How can you tell you’ve outgrown your old manufacturing ERP system? Chances are, if you’ve implemented ERP for your manufacturing business, you have a system that works relatively well. It gets the job done, more or less. The “or less” part can become increasingly problematic as older systems age, however. Here are seven signs that you’ve outgrown old the ERP.
1) Quality suffers
ERP in manufacturing should give you very fine-grained control over manufacturing processes and material inputs. If a customer returns an order, you should be able to go to your ERP and quickly gain a firm understanding of what went wrong. That way, you can recall any other orders that were shipped with the same same defect or intervene with a supplier that contributed to the problem. For example, if you manufacture a food item, and you discover that a particular lot contains a harmful chemical, your ERP needs to give you complete information on where the chemical came from and who got shipments of the tainted product. Older ERPs can struggle with this level of control and insight.
2) You’re spending a lot to keep it going
Legacy ERPs are like old cars. You love them, but they take a lot of care and feeding. If you notice your ERP management and admin budget climbing every year, even if you’re not adding new functionality, that’s a sign you need to replace it.
3) You need specialized people on staff just for ERP
If you have to keep people on staff because they are the only ones who can administer the ERP and get data out of it for reporting, you need a more modern solution.
4) Inventory is holding things up, tying up cash or both
Modern ERPs like Acumatica give you many nuanced controls over inventory management, including tracking of lot and serial numbers, expiration dates, transaction reason codes, inventory bin locations and item class hierarchy.
5) Integration is clunky or nonexistent
Is your old ERP linked to your accounting system, HR or CRM solutions? If it isn’t, that’s already a tip off that you can do better. Acumatica comes with simple, fast integration with related systems. These enable more efficient business management overall. Alternatively, if managing such integrations is a cumbersome, expensive proposition, it’s time to make a change.
6) Reporting is a chore
How hard is it to generate timely, in-depth reports with your legacy ERP? If reporting is time-consuming or incomplete, you should know that you’re missing out on insights that can make your manufacturing business more competitive and profitable.
7) Security is weak, costly or both
Is your data secure? Do you feel confident you can protect your digital assets from Denial of Service (DoS) attacks? If you’re not sure, or you are being told you will have to spend a lot of money to get secure, you might do better with a modern ERP. A cloud-based ERP like Acumatica is hosted in a secure cloud data center. This doesn’t make it 100% bulletproof—nothing is—but this architecture takes a huge security burden off of your plate.
We have worked with many manufacturing companies on ERP upgrades. If you are curious about how a new ERP could help your business run better, we should talk. Or, to arrange a demo of Acumatica, please visit our website.
Additional Manufacturing ERP Resources
Manufacturing Challenges—How Acumatica Can Help
The Advantage of True Cloud Manufacturing
What Is the Best Software for SMB Manufacturers?
A recent news story out of New York reveals how challenging accounting can be in a fast-moving business. A retailer had extended factory rebates to customers and charged them sales tax on the discounted price. That was a no-no, according to New York State tax authorities, which now wants to collect millions of dollars in sales taxes. It’s unknown whether this retailer was doing this deliberately, but any accounting could see this case and wonder if it weren’t the result of a simple tax configuration mistake in the accounting system.
Accounting is a more stressful occupation than most people would suspect. However much money your company has, it never seems to be quite enough. Taxes are a nightmare. Unexpected bills arrive in the mail. You have to manage a team that the CEO always seems to feel like cutting. Here are some of the most pressing challenges facing corporate accounting and ways that ERP software can help in addressing them. Today’s ERP solutions, such as Acumatica, combine accounting and financial management with deep operational management and data analysis tools.
1) Cash Flow
Virtually all businesses are chasing cash. Payables invariably outstrip receivables. The accounting department must be highly adept at juggling payments and knowing when cash is coming in and when it’s supposed to go out. Acumatica ERP helps with this need with extensive cash management features. These include control over day-to-day transactions and real time awareness of cash balances and funds transfer. It also incorporates petty cash management, remittance and payment instructions, multi-currency support and a cash audit trail into its functionality.
As the retailer example above shows, taxes can be a big headache in corporate accounting. Tax problems can even expose the company to legal liability. Taxing authorities don’t mess around. Tax management in Acumatica supports centralized tax configuration, tax management and reporting. It streamlines and automates tax management processes in a centralized application. Features include tax transaction drill-down, flexible reporting, integration with sales tax rate and compliance automation and direct tax adjustments.
Payroll is a well-known struggle for businesses, even large ones. Acumatica Payroll Management, which was developed by InfinityHR, integrates the ERP with employee data. This enables you to handle all your company’s payroll functions. It automates payroll and integrates payroll, where needed, with other platforms, such as HR management.
4) Unforeseen Expenses
Every accounting manager knows the dreaded feeling of discovering an unexpected invoice in the mail or email. What experienced accounting people will tell you, though, is that an unforeseen expense is almost always the result of a failure in process and controls. For example, if your accounting policy does not require an approved purchase order (PO) before spending company money, you’re going to get those little surprises pretty often. However, even if you have such a PO policy, you still need the systemic tools to enforce it. ERP addresses this need by establishing strong but flexible controls over purchasing and vendor setup.
5) Intercompany Accounting
Accounting managers frequently have to deal with managing the books and finances or multiple companies—which are often divisions of a single parent entity. Intercompany accounting is not particularly difficult, but it’s time-consuming without the right software. Acumatica speeds things up by simplifying the process of tracking intercompany transactions and transfers. Related corporate entities can share charts of accounts, currencies, calendars and so forth
We have worked with many clients on the implementation of ERP to improve accounting practices while making the accounting workload more efficient for the accounting team to manage. To learn more, or to see a demo of Acumatica’s accounting capabilities, contact us today!
Is it time to replace your current accounting software? Find out in our article Want to Replace Your Accounting Software?
Selecting the right ERP software for your business takes time and effort. It requires research into the latest products and technologies and determining what type of platform can provide the best return on investment (ROI). While the right system can help save money, provide valuable performance insights and improve productivity, hastily selecting one can mean missing important steps and requirements, which can cost your business in the long run.
The more familiar with ERP your team is, the easier it should be to select the right system. But it’s important to carefully navigate each phase of the selection process. This goes whether you’re curious about available software products, in the process of evaluating/justifying a new system or in need of a replacement system that meets organizational requirements. Perhaps you’re starting your evaluation or in the process of investigating multiple ERP systems. Even if you’ve seen enough demonstrations to make a pick, it’s important not to leave out any details.
Here are some factors to consider throughout the process.
The initial research phase should consider:
- How a modern ERP system differs from QuickBooks and other entry-level accounting software packages.
- The size and anticipated growth of your business.
- Cost/time savings by using a cloud-vendor’s hardware and software instead of buying them yourself.
- How it’s possible to improve operational flexibility and cost-effectiveness compared to a legacy ERP system.
- Support and maintenance services provided by the cloud vendor.
Compare suitable systems side-by-side and communicate with vendor staff to determine exactly what they need from a solution such as Acumatica. There are many competing software suppliers. In your evaluation, which can include product tours and free demos, look for:
- Customizable screens, navigation, and dashboards.
- Availability via log-in from a PC or any connected mobile device.
- Mobile functionality in general, an increasingly important feature.
- Applications for finance, accounting, distribution, manufacturing, project accounting, CRM and other functions.
Research and evaluation should help narrow down your list of vendors. Determine whether the solution fits your organization by looking at how different vendors compare to one another, whether the solution addresses specific issues and if it meets your future reporting and analytical needs. Scalability, flexibility and cost of implementation are other important factors. Look for:
- Flexible pricing: With Acumatica, for example, customers can choose applications, deployment models and subscription or perpetual licensing models.
- Implementation partners: Implementation affects everything from data security to long-term functionality; the right partner can mean the difference between success and failure.
- Timing: Getting from system testing and preparation to go-live can happen occur in parallel with current business processes or in phases over time. Each has its pros and cons and can be selected based on time, cost and other constraints your organization values the most.
We have shepherded many clients through the process of ERP software selection. In our experience, success comes from gaining a deep understanding of the client’s unique business needs. We help them compare product editions side-by-side to assess their features and functionality. If we can help you evaluate the right ERP for your business, let’s talk.
Additional ERP Resources
Making Informed Decisions with the Right ERP
Signs You Are Outgrowing Your ERP Solution
How to Get a Full View of Your Business with the Right ERP Solution
Microsoft recently published a truly outstanding white paper titled Four Technology Trends Helping Businesses Thrive in a Digital World. We highly recommend it if you’re contemplating how IT can make an impact on your business success. The paper takes on topics like cloud computing, digital transformation, the Internet of Things (IoT) and mobility. Their goal is to add detail and practical insights to subjects that tend to be vague and overhyped. The context is the applicability of Dynamics 365 as a solution for digital transformation. Here’s a sneak peek:
Cloud computing: Much more than a buzzword
Cloud adoption is accelerating. As businesses put cloud technology to work in a vast variety of use cases, the concept becomes far more than a mere buzzword. Indeed, the cloud changes how and where people work. It enables new ways of doing business, or even completely new businesses. Cost reduction is still a high priority for cloud adoption, but other factors are driving adoption. The paper cites Gigaom Research, which reports, “71% of strategic buyers cite scalability, cost and business agility as the most important drivers for using cloud services.”
Digital transformation and the revolution in connectivity
Microsoft surveyed small and mid-sized business owners and employees with the goal of understanding their most challenging problems. Lost productivity emerged as a serious issue. People reported losing time working across multiple systems that are unable to “talk to each other.” The results of such disconnected systems included manual, duplicative processes and out-of-date reporting. Poor visibility into operations then translated into impaired decision making at the management level.
Digital transformation offers a way out of this trap. It’s a broad concept, but at its heart, digital transformation is about the current revolution in connectivity. Today, applications can easily and cheaply connect with one another using standards-based APIs—even spanning between multiple business entities. As the paper explains, companies that connect their systems, people, data and processes are able to anticipate operational challenges and act accordingly. They are able to gather data in real time and get deep insights into what going on in the business.
No mystery in the IoT. It’s reality
The IoT is one of those tech ideas that seemed futuristic when it first debuted. Today, it’s a reality. Using devices to collect and analyze operational and environmental data is now occurring on a regular basis. And, it’s not just for big corporations or government agencies. Even a smaller business has its “things” that generate data with which to track trends, identify patterns and perhaps even make predictions.
The challenge in IoT is threefold. First, there has to be a solution to manage the devices and related “edge” infrastructure. Then, there’s the data. IoT environments create a lot of data. It has to be stored and secured before it can be analyzed. The analytics is the third and arguably most important challenge to overcome on the way to IoT success.
Mobility is already so pervasive in business that it may not even occur to people that it’s a distinct technology area deserving of focus. It is. Your employees are increasingly mobile. You have to support them. Customers expect rich mobile connections with your brand. Your suppliers are using mobile apps. Having a mobile strategy is critical for success today.
These are the highlights of the paper. To read it in full, click here.
Acumatica offers web-based applications for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). However, the Acumatica approach to pricing is somewhat different from that of other companies in the ERP space. For this reason, we thought it would be useful to go through Acumatica pricing so you can understand your options and figure out what best fits your business.
What is Acumatica?
Acumatica is a suite of business software applications. In addition to basic ERP, the company offers solutions for financial management, field service management, project accounting, distribution, ecommerce, business intelligence and more. You can license Acumatica software or subscribe to it on a Software as a Service (SaaS) basis. Acumatica SaaS is available via Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure. Acumatica solutions can also be deployed on-premises, hosted in your own data center or at a hosting provider of your choice. All of these factors affect the price you pay for the product.
Making Sense of Acumatica Pricing
Unlike most ERP companies, Acumatica does not charge a seat license or a per-seat annual fee. Instead, they provide several licensing options as well as a usage-based pricing model.
Acumatica makes available three software licensing options:
- SaaS Subscription – With this option, you pay an annual fee based on your usage needs. The installation and maintenance are handled by a dedicated IT organization, such as those employed by AWS.
- Private Cloud Subscription – The private cloud option lets you pay an annual fee. You are then able to deploy Acumatica in your own on-premises data center or at a hosting provider you select.
- Private Perpetual License – This is similar to the private cloud model, but it’s a one-time fee for perpetual use. It is the closest Acumatica comes to a traditional enterprise software licensing model.
Acumatica Usage-Based Pricing
Acumatica bases its pricing on your projected resource consumption. This, in turn, is calculated based on the transaction volume you expect to experience along with the software modules you plan to use. The company allows for unlimited users with this usage-based pricing approach. Your business is charged according to the resources it requires to perform the transactions it expects to do. It is possible to increase or decrease the resources load when needed.
Acumatica’s pricing model has incremental tiers. The best practice here is to start with what you currently need to handle expected transaction volumes. Then, you can adjust your resource levels and data storage needs as your business grows, adds users or changes.
Understanding the Full Cost of Acumatica
One thing to keep in mind is that the license or subscription price of Acumatica is not the same as the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for the solution. Other costs can arise in the acquisition process. These might include training and change management costs. The migration from existing, legacy ERP to Acumatica may require a project, with a budget, and so forth. In some of Acumatica’s cloud subscriptions, you might also have license fees for dependent system elements like Microsoft Windows Server with a Microsoft SQL database in the cloud.
Are you interested in learning more about how much you will pay for Acumatica in your business? We have extensive experience helping companies think through their ERP needs and likely usage scenarios. If so, let’s talk.
Additional Acumatica Resources
Solving Nonprofit Accounting Challenges with Acumatica
Making Informed Decisions with the Right ERP
New Features in Acumatica 2019 R1: Exciting Changes Ahead
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions like Acumatica offer a wide range of Business Intelligence (BI) features. BI is a collection of technologies and practices that enable sophisticated analysis of business data. Used right, BI can help managers make informed decisions about their companies.
Understanding BI and Its Relationship with Making Informed Decisions
What does it mean to make an informed business decision? Opinions will vary on this question, of course, but in general an informed decision is one that is made using an abundance of facts. It’s a decision based on relevant, timely information—complete with context. The opposite of an informed decision is “going with your gut” or “shooting from the hip.”
It is possible to make an informed decision without BI. The problem is usually one of timing. With enough people and manual data gathering tools, a manager can assemble the facts he or she needs to make a decision. The difficulty with this approach in today’s business environment is that circumstances may change in the time it takes to get all the data together. Additionally, manual data analysis deprives the manager of the ability to quickly run different decision scenarios.
Example: Deciding When and Where to Liquidate Inventory
Figuring out what to do with excess inventory offers a great example of informed decision making with ERP. With BI, a business manager can create a dynamic dashboard that displays the company’s top products in inventory, sorted by cost and location. If the manager needs cash, this graphic data display shows which location is holding the most inventory. The manager can see which products are in the warehouses.
Using simultaneously-generated reports on seasonal sales predictions, the manager can make an informed decision about which products to sell to raise cash. BI’s accurate presentation of live data gives the manager the ability to avoid selling inventory that would be more profitable to keep on hand.
Example: To Borrow or Not?
Borrowing money is a big decision for most business managers. Taking on debt affects both the balance sheet and the income statement. In the worst case, debt can get a business in trouble. BI gives the manager a maximal amount of data to make an informed decision about borrowing.
For example, a BI tool can provide the manager with a 360-degree view of the business. Relevant operational and financial data appear in dynamic graphs. These might include Accounts Receivables (AR) aging, profit trends, sales pipeline, existing debt load, inventories and existing orders in progress. With all of this information available for assessment, the manager can forecast the impact of debt on the business. He or she can decide how much to borrow, and on what terms.
Example: Evaluating Sales Managers
One of the worst areas of business for “going with your gut” is in the evaluation of employees. With sales managers in particular, data is essential for making an informed decision about their performance. A sales management dashboard gives the manager an accurate, contextual information set for the employee evaluation. It might contain data about sales wins and losses, deal size trend and profitability. This way, the manager can see the “quality” of a sales quarter, i.e. if sales growth is matched by profitability.
Integrated Business Group has expertise with multiple BI solutions across any platform. We will provide advice and consulting to get the right fit for your BI needs. Contact us today to learn about all the Business Intelligence options available for your unique needs.