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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 […]

Mobile technology integrated with your enterprise software promotes business agility. With mobile access, wholesale and distribution employees can react quickly to market or process changes. According to Aberdeen’s 2014 ERP Benchmark survey, best-in-class wholesalers and distributors are twice as likely to enable mobile access to their enterprise software. Not only have 56% of these organizations implemented triggers and alerts in order to help them make immediate decisions, but 76% have data entry at the point of activity. Improved business agility enables companies to drive down costs and increase revenue. Mobile devices like radio frequency hand-held devices and barcode scanners have been used successfully in inventory management for some time to provide real-time information and product tracking. However, there is great opportunity in supply chain management to conduct business processes with mobile technology as well. Mobile devices and enterprise software like Sage EM (formerly known as Sage X3) or Sage 300cloud (formerly known as Sage 300) can be used across the entire supply chain from the front to the back of the warehouse. Receiving: Capture inventory data from the point that it arrives in the dock. Using barcode technology, incoming shipments can be automatically verified against purchase orders and instructions sent to an […]

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 […]

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 […]

The food manufacturing industry is highly competitive. With low margins and fluctuating demand, food manufacturers need to use every means to maximize efficiency. That is why food waste is an important matter; small amounts can accumulate into big costs. Reducing food waste will lead to decreased costs and increased profitability. Reduce Waste Using Process Automation One way to eliminate food waste is to be focused on operational excellence on the manufacturing floor. (See last week’s blog to learn about reducing food waste in the warehouse.) Putting the following practices in place will improve manufacturing success and reduce waste. Automate your production lines using intelligent equipment and improve recipe management. Apply lean manufacturing practices to eliminate wasted steps in the manufacturing process. Continuously innovate to improve processing equipment and material handling. Track ingredients and products throughout the manufacturing process. Collect process data to meet regulatory compliance and make improvements. Knowledge is the First Step to Maximizing Efficiency Awareness of where food waste occurs is critical to knowing where to focus innovation. Having a thorough understanding of where food waste occurs makes it possible to maximize efficiency. That knowledge comes from having the right technology in place to gather and analyze data. […]

Food waste isn’t just a global problem; it impacts profitability in the food manufacturing industry. Food waste is an indicator that there are inefficiencies in manufacturing processes, contributing to high overhead and lower profits. Momentum is building to address the global food waste problem. Non-profit organizations, regulators, and consumers are making waste an urgent issue due to their concerns about sustainability and world hunger. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, 30% of the food we grow is never eaten. While the majority of waste occurs at the consumption level, over 4 billion pounds of food are wasted in the manufacture and distribution of food. Reducing Food Manufacturing Waste Increases Profitability Generally, food manufacturing companies accept a certain amount of waste as a part of the cost of doing business and include it as overhead. Estimates say that industry-wide disposal costs are more than $100mm. Food companies could increase their profits by as much as 10% simply by reducing food waste. In a market where companies face high volume and thin margins, reducing waste can make a major impact on profitability. Traceability is at the Core of Eliminating Food Waste Within the food manufacturing industry, […]

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. […]

Investing in new software and technology is always an extensive process. Not only do you have to do thorough research into the products you are considering, but you also have to prove the benefits of the software in order to obtain approval from upper management for purchase. The time and money put into not only the software but the process itself is a huge investment, and you need to be as prepared as possible in order to make the right technology decision for your company. When it comes to barcode scanning software, it is important to know what you are looking for. Every company has its unique needs when it comes to barcoding and inventory management, and making sure you invest in the right solution is crucial to your barcoding success. Don’t make the mistake of investing in the wrong solution for your company! For companies needing access to real-time information, wireless barcode scanners are the way to go. These are used to track data as products move in and out of the company. Once a barcode is scanned, the data is sent directly to the company’s ERP and inventory management software. Sales teams and upper management can then view […]