Reporting Solutions Pty Ltd
Victorian Cleaning Supplies - Case Study
|Posted on October 21, 2021 at 12:00 AM|
Since 2001 Victorian Cleaning Supplies (VCS) has been a leading provider of commercial and industrial cleaning and packaging products. Based in the Melbourne suburb of Fairfield, VCS stocks more than 2000 products. The business caters to a wide range of industry sectors across Melbourne and regional Victoria including schools, restaurants, medical centres, sports stadiums and nursing homes.
VCS is a member of the RapidClean Co-Operative, which is an Australian-owned company with over 65 outlets through Australia and New Zealand. RapidClean is comprised of cleaning supply experts managing their owner-operated stores, of which VCS is one.
In terms of business technology, for many years VCS relied heavily on a retail management solution that combined point‑of‑sale functionality with customer service, inventory management and sales. While proving an excellent asset over an extended period, eventually cracks began to appear. As VCS’s needs expanded it became increasingly evident that the system was not keeping up. This became quite apparent in 2020 when VCS decided that, at some time in the near future, it would add an ecommerce store to its company website. This would be a sizeable project that VCS’s existing business system would not be able to handle.
“By last year it became clear that the retail management software we had for so long was getting old and clunky and could no longer deliver on what we needed then and what we would need as we expand into ecommerce,” said Sandy Black, co‑owner of VCS.
The search was then on for a replacement business system – ideally in the form of an affordable, feature‑rich and easy‑to‑use Enterprise Resource Solution with strong capabilities in warehousing, purchasing, accounting and inventory management. The new system would also have to be able to integrate with VCS’s ecommerce system and its marketing software.
Sandy soon discovered that several other businesses in the RapidClean Co-Operative were Jiwa users. She figured that if Jiwa works well for such obviously comparable businesses, it will probably work well for hers as well. So she sought out their advice; the feedback was positive.
Sandy says: “After doing some market research and after having spoken with a few other RapidClean business owners it became apparent that Jiwa could not only meet our current requirements – and then some – but could also more than capably meet our needs well into the future. Including, of course, our planned move into ecommerce. The fact that a couple of the RapidClean businesses that use Jiwa are much bigger than us, and therefore have more complex requirements, was especially reassuring.”
“Put simply, Jiwa has dramatically improved our purchasing procedures and our business is far better off for it.”
In August 2020 VCS, with the support and guidance of Jiwa Solutions Partner Reporting Solutions, installed Jiwa 7. A part of the deployment involved integrating the webstore system Web Ninja, as well as the marketing platform Mailchimp, with Jiwa. The transition from its previous business technology to a Jiwa-based set of integrated business systems was fast and seamless, as Sandy explains:
“I was surprised by how quickly and smoothly the Jiwa implementation, which included integration with our other systems, went”, she said. “After a few days training from Reporting Solutions we were up and running. And that’s one of the great strengths of Jiwa – it doesn’t take long to become familiar with how it works; it’s a very user-friendly system.”
Jiwa is currently used on a daily basis at VCS for sales, warehousing, purchasing, accounting, and inventory management.
One of the benefits of a high-quality ERP solution is its ability to analyse sales trends and, based on that information, accurately forecast future demand. Without accurate data to rely on, predicting future demand is a haphazard undertaking, commonly leading to the undersupply or oversupply of stock items. Prior to the deployment of Jiwa, VCS had an ongoing problem with demand planning. VCS’s previous business management system was simply not very good at performing this important task.
At VCS purchasing and inventory management is overseen by Ron McDermott.
“With our old system predictive ordering was very cumbersome and not very reliable”, said Ron. “With Jiwa it’s a completely different story. After logging our sales for the month Jiwa can not only predict what we need to order based on historical sales, it can also forecast future sales based on whatever criteria we enter into the system.
“Despite our newfound ability to completely automate our purchasing processes I’m still in the habit of conducting a manual check of stock levels to identify what products require reordering. One of the advantages of Jiwa is that it will alert me to items that need to be ordered but which I’ve totally overlooked. Because of this capability running out of stock items is now virtually a thing of the past. Put simply, Jiwa has dramatically improved our purchasing procedures and our business is far better off for it.”
Another issue at VCS that has been resolved via the deployment of Jiwa relates to stock level tracking. Previously, there would occasionally be a discrepancy between what the business actually held in stock vs what their business system told them was in stock. Also, every now and then a sold product would have an invoice attached to it that was actually for a different product. This mistake would often not come to light until down the track when a routine stocktake would be carried out. Obviously both these problems were bad for business.
However since installing Jiwa VCS has gained far tighter control over inventory. Ron says that “Jiwa allows us to avoid many of the problems we used to occasionally encounter when it came to inventory control. One of the great things about the system is that it won’t allow us to create an invoice for an item that we don’t have in stock. If we don’t have that item it won’t process the sale.
“Jiwa also picks up on other discrepancies in the sales process. For example occasionally a supplier will change a product’s barcode without letting us know, resulting in problems when we finally sell the item. If we relied wholly on manual processes this type of thing could fly under the radar, however Jiwa nips this issue in the bud by alerting us to the mismatch. From a customer service perspective this helps us enormously.”
One of the daily realities of life as a provider of cleaning supplies is that customers often change their minds after placing an order – frequently in the form of adding new items to the original order. Previously this was a problem for VCS because their business system lacked the ability to change an invoice to reflect new additions. Whenever a customer changed their order the VCS customer rep would have to delete the original invoice and create a new one. For a business that needs to operate with maximum efficiency this was an issue.
Using Jiwa, VCS can now make whatever changes are needed to an order on the fly. Rather than having to start over again when a customer changes their order, changes can be entered into the Jiwa system along the way, right up until the dispatching of the order at which time an invoice is produced. In terms of efficiency and time-saving this new way of doing things is proving a big plus for the business.
“Prior to Jiwa I would repeatedly find myself spending an inordinate amount of time recreating invoices in response to changes that were being requested by customers – changes that often had to be made only minutes before we were scheduled to dispatch the order”, said Ron. “However now, thanks to Jiwa, once we create a sales order we can leave it in the system and make subsequent changes to it as required. It is only when our delivery driver is about to head out that we finalise and print out the invoice. I’m very pleased that those days where I’d have to scramble to make the necessary changes to order prior to dispatch are gone. Things run much more smoothly now.”
Into the Future
Looking to the future, there is a possibility that VCS may one day open a new store to service regions of Victoria that are currently beyond its reach. In this regard owner Sandy is pleased that VCS’s current Jiwa system will be able to meet the business technology needs of both outlets without any additional infrastructure investment.
“When I started evaluating Jiwa one of the first questions I asked was whether the system could address the business requirements of two stores just in case that’s the path we go down in the future”, she said. “Fortunately the answer was yes. It turns out we would indeed be able to run both outlets from the one Jiwa system. We can configure Jiwa to show each store’s profit and loss data separately or we can merge them together; it’s really up to us how we want to organise things. Although we may not end up opening a new store it’s good to know that if we decide to do it Jiwa will be a valuable resource from day one.”
It’s been nearly a year since Victorian Cleaning Supplies installed Jiwa. In that time the system has streamlined operations, boosted efficiency, lifted productivity and dramatically reduced errors in the areas of sales, warehousing, purchasing, accounting and inventory management.
Sandy concludes: “For us Jiwa has more than proven itself as a high-performing Enterprise Resource Solution. From a return‑on‑investment standpoint we are extremely pleased with the decision we made to acquire the system.”
Want to know more? Take a tour of Jiwa to see what it can do for you.
Some Typical Issues Customers Face with their Business Accounting System
|Posted on March 5, 2020 at 10:45 PM|
Some Typical Issues Customers Face with their Business Accounting System
• Inadequate Kitting
• Insufficient Bill of Materials
• Lack of Functionality
• Limited Multi Warehousing capability
• No integration with other applications
• Too much use of Excel
• No Live Data – Locally or in the Field
• Doesn’t Allocate Labour to a Job effectively
• Too much Double Handling
• Inadequate Reporting
• Limited Multi/Special Pricing
• Doesn’t Scale well
• System is Slow
• Doesn’t Calculate Importing Costs properly
• Limited Bar Code Scanning capabilities
• Too much Manual Handling
• Inadequate Part Number/Batch/Serial Number tracking
We need a new word for Disruptive Innovation
|Posted on November 26, 2018 at 8:20 PM|
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge fan of Dr Clayton Christensen’s work. (no, that’s not him pictured above.) Especially his game-changing book “Innovator’s Dilemma.” But I have a bone to pick with him because with the release of that title in 1997 he hijacked the word “disruptive innovation” and has sent a generation of corporate cubicle jockeys searching vainly in the wrong direction.
(Never mind that he actually coined the phrase in the first place.)
This was highlighted last week when I ran a workshop in Shanghai on Disruptive Thinking for a sportswear brand whose product you are very likely to be wearing somewhere on your body at this very moment.
We spent quite a bit of time up front getting aligned on what disruption is … and isn’t.
By Christensen’s definition it’s the ongoing migration to the northeast quadrant of more bells and whistles, greater complexity, higher price, etc. Which creates a vacuum in the southwest quadrant for someone to bring in a more basic, functional, possibly stripped-down version of your thing that performs roughly the same job at a lower price.
Hence new market entrants appear, build a following, and start gradually swimming upstream after you and gobbling up your market. You know, as in “disrupting” you and spoiling your day, if not your whole financial quarter. I get it.
The problem is this.
What word do we have to describe those innovations that jump into the market and completely turn the world upside down? You know, guys like AirBNB, Uber, Netflix. That’s truly disruptive to me because it fits the dictionary definition (thanks, Cambridge) such as “causing trouble and therefore stopping something from continuing as usual.”
I’m working with a broadcasting company in Malaysia that has been completely broadsided by Netflix. That disruption has got nothing to do with lower prices, less functionally or being stripped down. In fact it’s the opposite. But the consumer delight and enhanced entertainment experience of Netflix is apparently worth paying for.
Yes, we can call these step innovations or platform innovations. But those terms don’t nearly have the punk energy to capture the anarchy, the gung-ho creativity, and the market mayhem that’s unleashed by these sorts of players.
The other problem is of course overuse of the word “disruptive.” Very few things truly are that extreme to warrant it. And some more conservative types (such as the consumer goods industry) confuse a 1% marginal gain for being disruptive, because in their world that’s considered really moving the needle. It’s a good day’s work, but it’s NOT really disruptive.
Even the king of disruption, Elon Musk — not known for treading lightly on anything — treads lightly with this word.
“I don’t actually like to disrupt, that sounds … Disruptive! I am much more inclined to say, How can we make things better?”
So maybe we need a whole new word? Radical Innovation, perhaps.
What are YOUR suggestions?
Would love to hear them, because I’d like us all to move to a greater common understanding of what disruptive innovation is. Anyway, thanks Dr Christensen, for starting the conversation in the first place. Your book was really … um … radical.
Written by Stu Lloyd from Hothead Hacks
Protect your business from data loss
|Posted on May 18, 2018 at 6:40 PM|
Whether it’s the result of a cyber attack, a natural disaster, human error, a computer virus or some other terrible event, loss of data can be disastrous for a company. Just imagine it – how would it be if one day you lost your financial data, your customer records or your inventory database? And what if your company’s sensitive personal information landed in the wrong hands?
Significant data loss can easily bring a business to its knees. And if you’re a small to medium-sized organisation, you may be particularly vulnerable. When it comes to cyber breaches, criminals find SMBs the easiest targets. Ransomware attacks on SMBs – where business data is held hostage in return for payment – are rife in Australia, second only to the US.
No business is immune, and the risk is real. If it hasn’t happened to you already, there’s no guarantee it won’t happen in the future. So, what can you do protect your business from, and deal with, data loss? Here are some tips.
Do a data inventory
Prepare a data inventory that sets out what data you have, in what locations and their priority level in terms of security needs. What types of data can you least afford to lose? Business-critical data should be given the highest priority and be the initial focus of your data security plan. From there, develop a set of policies for protecting that data. These policies may include determining who in your business can access what data, limiting access on a ‘need to know’ basis. It would also be smart to set security protocols for mobile devices such as laptops, smartphones and tablets.
Store important data offsite
While it’s highly unlikely that your office will ever burn to the ground, treat your data as though it’s a real possibility. If your data is backed up using technology that’s located in your office only, your firm is vulnerable. Have your data backed up in at least one safe, offsite location (including a trusted cloud services provider). Update your business information as frequently as you possibly can. Losing half a day’s data might be a manageable inconvenience, but the loss of a month’s worth could stop your business dead in its tracks.
Keep your software and systems up to date
If it’s been a while since you’ve updated your operating systems and software, you’re at a greater risk of a data breach. While software vendors can’t completely protect you from malware, their software updates often contain bug fixes and ‘patches’ that address the latest security threats. Be sure to install operating system and software updates, especially antivirus software, as soon as they’re released.
Encrypt your data
These days employees often hold business data on their laptops, tablets and smartphones. If one of these devices gets lost or stolen, it’s critical that the business information they contain is protected. Encryption ensures that only an authorised person – typically the device owner – can access the data. Fortunately, most business software applications have encryption built in. You’ll have to go through a few steps to activate it but it’s well worth the trouble. There are also plenty of data encryption software tools to choose from, tailored to the needs of your business.
Educate your staff
It’s been estimated that at least half of data loss incidents occur because employees don’t know how to properly safeguard data or are simply careless. Educate your staff (or have them educated) on the importance of data security. Make sure everyone is aware of your company’s data protection policies and let them know what data they can and cannot access and store on their computers and mobile devices. Your employees may, for example, be unaware of the dangers of malicious email attachments, restricted websites, weak passwords and other access points commonly used by online criminals.
In case of trouble, use professionals
Most SMBs don’t have the internal expertise to properly manage a significant data loss incident. Allowing a non-expert to recover lost data may, in fact, make the problem worse. Best bet is to engage a reputable disaster recovery service provider. Ideally you would have already done your research on the best vendor to call on in the event of lost data or a cyber attack.
A final word…
Between now and the end of 2018, many Australian businesses will experience a destructive data loss incident. The stakes are simply too high not to act. The more you focus on data security, the more you ensure the future survival and prosperity of your business.
How to transform big data into valuable business intelligence
|Posted on March 1, 2018 at 11:55 PM|
While obtaining information is easy for most businesses, the challenge is to use it intelligently. There’s an abundance of data out there, but limited valuable insights. As a result, many companies are not trying to make sense of their raw data, even though it has the potential to grow their business exponentially. This is a clear mistake – research shows that when companies don’t leverage the insights from their data struggle to identify threats or opportunities, leading to sluggish performance and slow growth. On the other hand, those that generate valuable information from their data are far more equipped to innovate, reduce their risks and address business challenges with confidence. After all, would you prefer to make decisions based on your gut instincts or well-informed facts?
Embracing a data-driven culture
Making data intelligence a priority requires a shift in mindset for many organisations. It’s essential to make data intelligence a KPI, with backing from business leaders and stakeholders. Personnel and processes are an important consideration in this process. Does your team have the right set of skills to understand data and know how to leverage it? Are you actively engaged in using data insights to improve aspects of the business? If the answer to either of these questions is no, it’s probably time to allocate resources into developing a more data-driven culture.
Management software is key
In conjunction with your workplace culture, the secret to business intelligence is having the right tools in place. Having high-quality management software will help you make sense of information by producing useful and productive insights. Here are some ways software can make your data more meaningful and your life easier:
Consolidating your systems
When your information is spread throughout disparate systems, it’s harder to make sense of it all. For example; if your current system doesn't integrate with your warehouse, inventory, CRM and other business functions, it's holding your business back. The best view of your business is a comprehensive one. Good management software will help provide a clearer understanding of opportunities, threats and resources.
Reducing the need to re-enter information
If you’re having to constantly re-enter your data between systems, not only is your valuable time being compromised, but you’re more likely to experience input errors which can compromise the accuracy of data analysis. By cutting out this task, you can use your time more effectively and make more informed decisions.
Generating reports in real time
There’s no point having information in front of you if it’s too tricky to understand. Quality management software will create easy-to-interpret, customisable reports that help you keep track of all your different units.
Scalability as your business grows
Growing businesses need data intelligence more than ever to ensure they’re moving in the right direction. Management software that can’t accurately, securely or efficiently manage data will stunt your growth, while scalable infrastructure will encourage and enhance it.
Want to become a more agile organisation? In today’s data-driven business climate, investing in a system allows you to maximise data intelligence is key. Business management software can help you iron out threats and take advantage of new opportunities. Jiwa will provide the software that’s right for you, helping you enhance your time and efficiency for more informed decision-making. For more information on the benefits of an intelligent management solution, contact us today.
How to streamline your operations in 2018
|Posted on December 6, 2017 at 6:40 PM|
As the year draws to a close, many businesses will start their planning for next year. While it’s important to be forward-thinking, reviewing your current processes should be a big part of your annual planning and development. After all, we get into a routine, with each task becoming second nature and often don’t question the status quo much afterwards.
But how do you know if you’re still using the most effective method? Perhaps introducing a new technology could simplify the way you work, or maybe your business has grown too much for an old process to remain efficient. Reviewing your procedures at the end of the year can boost productivity, efficiency and profitability, opening new opportunities for your business to grow. Here are four steps to help streamline your operations for a productive 2018:
1. Map your process
Pick out a process you think could be improved and record each step of the task from start to end. Remember, each aspect can be complex, containing a range of sub-steps that you or your colleagues may be unaware of. This is why it’s important not to shy away from detail. If there are a few different people involved in the task, be sure to speak to more than one. This will guarantee steps aren’t forgotten, while also helping you gauge the different approaches team members are taking to the same tasks. Note: flow charts are a great tool to use for this, as they provide a visual representation of how things work.
2. Analyse your process
Using the process map developed in the last step, investigate and flag out any areas that you think could be improved, changed or redeveloped. Where is productivity being compromised? What tasks are tedious and time-consuming? At what points are processes being delayed? Which areas do employees find overwhelming? Once these areas are flagged, it’s important to trace the problem back to its origin. Keep in mind that small issues are often just symptoms of bigger problems. Chat to those affected, find out what they find most frustrating about the process and how they think this could improve.
3. Redevelop the process
Using the feedback from staff, design a new version of the process that eliminates the issues identified. Host a workshop for the teams involved, picking their brains for any new approaches, changes or suggestions. Make an effort to note down everyone’s ideas, no matter how large, small or far-fetched they may seem. Next, narrow down all the options, considering any potential opportunities, threats and foreseeable failures that could emerge as a consequence of implementing the change. Once you and your team agree on the new process, create a detailed flow chart documenting each and every step.
4. Communicate the changes
Without proper communication, even the ideas with great potential fail to work. This is why the rollout of your new process is a significant step. It’s important to remember that humans are creatures of habit; and while change is often good, people still tend to resist it. Communicating the benefits of the changes, ensuring individuals are trained effectively, have adequate guidance and are eased into it are essential in the transition. Remember, no change is smooth and teething problems are likely to happen. Even good change takes time to show results, so be patient.
We’re here to help
By providing the software that’s right for you, Jiwa can help you streamline your business for the new year, maximising time, efficiency and helping you make more informed business decisions. We take the stress out of the equation so your business can focus on what it does best. For more information on the benefits of a scalable management solution, Reporting Solutions today.
Why the Jiwa 7 REST API is a game-changer
|Posted on October 18, 2017 at 6:20 PM|
Representational state transfer (REST) or RESTful Application Programing Interface is a methodology that enables data to be extracted and inserted into databases from applications developed externally to the main software development project. It provides a means to interact with the Jiwa database and business logic via HTTP verbs, with the bulk of the service provided by a Jiwa plugin.
Enhancements to our processes
The Jiwa 7 REST API makes it simpler to connect websites, iPhone, iPad, Android apps and other web developed apps to the Jiwa database, making things run far more efficiently. Typical uses include:
- Integrating a web store to Jiwa
- Field sales via a mobile device (iOS/Android/UWA)
- Integrating Jiwa and Point of Sale systems
- Providing intranet services to staff via a web browser
- Providing specialised browser based interfaces for tailored, streamlined operational workflows.
Enhancements to user experience
For Jiwa users, the REST API will provide the opportunity for external applications to be built either by us or third-party developers to enable data to be added and read and written to Jiwa 7.
Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) words like GET, POST, PUT, DELETE, and so on. An app developer can then use these verbs to update and use the Jiwa 7 database as a store of data and then add and edit and read data in and out of the database.
A Jiwa MS Windows Service and web deployment package provide the mechanism to host the service. The routes and the logic behind each route are defined in Jiwa 7 plugins. Additional or alternative routes and logic can be provided by an additional plugin or plugins.
Need more information?
See our technical documentation on how to use the JIWA 7 REST API, here. The actual Jiwa 7 REST API detailed documentation (for heavy hitters) is available here.
There is a lot of information available in the public domain about REST API’s in general. A good starting point is Wikipedia and you can get there by clicking here.
For more information, contact us today.Ph: 03 9566 7249
Fresh and fast: How ERP solved wholesale reporting challenge
|Posted on September 30, 2017 at 9:10 PM|
Produce leader chooses Jiwa Financials to take control of business…
When an Auckland-based wholesale fruit and vegetable distributor sought a flexible, capable financial system which would aid it in compliance with government regulations, only Jiwa Financials was able to meet its requirements. Since then, Chevalier Wholesale Produce has gone from strength to strength in a competitive market, with its business software enabling growth and profitability by automating key administrative tasks.
Established more than 40 years ago, Chevalier Wholesale Produce is an Auckland-based wholesale distributor of premium fresh fruit and vegetables. It supplies fresh produce to airline caterers, shipping lines, hospitals, and a predominantly Auckland-based clientele of restaurants and commercial catering companies. In addition, Chevalier exports to supermarkets in several Pacific islands including Fiji and New Caledonia.
The company operates in a market that is highly susceptible to seasonal fluctuations, particularly among its cruise line and catering customers. While Chevalier employs 60 permanent staff, an additional 10-15 people are required during the peak of Summer.
At first glance, fruit and vegetable wholesale distribution may appear a relatively simple business operation, but as General Manager Graham Janssen explains, the nature of fresh produce creates multiple complexities. “For starters, the produce available and prices change every day,” he notes.
Moreover, to fulfil Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (then – since 2012, the Ministry of Primary Industries – MPI) requirements for export activities, Chevalier must correlate purchases to sales and actual customer names.
When the company tested the market for new financial management software, it discovered that very few packages could help it with this requirement.
Says Janssen, “We spent three months investigating accounting software. Many of the companies we spoke to simply didn’t comprehend our business needs, or they didn’t believe their packages could do what was required. The reason we went with Jiwa and the local Jiwa reseller, Superb Software, was that they showed they understood our business. We were confident that they could deliver.”
“We went with Jiwa because they showed they understood our business.”
That confidence translated into an implementation, with the Jiwa solution being used by up to 30 staff members daily. Janssen says it is an integral tool for Chevalier’s export and telephone salespeople, business analysts and management.
An essential advantage of the system is its usability: Janssen estimates that it takes just under a week for new staff to become fully competent in the software.
In addition to the Jiwa package, Chevalier has tailored the system by tightly linking Crystal Reports and Microsoft Excel to create a range of additional divisional reports. Scripts provide hourly reports linking purchase order information directly to sales orders, giving an immediate snapshot of the overall business, as well as providing the all-important reports for the MPI.
Source: This article was originally sourced from Jiwa Financials
How ERP floated marine supply store's boat
|Posted on April 13, 2017 at 12:55 AM|
Growing business throws accounting package overboard, selects Jiwa ERP solution…
When a burgeoning Tasmanian marine supply business reached the limits of its accounting package, it looked to an enterprise resource planning solution to take better control of the company and equip it for future growth. After a careful examination of the market, Active Marine selected Jiwa – and has seen a dramatic improvement in inventory management, a former bugbear for the business.
Since opening in 2003 hundreds of boating enthusiasts have turned to Active Marine for the purchase and servicing of their marine vessels. Having grown from a one-person operation, the Mornington (near Hobart) dealership now has seven full time staff, a workshop, a spare parts unit and an impressive showroom. Many of Tasmania’s highest profile and biggest marine businesses are customers of Active Marine.
In 2009 Active Marine owner Dave Wilkinson realised the business had outgrown its accounting system. He also recognised that the system lacked functionality that could meet the growing needs of his business. “The package we had did many things very well, but one thing it couldn’t do – which was important to us – was the tracking of inventory items via serial numbers,” he explains. “Job costings was another capability our previous system lacked, and these limitations made it difficult for us to accurately plan, track and manage repair tasks, boat construction projects and similar jobs. It was time for us to acquire a new system to run the dealership.”
In consultation with his IT specialist, Wilkinson sought a solution which would streamline day-to-day accounting, inventory, servicing and job costing tasks and take his dealership to new levels of efficiency and productivity. The search brought him to Jiwa.
Jiwa is developed to ensure the highest degree of accuracy when it comes to the management of financials, inventory and warehousing.
“We installed Jiwa and haven’t looked back since,” says Wilkinson. “One of the main things that attracted me to Jiwa was that it could track every inventory item by serial number. This means we can easily look up when we sold something and know what stock of that item we have left. With Jiwa we have greatly enhanced our stock control processes, which has proved a big benefit both for us and our customers.”
One of the characteristics that distinguishes Jiwa from other business management solution vendors is its willingness to accommodate system customisations for customers. This is an attribute that has benefited Active Marine, as Wilkinson explains: “With many software providers the message is, ‘This is our system, we’re not adding anything new for you, take it or leave it’. But with Jiwa, they are happy to add functionality that enhances use of the product.”
One example is the development of a plugin for Active Marine which allows recording a spare part as a ‘temp’, meaning it isn’t in stock at present. “When a temp is entered, it automatically converts into a reserve order that cannot be processed for invoicing. At the end of the week, we go through reserve orders and, if the part has come in, we process it. This provides a foolproof way to improve stock control,” Wilkinson explains, adding that Jiwa has provided several such customised features for his business.
When a customer brings a boat in to Active Marine for spare parts, repairs and/or service, a new job sheet gets created in Jiwa. All parts, consumables (such as oil) and labour costs are entered as the job progresses, allowing Wilkinson and his team to have a complete picture of each job through every phase up until final invoicing.
"Jiwa automates our job creation and processing tasks very thoroughly and capably,” Wilkinson says. “When we open Jiwa’s Service Manager, we raise the customer’s job sheet and start adding the parts for that job and everything else associated. When finished, the job sheet converts into a clearly itemised sales order invoice. When the customer pays, aspects of the job are allocated, so we stay on top of each job every step of the way.”
One aspect to which he draws attention is the built-in controls. “You have no choice but to be methodical. Jiwa doesn’t allow shortcuts; if data is entered the right way, it won’t proceed. This is important for profit and loss statements, as everything needs to be complete and accurate. This is the type of accountability we like and it’s what our Jiwa solution delivers.”
“Jiwa doesn’t allow shortcuts; if data isn't entered the right way, it won’t proceed. This is important for profit and loss statements, as everything needs to be complete and accurate.”
In March 2014 Jiwa rolled out the latest version of its ERP system, Jiwa 7. Active Marine was one of the first businesses to deploy the new version.
“We were advised that the new version of Jiwa would be faster, more robust and would allow us to carry out various processes using fewer steps than before,” says Wilkinson. “As it turned out, Jiwa was spot on. The new system is faster – things that tool three or four steps are down to two. For example, sales invoicing and stock control management is quicker with fewer steps to enter data and get the needed information.”
Looking to the future, Wilkinson sees no reason not to stay with Jiwa as his dealership continues to thrive. “Jiwa runs our operation very effectively. While there are other ERP systems catering to the marine industry, Jiwa does everything we need and does it well.”
Source: This article was originally sourced from Jiwa Financials
Should you move your IT resources to the cloud
|Posted on February 16, 2017 at 5:20 PM|
There's no doubt about it – cloud computing has advanced by leaps and bounds in recent years. Whereas just a few years ago a company might be seen as brave for moving from an on premise IT infrastructure to a cloud computing environment, today that's no longer the case. These days any small to medium-sized business owner could be excused for feeling as though they're behind the eight ball if they're not migrating their company's IT resources to the cloud. Or at least thinking about it.
So what's the best computing environment for your company? If you're considering investing in a new ERP solution, accounting system or employee collaboration application, as examples, should you go with a traditional on-premise solution or take the cloud-based option? Might it even be worthwhile to move 100% of your current IT applications to the cloud?
Naturally there are pros and cons involved in either approach. Here are some of the main things to consider.
Cost-savings are frequently cited as one of the strongest arguments in favour of a cloud migration. The international research firm Gartner has calculated that the yearly cost of owning and maintaining software applications can be up to four times the cost of the initial purchase. And then of course there's the cost of hardware and other components that go into setting up and managing an on-premise infrastructure.
Without the financial burden of building and maintaining your own infrastructure, a cloud based environment can greatly reduce the cost of your investment in IT resources. Importantly, cloud applications are typically paid for on a subscription basis where you only pay for what you use (without any hardware costs); no longer will you find yourself forking out for technology you don't need.
You also save on human resources because software and system updates and upgrades are installed automatically. Rather than call on someone to get these done, it all happens seamlessly in the background.
A lot of business owners are attracted to migrating their information systems to the cloud but have strong reservations when it comes to data privacy and security. Fortunately cloud computing has evolved to the point where this should no longer be a concern. Virtually all vendors, and in particular the more reputable ones, have systems and processes in place to ensure security and eliminate the potential for misuse of their customers' data. What this means is that your data is likely to be as safe from prying eyes when it's in the cloud as it is when you're operating from on-premise servers. Cloud computing vendors also provide reliable virus and malware protection along with encryption capabilities that further address privacy and security needs.
With cloud computing you also do not have to be fearful of lost data due to hard drive seizures, lost laptops or internal server breakdowns. Because your data is stored in the cloud, it's there for you whatever misfortunes befall your hardware.
If you still have nagging doubts about security, and want to be fully confident of your vendors' security capabilities, do your homework. Find out such things as what happens to your data in the event of a crash, where is your data stored, what happens if your provider gets hacked, how often is your data backed up, etc.
If you see some benefit from an IT environment that allows your people to access important systems anywhere, anytime and from any device with an internet connection, cloud-based applications are probably the way to go. Of course with remote access technology your employees can easily plug in to their work computers from non-work locations, however pure cloud solutions make it easier and more convenient, particularly for those who like to get work done on their smartphones.
Can your current IT hardware and software easily expand as your company changes in size and strategic direction? Cloud solutions typically allow you to add new users and new functionality without disrupting your business. And if you need to scale down, you can simply disable the accounts that are no longer being used.
Return on investment
As can be readily seen, there are several potential benefits that can be achieved by migrating your IT resources to the cloud. But there are costs involved as well. The key to working out what's best for your business lies in forecasting what your IT needs will be over the coming years. The old adage that 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' may very well apply to your situation. If your on-premise infrastructure is working just fine the way it is, there may be no great advantage in changing things.
Nonetheless, it's undeniable that the trend for SMEs is towards cloud computing, and there are solid reasons for that. So at least look into it, assess the merits of each and steer a course that best sets your business up for the challenges and opportunities ahead.
Is Your Business Ready for BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)
|Posted on January 18, 2017 at 12:10 AM|
Is Your Business Ready for BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)
These days a lot of small to medium sized Australian businesses have, or are looking at introducing, a set of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies for employees. With the widespread popularity of smartphones, tablets and iPads, it seems to make good sense to allow employees to use these personal devices to carry out their work.
If your business is considering diving into BYOD, it’s worth weighing up both the benefits and the potential costs of such an initiative.
The most obvious potential advantage of BYOD is cost-effectiveness. A BYOD work environment has the potential to save money because it’s not your company’s responsibility to purchase and maintain employees’ devices – it’s theirs. BYOD doesn’t compel employees to acquire certain devices for business use, it simply takes advantage of the personal technologies that employees already own.
There’s also the familiarity factor – people tend to be most comfortable when they’re using technology that they are already familiar with, so from an employee satisfaction perspective BYOD has its pluses.
It is also reasonable to expect a boost in productivity with BYOD, as it will be easier for your people to do their work from home, while traveling or from any other non-work location.
So does all this mean that BYOD is a true win-win for company employees and management? Essentially, yes. But as with virtually any other technology-related initiative, there are potential pitfalls. And if those are not well-prepared for, your business could find itself elbow-deep in trouble. Here are some of the things you need to do as part of your BYOD strategy.
Set up your employees’ devices
The biggest risk with BYOD is data security. If your employees are going to be using their own devices to access your company’s network you need these devices to be protected against viruses, malware, phishing scams and other data breaches. If business information makes its way into the wrong hands, the problems this will cause and the costs you will incur may very well outweigh any benefits you gain from a BYOD policy.
To help ensure data security your company should take responsibility for setting up employees’ devices. Even technically-competent, well-meaning employees may not get it right when it comes to data privacy and security. Your business should install the necessary business software, firewalls and other data protection technologies on all personal devices that will be used for work purposes.
Train your people
Employees need to be across ‘best practice’ when it comes to data security. Train your staff on how to use their devices safely, how to avoid security traps set by scammers, hackers and other cyber-criminals, and what they should do if their device is lost or stolen. Training should also include the laying down of guidelines for what is and is not acceptable work-related use of privately-owned devices.
Set parameters for data access
BYOD is definitely one area where information should be treated on a ‘need to know’ basis. Before rolling out your BYOD policy, decide who in your business needs to access company files and applications, what information they should be allowed to access and from what devices.
By allowing individual employees to only access data that is relevant to them, you help minimise the threat of – and, if it happens, the damage caused by – a security breach. The more information an employee has access to, the more data a thief or finder of a lost device can wreak havoc with. So segregate your data where necessary, make use of encryption technology and put in place procedures that enable data to be wiped out remotely.
Prepare for departing employees
A BYOD environment would be more secure if you could demand that employees hand over their devices on the day they leave the company. But obviously you can’t do that. Instead you need to prepare and run through a series of procedures for cutting off employees’ access to the company network, business email accounts and other company software programs and files. Task someone with the responsibility of following through on all this whenever an employee leaves.
Make use of Mobile Device Management (MDM) technology
A must-have for any business getting into BYOD is an MDM solution. The right MDM application will allow you to manage and monitor your BYOD environment and properly secure mobile devices and business data. There are plenty of affordable MDM solutions out there.
The bottom line
Employees are going to use their own devices for business purposes whether we like it or not. That’s the cold-hard reality. The key to an effective BYOD strategy is to treat employees’ devices as though they are company-owned property. Educate your people and safeguard your company’s data. Thoroughly.
Know Your Numbers
|Posted on November 23, 2016 at 11:20 PM|
For any business eager to achieve strong growth and stay ahead of the curve, fast access to high quality information is key. With the right data within easy reach, you will be able to make timely, well-informed business decisions and stay a step ahead of the competition.
For many business managers, however, finding and making use of information that would produce the best decisions is not easy. Often the stumbling block here is disparate information systems. Financial data is held in one system, CRM in another and inventory and warehousing information is stored in another. Compounding this problem is the tyranny of lost documents, deleted emails and heads full of historical information disappear out the door when key employees leave.
The result of all this is managers who are forced to rely on gut instinct and incomplete information to decide what's best for the business.
But it doesn't have to be this way. With the right tools in place, business owners and managers can achieve the peace-of-mind that comes with knowing they're making the best possible business decisions - decisions based on information that's accurate, comprehensive and up-to-the-minute.
The right information when you need it
A robust, high-functioning ERP system is the ideal tool to ensure sound business decision making and support the attainment of strategic goals. The right ERP solution will give you the information you need when you need it, allowing you to steer your business, and its various operations, in the right direction.
If you're in the distribution industry, for example, a comprehensive ERP solution will give you visibility across your key business units, from financials through to warehousing, inventory, importing, job costing and manufacturing. This visibility will enable you to better discover and capitalise on opportunities, identify bottlenecks in your operations and enhance your ability to plan for the future. With all the key information held in a central location, sourcing the right information is simple. You can quickly produce the reports you need - with the parameters set by you, the user - and leverage the insights you gain to respond quickly to changing conditions.
Better customer service
And when it comes to customer service, the right ERP system will give your business a shot in the arm. No longer will you have to rummage through documents, emails spreadsheets and handwritten notes before you can give your customers the information they've requested. Your ERP solution will give you the information you need, accurately and in an easy to comprehend format.
You will also be in a better position when it comes to anticipating customer needs. The right ERP system will tell you what items any given customer buys, what items they've stopped buying, the price points they're comfortable with and how they prefer to place and receive their orders. By integrating finance functionality with sales, inventory and warehousing, you will gain a 360 degree view not only of your operations but of the behaviours, preferences and needs of all your customers. And by being able to know what's in stock, what's on its way in what customers have ordered, you will no longer find yourself carrying stock that can easily become a burden rather than an asset.
Reporting the ERP way
Reporting also becomes more meaningful and useful with an ERP system. Because you're able to pull together information from your various business operations, you will be able to gain insights that simply aren't easily available with disparate systems. An ERP solution will allow you to perform, for example, profit forecasts and analyses that take into account all the factors that go into ensuring a healthy bottom line. Using ERP, inefficiencies such as slow moving stock, excess/inactive inventory or inadequate purchasing and sales processes can be brought to light for you to act on.
A bonus of an ERP system is that all of the above can be achieved without manually re-keying data, which can be, and often is, a costly burden for any business. Once the information is entered into the system - whether it's to do with finance, inventory, warehousing or manufacturing - it's there for all to see and make valuable use of.
The foundation for future success
Put simply, an ERP solution is a success-building machine, particularly in the current business environment. Today's business world is becoming increasingly fast-paced and data-driven - factors that are fuelling the ever-rising expectations of customers. The right ERP system will not only address your current business needs but also lay the groundwork for your future prosperity.
How to get your people to use new technology
|Posted on November 3, 2016 at 5:15 PM|
Whether it's an ERP solution, a CRM system or a mobile workforce application, the installation of a new piece of technology involves change. Specifically, change in the way people do things. The problem with change is that it is often not comfortable for people – in fact, it can be downright stressful. What is comfortable is what's familiar, and what's familiar are the old methods for getting things done.
This can present big problems for an organisation. After all, how can you hope to achieve the desired return on your IT investment if only half your people are using the technology? And what if, amongst those who are using it, only two-thirds are using the new system properly?
For any company that is about to install new technology, 100% user adoption should be the goal. How do you achieve that? Here are four tips to help you.
1 – Appoint a new technology champion
With any new management initiative, leadership is important. For any major new technology deployment that impacts employees, you need a senior manager who will be a champion of the cause, who will lead the project with enthusiasm and guide system users through the process of change. In this regard, education is key. Staff need to be told why the project is important, what its goals are and how the company is going to go about achieving them.
Also important is to answer the 'What's in it for me' question that employees will inevitably ask themselves when asked to adopt something new. Communicate to your people why it is that the change is good not only for the company but for them too.
Ideally what you'll end up with is a workforce that embraces, rather than resists, the change that's occurring. This is more likely to happen if the project leader is actively involved in the change process from initiation through to completion while continually demonstrating their commitment to the success of the project.
2. Workshop it
It should go without saying that training is an important component of any successful system deployment, but too often this side of things is not taken seriously enough. Whether through workshop sessions or one-on-one training, instruct your employees on the new system. If the relevant user manuals are too fat and dense for practical use, prepare easy-to-use reference guides that explain what users need to know to become proficient with the new technology.
While doing all this you will need to know where your people are hitting roadblocks, so encourage feedback every step of the way. Let employees know that there's no such thing as a stupid question, and that they can ask as many questions as they need.
That said, it is not enough to simply conduct the training and then let your workers loose with the new system. During training, test employees on what they've been taught. Once the new system goes live, track how your people are using it. If users find the new technology too difficult to use, or are simply lacking the motivation to make the switch, productivity within the organisation will suffer. Keep a sharp eye out for those who are not using the system for its full potential.
3. Make resistance difficult
To help bring about complete user adoption with your new technology you may need to remove barriers that could potentially achieve that objective. This particularly applies to the laggards, ie those who are most resistant to change and least likely to make full use of the new system. Typically this will involve removing software and other technologies that make it easy for workers to continue doing things the old way.
4. Communicate your wins
As your new system gains acceptance it is important not to become complacent. Training should be reinforced, and the attainment of the new technology's business goals should be communicated to stakeholders as they occur. For example, if the new system has improved product order delivery times by 50% within the first month of deployment, let your people know. When team members see the new system producing beneficial results for their company, they'll be more likely to do what management asks of them.
Too many companies make the mistake of thinking that once they install a new system, all the benefits will flow naturally. ‘Build it and they will come' is not the right mindset. By providing effective leadership for your system deployment project, training your people on the new technology, soliciting feedback and checking in to ensure it's being used the right way, employees will be up and running with your new technology quickly and proficiently.
Tips for choosing the right ERP Consulting Partner
|Posted on October 14, 2016 at 1:00 AM|
If you're looking to bring in external consultants to manage your next ERP project, it's critical that you select the right team for the job. Making the wrong choice could lead to budget blowouts, missed deadlines or an implementation that fails to deliver on its promises. So how do you go about ensuring that you've chosen well? Here are some tips to guide you.
1. Prepare a proper brief
Before meeting with prospective ERP service providers, take the time to prepare a document (perhaps in the form of a Request for Proposal) that fully describes your business (and its existing IT infrastructure) and the project you have in mind including its objectives, timeline, budget and any technical issues that may need to be addressed. You may also want to outline the criteria against which IT consulting firms will be assessed.
2. Seek out relevant expertise and qualifications
It's not enough for an ERP consultant to say, Yes, we can certainly do that.' Nothing beats experience that is directly related to your project. Ask for references from clients for whom the consultant has done previous, similar work. Review any case studies the consulting team may have. Also check the formal credentials of those who will be handling your project – do they have the relevant industry-standard educational qualifications and technical certifications? Your ideal IT team will have the right combination of industry experience and qualifications.
3. Ask, 'Do these people care?'
The ERP firm you're leaning towards has the right qualifications and experience, but can they demonstrate an understanding of your business and what it is you're trying to achieve? Ideally your team of consultants will care as much about the success of your project as you do. Check in to find out whether they've taken the time and made the effort to truly understand your business and how the IT project fits in with your broader strategic goals.
4. Check for interpersonal chemistry
When you engage an ERP consulting team, you enter into a partnership. Your consultants will be working alongside you and your colleagues for a potentially lengthy period and, as such, it's important that you all get along. Assess the potential for this before you let them sign on.
This becomes particularly important when issues arise – as they inevitably will. You need to feel comfortable addressing your concerns with your contractors. The flow of communication needs to be honest, candid, effective and completely two-way. Your consultant should also be able to explain technical matters in a non-techie way and be patient and understanding when working with your non-technical colleagues. Too often communication problems thwart what might otherwise be a successful IT project. The better your relationship with your consultants, the more likely it is that everything will go smoothly.
5. Set the right fee structure
There are several fee structure alternatives when it comes to ERP projects. The last thing you want are budget blowouts or other nasty money-related surprises. While some consultants charge by the hour, others provide a costing estimate for the entire project while others issue an invoice whenever a particular phase of a project is completed. If the consultants' preferred way of fee-charging does not suit you, don't be afraid to negotiate. After all, you're the boss.
You should also bear in mind the old adage, 'You get what you pay for.' If a consulting firm is proposing unusually low fees for their work, regard that as a red flag. They may be going low to secure the contract with a view to making it up later. Also be wary of entering into a long-term contract up-front. Agree on a fee structure that allows you to bail out if you're not satisfied with how the project is progressing.
If the proposed fees seem a little on the high side, this could turn out to be a good thing if the justification for it is their greater depth of expertise, experience and problem-solving skills. In this scenario you may find that project gets completed faster than you originally envisaged and with fewer headaches along the way.
6. Make sure you have all the support you need.
Particularly if your project is a sizeable one, you can expect that you'll require ongoing tech support. What are your consultant's terms when it comes to this? Before engaging your contractor find out what support services will be available, and at what cost, after the installation is complete. For example, does your IT consultancy have an out-of-hours help desk? Will the support professionals be the same people who installed your system?
7. Finally, take the plunge.
Once you've commissioned your IT consulting team, lay the foundations for a successful project. Ensure all internal stakeholders know what's going on and are engaged in the process. Set milestones to be reached as the project progresses and maintain that all-important information flow between your business and the contractors. Enjoy the ride and let the results speak for themselves!
Seven signs you've outgrown your business accounting system
|Posted on October 7, 2016 at 7:55 PM|
It may have been as long ago as 15 years. Or perhaps ten, or five. But at some point in the past, most likely when your business first set up operations, you invested in a business accounting software program. And what a wonderful piece of technology it was, allowing you to keep on top of all your business's financial operations.
But at some point, maybe only very recently, cracks began to appear. As your business grew, and as your needs became more complex, it began to feel like your system was struggling to keep up. While this may be a problem that can be worked out with some tweaking of your software, in all likelihood that is not the ideal solution. Maybe it's time to step up and step out of the accounting system you've got. Perhaps it's time to look at upgrading to an integrated business management software solution.
But how do you know when it's that time? There are a number of tell-tale signs that you've outgrown your finance and accounting software. Here are seven of them.
Your system is sluggish … or worse
The heavier the demands being placed on a software system, the slower it can become. If you're continually tapping your fingers on your desk waiting for information to be processed or reports to be generated, there's a good chance your data file size or the volume of your transactions is being stretched to the limit. And if your system occasionally freezes for no apparent reason, that's another sign.
Too much time re-entering data
If you're copying data between different systems to work out budgets, forecasts and cash flow, you're not using your time efficiently. You should only need to rely on one system to perform these tasks. While at an earlier stage of your business's evolution it might have made sense to have different systems taking care of different business units and functions, these days that's just a heavy drag on time and resources. And not only that, it's risky as re keying data increases the risk of user error.
Too many users
Many entry-level business accounting applications can only support a small number of users. If your system prevents multiple users from operating the system simultaneously, or if the burden of multiple users produces corrupt or frozen data, there's a strong argument for a technology upgrade.
Sure, your financial system can store all sorts of information, but can it present what you need easily and in the right format? The template based reporting functionality of many business accounting programs are very limited. As a business grows the need emerges for sophisticated, comprehensive, customisable and easy to interpret reports to suit different business units and different purposes.
You have information but not insights
For any business to succeed in the long term, managers need to know what's working and what's not across all of an organisation's operations. If your current accounting system doesn't integrate with, say, your warehouse, inventory, CRM and other business functions, it's holding your business back. An integrated business management system will give you a much needed 360 degree view of your business while allowing you to perform the type of deep dives that can turn information into insights. These insights can then be leveraged to make well-informed decisions that will drive future growth.
Your system is the same one you had pre-expansion
Basic business accounting systems typically struggle to handle multiple locations. If your business has expanded into new locations (or is about to) your application may not be able to efficiently, accurately and securely manage data from remote offices.
You have to step outside your system to get things done
The typical business accounting system performs a set of core functions and not much else. As a business grows it may acquire several new applications to supplement the functions of the main accounting platform. If you frequently find yourself dipping into other systems to find out what you need to know, your time is not being put to its best use. The answer is a fully integrated business management system that manages data across multiple business activities.
How Do You Know You Have Outgrown MYOB or Quickbooks ??? Part 1
|Posted on September 20, 2016 at 11:55 PM|
Over the next three articles I will outline practical examples of indicators that your organisation should move to another accounting solution.
However I should first point out that MYOB Account Right and Quickbooks have both revolutionised the accounting software market. It was back in the 1980s when accounting software was an expensive, unfriendly tool for business to utilise. Now accounting software is easily purchased and implemented by even a small one man business, mainly thanks to these two companies’ offerings.
However a the product you purchased to generate invoices and meet your BAS Requirements when you first started business all those years ago, may not be the software your organisation needs to meet its growing needs today. Just like the market you compete in, the needs and wants your organisation has today have changed.
First Sign of a need to change - SPEED
Many time I am invited into a business and witness the delays of processing a simple invoice. On one occasion I rang to pay an account, and spent 5 minutes waiting while the person on the other end of the phone looked up my account balance. My experience of dealing with the company was coloured by the delays in getting simply information, as their customer. Most companies look upon the time that is consumed by their staff, whom they pay good wages to, as just a cost of doing business. However they should also think about the effect on their customer’s experience.
Quality of Reporting
The second biggest reason for change is the ability and ease to attain the information key decision makers need in a timely fashion. Many time I find that organisations have multiple spreadsheets maintained as secondary silos of information to collate the information they require. These could be in the guise of Marketing Lists, Sales budgets or Purchase orders pending to name a few. All taking time and effort to maintain, that would be considerably quicker if their organisation had the specific functions they required in one application.
In my next instalment I will highlight other indicators including the most common reason for organisations to move to a better accounting system.
Three Tips to Optimal Warehouse Management
|Posted on August 18, 2016 at 12:10 AM|
Your warehouse is the action centre for customer fulfilment. Shipments from suppliers and customer orders are received, and packages are shipped out for delivery to the customer. Within the warehouse lies its inventory that must have enough stock to ensure prompt delivery while not needlessly tying up your company's capital. Your warehouse also has its pickers, packers, and shippers who are responsible for the smooth flow of materials within and without.
Achieving an efficient warehouse operation is no small feat, and if you aren't careful, your warehouse can quickly turn into a disaster area. During periods of high activity, disarray can snowball on itself and get out of control. Here are three warehouse management tips for optimising your operation.
Don't Procrastinate about Putting Things Away
When your parents reminded you as a child to put away your toys, little did you know then that it was sound warehouse management advice. When inbound shipments arrive, immediately process and place them into inventory. Putting this off for later will compound your work when other inbound shipments arrive and add to the growing clutter at your receiving dock. Likewise, don't allow untended products to build up in piles elsewhere in your warehouse. They quickly turn into traffic barriers that interfere with efficient picking.
Keep Your Warehouse Organisation Up To Date
Allotting bin sizes and shelving space for your products is a lot of work. While it's understandable that someone would only want to do this once, changes in demand for your products will eventually make your warehouse organisation outdated. Slow moving products located higher in the shelves and away from the shipping dock may eventually become high turnover products because of effective marketing. The products next to the shipping dock that were "hot" several months ago are now getting in the way because they are out of season. Failing to keep your warehouse organisation up to date means it's always suboptimal.
Avoid Manual Data Entry
Not only is manual data entry slow, it is also prone to error. Data entry errors can be off by one or two or by hundreds if a few extra zeros are accidentally entered. This will destroy your inventory accuracy and cause problems with customer fulfilment and order placement with your suppliers. Use bar code scanning and RFID technology for updating your inventory.
To learn how we can help you run a cost-effective, and efficient warehouse, please feel free to give us a call on 03 9566 7249 for a free consultation session.
JIWA Financials ERP Software Assisting In Rapid Decision Making
|Posted on August 4, 2016 at 2:15 AM|
Businesses, whether big or small, have a never ending urge to grow in a steady pace. As companies using people and diversify, grow and adding more departments, they need a method which helps them handle all functions. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is one such system that helps them do this.
ERP is a number of various types of software which can be joined to the several types of sections in the medium large and small firms too. ERP applications incorporates advice used by companies many distinct functions and departments into computer system that is unifies.
As its well known, small businesses are, a lot of family enterprises, the time and just a few use ERP software. Most of them preferred to use an accounting system, since the implementation of an ERP solution is expensive and time consuming. But, due to the fact the small and medium business often grow rapidly and that the business environment is changing constantly, ERP solutions have proved to be a great alternative for such businesses, also. At present many companies offer inventory management software.
Through proper execution of those functions through ERP small businesses can do away with laborious and time-consuming processes enabling them enter the market more vigorously and to expand their horizons.
ERP offers adaptable and real time control over stock and all occupations, and offers concise coverage which is essential for managing companies of most sizes. Actually, present day ERP vendors have developed programs to be less complex to install and user friendly, which means that businesses are spending money and even less time adopting wholesale distribution software.
Nowadays, many small businesses are already reaping the benefits from ERP. It is not uncommon to determine ROI within 12 months on execution. Immediate savings through proper direction of stock helps to ensure that small businesses find reductions in stock write-offs of up to 90 per cent during the serial number tracking functionality of ERP systems.
A good JIWA financials ERP software will be able to reveal you the comparison between the amount of hours worked by professionals or service staff versus the specific variety of hours which was billed out as paid work.
ERP users have found they’ve doubled their service sales just by having the ability to measure and assess real charging against the number of hours worked. The workflow function – a quality control system – additionally ensures that jobs are being conducted the right way, using proper process, each and every time.
With the ERP system set up, small businesses can keep track of worker task, time, prices, merchandise and general company operation, to get a fraction of the price of getting manual reporting and different software applications.
It appears that almost every business needs to better manage its finances with ERP accounting software. Generation amounts are aptly dealt with by such a software system. Additionally there are other advantages of ERP-distribution, service companies, and wholesale get the applications suited to draw up supply and purchase strategies, and control stocks.
Does my business need a new accounting software package?
|Posted on July 4, 2016 at 7:10 PM|
Does my business need a new accounting software package?
A Business Management Solution typically refers to a software solution or even just accounting software, covering all aspects of your business processes – including finance, inventory control, manufacturing, reporting, sales, purchasing and customer relationship management. A Business Management Solution is often referred to as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) Software.
The team at Reporting Solutions implements and supports ERP / Business Management Solutions for small to medium sized companies across Australia.
One of the key questions we get asked is “Does my business need a new business management solution?”
To answer this question, initially we need to look at your company’s specific requirements and existing software and processes. Upgrading to a new ERP or Business Management Solution can be a substantial investment in time and money. A good starting point is to first ensure that your business has a requirement for ERP / Business Management Solutions. Most companies that are considering ERP / Business Management Software fall into 4 categories:
1. A start-up business with no current software.
2. An existing business which has outgrown current business management software solutions.
3. An existing business with an outdated and potentially unsupported ERP / business management solution.
4. A business using an ERP solution which is not providing the business with the required information, data and reporting in a timely manner.
Has your business outgrown current business management / ERP software solutions include?
1. Difficulty in getting timely reporting and management information. Are you struggling to get monthly reporting done on time? Are you battling to give mangers access to the information that they want, when they want it? If so, you may need a new Business Management Solution.
2. Lots of manual processes. Do you have separate systems, manual processes, system workarounds? These are all signs that it is time to re-evaluate your ERP / Business Management Solutions.
3. Extensive use of spread sheets for data analysis. Spread sheets can be a great source of information for ad hoc reporting. However, when your business starts to be run by spread sheets with lots of tabs and macros, it is very often time to reconsider your ERP requirements.
4. Islands of information – more than one separate non-integrated software system. This in most instances, delivers different versions of the truth. As businesses grow, so do your business management solution requirements. A business management solution that you purchased even 5 years ago might not cater for the current size and complexity of your business. Has your business changed or grown since the purchase of your business management or accounting software? If so, it’s a good time to re-evaluate.
5. Double entry of information. Do your staff spend unnecessary hours entering information into multiple different systems - accounting, inventory serial numbers, CRM and sales reporting as some examples? If entering information only once, appeals to you, it’s time to consider a new business management / ERP solution.
6. Limited support for current business management solution. Are you struggling to get good support for your existing business management software? If so, it’s time to look at your available options for business management solutions.
Correctly used and implemented, a good business management solution will have a positive impact on all parts of your business, including finance, customer interaction, purchasing, cash flow, inventory control and manufacturing.
Having an up to date ERP / business management solution is critical to business growth.
Please contact the staff at Reporting Solutions for an honest, no obligation assessment of your current systems, with recommendations.
We offer the initial 3 hours of consulting, free of charge.
Where oh where has all our inventory gone?
|Posted on June 21, 2016 at 11:55 PM|
Do you have salespeople who take sample products out of your warehouse without recording that they have taken them to show a customer? They probably think that they are doing the right thing – it’s all about getting sales isn’t it. Without sales nothing happens. Fair enough, but your computer system doesn’t know that the item has been removed, the stock on hand and stock available isn’t adjusted for the stock in the salesman’s car.
The result is: The item is not recorded at the proper time because the system thinks there is more inventory in the warehouse then there actually is.
A customer may be promised the item because the computer shows that you have it in stock. The customer drives 40km to your warehouse to pick it up, then you discover that it has gone AWAL.
Then there will be discussion around – it’s not me, it’s the ERP. This excuse works because the ERP isn’t able to defend itself, it can’t talk, but the real problem is the sales people, who are in a hurry to close deals or your techies who borrow parts.
This is what you need to do to keep your stock accurate and to track the stock in the possession of each sales person.
Create a customer account for each sales person
Record each sample taken by a sale person or a technician on a new Sales Order. As a result of entering the order, the available stock is reduced. Don’t process this order, just yet.
When the item is returned to stock, reduce the line item quantity to “0” on the sales order, make a note or comment on what occurred then process the order to close it out.
On a regular basis print or email the Open Sales Order List for each sales person and inquire as to the whereabouts of the loan stock, and when it will be brought back to the warehouse.
You need to establish a rule, a very simple rule. NOTHING LEAVES THE WAREHOUSE WITHOUT PROPER PAPER WORK! Violators of this policy face immediate termination, or they may have to undertake some arduous task.
In a similar vein, you need to stop your counter people “swapping out” one item for another with out paper work or a transaction taking place.
Go through all your procedures and see that they meet the test described in detail above. Most distribution companies have established policies & procedures for processing the following types of transactions. Review yours.
- Normal Stock Receipts
- Unexpected Stock Receipts
- Requisitions for internally consumed products
- Order to be delivered
- Orders to be picked up
- Cash Sales
- Direct Drop Shipments
- Order for Non Stock Items
- Transfers to other warehouses
- Work Orders for Assemblies
- Bin transfers
- Returns of Stock items
- Returns of non-Stock items
- Returns of damaged items
- Returns to your supplier
- Adjustments to Stock on Hand Levels
- Scrapping & writing off stock
There's probably other transactions that you do that aren't on this list. Inventory is valuable, keeping it properly is worth it.