Managing inventory is not a one-time event. Because the business environment is continuously changing, adopting the right supply chain posture must be an ongoing pursuit.
Is Inventory Optimization an Unending Pursuit? (Part 3)
Think of it as an ongoing process that reflects and responds to changes in the business environment. The answers to the five questions discussed previously are a moving target. For example, today’s micro-segmentation strategy may not make sense tomorrow. For this reason, inventory optimization leaders are those companies that have created an ongoing capability to monitor conditions across the supply chain — from rising transportation costs to dramatic shifts in demand — and adjust inventory levels accordingly.
This is the area of performance that separates the leaders from the followers. Best-in-class inventory strategists continuously monitor and re-align their supply chain posture so that it reflects current business conditions. How many business failures could have been averted in the last two years if companies had responded more proactively to changing conditions?
Leading organizations are implementing a number of end-to-end process changes — including the use of interactive process playbooks and weekly plan-do-check-act cycles — to keep the inventory strategy on track. In the case of missed sales targets in one specific region or store, inventory strategies based solely on math algorithms might sense a forecast error and recommend short-term fixes such as shifting products within the supply Obviously this is an expensive proposition, especially in today’s environment of rising logistics costs.
Instead, best-in-class businesses have instituted a continuous process in which issues like regional sales declines due to poor stock management are not only addressed in the short term, but also eliminated in the longer term through an exhaustive root-cause analysis.
Drilling down through the supply chain, inventory strategists work to understand the reason for a local drop in sales by asking such questions as: What are the unique buying patterns in this region? How do prices and margins compare with other stores or geographic areas? Would a different SKU sell better? Can we shape demand through promotions?
With the advent of sophisticated modeling and analytics tools, inventory managers are also better equipped than ever to anticipate demand changes before they occur, and adjust inventory accordingly. By gathering data and insight from across the global, end-to-end supply chain, leading businesses can quickly sense and respond to changes in consumer behavior that are likely to have a significant impact on inventory levels.
For example, the swift and unprecedented drop in demand for high-tech consumer products in 2008 caught many suppliers unprepared. Saddled with high inventory levels and associated carrying costs that significantly eroded their gross margins, these businesses, as a result, will face long-term financial challenges. Not only did they lose money in the short term, but they will also have a hard time supporting the product innovations, consumer promotions and other initiatives that support future success.
For many businesses undertaking the challenge of inventory management, the journey ends at generating optimum inventory targets — and checking performance against these targets once or twice a year.
What are ERP systems really good at? Many things, of course, including automation of so many tedious internal processes. Turns out ERP systems are pretty good at automating interaction with customers, suppliers and partners, too.
The Frictionless Enterprise: Leveraging ERP for Real-Time Collaboration. (Part 1)
In these days of increasing pressure on companies to become more efficient and reduce the bottom line, improved communication with suppliers, partners and customers through easy-to-use collaboration tools can dramatically optimize business processes, increase responsiveness and enable new levels of achievement throughout the enterprise. As a matter of fact, for many mid-size companies, providing higher visibility to business processes across functions and departments has become a priority.
In response, many enterprises are increasingly turning to Web-based ERP systems that – in addition to integrating all business processes and data into one coherent system –support multiple communication standards such as XML, UDDI, WSDL and SOAP, integrate Web 2.0 tools for users. Such systems support secure portals and peer-to-peer networking applications, and simplify the designing and publishing of Web Services to interact with third-party applications over the Internet. The goal is to offer users more seamless integration and easier access to data, both internally and externally. Progressive companies see connectivity – associated with easy-to-use Web tools – as a way of addressing time-to-market concerns and the need to access people, information and other resources quickly and easily and in real time.
Companies know how critical it is to improve collaboration with business partners in order to compete in the global marketplace, but few have successfully streamlined communications with them. Trading partners have been slow to adopt the technology when they don’t see the benefits for themselves.
Partner acceptance is critical to successful ERP-based collaboration. Traditionally, suppliers have resisted investing in technology and making changes within their organizations to foster collaboration because they perceive the efforts benefit only the manufacturers. Sure, electronic collaboration with partners, suppliers and customers will help manufacturers manage end-to-end processes in a more efficient and cost-effective way. But, business partners will also benefit in the form of increased reactivity from the manufacturer and reduced paper-based processes.
For example, a manufacturer can authorize a supplier under contract or blank order to connect to its system remotely and be automatically informed of a reorder requirement triggered by a low stock alert. Exchanging purchase orders and invoices electronically speeds up business processes and enables both the business partner and the manufacturer to better manage their supply chain with more accurate data and make better cash management decisions.
Also, suppliers can monitor vendor-managed inventory more effectively if they have electronic access to inventory stock levels. Instead of waiting for orders to come in, real-time information from the manufacturer’s enterprise system can alert the supplier when it’s time to restock and help its staff adopt a pro-active behavior.
Finally, the vendor portal can provide suppliers with key performance information they may not otherwise receive from the manufacturer. Since business is exchanged electronically, data can be automatically analyzed according to pre-determined KPIs (key performance indicators) related to delivery, price and quality. Suppliers have a clear picture of their performance and can make adjustments to improve their ratings and increase their chances of gaining more business in the future.
Continued in Part 2
If you are thinking about transitioning your business to enterprise resource planning, you will want to get a good understanding of the ERP price. That cost will of course be different for smaller businesses than it will for large corporations. That is because of the Web-based option available to small and midsized businesses.
Determining the ERP Price
Big companies like to have their own in-house systems and control over them. That requires installing software, servers and storage at their place of business and other possible outlets. This is a very expensive proposition, but they have the cash required to pull it off. Smaller companies have not had the opportunity to utilize the enterprise software system until surfaced online, on-demand, as software as service (SaaS). But small firms still need to be aware of the costs involved even though they are not required to purchase any software. They can get access to this software system on a subscription basis. But not all subscriptions nor systems are alike. As such, you will need to gather as much information as you can in advance as part of your research of the software. Price, of course, is just one aspect of that research, because you will need to determine how you want the system to better manage your operation, as well.
Your subscription costs will be partially based on the number of user “seats” you will need to effectively run your business. You will need to learn about the various types of platforms as well as the software application modules that you will want to apply. If you desire any type of customization, you will undoubtedly will pay more of a subscription fee. This is enterprise software that can cover the whole of your business. But if you wish to have extended links for external connections, you may also pay more. That is why it is important to investigate the various enterprise software vendors to see how they differ and what they offer. There are many software vendors offering Web-based platforms, so you will need to break them down into the most appropriate ones who can service your needs.
This is a software system that will offer you much more flexibility than packaged software, but the ERP price will still vary based on how you want your platform set up. It would be wise to talk to businesses similar to yours that have implemented the software system in order to get some idea of what they are paying. Software vendors can be helpful in this regard, as well, and can make recommendations to you based on customers with similar needs.
Small businesses may not require many user seats and may not need all of their staff to have access to the software system. If that is the case, your costs will be reduced. This is collaborative software that shares information and data amongst its users. They can communicate across the business, but not everyone need have access. This is what you will have to determine.
Establishing your needs and deciding who will have access to the software system will be helpful in determining the ERP price.
IFS is a provider of enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications for manufacturing, supply chain, project management, financials, service management, customer relationship management, corporate performance management and maintenance repair and overhaul. It provides a packaged solution that can put all of the pieces together on one enterprise platform. It supplies a service-oriented component architecture that can grow with your business as it grows.
Doing an IFS Review
An IFS review will show that this enterprise software company offers batch processing and recipes for its applications. These recipes can handle such tasks as functionality for revision control, yield and alternates. It also includes batch balancing for the the organization of and optimizing the production of batch balances and restricting batches. Its components can be combined with other production planning tools which include IFS/Demand Planning and IFS’ master scheduling functionality. This can be applied to the pharmaceutical industry, paint and adhesives and the food and beverages industry, as well. IFS is known for being able to apply a number of components on one platform. IFS/Demand Planning is a smart interactive tool for forecasting and collaborative demand planning. This helps with planning short and long-term forecasts for such tasks as sales, budgeting, scheduling and inventory control.
IFS can also provide component applications which are Internet based for such tasks as statistics, multiple types of planning and forecasting scenarios and collaborative integration with its other planning and processing components. The company also has a Call Center component which provides effective services for a client’s customers as well as field service and client support. This allows a client’s agents to keep in close contact with customers and provide flexible routing, direct dispatch, rapid search, and a built-in knowledge base. The Call Center also includes support contracts and service levels agreements (SLA). These are utilized as a basis for all contracted work. It also allows for the tracking of all projects, equipment, products and invoices. Journals are also included to track each step for tracing and compliance.
When looking into an IFS review you will learn about the company’s IFS/Customer Schedules, which manage repetitive demand schedules. These are schedules that can change based on the volume and flow of a businesses order information from various manufacturing partners. This keeps track of the flow of information about projects as well as the supply chain. It also manages scheduling receipts and reconciliation. This component can also facilitate planning receive forecasts that are submitted by customers. IFS/Supplier Schedules handle environments for high-level manufacturing and manages the continuous flow of order information and data. It can improve the efficiency of administrative details by keeping everyone on the same page with up-to-date details of all transactions.
The IFS/General Ledger tracks, reports and provides financial analysis for all financials. It provides applications for all accounting and integrates with project management. It also provides budgeting functionality for all project management. Some of the other IFS applications include cash flow, complex MRO (maintenance, repair & overhaul ), costing, customer orders, customer quotation, eInvoice, Employee development and certification, engineer to order, equipment, field service, fixed assets, make to project, time and attendance Web store, training management and more.
That’s a quick IFS review.
What type of software programs is your business using? If you’re still operating with packaged software, you may be considering ERP logic.
Getting to ERP Logic
Enterprise resource planning can take your business to another level, but you haven’t really considered it seriously until now. You have come to the realization that it appears to be the next logical step to take, because boxed software suites can only take you so far. And ERP is not a suite of software programs; it’s an an all inclusive software system. At some point in the life cycle of a business, especially a small or midsized one, it should become a natural transition. Enterprise software is just one system, but it can provide all of the software you need to run your business effectively. And since it is now available online, you don’t have to bother with the super expensive installation costs of putting in software, servers and storage space. It is now available in the form of software as a service (SaaS). That’s right, all of the software you need, delivered as a service.
Thanks to software engineering technology and the World Wide Web, everything you need can be accessed online. So, what are you waiting for? This is an opportunity for small and midsized firms to experience something that they were unable to afford in the past. But now, you can get all of the software application modules you need for such tasks as accounting, sales and marketing, distribution, supply chain management, manufacturing, project management, customer relationship management and more, all in one software system that is integrated as well as automated. Now how about that, automated software. This means that all the processing of your business tasks are transmitted in a quick, efficient manner.
This is software that is designed for sharing, collaborating and communicating information to others. All designated staff can have access to the same information. This saves time and money too. There is no need for memos or telephone calls relating to information and data, because that it is already available with real-time visibility; that’s ERP logic. It’s no wonder that small and midsized businesses are taking advantage of this opportunity to experience this enterprise software system. Efficiency is important in running a business and this software helps you to be more efficient. You not only get software application modules, you also get a set of tools for diagnosing the system and providing valuable business intelligence for management.
It’s easy to get a demonstration of the software too. All you have to do is a bit of research to find a reliable enterprise software vendor which shouldn’t be hard to do. There are numerous vendors in this marketplace. Just educate yourself first and know what you want for your business to help it grow successfully. Be sure to draw up a list of questions to ask your chosen vendor to help them better serve you. And after you’ve seen a demo you will likely have even more questions to ask.
Make the move today to a better software system that can help you grow your business. It’s ERP logic.
The world of software has gone through some definitive changes over the past decade and now there is more choice especially for small and midsized businesses.
It’s a Software Revolution
The most significant change relates to enterprise resource planning (ERP). It has in a relatively short period of time, caused a software revolution. When ERP came to the World Wide Web it presented another option to small and midsized businesses. They could now subscribe to software, online, rather than purchase it. Now, let’s be clear here, traditional ERP which has been around for over 40 years, is still happening too. But it is more suited to large corporations that can afford its high installation costs. These costs can easily run into the hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars. That’s something smaller businesses simply cannot afford. So, without the hassle of in-house installation of software, servers and storage, they can go the Web-based route of software as a service (SaaS). It’s practical, it’s cost-effective and it works. This is one software system that supplies all of the software your business needs.
That is why so many small and midsized businesses are moving to enterprise software. And it is also why this software is revolutionizing the industry. It can handle your accounting, manufacturing, supply chain management, distribution, project management, customer relationship management, and more, all within one system. It’s a practical, common sense way to run your business. And it is also a lot easier than dealing with numerous software programs that can’t communicate. That’s what ERP is all about, communication. It is designed for designated users to share, collaborate and communicate business processes, information and data, with real-time visibility. You can see what is happening as it happens. The software platform is integrated as well as automated, so that all processing is transmitted swiftly.
This is the software system that has shaken up the software industry and caused a software revolution. Finally, smaller organizations have the opportunity to work with one software system than can mange their business. And it also means that it is no longer necessary to purchase software. It used to be you would buy software programs only to have them updated every couple of years. With ERP software that is not necessary, because the software is automatically updated so that you are always working with the latest versions. And what’s even better, is that you will be working smarter too. That’s because all users of the software system will have access to the same information. This means that you will save a lot of time and work more productively.
The time has come for your business to take advantage of software that you were unable to in the past. You can now grow your business more effectively and increase your earnings along the way. You can obtain this software by subscription, based on the number of users and the amount of time they are accessing it. You can choose who gets access and for how long.
Isn’t it time that your business took advantage of this software revolution? It is a cost-effective way to grow your business.
The NetSuite system has enjoyed success as an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software vendor and it has serviced clients around the world. It is a major Web-based enterprise service provider that gets high marks for improving a business's productivity. It has worked with numerous small and midsized companies providing across the enterprise solutions and helping them to cut costs.
The NetSuite System is Online
Indeed, one of the things NetSuite prides itself on is improving the productivity of its clients and helping them to save money in the process. This enterprise software vendor can provide Web-based systems at a companies headquarters or host it at its own state-of-the-art facilities. This vendor can provide all of the tools a small or midsized business needs to effectively run their operations. And it has helped these businesses by showing them how to reduce the cost of their IT expenditures. They software vendor works closely with its clients to streamline operations in order to get the best out of the enterprise applications. And where customization is required, it can also oblige. The vendor has been successful in setting up platforms for e-commerce businesses, as well as those involved in supply chain management, customer relationship management and numerous types of accounting firms.
NetSuite’s expertise has gained it popularity with its clients because of its ability to set up platforms that offer real-time accountability and visibility across the enterprise. They have also shown their clients in what areas they could be more effective by consolidating their enterprise platforms through bundled application modules. This has been especially helpful and appreciated by those businesses that have franchise operations and need connections across a number of boundaries. This software vendor has been successful at getting referrals from its clients because of the vendors attention to detail when working with its customers. That appreciation has extended its reach internationally and increased its reputation for building good enterprise systems and providing good customer service in the process.
The NetSuite system has given its customers the ability to track and monitor business activity throughout the enterprise and made it easier for designated staff to share, collaborate and communicate information more effectively. Some businesses need a customized platforms that better suits the way they operate. NetSuite has been successful in providing that type of customization with specially designed enterprise platforms. The ability to customize the integration of its enterprise platforms has helped this vendor to gain market share and increase its own bottom line in the process.
And unlike other enterprise software vendors that operate only in North America, NetSuite has been successful in establishing a customer base around the world. One of the reasons for that is the vendors success at showing customers as well as potential ones, how they can save money by cutting unnecessary costs. That has helped the vendor to spread its wings and provide services globally. This enterprise software vendor has carved out a nice niche for itself, providing Web-based systems for all types of businesses.
One needs only to ask around for information and good results about the NetSuite system
Let’s suppose yours is a small or midsized business and you are looking into enterprise resource planning (ERP). You are seeking to discover the ERP experience, up close and personal.
Transitioning to the ERP Experience
If you’re a smart inquisitor, you will have done your homework and have some idea of what this software system is all about. You know that it is now available online, as Web-based software as a service (SaaS) and that has piqued your interest. Because, you are also aware, that a traditional installation of this software system is extremely expensive and way beyond your means. That option involves installing software, servers and storage, and then tweaking the system until you get it right. And that has to be followed by training for employees who will be users of the system, commonly referred to as “seats.” Well, you do want your seat at the enterprise software table, but not at a cost of hundreds of thousands or into the millions of dollars. So, you’ve decided to go the web-based route. It’s the cost-effective option for businesses such as yours.
For many years you didn’t have access to this software system because of the high cost of admission. But, fortunately today, you can now take advantage of it. This is the situation for many small and midsized businesses that wish to take their business to the next level. Many of these businesses are now making the move to this software system because they see how they can become much more productive with it. It is just one software system but it is very expansive in its reach. That’s because this is a distributed software system with all inclusive application modules and tools. It’s better that packaged software programs because it can do more. It can provide all of the software your business needs for numerous business processing tasks. This is an integrated software system that supplies you with application modules for accounting, sales, marketing, distribution, supply chain management, manufacturing, customer relationship management and much more.
You can improve the way you do business by going with the ERP experience, as many businesses are proving every day. The enterprise software system is also automated, for speedy transmission of processing business tasks, information and data. This means you can accomplish more in less time. This software can make your business seem as though it is larger than it is in actuality, because it gives you the ability to do so many things at once. Customers and suppliers are often surprised when they find that a business if smaller that they thought it was. That is how efficient enterprise software can be.
It’s now easier than ever to make the move to ERP because it is now so easily accessible. You can be set up in no time at all and on your way to growing your business. The world of software isn’t what it used to be. Because now you can get all of your software needs met with just one software system.
It’s all about the ERP experience. Smart businesses are jumping on this bandwagon every day.
Sage has a reputation for the success of its strong product line and Sage ERP Accpac software is a good example of that. This is a software system that is robust and comes in three different editions. It is a flexible software system with a strong set of application modules that provide seamless integration with the platform of management applications.
Sage ERP Accpac Software has a following
This software package offers you the ability to choose the type of platform that best suits the needs of your business. It offers flexible options for combining technology, applications and means of deployment. sage makes it easy for customers to implement the type of operations platform that is best for them and one that doesn’t waste money on unnecessary applications. This enterprise software vendor gets high marks for working closely with its customers to ensure that they put a system in place that they can scale up with when needed. The three editions of Accpac all have the same object oriented architecture, which is multitiered, and made for customization and scalability. They all incorporate the same user interface and database design, which makes it easy to upgrade when desired. This is convenient for businesses that wish to upgrade their platforms with easy, seamless, integration.
The Accpac software package offers an end-to-end set of management applications that can provide real-time transparency of data flow through all areas of the enterprise, from the front office to the warehouse. The application modules selection is extensive and includes applications for such tasks as human resources management , warehouse management, customer relationship management(CRM) , electronic data interchange (EDI), e-commerce, point of sale, advanced reporting, business analytics an numerous other vertical solutions. This software company works closely with customers that they have the right applications necessary to propel their business to a higher level of success.
Sage ERP Accpac software provides three different versions of this enterprise software package, each based on the requirements and size of a business. These editions include:
Sage Accpac 100 ERP - This is a Web-based application that is scalable and designed for businesses that are growing and need the flexibility of applications that can cover both the management of operations as well as the accounting tasks required. The technology is multitiered can increase the capabilities and functionality of applications as needed. This software works great for small companies, as it is designed for use by five concurrent users. The reporting capabilities are extensive and the applications are built to scale up as is needed.
Sage Accpac 200 ERP - is a completely Web-based management solution that was built with midsized businesses in mind. this product provides strong applications for analysis and gives strength to the ability to report on a number of levels throughout the enterprise. The software has a full set of integrated accounting and financial management tools and supports ten concurrent users.
Finally, Sage Accpac 500 ERP - offers a business management solution on a Web-based platform that is comprehensive in its ability to cover financial and operations management, which includes e-commerce and a platform that can be customized as needed for scaling up. Sage ERP Accpac software has a winning formula
Sage software ranks at the top of the list when it comes to enterprise software accounting systems. This software company has a popular of line of products which include Sage ERP X3, Sage ERP Accpac, Sage MAS 90 and 200 Extended Enterprise Suite. This company has software working in all industries and for numerous companies, globally.
Sage Software is popular
Indeed, Sage’s products seem to know no boundaries and always receives good reviews. It has solutions for end-to-end enterprise management for accounting and finance, manufacturing distribution, the supply chain, sales, customer support and order status. This software manufacturer can cover a lot of ground with just one enterprise software system. It performs well on a number of levels and all types of industries. It is used to support customer relationship management with components for sales history, credit status and order status, with its Business Insights Explorer. It can offer up quick, accurate quotes, as well as speed up the transmissions of business processing. Sage produces flexible software that is also very efficient. This software has all of the requisite components for such tasks as accounts payable, accounts receivable, bank reconciliation, e-commerce, multi currencies, fixed assets and a general ledger to record all transactions and expenditures.
Sage offers more in one software system than other vendors do. Its components are tightly integrated and communicate on a real-time level to execute business processes. It can provide a business with individual application modules or it can bundle them for greater effect. The software can also be set up so that it is managed on different levels, such as departments or divisions within a business. The visibility the software offers is in real-time throughout the enterprise. It provides for the writing of checks on multiple levels, with accountability included for each. This software is the choice of many businesses because it can do so many things well, while at the same time, being accountable throughout the enterprise.
Sage software has a presence in numerous industries as well. You will find it in the construction business, in retail, manufacturing, engineering, education, government real estate and much more. This is a software company with a big following. It’s no wonder that that it has extended its reach across many industries. It has financial and accounting products that work in sync with all other application modules and this speaks to the flexible nature of its software systems. Sage software is used by so many businesses because of its known functionality.
It can effectively estimate such tasks as project management, payroll, equipment management, scheduling, human resources and more. It can also handle service billing for different types of contracted jobs. In the area of construction, it is also compatible with Microsoft Windows software programs that are designed specifically fore the construction industry. That means it can add a number of modules and features to complement the contracting platform.
And when it comes to document control “Document Control” this software system also has your business covered with easy print out capabilities for documentation on any level. It is easy to see why so many companies prefer Sage software over other enterprise products.