Supply Chain Management: What you don’t know, Can hurt you.

Supply chain management depends on knowing what you need to know, when you need to know it. That means you need visibility into it from raw material ordering through delivery to the customer. Without that visibility, you cannot track and measure how well the supply chain is performing.

Supply Chain Management

In an ideal world, every bit of your supply chain will report up-to-the-minute information on any shipment or movement of inventory to a central system so you can track it instantly. Of course, reality is nowhere near this ideal. Most companies do not put that much investment into an ever-changing supply chain. This leaves a great deal of the chain hidden.

The Problem

This lack of visibility hurts your company across the board:

  • It causes redundancy. For larger companies, it is quite common to use two or more carriers to carry inventory on the same delivery routes. That redundancy can lead to higher costs because your company is not leveraging savings from using the same carrier.
  • It creates the need for excess inventory. When you cannot predict and manage your supply chain, you need to keep extra inventory in the pipeline so nothing gets starved waiting on a shipment. This increases inventory carrying costs.

Read Also: Save Thousands Using Barcoding for Better Inventory Control

  • It delays manufacturing and shipment times. Without visibility into the Supply Chain, you cannot predict with any certainty when inventory will arrive at a critical point. This can lead to manufacturing and shipping delays later in the pipeline.
  • It affects customer service. Customers expect products to arrive when promised. When delays in the Supply Chain lead to delayed shipments, customers are not happy. This increases customer management costs and can cause customers to look elsewhere for products.
  • It causes longer lead times. When you cannot accurately predict when raw materials will arrive at a given point, your manufacturing operations will need longer lead times on production. This can delay shipments and affect customer service.
  • It increases Supply Chain costs. There is constant pressure to cut these expenses. Without visibility from one end to the other, finding places to cut costs without affecting production is difficult. This leaves Supply Chain managers cutting costs in areas where there is very little left to cut while spending too much in areas where there is no visibility.

The Solution

A warehouse management system can help you manage your internal supply chain requirements. However, it does not give you visibility outside your internal operations. You need an integrated Supply Chain Management system to make this happen.

Benefits of Supply Chain Management Solution – Companies can forecast:

  • Production planning
  • Flow and process management
  • Inventory management
  • Customer delivery
  • After-sales support and service
  • Shipment tracking systems

A supply chain management system offers you the ability to do strategic, tactical, and operational planning without the need to gather information from a dozen systems. It brings together the critical components of purchasing, manufacturing, transportation, and warehousing under one umbrella.You can link each of those components with vendors, facilities, and markets. And you can take it enterprise wide.

For a Manufacturing business it can also increase visibility & efficiency, streamline vendor management, and help prevent fraud.

Read Also: The Next Generation of Warehouse Management

With a reliable supply chain management system, you have visibility at a level you did not have in the past. It allows you to forecast production needs, manage inventory, deliver products to customers, give after-sales support, and track shipments, all in one system. This visibility is critical to making sure your company minimizes the impact of a supply chain that you cannot see.

Implementing a supply chain management system is no easy task, but once it has been put into place, every person and organization within the chain benefits tremendously. When an effective supply chain management system has been implemented, profits increase, efficiency improves and customer service which leads to repeat business.

If you’d like to see what a Supply-Chain Management (SCM) system looks like in real-life, request a demo today:

Are you making money on your projects? Job Costing is Key.

In today’s competitive business environment, companies need an edge to compete, and survive. For many years big corporations have been taking advantage of big data to drive sales and purchasing decisions and determine the profitability of jobs. As more companies have integrated advanced technological solutions into their day-to-day operations, the availability of almost real-time integrated data has allowed small and medium sized companies to take advantage of this information.

In the Construction Industry, the profitability of a project can make or break a company. This is where advanced construction software such as an ERP Software specializing in the construction Industry come into play. Businesses can start with modules such as accounting, time tracking, or estimating and can add additional modules such as job costing as needed. Because all of the modules are linked it allows management the ability to access data and create custom reports.

Read Also: What is an ERP Software?

Job costing software is a useful management tool that when integrated into an enterprise solutions package allows user to track a job from the proposal/estimate stage through completion. This data can help to determine profitability for a project on an ongoing real-time basis allowing for adjustment to be made throughout a projects development.

Cost Analysis: Track Profitability with Job Cost Software

In today’s competitive environment as profit margins tighten, it’s imperative for every business to be able to control and manage costs and assess profitability on a project-to-project basis. Job costing software should offer powerful management reporting, detailed accounting capabilities, flexibility and control. Integration with existing software such as account receivables and payables, general ledger, time tracking, sales and purchase orders, and estimating modules allow for a full analysis to accurately evaluate profitability. Because of this integration, it becomes possible to track any job on a monthly, weekly or even daily basis.

Read Also: 5 Tips to Keep Construction Projects Within Budget

Job costing software will allow you to track operating costs and profitability. It also gives you the power to:

  • Connect job estimates directly to billing
  • Track specific costs and organize receipts by client and job
  • Break down materials costs by client, job, or project
  • Track employee time and tasks and attach them to a specific job or client
  • Create various reports including job profitability
  • Track profitability across jobs, classes and time scales
  • Give you insight into profitability leaks and secure them quickly

Business Intelligence is the Key to Growth

Having access to in depth information about all aspects of a project allows you to refine your estimating process, compare profitability across job categories, keep track of employee’s billable hours, and simplify the billing process. With part of a modular enterprise software system, it’s possible to pull specific reports about any aspect of a project. This allows you to analyze job cost and profitability for specific areas of your business. By being able to compare job class profitability, you can then make an informed decision about which type of work to pursue. Understanding this aspect of your business allows you to direct your new business focus and grow your company.

Job costing software can keep you on top of any daily changes in your business. In today’s challenging business environment having up to the minute data and the ability to control costs based on that data is the key to success. Including a job costing software package in your enterprise system is a smart business decision.

Controlling costs is a key to success and Adjutant can help with that success.

Read Also: How to Choose a Manufacturing ERP Software?

ABIS’ Job Costing Software gives you the ability to track cost revenue information down to fine detail for every job (project). Powerful features are built in to streamline the entire process. Always know where your bid proposals and projects stand with up-to-the minute status reports.

Don’t start a job without ABIS’ Job costing Software. For more information regarding ABIS’ Job costing Software, call 713-680-2247 or request a demo of our ERP.

Automating your Purchasing and Procurement Department Can Increase Profit More Than Sales Growth

In today’s murky economic environment, it’s imperative that for your business to increase its profitability, it needs to be more productive at the lowest possible cost to your business. New supply chain management software can increase the profitability of your business by automating your purchasing and procurement processes. This blog explores how automating purchasing and procurement procedures can increase the profitability of your business.

Purchasing and procurement automation will increase profitability

Supply chain management software is a comprehensive suite of technology that is designed to fully automate and integrate supply chain operations from end-to-end. This technology of integration and automation will boost your profitability by:

Saving Your Business Money

An automated purchasing and procurement system saves your business money by consolidating your inventory management system. The tracking and supplying of raw materials and components are centralized so that unnecessary costs are eliminated in providing goods for open sales orders.  Additionally, an automated system allows your procurement department to maximize its buying power by consolidating orders, which reduces the cost per transaction and gives your business bigger volume discounts. As a result, your business can expect an increase in savings between 5 to 15 percent.

Improving Time Management

Purchasing and procurement automation reduces the time it takes to perform administrative tasks. Your staff will be able to execute the entire order-to-delivery cycle with a click of the mouse. Purchasing managers will spend more time analyzing spending trends of your vendors and getting favorable prices from suppliers instead of watching over mundane administrative tasks.

Increasing Accuracy

With automated purchasing and procurement processes, your business will always have accurate inventory counts, calculations of costs of operations and cost of sales. As a result, your business will have real-time inventory counts and know where revenue is being gained and where it’s being lost.

Read Also: Are you making money on your projects? Job Costing is Key

Maximizing Buying Power

When your business employs an automated purchasing and procurement system, it will increase the buying leverage of your business. Your business will gain buying leverage because the supply chain management software will give you data about the spending trends of your suppliers. This gives your business a bigger picture of your vendors and enables your procurement staff to build stronger relationships with them. As a result, your staff can maximize negotiations to gain price breaks, volume discounts, and favorable payment terms.

Simplifying Compliance

Because this technology centralizes all of your business’ purchasing and procurement functions it’s easy for your purchasing and procurement staff to ensure that a single standard for buying is established and enforced. The system gives your staff the teeth it needs to ensure compliance with established contracts, approved vendor lists, and pre-sourced catalogs, standard ordering, and approval processes.

Enhancing Logistics

Logistical complexity is inevitable because of increasing globalization and demands for a diverse product mix. However, an automated purchasing and procurement system can reduce this complexity because the system improves on-time delivery performance and instills full visibility into how finished goods are stored and distributed. As a result, efficient coordination of multiple warehouses and transportation channels is assured and customer satisfaction is maximized.

Read Also: Supply Chain Management: What you don’t know, Can hurt you

Strengthening Your Forecasting and Planning

Incorporating supply chain management software into your business can help your business forecast and plan in a robust manner. Automated purchasing and procurement systems enhances your ability to accurately anticipate your customer demand and plan the proper purchasing and procurement procedures. As a result, you’ll avoid buying unneeded raw materials, stop manufacture over-runs, prevent over stock of inventory, and eliminate the act of slashing prices to move inventory. That is one of the three benefits detected by ERP Focus, a group that helps industrial buyers find an ERP system adapted to their needs.

Easing Return Management

An automated purchasing and procurement system makes it easy to inspect and handle defective or broken goods. In addition supply chain software makes it easy to process claims with suppliers, distributors, and insurance companies.

Today’s economy has caused profit margins to shrink. As you can see, supply chain management software is the tool your business needs to maximize all of its resources at the lowest possible cost. As a result, you’ll increase your profit margin in the present and sustain large profit margins in the future.

Supply chain management software is not simply a tool for reducing cost, but a tool for increasing sales.  It is also about enhancing business value and gaining a competitive edge. According to The Gartner Group, A 5% reduction in operating costs has the same P & L impact as a 30% increase in sales.

Read Also: How to Choose a Manufacturing ERP Software

Contact us today to find out how automating your purchasing and procurement processes can increase the profitability of your business. Call 713-680-2247 (ABIS) or email info@abiscorp.com or discover more ERP features in a demo:

LEAN FOR BUSINESS: What? Why? How?

What is LEAN?

The sole purpose of a lean methodology is to increase the value for the customer while decreasing waste or cost within your company.
To achieve this, companies will adjust the way their workforce, processes, management, systems, procedures, and even how they fulfill orders or services to maximize efficiency.

The goal is to eliminate erroneous waste (or unnecessary obstacles that hinder the workflow) from the organization on a horizontal scale. Meaning, there is no one focal point when implementing lean in a business.

Every aspect of the organization—including the people—are evaluated to enhance their effectiveness. A lean business enables you to adjust to the needs and trends of the customer with speed and low cost.

In his book 2 Seconds Lean (Link to the free PDF version on Paul’s website) author Paul Akers explains that there are 8 wastes that plague every company:

  1. Over-production
  2. Over-processing
  3. Excess Inventory
  4. Defects
  5. Transportation
  6. Wasted Motion
  7. Waiting Time
  8. Unused Employee Genius

Here is a gross screenshot of Paul’s book. You will find it page 25:

Paul Akers - 8 Wastes

At the heart of lean is a simpler and more efficient business model cost, and with very fast throughput times. Also, information management becomes much simpler and more accurate.

Main concepts of LEAN

There are twelve key concepts for lean.

  1. Cellular Manufacturing — A method of grouping equipment or processes to reduce cycle time to meet market needs.
  2. Takt Time — This represents the average time a business must produce a product or service to fulfill a customer’s needs and expectations. Here is an image from lean.org that illustrates it:What is Takt Time
  3. Standardized Work — A documented approach to fulfill the Takt time requirements.
  4. One-Piece Flow (Continuous Flow) — A process of fulfillment that reduces batch size to produce products or services one-value at a time. What is one-piece flow?
  5. Pull Systems (Kanban) — A process where a customer lets the business know what they want and then the business produces it as it’s needed. Print-On-Demand publishing is an example of this.
  6. Five Why’s — A way of thinking to ask “why” until the team or business is able to determine the best course of action and solve a problem.
  7. Quick Changeover (SMED) — Three-stage method to reduce the time when equipment or person are being rotated or changed. It keeps the process flowing smoothly with little delay.
  8. Mistake Proofing — A design within the production stage that safeguards human error from occurring.
  9. Leveling the Workload — A process of streamlining and building workload or process over time to ensure the workload is evenly distributed, regardless of the customer variables.
  10. Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) — A system to improve equipment effectiveness and boost morale.
  11. Five S’s — According to Manufacturing Success, this methodology is a “process is based on improving production as well as enhancing quality of work and decreasing the frequency of workplace accidents”. What is 5s?
  12. Problem Solving (PDCA or PDSA cycles) — Different cycles to determine the root cause of a problem and then fix it. The site Creative Safety Supply develops: “In many ways, the PDCA cycle is a great introduction to Lean manufacturing. Like all Lean methodologies, The PDCA cycle pushes production toward efficiency and strives to make processes better”.

 What is the PDCA cycle?

History of LEAN

Henry Ford was arguably the first person to implement what he called a flow production. This enabled him to produce automobiles at a rapid rate and streamline the process. However, while Ford could pump out numerous cars every few days, his drawback was an inability of variety.

This bled over to another car manufacturer, Toyota, who tweaked the process and came up with their own process shortly after World War II, called the Toyota Production System.

Their basic approach shifted the focus from individual machines to the total flow of the process. They implemented new machines to monitor other machines that could make large volumes of parts but in a new assembly format.

This allowed Toyota to produce cars at low cost, but with high variety and quality, based on the customer’s desire. Toyota is still the leading example of lean today, implementing millions of changes each year to improve.

Since then, many business have been adopting this method to their own processes.

5 principles of LEAN for Lean Manufacturing

Based around Toyota’s Production System approach to cut waste, Womack and Jones highlight the five key principles to lean manufacturing.

  1. Value — Determines how much a customer is willing to pay for a certain good or service. Based on this, a business can determine how much it’ll cost to produce it and what the wastes might be, then work to reduce those to increase their profit share.
  2. Value Stream — The entire workflow of a product’s life-cycle. This begins with the materials to make a product or service and continues to the cost a customer’s use.
  3. Flow — A fully synchronized process where each component of production flows smoothly to the next and never stops.
  4. Pull — A process where a business waits for a need then fulfills it. A good example of this is POD in publishing. ERP works like this as well, but requires flexibility and an effective approach, systems, processes, and workflow in place to master.
  5. Perfection — The ongoing pursuit of continuous improvement that ensures a business maintains a lean environment with flexibility and a teachable spirit.

3 pillars of LEAN

The typical view of the three pillars of lean are Elimination of Waste + Continuous Improvement = Lean.

However, Paul Akers, author of 2 Second Lean, came up with a new approach (or perspective) for the three pillars. He believes that it’s more than elimination of waste or continuous improvement, but that the focus should be on the people.

Pillar 1 — Get people to “see the waste”

It’s one thing to eliminate waste, but if no one is trained or familiar with how to recognize waste when it rears its head, no one will know to deal with it.

He teaches people to understand what he calls “the eight wastes”. These include:

  1. Over-production.
  2. Transportation.
  3. Excess Inventory.
  4. Defects.
  5. Over-processing.
  6. Wasted Motion.
  7. Waiting Time.
  8. Wasted Potential.

Here is a concrete example of the 8 “Deadly Sins of Waste” in a fast food:

Paul Akers - 8 Deadly Sins of Wastes

Pillar 2 — Continuous improvement for everything, everyone, and everyday

This aligns with the original understanding of Continuous Improvement but bleeds over into every facet of a business. This is done through making continuous small improvements over time.

Pillar 3 — Make “before and after videos of your improvements”

These videos do not need to be perfect and should not take up much of your time. The purpose of these “before and after” videos is so you can track your improvements and put them in a visual stream so you can see the actual change.

Why you should implement LEAN

If you’re in business then chances are you’re always looking for ways to improve your workflow, lower your margins, and increase your net revenue streams.

One way to achieve this is by merely tweaking your current process to optimize it. Oftentimes, organizations and businesses already have the necessary tools, people, and ability to increase their profit shares and increase output with less effort or cost.

The trick is in understanding and knowing how to tweak your business for higher efficiency. Lean gives you the blueprint to understand how to perceive your business, the workflow, the people, the technology, the customer, and more so you can adjust where necessary.

Whether you’re a small business or a multi-billion-dollar industry, you can benefit from lean. If someone walked up to you today and said, “I have a tool bag that will revolutionize your business. If you use the tools within this bag, you will increase your business’s profit share, reduce costs and time, and improve your systems, employees, and technologies effectiveness.” Would you take it?

That’s basically what lean is. It’s one of many great business models to incorporate into your business to enhance it. It’s not a prescriptive method. It molds to your needs, not the other way around.

The Benefits

There are many benefits to implementing lean in your business, we’ll touch on a few of the biggest ones.

  • Frees up Space —As your business grows, you’ll require additional equipment, resources, or people to fulfill that growing demand. Now you’ll have the “space” (or capacity) to grow.
  • Faster Product Creation & Service Delivery — Quicker turnaround times, while eliminating erroneous activities or procedures speeds up your process, which in turn, increases your profit share capability and reduces costs. Something that might have taken weeks can now be fulfilled in a few days.
  • Customer “Pulls” the Product — This reduces your inventory stockpile in warehouses and allows for a smoother and more efficient ordering & fulfillment process. You create, fulfill, and ship the desired product or service when the customer wants it. This reduces costs, frees up space, saves time, and increases fulfillment orders.
  • Better Product Quality — Another term commonly used for increased quality is “Six Sigma”. This is merely a statistical method to enable quality to fall within a limited defect range of 4ppm produced pieces or less. When you create-upon-order, you’re able to ensure better quality, while also delivering it quicker.
  • Enhanced (perfect) Order Rate — Having a perfect (flawless) order rate is what every business is after. When you create or produce a product or service when the customer asks for it, you’re able to deliver it on-time, every time.
  • Multi-Skilled & Skilled Employees — Incorporating a skill workforce with multi-faceted abilities enables your business to run smoothly even when someone is out. This reduces bottlenecks in your production. This is broken into four categories:

Level 1 — Employee goes through training.

Level 2 — Employee requires minimum supervision to perform tasks.

Level 3 — Employee requires no supervision to perform tasks.

Level 4 — Employee can train others to perform tasks.

  • Self-Managing Teams — This goes hand-in-hand with the levels above. If your workforce can self-manage, that frees up leadership for more important matters to increase the growth of the company. This reduces the necessity to micromanage and boosts morale and trust.
  • Improved Focus — Everyone knows the mission, goals, or objectives of the company and is involved with the process.
  • All Employee Skills Incorporated — The best businesses incorporate the skills, talents, experiences, and ideas of their employees. The best leaders surround themselves with people who are better, brighter, and more driven then they are. By utilizing your employees’ talents, skills, and passions you increase the quality of the work environment and enhance productivity and purpose.

How You Should Implement LEAN

Leadership

A lean, effective, productive, and efficient business always starts at the top and works down. Leaders are the foundation of any organization. While people may see leaders, supervisors, and C-suite executives as the deciding factors and face of a company, they are not the tip of the pyramid, but the bottom.

A true leader walks by example and their employees will follow. By incorporating lean methodologies and principles into your own life—first—the people around you will follow you and learn from you.

The trick is not to point the finger at those around you or processes or production or systems and blame them for the problems or waste, but to point at “your own waste” and fix it first. As Paul Akers likes to say, “90% of our day is waste”. The trick is to removing that waste in our own lives so that we can lead by example.

The first step to a lean environment and business is with the leaders.

Culture

Culture follows what the leaders distill into its employees, processes, systems, framework, goals, missions, expectations, and even how they perceive themselves. Culture is directly linked to leadership.

The best way to implement a culture of lean is by living it out every day and seeking to improve on yourself. If each person maintains a teachable spirit and looks to improve their own processes and actions in life, the entire company will fulfill and stimulate an atmosphere of lean, which means productivity and waste management.

ABIS Best-Practices

Here at ABIS, we believe there are best-practices to every situation in life. Why learn from your own mistakes when you can follow a proven path of success by others?

So for us, our best-practices revolve around learning, continuous tweaking, automating procedures and processes, and growing from the surplus of resources and knowledge all around us.

We can all learn from other businesses around us. As you implement a lean mindset into your daily routine, you’ll begin to see everything through the lens of “a simpler approach to solve problems”. That’s what we believe in here. Make life easier, not harder. And improve the quality of work, environment, and living through people.

ABIS ERP Software

ABIS offers consulting services to empower organizations and businesses to reach their full potential. We believe in giving and spreading the blessings to others. Just as Paul Akers says in his book 2 Second Lean, the primary purpose of lean is to give, not to take.

Over the years, we’ve grown substantially and have fostered a healthy atmosphere where employees and clients love to work. But that’s just one facet of our outlook and business strategy.

Our bread and butter is our ERP software. Just as LEAN teaches us to continue to improve and remove waste, we’ve created software that does both. Where LEAN incorporates the vision and principle of cutting the waste and getting better, our software does this on autopilot.

Read Also: What is an ERP Software?

If there was ever a better way to reduce waste, while simultaneously, improving it’s software. We’ll review your business model, pinpoint areas of waste and drawback, help you implement a strategy to remove them, and then improve your process through automation.

LEAN is whatever you make it. Why not call us today for a free consultation to see how ERP software can streamline your business, save you thousands of hours, and increase your margin? Take the first step to a LEAN enterprise and request a demo today.

Three Ways your Manufacturing ERP can Improve your Supply Chain Management

Competing in an increasingly complex market has its challenges. As your competitors up their game and take advantage of new technologies, you need to be ready to adapt. If you know that you have room for improvement in your Supply Chain Management processes, you might be deciding whether to opt for a stand-alone SCM system or a more holistic ERP. Here are three top reasons for choosing an ERP fit for manufacturing.

1. Increased Visibility & Efficiency

ERP software gives you visibility into material usage, logistics and procurement across your whole manufacturing organization. Having this breadth of data inevitably enables better Supply Chain Management decisions.

If there are inefficiencies in your chain, you’ll spot them much faster when you have all the data at your fingertips. With the right manufacturing ERP features, you can optimize inventory levels to avoid material shortages and make sure your purchasing cycles align with production and demand. This gives you two huge benefits. Firstly, you’ll be much better positioned to ensure your customers receive what they want, when they want it. Secondly, your ERP system will be helping you directly impact the bottom line but cutting down wasted storage space and manpower because of flaws in materials management.

2. Streamline Vendor Management

Stand alone processes and systems make it very difficult for each department to operate as a whole. Choosing a system that compares your activity with your business goals, manufacturing schedule and inventory opens the door to automation. Freeing your workforce to focus on other critical business functions where the human touch is needed most. The right ERP system can enable that. You can even have your ERP automatically place orders when inventory drops below a certain level.

Imagine if your vendor management people could spend more time on building relationships, improving standards, tying in better SLAs and finding new suppliers? In fact, having better data on what you need and when can even help you take advantage of economies of scale. By taking away some of the needless legwork and knowing exactly what you need and when means that your people have more time to negotiate better deals. This is just one of the many ways you’ll see an ROI from your ERP investment.

Aside from the opportunity to have your people focus on more strategic priorities, you also reduce the problem of human error. No more nasty surprises because someone didn’t place an order at the right time! You can even track vendor performance against KPIs such as cycle time, errors and quality.

3. Fraud Detection & Prevention

Because of the enhanced visibility an ERP system enables, any discrepancies that might indicate corruption, fraud or malfeasance in your organization will be easily detected. Nobody likes to have these suspicions but having the tools to identify abnormalities in your supply chain can put your mind at ease. Not only that, but because you will have data to back up any incidents, it will be much easier to pursue prosecution if it comes to it.

Having the ERP in itself is a huge deterrent to anyone considering taking advantage of your business. Just as your security cameras watch over your warehouse gates, your ERP watches over your finances and inventory. Once people know there’s a chance of detection, they are far less likely to put themselves at risk.

If you’re deciding on which ERP is right for your manufacturing business, consider these factors and list down all other manufacturing pain-points that you want it to address. To ensure you find the best fit for your business, take a look at the complete ERP RFP guide and template. To make sure you have a successful rollout, download the ERP implementation guide.

Human Error: Who Should You Blame?

Often when we hear the term human error, our minds immediately assume something went wrong by a human. This is not always the case and the phrase is misleading. An error or mistake is never quite so black and white.

The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

The same goes with your business. If you were to ask the technicians and developers who handle computer systems, they’d all agree with the old adage, “garbage in, garbage out.” Basically, this doesn’t mean the product, the source, or even the person entering the code or information is the problem. Sometimes they are, but not always. The majority of the time an error or faulty flow cycle is caused by errant keystrokes or the environment around the source of the entry.

Let’s take your business as an example. Do you use automation in your supply chain; how about in invoicing and reporting? If you’re like most, you probably use automation systems for several aspects of your business to keep it running smoothly on autopilot. With the world around us moving so fast around us, every second counts.

Ask yourself these questions: How much of your business runs on automation? Do you print invoices for a handful of customers because they require very specific attention and formatting? Annoying, right? Not the customer but the process. Doing it every single time, over and over again. Humans are animals of repetition and habit. That’s how our minds learn to adapt to our environment and the people therein.

But this familiarity also causes blind spots. It’s only natural. Our brains protect us from the dangers around us by monitoring our surroundings constantly, but dangers aren’t always in the form of a wolf lurking up behind you. Oftentimes, the danger is missed information in the mundane tasks. Just think about it. You probably sell items that require specific disclaimers. Why? To display important information to the customer in question. Do your employees have difficulty with certain processes? Do you see mistakes or less-than-efficient results in the same departments and don’t know why? You got rid of the problem makers but you’re still crashing or having the same errors time and time again.

Maybe you’ve even laid off some folks because of it. Maybe they deserved it. Maybe not. The problem is rarely obvious, but always easily remedied. Have you considered you might have a less-than-efficient overall process and management system? Could the company internal dynamic be causing the external errors? Don’t like what you’re hearing? Don’t fret, it’s all growing pains that other successful businesses have experienced before ERP software set them straight.

Read Also: What is an ERP Software?

Take A Step Back

As humans, when we see a problem, we try to fix it. Men are especially bad at this. We’re prone to solve problems and create solutions for everything we encounter during our days. This often gets us into trouble with our spouses and significant others. Women, you know what I’m saying.

A man’s analytical lean is not a bad thing, but it can cause disturbances in the process if left unchecked. That goes for all business men and women. We’re wired as problem solvers. It’s a blessing and a curse. When you’re assessing a potential human error in one of your departments, I challenge you to take a moment to pause and reflect on the full context of the situation before placing the blame on a specific operator, employee, or department.

More times than not, the issue lies not with the human but the environment. This could be the management systems, procedures, outdated technology, inadequate training, lack of and poor communication, or a whole slew of things. It’s never quite as simple as “push this button.” That’s one reason why eyewitness accounts don’t hold up in court. We all perceive our own realities within the same environment, situation, or occurrence. If we can’t be trusted with our own experiences, then how could we assume the answer to a business problem is straightforward?

I hope these questions are getting your wheels turning. In order to thrive in business, we must always maintain an attitude of learning and a teachable spirit. Continuous growth of knowledge, experience, and wisdom is the root of all great businesses. But I won’t leave you with arbitrary philosophies and uncertainties left unanswered.

There is a solution; and yes this one goes against my earlier statement of “nothing is quite so simple,” but in this case, it is. So what is it you might be wondering. ERP software.

Your Preemptive Strike

ERP software, specifically Adjutant, will guide you through the array of procedures, processes, and checks and balances that you set in place. This ensures nothing is left unturned or crucial steps overlooked. Your managers can construct limitations to monitor and control how much someone can spend. It also gives you a powerful tool to investigate any errors that arise.

But that’s the other great thing about Adjutant. It’s your preemptive strike before errors arise, thus saving you the headache and time associated with solving it, and in turn, putting more money in your pocket. As we all know “time is money,” but I’ll challenge you to go one step further. Efficiency, transparency, and omniscient access is the stimulus of money AND a thriving business.

If you’re constantly wasting your valuable time managing the menial tasks and putting out fires, it might mean it’s time for you to look for a better solution. We can help you put a permanent blanket over those problems and prevent them from happening again. Give us a call or schedule a demo today to see how the #1 ERP software can solve more than your problems but propel you to the next level of prosperity.

How To Save Your Field Inspectors 8,000 Hours of Work

Ozzie Paz started working in the Utilities Industry in 2004. He is now the Builder Service Manager for Municipal District Services. He explains how Adjutant helped him and his team of Field Inspectors save over 8,000 hours of work last year.

Utilities ERP Demo

The Field Inspector’s nightmare

When Ozzie started in the industry, the entire inspection was performed on paper. Paper forms caused several errors such as forms getting lost, being indecipherable, and having duplicate entries. Field Inspectors would waste hours of time trying to figure out what happened and what was the next step. Ozzie stated that they often had to go back to the customer’s location and start the entire inspection over. It would not only hurt their productivity but also generate high volumes of paper needing to be stored. “Sometimes we would spend weekends filing papers, and if anybody called, you had to dig through multiple boxes or go into our archives. It was a nightmare,” explains Ozzie.

Utilities ERP Demo

Going Paperless

Adjutant Software was put into place by ABIS, who installed a mobile solution to complete the inspection digitally. Field Inspectors were now seamlessly connected to the office and all files were able to be saved electronically. These files were also able to be sent within minutes to the right person, therefore eliminating several redundant processes at MDS. Inspectors now received

not only complete but accurate information every morning. Searching for archives now only takes minutes instead of hours.
The new processes generated thousands of hours of time savings every year. Ozzie states “we perform over 20,000 inspections a year, and this process saved us an average of 1.5 hours on each of these tasks which would take up to 25% of our time.” This equals to 8,000 hours of work saved every year. Ozzie added, “if you look at our growth, from 2012 until now, we should have already hired somebody; but hiring has been leveling off because of the unforeseen hours saved by Adjutant.”

Utilities ERP Demo

Reports KPIs

By MDS now performing their inspections digitally, this allowed them to not only experience a time savings benefit but also gave them the ability to collect valuable data to build custom reports. They are able to compare the number of inspections performed to their average completion time, thus giving them valuable insight into their current productivity. They have more visibility into key performance indicators such as knowing how many taps were set up each month. Knowing these KPIs allows them to watch trends and set future goals. An entirely new level of understanding about their business has been unlocked by Adjutant, and it only makes Municipal District Services more efficient every year.

How to Get IAS AC472 Accreditation

What is IAS AC472?

Eases and simplifies the process of acquiring AC472 accreditation through built-in automation features addressing most IAS regulations and criteria.
The International Accreditation Service (IAS) provides Accreditation Criteria (AC) for many types of products.

The IAS AC472 (Accreditation of Metal Building Manufacturers) is essential for metal building manufacturers where the building code inspection requirements are enforced. If a manufacturer is Accredited under IAS AC472, the special inspection requirements of the International Building Code, Chapter 17 are relaxed. Most architects do not want to accept “non-accredited” manufacturers because the burden of special inspections falls back on the architect.

What is the Accreditation Process?

In the accreditation process, the International Accreditation Service will verify that the manufacturer has the required quality system documentation, independent inspection agency, material tracking and record system to ensure that the metal buildings produced are reliable.

What Documentation is Necessary?

The quality system must fully document all of the design, fabrication, quality inspection and record maintenance requirements of the IAS AC472 Evaluation Criteria.   There will be a Quality System Manual (either electronic or paper) that instructs the manufacturers personnel how each process is to be conducted, inspected and recorded.  This Quality System Manual will contain all Welding Procedure Specifications, Weld Standards or other means of communicating welding requirements to the welder.

Welding documentation is essential.  Welders must be properly qualified for the process and position of welding they are required to use in production.  These welder qualifications must be performed by an independent Certified Welding Inspector (CWI).   Specialty Plus, LLC has developed systems that can be adapted to your specific manufacturing processes.  The quality system developed by Specialty Plus has been successfully implemented for many small and mid-sized manufacturers to fully cover all elements of the IAS AC472 Program.  Dennis Johnson, the developer of the quality system document is a Professional Engineer, Structural Engineer and Certified Welding Inspector with many years of quality system experience in design and manufacturer of metal building systems.

Independent Inspection Agency

The metal building manufacturer is required to contract with an Accredited Agency that is qualified to provide independent inspection services by IAS.   The Independent Inspection Agency will review your quality system documentation, welder records and quality records. They will  perform a “pre-audit” if requested, to verify that the manufacturer is ready for the accreditation assessment by IAS. Farabaugh Engineering and Testing (AA-715) is one of the most qualified Independent Inspection Agencies.  Under the direction of Mr. Dave Fulton, Farabaugh Engineering and Testing has inspectors that have been involved in the metal building inspection and quality program for many years. Dave has over 30 years of experience in the metal building industry and is a Certified Welding Inspector of both American Welding Society (AWS) and Canadian Welding Bureau (CWB). Farabuagh has  the experience and personnel required to assist your company to become accredited.

Quality Records

Quality records are essential for all phases of design and fabrication of the metal building system for the Accreditation process.  Records will be required for calibration, calibration standards, maintenance, contract documents, change orders, material certifications, quality verifications and training and personnel qualifications.  Adjutant Software was developed by people within the metal building industry to satisfy and streamline the record maintenance and retention requirements of the IAS AC472 Program.  Adjutant software can be implemented to speed material purchasing, receiving, inventory control, engineering design output, erection and shop drawings, material identification and traceability  as well as quality system and maintenance records.

Specialty Plus, Farabaugh Engineering and Testing and Adjutant Software

Together, Specialty Plus, Farabaugh Engineering and Testing and Adjutant Software can provide the most complete, cost effective and easy to implement quality, inspection and information management system for your metal building company.  Visit the following websites for further information on each business and contact information.

www.specialtyplus.net

www.Fetlabs.com

www.metalEZ.com

How HVAC Companies Can Improve Visibility Over Their Inventory

Keeping track of inventory poses a big challenge for many HVAC companies because most don’t have live visibility into their inventory. Oftentimes companies don’t know what inventory items are in the warehouse, what has already been allocated to their service vehicles, and employees will pull inventory from the warehouse that is already allocated for other jobs. They then have to rush order inventory so they can fill customer orders.

Employees also often find themselves at the job site without the necessary inventory, which then triggers a trip back to the warehouse, to another service van to borrow parts, or even to the supply store to purchase inventory. This has a trickle-down effect which results in wasted costs, wasted time in transit, and wasted billable time for the company.

Rush orders are costly, and not understanding what inventory you have leads to multiple orders per vendor monthly. What’s the best possible solution?

The right ERP optimizes inventory control, reduces costs and provides a live look into your current inventory across all locations.

When a business is divided into several departments, sometimes they each will use a different software package to run their operations. An ERP combines these software systems into a single, integrated solution that’s divided into modules. Each department (finance, procurement, warehouse, etc.) will all still get their own module, but the difference is that the modules are now linked together.

ERP (enterprise resource planning) packages can tag, track, and locate every resource a company has, and with this detailed tracking, HVAC companies can accurately manage their inventory wherever it is stored – in a warehouse, storeroom or service vehicle.

An ERP system not only simplifies warehouse operations; it also promotes a culture of collaboration. When a system is linked together, it unlocks complete visibility throughout the entire organization. This facilitates communication and provides a platform where the back office, warehouse, and technicians can seamlessly connect.

This is how an ERP system makes warehouse management more efficient.

When scanner technology is combined with an ERP application, data is instantly collected during receiving, put-away, picking, and packing. Every time the status of an item changes, employees will scan it and update it in real-time. Because this data is only entered once, this helps to eliminate data duplication and cut down on inventory shrinkage. One of the main causes of a company’s shrinkage issues is when they rotate between different accounting, shipping, and manual spreadsheets. Because there isn’t a centralized system, the chances for administrative and paperwork errors increases.

With this more effective way of managing inventory, HVAC companies will always know where their inventory is and there are no questions about if an item is in transit or whether it’s still on site. Because an ERP is also a central source of information, all departments will have access to this live, updated information 24/7.
These are some other benefits of this real-time information:

• Companies can now easily track inventory on their service trucks and can even have pre-loaded inventory the night before. This saves time in the mornings because technicians won’t have to waste valuable hours in the warehouse searching for inventory, which improves efficiency and increases worker satisfaction.

• This also allows companies to increase their service calls per day by 1 appointment because technicians won’t have to pick up parts every morning (they are pre-picked the night before) and there is more accuracy with the inventory items on their service vehicles. This means that they won’t have to waste time driving across town for parts.

• Because ERP systems can often be accessed from anywhere (off-site and from mobile devices), technicians are able to share, store, and view job data while in the field. This gives them a real-time, virtual link to the back office.

• Customer satisfaction also increases because service appointments won’t take as long or won’t require multiple visits for a simple fix; and when you meet customer demands in this way, there is a greater chance of them becoming repeat customers.

An ERP Quickly Identifies Savings Opportunities and Improves Supplier Relationships

Because an ERP is a central source of up-to-the-minute information, employees can now make faster, more informed business decisions. With real-time updates of vendor and inventory information, they can quickly identify savings opportunities. An ERP also provides reliable information for more accurate forecasting.

At ABIS, our complete ERP solution determines potential suppliers of items through commodity groups, previous orders, and preferred status. It automatically requests bids from them based on inventory levels or generated quotes. Because this is a single, integrated solution, it ties together inventory with accounting and every other department within a company. This helps help you find the lowest prices, manage and track your spending, automate purchase orders based on inventory levels, and streamlines your entire supply-chain.

Investing in an ERP means that you have better resource planning, which helps improve supplier relationships. Suppliers really appreciate it when they have real-time information because this helps them gain a more complete understanding of the businesses they serve. By having this greater visibility, they can meet your needs more effectively. Delays in the supply chain will decrease, and the flow of operations will greatly improve.
The Bottom-Line

Keeping track of inventory in real-time can be a challenge for many HVAC companies, but inventory management problems don’t have to overwhelm you.

Business.com states that there is no business too small for an ERP solution because when you have real-time data, transparency, decision-making, and productivity increases. This is the secret weapon that allows every business to appear, act and operate on an enterprise-scale level. This is how you stay competitive!
When you run an HVAC business, taking the time to change and improve your warehouse and inventory management processes will make your supply chain run smoother and will lead to greater efficiency and profitability.

Let our team at ABIS help you. To learn more, please contact us today.

How to Get a Tax Write Off when Buying a Software

Of all the changes made in tax code legislation in the past few years, are any of them actually beneficial to business owners like you? The answer is, yes. One of the best-kept secrets hidden in the tax code serves as a motivator for businesses, and it’s called Section 179.

After starting your business, writing off all the equipment and software needed to run it is an option. However, rather than get the money for the equipment back in small chunks over a span of time (what is known as depreciation), Section 179 allows business owners to write off the entire amount of the purchased equipment and software for the current tax year immediately, encouraging the purchasing of newer equipment and software when it’s needed, and not later.

Simply put, Section 179 encourages businesses and business owners by enabling them to save more money sooner rather than later. And the best part is the limit, which is quite generous. Your deduction limit for business equipment and software purchases, as dictated by Section 179, is $500,000 with a spending cap of $2,000,000 over the year!

Incredibly, Section 179 also allows business to lease their equipment for less money while still deducting its full purchase amount. That money goes directly back into your business’s bank account! This is not a loophole, but part of the code!

Computers and laptops, office furniture and supplies, certain vehicles used exclusively for your business but especially ERP Software qualify under Section 179.

Read Also: What is an ERP Software?

The largest businesses spend exponentially more on equipment and software than $2,000,000, meaning Section 179 benefits most to small to mid-sized business owners! Claiming deductions under Section 179 is as easy as filling out a simple IRS form.

With the year coming to an end, now is the perfect time to invest into a software and take full advantage of section 179. Contact us to benefit from this opportunity!