Moving Checklist: Office Move

June 5, 2015

Guest Post by: Samantha Hornbymoving-checklist

Blue Link ERP recently moved office locations and for anyone else who has ever moved locations, I think you will agree that it is not an easy exercise. Luckily for us, we were only moving a couple of clicks down the road, and didn’t have to deal with the added complexity of moving further.  As part of the moving committee I was heavily involved in the entire process, and learnt quite a few tips and tricks that I wanted to pass along.  I have also included the moving check-list that my team and I put together, which is a great starting point for getting organized.

Tip #1 – Create a Moving Committee

One of the first things you will want to do when preparing for a move is to create a moving committee. This team should be comprised of a handful of people from different departments who volunteer to take on the added responsibility of the move.  Make sure those involved in the committee will be able to manage the added work without neglecting their regular responsibilities. Having people from different departments makes it easier to ensure nothing important is missed and leaves room for flexibility when it comes to scheduling work.  It is also important that someone with decision making authority is involved with the committee in order to approve expenses and major decisions.

Tip #2 – Create Documentation to Organize the Move

In order to stay organized throughout the entire move process it is important to keep track of responsibilities, contacts and dates.  You will see in Blue Link’s moving check-list that specific to-do items have been categorized based on whether they affect the old office or the new, whether they are administrative in nature, or if they apply to the actual move date.  Each item on the list should be assigned to an employee on the moving committee, given a date of required completion and assigned a priority level if necessary. Certain tasks, although important, can be addressed after the actual move itself.  Another tip is to keep a list of move contacts all in one place for easy access. This may include the moving company, new building manager, service contacts for any installations or renovations, phone and internet contact etc.  We scheduled meetings with several contractors and companies for the same day, and having a list of contacts made on-going communication much simpler.

Tip #3 – Do Not Overwhelm Yourself with Too Many Choices

When it came to Blue Link’s office move, some of the more minor decisions ended up taking the most amount of time.  When it comes to decisions such as fabric colors for new office furniture, although this is important, having too many options can drag the decision making process into something that is longer than necessary. Just like we preach to our clients the dangers of evaluating too many software vendors, too many color options are unnecessary in order to make a decision.  Define a budget and ask for a couple of recommended options based on quality and design, instead of sorting through all available choices.  For certain businesses, interior decorating may be of higher importance, but for most businesses you will be able to choose the best option without sorting through every available design.

Tip #4 – Throw a Party!

Moving office locations can be stressful, but no matter the reason, it should also be treated as an exciting opportunity. Get staff involved in the process and excited for a change of scenery by keeping them updated throughout the move process and providing information on things to do and places to eat in the area around the new office. Celebrate with a party once you’re settled into the new office, inviting friends and family as well as close customers.  Moves can be expensive, so the party does not have to be lavish, but it will help employees adjust to their new surroundings and deal with the stress associated with a move.

Download the Ultimate Office Moving Checklist!

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3 Great Exception Reports for Small Business Owners

April 9, 2014

Inventory-management-reportsIn a previous post we dealt with the concept of management by exception. As explained more fully in that post, a small business owner can benefit in multiple ways from being alerted by the company’s Inventory Management and Accounting ERP Software to important exceptions to the norm. Here are 3 good examples of exception reports that can help the owner (or manager) of a wholesale / distribution business to identify issues in a timely manner, without having to wade through all the routine transaction detail. Note that this article assumes that these reports are generated and sent automatically at the requisite intervals.

1. Price and Margin Exceptions

This one’s obvious: alert the owner to any sales orders entered that day for which the gross margin is below an acceptable threshold, and / or where the order entry person has overridden the system-defaulted selling price. The details on this will of course depend on your specific business and rules – for example, should the exception report be based on each individual line of an order, or just the order total? Additionally, the frequency and timeliness of this report will depend on your pick / pack / ship process and timelines – if you ship orders next day, then perhaps a nightly summary would be best.

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Are you a Wholesale Distributor or Currency Trader?

January 14, 2014

Currency-exchange-ratesMost of the companies I deal with are wholesalers, distributors or online retailers (eCommerce) – or some combination thereof. And many of these companies are dealing in more than one currency. Several US customers purchase product for resale from Germany, the UK, France, etc. and have to pay suppliers in Pounds or Euros. And virtually all our Canadian customers are working in Canadian and US dollars, frequently on both purchase and sales transactions.

Now, keep in mind that most of the these companies are owner-managed entrepreneurial companies. And given that many entrepreneurs are at least to some extent risk-takers, it should come as no surprise that many of these business owners tend to gamble on exchange rate fluctuations. And yet is does surprise me, or moreover it’s a cause for concern in some cases.

The problem is that, in most instances, the business owner is not a financial or currency management expert, and is effectively doing nothing more sophisticated or intelligent than gambling. Yes, that’s right folks – it’s gambling. Let’s say you purchase a shipment of products for, say, €50,000, and you don’t hedge the exchange rate – you have 60 days to pay the supplier and you figure the dollar is strengthening, so you’ll wait. Meanwhile, your salespeople are making pricing decisions, and you’re looking at profitability reports, based on the cost expressed in dollars, calculated at the rate prevailing when the shipment arrives (or even worse, when the order was placed). So if you’re lucky, the dollar does move the right way and you score. But equally likely, perhaps even more, there’s some event that turns the dollar downwards and now, 5 days before due date for payment, the dollar starts heading downwards. You still haven’t bought Euros, so do you buy now to limit your exposure? Or do you wait it out and hope that it turns around in the next 3 weeks or so? And if you do that, what if it declines even more?

There’s no right answer here, but agonizing over it will deflect your attention from what you should be doing – namely managing your business, focusing on sales, merchandise, personnel, inventory management etc. But instead you’re trying to make currency trading decisions that people who do this full-time, every day, still get wrong much of the time. And even if you do get it right this time and make a small profit on the exchange rate, that will just entice you to take even more risk next time. It’s like to person who wins big at roulette one night, and gibes it back with interest the next.

The smart business owner will generally fix the currency exchange rate for a transaction early, and focus on running the business. And when you feel the impulse to gamble, take a trip to Vegas.

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What is Business Management Software?

August 27, 2013

Business Management SoftwareBusiness management software is a widely used term, and has been applied to various different types of software systems.  However, a true business management system will be one that streamlines and manages most, if not all, aspects of business operations as an end-to-end, all-in-one solution. For this reason it is often used interchangeably with the term “ERP software”.

Both ERP and business management software are designed to accomplish a variety of tasks across an organization such as:

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Blue Link Attends OAFB Conference

June 19, 2013

By Samantha Hornby

OAFB Conference

A couple weeks ago, Blue Link attended the annual Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB) Conference for two days of workshops, networking and round table discussions.  This year’s conference was held in downtown Ottawa and was hosted by the Ottawa Food Bank – the second largest food bank in Canada.   Blue Link was on-site as a supporting vendor to discuss the Ottawa Food Banks recent ERP software and warehouse barcode-scanning implementation and to educate other Food Banks on implementing similar systems.

“159,918 children use food banks each month.” – OAFB 2012 Hunger Report

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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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The Canadian Penny is Gone: What Will Your Business Do?

February 5, 2013

Canadian Penny is GoneAs of February 4th 2013, the Royal Canadian mint will no longer distribute one cent coins. Although they will still be kicking around for some time, to all intents and purposes the Canadian penny is on the way out.

News of the penny being phased out first came with Canada’s Economic Action Plan 2012, yet despite advanced notice most businesses have done little to prepare for the transition. And as of February 4th over 80% of consumers surveyed were unaware of the demise of the copper coin. The question is, what are your plans to deal with this change?

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