• Like

Thanks for flagging this SlideShare!

Oops! An error has occurred.

Bellwether Magazine from Blytheco - Time Management Issue - Q4 2013


Bellwether, a Blytheco magazine, offers a wide range of stories, interviews, how-tos and information for business leaders. This quarterly publication keeps you up to date on business trends, work-life …

Bellwether, a Blytheco magazine, offers a wide range of stories, interviews, how-tos and information for business leaders. This quarterly publication keeps you up to date on business trends, work-life issues, and the latest tips for making your business and your life better.

Published in Business , Technology
  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Be the first to comment
    Be the first to like this
No Downloads


Total Views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds



Embeds 0

No embeds

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

    No notes for slide


  • 1. BELLWETHER Volume 4 | Issue 4 | Fourth Quarter 2013
  • 2. #VALUE!... CI R CU LA R REFERENC #REF! # DI V / 0! E W AR NIN • Built in business & financial logic G • No Programming or formulas ensures 100% accuracy every time Budget Maestro® makes spreadsheet SAGE General Ledger • Direct integration with your errors a thing of the past with automated budgeting, forecasting, • Modify your model or assumptions at anytime with just a and reportingfew mouse clicks software. • Easily days, rolling forecasts • Build a budget increate not weeks or months • 100% accurate results-every time • Integrated Balance Sheet, Cash Flow, and Income • Direct integration withthat build themselves Statements your SAGE General Ledger • Gain competitive advantage by easily forecasting Budget Maestro® makes spreadsheet errors a • Modify your model or assumptions easily without thing of the past fees custom coding or consultingwith automated budgeting, • One clickforecasting,and reporting Flow Reporting P&L, Balance Sheet and Cash software. See Budget Maestro In Action NOW! View our 3 minute quick tour: http://go.centage.com/blythecoquicktour View our 30 minute product demo: http://go.centage.com/blythecowebinar Contact us at 508-948-0082 or partners@centage.com 2 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2013 © 2013 Centage Corporation. Centage, thethe Centage logo, Budget Maestro, Link Maestro and Analytics are trademarks or registered trademarks ofof Centage Corporation.rights reserved. 2013 Centage Corporation. Centage, Centage logo, Budget Maestro, Link Maestro and Analytics Maestro Maestro are trademarks or re gistered trademarks Centage Corporation. All All rights reserved.
  • 3. sections “One worthwhile task carried to a successful conclusion is worth half-a-hundred half-finished tasks.” – Malcom Forbes Letter from the Editor Keeping a work diary – 5 Leadership 6 Technology 14 Customer Profile 22 Cover Story 26 Human Resources 28 Corporate Finance 30 Upcoming Events 33 Industry News 34 26 6 can it help? 14 Simplify Infrastructure Management 22 Managing Complexity in our Nation’s Food Suppl Stop Wasting Time on Manual Sales Tax Management 30 What’s Coming in 2014? 38 bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership 3
  • 4. Sales tax changes. Don’t risk it. Automate it. Making sales tax less taxing. www.avalara.com/bellwether 1-877-780-4848
  • 5. LETTERFROMTHEEDITOR BELLWETHER A Blytheco Magazine Volume 4 Fourth Quarter, 2013 www.blytheco.com www.bellwethermagazine.com STAFF EDITOR Apryl Hanson CREATIVE DIRECTOR Greg Went CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Alicia Anderson Liz Anderson Joanne Black Tess Boros Michael Boysen Dan D’Ambrosio Leslie Hull Ginger Kittinger Steve Throneberry Bill Wiersma Trevor Wilson Paul Ziliak ADVERTISING SALES Ginger Kittinger SUBSCRIPTIONS www.bellwethermagazine.com Or contact Dori Fitch (800) 425-9843, Extension 1168 dorif@blytheco.com Bellwether Magazine is published by Blytheco with principal offices at: 23161 Mill Creek Road Suite 200 Laguna Hills, CA 92653 If you wish to be removed from the mailing list or to add names to the mailing list, send your request, including name, business name, and mailing address to the above address or to dorif@blytheco.com This is a copyrighted publication and all articles herein are covered by this copyright. Any use of the content for commercial reasons or other form or reproduction of material herein is strictly prohibited without prior, written approval of Bellwether Magazine. bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership 5
  • 6. LEADERSHIP Keeping a work diary – can it help? by Ginger Kittinger T he answer is yes – if you stick to a regular routine and use it purposefully. A work diary is just a simple recording of activities and experiences in your job. Keep your diary in a Word doc on your computer, send yourself an email or just rely on old school notebook and pen, but either way, keeping a journal of what happens in your job can benefit you in many ways. This can become a very important tool in your professional life. As you come across new situations and projects in your position, make sure you note key issues about them. You should ask/answer document your activities: these questions to • List 3 things you did correctly/did well • List at least 1 thing you could have done better • List how you would do things differently, if you could do it over You will get some great benefits out of this exercise: Save Time – you will more than likely come across this situation in the future and will be able to refer to your past experience. Augment Your Memory – we only have so much “brain space” and it is much faster to be able to review past notes you’ve made versus trying to remember something from several years ago. Growth – by tracking your own performance, you will learn from your successes and mistakes and grow at an exponential rate – learn what you have done right and keep doing it that way. Focus – by clearing your brain at the end of the day, you get that clutter out of the way and can 6 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2013 focus on the task at hand and start fresh the next day. Reduce stress – putting your thoughts and ideas down on paper and getting them organized makes you feel better and in return, can reduce your stress levels. It doesn’t matter how you do your journaling – on a computer, with a voice recorder, in a journal or on loose-leaf paper – just get your thoughts down on paper and use them to your advantage. Over time you will be able to review your accomplishments and see how they have matched up with goals you’ve set for yourself.
  • 7. No chisel required. The wheel delivered unmatched speed, convenience, and mobility. There’s a similar revolution in Sage ERP today. Times four. Mobility e-Commerce Logistics Universal search Take your business anywhere Beautifully branded, userwith A+ customer connection friendly, and sales-focused and boundless sales potential. web stores for Sage 100 ERP. For Sage 100 ERP and X3. Guaranteed savings plus expert transportation management services for Sage 100 & 500 ERP. Sage 100 ERP is easier for everyone with Google™-like search. xkzero.com/mobility xkzero.com/logistics xkzero.com/ERP_search xkzero.com/ecommerce www.xkzero.com | info@xkzero.com | @ERP_apps | 847.416.2009 bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership 7
  • 8. Do You Have Time To Lead? by Bill Weirsma J im Stengel, the former Chief Marketing Officer at Procter & Gamble, has noted, “When you take the great organizations of the world, their leaders spend their time differently.” He’s referring to organizations like IBM, Nike, Apple and, without saying so, Procter & Gamble. How do they invest their time? They focus on things like products, customers, culture. It’s no accident that these organizations ooze leadership---reflected both within their people and by industry reputation. These are leaders that think differently. They believe that they can’t afford not to lead. These leaders realize that there is an upfront investment in time, money and energy; yet their experience tells them that the return over time is a significant multiple over the initial investment. More importantly, they feel it’s the right thing to do. In my consulting practice I advise leaders to challenge their people to be even better professionals than they already are. In other words, I encourage them to take the time to lead--using ‘professionalism’ as a platform to enhance their culture. On the surface it may seem that advice---while being hard to argue with---is just too simple to have much impact. Turns out, this deceptively simple idea, when appropriately implemented, has tremendous impact. Take, for example, Cecelia Lakatos Sullivan, CEO of Pinnacle Telecommunications, Inc who does a terrific job in coaching her staff to be even better professionals. Her organization’s toughest, most vexing, issues invariably are the ones that her staff seeks counsel from her on. 8 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2013
  • 9. LEADERSHIP Of course she’s happy to help. But at the same time Cecelia expects the professionals on her staff to develop their own solutions. She sees these situations not so much as problemsolving sessions but rather an opportunity to teach---largely through asking a lot of questions. Borrowing from an admittedly overused metaphor, Cecelia’s teaching her people how to fish, rather than serving them King Salmon with dill. the leadership pool in her organization. Does this approach require an investment of time up-front? Sure. But as Cecelia notes, “To me, the time required doesn’t turn out to be a barrier. First of all, it’s less time than people make it out to be. Investing ‘thoughtful time’ is the key. Do that and you’ll be amazed how little time it really takes.” Another wise leader who spends their time differently is Jennifer Schoenhofer CEO of Atlanta-based Axis Teknologies. One of her staff recently approached her about a sensitive Jennifer, like Cecelia, coaches her staff to be even better situation involving one of their company’s preferred vendors professionals. In addition, she’s also invested considerable who was significantly behind in paying their bill. time and energy in institutionalizing professional values into During the course of their ongoing dialog, several conversations the fabric of her organization. ensued between Cecelia and the staff member. Here’s a few of For the many questions Cecelia asked: agreements, hiring processes, etc have all been re-designed “As a professional how would you like to see this situation resolved?” instance, performance reviews, job expectation with an eye towards the integration of professional values. In fact, Axis uses management by objectives (MBO) as one “Do you feel you know what it really means to the vendor to have a professional relationship with us?” “Look you’re a professional...what can you learn from other difficult situations like this that have been successfully resolved in a professional manner?” of their main performance tracking systems. Typically when organizations use such a system, the objectives are ‘outcome based’ (e.g. what percentage were expenses reduced?). Not so with Axis. Sixty percent of the objectives aren’t ‘outcome based’, they’re ‘professional values’ based. For instance, their assessment methods (which mimic “Have you counseled with departments X and Y to see what they think of your proposed solution? You know, as a those of a 360 degree feedback instrument) enable Axis’s leadership to determine how well their people ‘measure up’ professional courtesy.” to the professional values they have aspired to center their After some back-and-forth, the individual successfully brought part of everyone’s professional development plan. organization around. The process isn’t punitive, it’s instructive— the issue to resolution. There was probably a short-term fix to the ‘vendor problem’ that could have been rendered faster than the approach Cecelia took. Yet she chose to make an Jennifer believes that results (e.g. outcomes) naturally flow when the environment (think: culture) within their organization investment in one of her staff. is ‘professional’. Notice how differently Jennifer spends her In other words, as a professional herself, Cecelia owned the on people and processes. “The numbers, Jennifer notes, tend tenants of the culture she’s committed to build. She spends to take care of themselves when you’re leading. Plus, it’s so her time differently; and to no one’s surprise, she’s considered much more enjoyable to lead proactively from the front than a terrific leader. manage nervously from the back.” This approach has compelling benefits. Here’s a few: 1) the What Cecelia and Jennifer are doing is precisely what Jim staff’s ownership of issues dramatically increases 2) over time Stengel was advocating; namely spending their time differently. fewer issues are advanced to Cecelia 3) the staff is in constant These are leaders of great organizations that have taken the ‘learning mode’ 4) the staff gains an important degree of time to lead---and have reaped the benefits. Will you? time. Instead of managing next quarter’s numbers, she focuses autonomy. Taken collectively Cecelia, in effect, is expanding About the Author Bill Wiersma is the principal of Wiersma and Associates, LLC, a consulting firm that helps leaders create cultures centered on professional ideals. His expertise has been featured in numerous media outlets -- including the New York Times. Bill, the author of two critically acclaimed books, is a trusted advisor to executive leadership on senior team development and organizational culture. His latest book is “The Power of Professionalism” bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership 9
  • 10. Managing Remote Employees How do you motivate them? by Steve Throneberry The Best Advice for Remote/Virtual Teams - Hire/Promote Right T he right team member is the key! Some folks just are not cut out to work remotely. Others actually thrive in the remote environment. I have had more successes with remote workers than not. I really like the ability to attract and work with some incredibly talented individuals which in turn, raised the entire team’s performance. Replicating that on a local level may take me a month of Sundays to do! Managing a virtual team: the good, the bad and the ugly Managing people is a tough business. Remaining objective, concise, positive and encouraging face to face is difficult enough. Managing a virtual team adds a unique twist that can be the best of times and/or the worst of times. The remote model is widely used today. In fact, I personally know some folks that have only worked remotely! The advantages for the company can be significant. The list includes less space which Tools like GoToMeeting add a quick and easy way to collaborate. Adding video to the mix adds a 3rd dimension that is growing in popularity and additionally, video makes virtual meetings more formal. I actually had a conference call with one of my remote workers while he was mowing his yard! I could not figure out what the background noise was when he took his phone off mute - he fessed up... Some simple rules of engagement: is one of the largest fixed costs companies carry next to full time • Establish Rules of Engagement - build a list of what is required. employees. The other significant advantage is the ability to attract Be clear, upfront and have objective goals. Also include top talent without all of the relocation costs and headaches. Lost professional protocols, conflict resolution and dress code productivity traveling to and from the office (especially in large (really?) - yes! Especially important when you add video! cities) is another. Some of the greatest challenges remote teams face is clear and regular communication channels. Even though the phone is easy to pick up and dial, distance can add ‘distance’ between the team. 12 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2013 • Build a ‘model week’ - this model week includes regularly scheduled meeting times, blocks of work times, communication methods. Role these up into monthly and quarterly schedules as well.
  • 11. LEADERSHIP • Flexibility - establish what is normal flexibility (picking up the kids, etc.). • Availability - how early and how late parameters rule the day here and...the ‘no hiding rule’. • Dedicated work area - the more formal you make this the Technology - Keep it Simple Technology becomes critical to remote teams. Broadband (the biggest pipe available) is a must. This single piece of technology is the make or break and the most reported issues related to remote workers revolve around connectivity. better the remote environment works. It can even help Land Line vs. Cell Phone - Cell phone all the way. If you have with taxes. • Use objective measurement tools to gauge productivity. Utilizing a CRM like SalesLogix, SugarCRM, Salesforce. com or some other reporting platform takes a lot of guesswork out of managing remote teams. • Schedule some type of face-to-face event at least once a year. Everyone likes to connect on a more personal level weak signal in your home, get a signal booster. The cell allows the greatest flexibility for all parties included. If the signal in your home is non fixable, you will have to add a land line. Laptops vs. Desktops - laptops! Easy to ship and maintain if issues occur. All-In-One Printing Device - fax, scan, copy. The fax is optional (so 1990’s). - let them. About the Author Steve Throneberry, Chief Revenue Officer at InterviewStream has managed teams for over 25 years and his experience includes public sector and Fortune 100 to start-ups. Steve holds an MBA from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a BA from the University of Central Florida. InterviewStream, Inc. is the global pioneer in online video interviewing. (www.interviewstream.com) Sage ERP Document Management The Key to Going Paperless Unlock your potential for improved efficiencies and significant cost savings. Sage ERP Document Management is tightly integrated with your Sage ERP solution to increase control, document visibility, productivity and customer service. With the versatility of Sage ERP Document Management, you can make any process or department into a paperless one. Sage ERP Document Management by Altec is the key to automating and accelerating your business processes. Altec │ 800.997.9921 │ 23422 Mill Creek Drive, Suite 225, Laguna Hills, CA 92653 │ www.altec-inc.com bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership 13
  • 12. TECHNOLOGY Simplify Infrastructure Management by Alicia Anderson A transformation is taking place in business technology – have you noticed? Today’s agile business requires responsive, adaptable technology to compete in a fast-paced, ever-changing market, and some companies are realizing that investing heavily in IT infrastructure is limiting, rather than enabling, their growth in this environment. Many business leaders are now considering cloud IT models – where applications are delivered to users over the internet – in order to save capital expenditures and provide greater IT flexibility. Research from enterprise cloud computing company Virtustream indicates that over half of US companies are using some form of cloud computing for IT. The financial benefits can be significant. Nucleus Research found software companies moving from on-premise applications to NetSuite cloud ERP eliminated an average of $23,000 in software license maintenance costs per year. Magellan, the Santa Clara, CA-based makers of GPS systems, reduced IT costs over 20% by moving from their homegrown e-Commerce system to NetSuite But the benefits of cloud go beyond costs. Cloud applications reduce many of the complexities of business technology while providing additional flexibility and simplicity to IT management. How does the cloud simplify infrastructure management? • Cloud reduces or eliminates the need to purchase servers and hardware for your company’s applications. • Cloud streamlines scalability. Cloud applications can be turned on for additional users without time-consuming installation headaches, and companies can roll out new features and functionality at less risk and in less time. 14 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2013 • Cloud shifts IT costs from capital to operating expenditures. With on-premise systems, the capital expenditures on the books often outlasted the technology they paid for. Predictable payment plans for cloud systems help Finance avoid surprises and manage cash flow. • Rather than replacing IT jobs, cloud enables IT staff to play a more strategic role in the business, advising and consulting to other functional teams rather than serving them in a “help desk” role. • In many cases, cloud provides increased security. Many small to medium-sized businesses struggle to implement and maintain best practices for security and redundancy. Cloud providers like NetSuite make it a core part of their business to ensure optimal system uptime and keep data properly safeguarded. • Users always have access to the latest versions. Upgrades happen in the background without IT having to be involved. Compare NetSuite to Sage 100 ERP – visit www.blytheco. com/erp-comparison to download “ERP Comparison Guide for your Business Lifecycle: The Key Factors in Choosing ERP” for a comprehensive look at cloud and onpremise benefits and drawbacks.
  • 13. It’s ALARMING How much time and money are wasted due to old and inefficient processes. Don't hide under the covers and hope the problems go away - wake up and see what your business is missing! www.blytheco.com/quiz bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership 15
  • 14. Standardizing Non-Standard Interfaces by Mike Boysen D esigning a system, whether it’s a hardware system, software system, or organizational system often results in problems where multiple parts of the system interface with each other. In workflow, these are the boundaries between steps and actors; in applications it is that space between disparate databases. Most of the organizations I work with do not have one completely integrated system; nor do they share systems with their partners, suppliers and customers. As a result, there is quite of bit of value to be created bridging these non-standard interfaces. These handoff points, where work is delivered to the next actor in an end-to-end business process, can often cause waste in the form of waiting, rework and other value-destroying factors. It becomes especially difficult to get a vendor to change their process just for you; after all, you’re just one of their customers. However, over the years tools and platforms have emerged that are affordable and highly configurable; allowing organizations that historically couldn’t afford it, to deal with these nonstandard interfaces in a way that has a huge time-saving impact. The External Interface Case I had a customer that was looking for a way to update delivery dates, at the PO line item level, in their Sage 500 ERP system. The problem was that they received a very unfriendly (nonstandard interface) email from their vendor containing this information. It appeared to them to be impossible to automate the process; therefore, the only alternative was to have a real, live person update potentially thousands of line items by sifting through the emails; which came every few days. There was barely enough time in between these batches of emails to process the last batch. Errors were introduced as this information was reprocessed from one system into another system using manual labor. At other times, schedules simply didn’t permit the completion of this activity. This had a ripple effect down the line with regard to inventory management and setting customer expectations. 16 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2013 From the organization’s perspective, the task of solving this problem was daunting. Enter TaskCentre An interface which is seemingly so challenging can essentially be standardized without requiring the other actors in your process (or value-chain) to change their work product! In this case, the vendor sends out an email. The trigger here is action-based, as in it has to happen whenever our upstream supplier decides they want to send the information. We are using some MS Exchange routing logic to forward it to a monitored SMTP server so the supplier does not need to change who they send it to either (and we use that original recipient to send exceptions to). A simple filter that looks for attachments named “EMAIL.CSV” is used to fire the task. Here’s where things get tricky for us. We need to take this email attachment, that is basically a mess, and turn it into a recordset we can work with. The garbage (1) is removed and the good stuff (2) is massaged to remove things we don’t like or need.
  • 15. TECHNOLOGY There are actually 2 tasks being used to make this happen. (1) A child task is being called to match PO lines, perform updates and log mismatches and (2) then this parent continues along to process files, send success messages, gather errors and report them to the original recipient. The key here is that now the recipient only has to deal with a handful of mismatches as opposed to thousands. I can share with you that this is a very happy person! Given the amount of time that was saved, the fact that we didn’t have to negotiate any custom rework from the supplier (not the only customer), and that our end customer now receives the result they wanted (an up to date delivery time), this project was definitely worth it to my customer. Closing Thoughts Especially in the middle market (and below), more often than not, you won’t have the leverage required to get external partners to dedicate resources for your special needs; nor is it always possible to re-jigger your systems to accept a token from one of many partners. But you can certainly integrate with them using a tool like TaskCentre (and others) designed to bridge the interface gaps we all have in our organizations. The standards we have to work with, such as OLEDB/ODBC as protocols, and SQL Server, etc. for databases provide an interface with the tools necessary to bridge that final mile of standardization. The wall between front office and back office is artificial and I find myself working with these kinds of end-to-end business process challenges as much as I do sales and marketing processes. At the end of the day, whether you’re dealing with internal suppliers and customers, or external suppliers and customers, you should be looking for ways to leverage the current technologies to help standardize interfaces between steps and actors, to optimize flow globally and to align human resources to more valueadding activities. More Info at: www.blytheco.com/taskcentre/ bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership 17
  • 16. Fox Distributing Sees Faster, Better Sales with bly:Mobile by Alicia Anderson F ox Distributing has been in business for 26 years in the North Port, Florida area as a wholesale distributor for BG Automotive Products. A small but growing company, Fox has been a Sage 100 ERP user since the late 1990s, leveraging the solution to provide automotive fluids, which they deliver to the dealerships and independent shops that they serve. Fox favors a personal touch when working with existing and potential dealers and shops, with field sales representatives who travel throughout south and central Florida. These Fox representatives go onsite to offer the BG products, equipment, and programs that will work best for their customers. Given their mobile workforce, Fox began considering ways to support these efforts. Streamlining Sales Stacey and Mike Fox, owners of Fox Distributing, recognized an opportunity to help their salesmen be more efficient in the field and create additional opportunity for the company. The field salesmen were hand-writing customer invoices onsite – a time-consuming task, considering the wide range of products, services, and equipment they were offering. The field salesmen would then bring the handwritten invoices back to the office during a weekly office visit, and office staff would manually enter them into the Sage 100 system. Office staff would then have to correct errors and add any missed components. These changes would then need to be communicated to the customer, eroding the customer experience. Additionally, the sales representatives were often too focused on nurturing customer relationships to consult their detailed Customer Profile book onsite. This meant they often were not aware of up-todate pricing incentives and complementary products, which resulted in missed sales opportunities. Stacey identified bly:Mobile, the mobile solution for Sage 100 as a 18 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2013 way to solve these challenges. If the sales reps could enter invoices while in the field directly into the system using bly:Mobile, they could get invoices in the system more quickly with fewer errors, eliminate time-consuming data entry and reduce office trips. Further, if the sales team could more easily access key customer and product information, they could unlock more sales opportunities with their customers and increase the revenue and profitability to the business. Better Customer Relationships This faster and more accurate invoicing created not only a more streamlined process for Fox, but more importantly created a better experience for their customers. The sales rep can now generate an invoice while onsite and provide it to the customer, creating an accurate, real-time experience. They can also leverage tools to make product recommendations, allowing them to deliver more value to their customers while generating more revenue for the company. The sales reps can also provide reliable tracking of product sales to better consult with their customers. They can also analyze options, such as whether the customer should purchase versus rent a piece of equipment.
  • 17. CUSTOMERPROFILE These efficiencies gained by bly:Mobile have given the sales reps additional time for bringing new customers to the business. Many of them now dedicate one day a week to visiting new prospective customers, expanding their book of business and the company’s bottom line. Why bly:Mobile? Stacey, “bly:Mobile has transformed our field sales processes and we look forward to other ways it can enhance our business.” Wonder if bly:Mobile could fit your company’s needs for faster, more profitable sales? Check out the bly:Mobile demo to see for yourself at www.blytheco.com/blymobile Stacey and Mike looked at several different mobile invoicing products before choosing bly:Mobile. They had concerns that they might not be able to track serial numbers, or maintain their product kits – sets of products combined with services and incentives that created more profitable orders – in a new system. They also worried about their sales reps feeling comfortable with a new solution. bly:Mobile solved these concerns. Since bly:Mobile brings all Sage 100 functionality to the mobile device, all of their inventory is available via bly:Mobile just as it would be in the office. “It just made no sense to use anything else besides bly:Mobile,” said Stacey, “since other solutions would just create additional systems to maintain and support. “I would absolutely recommend bly:Mobile” shared Stacey. Fox Distributing has recognized other areas in their business that could benefit from mobile ERP and are currently working with Blytheco experts to explore other ways to streamline processes. Concludes bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership 19
  • 18. Sales success comes from real conversations with real people. In Pick Up the Damn Phone!, Joanne Black—America's leading authority on referral selling explains why we should be tweeting less and talking more to the customers and contacts who really matter. Available at In this groundbreaking book, Wiersma outlines the seven key mind-sets of trusted professionals, offering a blueprint for both individuals and organizations interested in fostering a culture of professionalism. You’ll see how uncompromising professional standards led to unparalleled success for FBI agent George Piro during his game-changing interrogation of Saddam Hussein, for supermodel Kathy Ireland’s design and marketing enterprise, for the worldrenowned Dave Matthews Band, and for many more. Available at We Make EDI Painless To learn more, join us for a webinar on November 13 at 2pm ET. Contact us at 888.205.1531 to register. Click Here to Register 20 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2013
  • 19. Does your business need a partner? One that... Is available when you need them Wants to make your business successful Has years of experience to guide you Has access to 100s of products to meet your needs Will become your trusted advisor If so,then Blytheco is the right choice for you. Download “Why Work With Blytheco” at www.blytheco.com/partners ATLANTA, GA COLUMBUS, OH DENVER, CO GREENVILLE, SC MINNEAPOLIS, MN ORANGE COUNTY, CA TAMPA, FL PROFESSIONAL SERVICES ○ CRM ○ ERP ○ HRMS PRODUCT SELECTION ○ IMPLEMENTATION ○ INTEGRATION PROCESS OPTIMIZATION 800.425.9843 bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership 21 21
  • 20. SALES&MARKETING by Joanne S. Black by Joanne S. Black W hat’s the first thing you do when you get to work every day? If you’re like most of us, you immediately check your email and then log onto Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. What time do you look up from your computer? Some of my clients tell me “lunchtime.” That’s probably an exaggeration, but the truth is that we waste hours every day online, doing activities that don’t contribute to business development or deliver a real return on the time investment. Technology is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it allows us to dictate our own schedules and to work when it is most convenient. But our dependence on technology can also get out of hand, and before we know it, the technology that was supposed to make our lives easier is suddenly running our lives. We can’t sleep without our smart phones within reach. Even on vacation, we bring work with us (or at the very least, clients can reach us). We can’t even get through a conversation with a client or prospect without showing off some sort of tech savvy. And we let ourselves get lost in the social-media time warp. We often forget that technology is only a tool and that our greatest asset is, and always will be, ourselves. Yes, it’s important to have an online presence. Yes, social media can help you learn more about your clients and prospects. It’s also a great idea to explore the plethora of technology tools available to make your sales process more efficient. But don’t fool yourself into thinking these tools give you a predictable, guaranteed edge, because everyone else is using the same tools. What will set you apart from the rest, get you in front of decision-makers, and accelerate your sales process hasn’t changed a bit; it’s still a personal 22 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2013 connection and a referral from someone the client trusts. So how do you manage your time—and all that technology— to get referrals, generate qualified leads, and close more deals more quickly? Closest to Cash Here’s my rule: Do what’s “closest to cash” first—every day. It could be writing a proposal, following up on a referral, returning a phone call, scheduling a meeting with a sales prospect, posting on social media, contributing to groups on LinkedIn, or re-kindling relationships. If an email or other activity doesn’t contribute to building your business or nurturing your relationships, it’s not worth spending valuable sales time on during prime business hours. You can research, read, and listen to podcasts and webcasts if, and when, you have time. Social Media: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Social media can be a real time suck, even though pundits say it’s the best thing since sliced bread for sales. They tell you that business development is leagues easier because information is at your fingertips—who your clients know, where they work, where they used to work, where they went to school, who you know in common, and what’s going on in their industries and companies. Don’t believe the hype. Social media provides information—a richer picture of your prospect or connection. But what good is all the information in the world if you can’t get the meeting? Like data without
  • 21. analysis, information without a personal introduction (a referral) does not shortcut the sales journey. Case in point: Only 4.9 percent of salespeople have created “lots” of business opportunities using LinkedIn, according to “Cracking the LinkedIn Code,” a study by Jill Konrath and Ardath Albee. And 55.5 percent have never had an opportunity they can attribute to social media. Yet, research from Social Centered Selling and A Sales Guy Consulting shows that when reps use the right social-selling approach—meaning they use it to gather information and research mutual connections, not to pitch or meet new clients—they are 25 to 50 percent more likely to get in front of prospects. • Arrive pre-sold—the prospect knows who you are and actually wants to meet you • Gain trust and credibility—the most difficult (and important)criteria in the sales process • Shorten your sales process—and spend more time working with great clients • Ace out the competition—while others are still identifying the decision-makers • Incur no hard costs—except, perhaps, the price of coffee or lunch for two • Convert prospects into clients more than 50 percent of the time—and most people say more than 70 percent of the time Bottom line: If you’re not in play in social media, you’re not in business. Clients expect to be able to find you on these channels, and they expect you to know everything about them and their companies. But after you’ve done your homework, it’s time to log off and rely on your relationship-building skills to get you the referral introduction. It’s still who you know that counts. Sales success is not determined by the number of connections you have online or how tech-savvy you are. It’s determined by the number of well-developed, well-nurtured relationships in your referral network. Your Biggest Competitive Weapon Sales is pretty simple, but it’s not easy. Make it easier by focusing on what really counts—your relationships. The more solid relationships you develop, the more opportunities you’ll have to generate referral business. Why would you waste time doing anything else? In a study by Responsibility Centered Leadership, researchers asked executives when and why they’ll take a meeting with a salesperson. The No. 1 reason was (you guessed it) a referral from a trusted source. Referred clients are pre-sold. Because someone your prospects know and trust has vouched for you, they already think you are credible and trustworthy. Rainmakers who’ve been at it for 30 years and their greenest colleagues agree: Referral selling is the most effective—and most efficient—business-development strategy that exists. Nothing else comes close. Referral selling addresses the two biggest challenges sales organizations face: • Getting every meeting at the level that counts • Converting prospects into customers Referrals Get Results Sales is not about making a list and checking off as many things as possible. Cut through the noise and focus on the tasks that move your business forward. The rest doesn’t matter. None of us has enough hours in a day. You’ll never catch up, so forget about it. Top salespeople focus on business development first. They don’t get sucked into their computers and spend hours on unproductive tasks. Instead, they do what’s “closest to cash” every day. Think about how you spend your time and the type of payoff you want. Get that introduction and clinch your referral sale! Consider your own selling experience. When you’ve received an introduction to exactly the person you want to meet, you: About the Author Joanne Black is America’s leading authority on referral selling—the only business-development strategy proven to convert prospects into clients more than 50 percent of the time. As the founder of No More Cold Calling, Joanne helps salespeople, sales teams, and business owners build their referral networks, attract more business, decrease operating costs, and ace out the competition. A captivating speaker and innovative seminar leader, Joanne is a member of the National Speakers Association. She is also the author of NO MORE COLD CALLING™: The Breakthrough System That Will Leave Your Competition in the Dust and Pick Up the Damn Phone!: How People, Not Technology, Seal the Deal. To learn more, visit www.NoMoreColdCalling.com, email joanne@nomorecoldcalling.com, or call 415-461-8763. bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership 23
  • 22. SALES&MARKETING Five Ways to Know Your Company Has OUTGROWN Contact Management by Alicia Anderson W ith so many great contact management systems out there, it’s easy to find one that meets your growing company’s needs. Systems like ACT!, Goldmine, and Highrise are great entry-level systems that can help you organize your sales contacts and plan your sales strategies; even Outlook, Gmail and spreadsheets can be used to accomplish many of the tasks a young company needs to manage sales. But there comes a time when your team needs a system that can do more than just keep track of contacts. Automating sales processes, managing calendars, forecasting, generating proposals, and even integrating with your ERP system can all be managed in an effective CRM system, setting up your sales force for greater success and scalability and more wins. As a bonus, CRM also gives management keen insights into performance and helpful visibility into what’s working in sales, and what needs a boost. How do you know when you have outgrown your Contact Management system? 1. You need more detailed intelligence about your customers. Contact managers can certainly keep track of contact names, titles, phone numbers – the basics. But if you find that your team is struggling to keep track of customer activity, correspondence, and interactions with other departments, it’s time to consider a more holistic CRM application. CRM can also help gather data to build customer profiles AND competitor profiles, so reps always know what they are up against. 2. You need to get everyone on the same system. Most contact management applications are built for individual or small team use, difficult or impossible to deploy across an extensive network, and don’t support territories. CRM can support a team selling approach and manage business processes across many 24 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2013 functions of the business (i.e., Service, Marketing, Finance), so your team shares information more effectively, and all users are able to benefit from visibility into customer interactions. 3. You need information, not just data. Contact managers are fine for serving up pieces of data about customers, but for analysis and reporting to drive decision-making and improve performance, CRM is key, giving teams the ability to roll up individual or territory numbers, and view pipelines and forecasts in real-time graphical dashboards. Meaningful reports and analysis help managers be more strategic in guiding the team to more wins. 4. You want to integrate with other systems. Some contact managers will integrate with email, but CRM systems are designed with integration in mind, enabling synchronization with financial systems, marketing apps (such as Hubspot or Pardot), data providers (such as Hoover’s and InsideView) and social media. These integrations establish CRM as the single source of customer information in your business. 5. You want flexibility in deployment. If you are looking for Cloud, Hybrid (a mix of cloud and on-premise), or mobile deployment for your sales automation, CRM offers those options – often within one brand of software. Contact managers are less flexible, and few contact managers offer true user-friendly mobile platforms. Anytime-anywhere access and mobile connectivity are a must with today’s workforce and can help keep your team producing even when they are away from the office. Is your team ready for CRM? Go to www.blytheco.com/crm to get a review of your needs and some recommendations from our experts.
  • 23. Counting made easy Inventory … you can hear the groans from here. NOBODY likes to do inventory, but it has to be done. Before, it had to be done with masses of people, cards, or bulky handheld computers. Why not use your cell phone and reduce your physical count time by 75%? Call Scanco and ask for Scanco Counts. The first native app on the market that seamlessly integrates to Sage 100 with barcode scanning capability. We have a solution that is easier than 1-2-3. PICTURE DISPLAY OF INVENTORY ITEMS BARCODE SCANNING FUNCTION QUICK COUNT REVIEW FUNCTION SCAN, KEY, OR LOOK UP ENTRY OPTION SEAMLESSLY INTEGRATES TO SAGE 100 ERP All on a native iOS or Android application Sage 100 ERP • Shipping Q3 2013 Toll Free: 1-877-722-6261 initiative or leadership bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes | www.scanco.com 25
  • 24. COVERSTORY Managing Complexity in our Nation’s Food Suppl by Alicia Anderson I n the US, we love our food. And we are fortunate to have a food supply that is the safest and most abundant in the world. However, we are still surprisingly vulnerable to threats of all kinds to our food supply. At every stage in the food production process, from the farm to the shelf, risks remain that threaten our health and our pocketbooks. It seems like every week we see new recalls or inquiries in we import can put us at risk. Market diversification is another the news about our food supply. In September, 2013 alone, challenge – as smaller producers come on board, they do recalls were issued for Chobani greek yogurt, Purina dog food, not have the infrastructure in place to meet the established and Talenti Gelato – and not all of these were due to bad standards. Ever-changing consumer tastes also play a role ingredients. Undeclared allergens also cause the recall of many – the current demand for prepared foods and the “farm to products that are acceptable to eat for unaffected populations, table” trend toward local sourcing create challenges as well as but whose labels lack information about ingredients that could opportunities for producers. harm allergic individuals. A complex and widespread supply chain creates a large number These recalls are most importantly a cost to our public health – of points where contamination can occur – but contaminants illness and deaths have been the result of a episodes in recent are just one part of the problem. In the case of Talenti’s gelato years. The monetary cost is also not insignificant. Recalls recall, not having allergens (almonds) clearly labeled on the impact the profitability of the affected brand dramatically, but packaging necessitated one large recall – even for products they can also impact entire food markets. The peanut-industry- with nothing inherently wrong with them. wide impact of the 2008-2009 Peanut Corporation of America recall was estimated at over $1 billion. What are the conditions that create vulnerabilities in our food supply? Globalization is opening up new sources of food and new markets for American businesses, but the lack of standards in processing and data management in countries whose food 26 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2013 The sheer volume of production and links in the supply chain presents a huge challenge for food companies. “For us,” said Michael Siegmund, former President of RM Foods, a major food manufacturer in Southern California, “It was the complexity of what we were being asked to manage. It’s not just a handful of items. Our plant had 200 to 300 items, including finished products and sub-products - each finished product
  • 25. had 15 ingredients.” Simply tracking all the data required to in case of a recall, and to gain efficiencies through automating put regulatory controls in place was time-consuming and error- processes that had previously been manual. prone. he says, “Our USDA audit took three weeks. After we set up How are we managing the threats? Federal government regulations, under the authority of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and US Department of Agriculture (USDA) have long established standards by which companies must operate, and created requirements for data needed when an audit is required. Laws like the Bioterrorism Act of 2002 and the Food Safety Modernization ACT of 2011 (FSMA) set requirements for processes, reporting, and recordkeeping. Local governments often provide another layer of protection and regulation. “Before X3,” X3, it took 4 days.” Sage ERP X3 handles lot tracking and tracing, bar code scanning and labeling, quality control, and data management throughout every step of the supply chain, and is compliant with the government standards required by food processors. The system also unites the processing end of the business with accounting and distribution, enhancing visibility into processes, reducing costs, and creating a distinct competitive advantage. Emerging regulations and market-based challenges will continue to change the dynamics of our food ecosystem and the processors who provide us with our food. But forward- Companies also frequently demand special certifications of suppliers as a condition of doing business with them. Siegmund said “Costco’s regional office had their own specific audit, including multiple inspections each time a new product was added.” looking companies who manage the risks and recognize opportunity will continue to be profitable while providing us with this important part of our lives. Blytheco and Sage recently hosted a panel forum for food processors in the Southern California area. Michael Siegmund Siegmund recommends automation and data management to keep up in this fast-paced, highly regulated manufacturing environment. RM Foods successfully implemented Sage ERP X3 to help them track and deliver the information they needed was among the panelists, along with Dr. Roger Clemens, former President of the Institute of Food Technologists. For the presentations from this event and other resources for food processors, please visit www.blytheco.com/trace. bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership 27
  • 26. HUMANRESOURCES How to Address Rampant Employee Disengagement? Recognize Human Equity by Trevor Wilson A n alarming Gallup poll published earlier this year is still sending shockwaves throughout the business community: Most American workers either hate their jobs or don’t care one way or the other about them. Less than a third of Americans are actively engaged in their unrecognized. Recognizing and leveraging your own human work, meaning they’re passionate about it, enthusiastic equity, as well as that of your employees, addresses not and energetic. They’re consistently productive, and high only the incredible waste of human capital illustrated in the performing. recent poll, but also related concerns business leaders share, Gallup estimates the 20 million who are “actively disengaged” – openly negative and unhappy have a staggering effect on the economy, costing the United States $450 to $550 billion each year in lost productivity. “To engage the 70 percent of non-committal or ‘actively disengage’ employees, business managers need to change how they view human capital,” says Trevor Wilson, CEO of TWI Inc., a global corporate speaker, human equity strategist and author of “The Human Equity Advantage,” (humanequityadvantage. com). “Engaging employees is an issue I’ve been working on for more than two decades, and there is a solution. I call it human equity -- the unique assets each individual brings to the workplace that are often 28 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2013 including the constant need for innovation. These challenges are not unique to the United States.” There is a reason why executive royalty, such as Warren Buffet and former General Electric CEO Jack Welsh, sought talent beyond traditional criteria like knowledge and skills, which are also important, says Wilson. He offers a method for uncovering valuable intangibles in employees; he calls it the SHAPE V
  • 27. Talent model: alone. A reliable test isn’t valuable in so much as it reveals • Strengths: Consider strength as defined by the 1999 Gallup StrengthsFinder study, which includes “consistent near-perfect performance in an activity.” The study identifies 34 qualities, which can be innate and, unlike skills, are not learned. Individual employees and managers should not force a square differences among workers, which are most likely already apparent. The value of these tests is in showing how and where differences lie. Understanding differences can lead to an appreciation for how and why coworkers perform and improve the synergy of teams. peg into a round hole; if an employee’s near-perfect, near- • Experience: Who is the person you’re sitting next to at work; effortless strength is in research and analysis, but not so much who is she when she’s not making business-to-business calls, in data management, managers should allocate this resource scheduling meetings or troubleshooting technical problems? accordingly. How does her race, religion, economic background, family • Heart: Have you ever wondered what comes first, whether you’re good at something because you like it, or you like it because you’re good at it? The chicken-or-egg question aside, what matters is the passion one has for a talent. This includes situation and overall lifestyle influence – or not influence – her work life? More importantly, how might her life beyond work offer diversity of thought in the workplace? Life experience should not be overlooked when assessing talent. activities a worker would do even if he or she didn’t have to • Virtue: “Value in action, that’s virtue,” Wilson says. Candor, do it on the job. If a talented manager won the lottery and temperance, courage – these traits preempt problems like decided to quit his job, for example, he might be inclined to public scandals, harassment and discrimination and foster a manage people in a local political campaign or take the helm positive moral pragmatism among coworkers and practical of his son’s little league team. wisdom among leaders. With social media continuing to • Attitude: There are three general attitudes an employee might have, according to a branch of study in positive psychology. First, there are those who approach their work as a job, who seek only a paycheck and benefits. The second group includes those with a career perspective who seek advancement. The third group views their work as a calling and deeply connects with what they do every day. • Personality: In 2009, nearly $500 million was spent on personality testing in North America expose bad behavior and employee morale revealed to be at a stunning low, this is a significant quality in the on-going search for the best talent. About Trevor Wilson Trevor Wilson is the CEO of TWI Inc. and creator of the human equity management model. He is the global diversity, inclusion and human equity strategist who regularly speaks at corporate functions. TWI’s clients include some of the most progressive global employers in the world, including CocaCola, Ernst & Young, BNP Paribas and Home Depot. TWI’s trademarked human equity approach was instrumental in catapulting Coca-Cola’s South Africa division to the top performing division worldwide. bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership 29
  • 28. CORPORATEFINANCE Stop Wasting Time on Manual Sales Tax Management by Liz Anderson U nfortunately, sales and use tax compliance is rarely the first area a business evaluates when looking for ways to reduce risks and costs. Typically, the sales tax process is altered only after a bad experience with an audit. Negative audit findings make it clear how complex accurate sales and use tax calculation, collection, and remittance can be. The hidden costs associated with sales tax compliance can surprise businesses once they start evaluating their processes. Five key areas of compliance that can wreak havoc on your business overhead and bottom line include: 1. Logistics 2. Personnel management 3. Reporting and analysis 4. Audits 5. Credit tracking Let’s dive into each of these areas in more detail… Logistics The logistics of managing sales tax compliance includes processing mail, maintaining copies of invoices, receipts, forms, notices and retention of government updates, bulletins or rate changes. This all takes time away from revenue-generating activities. If the person who is responsible for managing sales tax is on vacation and a notice is received it can delay responses to an inquiry and place your company at risk of being selected for an audit and can expose you to possible penalties and fees for not resolving the notice. Or worse yet, the state can restrict your business activities and even halt business until the notice is resolved. Additionally, a company must factor the hidden costs of storing notices and the ability to easily access them. Many companies rent a storage facility because they do not have adequate space to store all their records at a main location. 30 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2013 Personnel Management Even though one person may be dedicated to tax issues within a company, businesses often employ additional temporary staff to assist with sales and use tax compliance, even if only a few days a month. This situation means non-tax professionals are handling sales and use tax compliance, and perhaps more important: the hours add up and present opportunity costs of their own as staff time is diverted from other income-producing activities. Reporting and Analysis The time it takes to gather sales tax reports in order to file returns is an added hidden cost within a manual system. Activities and items that add to the hidden costs include: copies, files, staff time and other tasks being left undone in order to handle sales tax demands. In addition
  • 29. to this, each filing needs to be consistent with prior filings and with industry standards or you open yourself to greater audit exposure. Consider this. If an auditor came knocking today, could you produce the sales tax data quickly and would you be able to show a clear audit trail? Additionally, how much dedicated staff member time would be required to provide accurate sales tax returns to the auditor? How much time would be taken away from spending time on other revenue-generating activities? Audits Most financial applications or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems do not capture full audit details that are critical when faced with an audit. If an auditor finds something missing in your data, then that is justification to dig deeper and evaluate other information. Manual sales tax management opens the door to inaccuracies in customer tax rules and rates along with incomplete audit records. Showing you are able to produce a consistent process with confidence and regularity helps to create a better relationship with the auditor, even if the process is not correct—consistency goes a long way. Consistency is difficult to manage in a manual sales tax process. of good customer relationship if it happens too often. Additionally, if your company has filed a sales tax return and remitted the sales tax you just credited back to the customer, you will need to recoup that cost by requesting that the state reimburse the overpaid tax. If you want to alleviate the hidden costs of your manual sales tax management process, you can easily automate and outsource this task. Outsourced sales tax management solutions, like Avalara, can provide sales tax calculation and research, exemption certification collection and management, sales tax return services, and reporting. Avalara End-to-End Sales Tax Compliance Saving You Time and Money! Avalara AvaTax is a suite of products that can seamlessly integrate with your ERP and replaces the need for manual look-up tables, the requirement to stay on top of sales tax rules and regulations, substantially cuts down time to file and close the month, and gives you a system for exemption (reseller) certificate management. Automating your sales tax management with Avalara helps you avoid hidden costs of a manual sales tax compliance approach and saves you time and money. Over 10,000 businesses have outsourced and automated their sales tax management with Avalara. With all of the changes going on at a state and federal level, it no longer makes sense to manage this process manually. Download a free white paper to learn more about the hidden costs of manual sales tax compliance: www.avalara.com/blytheco_hiddencosts Credit Tracking Some known costs are credit memos or charge-backs to a customer who has been improperly charged sales tax when they are sales taxexempt. Having to return the sales tax through a credit memo or cutting a check and mailing it to the customer, increases staff time and resource expense. The damage and hidden cost in that transaction is a loss bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership 31
  • 30. CORPORATEFINANCE Breaking Down the Numbers by Dan D’Ambrosio Finding the Right Middle Ground When it comes to budgeting tools, CSG Assistant Controller Frances Farella has used a lot of them, from a low-tech spreadsheet-based system to high-end software like Hyperion. When the company that she worked for was acquired by CSG, she realized neither was ideal. When she moved to the combined organization, Farella used Excel to build the budget. After the first year of using Excel as their primary budgeting tool, she realized it was going to be the last. They couldn’t go through another year of Excel. It was painful. CSG uses many allocations in its budgeting and finance, to reflect the different branches and shared services of the company. Excel just couldn’t handle the allocations upon which their budget is built. Whenever she had to adjust an allocation, it took forever to make a change and flow things through properly. Farella went shopping for a solution in between spreadsheets and big-company applications. She wasn’t looking for another 6-figure package. After doing her due diligence, she decided Budget Maestro was what they needed. Faster, Easier, Better Budgeting & Reporting Budgeting and reporting have become a breeze for Farella, who uses Sage 100 as her General Ledger system. Using the Import feature, Farella easily and quickly imports the numbers into Budget Maestro so she can run an analysis of actuals to plan. Now, when she makes changes to the budget, to the organization or to the allocations, everything flows through thanks to Budget Maestro’s built-in financial logic. CSG’s department managers are responsible for their own operations and budgets. 32 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2013 The Finance team developed custom reports in Budget Maestro for 20 different departments, to help managers track actual vs. budget results. The reports are built on the templates that come with Budget Maestro which allows their Finance staff to drill down into their numbers if needed. It took someone a week to build and prepare those reports in Excel. Now, at the end of the month, the whole process to import actuals and run reports takes two hours at most. They’ve also recently implemented Link Maestro for Sage 100 and it has even further reduced the time for importing of actuals. The improved reporting capability makes the monthly closing of the books easier too. They’re able to generate actual vs. budget results within hours after they close, and drill drown to analyze significant variance fluctuations. During budgeting season, from September to December, their Finance staff uses Budget Maestro almost every day. It’s definitely helped them in facilitating the budgeting process. In short, Budget Maestro has been good for them. Consolidated Services Group, Inc. (“CSG”) has more than 25 years experience in the Medical Claims Management industry, and provides Managed Care, Utilization Review, as well as a proprietary PPO to auto liability, workers’ compensation and group health insurers. View Budget Maestro for Sage in action: http://go.centage.com/blythecoquicktour
  • 31. UPCOMINGEVENTS We’re hitting the road for the SugarCRM World Tour to unveil the new Sugar Version 7 platform and show you the future of CRM. And the good news is, we’ll be making a stop in Denver! Tuesday, October 22, 8am - 10:30am Maggiano’s, 500 16th St. Pavilions Mall, Denver, CO RSVP @ http://bit.ly/15VsXmS iSales 100 for Sage 100 ERP: Extending the Reach of Your Sales and Service Taking Sage 500 to Sage X3: Comparing the Solutions and Finding the Best Fit for You This webinar will feature xkzero’s iSales100 for Sage 100 ERP. iSales 100 is a native iOS mobile solution built for ultimate flexibility and ease of deployment. iSales 100 is 100% managed from within Sage 100 ERP and designed to ensure adaptation and a smooth user experience. It was previously announced that Sage 500 (formerly MAS 500) will soon be “sunset-ed” – in other words, updates and support will no longer be available. The next step for many Sage 500 customers is migrating to Sage ERP X3, the enterprise level ERP solution. Know your options - join us to see a direct comparison between the products, and the pros and cons of moving to X3. Wednesday, October 23, 2013 | 2pm ET / 11am PT http://bit.ly/1fimpSr Analytics for Distributors Thursday, October 24, 2013 | 2pm ET / 11am PT http://bit.ly/160gLMl Analytics provides capabilities that go beyond Crystal, MS Access and Excelbased reporting. If you are a distribution company struggling to get the right information out of your Sage ERP, or if you have a need for more sophisticated capabilities, make sure to attend this session. Control Purchase Requests and Expense Reports from One Place Tuesday, October 29, 2013 | 2pm ET / 11am PT http://bit.ly/1fiTQEg Join Paramount and Blytheco for a demonstration of web-based and mobile spend management solutions for Sage ERP. Learn how Paramount WorkPlace automates Requisitions, Purchasing, Invoice Approvals or Expense Reports with quick entry capabilities, easy to use approvals and direct integration into Accounts Payable. Traceability in Food Processing – Is Your Business At Risk Tuesday, November 12, 2013 | 1pm ET / 10am PT http://bit.ly/1fimpSr Join our panel of experts to hear about the risks, challenges and opportunities for food processing companies when it comes to traceability across the supply chain. Regulatory and market changes are creating new challenges for food processors – our panel of experts will offer their take on the most pressing issues and how to solve them. Tuesday, December 10, 2013 | 1pm ET / 10am PT http://bit.ly/1baXZFy The Top 10 Checklist for Modern ERP: ERP Made Sexy Tuesday, January 14, 2014 | 1pm ET / 10am PT http://bit.ly/19zdTwb Who says ERP can’t be glamorous, even sexy? Sage ERP X3 and Netsuite transform your business process with a streamlined user interface, integrated workflows, and robust features, all backed up by reliable technology with your choice of deployment platform. Particularly suited for manufacturing and service businesses, modern ERP is the secret sauce behind growing, forwardlooking companies. Taking Sage 100 to Sage X3: Comparing the Solutions and Finding the Best Fit for You Tuesday, February 11, 2014 | 1pm ET / 10am PT http://bit.ly/GL3Nfc Many Sage 100 (formerly MAS 90) customers are seeking a solution for the next phase of their business lifecycle. Sage ERP X3 transforms your business process with a streamlined user interface, integrated workflows, and robust features, all backed up by reliable technology with your choice of deployment platform. Netsuite and Sage ERP X3: Solution Shootout Tuesday, March 11, 2014 | 1pm ET / 10am PT http://bit.ly/1bGUB9D When researching the right ERP solution for your business, we know it can be challenging to get information that compares the solutions head to head. Join us to see how NetSuite and Sage ERP X3 match up in a variety of areas including technology, user interface, functionality, and more. bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership 33
  • 32. INDUSTRYNEWS Business Intelligence is all about saving time by Leslie Hull N ot long ago, I was on the phone with a customer, trying to close a substantial deal. He wanted a customized part for his fleet, and he wanted it delivered within a specific time range and within his budget. My ERP system told me I couldn’t do it, but I thought I could. But without data, it was so hard to know for sure. The stakes were high. I could close the deal right there on the phone, and agree to his time frame and budget. I figured that if everything went well, I could shuffle around work in the pipeline, and everyone would be happy. But if I missed something, everyone would be annoyed: this customer, other customers, my coworkers, my suppliers, and my boss. I knew I needed a business intelligence system, and not just any system. For some uses, static reports were fine. But my system had to be flexible, too. I wanted to interrogate the data at all possible angles. It also had to be super easy to use. I have a lot going on all the time. I’m so impatient with new tools that I seem technophobic — and so are many of my coworkers. I’ve tried a few BI tools in the past that looked great in demos, but I gave up quickly because, well, I just don’t have time to learn them. It’s got to be mobile. We don’t have time to run back to the office for new reports. We need easy and fast access to information anytime, anywhere, whether it’s in the office or at a client’s office or at a lunch meeting. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that BI is all about saving time. There are at least three ways: Number One: The system has to yield a net time saving. It has to speed decision making without taking much time to learn. I don’t have time and my managers don’t have time to learn how to use it, and my IT folks don’t have time to help us. I don’t even want to see IT in my office or anyone else’s. I want to do almost all reports on my own, without help. Same for my coworkers, customers, and suppliers. I can’t afford for anyone to get stuck setting up or fixing a report. The system also has to practically fall out of the box with simple, ready-to-go reports and dashboards that we can use as starting points. Later, I want to learn data discovery, since that’s where you find the sharpest competitive edge. I want my managers to learn, too. We’re growing fast, and we need data to navigate through the territory ahead. Number Two: It should also be available anytime and anywhere. Access on my tablet or smartphone saves huge amounts of time. Not only that, it would allow me to share dashboards and insights with a click. Number Three: The IT people have to be comfortable and familiar with it. I know I’ll need their help at times, such as when unusual needs arise. I want IT to know right away what to do, and they shouldn’t have to wrestle with anything. It also has to integrate with my ERP and CRM systems. Build it ourselves? Forget it. No one on my staff has time for the endless work of building a package like this to life. Sure, it sounds easy, but it’s not. And why invest such money and energy into reinventing the wheel if there are good people who’ve spent years doing it and who will let you subscribe to their sleek, fast, and smart solution at a good price? I looked into the well-known solutions supposedly built for the entry level. Crystal Reports, Microsoft Access, Excel all have steep learning curves and big limitations. There are also the newer tools, like QlikView, Spotfire and Tableau. Agencies like Forrester and Gartner have given them high ratings. But even the best ones would take time — connecting to my ERP and CRM, and setting up a system that transforms data into user-friendly formats such as a data warehouse. That’s a big pipeline I would have to build myself. I looked at everything. I decided on one system that offers me Tableau’s data discovery and beauty but also a set of ready-to-go reports, ETL, and a data warehouse. It’s DataSelf BI. It has been around for more than 10 years, it meets all my requirements, and it’s built on a rock-solid BI backend. Most important, it can be deployed in hours to days. Most crucial, I can afford it easily. Deciding on DataSelf was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I only wish I had DataSelf back when I took the client’s order. We did fine, but with DataSelf, I could have decided quickly and with more confidence and moved on to other deals the same day. Leslie Hull is VP of Sales and Marketing at ATRO Engineered Systems, Inc. ATRO is family-owned and operated in Sullivan, Missouri. It is the recognized leader in polyurethane suspension parts for heavy-duty trucks, trailers, buses and military vehicles and equipment. 34 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2013
  • 33. INDUSTRYNEWS Are You Using Your Time in the Warehouse Wisely? by Tess Boros T ime is a valuable commodity in today’s fast-paced, instant gratification culture. As customer demand increases, businesses are scrambling to make products more quickly and ship them out faster than ever before. While the increase in demand is a good problem to have, businesses are struggling to keep up in this fast paced environment. With so many tasks to get done (and so little time in which to do them), manufacturers and distributors are at a loss. How can they use their time wisely to complete the tasks at hand on a day-to-day basis? That is the question of the hour. According to a recent survey, manufacturing and distribution companies waste an average of 3,000 hours per year on inefficient workflow and processes. That converts into an average of 15 minutes per day (per worker) lost due to less than optimal warehouse processes. How can manufacturers recover these lost hours? Here at Scanco, we believe that the answer to this question lies in warehouse automation. An automated warehouse is a timesaving warehouse. By replacing manual processes with automated processes, you can save valuable time and produce products faster, which – in turn – will keep your customers satisfied. Over the years, we’ve dedicated our work to helping manufacturers and distributors save time in the manufacturing (and distribution) process. We’ve observed the biggest challenges in time management and have developed a few key pointers to help companies like you stay ahead of the ticking clock. Time Beating Strategy #1: Automate Data Entry Are you still entering data into your company’s database manually? If so, have you thought about the costs you are incurring by doing so? While you may think entering data into the system manually is saving you money, in all actuality, it is having the opposite effect. In addition to becoming tedious, manual data entry can result in major inaccuracies that can be detrimental to your business. If an inaccurate entry goes by unnoticed, it could affect the following transactions and result in a big data mess. A mess that requires a lot of time and effort to clean up. Simply implementing an automated data entry system (such as a barcoding system) will save you a huge amount of time, which will eventually translate into substantial cash-savings. Don’t waste time attempting to solve the latest data entry inaccuracy. Implement an automated data entry system and focus your efforts on improving other aspects of your warehouse. Time Beating Strategy #2: Reorganize Your Warehouse This may seem like an unnecessary step, but an organized warehouse is a more effective warehouse. If your workers cannot find what they need in a timely manner, then the organization of your warehouse floor needs some work. While a certain setup may have worked a few years ago, it could be a stumbling block to the production process today. Make sure you revisit your warehouse at least once a year to ensure that it is organized effectively. Focus on the main, most-trafficked areas first and include your employees in the process. They are, after all, the ones who will benefit from the reorganization. Ask your workers what they use most often, least often, and not at all, and make sure that they have instant access to the most important items. By organizing your warehouse based on what your employees actually need access to (rather than what makes sense to you), you are setting them up for success, particularly in the area of time management. Time Beating Strategy #3: Take Control of Inventory with Scanco’s Warehouse Physical Count App Over the years, Scanco has seen firsthand how much time is wasted in the inventory counting process. That’s why we’ve created the Scanco Counts app for iOS and Android devices. Scanco Counts is the first inventory counting application of its kind for Sage 100 ERP specifically designed to work with iOS and Android devices. Equipped with barcode scanning and quick count review function, the inventory counting application allows users to scan, key, or look up entries and seamlessly integrates with the company’s Sage 100 ERP system (formerly Sage MAS 90 / MAS 200). Speed up a daunting task you already do on a regular basis with a device you already own! With Scanco Counts, you will realize a greater ROI and automate the most mundane inventory control processes. Learn how you can start saving time in the warehouse today by visiting our blog at www.scanco.com/blog. bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership 35
  • 34. INDUSTRYNEWS Mobilizing ERP for the Ultimate Customer Experience by Paul Ziliak Mobilizing your workforce can be a catalyst for growth in your company, but many companies don’t benefit because the focus of their initiative is wrong. H ow do they get it wrong? They focus on the impact on them rather than on the impact on the customer. They calculate the cost of the devices, the cost of the apps, the time it would take for employees to adapt to new processes – and whether they’ll actually use it. The problem with starting with this approach is that the focus is all on them. Their convenience, their experience, their investment. This approach usually results in one of two outcomes. One – a company makes an honest effort to roll out a mobile strategy, but users fail to adapt – and the project is declared a failure. Or Two – no effort is made because the company believes that if they did make an investment, that outcome Number One would be the likely result. If a mobilized workforce is going to help drive the growth of a business–the focus has to be on the customer. Creating processes built around improving the customers’ experiences–from initial meeting to ongoing customer engagements–should be at the core of every mobile implementation decision. Making this a company-wide initiative with input and buy-in from ownership, management, sales, operations, and accounting–the entire business–will help ingrain mobilization into corporate culture, and that is vital. If your mobilized workforce is going to help drive the growth of your business - focus on the customer. Here are some things to consider while developing your own company-wide, customer-focused mobile strategy: Make it Personal: Basic Contact Data A great thing to start building a strategy around is contact information. To provide your staff with all your customers’ basic contact information (via a mobile ERP app or otherwise) can help improve your customer’s experience because you have enabled easier communication with them for your entire team. 36 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2013 Consider the impact on personal service. If your mobile strategy includes automatic downloading of ERP or CRM contact data, the benefits to you–and your customer (remember the objective)– can be dramatic: • Quick response: Your entire team has all their clients’ contact data in their pockets, accessible in an instant. • On time: Obtain a map to any customer location–no longer getting lost en route. • Issue resolution: When a customer issue arises–after hours, on a weekend, when you are on vacation–you’ll have all their contact information with you. • Save time and money: You wouldn’t have to manage address books manually.
  • 35. Make it Accurate: Ever-Armed with Intelligence Access to open orders, inventory status, and other business intelligence should also be key when building your strategy. Arming staff with accurate information empowers them with the ability to immediately answer customer inquiries at any time, in any place. Consider this scenario: Your customer needs the status of an order, but you are away from the office, and are not in a position to log into your ERP system. What might a typical response to the customer be? Would it sound like any of these? “I’ll check into it and call you back” “I’m sitting at the airport. I will have to call you tomorrow” “Let me see if I can reach so-and-so at the office” “I think we have the red model in stock. But I’m not positive. Would a blue model suffice? I know we have blue…” How much better would the customer experience would be if you could answer those kinds of inquiries immediately. It’s more convenient for you and immediately beneficial for them–which helps pave the path for having very satisfied customers. Make it Count: The Time to Close the Deal is Now Another consideration is to the ability to perform mobile ERP modifications and transactions, which can save your customer time and accelerate the delivery of the product (and payment–everyone wins): Say your customer or prospect has just agreed on your product and price and is ready to move ahead with the sale. Your current process may include telling the customer that you will send them an order / invoice, or that your office will contact them to complete the details, or may include filling out a form while on site that needs to be brought back to the office for entry. Each one of these processes requires your customer to wait. This delay lengthens the time to delivery, which is less customer-focused than a mobile process could provide. The delay also provides a window for the customer to change their mind and cancel the order, and can affect the flow of payment into your business. Some questions you should be asking your team about transacting business on mobile apps: • Where might we find remote selling opportunities? Tradeshows, special events, or anywhere? Do we have outside sales reps who are customer facing? • What does a mobile app need to provide to complete a sale remotely, such as customer and item pricing, availability of inventory, payment processing, the ability to add new customers, etc? • Are ‘advanced’ convenience capabilities like signature capture, bar code scanning, and emailed/printed receipts at the time of sale important? There are other considerations as well, but these types of questions will help you shape your sales related mobile strategy around quick, convenient processes. Make it Empowering: Give Your Customer Access The ultimate customer service, as it relates to sales process, might be self-service. What if a customer could use their smart phone or tablet to instantly access their orders, check inventory status – or even place an order whenever they wanted? A B2B mobile sales app might be the ultimate in providing time savings and convenience for your customer, or it might be a dream for any distributor–but remember, it’s all about the customer. bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership 37
  • 36. INDUSTRYNEWS HUMANRESOURCES What’s Coming in 2014? W e’re not Carnac the Magnificent, but toward the end of the year we love to get our 8-ball and make a few predictions about what’s ahead for technology in the next twelve months. Here’s what we see on the horizon for 2014: Cloud - The Cloud is not new, but it will continue to make a lot of sense for data storage, apps, and the enterprise. Analyst firm IDC predicts that spending on private and public cloud tech will create 14 million jobs worldwide and bring in $1.1 trillion in revenues by 2015. The time and budget savings presented by the cloud is freeing up companies to compete and innovate in this dynamic global economy. Smarter Machines - Voice-activation and self-driving cars are already making news. Robotics and artificial intelligence will continue to help us bridge the gap between human brain and machine and learn more about ourselves in the process. Mobility - In the last two years, the number of people accessing the internet via a mobile device grew by 60.3%, to 818.4 million users. It’s time to put in place that “BYOD” (Bring Your Own Device) policy and process you have been putting off, and start integrating personal devices into your business technology strategy. 38 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2013 by Alicia Anderson Unplugging - (ironically?) is the latest rage, particularly during the vacationcentric summer months. Taking a “Tech Sabbatical” or going cold turkey from your smartphone is a luxury most of us can’t afford, but if you get the chance, a brief break from the digital world can refresh your mind and spirit! Ads are everywhere - Social platforms are under pressure to drive revenues, and they do that by selling ads. So expect to see more varied methods of serving up ads on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest – really everywhere. Privacy is dead - Data mining is being used for every purpose from sales and marketing to crime-fighting. There is no reward without some risk. Assume that anything you post or send anywhere can be seen by anyone.
  • 37. Requisition - Purchasing - Invoice Automation - Inventory - Travel Request - Expense - Time - Project Control Spending from One Place. Requistion Purchasing Invoice Approval Expense Mobile app for expense entry Easily manage capital projects Robust approval routing rules Enforce corporate travel policies Spend management solutions for Sage ERP Automate the entire procure-to-ERP process Requisition - Purchasing - Invoice Automation - Inventory - Travel Request - Expense - Time - Project 800.725.4408 www.paramounttechnologies.com CLICK HERE for the Blytheco Webinar 10/29/2013 2 PM EST
  • 38. PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID Post Falls, ID PERMIT NO. 32 5564 Hilliard Rome Office Park Hilliard, OH 43026 800.425.9843