Getting Employees Onboard for Software Change

May 31, 2013

Getting Employees Onboard for Software ChangeOne of the hardest barriers to overcome when making organizational changes (such as implementing a new inventory and accounting system) is getting employees on board with the changes.  Although resistance from employees is a natural reaction, there are certain steps that  you can take as a manager to help ease the transition to a new software system:

1. Prepare for Resistance and Conflict

Being aware that resistance is a natural reaction will help you better prepare for and react to any push-back from employees.  Some employees may not realize the benefits of a true ERP system, or even what ERP stands for – especially if they have only ever worked with introductory software such as QuickBooks. To address this, hold meetings to introduce employees to ERP software, starting with the basics of understanding what an ERP system is and what it can do, and explain why the upgrade is necessary.

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How to Choose the Wrong Inventory Management Software

May 29, 2013

warehouse-management-softwareToday I exchanged email with a person who is going to select the wrong Inventory Management Software for her company. And there’s nothing I can do to prevent it.

Her approach was to come up with a long list of potential vendors, based on very vague criteria. The list included my company, which would potentially be a good fit as we have one of their main direct competitors as a happy and reference-able customer, but also included companies that I know are totally unsuitable for their type of business. She then started narrowing down the list based on who would jump to do a demo for her first. Many ERP and Inventory Management Software vendors will take the time to get to understand your business before rushing to do a demo – we are one of those – but she discounted all of us in favor of the vendors who rushed to show her their bells and whistles as quickly as possible.

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How to Evaluate ERP Vendors

May 22, 2013

ERP Software EvaluationWe’ve previously discussed the importance of finding an ERP vendor who can meet all your functionality requirements, and the difference between custom software vs. out-of-the box software, but there are other important factors to consider.  Functionality and cost should not be the only criteria on which you evaluate vendors, given that the software market is somewhat saturated with similar product offerings.

Listed below are some other important factors to use when evaluating ERP vendors. The full list can be found by downloading our eBook: 6 Factors to Consider When Evaluating ERP Vendors.

Customer Satisfaction

One of the best ways to get an accurate picture of how a vendor treats its customers after making the sale is, logically enough, by speaking with current customers. Try to speak with multiple references in your industry or those who have similar business processes, and perform background research on the vendor’s implementation history.

Sales Process

Sales processes often vary significantly from one vendor to the next, but some red flags can be raised during the process.  Do they truly understand your business needs? Have they been rushing you to a demo without adequate preliminary discussions to find out your needs? Purchasing software is a large investment and should be treated as such.  It is not a decision that should be made hastily.

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How to Replace QuickBooks

May 14, 2013

How to Replace QuickBooksWe’ve previously written about Getting Over QuickBooks, and knowing when it’s time to move from an introductory system to a fully integrated ERP system. Now let’s discuss how to replace QuickBooks once you’ve made the decision to do so.   Doing this right involves determining your business needs, setting a budget, getting employees on board and evaluating vendors.  Be fully prepared and make the switch a priority; this will ensure that the transition is as successful as possible.

 The steps to help your business replace QuickBooks are outlined below:

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Warehouse Inventory Software and Barcode Scanning — New Industry Trends

May 9, 2013

Warehouse Inventory Software with Barcode ScanningI wrote previously about the implications of eCommerce for distributors as a major technological trend impacting the distribution and wholesale industry. A growing recent trend in small and medium-sized Wholesale and Distribution companies is the adoption of new technology to improve warehouse operations, specifically Warehouse Inventory Software with Wireless Barcode Scanning.

Barcode scanning systems have been around for quite some time, but what’s changed is that they are now employing modern technologies such as smartphones, and are generally far more affordable. In the past, it was common to spend over $100,000 on a Warehouse Management System (WMS) to accomplish much of what can now be carried out with a more affordable ERP solution. Some more sophisticated solutions (such as those using RFID tagging) may still warrant a full WMS, but small and medium-sized distributors can now find affordable and integrated warehouse scanning solutions as part of an ERP system – without requiring a dedicated WMS.

One of the biggest steps forward in barcode scanning is the introduction of smartphone applications for use in the warehouse. Instead of having to spend thousands of dollars on ruggedized wireless barcode scanners, businesses can now employ sophisticated applications running on inexpensive hardware, like an iPod Touch or iPhone. Protective casings are also available for these devices to allow for extensive use in the warehouse, such as the well-known OtterBox.

The main benefits of warehouse inventory software with barcode scanning include: quick inventory lookups, moving inventory location, picking, packing, and receiving inventory. A primary goal of implementing a system like this is to achieve a process-driven and truly paperless warehouse — and now that warehouse inventory software is affordable, interest from small/medium business owners and warehouse managers has spiked.

It’s only a matter of time before physically printing pick tickets in the warehouse will seem like a quaint oddity.

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