Skip the Pain with Acumatica ERP

Start and End with Acumatica

This article is going to try to sell you something and I do hope that if you are a small to mid-sized company you don’t let that turn you off and read the rest of this article.  I have been selling business software to manufacturers and distributors for 20 years.  If I am selling into the small to mid-sized companies, I often find that the reason they need new software is because they can’t function on their old legacy system. These systems can range from a custom database for operations, and QuickBooks for accounting, or software that even I have never heard of.  The focus of the business has been developing a customer base and ensuring plant equipment and inventory as the top priority.  They are talking to me because they are in pain due to the lack of the tools needed to do business in today’s world.  Why not start with a decent software solution at the before your huge growth cycle?  This really has not been possible until now with the cloud ERP solutions like Acumatica a FULL featured business software that can be used on ANY device.  Please read on… Read more

Benefits of ERP

6 Manufacturing Problems ERP Solves

6 Manufacturing Problems ERP Solves Manufacturers face various challenges every single day. The challenges may vary from one manufacturer to another. However, there are common problems facing all the manufacturers alike. Some of these issues can be addressed using personalized company policies or well-designed SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures)  while others can be addressed by implementing […]

Acumatica Development

Acumatica Cloud xRP Virtual Summit

We are a little late announcing this Virtual Developer Conference but there is still time to join.   Best of all it’s free!   If you have any interest in learning why our development team, customers and consultants love Acumatica then attend and find out why. Day 1: Wed, June 21, 2017 @ 10:00am – […]

ERP Predictions for 2017

6 ERP Software Predictions for 2017

ERP Predictions for 2017

Another Christmas has come and gone, which means it’s time to bring in the new year! The mark of a new year is always an exciting time of hope and anticipation for what the new year will bring. Like every year Nucleus has released what it anticipates for the next year in the technology world. Read this article to learn about some of those predictions.

  1. 1. The End of On-Premise Security Superiority

You read right, Nucleus predicts that cloud security naysayers will disappear in 2017. This may sound a little far-fetched at first, but when you consider the fact that 2016 has been a big year for cloud computing you will understand why. One of those reasons 2016 was the year for cloud computing is that it has been a turnaround year for many consumer’s perceptions of the cloud’s safety and privacy. A prime example of this is how a top tier business software company, Microsoft, came out with a new, completely cloud-based solution, Dynamics 365.  And as such is poised to be one of the first tech companies to reach 1 trillion in market capitalization. Read more

Researching the Cost of Dynamics NAV?

Woman contemplating price of NAV

Dynamics NAV does not come in a box with a bar code, so it’s difficult to get a true definitive price before an actual quote or implementation.  Reason being, no two businesses are the same, the standard factors affecting ERP implementations are usually coupled with many different elements that drive different levels of customization and affect ERP implementation costs. However, there are several buying options that can help any CEO or CFO know NAV’s ballpark price before entering negotiations with any partner.  Even though the research can seem daunting, 110,000 businesses have already implemented this powerful business software.

In the “What’s my price?” e-book, Microsoft presents the factors a business person should take into account to determine the total cost of implementing Dynamics NAV.  Below find many of the factors that affect ERP implementation costs, including a few of those often overlooked: Read more

Cloud ERP Software

6 Reasons Why You Should Choose Cloud ERP Software

When searching for an ERP solution, you will have to consider the deployment model to go for. Both on-premise ERP and cloud solutions have their merits and shortcomings and the option to go for should be based on your organization’s needs.

Businesses that choose cloud solutions do so to achieve various benefits.  According to the 2012 EPR Benchmark Survey report published by The Aberdeen Group, there are six main benefits that organizations cited for choosing cloud solutions. These are:

  1. Lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

The major reason why companies choose cloud ERP is the lower cost of ownership. Cloud solutions are charged on a subscription basis. Organizations only pay for the amount of service they wish to consume.

Cloud ERP Software

The lower TCO of cloud ERP means companies can achieve ROI faster than those using on-premise solutions. According to the Nucleus Research:  Cloud application projects deliver 2.1 times the ROI of on-premise ones – up 24 percent since 2012.

  1. Lower Upfront Implementation Cost

Implementing on-premise ERP is very costly. This is mainly because organizations have to cater for all the costs involved including the software, infrastructure, upgrades, data conversions, implementation and so on.

Cloud ERP vendors eliminate expensive upfront costs for users since they handle the infrastructure, deployment, upgrades, etc. on their own. The vendors can also afford to charge lower subscription fees per user by taking advantage of economies of scale.

  1. Lower Cost of Upgrading

The cost of upgrading ERP can be costly for any organization. With time, ERP vendors release patches to enhance their solutions and customers have no option but to upgrade their systems or risk incompatibilities, security issues, instabilities and other problems.

Cloud ERP software makes upgrading and installing updates easier for customers. Since the solution is available on the cloud, vendors can automatically update or upgrade them without requiring any input from users. Moreover, cloud updates are usually offered for free and do not require complex configurations like is the case with some on-premise systems.

  1. Ease of Implementation

Cloud ERP can be deployed easily and faster than on-premise solutions. Implementing a cloud ERP software causes less disruption to a company’s business processes. Lower deployment times means less requirements for outside help, which means lower implementation cost.

Majority of cloud ERP systems are modeled on software solutions that employees are already familiar with. Thus, it is easy to install and get started with them. Moreover, the solutions feature user-friendly and familiar interfaces, which reduce the learning curve of employees.

  1. Scalability

As your business grows, you cannot outgrow your cloud solution. There are many ways to expand the ERP cloud without having to shop for new software. For example, most vendors offer user packages suitable for the majority of businesses they are targeting.

During the initial stages of your company, you may opt for a lower package with basic functionality important for your operations. As your business grows, you can upgrade your consumption by opting for higher packages with more robust functionality. The same also applies in case your business volume decreases; you can opt for a lower package or plan of the ERP solution.

  1. Data on Demand

One of the advantages of cloud ERP is that users can access data from multiple locations. As business in the 21st century becomes more globalized, organizations are establishing plants in different geographic regions and need executives and employees to be able to access critical data on performance and processes of the business.

Cloud ERP software allows users to access data from anywhere they are provided they have an Internet connection and the credentials of the organization’s users. Moreover, security is at the forefront of cloud solution providers. Majority of vendors offer 128-bit encryption to ensure the integrity of their users’ accounts.

The above are some of the reasons why many small and medium-sized businesses are opting for cloud based ERP software rather than on-premise solutions. Some larger companies are however adopting a hybrid solution of on-premise systems with some cloud functionality. IT management can help to determine which route the organization should take depending on the future of its ERP needs.

Five Steps to Navigating ERP Selection and Implementation

ERP Predictions

Future of ERP: Looking Ahead To 2015

According to Gartner, ERP acquisitions will continue to rise in 2015. In fact, it seems that enterprise software, especially cloud deployment models, will become an engine of growth for the Information Technology sector.

future of erp

The ERP market is more dynamic than ever before, with an increasing number of Tier 2 solution providers competing for supremacy. Additionally, the need for simpler interfaces, complex functionality, and more ERP options for SMBs will further employ a series of new concepts, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, BYOD, BYOC, and BYOA, along with exciting advancements in SaaS, mobility, and Business Intelligence (BI). Needless to say, all these will ineluctably affect the future of ERP.

Top Seven ERP Predictions to Watch for in 2015    

Below are the top seven ERP predictions for 2015, based on what experts are seeing right now.

  1. SaaS versus on-premise solutions: Although ERP trends have swung back and forth between SaaS and on-premise deployment models for years, both will continue to exist and affect the future of ERP to some extent. That’s because many organizations are still adopting both solutions, some preferring on-premise ERP to SaaS and cloud computing options, especially due to security concerns.
  2. ERP module versatility: Businesspeople are aware of the fact that modern ERP software goes far beyond enterprise resource planning. While there has been a dramatic increase in applications designed to extend core ERP functionality, industry watchers are seeing a new trend toward standalone inventory, financial, and customer relationship management modules, which companies can use separately or include in complex ERP solutions. Developers are now expected to extend the functionality of these modules to focus even more on inventory, finance, and customer relationship.
  3. Best-of-breed (BoB) versus Best-of-Suite (BoS): Not too long ago, we witnessed the decline of BoB ERP solutions; but now, they’re returning to the “scene.” As BoB solutions support a higher level of integration with existing infrastructure, they can offer specialized functions in areas where BoS applications, provided as standalone ERP suites, fall short. As a result, organizations will have a lot more options to choose from, which is tremendously useful when a complex set of capabilities is needed. Increased BoB adoption will require better integration between new software solutions and existing functionality, which will turn software architecture into an important prerequisite to ERP success.
  4. Mobile and BI product development: Whether catering to small or large enterprises, developers will add more mobile and BI features to their products. Though mobile and BI functionality won’t necessarily help companies achieve superior results, developers and vendors must keep up with market demands. Because specific ERP features, such as reporting tools and dashboards, work well ported to mobile devices, developers will probably focus on these two areas, which will divert once again the course of ERP.
  5. Social integration: Recent trends, such as IoT, BYOD, and BYOC, have predicted the “big ERP shift” we’re witnessing today. Conceptually, this means that developers are considering the integration of ERP software with social networking for better collaboration and utilization of resources. With more millennials entering the workforce, ERP systems will have to deliver a more user-friendly look and feel, which will irreversibly impact the future of ERP. But it will also solve most of our concerns regarding user adoption of ERP software, eliminating some of the obstacles that hinder progress, such as resistance to change.
  6. Workflow management automation: ERP systems can be configured to automate a series of processes. Since this allows companies to use information more intelligently, with less human input, workflow management automation will become one of the ERP “motivators” in 2015.
  7. ERP implementation failure: ERP products broaden and evolve continuously, which creates new issues with the implementation of ERP projects. Each year brings about new reported failures, especially due to the excessive complexity of new system versions. Unfortunately, implementation failure, considered a “characteristic” of ERP, has turned ERP implementation success into a rare, sequential event.

Given how quickly ERP software is maturing, more context-rich ERP solutions combined with advanced analytics being developed each year, 2015 will probably be a good year for the enterprise sector. This will favorably impact the future of ERP.

Clients First is an expert at implementing  Acumatica, Dynamics 365 and Dynamics AX. Contact our sales team today by calling 800.331.8382 or emailing Clients First implements and supports clients across the U.S.A. and in 11 countries. Our team of professionals are ready to help implement the best finance and operations solutions for manufacturers, distributors, project-based manufacturers, MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul), and professional services.

When is it Time to Replace ERP

Google Glass

Google Glass Ready for ERP

Although Google Glass promises to bring everyday activities closer to us, many users have already lost interest in this device. That’s mainly because Glass is considered inappropriate for use in many situations, especially due to privacy concerns. Is Glass doomed to failure?

Not quite. Maybe Glass will never become a fully-realized product; however, wearable technology like is the future of gadgets. For this reason, specialists are still testing Glass, incorporating it in various industrial applications to find out how users can make the most of it.

Google Glass

Additionally, new applications and features are constantly being developed to turn Glass into a truly versatile device, which can be used to perform a wide range of tasks. Another point worth mentioning is that an increasing number of developers are creating open source software solutions, which will support further development of new applications for wearables like Glass. Google has also launched the Glass at Work program to introduce the new “Glass” technology to potential users.

Google Glass for ERP

Many enterprises have already incorporated Glass into their daily operations. To begin with, ITAMCO – one of the largest precision machining and gear manufacturers in the US – has combined Glass with MTConnect (an application that can be synchronized with Glass to retrieve and share information) to monitor tools accurately. ITAMCO workers can use Google Glass to collect information. As soon as they connect Glass to MTConnect, the application retrieves tool identification numbers and codes, recording data for future reference. MTConnect can also be set up to retrieve different information, including power statuses, alarm messages, execution paths, machine/part locations, etc. Finally, thanks to the Internet and email capabilities of Glass, users can share data with each other within seconds.

Plex is another company that decided to test the capabilities of Google Glass. A few employees programmed the device to connect to Plex ERP software. Then, they used both Glass and the system to record and manage different information, such as production data, machine statuses, transactions, etc. Unsurprisingly, Glass seamlessly connected to all the systems and machines available on both the shop floor and the “top” floor.

Procore, another important software developer, has created a project management platform to help managers become more productive in their jobs. Users can connect Procore platform to Glass to retrieve information and make data available across various devices, including Smartphones, tablets, and computers. This way, authorized users can access Procore to view the status of projects, manage documents, organize tasks, etc.

Many other companies operating across different sectors, ranging from manufacturing, food processing, distribution, and MRO to home services and health care are testing Google Glass as we speak. However, there are a series of shortcomings, such as short battery life, poor scanning capability, and excessive heating during operation, just to name a few, that Google must address and solve as soon as possible to encourage more widespread use of Glass.

Undoubtedly, Google Glass holds great potential for the ERP industry. In a few years, managers will be walking around shop floors wearing Glass to get and share relevant information in a timely manner. This way, complex business areas, ranging from production, inventory, and supply chain to human capital, will be managed easily and quickly, even right on the spot. All these could add exceptional value to the entire ERP sector.

future of mro

Is Wearable Technology the Future of MRO?

Lately, the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) industry has experienced a series of changes that define a higher level of complexity. Consequently, most MRO companies are focusing on integrated service offerings, which go beyond regular maintenance and repair activities. To guarantee the best service quality, the support offered by MRO companies is evolving towards wearable technology, with a significant impact on the future of MRO.

MRO Europe Conference and Exhibition at a Glance

Unsurprisingly, the 17th annual MRO Europe Conference and Exhibition held from October 7 through October 9, 2014, confirmed the need for new technologies in the MRO sector. The event brought together airlines, manufacturers, suppliers, militaries, governments, and many other organizations that serve the global aviation industry. One of the most important and widely discussed topics revolved around the impact of wearable technologies on MRO.

future of MRO

Although Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) invoke intellectual property rights to restrict access to technical documentation a measure that may prevent MROs from serving customers in the future the MROs that operate in this market are struggling to implement new technologies, in an effort to adapt to the needs and demands of their current customers. Since MRO technicians and mechanics will have less time to access aircrafts due to increasingly stringent airport/airline security constraints, wearable technologies have become essential components for the future of MRO.

Practical applications of wearables, such as Pebble Watch and Google Glass, have shown that technicians and mechanics get better results when working around aircrafts. That’s because the new technologies allow them to access far more information than they can get on site, send accurate aircraft status updates, and stay in touch with engineers on the ground until the best solutions to specific problems encountered on aircrafts are found. By deploying new technologies, engineering teams will also be able to see exactly what pilots are seeing (error codes, readings, etc.).

Besides the technological impact wearables are expected to have on this industry sector, the future of MRO is governed by three major trends:

  1. Financial – Many MRO products are currently combining financial with maintenance packages to offer the end consumer the ideal mix of advanced engineering solutions and financial hedging. Power-by-the-hour programs along with lease and asset buyback schemes are components of numerous MRO projects, allowing customers to benefit from the latest technologies at lower costs than previously possible.
  2. Business – Airlines and air charter operators are planning to replace older aircrafts (e.g. Airbus A320, Boeing 737, etc.) with new models. The shift towards new aircrafts along with wearable technologies will reduce the need for heavy equipment repairs in the MRO market, impacting especially the hangar-based MROs. The companies refusing to embrace new technologies that allow them to go to clients’ locations to perform specific maintenance and repair tasks will probably become extinct in the future. Additionally, OEMs are starting to play a major role as technical data centers. However, turning technical-minded manufacturers into customer-focused service providers is no easy job. Therefore, the good news is that OEMs will need to team up with MROs to execute most of their service contracts, at least for the moment.
  3. Economic – The mixed messages about the global economic situation put pressure on all those involved in the aviation industry. Since most MROs are forced to accelerate the retirement plans for the older generation of workers  fact that negatively impacts labor volumes, including maintenance and repair activities airlines and air charter operators are investing more in advanced technologies and training so that their in-house teams will be able to perform maintenance and repair tasks. The new trend towards developing in-house technical teams adopted by an increasing number of airlines represents a major threat to independent MROs.

Although multiple applications have already shown the advantages of using wearables in different industry sectors, including MRO, the key to making the most of cutting-edge technologies is to create a sustained behavior. By integrating the solutions available on today’s market with wearables and helping users understand the benefits of using the latest technologies, MROs will be able to implement effective operational strategies, which will have a positive impact on the future of MRO, eventually saving the entire MRO ecosystem.

Internet of things

Internet of Things and the Future of Supply Chain Management

Most discussions revolving around the Internet of Things (IoT) concentrate on wearables or electronics – the technologies that are driving adoption of personalized “smart” consumer lifestyle. However, there is much to the IoT, and especially with regards to its impact on supply chain operations.

IoT is already present in different sectors. For example, commercial telematics used by trucking companies to improve fleet logistics have been in place for some time. Other commercial type applications such as sensors used within industrial fabric and clothing to monitor manufacturing processes or human health are being developed.

Sensors on cases, pallets and even individual products are also being developed for more efficient matching of demand and supply. Smart phone apps are improving navigation by detecting congestion on roads. Soon, “smart systems” will be able to provide alerts on logistical problems that could impact product deliveries.

Supply Chain Managment

Factories and warehouses can also be fitted with sensors that send alerts on everything, from chemical spills to malfunctioning machines, broken water mains to prowlers. In manufacturing and processing industries, sensors that monitor the health of workers, for example those working in remote or hazardous environments, can be embedded in badges worn by the workers.

Impact of IoT on Supply Chain Processes

Recent reports by Gartner and Cisco indicate that there is an increase in the number of devices that make the Internet of Things. According to the Cisco report, over 50 billion devices will be connected globally by 2020.

This huge number of devices is bound to have a significant impact on supply chain. For example, organizations will have to use “Big Data” to gather and analyze information from the devices and across the entire process.

According to Mark Morely of GSX, a leading provider of monitoring and management solutions, the IoT will have three major impacts on supply chain. The impacts are Predictive Maintenance, Proactive Replenishment and Pervasive Visibility.

  1. Predictive Maintenance

This application is closer to the machine-to-machine communication that the IoT was intended for. Predictive maintenance uses sensors and connected devices to monitor and trigger alerts on issues.

Machines will be able to self-diagnose and take the necessary steps to prevent failures. For example, a refrigerator will be able to schedule a maintenance or order a replacement part to avoid a costly downtime.

Descriptive maintenance can help organizations keep processes running for longer and improve the efficiency of the whole supply chain. If organizations receive service data from factory equipment, they can isolate problems and focus on those issues in their future product releases.

  1. Proactive Replenishment

This refers to the capability to automatically recognize the need to order and restock a product on a machine-to-machine basis. Proactive replenishment reduces human interaction with machines.

For example, a vending machine will be able to know when it is low or out of soda and automatically trigger an alert to reorder. A service person will not need to manually check the vending machine to determine when it is time to restock.

In industries with critical inventories such as pharmacies or hospitals, it will be easier to maintain supplies by replacing human inventory control with real-time use tracking.

  1. Pervasive Visibility

Pervasive Visibility is described as the ability to track and monitor shipments in real time using a combination of communication channels (Internet, GPS, 3G/4G), connected devices and sensors (RFID).

With this capability, organizations can have real time transit status including diagnostics, temperature and location. This is far much information than legacy informatics provide.

Where is the Internet of Things?

Recent advances in cloud computing, 4G communications and sensor technologies have made it possible to achieve the IoT. However, there are still hurdles to be overcome.

For supply chain organization to leverage on the opportunities presented by the IoT, they will need to expand investments into build based platforms that can support data analysis services and scalable devices.