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Catch Them While You Can: Why You Can No Longer Afford to Ignore the Value of B2B e-commerce

Catch Them While You Can: Why You Can No Longer Afford to Ignore the Value of B2B e-commerce

At first, B2B e-commerce was pretty simple. Storefronts, the ability to reorder consumables, or request service. Basic steps in response to an emerging desire by customers to serve themselves, online. Now? Your customers no longer distinguish between you and Amazon or any other consumer outfit. To them, online is online and they expect speed, simplicity, an elegant user experience, and complete control. Yes, this presents more challenges to a manufacturer than to a typical retailer, especially in light of the dependence on legacy ERP systems. Unfortunately, your customers are unsympathetic. Give them what they want, or risk losing them to somebody who will. Nobody can predict what the e-commerce landscape for manufacturers will look like going forward, given the breadth and speed of the disruption that’s taking place. Just one example: what’s going to happen to channel partners and distributors as customers continue to seek a more direct relationship with you? Will the middlemen adapt? How? If not, will they cease to exist? Big questions that currently have no clear answers. But here’s something we do know for sure. If you’re not learning from the example of B2C and e-commerce pioneers in B2B, and looking for ways to adopt their […]

Why Choose a New Cloud ERP Solution?

Everybody’s getting lean. Manufacturers have known for some time that in order to compete locally or globally, be profitable and grown their companies, they need to adapt lean manufacturing techniques to reduce waste, increase efficiency, sustain continuous process improvement, ensure product quality and support just-in-time manufacturing. Lately these firms have been embracing cloud ERP in their efforts to get lean. Why are manufacturers choosing cloud-based ERP solutions? First, many of these firms have discovered that legacy ERP systems are simply too expensive, difficult to use and don’t grow with their company. Sure, some legacy, on-premise ERP vendors are promising some cloud-based functionality, but often these are bolted-on afterthoughts in an effort to get some of the cloud ERP market share. A true cloud-based ERP solution is one that is designed and implemented in the cloud and takes advantage of storage, real-time access and mobility benefits that the cloud provides. Cloud ERP’s ability to provide real-time access to critical data allows firms to track every step and component in their supply chain. For example, firms can use cloud ERP to track production, receiving, yields and efficiency, and their production workers can then access this data in real time on their smartphones. […]

Quantitative and Qualitative Benefits on Implementing a New ERP System: Part 5

The Bottom Line To purchase a new software suite, vendors must show owners and upper management how the new investment will make money and provide a solid return on investment. Dino Farina, Proveris Scientific founder and CEO knew that his company was consistently overbuying parts and materials just to assure that it had enough in inventory to meet order demand for its nasal and aerosol testing instrumentation. His question was, with cloud manufacturing ERP, would Proveris be able to determine how many of its most popular machines could be built with the inventory on hand? “We were constantly trying to get the answers to such questions,” emphasizes Farina. “By the time we finally got the data, the answers were too late. With manufacturing Cloud ERP, we will now be able to not only find out how many units we can manufacture with the inventory on hand but whether we need more inventory, how much, how soon and at what cost. This will make our business more efficient by increasing our cash flow and improving our resource planning, while giving our customers faster deliveries on their orders.”

Quantitative and Qualitative Benefits on Implementing a New ERP System: Part 3

Both Continuous Software Enhancements and Customizations Must be Addressed Most small companies do not have the resources to develop and maintain all of the features their growing businesses demand. The old legacy softwaredoes not allow the customizations and integrations they need and they do not want to get caught into a future legacy problem. However, It makes little sense for an owner of a smaller business to invest in a new Cloud ERP if the new software won’t provide the answers needed that are so sorely wanted from the present elementary system. To spend more money to be in the same vacuum of information is simply a waste of money, even though it might interface with salesforce.com. Yes, there might be some improvements but not enough to force a solid payback on the new ERP. The same holds true for larger concerns. With the supply chain now being global, additional importance is placed on certain features of ERP, such as multi-plant inventory, planning and tracking offreight and other shipment logistics, plus having to track consigned inventory and sub-contract expenditures. Increased machine automation in some industries means that they require more analysis regarding the cost of materials versus the cost of […]

Quantitative and Qualitative Benefits on Implementing a New ERP System: Part 2

Qualitative Benefits of a Cloud ERP System Now, let’s focus on the qualitative approach to making the ERP case. The best examples I can give are the reasons our customers gave us for implementing our Cloud ERP solution. There were basically two main groups of customers and all used salesforce.com®. If the company was smaller and growing, they were previously using spread sheets or very simple ERP packages that they had outgrown. “We had been running all of our reports in Quickbooks,” reports Northeast Lantern Vice President Christopher Heal. “We then needed to take the various reports, export them into Excel and formulate a single new report just to find the information we needed. Nonetheless, we still didn’t track inventory or have a snapshot of our production flow. Manufacturing cloud ERP will now help us do that, which will mean our customers will be able to get product faster.” If the customer was larger, it had been using an on-premise ERP system that was no longer providing the help that they needed. A company with multiple divisions and differing ERP systems cannot obtain the global deployment and integrations of systems that it needs to be competitive. The cost/benefit analysis for […]

Quantitative and Qualitative Benefits on Implementing a New ERP System: Part 1

There have been a series of articles on this subject and the topic is covered in almost every software manufacturer’s PowerPoint presentation to a new prospect. There are many reasons, including growing revenues, creating business efficiencies, aligning the various departments of a company into a cohesive unit and so on. Lofty goals all. The truth is that every company has a unique set of circumstances and will require its own way to justify a major project. In general, a good approach is to look at the investment from both a quantitative and qualitative perspective. Let’s begin with the quantitative. The first thing most companies examine is how much inventory reduction they will obtain with an effective ERP system. Industry analysts generally agree that between a 20 to 30 percent reduction is achievable with improved management of raw material, parts, WIP and finished goods. Even if the incremental improvements are only 10 to 15 percent, this still results in significant savings. Forecasting and scheduling improvements resulting from an effective ERP system will have a positive impact on purchased materials and components. With the ability to provide firmer commitments with predictable lead times to the company’s vendors, purchasing departments can negotiate better […]

Manufacturers are Looking to the Cloud: Part 1

Manufacturers know that, in order to be successful in the rapidly changing markets of the global economy, they must make more efficient use of large amounts of data to leverage business intelligence and become more agile. They are looking to the cloud as a solution. The current explosion of cloud platforms, especially the Salesforce ecosystem, has led industry analysts to predict even more growth for cloud-based ERP solutions for manufacturing ERP. Benefits of Cloud ERP Cloud computing provides on-demand real-time access to data and resources, reduced costs, scalability and the ability to store large amounts of data. The flexibility of the cloud and the speed of deployment make manufacturing systems particularly well suited to cloud-based ERP solutions because cloud ERP brings core manufacturing tasks together. Cloud based solutions represent every critical function in the manufacturing process, including materials requirements planning (MRP), process manufacturing software, purchase order and inventory software, shop floor software and supply chain management software. On-demand real-time access to data and resources – The cloud provides on-demand access to data and resources stored in the cloud, enabling every department at every step of the supply chain to react instantly to changing business needs. Reduced costs – Cloud-based solutions […]