Volume 5 | Issue 3 | Third Quarter 2014
BELLWETHER
Tailored Technology That
Fits Your Business
Tailor
FIT
Choosing an ERP ...
Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 20142
See in just three minutes how Budget Maestro will make your
budgeting, forecasti...
3bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
sections
Letter from the Editor 5
Leadership 7
Corporate Finan...
1-855-562-6874
www.info.avalara.com/Bellwether
Sales tax
changes.
Don’t risk it.
Automate it.
Visit us at Sage Summit 20...
5bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
LETTERFROMTHEEDITOR
BELLWETHER
A Blytheco Magazine
Volume 5
Th...
Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 20146
Gain control of the huge volume and complexity of paper documents in your
workpl...
7bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
LEADERSHIP
As the chairman of one of the world’s largest busin...
Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 20148
Elle Heinen is a Channel Marketing Manager for Avalara, specializing in ERP part...
9bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
Finding the Right Middle Ground
When it comes to budgeting too...
Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 201410
Take the pain out
of travel & expense—
it’s easy with Concur and Blytheco.
Conc...
11bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
www.concur.com
©2014 Concur, all rights reserved. Concur is a...
Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 201412
Why Every CFO Should Invest in
Essential Technology
“As we plow through this pe...
13bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
For more information: sales@mapadoc.com | www.mapadoc.com
MAP...
Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 201414
by Russell Harley
HUMANRESOURCES
How many meetings have been held where the par...
15bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
This is one reason that the Project Management Institute’s
pr...
Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 201416
by Warren Glick
Teasdale Foods Automates
Accounts Payable
Saving over 500 hours...
17bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
Now,
when the
invoice is scanned,
EZCM’s ReadSoft Capture
opt...
Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 201418
CUSTOMERPROFILE
Built To Last: How a Customized
CRM Helped Home Manufacturer
Ma...
19bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
Ma Williams has been using Sage CRM with custom
workflows for...
Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 201420
CUSTOMERPROFILE
How Industry Leader Southern Towing
Operates a Tight, Lean Ship...
21bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
what time it was ordered and every piece of critical
data nee...
Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 201422
Finally, ONE Source for ALL
of Your Telecom Needs
Forget the time and hassle of...
23bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 201424
COVERSTORY
Music To Their Ears
S
ound Productions provides sales and distributi...
25bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
Visual Integrator has been one piece of their solutions
puzzl...
Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 201426
by Joanna Rotter
INDUSTRYNEWS
Knowledge is power. Learn how access to the
right...
27bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
To learn more about ScanForce, visit:
www.blytheco.com/scanfo...
Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 201428
Warehouse Management
that’s Uniquely You
When you walk through the doors of a w...
29bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
INDUSTRYNEWS
Devin Ambron is the Director of Business Develop...
Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 201430
We Make
EDI Painless
We Make
EDI Painless
888.205.1531 | www.highjump.com/truec...
31bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
Consumers Professional
Practices
Mom & Pop
Stores
Big Box
Sto...
Bellwether Magazine | Second Quarter 201432
by Kelvin Takhar
When considering your Supply Chain automation
needs and evalu...
33bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
Key Solutions work together modularly to
deliver:
Order Integ...
Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 201434
When it comes to bringing new solutions to your clients to help improve their
b...
35bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
Simple. Beautiful. Intuitive.
Inventory management reimagined...
Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 201436
Come take a look for yourself at the BizNet Software, Inc., booth
1123 at Sage ...
37bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
Floyd Stanley, Partner Enablement Manager for BizNet Software...
Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 201438
Service Pro®
is an end to end system for automated repair center and field servi...
39bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 201440
INDUSTRYNEWS
JDB Solutions Group specializes in Manufacturing Shop floor Data
c...
41bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
INDUSTRYNEWS
Joni Girardi is the founder and CEO of DataSelf ...
Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 201442
INDUSTRYNEWS
In the past, the small to mid-sized businesses in the retail
world...
Bellwether Magazine - Tailor Fit Technology For Your Business
Bellwether Magazine - Tailor Fit Technology For Your Business
Bellwether Magazine - Tailor Fit Technology For Your Business
Bellwether Magazine - Tailor Fit Technology For Your Business
Bellwether Magazine - Tailor Fit Technology For Your Business
Bellwether Magazine - Tailor Fit Technology For Your Business
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Bellwether Magazine - Tailor Fit Technology For Your Business

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In this issue of Bellwether we bring you articles centered around how technology can be tailored to fit the way you do business. Typically 'Out-of-the-Box' is not an option when it comes to sophisticated business software and we are confident that yours is no exception. The articles in this issue are full of ideas and examples of how the right technologies along with the right providers can bring harmony to even the toughest business processes. So, grab a cup of your favorite beverage and enjoy a good read or two!

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Bellwether Magazine - Tailor Fit Technology For Your Business

  1. 1. Volume 5 | Issue 3 | Third Quarter 2014 BELLWETHER Tailored Technology That Fits Your Business Tailor FIT Choosing an ERP System How Efficient Communications are Damaging Projects How to Tailor Fit Field Service Data Discovery - The Ultimate Customization In This Issue:
  2. 2. Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 20142 See in just three minutes how Budget Maestro will make your budgeting, forecasting, and planning more efficient and accurate… Budget Maestro® for Sage makes spreadsheet errors a thing of the past with automated budgeting, forecasting, planning, and reporting software. View our quick tour: http://go.centage.com/blythecoquicktour Visit us at SAGE SUMMIT: Booth 218 View our 30 minute product demo: http://go.centage.com/blythecowebinar #REF!#DIV /0! #V A L UE !. ..CIR CULARREFERENCE W ARNING © 2014 Centage Corporation. Centage, the Centage logo, Budget Maestro, Link Maestro and Analytics Maestro are trademarks or registered trademarks of Centage Corporation. All rights reserved. Contact us at 508-948-0082 or partners@centage.com • Direct integration with your Sage General Ledger • Built-in financial intelligence and rules that define spread methods, schedules and business logic on the fly • Driver-based planning • One click P&L, Balance Sheet, and Cash Flow that update automatically based on actuals or assumptions • Create robust dashboards, KPIs, and analytics • 100% accurate results every time
  3. 3. 3bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership sections Letter from the Editor 5 Leadership 7 Corporate Finance 8 Human Resources 14 Customer Profile 16 Cover Story 24 Industry News 26 28 “The only man who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew every time he sees me, while all the rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them.” George Bernard Shaw 42 14 46 8 I Don’t Want Customizations! ANY Tailor FIT Tailored Technology That Fits Your Business
  4. 4. 1-855-562-6874 www.info.avalara.com/Bellwether Sales tax changes. Don’t risk it. Automate it. Visit us at Sage Summit 2014 Booth 721
  5. 5. 5bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership LETTERFROMTHEEDITOR BELLWETHER A Blytheco Magazine Volume 5 Third Quarter, 2014 www.blytheco.com www.bellwethermagazine.com STAFF EDITOR Apryl Hanson CREATIVE DIRECTOR Greg Went CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Devin Ambron Joseph Bisaha Bobby Dohrmann David Freschl Joni Girardi Warren Glick Mark Grimes Russell Harley Alan Hart Elle Heinen Amy Higgins Denise Renee Phinn Joanna Rotter Steve Showalter Kelvin Takhar Paul Ziliak ADVERTISING SALES Ginger Kittinger SUBSCRIPTIONS www.bellwethermagazine.com Or contact Ginger Kittinger - (800) 425-9843, Extension 2501 ginger@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 ginger@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.
  6. 6. Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 20146 Gain control of the huge volume and complexity of paper documents in your workplace by automatically classifying documents and intelligently launching them through their routing and approval processes. Transform paper into manageable, electronic information with centralized visibility… and all without leaving your Sage Screens. • Intelligent Capture - Capture internal and external documents in any form or format • Workflow Automation - Control the processing, approval and routing of documents automatically • Powerful Sage Integration - Automate invoice processing from completed approvals with direct write-through to Sage ERP • Secure Electronic Archive and Access - Securely retrieve, review and revise documents instantly; with complete audit trails ACOM’s AP Automation and Document Management solutions help companies dramatically reduce operating costs, improve information accuracy, and streamline processing of all of their business documents and information. ACOM Avantage for Q3 2014! ACOM will BEAT most competitive software proposals by 15% or more! Our commitment: Making Document Management and AP Automation Affordable for Sage ERP Talk to us today! One End-to-End Platform. Completely Affordable. ACOM Simplifies Document Management and AP Automation - Built for Sage ERP www.acom.com/q3blytheco • csm@acom.com • 800-347-3638 x4129
  7. 7. 7bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership LEADERSHIP As the chairman of one of the world’s largest business support organizations, I’ve encountered countless prospective entrepreneurs trying to put their ideas into action by launching a business. My experiences have given me a unique insight into what makes and breaks a business in today’s market. Here are eight essential tips for shaping a good idea into a great business: 1. “You can’t build a business like a hobby project.” Entrepreneurship should never be a casual endeavor. Building a thriving business in today’s market means devoting yourself fully to the mission you intend to accomplish via the company. Setting your business aside for any length of time can lead it down a slippery slope you may not be able to crawl back up from. Keep yourself organized; set clear goals you can accomplish, and dedicate yourself to making sure your ideas come to fruition. 2. “Wrong sequence ends in business failure.” One of the biggest hurdles to business growth is the lack of a detailed planning system. No matter how big your idea is, expecting overnight success can cloud you to the practical considerations that can quickly grow larger than your ability to deal with them. Move your business forward one step at a time, and more importantly, know where you’re going before you try to get there. 3. “Advertising is naked without PR.” Flashy ads are no substitute for a well-thought out communications strategy. In the age of information, every business needs a sensible way to spread its ideas and brand to clients and consumers ready to buy. An idea is useless without a suitable voice to present it to the world. Build your advertisement strategy around the people best suited to get you to the next step of your objective. 4. “Never say NO to growth.” In today’s market, you can’t afford to miss the opportunities that can get you from one step to the next. While defining a plan for growth and future investment is necessary to guide your business decisions, nothing should ever be set in stone. 5. “The difference between wealth and income is how many people you benefit.” All the growth in the world means little if you do nothing to benefit those who helped you get there. Your team and periphery support network need to be included in the rewards in direct correlation with the effort they put into the business’s success. While numbers need to be your first concern when it comes to sustaining yourself and your ideas in the market, make sure you measure your success by more than just a bottom line. 6. “As you grow IT, IT will grow you.” Don’t get tunnel vision when it comes to everyday business. In today’s business world, every connection you make can be a game-changing opportunity. Never walk away from the chance to shake hands with a potential partner, no matter their value to you and your business at the moment. Grow your network every chance you get. 7. “Nothing will grow you more than growing your dreams.” While it’s important to consider all of your decisions through a filter of practicality, you should never be convinced you can’t achieve what you’ve set out to do. Businesses never fail because a dream is wrong; they fail because they choose the wrong path to achieve it. Remember that the more work you put into getting somewhere only makes the achievement more meaningful in the end. 8. “Competition slows everything down.” If your definition of progress includes hurting other companies along the way, you’re not on the fastest lane to success. Although the market environment may appear inherently competitive at first glance, a collaborative perspective on business can make everyone’s ideas a reality faster than they could through isolation and bitter fights for market share. Look at your competitors as potential partners and find a way forward for everyone involved. Berny Dohrmann is chairman and founder of CEO Space International, (www.ceospaceinternational.com), one of the world’s largest support organizations for business owners. Connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/bernydohrmann. About the Author 8 Must-Know Tips to Grow Your Business by Berny Dohrmann
  8. 8. Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 20148 Elle Heinen is a Channel Marketing Manager for Avalara, specializing in ERP partner enablement. Her strong background in ERP, supply chain management, and Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, combined with her experience in technology legislation, has given her a keen insight into best practices for businesses of all sizes. About the Author Choosing the right Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system that gets the job done for your business is a tall order. Successfully implementing that system so it properly adds value requires a great deal of forethought. You should not only consider what impact the system will have on all your departments, but also how the system will affect specific requirements related to sales tax compliance. by Elle Heinen CORPORATEFINANCE Unfortunately, many businesses don’t consider this when choosing an ERP, which could result in a shiny new ERP system that doesn’t support your business complexities in the way you’d hoped. Here are four sales tax compliance issues to consider when implementing a new ERP system: In what framework(s) do you need to be compliant? If you’re dealing with SOX Compliance or COBIT, you should pay close attention to the audit controls your ERP system provides and make sure you cover all of your bases. The risk for non-compliance can extend beyond an ERP’s core financial functionality; it can also arise in modules like Project Accounting, Distribution, Inventory, and Credit Card Payment, just to name a few. Understand where you have tax compliance requirements What is the nature of your business? If you conduct business in a supply chain upstream from the end consumer or offer services that you think are most likely nontaxable (such as installation and repair), sales tax might not be on your radar. But exemption certificate management and use tax certainly can be problematic if they’re not properly addressed. Will your ERP help you simplify exemption certificate management? What about reporting on use tax transactions? Scale the workload If you’re investigating an ERP system it probably means that you have business complexities and, by proxy, tax complexities. How will your accounting team handle tax rates and rules in your new system? Are you doing manual research and updating rates in your ERP rate tables? Manually managing sales tax can be difficult, expensive and time consuming – and businesses can face stiff penalties if they don’t get it right. Consider automating the process in your ERP to save time and cost. Retrieve and send information quickly How do you currently file and remit returns? How will you manage the process in your new system? While ERP is great for streamlining business complexity, it can actually add extra steps to your filing process, depending on what kinds of modules you use. Talk to your vendor about how the ERP system can help you file, remit, and report on taxable transactions, and ask if there’s functionality available to simplify that process. The bottom line An ERP system can remove complexity from your business if implemented correctly – or can increase compliance risk if your specific sales tax requirements are not properly addressed. Learn more about tax compliance issues to consider when implementing an ERP by reading this handy infographic, “Sales Tax Risks in the Supply Chain.” View the infographic online at bit.ly/ERPTaxRisks It highlights different tax compliance issues you might run into in different modules you’re using with your ERP and how those issues relate to different business activities. Vist www.blytheco.com/avatax to learn more. Four Sales Tax Compliance Considerations
  9. 9. 9bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership 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 our primary budgeting tool, I realized it was going to be the last. I couldn’t go through another year of Excel. It was painful,” Farella said. 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 our budget is built. Whenever I 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. “I wasn’t looking for another 6-figure package. After doing our due diligence, we decided Budget Maestro was what we needed,” she explained. Allocations Made Easy With two legal entities — the parent CSG and CHN — and multiple divisions under the corporate umbrella, Finance uses allocations regularly to spread employee time and direct expenses across more than one company or division. Unlike with Excel, Farella can now manage these allocations and related changes easily. For example, one person’s salary could be allocated to five different departments. With Budget Maestro, Farella simply allocates a specific percentage to each one. “If I want to change the percentages being charged to each department, or change the departments in the allocation, I can do it very easily in Budget Maestro and the system automatically recalculates everything. It’s a simple process. Faster, Easier, Better Budgeting & Reporting Budgeting and reporting have become a breeze for Farella, who uses Sage 100 ERP 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. 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, and allows our 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,” said Farella. “Since we’ve recently implemented Link Maestro for Sage 100 ERP, it has even further reduced the time for importing of actuals.” The improved reporting capability makes the monthly closing of the books easier too. “We’re able to generate our actual vs. budget results within hours after we close, and drill drown to analyze significant variance fluctuations.” “During budgeting season, from September to December, our Finance staff uses Budget Maestro almost every day. It’s definitely helped us in facilitating the budgeting process. In short Budget Maestro for Sage has been good for us. “ See in three minutes how quickly Sage users can make their budgeting, forecasting, and planning process more efficient and accurate. Visit www.blytheco.com/maestro. 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. by Alan Hart Built-in Logic Makes Sense of Budget Allocations for SAGE Users Alan Hart is a Principal Consultant at Pacific Shine Group in Portland, OR, with responsibility for business development and hands-on client project implementations around financial planning and analysis. He works with Centage Corp. to evangelize driver-based budgeting and forecasting solutions. Read more at BudgetingExpert.com or contact him at alan.hart@pacificshinegroup.com. About the Author Sense CORPORATEFINANCE
  10. 10. Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 201410 Take the pain out of travel & expense— it’s easy with Concur and Blytheco. Concur helps organizations simplify travel & expense management with a customizable, intuitive, end-to-end tool that streamlines the entire process. And now, Blytheco has teamed up with Concur to offer our clients a discount on this powerful solution. Don’t miss out — contact your Blytheco representative to learn more, or stop by Concur’s booth 831 at Sage Summit.
  11. 11. 11bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership www.concur.com ©2014 Concur, all rights reserved. Concur is a registered trademark of Concur Technologies, Inc.
  12. 12. Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 201412 Why Every CFO Should Invest in Essential Technology “As we plow through this period of digital disruption, where established rules for competing may no longer apply, some CIOs now question what they want for themselves,” said Kim Nash, in a recent CIO.com article highlighting the State of the CIO report. “The profession is changing fast in an atmosphere where colleagues sometimes look upon a traditional IT group as a hindrance to corporate success.” Luckily the guidelines for making essential technology investments are a bit more cut and dried. According to Nash, “one thing thriving CIOs have in common is that they continually strive to make the IT group indispensable in diverse areas of the business.” “Don’t wait to be asked into the fray,” says Cora Carmody, CIO of Jacobs Engineering Group, a $10.9 billion technical services provider. “Prove IT’s worth by stepping into critical situations.” And that means proactively addressing essential technology investments instead of waiting to be asked to fix it. According to the 2013 Gartner Financial Executives International CFO Technology Study, a study aimed at discovering how the CFO’s interest in the “Nexus of Forces” has an impact on CFO investment priorities, mobile technologies (including on-demand applications and SaaS) ranked third, behind only business intelligence/performance management and enterprise business applications. And of the business applications that support the finance organization seen as primary candidates for mobile devices, travel and expense management was the clear leader. Choosing the right technology When choosing business applications to invest in, the safest bet is to go the best-in-class, tried-and-true route. These applications often have: • A proven track record. • The ability to integrate and “play nice” with existing technology. • A recognition among stakeholders that facilitates buy-in and the resources and experience available to facilitate implementation and ROI. A few things to consider Expenses after the purchase aren’t necessarily overlooked in many cases, but they certainly aren’t given the amount of due diligence needed to perform a proper analysis. Will you need technical support that will ultimately increase your total cost of ownership? Think about where you can scale down needed tech investments. For example, you may need new computers; however, the work 99% of your employees perform does not require a graphics card. Strongly consider the cost of not having the technology. Investing in technology that eases the burden on the sales department and facilitates revenue generation – like software that allows you to do away with time-consuming expense report forms – can be one of the easier ways to achieve ROI. See how expense management software can help your business BEFORE you invest in it. Learn about Concur today at http://www.blytheco.com/concur. Amy Higgins is the Content and Social Media Manager for Concur SMB where she enjoys engaging with small and mid-market businesses on social media and writing great tips about productivity, innovations and ways to simplify your life. Connect with Amy at http://about.me/amywhiggins. About the Author CORPORATEFINANCE by Amy Higgins When making technology decisions, today’s CFOs (or CIOs, or whoever oversees technology investments) navigate a tricky path. Their mission – to choose technology that will pay for itself, yield ROI for the business, and appease all company stakeholders – may in fact seem impossible. What’s more, there isn’t exactly a true roadmap for tech decision makers to achieve this.
  13. 13. 13bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership For more information: sales@mapadoc.com | www.mapadoc.com MAPADOC EDI is a fully integrated, easy-to-use electronic data interchange (EDI) solution that integrates seamlessly with Sage 100 ERP, Sage 500 ERP and Sage ERP X3. MAPADOC IS A COMPLETE AND TRULY INTEGRATED SOLUTION When trading partners institute new rules, you will be ready. MAPADOC provides a user-friendly way to map to and from Sage ERP fields, preset variables and user-defined fields (UDFs). With MAPADOC, you will be able to: Receive inbound documents Process orders Send out the necessary outbound documents Sage Summit 2014 | July 28-31 | Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas MAPADOC EDI is a powerful and flexible EDI solution that enables you to: Integrate seamlessly with Sage 100 ERP, Sage 500 ERP and Sage ERP X3 Access integrated documents which include: 850 Purchase Order, 810 Invoice, 856 Advance Ship Notice, and many, many more Create UCC-128 labels Use Visual Process Flows to receive in- bound documents, process orders and send out the necessary outbound documents Dramatically cut data-entry time and costs by eliminating duplicate entry Improve communication with vendors and customers Save time and money • • • • • • • • • • Don’t forget to attend our seminars at Sage Summit on Wednesday, July 30th! 12:00pm BUS-504: “Time Tracking in the Modern Age” 4:00pm IND-505: “The Retail Industry’s Reset Moment: How the Power of the Customer is Impacting your Business” VISIT US AT BOOTH 922
  14. 14. Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 201414 by Russell Harley HUMANRESOURCES How many meetings have been held where the participants arrive late, have another meeting so they need to leave early and, or just want a 15-minute review of what is going on? While this can certainly meet the definition of “efficient,” it completely ignores the underlying need for the time to communicate the real issues/challenges for a project. If the project is of great importance for a business, then the leadership/sponsors involved should be willing to actually make time for an in-depth review on a regular basis. Don’t believe this? In the International Journal of Computer Applications (0975 - 8887) Volume 86 - No 6, January 2014 a research paper titled Project Failure Case Studies and Suggestion was published by Nilofur Abbasi, et el. (http://research.ijcaonline.org/volume86/number6/ pxc3892696.pdf) In section 2.1 the authors state that, “Senior management must prioritize requirements and make decisions. If any person is not actively involved in a project, that project is doomed for failure.” They go further in the same section saying that unclear project objectives, scope creep, gaps in communications, and lack of visibility of all projects are additional causes of project failure. The sad thing is none of this should be news to anyone. All of these causes can be traced, directly or indirectly, to people trying to communicate too rapidly and concisely. The fact that these reasons are still being highlighted in 2014 indicates that people are not willing to address them in order for projects to succeed. Basically, we know what we need to do, but choose not to. Imagine this scenario: your family is having a crisis of some kind. Maybe you and your spouse are not communicating as much, or are misunderstanding each other more and it is causing major issues. If you want things to get back on track, do you want to spend just 15 minutes of your day or week trying to fix things? No. If you are serious, you will take the time, like hours, maybe even a weekend, to discuss what is wrong, best ways to fix it, and how to move forward better. Doesn’t that sound very similar to what companies need to do to fix critical projects that are in trouble? Yet project/program managers feel lucky if they get a full 30 minutes with leadership/sponsors on a regular basis. Much less the hours with the full team that is really needed. To cover all the decisions, risks and issues in depth is typically out of the question. This is because these items are needed to be reviewed as efficiently as possible so everything can at least be addressed. Otherwise, you get comments like, “Why was this not brought up in out last meeting?” While not helpful to long-term employment, maybe a response of “You were too busy to listen,” would underscore the real issue. There also seems to be some misunderstanding between “efficient” and “effective.” They do not mean the same thing at all. You can have very effective communications that are also efficient, but being efficient does not necessarily mean communication will be effective. Very often it has the complete opposite effect. There have been meetings where everyone has agreed on a plan of action, even documented, and then a week-or two-later things are off track again because Party A misunderstood a decision or plan. This may sound difficult to believe, but it can be true. In the definition of “efficient,” we find the following: “achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense.” While this is great for busy executives and companies, it is terrible for projects, especially when it comes to communicating about the project with others.
  15. 15. 15bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership This is one reason that the Project Management Institute’s project process requires so much documentation (which no one reads once approved, but that is a different communication issue). The talks involved in determining what goes into the charter, scope, etc. has to have lots of discussions. So having to cover similar topics over and over again about the project at least can get things better understood by repetition, if nothing else. Even if the repetition is only in 30-minute segments a week. Then we have the challenge of adding additional communication steps into the mix. While you might be able to have efficient communications with Party A, this does not mean A will have good communications with Party B. This is common when Sponsors say, “I am too busy to handle this project so Joe/Sally/anyone else but me will handle everything from now on.” While, hopefully, whomever they delegate to may have more time to communicate, this does not mean that they can have any more time with the sponsor than was already available to the project/program manager already. Yet we now have an additional person(s) to communicate with. The other challenge with delegation is that the delegate may not have the full authority to make decisions for the project. While this official transfer of authority does not happen very often, when it does AND the delegate does have the time to spend with the team to have in-depth conversations, it can have an amazing impact on a project. Unfortunately, most of the time, the delegate is just there to take notes and have to check with the sponsor for any decisions. This just adds to the communication difficulties and the time involved versus being helpful, at least to the project, anyway. So how did we get here and what can we do about it? Shortened communications started with trying to communicate over long distances using flags, smoke signals, etc. Today we h a v e Instant Messaging, Twitter, etc. If people could figure out how to communicate well with just using a single letter, we would be doing it. It has become a source of pride to see how much can be said with just 140 characters. This seems to have been extended into the work place as well. Even to emails with answers like, “Yes” to questions like, “Do you think we need to extend the due date or add more people to the task?” While one could make the assumption that the ‘Yes’ applies to the first part, ‘extend the due date,’ that assumption could lead to even more issues if that assumption turns out to be wrong. So to be sure, and project managers really like to be sure about dates and resources, additional back-and-forth emails are now needed to gain clarity. Not efficient by any means. Is communicating quickly and with minimal content efficient? Yes. But it is not a way to communicate well by any means, not without a lot of effort. How many 140 characters are needed to cover a complex task or decision to the point where everyone has a clear understanding? And that is the bottom line. To communicate well, time needs to be spent so that the content is clear and understood by all. Without that, 10 years from now we will still be reading about why projects fail and have the exact same list of reasons as to why. About the Author Russell Harley is a veteran project manager and PMO director, passionate about helping organizations embrace world-class project management practices. Connect with him through is blog at thepmoview.com.
  16. 16. Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 201416 by Warren Glick Teasdale Foods Automates Accounts Payable Saving over 500 hours and $25,000 CUSTOMERPROFILE The accounting department receives 25 invoices and 30-35 orders per day. Teasdale needed to automate the processing of 15,000 documents per year. Of the 6,500 invoices, approximately 260 (one per day) would be filed incorrectly, requiring the accounting staff to contact the vendor to acquire a replacement invoice—a process that could take anywhere from 30 minutes to two weeks. Teasdale utilizes Sage 100 ERP for their accounting and enterprise resource planning system. When their trusted Sage 100 ERP consultant was asked for the best way to automate accounts payable and to go paperless, EZCM fromACOMcamehighlyrecommended.Althoughanother document management solution was considered, EZCM was chosen for its flexibility in automating functionality. Now, when Teasdale generates a PO, an open payables file is created and placed in a drawer next to the desk of the AP clerk. When the invoice arrives, the clerk grabs the packet, types the invoice number, scans the invoice and PO at the same time with EZCM and an $800 desktop scanner, and then she shreds the paperwork. No more filing, mis-filing or migration of archived files to short or long-term storage. Auditors can pull up these images themselves as part of Teasdale’s year-end audit, making the audit easier and faster. “A lot of our users have very limited computer skills, and EZCM is really user-friendly and a simple system. They don’t have to go into different windows to file an item and it’s easy to create a new workflow process. The system is so user-friendly that it didn’t require any training by ACOM,” stated Alfred Tinoco, Director of IT. “ACOM implemented EZCM for Sage 100 ERP remotely in just four hours. Teasdale was interested in taking the guesswork out of workflow automation to ensure higher productivity and they chose EZCM for three reasons: 1. One-click, batch scanning invoice capture for Sage 100 ERP 2. Complete invoice processing automation, from validation to authorization 3. Ease of use and implementation Headquartered in Atwater, California, Teasdale’s roots can be traced back to the 1930’s. Inspired by the rich agricultural CentralValleyofCalifornia,thecompanyisthelargestproducer and marketer of canned hominy and beans in the Western U.S., as well as a major producer of conventional and organic canned dry beans in the Midwest. Today, Teasdale employs a staff of 150 and generates about $50 million in annual revenues.
  17. 17. 17bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership Now, when the invoice is scanned, EZCM’s ReadSoft Capture optical character recognition (OCR) engine automatically: • Extracts the invoice number and dollar amount, matching it with data in Sage 100 ERP via database lookup. • Captures the PDF image of the PO and invoice. • Merges any related documentation with the accounting record. • Automatically routes the invoice for approval to the CFO by e-mail notification. • Approves and flags invoices for payment, or reverts back to the AP clerk with instructions for follow up. According to Alfred Tinoco, Teasdale Director of IT, “The other vendor we considered didn’t offer workflow or batch scanning for Sage 100 ERP, and their technology wasn’t as convincing.” Moving Forward with Enterprise Content Management Teasdale’s automation of invoice processing with EZCM was so successful that within months, the accounts receivable process was also automated. Tinoco is now setting his sights on human resources: “My goal is to have HR scanning all employee documents and routing them automatically to an online folder for each employee, and I believe EZCM is the right solution for that,” said Tinoco To learn more about ACOM, go to www.blytheco.com/acom. About the Author Warren Glick is the Corporate Marketing Director for ACOM Solutions, which provides comprehensive solutions for managing the business document life cycle and integrates effortlessly into ERP, CRM and other management systems. Contact Warren by email at wglick@acom.com.
  18. 18. Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 201418 CUSTOMERPROFILE Built To Last: How a Customized CRM Helped Home Manufacturer Ma Williams Weather the Recession Blytheco client Ma Williams sells manufactured, factory built and modular homes. Their customers purchase these homes to be placed on their private property on permanent foundations. The process for Ma Williams to help their clients is quite involved and includes securing financing, escrow, titles and permits, working with contractors and more. Essentially, they handle the whole process for their customers from soup to nuts. Owner Kelly Williams shared, “In the process of selling a manufactured home, there are lots of loose ends. So for example, we have to get permits from the building department. We have to go through escrow. We have to have titles cleared. Lenders need to give us approval on the construction loan, and the list goes on. As a result, there’s lots of room for errors and loose ends.” Since Ma Williams assumes the responsibility for the entire process, they began to realize that they needed help coordinating and monitoring data to make sure that things didn’t get lost. “Because in fact,” Kelly continues, “during our busy times, we were losing a whole lot of business due to many details falling through the cracks. Since purchasing a factory built home is such an involved process, our customers sometimes felt like they were on their own or like someone wasn’t paying attention… so they’d bail out, mid-sale.” Enter a software solution. Ma Williams started out using ACT to capture their customer’s information. But they quickly found it to be very stagnant and one dimensional for their needs. They realized what they truly needed was assistance with their workflow. One of their clients, who had purchased a home from them, happened to be a software developer. So Ma Williams contracted him to create custom software for them. Unfortunately, he passed away in a car accident so all the work put in with him was lost and the project unraveled because no one could pick up from where he left off. With the search for another software solution back on, a different client of theirs pointed them in the direction of Phil Sim, Blytheco’s VP of Professional Services. Says Kelly: “We fell in love with Phil and decided to go with him for the process.” by Denise Renee Phinn
  19. 19. 19bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership Ma Williams has been using Sage CRM with custom workflows for the last 9 years. Kelly shares, “According to Phil, there is probably no work flow that has as many steps or is as complicated with as many fields as ours. We also use it to manage our sales order packets which are all the documents created for the purchase of the home.” In the beginning, using the software was not without its challenges to their business. One of the big problems Ma Williams had before they implemented their customized CRM is that their customers would request lots of changes on the homes throughout the process. Kelly explains: “All of those changes actually lost us money because the sales person on our end would make the changes but didn’t actually modify the amount needed for the contract or adjust for the extras in our system. So we would sit down to close the deal, only to find out that there’s, for example, $13,000 missing because it was not properly accounted for and so never collected. But at that point, it’s a done deal; we can’t get the loan modified and we can’t ask the customer to come out of pocket for it so we would end up eating the costs and eroding our profits.” With mistakes like the above and many other items and customers that would slip through the cracks, the errors were literally costing them serious money; Kelly factored that they were losing about 1/3 of their business (which was grossing around $8M - $10M a year at that time). These days, though, costly mistakes like that are a thing of the past. “It started out being a learning curve, obviously, for all of our sales people and team members to get used to the customizations,” Kelly states. “But just as we were getting pretty good and comfortable with using it, the economy tanked in 2008. So if you looked at financials for us, from when we started to where we are now, it might seem as though investing in our CRM system actually hurt us. But it didn’t. It was the economy; people just stopped buying homes like they used to for a couple years there!” “But I must say if we didn’t have it in place when the economy went south, I don’t think we would still be here,” Kelly continues. “We actually tell people that we think this system was one of the reasons we were able to make it through. It helped our people to be able to work from home; it helped us be able to monitor what we were doing, keep close tabs on our customer’s progress through the home sale and build cycle, plus work effectively with the leads that we had.” “Our sales team has been with us for a long time, but they always say, gosh, we couldn’t go work anywhere else because we wouldn’t have a system to work with and it would be almost impossible to do what we do with any other company without that technology support.” Says Phil Sim: “Kelly and Ma Williams is an ideal client who had both a vision of improving the efficiency of their organization while focusing on the customer experience. Being able to leverage the process and workflow components of Sage CRM differentiated their organization by providing tools to the sales staff while providing an infrastructure that enabled an amazing experience between Ma Williams and their customers. It’s been a pleasure to be a part of their vision and I look forward to being a Ma Williams partner for many years to come!” So what do they love best about their customized Sage CRM? The ability to be responsive whenever they think of a better way to improve their processes. “Each user is able to create their own functionality within the system that helps them work better; we can actually change it and modify it to better suit everyone’s needs,” Kelly shares. When asked what has been the most surprising or profitable result they’ve experienced since customizing, Kelly says: “I think the best thing has been how it has helped us through a difficult economy and now that the housing market has been in an upswing, we were already positioned to effectively capitalize on new opportunities.” To learn more about Ma Williams, visit : www.mawilliamshomes.com. “Because in fact,” Kelly continues, “during our busy times, we were losing a whole lot of business due to many details falling through the cracks.”
  20. 20. Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 201420 CUSTOMERPROFILE How Industry Leader Southern Towing Operates a Tight, Lean Ship With a Customized ERP At The Helm Headquartered in Memphis, TN, Southern Towing is one of the largest transporters of fertilizer and other products via the inland waterways. Southern Towing typically moves materials not normally allowed to be transported by land/ truck such as hazardous materials, ammonia, farming grains and rocks. With a fleet of 23 boats and 71 barges that travel up and down the Mississippi River System and the Gulf Intercoastal Waterway, Southern Towing’s services winds up being a cheaper transportation alternative to trucking for their clients. At the heart of their business operations is a customized Sage 100 ERP system which they’ve been using for about four years. Says Controller Greta Young, “When I arrived at Southern Towing, they had a DOS system in use for record keeping and accounting. We started using Sage 100 ERP based on my recommendation because I had used it at my previous company.” To bend their Sage 100 ERP system to fit their needs, they have a number of add-on products. For example, the EZ Content Manager from ACOM Solutions. This helps them organize purchases, takes them through the different departments that need to have eyes on it and finally, allows them to provide a digitally signed document to the vendor. Additionally they have several Scanco Warehouse products and modules, including inventory scanning. As Greta tells it, “Another thing we work with, which I love, is custom reports. Because there’s no doubt, Sage 100 ERP is not a towing accounting package. But through working with Blytheco’s wonderful team of Consultants, particularly John Stoffa, it has allowed us to make the program fit our unique business.” Priortobeginningtocustomizetheir system,Southern Towingdidn’thaveeffectiverecordskeepinginplace; they used a lot of Excel spreadsheets and email. “It was pretty cumbersome and ineffective,” Greta says of their previous process. She continues, “The people that were making critical decisions for the company didn’t have easy access to the information that’s now readily available to them. For example, now that we have the EZ Content Manager, any of our managers can go in at the click of a button and see if we ordered something, when we ordered it, Making Big Waves: by Denise Renee Phinn
  21. 21. 21bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership what time it was ordered and every piece of critical data needed to check on that order. Greta attributes about 90% of their discovery of their need for customization to conversations with her Blytheco Regional Account Manager, Kelly Rayburn. “Each time I would talk to Kelly,” Greta shares, “She would tell us about a new product you had. Sometimes I’d say ‘No, we don’t need that’ and sometimes I’d say “Now that sounds like something we need!’ Other times, I would call her and say ‘Hey, I’ve got this need, what can you tell me?’ And Kelly would tell me what she had available to suit my needs.” How have these customizations improved their business? It’s given them the ability to have better insight into their costs and how best to manage them and had organized their internal workflow. It has also had an indirect effect on their bottom line. As Greta shares, “our sales cycle is greatly affected by weather. We have bad months every year so I can’t say that adding your products has directly increased our sales. But what it has done is as the times are lean, it has allowed us to get a better handle on it and have enough information where we can make good decisions.” Another indirect benefit to their bottom line is how their customized ERP, “helps us keep our human resources count low; it’s unbelievable!” Greta exclaims. “We try to keep our personnel down, so any processes that we can have automated we definitely invest in it. People see our company, as opposed to others in our industry, and they can’t believe that our staff is as small as it is. But we are just able to be very efficient because of the software tools that we have.” “I think I’ve just been really lucky,” Greta continues, “with the people that I’ve worked with at Blytheco like Kelly Rayburn and our Sage 100 ERP Consultant John Stoffa who helps me with the custom reports; they are really good at what they do so it helps us when we decide what to buy, knowing that we have great support. For example, with our last purchase of the scanning program, we had some options to choose from. Kelly told us that one of the products really had a better customer rating and that was so important to us. And I’ll be darned if it didn’t come up later. When we had a problem and their customer service was great. So we are very grateful to have the support of a partner who is looking out for our business’ best interests.” Says Kelly Rayburn: “Greta is a wonderful person to work with, through and through. She’s very pleasant, smart and direct, and is one of those people that makes coming to work seem easy. Greta understands the value in automation and investing in solutions that we offer, and has really seen great return on investment with the work we’ve done together so far. I look forward to many more years of a wonderful working relationship.” When asked what has been the most exiting result Southern Towing has experienced as a result of their customizations, Greta shared, “I think it would be seeing them actually work. Like I said, when I arrived at this company, they didn’t have tools like these in place. Because many staff members were used to working with Excel and email, a lot of people were very hesitant to change. But when they actually got to see it in action and realize that we could operate with a greater level of efficiency, they were sold! And that was very exciting to see.” To learn more about Southern Towing, visit: www.southerntowing.net. “The people that were making critical decisions for the company didn’t have easy access to the information that’s now readily available to them.
  22. 22. Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 201422 Finally, ONE Source for ALL of Your Telecom Needs Forget the time and hassle of dealing with telecom carriers Maximize your savings with effective telecom audits Get a “perfect fit” telecom solution designed specifically for you Meridian Network Services represents more than 30 carriers of Voice, Data, Internet and Cloud Hosting services. Meridian plans, implements and cost manages clients’ networks. Our extensive industry knowledge and experience allows us to match the most suitable carriers for your particular needs. www.blytheco.com/meridian 949.388.0555
  23. 23. 23bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
  24. 24. Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 201424 COVERSTORY Music To Their Ears S ound Productions provides sales and distribution for audio, lighting and video equipment. Although based in the Dallas – Fort Worth, TX metro area, they service clients nationally. A large segment of their customer base includes houses of worship, contractors, DJ’s, home recording and other sound and lighting related type individuals. Joshua Curlett, Chief Operating Officer of Sound Productions adds, “One of the things we’re most excited about is what we call our “Sound Production Experience.” In every step of all our processes, from sales through warehousing to shipments and how we communicate vital information, we are always looking for how we can put our customers first.” Driving their performance is their robustly customized Sage 100 ERP and Sage CRM systems. Joshua proudly shares, “We have quite a number of add-on products and customized functionality, including Sage Alerts and Workflow now, which is a querying tool on those data bases. Customized forms have given us more flexibility and control during the sales process. We have Paperless Office and we also use EDI with our manufacturers and vendors. Not to mention, our website is integrated with our Sage software and we are in the process of going live on a new integrated shopping cart system that will sync data right into our ERP & CRM software. Basically, if it could be customized, we probably did it or added it on!” One of the challenges Joshua faced upon arrival at Sound Productions, which lead to seeking solutions, was the company had multiple databases and software for a little bit of everything. For example, they were using Quickbooks for accounting and a program called BizTracker for sales. All their critical information was flowing throughout multiple programs that didn’t speak to each other. There was no integration, visibility, or forecasting available. The insight and reporting was minimal at best and most of it was unreliable. by Denise Renee Phinn How a Customized ERP and CRM Helps Sound Productions Keep Customers First.
  25. 25. 25bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership Visual Integrator has been one piece of their solutions puzzle. The VI jobs allow for Sound Productions to maintain vendor price sheets. When Sound Productions’ vendors send their files, they strip down those files and import them in a way where they can use an UDF (User Defined Field) to tell when an import date was so the sales and accounting staff can always track correct pricing information. That pricing information also gets fed to the website. Joshua shares, “Our ERP is really the central hub of all data and all interaction that feeds to our website, which feeds to our customers, that feeds to our CRM, that feeds to alerts, which is really neat and exciting.” Another example of their customization is how they have their shipping information from UPS World Ship integrated with their ERP. They can now easily track the carrier, rates, the tracking information, hyperlink and ID and send that information to the sales orders and purchase orders. At the end of the day, an alert and an email gets sent to the sales person so they are able to track the appropriate information for an upcoming or outbound order. Joshua explains, “This insight is important to our customers because now they can plan their installations and support times accordingly. And it helps us put the customer first because we are getting them that critical information in a timely manner. “We may appear to be small in number or staff, but we’re very big in our industry. Our technology automation and customizations allow for our team members to be productive and take road blocks out of their way so we can always hit our main goal… customers first!” When asked how did Sound Productions uncover their need for customization, Joshua had this to say: “We have so many products to sell to our customers, I think it was a function of us having a business problem and then asking the right questions to get it fixed. We often found ourselves saying: “There’s got to be a better way... what is that better way? “Alotoftheimprovementscamefromdirectconversations with our Blytheco Account Manager, Kelly Rayburn. In my opinion, Kelly is one of the best individuals and professional associates I’ve worked with in my career. I think that she does a great job of asking the right questions and delegating appropriately to the right resources. She’s really just a fantastic person to work with and has helped us navigate how to use the technologies and processes related to them.” The admiration is clearly mutual as Kelly shares regarding Joshua and Sound Productions, “Joshua is a model client, a real joy to work with. He is very responsive, open to new ideas and feedback, and has a very strong desire to push his company to the next level with Blytheco solutions. Joshua understands how important it is to keep their system up to date with current offerings and continues to work closely with Blytheco to have a full understanding of what products and services can help streamline and maximize his business.” When asked what has been the most profitable results Sound Productions has experienced since investing in their software solutions, Joshua had this to say: “I think that if you look at our ability to have clear, concise and timely information, we have been able to make better business decisions and be able to service our customer base a little bit better. If you look at some of the other things just in terms of the total man hours given back to us, or the ability for us to do a lot more, we do the work of 50 people with half that number and that’s something we’re really proud about. “Not to mention, we are much more cost efficient; what used to take multiple individuals to query, monitor and respond to important events by carrying out different types of support tasks, those things are now able to be done with our supporting cast of technology. As we have worked with Blytheco over the last 3 years to continuously customize and improve our software, it has allowed for our whole team to be a part of the success because everyone is a critical contributor to the process. That, to me, is huge!” To learn more about Sound Productions, visit: www.soundpro.com.
  26. 26. Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 201426 by Joanna Rotter INDUSTRYNEWS Knowledge is power. Learn how access to the right information can help you tailor service to fit your customer’s unique needs. As a service provider, not only is the ‘customer always right,’ but today more than ever, the customer is also holding (almost) all the cards. If they are willing to look for it, today’s customers of your service are more empowered with information than ever before. How to Tailor Fit Field Service to Meet Growing Customer Expectations Joanna Rotter is the Content Marketing Specialist for MSI Data, a leader in field force automation software and creator of the enterprise field service app, Service Pro. Connect with Joanna via email at joannar@msidata.com. About the Author Does more informed mean less loyal? That may be a matter of how well the service you provide is tailored to each customer. In other words, if you can’t provide exactly what your customer needs every time, they’ll find someone who can. How can field service organizations tailor their service uniquely to each customer, while still operating efficiently? Here are a few ways: 1. Know What Your Customers Need Before You Show Up Customers want to know you’re well informed about their account, history and unique needs. In order to demonstrate competence in the field, your workforce needs to know: • What equipment assets does this customer have? • What is the exact nature of the problem? • What parts that may be required? • Is it covered by warranty or contract? • What is their service history? By equipping technicians with a mobile application, service companies prepare their field force to anticipate customer concerns before they arise. For example, with the customer’s service and equipment history in front of them, schedulers can choose the technician with the right skills to fix the problem. Technicians can see what tools they need as well as other assets on site so they’re prepared to perform the task at hand and maybe even sell a new contract while they’re at it. 2. Be Customer-Specific One size does not fit all when it comes to field service, maintenance and repair services. Service orgs must be willing to tailor their services and create customer-specific service packages. Without a quick and flexible system, companies risk wasting resources and time on unbillable labor or failing to meet customers’ varying needs. Tomeetcustomerexpectations,companieswithaservicemanagement system can use a service bill of materials (SBOM) to book technicians, equipment, parts, hours, etc. as soon as the work order comes in. An SBOM allows you to configure functions like tasks, intervals, contract terms, and pricing for each work order. Using an SBOM lets you record and organize information, then send it to each technician through his mobile application. When the tech accepts the order, tracks hours worked, documents parts used, and takes notes on the job site, the SBOM stores that information so it’s immediately clear what to charge at the end of the billing cycle. 3. Note Everything, Not Just the Basics Let your customer know you really care by noting not only the bare minimum information you need to get the job done, but also by observing items unique to them, such as: • Unique personal notes about customer personnel (ie; birthdays, etc.) • Additional equipment, other business service needs • Ways you can improve your service through customer satisfaction surveys • Documentation and sign-off of work performed • Account potential to predict whether a customer’s needs will change over time When you think outside the box of normal, necessary data and use the full capabilities of your service management app, you can raise business intelligence, improve decision making, and distinguish yourself by providing tailor fit service to each customer. Once you determine what standard of service your customers expect, you can use data to determine whether you’re meeting those expectations and translate those findings into action. 4. Be the Company that “Gets It” Competition in the service industry is intense these days. Set your organization apart by proving you have the skills and business intelligence to meet growing customer demands. Nothing impresses a customer more than a company that understands their problems and solves them. Be “that” company for your customers by tailoring service without sacrificing resources or efficiency. Collect, store, analyze, and organize the information you need to be successful by using a service management app in your business strategy. To learn more about MSI Data, visit: www.blytheco.com/field-service-software. How to Tailor Fit Field Service to Meet Growing Customer Expectations
  27. 27. 27bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership To learn more about ScanForce, visit: www.blytheco.com/scanforce. INDUSTRYNEWS At ScanForce, we strive to have a solid, versatile, tightly integrated, off-the-shelf solution. This is perfect for most of the businesses we work with. Our solution is straightforward and installs quickly, enabling our customers to reap the benefits of ScanForce immediately. But what if your business is unique? What if you’ve found the perfect way to do business that fits your specific needs, but it doesn’t exactly fit the mold of the standard accounting system you’ve invested in? The answer is simple – you customize it. One of the attributes of Sage 100 ERP that I often hear people praise is the ability to customize it to fit specific needs. It may be a simple UDF (User Defined Field), or a completely custom solution that a certified Sage Partner has developed. ScanForce follows suit (pun intended), granting our customers the luxury of defining what fits their specific needs. We do all development in-house allowing us to offer a solution that can practically fit any need within reason. Our development team is well versed in not only our own software, but also in Sage 100 ERP. This allows our team to lend expertise in not only how to customize our solution to fit a customer’s needs, but also to advise on the best way to tackle an issue and meet their needs. Versatility is key in today’s business. If you are not able to adapt and react to the ever-changing business needs of today then you are doomed to remain stagnant and watch the world and your competition pass you by. A solution with options gives customers the power and freedom to select what works best for them. Is it a simple and clear-cut plan you have in place? Or, do you have a complex and specific set of needs that must be met? Either way, you want to have a trusted resource to call on to help you sift through the “what would be nice to have” and the “our business must have” items on your list. ScanForce works very closely with Sage Partners to present a united front making sure that we all keep the end user’s needs and best interest as the focus. It can be daunting to evaluate and select a solution that fits your needs and the way you do business. I constantly emphasize to prospects that here at ScanForce, we work to create an out-of-the-box solution that is as plug-and-play as you can get. However, no two businesses are exactly alike, making it all the more important to find a solution that will fit your needs. In some instances, it is simply helping the prospect to understand all standard options and how they have the ability to “customize” the solution to their specific needs by understanding and utilizing the setup options. Other cases require the skills to listen to what the customer is asking for and work with them to create a plan and solution that is best for everyone. ScanForce is able to offer a scalable solution designed to fit the needs of Sage 100 ERP customers. We work very hard to continue to adapt to what our customers and prospects are telling us they want. From customers that simply want to count inventory to full warehouse management solutions involving Multi- bin, pallet tracking, manufacturing, labeling, and custom bar codes, we are able to work with the Sage 100 Partner Channel and their customers to ‘tailor’ the right solution for them. As a golfer, I immediately think of Taylor Made golf products when I hear that phrase. A very close second is clothing. There really is no substitute for a well-tailored suit. A skilled tailor can make anyone look fantastic in a suit regardless of that person’s body type. The same concept is true with software. Tailor Made by Steve Showalter Steve Showalter is a Sales Manager at ScanForce, a Gold Development Partner for Sage 100 ERP, providing bar code solutions. Connect with Steve at http://LinkedIn.com/in/SteveShowalter. About the Author
  28. 28. Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 201428 Warehouse Management that’s Uniquely You When you walk through the doors of a warehouse, you get a glimpse of the heartbeat of a company. The warehouse is where you “make things happen”. It’s where you carry out your company vision, reinforce your company values, and tangibly meet customer expectations. It’s a direct reflection of your business, a piece of the puzzle to what makes you uniquely you. Just as no business is exactly alike, no warehouse is exactly alike. You cannot operate your warehouse according to a set of processes and procedures maintained by another; it simply won’t work. If you want to successfully manage your warehouse operation, you need to have a thorough understanding of what makes your business tick and how you can transfer that information into your warehouse environment. When it comes to the technology you use to manage your warehouse, it needs to be as unique as your warehouse’s processes. While many out of the box warehouse management solutions offer the option of customizing the software to fit your needs, it can often be expensive and challenging to maintain. These “simple” customizations typically lengthen the implementation process, add significant cost to the overall software package, and require re-customization every time you upgrade the software. Wrestling with out of the box software will only result in frustration, stress, and wasted effort. No general solution can meet your every need, even with extensive customizations. In order to run your warehouse effectively and – in turn – carry out your business vision, you need to have a warehouse management system that fits your business like a glove. 3 Signs Your Software Isn’t Working for You Before you can determine what works for your business, you need to determine what isn’t working. Many warehouse managers make the mistake of assuming “that’s just the way it is” when it comes to warehouse management software. They resign themselves to the challenges of the system, develop complicated workarounds, and allow their productivity and efficiency to suffer as a result. This often leads to significant frustration in the warehouse and on the business side, where processes cannot be carried out as smoothly as possible. If you are constantly running into issues with your warehouse management software, it may be time to look for an alternate solution. Here are three signs your current software is not working for you: by Devin Ambron
  29. 29. 29bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership INDUSTRYNEWS Devin Ambron is the Director of Business Development and Marketing at Scanco, which meets the needs of thousands of distribution and manufacturing operations with an extensive line of warehouse management solutions. Connect with Scanco on Twitter at @ScancoLLC. About the Author 1. Your business requires a unique set of processes to sustain a competitive advantage. We’ve seen it before: businesses invest in out of the box solutions, add on massive customizations, and end up having to hire people to help support the data and data entry processes required of the “customized” solution. The software, for all of its promises to reduce the workload and improve business efficiency, actually creates more work just to meet your warehouse requirements. If you’re relying on a general warehouse management package to fit your needs, you are going to be disappointed. While it may be designed and work for a similar business, it hasn’t been designed for your business and unique processes. 2. Your extensive software customizations are becoming difficult to maintain. Hefty software customizations may seem like a good idea in the moment, but what manufacturers and distributors often fail to realize is that they are not sustainable in the long term. Software customizations require a lot of time, money, and effort. With every software upgrade comes the risk of losing your customizations and custom data. We’ve had several customers come to us over the years as a result of losing valuable custom reports due to a “simple upgrade”. Don’t take that chance with your business. 3. Your warehouse workers have created workarounds that don’t involve the software. If your users aren’t actually using the software, you have a problem. One of the surest signs that you’re current solution isn’t meeting your needs is when your employees are relying on spreadsheets and other internal systems to get the job done. If you are tracking data outside of the system, your current system is not the right fit. Warehouse Management Software Stitched Together with Your Needs We understand the need for simplicity when it comes to warehouse management. It’s the reason so many manufacturers and distributors invest in out of the box solutions; they figure it will be easy to use, easy to understand, and easy to manipulate to fit their needs. The reality is, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In order to truly carry out your business vision effectively, your warehouse management software needs to be tailor made to fit your business. While this may have required a lot of time and money in the past, today’s technology has made it possible for even the smallest warehouse to benefit from solutions tailored to their specific business needs. Here at Scanco, we are committed to bringing the latest and greatest technology advancements to warehouses across the country. We have paired mobile technology with exemplary warehouse management software to create a solution that fits your business perfectly. Our newest solution, Scanco Warehouse, is designed to provide you with everything you need to take your warehouse to the next level. This Sage 100 ERP mobile application is tailored to your specific business needs, allowing you to take full control of the warehouse management process. Whether you need a simple mobile app to view your warehouse activities and create custom reports or a robust warehouse management solution, Scanco Warehouse is designed for you. It’s tailor made down to its core. For more information about our custom products and services, visit www.blytheco.com/scanco. You will find a variety of solutions designed to support your unique warehouse and warehouse management needs. If you’d like to discover how you can benefit from a tailor made warehouse management solution, call (800) 425-9843. INDUSTRYNEWS
  30. 30. Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 201430 We Make EDI Painless We Make EDI Painless 888.205.1531 | www.highjump.com/truecommerce Visit Us at Booth 928 Stop by our booth at Sage Summit #1327 erequester.com/summit | 1-877-727-9528
  31. 31. 31bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership Consumers Professional Practices Mom & Pop Stores Big Box Stores Wholesale Distributors & Manufacturers .COMsFranchise Businesses Clubs & Organizations         MACHINE-to- MACHINE (APIs) Product Feeds, Price & Stock Reports, Shipments, Order Collection SALES REP TOOLS  Customer Tracking, Order / Invoice Tracking, Order Entry, Quoting CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM   PUBLIC WEBSTORE(S)  Brochure, Catalog Only, Shopping Cart, Store Locator SYNCH TOOL  CUSTOMER SELF-SERVICE PORTAL CLOUD DATA Customer Self-Service System Booth 907For Wholesale Distributors and Manufacturers built for:      Quick Order Place orders using sku entry or product search. Shipments View shipments and track packages. My Account View and edit billing, contact, and address info. Orders Track open, backordered, and shipped orders. Payments View previous payments and make new payments. Invoices Track open and paid invoices. Price & Stock Check product prices and availability. Price & Stock Check product prices and availability. Favorites Lists View, edit and order from your favorites lists.  Customer Self-Service Portal  Quick Order Place orders using sku entry or product search. Shipments View shipments and track packages. My Account View and edit billing, contact, and address info. Orders Track open, backordered, and shipped orders. Payments View previous payments and make new payments. Invoices Track open and paid invoices. Price & Stock Check product prices and availability. Price & Stock Check product prices and availability. Favorites Lists View, edit and order from your favorites lists.  Customer Self- Service Portal Automatic Personalization By user, account, type, language, geo region, etc.  PRIVATE WEBSTORE(S) Company Stores, Punchout Catalogs Catalog, Quick Order, Orders, Invoices, Shipments, Payments In The Cloud In Your Office Network YOUR ERP OUR O FFERING View ERP Data. View, Edit, Delete Cloud-Only Data. Sage 100, 300, and 500 ERP and Sage ERP X3
  32. 32. Bellwether Magazine | Second Quarter 201432 by Kelvin Takhar When considering your Supply Chain automation needs and evaluating your software requirements to support your strategy for growth, expansion and ongoing efficiency, be sure you start with the right key questions and considerations: 1. How can I minimize my Supply Chain Software customization? 2. How can I maximize my Supply Chain Software integration with our ERP? 3. How can I lower the Total Cost of Ownership of our Supply Chain Software over the lifecycle of my ERP? Less Customization = More Savings Using customization to achieve the unique and required functionality to capture, create and exchange Order and Shipment Data within your suite of ERP integrated software solutions comes at a steeper price than cost alone. Every time there is an update to any component of your solution, additional customization is required to bridge critical gaps in the flow of Business Information. This costs you valuable time and ongoing investment. To avoid unnecessary costs, consider the following before committing to a customized software platform: 1. Complexity: How much custom code has to be written and tested to achieve your required functionality? 2. Timely Application Updates: What steps are involved in upgrading customized applications in a timely manner? What is the level of difficulty in each step? 3. Costly Application Integration: What is the risk of cost overruns to integrate across multiple software applications? The Advantage of Intelligent Integration and Configuration The ideal way to automate your Supply Chain for Order Planning and Order Fulfilment when managing multiple software applications is to ensure your software solutions can be configured to integrate with your ERP without customization. Key Solutions™ powered by Edisoft® are designed to deliver complete freedom from customization. Key Solutions unlock the power of your Supply Chain Software Platform with turnkey integration across multiple software solutions that work together seamlessly without the need for customization. Key Solutions also work together in any modular configuration to suit the unique automation needs of both manufacturers and distributors without customization and can be configured to optimize Warehouse Automation across multiple industries including Food and Beverage, Apparel, Electronics, and many other vertical industries and sectors. Intelligent Integration = Reduced Costs + Increased Profits The unique architecture of Edisoft Merchant™ and Merchant QuikPAK™ enables Key Solutions powered by Edisoft to function as single Integrated EDI and Warehouse and Shipping Automation Platform to effectively meet your Supply Chain automation requirements. Both applications utilize easy-to-use, configurable, icon driven menus to support a full range of modular applications to effortlessly unlock the power of your Supply Chain by delivering Order IntegrationforIntegratedEDI,WarehouseAutomation,Bin Tracking, RF Handheld devices and Shipping Automation. INDUSTRYNEWS Supply Chain Software: No Customization Required
  33. 33. 33bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership Key Solutions work together modularly to deliver: Order Integration and Order Automation: that captures, creates and exchanges data to eliminate re-keying of Order and Shipment information and reduces the risk of human errors and costly charge backs. Workflow Efficiency: that improves Staff Productivity by reducing the time to manage and ship your Sales Orders Reporting Visibility: that provides the in depth view of Supply Chain Data relevant to the entire Order Cycle so CEOs, CFOs, and COOs have greater opportunities to evaluate Order Fulfillment and Order Shipment costs and greater opportunities to identify ways to both improve Supply Chain efficiencies and increase profit margins. Savvy Suppliers: Create Definitive Value With Your Supply Chain Software Customization has its limits; Intelligent Integration has its freedoms. Savvy suppliers seeking a competitive advantage understand that Intelligent Integration of their Supply Chain software-when managed effectively-can create definitive value for their Supply Chain on multiple levels to drive market growth and profits. Companies can count on Key Solutions powered by Edisoft to unlock the power to drive Productivity, Profitability and Growth. With these Key tools and the Intelligent Integration to optimize the exchange of automated Order and Shipment Data, CEOs, CFOs and COOs are empowered to better control costs, achieve greater efficiencies and increase profits. Get the right ‘Key Solutions’ for the right Supply Chain software ROI today. To learn more about Edisoft, go to www.blytheco.com/edisoft. LABELING & Kelvin Takhar, General Manager, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Edisoft Inc. is an innovative visionary ever pushing the bar forward for ERP integrated Key Solutions™ that unlock the power of Supply Chain Software for Manufacturers and Distributors without the need for customization. Find Kelvin on LinkedIn at ca.linkedin.com/pub/kelvin-takhar/9/892/812. About the Author
  34. 34. Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 201434 When it comes to bringing new solutions to your clients to help improve their business, time and budget are key. A small budget means a cheaper solution will be purchased which will not satisfy the expectations of management or their employees. New ERP solutions are purchased to see a fast ROI, automate workflows and increase productivity. To have anything less will create the opposite. by Mark Grimes How Dimension Funding Helps MakeYour ERP System Perfect for You INDUSTRYNEWS Our customers have repeatedly expressed the convenience of using us to conserve their capital, lower the burden of entry and make the best solution affordable. Even with companies that have means to capital, our unique easy process has lessened the hassle they have to go through to get the product they desire. A large distribution company told us they were thrilled we could finance the software, the professional services and cloud managed services. Using us reduced the CEO’s decision making time and they were able to get the solution that best fit the company instead of only what they were able to write a check for that day. By having our partners offer a long-term financing option to their customers it improves your own cash flow and sets you up on a realistic payment plan. This reduces the stress that comes along with sticker shock and allows you to buy what your company needs to grow. Not to mention you are able to expense the monthly payments due to the tax deduction Section 179. With the subscription service one may think there is not a need; however we see our services helping even more because professional services are still a large expense in getting the solution where it needs to be. Reducing the up front burden has helped many. Banks often won’t help with professional services but we have worked with our investors to ensure this can be done and we have seen great things because of it. A new ERP will lead to convenience, and that is our goal with our customers. Easy funding, friendly experience and low monthly payments make getting your ERP or CRM system right for you. Visit www.blytheco.com/funding to learn more. Mark Grimes is a finance industry professional who has been with Dimension Funding for over 15 years. He has had a highly successful career partnering with companies like Blytheco to help their customers stay within their budget by offering low monthly payments. Connect with Mark on LinkedIn at http:// linkedin.com/in/markagrimes. About the Author
  35. 35. 35bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership Simple. Beautiful. Intuitive. Inventory management reimagined Great apps don’t just happen on accident. Our team of developers have sought to invent an intuitive user experience that brings simplicity to your fingertips. What’s not to love about the new Scanco Warehouse? Visit Scanco at Sage Summit booth 1214
  36. 36. Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 201436 Come take a look for yourself at the BizNet Software, Inc., booth 1123 at Sage Summit July 28-31 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas and discover what the Excel Suite can do for you. • For Ballet Memphis, it’s budgeting, variance analysis and boardroom-quality report production. • For B&B Distributors, the BizNet Software Excel Suite’s BizBroadcast solution streamlines the distribution of reports to its retail customers – and, in the formats those customers need. • And for BeyondTrust, BizNet’s native Microsoft Excel interface and direct connection to Sage 500 ERP systems means that reports are instantly updated . . . saving countless hours of repetitive extracting, copying, pasting and reformatting data. Ballet Memphis Does Quick Pirouette on Reports ReachFurther. It’sgracefullyillustratedwithaballerina’ssilhouette in the Ballet Memphis logo (http://www.balletmemphis.org), and exemplified in the organization’s mission of “creating, presenting and teaching ballet and dance in many forms as we celebrate the human spirit through our bodies.” The Ballet Memphis administrative staff must also reach further to achieve greater productivity. So, it was an easy decision when Philip West, managing director, learned that he could produce the organization’s financial reports from Sage 100 ERP faster – and in a more understandable format – using the BizNet Software Excel Suite. West has used BizNet Software to generate reports for himself, the financial committee and Ballet Memphis board of directors since the fall of 2009. Extracting the history needed for budget preparation is also automated, he says, with production budgets for the entire season presented on a single worksheet – even though contracts with designers or for marketing buys can occur at varying times and for varying lengths. The resulting ability to analyze variances is what West calls an adjusted waterfall report. “It’s not just looking at what the budget says I should have remaining. It really is an analysis of what’s been spent on that budget line, and it gives me a real sense of what’s remaining.” by Floyd Stanley INDUSTRYNEWS Organizations ranging from the ballet to beverage distributors and all types of businesses in between are leveraging the power of the BizNet Software Excel Suite to produce reports from their Sage ERP systems up to five times faster, and with greater quality and accuracy. Are You Spending Any Time In Excel?
  37. 37. 37bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership Floyd Stanley, Partner Enablement Manager for BizNet Software, specializes in translating complex technologies into practical business benefits. Formerly a professional writer, he’s been involved in the computing and data communications industries for more than three decades. Connect with him on LinkedIn at http://linkedin.com/pub/floyd-stanley/7/a87/b7b. About the Author With oversight responsibilities for HR, IT, marketing and development, the box office and even building maintenance, West needs accurate information … and quickly. BizNet’s real- time connection to Sage 100 ERP data, presented in a native Microsoft Excel environment, meets the need with simplicity. “I’ve been very, very pleased with the results,” he says. BizBroadcast Makes Distributing Custom Reports A Breeze For B&B B&B Distributors supplies hundreds of retailers from major grocery store chains to mom-and-pop convenience stores, and as might be expected, each of those customers adds a mark-up to the wholesale price. But that price is most definitely a moving target, fluctuating monthly and even sometimes weekly as a result of supplier-driven sales promotions. “I would spend an entire day cutting and pasting the same information over and over in different forms,” says Ellen Caldwell, Sales and Technology Administrator. “The sheer volume of reports I had to compile in order to conform to each customer’s automated system made it an extremely repetitive process.” Not so with BizBroadcast, which provided immediate time savings while also improving the overall process of creating and distributing reports in Excel. “It’samatterofaone-timesetup,”Caldwellsays. “BizBroadcast is highly adaptable as well. I can customize any messaging in the email body and I can send the recipient their report in the format they require – even if they want an older version of Excel.” BeyondTrust Cuts Reporting Time in Half With BizInsight BeyondTrust, a global provider of security software, had a breakout year in 2009. The expansion in business, however, meant the company faced a set of IT challenges. Elements of its IT infrastructure – especially its accounting and financial reporting solutions – were unable to keep pace. The disconnect between the capabilities of its financial reporting infrastructure and the reporting and analytical needs of the management team was becoming a hindrance to the business. “Management wanted to see more granular reporting for all products, based on factors like sales type, sales channel and region and our existing system simply wasn’t going to give us that capability,” says Vickie Kennedy, Controller “We needed a far superior business, accounting and reporting system.” BeyondTrust chose BizNet Software to handle the bulk of its financial reporting and management needs within a month of implementing Sage 500 ERP. “We needed a financial reporting system that was automated, much more intuitive and much easier to train on and use. I didn’t want to have to go back to my consultant every time I needed to change a report,” says Kennedy. “BizNet has definitely opened me up to perform more value- add activity. We’re a growing company, and in the past I had no time to dedicate to managing that growth as the controller. Now I have that time.” To learn more about BizNet go to www.blytheco.com/biznet.
  38. 38. Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 201438 Service Pro® is an end to end system for automated repair center and field service management, including mobile, scheduling, back office & integration with Sage 100 and many other ERP systems. See us at Booth 209 at Sage Summit! Make an appointment to meet: call David Friedlen at: 262-292-4945 or email at Davef@msidata.com Learn how Service Pro® can help your field service business at www.msidata.com/blytheco Service Pro® Software can help. blytheco@msidata.com www.msidata.com 262.241.7800 Calls, Assets, Parts, Contracts, RMA & more Mobile Technician Service Dashboard Real-Time Scheduling “The only man who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew every time he sees me, while all the rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them.” -George Bernard Shaw tnerruchtiwpugnipeektnemtrapeDecivreSruoysI technology or using “old measurements”?
  39. 39. 39bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
  40. 40. Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 201440 INDUSTRYNEWS JDB Solutions Group specializes in Manufacturing Shop floor Data collection and Live Monitoring Systems for Sage 100 ERP. We Barcode and automate the shop floor process by allowing customers to collect Material Issues, Labor, Completed Goods, as well as QC, Payroll time and have multiple Shop Floor Monitoring Systems. Every year, we constantly strive to create and design more features and technology to stay up to speed with customer needs. In the beginning, our early releases of product were very rudimentary and simple, but over time as customers demanded more and more technology, we had to evolve and customize our software. Barcoding and tracking takes on many shapes. From mobile devices to tablets and touch screens to flat panels, we have expanded our collection services and devices to accommodate customers growing needs not only for Manufacturing but Service and Field Service as well. Nowadays, customers are more educated and want and need more elaborate requirements. Maybe their process requirements need some different collection needs or the industry they supply has requirements that fall outside our standard software scope. We then need to do one of 2 things, either find another third party option we can fully integrate with or modify our program to meet their needs. Both solutions offer the Best-Of-Breed type solutions. Merging together multiple third party Apps that are fully integrated and certified to work together is usually way better than an All-in-One program that claims to do it all. When you can work with the top industry leaders in what they do coupled with a highly educated consultant, the customer is highly satisfied with the solutions at hand. We as consultants have to educate our customers that one program doesn’t mean the best and show them that integrated solutions can provide seamless functionality and Industry leading service and support. The other alternative is to modify your program if the need is in your wheelhouse and take on the modification needs of the customer and give them a fully qualified solution. In the past years, we have not only developed highly adaptable collection systems but we are now fully Cloud Ready as well as able to work on or off-line at any given time. This enhancement was driven by a customer need for a fully real time mobile solution that would work on the manufacturing floor as well as for service crews. We have also added features like Labor dilution, QC data collection screens and Nesting of jobs for group tracking. In providing custom solutions we separate ourselves more from the competitors and also allow the customer to get exactly what they are looking for. In looking at and quoting custom solutions for themselves, customers need to be looking for certain criteria for the best solution they can get. For example they need to be looking for someone that has vast experience not only in manufacturing in our case but the supplier should have first-hand experience with the market the customer supports. Knowing your customers specific intellectual knowledge of their industry and needs only comes from years of support and experience. We at JDB Solutions Group pride ourselves in being very versatile and have vast experience in many different fields of manufacturing and service markets. Also, a customer should qualify if the modification could be rolled into the standard release of the software. This will ensure that there should not be repeat charges each time a new version of the software is released. In providing such solutions for customers we understand the needs and wants for customizations even in the simplest levels. From a quick screen change to a complete re-write we have done it all. In short, customers have become very dependent on us as solution providers and consultants to provide us the best solution we possibly can. We strive to forge relationships with vendors and other consultants such as ourselves to make sure we are as educated as possible and always have a good referral source for us to find out what we do not know about. In forging these relationships, we allow ourselves to qualify and provide some of the industry’s most leading solutions for our prospective and current customers. That is what makes our software industry so great, knowing there is a solution out there for everyone. If you would like additional information of what JDB Solutions Group offers for the following: Manufacturing Barcoding Solutions, Shop Floor Collection, Labor Tracking, Material Tracking, ERP integration options to everything from Tooling systems to Automated Parts Cribs, Kanban systems, or Engineering and CAD CAM programs. We also offer Manufacturing and Install, manufacturing and Service, Field Service, and Service and Install Mobile solutions. Stop by our booth #2005 or contact us at (815) 728-1133 or http:// www.blytheco.com/joscan. To customize or not to customize, that is the question….. Recent trending patterns show end users are looking for a one-stop shop software that does it all. We consultants are put on a quest to find the best solution for our customer’s needs. The reality is that it is almost impossible to find one good program or module that does everything. The software industry has found that trying to be the best of everything is harder than being the best at your niche market. Tracking and Adapting by Joseph Bisaha Joseph Bisaha is the President of JDB Solutions Group, which specializes in automating and simplifying manufacturing and field service data collection and tracking. Connect with Joseph at https://www.linkedin.com/in/joebisaha. About the Author to Customer Needs
  41. 41. 41bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership INDUSTRYNEWS Joni Girardi is the founder and CEO of DataSelf Corporation, an innovative leader in business intelligence and analytics solutions for SMBs. Connect with Joni on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/jonigirardi. About the Author Only a few years ago, regular reporting used to be all that any organization had to do to keep tabs on operations. Then technology caught up with science, and data discovery became a new competitive tool. Data Discovery The Ultimate Customization by Joni Girardi The difference between reporting and data discovery is like the difference between old time correspondence by mail and today’s instant messaging on mobile devices. Reporting still works fine when the questions and answers go like clockwork. You need regular numbers on sales, expenses, and all the parts of your business. But to crack open your data’s deeper secrets, only data discovery works. It gets you closer to your data than anything else. It’s the ultimate customization. What makes it so powerful is that we’re practically hardwired for it. Researchers at the famous Palo Alto Research Center, where Steve Jobs found inspiration for the Mac, call it “information foraging.” Like wild animals hunting for food, business users want to follow “information scents.” Users typically start with broad questions and crunch the data in an ever-tightening spiral. They iterate, explore, and experiment, with questions and answers coming in rapid succession. Adistributionmanagermightstartwith,“Whereareweshipping products?” and gets a map showing customers’ geographic distribution. At a glance, the manager sees that certain areas of the country have significantly higher demand. That leads to a question: “From which warehouses am I shipping to these regions?” A new chart shows the distribution. “How has this warehouse distribution changed over time?” Then, almost on a whim, “Does it vary by season or by day of the week?” Surprised, he sees it does change significantly by season. And that insight starts a process to adapt the distribution of products by warehouse by season. That will eventually yield shorter delivery times, lower shipping costs, and perhaps more sales from happier clients. The rapid fire cascade of questions and answers is critical. Anything more than a moment’s wait and the stream of questions easily stalls or dies altogether. Data must be instantly and intuitively understandable, which visualization provides. The user requires support with built-in best practices, titling, captioning, annotation, effective color spectrums, and data storytelling. Back-end access to data has to be fast, transparent, and easy to understand especially for business users who usually don’t have time to learn complex connections to data sources. Flying through the data demands an architecture that makes all data available using intuitive terms and structures, whether the source is an ERP, CRM, and other system. Don’t make users stop and worry about where to find what they need. Data discovery products are now becoming available to mid-market organizations. Only a few come with the all the critical data connectors. One of them is DataSelf which combines Tableau and Microsoft BI into a best-of-breed data discovery platform. On top of that, their canned solutions include over 5,000 report templates, dashboards, and KPIs for Sage ERP and Sage CRM. You can learn more at www.Blytheco.com/DataSelf or call 800-425-9843. If you’re lucky enough to attend Sage Summit at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, stop by DataSelf’s Booth #1027 or Blytheco’s Booth #1222. Also, attend the panel titled “Tips for Navigating the BI Market for Sage Products” on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m.
  42. 42. Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 201442 INDUSTRYNEWS In the past, the small to mid-sized businesses in the retail world only added trading partners to their EDI systems, and that only happened when the large retailers required them to do so. Everyone at MAPADOC, and indeed everyone who has worked in the EDI world has received many emails and phone calls in which a customer nervously reports: “Costco [or other retailer] just sent me these specs, so we need to get set up on EDI with them right away.” But that was the past. Small to medium-sized retail suppliers are no longer sitting on their hands, waiting and fearing the requirements of their retail partners. Not only are the SMBs of today well- versed in EDI processes and advantages, they are making plans to strategically extend those benefits across the supply chain. Here are four new business trends I have noticed lately: 1. Leveraging of analytics:Suppliersaregettingsmarter, and taking ownership of their sales relationships. They leverage EDI information to advise the retailers about where the product is selling, how much product they need, and when it would be best to replenish. 2. EDI with both buyers and suppliers: Because the big retailers send out purchase orders to their suppliers, many smaller suppliers (who have suppliers of their own) figure that they should automate that process to save time—just like the big-box buyers of their products. 3. EDI with third-party logistics/warehouse: When choosing a third-party to house and send out goods, businesses are now looking to companies that are proficient in EDI. Business owners want warehouses that are flexible enough to meet the demands of their customers and that also improve internal processes. 4. Suppliers making requests: As a measure of customer service and of the extension of automation, suppliers are now approaching retailers to request that they test EDI for themselves. Their requests are reasonable, because with an automated system, companies are quick to realize that the addition of an extra partner doesn’t have to create extra work. These and other industry trends demonstrate the increasing popularity of automation and computer-based supply-chain management. In today’s ‘ever-speedier’ world, it has become increasingly important to save on personal effort while still activating business efficiency. Successful big-box retailers have always understood the need for business-enhancing technology such as EDI systems, and as the smaller companies grow bigger, they are now also realizing the many benefits that EDI brings. EDI has become the new competition differentiator, and those who use it are raising the bar in the supply world. To learn more about Mapadoc, visit: www.blytheco.com/mapadoc. Changing Tides: How Suppliers Are Taking Control in an EDI World David Freschl is an Account Executive with MAPADOC, which provides effortless EDI solutions for integration with Sage ERP systems. You can reach David by email at David.Freschl@mapadoc.com. About the Author Retailisacontestthatgivesthenodtothebiggest and brightest stars, such as Amazon, Walmart, and other “big-box” retailers, and predictably, the big guys have always run the show. Since EDI started becoming popular, it was always something that the big guys mandated of the little guys. If the little guys wanted a place at the retail table, they had to do whatever was requested of them. by David Freschl

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