SAP recently hosted Coffee Break with Game-Changers and asked leading experts, academics and business influencers what they see coming in 2017.
Private equity firms are in the business of investing in portfolio companies, each of which need to increase revenue, reduce waste and generate healthy profit margins to create value for shareholders and investors. In order to reach these lofty goals, more firms are turning to modern technology. A fully integrated ERP and CRM solution will provide greater control and insight over finances, operations, and improve the bottom line.
Manage Cost-Cutting Initiatives With ERP
By David Trumbull and Glenn Page, independent business consultants with expertise in Foreign Trade Zones
What is a Foreign Trade Zone?
In 1934, Congress enacted the Foreign Trade Zones Act “to expedite and encourage foreign commerce.” The Act created domestic “foreign-trade zones”, and was designed to stimulate international trade and create jobs in the United States.
When you operate under Foreign Trade Zone procedures, your company is treated (for purposes of customs duties) like it’s located outside the United States. That can mean that U.S. import duties don’t have to be paid on imported components coming to your factory. If your finished product is ultimately shipped to the U.S. market, you may have the option of paying the finished product duty rate rather than the component duty rate. (Many finished products have lower duty rates – or are duty-free – than their components.) And if you re-export the finished product, you don’t ever pay duties on the component materials. There are other potential savings, too, like avoiding duties on imported materials that become scrap, and possible administrative savings and efficiencies.
Simplify Inventory Optimization With the Right ERP Solution
With thousands of inventory items to track, busy manufacturers and distributors can easily lose sight of inventory and cash flow. Growing businesses simply can’t manage sales order processing and fulfillment for high volumes of quick-moving inventory using spreadsheets and manual means. Gain greater control and insight over inventory by deploying an integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution tailored for manufacturing and distribution.
Effective June 15, 2016, the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) has a new amendment which covers basic safeguarding of all “covered” Contractor Information Systems, including accounting software and ERP systems, in regard to Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI). This amendment has been four years in the making and covers the General Services Administration (GSA), Department of Defense (DoD), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Busy manufacturers and distributors rely on the procurement department to ensure that the warehouse is well-stocked at all times. Manufacturing operations can quickly come to a halt when raw materials are lacking and customers will become frustrated when they experience backorders or partial shipments. In this fast-paced marketplace, disconnected business systems and manual processes wreak havoc when making strategic procurement decisions. A modern enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, such as SAP Business One, can strengthen procurement operations and build a better bottom line.
Optimize Procurement Processes with ERP
Manage all of the moving parts of your business within SAP Business One including finances, inventory, suppliers and vendors, manufacturing and distribution operations, as well as other core business processes. An integrated solution makes it easier to enter, access, and analyze business data, which makes it easier to put that data to good use. With the right data at your fingertips, you can optimize procurement operations.
- Automate procurement processes: SAP Business One automates many common procurement tasks, which can save valuable time and improve the consistency of these tasks. You can create purchase orders, for example, that can then be automatically sent to a vendor with a request for quote.
- Purchase planning: Built-in business intelligence features can highlight trending inventory data, such as products that are increasing in popularity or decreasing. Armed with this insight, you can determine which items to purchase or avoid.
- Strengthen supplier relationships: Manage supplier and vendor data within SAP Business One, including details for items purchased, prices, transaction dates and delivery results. Know which vendors can deliver on short notice or offer better pricing so that you can schedule production and ensure on-time deliveries for customers.
- Boost profit margins: By connecting business processes with accounting and gaining visibility throughout warehouses and distribution centers, you can avoid buying stock you already have and monitor safety inventory levels to reduce carrying costs.
- Improve customer satisfaction: Don’t lose customers to backorders. Strengthen procurement insight and inventory management to ensure you have the products they want, when they want them.
Your procurement team doesn’t have time to manage inventory or make strategic purchasing decisions using manual processes. Work efficiently, improve insight, and make the data-driven decisions that improve customer satisfaction and profit margins. Contact N’Ware Technologies for more information about optimizing procurement operations with ERP.
For a long time, it seemed that U.S. Defense budgets were an ocean of money, seemingly endless and ever expanding. Then sequestration and across the board budget cuts happened and we realized that the Defense budget was really just a huge lake, a great lake, but not the ocean. So, one could argue that the plug was already pulled on the ocean, or at least that great lake.
But not really.
Budgets are going back up and with them comes a different style of filling the lake. And with that style comes a new mindset, at least for the Defense Department, of should cost and best value. While not in any way complete, the new mindset is starting to look at supply chain and operational performance as well as the costs paid compared to the performance received.
And then there’s the plug. It’s great performance.
With increased scrutiny, processes and the integration of processes and people to achieve contract requirements not just once, but every time, are more important. If you are a manufacturer, do you know your processes, even if you are a small business? While there is an art to everything, if people in your shop went on vacation, could a new, qualified person pull up a file and read the detail of what needs to be done to create a great product? Are these kept up to date? And if you follow those processes, can you assure On Time Performance as a result.
If you answer no to any of the above questions, then you’re pulling the plug on your ability to continue receiving contracts over time due to poor performance. There are more contracting officers, contract surveillance personnel, and there is the beginning of conversation about using past performance data more effectively. At a minimum, you can expect more surveillance if you are a Prime contractor and more delegations reaching through the Prime to you if you are a subcontractor and your performance does not meet contract requirements.
So what can you do? If you are small, it seems to be a choice between doing the work to make money or writing documents. But even if you are small, there are things you can do that are simple. For example, if you are able to have paper and pen (or access to a computer) at workstations, have people capture the steps they perform as they work setup or the first unit. If you’re small, don’t capture more than one product a week – it will get in the way. Communicate to everyone that this is going to happen over a certain amount of time, and that capturing processes means reducing things like surveillance events or delay notices or CARs (Corrective Action Request) which can take more time.
Don’t want to write? Then use some handy technology. Have people speak into a smart phone and record what they do step-by-step. Then download the files with a transcription service or program. With a little clean up, you have your product process documented.
As long as people follow the steps they capture for you, then no matter how low tech the result, it meets the process documentation test.
Now, do you know what performance areas the government will surveil and ask for data on? To name a few: Material Requirements Planning, Rough Cut Capacity Planning, and Master Production Scheduling.
To get more in depth knowledge on these areas, attend the upcoming seminar sponsored by N’Ware “Becoming THE DoD Manufacturing Contractor: Winning through superior performance. It’s coming up on April 25. Click here for more information.
Cynthia Kalina-Kaminsky is a featured presenter for the upcoming seminar “Becoming the DoD Manufacturing Contractor: Winning through superior performance.” She also trains DoD personnel on how to conduct surveillance events in industry manufacturing environments.
Cosmetics and beauty product manufacturers and distributors handle volumes of products, at such fast paces, that it can be challenging to keep up with customer demand. In addition, there is no shortage of competition with similar products and services and your competitors are finding success on eCommerce platforms every which way you turn. Stand out amid the competition and deliver the high quality products your customers demand by deploying a powerful enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution.
The volumes of products that are manufactured and distributed in the cosmetic and beauty products industry is vast, to say the least. Monitoring the sheer number of SKUs can leave your head spinning; and, maintaining optimal inventory levels while avoiding back orders requires significant resources. Making matters even more difficult is that these products are consumables and often have loyal followers, so if a customer needs a specific product, it better be on the store shelves.
A modern ERP solution offers time-saving automations that improve productivity, optimizes manufacturing and distribution operations, and can strengthen eCommerce efforts. SAP Business One includes tailored warehouse management features, including barcoding and wireless scanners, that can streamline inventory management. You can track raw materials as they enter the warehouse, are used in production, or the finished products that are promised to customers. Thanks to the direct putaway functionality, workers’ life is now easier, with this feature; they will automatically know where they should drop off the received inventory. Furthermore, the speed of the shipping process is dramatically increased, and manual errors are eliminated.
Material requirement planning features improve forecasting and can alert you when items are reaching minimum stock levels. This lead time can reduce the chances of stock-outs and you can save money by making strategic procurement decisions that avoid needless overstocking.
SAP Business One also offers full-batch and lot-tracking features. This improved traceability can expedite the recall process if it’s ever needed. These and other quality control tools can strengthen compliance with cosmetic regulations and industry obligations. In addition, SAP Business One can be seamlessly connected to eCommerce solutions and major web marketplaces, such as Magento®, Amazon® and eBay®, which can boost sales, improve branding, and support further growth.
Cosmetic and beauty product businesses can gain control and visibility throughout business operations by replacing inefficient systems with an ERP. Contact N’Ware Technologies for more information about using SAP Business One to stay ahead of your competitors and drive growth.
Did you install an ERP solution that has barcode scanning features for your warehouse that were supposed to provide your organization with Warehouse Management? Did it promise to make your inventory more accurate and improve the productivity of your warehouse team? Are you suffering from post-implementation “blues” because you didn’t get what you expected from the implementation?
The reality is that most ERP solutions advertise Inventory Control and Warehouse Management as part of their core systems. They usually allow for multiple bins, bar code scanning, pick ticket planning and perhaps bar code scanning for cycle/physical inventory counting. These are the basic pieces of Inventory and Warehouse Management, but if you want to improve and optimize your warehouse performance, you need a true Warehouse Management System (WMS).
What is the difference between what is delivered through standard ERP Inventory and Warehouse Management and an actual Warehouse Management System? A Warehouse Management System delivers more than just multiple bins and automating transactions through bar code scanning. A Warehouse Management System will typically provide:
- Warehouse configuration tools to optimize performance and space utilization
- Embedded and configurable best practices
- Directed Activities to improve productivity
- Streamlined transaction processing
- Transaction, lot/batch and serialized track and trace
- Integration with EDI platforms
- Barcode label printing to assist with compliance for customer requirements
- Repacking and Value Added Services
- Freight Carrier Integration
- Tight integration with your ERP solution
These are the tools to make your warehouse the highly optimized, nimble and cost effective business tool that today’s business environment demands. With an optimized warehouse you can participate in this fast paced, ever changing Omni-Channel world of distribution that helps you reach more customers, increase your business volume and improve your profitability.
To learn more about what a full Warehouse Management Solution can provide, visit us at www.lisaproducts.com.
Vice President Global Channels
The warehouse is a mission-critical part of a successful manufacturer or distributor. A strong supply chain, efficient operations, and smart decisions can streamline order fulfillment, strengthen customer relationships, and expand profit margins. Optimize warehouse operations by replacing lagging, legacy systems with more efficient modern technology.
Strengthening the supply chain, gaining control and insight over inventory are necessary for manufacturers and distributors; however, impossible without optimizing warehouse processes. An integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution is a step in the right direction, yet not enough for today’s fast-paced marketplace. A powerful warehouse management solution (WMS), such as LISA Distribution WMS,can be seamlessly connected to your business systems and provide the control you need to improve warehouse operations.
The LISA Distribution WMS solutionwas designed to meet the unique challenges faced by manufacturers and distributors and extends the power behind SAP’s strongest products, including SAP Business Oneand SAP ByDesign.Armed with this new technology, you can expect the following benefits:
- Inventory insight: Gain real-time inventory insight including the type and quantity of inventory, as well as where it can be founded in the warehouse. High level details for in-bound and in-process items; and, inventory by warehouse, zone, and bin can provide the insight you need to make strategic procurement decisions, cut inventory costs, avoid overstocking, and reduce the chance for stock-outs.
- Warehouse productivity: Streamline cycle counting; inventory transfers; put-away procedures; and, pick, pack, and ship processes. When operating multiple warehouses, a web-based transaction interface makes it easier to manage inventory movement between locations.
- Save time and money: Seamless integration with EDI and shipping solutions can save valuable time in the warehouse and expedite the order to cash cycle which can lead to improved cash flow.
- Customer satisfaction: With quick access to real-time inventory data, your sales and customer services teams can be more responsive to customer inquiries and demands. Knowing what’s promised and available can expedite the quoting process. In addition, delivering the right products to customers, at the right time, improves customer satisfaction and leads to long-term loyalty.
Strengthen warehouse operations by replacing inefficient systems with stronger technology. Contact N’Ware Technologies for more information about LISA Distribution WMS solution and how this technology can optimize your warehouse, boost profits, and impress customers.
“We have had our two highest months in sales on record since going live with SAP Business One.”
– Mathieu Hamel, R&D Director
Claisse is now able to locate information and measure the data to make informed decisions about the future of the company.
“Implementing SAP Business One has had a huge impact on our business in terms of time savings. Previously, we could spend half a day searching for information so that we could do our follow-ups with customers. We have been able to cut down our printing by 80% and in addition we have practically eliminated duplicate work, which allows for huge time savings.”
Kevin Raynor, Purchasing