The ERP Cost Checklist

The ERP Cost Checklist

Acquiring Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is usually a major move for a business. Whether you’re upgrading from an older system or buying your first-ever ERP solution, it’s a big deal. ERP will affect how your business runs for the foreseeable future. As such, ERP represents a significant investment. It’s a very wise practice, therefore, to get on top of your true ERP costs at the outset. They’ll be more than just the software’s “sticker price.” The following is a checklist of cost factors to investigate as you make your ERP move. It’s based on a checklist published Acumatica, maker of the renowned cloud ERP solution.

  • People—ERP is code, but your people are the ones who will make it work. The work of designing the system, customizing it to unique requirements, devising an implementation scheduling, overseeing the rollout—and more—will all take your managers’ time. They’ll also have to make strategic decisions about how the system will be used. These tasks will consume time that is above and beyond their regular work duties. You may have to budget for overtime work or compensating (“comp time”) vacation days to make up for this extra workload.
  • The on-ramp—In an ideal world, you’ll install your new ERP, flip a switch, and voila: everyone’s using the new system and being incredibly productive. This is not how it usually goes, even in the best implementations. You will have to factor in costs of temporary lost productivity as your employees get up to speed on the new ERP. Training costs, too, should be taken into account in this thought process.
  • Data—Who owns your business information, especially if it’s sitting on a cloud server? It’s your information, but in some cases, the software supplier has the right to us or even sell it.
  • Security and compliance—You may already have this fully budgeted somewhere else, but it’s a good practice to think through any security or compliance workloads that might result from acquisition of a new ERP solution. For example, if you want to implement two-factor authentication for the ERP, someone has to administer that process. This will come at a cost. Compliance audits also might become more expensive if the auditor has to review cloud data storage and the like, e.g. data sovereignty affecting cloud data centers in different countries.
  • Work breakdown and schedule—You will almost certainly be working with a software vendor on the implementation and customization of your ERP solution. It’s a good idea to check the details and cost estimates carefully. This includes making sure that everyone understands their respective responsibilities. Vendors may assume that your team will perform certain tasks when you were expecting the vendor to take care of them. Also, does the schedule work? For instance, is it rushed, making it necessary to pay people to work weekends?

Software costs are also not static. What will be the cost to expand seats or upgrade features? Are there hidden bumps in support costs if your business expands geographically? Service Level Agreements (SLAs) should be part of the conversation. It’s useful to understand the cost of an outage. If you have a 4-hour SLA, what will it cost to have your business offline for 4 hours? It might be a minor problem or a disaster. Paying more for a faster SLA might make a lot of sense if that’s the case.

We have extensive experience helping companies work through their total costs for ERP. If you want to speak with us about ERP cost factors, or see a demo of Acumatica cloud ERP, contact us.

10 Powerful Manufacturing Features in Dynamics 365 Business Central

10 Powerful Manufacturing Features in Dynamics 365 Business Central

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is a compelling solution for manufacturers. It offers 10 powerful manufacturing features, as highlighted below. Dynamics 365 Business Central also integrates with accounting and finance, giving you a robust overall business management capability. The following are available in the “Premium” edition of the software.

#1—Production Orders

Dynamics 365 Business Central allows you to create production orders and then manage them through the software. You can post consumption and facility output data to production orders you created. The toolset also lets you calculate net requirements. This includes the choice between manual and automatic supply planning tools.

#2—Production Bill of Materials (BOM)

The Bill of Materials (BOM) lists everything you need to produce your order. With Dynamics 365 Business Central, you can create BOMs and add up your standard costs.

#3 BOM Version Management

You may want to put together different versions of a BOM, e.g. when you have two similar versions of the same product. You can save time with Dynamics 365, which allows you to establish different versions of the BOM and related routings.

#4—Agile Manufacturing

If your business is engaged in agile manufacturing, this solution helps you manage it in all its details. Dynamics 365 Business Central has a module dedicated to agile manufacturing as well as associated modules for supply and capacity planning.

#5—Supply Planning

The Basic Supply Planning module lets you plan your material requirements based on demand. Additional detail can come from the master production scheduling and Materials Requirements Planning (MRP) features found in Dynamics 365 Business Central. It includes automatic Purchase Orders (POs) and production orders along with action messages that help you balance supply and demand.

#6—Sales and Inventory Forecasting

Extension for Sales and Inventory Forecast gives you insights in your potential sales as well as clarity about looming stock-outs. As a Microsoft solution, it includes Cortana Intelligence that integrates historical data. The resulting forecasts drive vendor replenishment requests.

#7—Demand Forecasting

To get optimal results from operations and assets, it’s essential to know how much demand you’re facing. Dynamics 365 Business Central gives you the tools to manage demand forecasting based on sales forecasts. The resulting data makes it possible for the system to plan and set up production and purchase orders that align with the demand forecast and inventory.

#8—Finite Loading

Every manufacturing capability is finite. Overloading a resource will create delays. To avoid this, Dynamics 365 Business Central provides finite loading of capacity-constrained resources. This way, you can plan for production in ways that takes capacity constraints into consideration.

#9— Machine Centers

With Dynamics 365 Business Central, a “Machine Center” refers to a piece of equipment and related capacity. Multiple Machine Centers comprise a “Work Center.” The software allows you to manage the capacity of a machine or equivalent production resource. You can then plan and manage multiple Machine Centers on a consolidated basis—factoring in data points like set up times and scrap percentages.

#10—Capacity Planning

If you want to add capacity elements like Work Centers to your manufacturing process, you can perform this task in Dynamics 365 Business Central. You can also set up routings, view loads and so forth.

If you’re not using ERP for manufacturing, this is a great moment to consider making the move to a modern manufacturing management software solution. We have worked with many manufacturers on the implementation of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central for manufacturing. To learn how this valuable toolset could benefit your manufacturing business, contact us for a demo and free consultation.

Acumatica 2020 R1: A Significant New Product Release

Acumatica 2020 R1: A Significant New Product Release

Acumatica will soon release its latest semi-annual update, known as 2020 R1. This new edition of Acumatica Cloud ERP expands the solution’s business management capabilities. It’s a big deal. As Acumatica CEO, John Roskill explained in his keynote at the Acumatica 2020 summit, “2020 R1 is a significant new product release.” He then added, “We have to pause sometimes and marvel at the pace of innovation consistently delivered by our product team. Acumatica customers and partners keep clamoring for more and they get it, twice a year, with real quality.”

R1 delivers enhancements to data management, including the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), along with new mobile features, simplified reporting and payroll. Acumatica now also offers omnichannel commerce through integration with BigCommerce as well as improvement document management through a partnership Adobe Document Cloud. Highlights of R1 include:

  • Omnichannel Commerce—By integrating with BigCommerce, Acumatica R1 now provides omnichannel sales support. Organizations can integrate sales, delivery and customer service. This expands how a company interacts with customers, supporting both B2B and B2C models of doing business.
  • Cloud-based e-signatures—Integration with Adobe Document Cloud enables Acumatica R1 users to send, sign and track documents using a browser or mobile device. The result is more streamlined document and contract management.
  • More, better mobility—R1 Users can create expense reports with a mobile camera. Field service reps can record travel and break time on service calls and attach captured images to data records. They can get to data entry screens more quickly using a “quick add” button.
  • Improved project management—R1’s new project management tools give users more advanced project management capabilities, such as simplified project balance reconciliation. Users can also track project progress with improved daily field reports, weather data (available via the ClimaCell service), photo logs and other data.
  • Payroll—With R1, companies can minimize overhead expenses by using Acumatica Payroll. This module makes it possible to run in-house payroll and speed up paycheck delivery, reduce mistakes and eliminate interface complexity. Acumatica Payroll also allows for salaried and hourly workers. It integrates taxes and tax forms, deductions and benefits, certified wages and even accommodates flexible payroll periods, union wage data and timecard integration with overtime rules
  • Better manufacturing operations—R1 introduces new, advanced manufacturing planning features such as “capable-to-promise” and “what-if scenarios.” It is now also possible to track production and costs with native shop floor data collection.
  • Updated warehouse management functions—R1 users benefit from expanded sales and warehouse operations, with fast order generation, tracking and management of inventory-related items. Acumatica’s Warehouse Management module now also supports rapid fulfillment with wave and batch picking.

These are just the highlights. Industry editions have new features in R1. Reporting has also been extensively updated in the new release, as have a number of accounting processes.

We have worked with many companies in the implementation of Acumatica. The software scales with your business as it grows. The release of R1 presents a great opportunity to learn about how Acumatica can help you realize your business objectives. To learn more or schedule a free demo, contact us.

Additional Acumatica Resources

Moving from QuickBooks to Acumatica

Understanding Acumatica Pricing

Solving Nonprofit Accounting Challenges with Acumatica

Understanding Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central

Understanding Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central

Sometimes, a product’s tag line sounds overly ambitious. This is not the case with message, “Run your entire business with a single solution,” the motto for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. In our experience, this is a true statement. The cloud-based Enterprise Resource Management (ERP) and accounting software suite can perform pretty much any financial or operational duties a small-to-midsized business might require.

Having worked with many Dynamics clients over the years, we have found that the solution enables business managers to streamline business processes and make more informed decisions based on real time data. Used in tandem with sound management and good strategy, Dynamics 365 Business Strategy is a catalyst for growth.

An end-to-end view of the business

What’s happening in your business? Gone are the days when the boss could look out of an office window and see the whole operation at a glance. Today, business activity shows up as data coming from business software, often from multiple locations. Sales, accounting, procurement, logistics, manufacturing, supply chain, payables – all of these activities create a digital trail of data. Dynamics 365 Business Central ties these workflows together and provides managers with a single view into the entire state of the business. For example, if customer orders are increasing in a way that will over-stretch a supplier of a particular part, the software can tell you about the impending supply gap before it becomes a problem.

Effective, efficient financial management

For too long, accounting and financial management ran as a standalone silo within most businesses. There was the business, which consisted of sales and operations, and then there was accounting and finance. This split, which was largely a matter of software incompatibility, is neither necessary nor wise any longer. With Dynamics 365 Business Central, accounting and finance are integrated into the broader operational software platform.

For example, with the parts shortage discussed above, what if finding a new parts supplier requires getting a line of credit? How much accounting team effort will it take to apply for a credit line? An integrated accounting system gives managers a single view of expected cash flows, debt service, orders-in-queue and financial statements. This capability makes the process of securing credit faster and easier.

Dynamics 365 Business Central further helps with accounting and finance through fast closes and compliance. Business managers can streamline financial management operations while gaining a faster, better-informed sense of how the company’s finances are doing. Compliance and audits can also move faster, which saves time and helps avoid distractions from growth-oriented work.

Project management and manufacturing

Dynamics 365 Business Central offers features that help companies run more profitably, whether they are manufacturers or project-based businesses. This occurs through supply chain automation, optimized manufacturing operations and warehousing, along with sophisticated project scheduling and accounting. Of course, some companies are project-oriented manufacturers. For such businesses, Dynamics 365 Business Central offers flexible implementation and integration of modules that enables real time awareness and effective management

To learn more about how Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central can help you run your business better, contact us for a free consultation and demonstration of the solution.

Additional Business Central Resources

Top New Features – Dynamics 365 Business Central

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central and Power BI

Comparing QuickBooks to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central

Acumatica Cloud ERP and Its Potential for Your Business

Acumatica Cloud ERP and Its Potential for Your Business

We are an Acumatica partner. In this role, we have worked with many companies over the years on the implementation of Acumatica Cloud ERP. In conversations with prospective customers, we sometimes hear people refer to Acumatica as “an application.” This is not the best way to look at Acumatica. It’s really an integrated suite of applications that comprises a complete business management solution. The full depth and breadth of Acumatica is striking. For this reason, we thought it would be worth taking a moment to run down Acumatica’s main capabilities.

A Complete Business Management Solution – Hosted in the Cloud

Acumatica offers functions for the complete range of business management processes. They span accounting and finance, manufacturing operations management, logistics, warehouse and inventory, distribution, field service and more. As a cloud-based software product, Acumatica is highly flexible. You can add or remove features more or less at will. It scales effortlessly, enabling you to provision it to users without the need to invest in hardware on-premises. There is no specialized client software to support on user endpoints.

Acumatica products’ highlights include:

  • Financial management Acumatica offers functionality for ranging from practical on-line accounting that are suitable for smaller local businesses to feature-rich all-encompassing financial applications. These are meant for larger more complex businesses. Acumatica accounting software is designed to grow with you.
  • Distribution management – Distribution businesses have distinct needs. Acumatica Distribution Management gives distributors the ability to administer quotes and orders and track inventory. With Acumatica, distribution managers can automate purchasing and improve customer service. It integrates with Customer Resource Management (CRM), financials, manufacturing and project accounting. This connectivity gives managers complete visibility across the entire distribution organization.
  • Customer Management – Standard CRM functionality is included in Acumatica. The software allows for the management of leads, contacts and opportunities. You can set up customer portals that enable customer engagement after the sale has concluded. This contributes to better overall customer perceptions and experiences.
  • Project Accounting – Acumatica gives you insights into actual project costs, whether for an internal or external project. The toolset let you manage budgets, time keeping and project inventory along with complex billing. Users feel empowered to compare actual versus budgeted costs and follow up by revising budgets using visual dashboards.

Industry-Specific Acumatica Offerings

Acumatica has come out with industry-specific editions. These solutions are adapted for the unique needs of a particular sector. With Manufacturing Management, for example, users can integrate customer management, sales orders, inventory and purchasing with production planning. The solution also enables shop floor scheduling and accounting. Real time coordination is also possible, even between multiple production facilities.

  • Field Service Edition – This edition allows users to track and simplify every process required for effective field services operations. This includes better management of service orders, appointments, contracts, warranties and routes. With Acumatica Field Service Edition, managers can stay on top of staff skills, equipment capabilities and implement preventative maintenance schedules.
  • Commerce Edition – Users can leverage Acumatica Commerce Edition to deliver consistent customer experience across all sales channels. The solution features complete integration between online, mobile, and in-store service.
  • Construction Edition – Construction businesses now gain complete project control, starting with estimating and continuing through close-out of construction projects. The results include enhanced profit margin and reduced waste.

To learn more about what Acumatica cloud ERP can do for your business, contact us for a free demo.

Additional Acumatica Resources

Acumatica and the Power of Comprehensive Manufacturing Software

Acumatica Summit 2020 Recap

Moving from QuickBooks to Acumatica

Acumatica and the Power of Comprehensive Manufacturing Software

Acumatica and the Power of Comprehensive Manufacturing Software

Even if you don’t consider yourself a precision manufacturer, managing a manufacturing operation is all about precision. Or, at least it should be. The more precisely you manage every aspect of your manufacturing business, from end to end, the more efficient and profitable it will be. Success occurs when each element of the manufacturing process is well-controlled and connected to relevant systems. For example, as manufacturing inputs like parts or raw materials arrive in the plant, they should be digitally tracked as they enter the warehouse and go through the production process. This may sound like inventory control—and it is—but it’s also a vital part of ensuring an effective manufacturing operation.

Achieving high precision in manufacturing management is best accomplished with software like Acumatica Manufacturing Management. This specialized set of modules for the Acumatica Cloud ERP suite provides the feature depth and connectivity with Acumatica and other business systems to ensure a high degree of precision in managing the complete manufacturing operation. Here are the highlights of how the software enables profitable, efficient and highly precise manufacturing management:

Getting Estimates Right

Profitable manufacturing starts with accurate estimating. Acumatica makes this possible. You can create estimates for new products or update estimates for existing items. The software lets you convert estimates into bills of material or production orders into estimates. For accuracy, you can also use Acumatica to estimate non-inventory items. For efficiency, the tool integrates with the Acumatica sales management module.

Product Configurator

For companies that offer customers custom configurations of products, having a rules-based configurator is a big advantage. The Acumatica configurator can be used to generate estimates, sales orders and production orders—all with up-to-date pricing and costs included. This is an example of the kind of precision you need to attain maximum profitability. Without this kind of software, it’s easy to miss a cost increase that could eat into margins on a custom product.

Inventory Management

Inventory management is particularly relevant for companies implementing lean manufacturing processes. Inventory ties up cash if it’s not under control. At the same time, confusion about where inventory is stored, when supplies will run out and so forth can disrupt manufacturing. And, without rigorous inventory tracking and control, there’s always the risk that defective parts and raw materials can end up in the final product. This will result in complaints, brand damage, returns, rework and more. Acumatica addresses these needs by offering real-time access to inventory that’s in-house, inventory in transit, reorder quantities and costs. It can track inventory at the level of lot numbers, expiration dates and bin locations.

Other highlights of Acumatica Manufacturing Management include:

  • Bill of Materials and Routing—Plan and manage inventories, processes and costs.
  • Production Management—Schedule production on the shop floor while tracking material and labor costs.
  • Material Requirements Planning (MRP)—Maintain optimal inventory with the Acumatica MRP planning tool, which offers a complete view of supply and demand.
  • Order Management—Manage sales activities while streamlining procurement and automating order fulfillment.
  • Planning and Scheduling—Set accurate, reliable delivery dates based on resource availability.
  • Fulfillment—Reduce mistakes in order fulfillment and avoid costly returns.

All of these elements in Acumatica Manufacturing Management work together synergistically to keep your manufacturing operation working at its best. You can stay on top of orders and production while keeping inventory under control. It integrates with Acumatica accounting and financial management systems as well, so there’s no clumsy rekeying of data or missed opportunities for coherent management of manufacturing finances. These system elements also generate rich data that you can visualize in Acumatica data reporting tools and dashboards.

To learn more about Acumatica Manufacturing Management, contact us for a demo and assessment of your manufacturing software needs.

Additional Acumatica Manufacturing Resources

6 Reasons It’s Time for Manufacturers to Give Up Excel

7 Signs You’ve Outgrown Your Old Manufacturing ERP System

What Is the Best Software for SMB Manufacturers?

Acumatica Summit 2020 Recap

Acumatica Summit 2020 Recap

We told you. You should have been there! But, if you missed the Acumatica Summit 2020, here’s a recap of some of the amazing things that happened at the big conference, which was held at The Cosmopolitan resort on the Las Vegas strip. It was a two-day celebration of Acumatica Cloud ERP achievements in 2019 and an exciting look forward to the coming year.

Day One of the Acumatica Summit 2020

On the first day, Acumatica CEO Jon Roskill spoke to a crowd of nearly 2,300 attendees on site. Thousands more watched him on a live video stream. As Roskill recounted, 2019 was an awesome year for the company. They passed the 6,500-customer mark, capping seven consecutive years of revenue growth.

2019 was also a year of accolades, with Acumatica earning the PCMag Editor’s Choice Award for Best ERP Software with an “Excellent” rating and 4.5-out-of-five stars. The software “set the standard for usability in the market,” according to Nucleus Research’s ERP Technology Value Matrix. The company also received praise from G2 and Gartner.

Roskill further stated, “Everything at the core of Acumatica is about solving customers digital transformation problems. Our emphasis on using technology to pragmatically solve business problems is felt within every bi-annual release, and Acumatica 2020 R1 is ready to go with customer-centric enhancements across the board of Acumatica’s industry editions: Commerce Edition, Manufacturing Edition, Construction Edition, Distribution Edition, and Field Service Edition.”

Other product announcements at the event included:

  • Natively building a BigCommerce connection into Acumatica Commerce Edition
  • Improving Acumatica Manufacturing Edition by acquiring JAAS Systems
  • Partnering with eWorkplace Apps to meet the needs of manufacturers and distributors with their first two integrated solutions: Quality Management and Process Manufacturing Partnering
  • Partnering with the Construction Financial Management Association (CMFA) to offer a free, one-year membership to all new construction customers
  • Delivering Acumatica Payroll as part of Acumatica 2020 R1
  • Enhancing Acumatica’s integration with Smartsheet, an end-to-end work execution platform
  • Making Marketplace available for all Acumatica customers and partners

Day Two

The theme of the conference’s second day was digital transformation through innovation. In his keynote, Acumatica’s Chief Product Officer, Ali Jani, described how technology makes such transformation possible. At the same time, he underscored how a connected business requires more than technology alone. As he put it, “It’s a lot more than technology. It’s how Acumatica combines these technologies together to provide value to our customers with their processes and people.”

That said, Jani did devote much of his talk to R1 and the company’s ongoing, massive investment in research and development. Indeed, 74% of Acumatica’s employees serve in R&D positions. Jani said, “We can change the underlying technology without changing the front ends. We can change processes, but the technology will stay current. As a technology company and a platform company, we completely refresh our platform all the time.”

Day two of the conference also focused on partnerships, including strategic relationships with Independent Software Vendors (ISVs). In addition to integration with BigCommerce for omnichannel sales, Acumatica announced a free, 30-day trial of the Adobe Sign Enterprise Edition for all customers. They also introduced Adobe PDF-as-a-Service. Acumatica users can now view and edit PDFs within their Acumatica system through integration with the Adobe Document Cloud—without having to navigate to a new window.

The conference closed with an inspiring talk by Dr. Robert Ballard, the acclaimed deep-sea explorer. He is best known for finding The Titanic, the German Battleship Bismarck and the “lost fleet of Guadalcanal.” Ballard spoke about the importance of leadership, collaboration, and innovation. Given his achievements in demanding environments, Ballard’s ideas resonated with Acumatica customers and partners in attendance. Ballard is also passionate about telepresence technology, an area that Acumatica may be exploring itself in the near future.

To learn more about Acumatica Cloud ERP or see a demonstration of the software, please visit our website or contact us.

Additional Acumatica Resources

Moving from QuickBooks to Acumatica

Understanding Acumatica Pricing

Solving Nonprofit Accounting Challenges with Acumatica

Lean Manufacturing: What It Is and 7 Ways ERP Can Support Its Success

Lean Manufacturing: What It Is and 7 Ways ERP Can Support Its Success

Lean manufacturing comprises a collection if ideas and practices aimed at minimizing waste while simultaneously improving product quality. It’s often implemented as a complete, systematic approach to running a manufacturing operation. ERP software for manufacturing can help you realize the benefits of lean manufacturing.

The software alone does not guarantee this outcome, however. Rather, when companies deploy ERP software in accordance with well thought-through and company-specific lean practices, results start to emerge. To illustrate how ERP software can support the success of a lean manufacturing effort, we thought it would be worthwhile to highlight the applicability of software to seven critical principles in the lean manufacturing discipline.

What is Lean Manufacturing?

To understand lean manufacturing, it’s useful to know where it came from. Though the words “lean manufacturing” have only been with us since the late 1980s, the lean philosophy actually originated in the early days of Toyota, in the mid-1930s. At that time, car-manufacturing was relatively wasteful and inefficient. It’s not that people weren’t trying to make car assembly lines efficient. The problems stemmed from poor assumptions about how things should be made.

Kiichiro Toyoda, the legendary founder of Toyota, was one to challenge prevailing ideas about how to make cars. He applied a new set of principles to manufacturing. His ideas evolved and matured into what we now call lean manufacturing. Among other things, Toyoda identified seven areas of waste that contributed to high costs, low quality and inefficient operations:

  • Transport, e.g. moving items that are not needed for the actual processing
  • Inventory, e.g. keeping inventory at a minimum, including components, work in progress and finished goods
  • Movement, e.g. wasteful motions of people or equipment
  • Waiting, e.g. delays between production steps
  • Overproduction, e.g. making goods ahead of demand
  • Over-processing, e.g. excessive work due to poor product or tool design
  • Defects, e.g. the work required to inspect for defects or worse, recalling them after shipment

Each of these forms of waste has a negative impact on product quality as well profitability. For example, overproduction can tie up cash in goods that may never be sold. Similarly, stockpiling components in advance of manufacturing not only ties down cash, it can conceal defects that will appear later in the manufacturing cycle. In contrast, the “just in time” approach, which involves receiving components close to assembly time, enables the manufacturer to catch defects in real time.

How Manufacturing ERP Software Helps Manufacturers Avoid the Seven Wastes

Used the right way, manufacturing ERP software, can help you avoid, or at least reduce, the seven wastes of traditional manufacturing:

  • Transport—Software enables you to track the movement of components across the entire manufacturing process.
  • Inventory—Stay on top of inventory and procurement in real time, aligning component delivery with manufacturing operational plans.
  • Movement—Optimize your manufacturing operation using process analysis and planning.
  • Waiting—Organize your production schedule to minimize waiting.
  • Over-production—Estimate demand using data analytical tools in the software, making it possible to avoid over-production.
  • Over-processing—Manage the production process at a granular level to detect and then reduce over-processing.
  • Defects—Use reporting and data visualization to determine root causes of defects, so they can be remediated.

All of these actions contribute to the ultimate ethos of lean manufacturing, which is continuous improvement. The idea that propelled Toyota into one of the world’s largest and most respected brands for quality was that everything can be done better—always. The lean manufacturing practice means constant observation and improvement. With data analytics and other specialized tooling, manufacturing ERP gives your organization this potential.

To arrange a demonstration of Acumatica cloud ERP software for manufacturing and discuss how it can drive lean manufacturing at your business, let’s talk.

6 Reasons It’s Time for Manufacturers to Give Up Excel

6 Reasons It’s Time for Manufacturers to Give Up Excel

Excel has been a mainstay of work environments for some time. While Excel is good for listing data, and to some extent calculating prices, it’s not ideal for a manufacturing business. Excel lacks many features of Acumatica Manufacturing Edition. Today’s manufacturers need maximum visibility into projects, pricing and business processes. Here are six reasons to give up Excel for Acumatica’s all-inclusive solution.

1) Lack of Integration

Acumatica Manufacturing Edition offers seamless integration with Acumatica’s software suites for distribution, financial and customer management as well as project accounting. All your business activities can be coordinated in real time and all data are available in a centralized location. Excel does not offer this functionality on its own. Also, it’s only available for Windows and Mac OS X operating systems, often making compatibility an issue.

2) Pricing Rules Are Hard to Manage

Excel does not enable an effective value-based pricing system. It only supports simple pricing strategies. On the other hand, Acumatica supports multiple costing methods, provides sales integration and enables users to estimate non-inventory items. Production orders can be created from estimates, while the software includes complete accounts receivable and accounts payable systems. And, to mitigate issues with formulas, Acumatica integrates formula validation.

3) Lack of Security

Data security, fraud and corruption are issues with Excel. It lacks user friendliness. Breaking down large data files can lead to losing or misplacing information. Excel does not integrate with other business systems or provide a means to spot mistakes quickly. Acumatica minimizes the risk of human error. It automates the entire fulfillment process, provides a complete audit trail and includes CRM integration and revision control.

4) Tracking Information on Excel Is Difficult

Spreadsheet data are often scattered across multiple sources and locations. Tracing the logic of formulas from one cell to the next can take time that impedes high volume production. Acumatica lets you track production steps, expiration dates and lot and serial data. Users can also manage production order changes and financials from a single location. The software even streamlines integration of sub-accounts and allows for intercompany accounting.

5) Excel Isn’t for Collaboration

Manufacturers often collect information from different departments and corporate locations. Spreadsheets can only be exchanged via email, so tracking all the files going back and forth can be tedious. There’s also a risk of sending out-of-date file versions. The lack of collaborative support can make quick decision-making a challenge. But with Acumatica, all the information stakeholders need is in one place.

6) Excel Doesn’t Grow with Your Company

Acumatica adapts to every step of the manufacturing process and supports project-centric tasks, batches and repetitive manufacturing. Engineering changes are handled seamlessly, from change requests to change notices and approvals. There’s no guarantee an Excel spreadsheet will provide the required accuracy and dependability. Plus, data recovery can be difficult, so Excel does not support business continuity very well.

If your manufacturing company is still relying on Excel, these are just some of the reasons you should consider switching over to Acumatica Manufacturing Edition. Contact us today.

Additional Manufacturing Resources

How Configurators Help Manufacturers Expand Their Product Lines

7 Signs You’ve Outgrown Your Old Manufacturing ERP System

The Best Software for SMB Manuacturers

The Dangers of Data Silos, and How to Avoid Them

The Dangers of Data Silos, and How to Avoid Them

When you drive across the country, you’ll see silos used by farmers for storing grain and corn. They’re hard to miss, cylindrical towers reaching up a hundred feet or more over the flat landscape. The word “silo” has been adopted in the business world, but with different meaning. While a physical silo is used for stockpiling a commodity like grain, a corporate silo refers to the hoarding of information. Such data silos tend not to be good for optimal business management outcomes, yet they’re quite common. Innovative software now offers a way to avoid the silo phenomenon in your company.

What is a Data Silo?

A data silo is a collection of data that’s isolated from people who might benefit from seeing it. In some cases, the people who need the data don’t even know it exists. Alternatively, you can have two separate data sets, each differently describing the same area of the business. For instance, as we’ve seen many times, a company can have two unrelated databases for a function like accounts payable management, each offering users a different version of reality.

How Do Data Silos Come into Existence?

Data silos can arise for a number of reasons. Usually, it’s by accident. Two teams manage overlapping business processes separately. Each has its own information system and database. The result is two different data sets for the same basic information. Or, a company can update computer systems and end up with two versions of the same database, operating independently. In some cases, though, the data silos are deliberate. The practice reflects a corporate culture where managers compete with one another—trying to keep valuable data out of the hands of professional rivals.

Why are Data Silos Bad?

Keeping different versions of the same data in multiple silos is bad for business in more ways than one. Data silos make it hard to for people to do their jobs. For example, an accounting staffer may waste time collecting a debt that has already been declared uncollectible, but that helpful bit of information is hidden in a data silo. Teams may adopt awkward, wasteful workflows to hop between data silos to accomplish their tasks. There are costs involved in cleaning up discrepancies in data. When the silos are deliberate, they can contribute to a toxic work environment that inhibits growth and good morale.

How to Avoid Data Silos?

It is definitely possible to avoid data silos or break down the ones you may already have in your business. A new generation of accounting and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is the key to making this happen. For example, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central offers extensive application and data integration features. The platform enables system architects to connect siloed sources of data and “normalize” them—eliminating the silo once and for all. Business Central also allows for application-to-application connections that let users jump between siloed data in a single workflow.

Paired with Microsoft Power BI analytics software, Business Central gives managers a high-level overview of corporate data. This is good for management, but it also makes it harder for people to hoard data. People can come together to assess important business data instead of hiding it from peers. This is good for business growth and success in the long term.

We have worked with many clients on the identification and remediation of data siloes using Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. To learn more about how we can help you in this regard, or to arrange a demo of Business Central, let’s talk.

Additional Business Central Resources

How Project Managers Can Benefit from Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central

Top New Features – Dynamics 365 Business Central

Tips for Making Your Business More Productive