn’t much better than no system at all. For operations, this means that your inventory systems must be united with your ERP. Operations, sales, service, and accounting software should all be integrated, sharing the same database in real time. When all functions input data and have access to the ERP database, everyone can work together within the enterprise software system. An integrated system gives the customer a better experience […]

Best-in-class organizations are 97% more likely to have real-time visibility into the data and processes that run their business by using enterprise software. Last week, we saw that the highest-performing wholesalers and distributors follow strategies to provide visibility to management and promote process standards throughout the entire organization. (See How Do Your Business Systems Compare to Best-in-Class?) These organizations have implemented enterprise software that provides one location for all of the information needed to run the business effectively. Enterprise software gives greater visibility which gives managers better insight into the organization, enabling them to react quickly to operational and market changes. With visibility across departments and divisions, you can better predict demand, ship orders, interact with customers, and invest in the business with confidence. Best-in-class wholesalers and distributors use enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems to analyze, forecast, and manage inventory. Let’s take a look at several ways to fully utilize enterprise software to increase the effectiveness of your operations. Tools for Analysis with Enterprise Software Inventory specialists can take data analysis functionality to a whole new level through inventory optimization tools and enterprise software such as Sage 300cloud (formerly known as Sage 300) and Sage EM (formerly known as Sage X3). These […]

What makes a company best-in-class? Have you ever wondered how your business systems compare to those of top organizations? An Aberdeen study defines best practices for wholesalers and distributors in their ERP Benchmark survey. The research compares practices of high-performing companies to their peers. Aberdeen found some clear differences in their business practices. The majority of wholesalers and distributors use an ERP system to drive their business operations. Distributors turn to enterprise software solutions in their business systems for three key reasons: to manage growth expectations, to improve decision making, and to reduce costs. These motivations were identified in the Aberdeen study: Need to manage growth expectations (41%) Delays in decision-making from lack of timely information (35%) Must reduce costs (32%) Interoperability issues across multiple operating locations (27%) Interoperability issues with customers and suppliers (27%) A growth strategy requires process automation. As distributors add new locations, more countries, and new customers, they are finding that communication and workflow across functions has become increasingly disorganized.  Automating processes in their business systems is a critical step in keeping costs under control and managing change. Enterprise Software Strategies to Manage Growth An ERP is an important part of any growth strategy. Enterprise software does more […]

Over the past few weeks, we have looked at ways to reduce waste in the food manufacturing industry by using technology to improve warehousing and manufacturing practices. Another tool you can use to reduce waste is business intelligence connected with an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system like Sage EM (formerly known as Sage X3). Overstocking is a Primary Source of Food Waste Increasing manufacturing automation and improving traceability are certainly key components in reducing waste; however, a large portion of food waste results from overstocking which comes when companies are unable to sell their finished products. Of course, the danger of lowering stock levels is to run into stock-outs which will also reduce profitability. Business Intelligence Tools Optimize Inventory Success in the food manufacturing industry is tied to the ability to accurately forecast consumer demand. Because supply and demand can fluctuate dramatically, it can be a challenge to maintain the right stock levels.  Business intelligence tools are critical components to your systems because they can help take the guesswork out of when to buy and how much to stock. Even small improvements in the problems below can make a big impact on your profitability. Excess inventory Stock-outs Inaccurate counts Warehouse inefficiency […]

Most organizations implement barcode scanning software to solve a particular problem they are experiencing in the area of inventory management. Whether it be a large number of inventory inaccuracies, time-wasting activities, or high inventory costs that they are experiencing, barcode scanning software offers a solution to the problem at hand. What many companies do not realize, however, is that the benefits of barcode scanning software applications extend far beyond the warehouse or distribution center. Barcode Scanning Software Extends Beyond the Warehouse into the Office A good inventory management solution with barcode scanning capabilities will serve your entire business, not just a segment of it. Let’s take a look at some of the areas that are positively impacted when you make the decision to invest in and implement barcode scanning software: First and Foremost: The Warehouse Knowing how much inventory you have on hand is crucial to the success of your operation. If you are relying on manual methods for inventory counting, tracking or picking and packing, the process can become extremely cumbersome and inaccuracies can abound. Barcode scanning software not only automates the process and allows you to see real-time inventory data, but it also eliminates inaccuracies that can cause […]

No human, business or entity is exempt from making mistakes; they happen to the best of us. Whether you are new to the industry or a seasoned pro, you can most likely recall a time you yourself or your business made an error or mistake. How significant was that error? Was it costly, or did it have an impact on other areas of the organization? Whether it is shipping the wrong product to a customer or simply sending them an invoice for an item they did not order, errors can be costly to your business. While mistakes and errors are certainly a fact of life, it is important for businesses to take certain precautions and prevent as many mistakes from occurring as possible. One area that we encourage our customers to focus their error prevention on is the area of order fulfillment. How Much are Errors Really Costing Your Company? Errors can occur easily during the order fulfillment process. When an item or product is incorrectly slotted or labeled, the likelihood of that product being sent to the wrong customer is high. These mistakes can be costly to the business, costing the average company a total of $390,000 a year. […]