Wednesday, March 30, 2011

ERP Solutions Align Manufacturing and Inventory

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions were designed initially more than 30 years ago to primarily address manufacturing processing and handle inventory control.  Material Requirements Planning (MRP) is a critical component of any ERP solution. 

The purpose of these "solutions" is even more important today given the lean times we live in.  Lean times mean lean processing.  Reduce the waste and increase profits.  Since ERP solutions have their roots in Manufacturing, they are designed to optimize inventory.  Optimizing inventory, typically but not always a reduction in inventory levels, is the primary component to a Return on Investment (ROI) and increased profitability. 

Even small reductions in inventory levels can translate to big savings.  Imagine your bottom line with a 2-3 percent drop.  Less carrying costs, less space, less time to count, less overhead, you get the idea.  No one can come in and tell you that you will be able to eliminate or cut in half your inventory.  Realistic reductions of a few percentage points is reasonable and quite achievable.  Do a little better job in forecasting demand, add a little bit for better material requirements, add a little bit for simply managing what is on the shelf and you can get the few points you need to stay competitive.  Do the above while reducing the manpower or overhead to manage the inventory and the savings start to accumulate.

Today's systems can give you real-time data, fully integrated with your system.  This translates to cost reductions in more efficient inventory handling.  Management inquiry and reporting in a timely manner (i.e. now, not days later), which enables improved decision making.  Better decisions mean better control.  Reductions in stock levels mean savings.  Better information means streamlined operations and reductions in waste, which means an acceleration in production.  Better production means better planning.

A fully integrated and implemented system enables better business planning activities, which include financial planning, procurement, logistics, supply chain and customer service.  Happy customers mean better profits. 

Microsoft Excel and its equivalents have their place.  They are great tools that enable great analysis, however, mismanaged they often are responsible for creating silos of disconnected information.  A fully integrated ERP system show integrate client tools, not necessitate them.

Dolvin works with Manufacturers to help them look at their operations and find ways to increase their efficiencies, reduce costs and become more profitable.

Click here for Dolvin's contact information.

Monday, March 28, 2011

S2K Release v5.0

S2K Release v5.0

Introducing VAI's most dramatic release to date....
Release 5.0 of VAI’s S2K Enterprise Management Software is the company's most dramatic release to date. VAI has streamlined the navigation of the software and redesigned the screens to provide greater flexibility, access more information, and ease of use. The impressive integration with the windows environment reduces time and labor for companies. VAI continues to leverage the integrated system design of the IBM Power Systems platform that provides a built-in database, advanced system management features, advanced security features, and virus resistant design, to optimize the reliability and availability for its business applications.

These software solutions are another example of how a great company such as VAI works with its customers to understand their needs and find and apply the appropriate solution.

Dolvin hopes that it can help to fulfill your technology challenges.
Click here to learn more about Dolvin and our success working with companies like yours.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Evaluating Your Needs

Evaluating your needs:

Buying an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution requires that you understand the potential solutions and equally as important is understanding the real business needs of your organization.

ERP software is often grouped in modules with each designed around either a department, such as Finance which would include General Ledger, Accounts Receivables, and Accounts Payable, or business function, such as procurement or manufacturing. 

It is easy to get lost in features and functions and loose site of business processes.  A good solution will identify and address your business challenges.  Are you simply interested in addressing your current operations or are you looking forward enough to include additional capabilities that will enhance your competitiveness.  For example are you including integrating Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Ecommerce?  Not just tying these modules in, but having them fully integrated. 

Are you incorporating a new business process?  Are you interested in streamlining existing operations to become more competitive or achieve a higher level of excellence?  There are a lot of very good solutions and solution providers available today, but that does not mean they are a good choice for your business. 

What technology is the proposed solution utilizing?  In today's global economy it may not do much for business if your solution relies on unstable hardware or software or cannot communicate effectively with your supply chain, employees, and customers.

Buying an ERP solution requires an in-depth analysis of your current operations and business processes.  The typical function/feature demo is impractical today.  Has the ERP solution ever been used in your industry with success or will you be the trail blazer?  Where will the Return on Investment (ROI) be calculated?  What is the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)? 

What changes a good solution to a great solution?  The solution delivers substantial process improvements.  Fits your budget and has a reasonable ROI.  Addresses the top most business challenges.  Fits your technical landscape. Provides the functionality to deliver the business results.

Contact us today for more information on how Dolvin can work with your team to define and understand your needs.

Click here for Dolvin's contact information.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Educational Warehouse, Paragon Sports, & Freeport Marine: S2K for Retail

Educational Warehouse, Paragon Sports, & Freeport Marine: S2K for Retail

Retail businesses flourish using S2K for Retail...
Sporting goods retailer, Paragon Sporting Goods Co., boat supply retailer and distributor, Freeport Marine Supply Company, and educational supplies retailer, Educational Warehouse, all use S2K for Retail and POS to solve their business challenges. These companies use dynamic ways to boost sales to their stores through e-commerce and kiosks.

These retailers are another example of how a great company such as VAI works with its customers to understand their needs and find and apply the appropriate solution.

Dolvin hopes that it can help to fulfill your technology challenges.
Click here to learn more about Dolvin and our success working with companies like yours.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The 5 Critical Points for ERP Success

The 5 Critical Points for ERP Success

To the point.  This two page article from Focus highlights the importance of doing an in depth analysis of any Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementation project.  ERP solutions encompass all departments in an organization, so concensus is critical.

What is it you hope to achieve from implementing a system?  Business value, not just a technical investment. Is this solution a good fit for our organization?  Do you mold your business to the software or software to the business? 

Change is one of the most difficult things to do as an individual, now multiple that by a large number and you can understand the scope of change needed for an organization to manage.  As bad as it may be, it is often preferrable to trying to upgrade an older existing system.  Sometimes it is better to start fresh where everything is designed to work with each other.

Success will depend a lot on training and documentation.  Training makes sense for anything new, but documentation is a critical business process to complete on your existing system as well as new.  How will you know if the new system can process your workload, if you do not know what you do now.

Top management needs to be involved.  Leadership starts at the top and everyone inevitably gets some level of frustration during an ERP analysis and implementation.  With today's economy how many of us are already time constrained from doing multiple jobs for the same compensation.  Leaders, lead.  Get involved, make sure everyone knows your vision of the future and how this project will streamline operations and make life more manageable.

To build success, expierenced consultants like Dolvin Consulting, can use their knowledge and industry contacts to manage the technical challenges and guide you in discussion to gain support for change.  Remember that you are ultimately responsible for the success or failure of any project and if your ERP project is too large or complicated, then it is best to reevaluate.

Click here to see Dolvin's contact information and to find out how we can help you achieve your goals.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Joshen Paper & Packaging: S2K for Distribution

Joshen Paper & Packaging: S2K for Distribution

Leading paper distributor continues to grow using VAI's e-Business solution...
As a leading paper, packaging and chemical supplier, Joshen serves more than 8,000 customers including supermarkets, convenience stores, drug stores, institutions, wholesalers and the food service industry throughout North America. Joshen maintains an inventory of more than 10,000 packaging items, 1,000 janitorial items and 2,000 label variations and serves the diverse needs of its customers. S2K Enterprise Portal software for e-Business allows Joshen to branch out to new markets.

Joshen Paper & Packaging is another example of how a great company such as VAI works with its customers to understand their needs and find and apply the appropriate solution.

Dolvin hopes that it can help to fulfill your technology challenges.
Click here to learn more about Dolvin and our success working with companies like yours.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Top 10 Questions to Ask When Choosing an ERP Solution

10 Critical Questions & Answers to Explore When Buying an ERP Solution has published a handy guide to help you review and prepare when it is time to begin your evaluation of a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software.  Guides like these help you to identify areas that need investigation.  The last thing anyone wants after making a commitment is to find out they forgot to address a key business process.

Have you put together the most important questions to ask your potential ERP vendors?

Before buying a mid market or enterprise-level ERP system, you must get answers to these top 10 questions compiled from our ERP analysts who speak with 1000's of Finance, Manufacturing and Operations buyers. Learn what other ERP buyers have said should be part of the Top 10 questions to ask when choosing an ERP solution!

Dolvin, VAI and IBM work with your team to ensure you have the right solution to your business challenges.

Click here to learn more about Dolvin.
Click here for our contact information.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Seacore Seafood Inc.: S2K for Food

Seacore Seafood Inc.: S2K for Food

Major Canadian seafood supplier automates business...

Seacore Seafood is a full line importer, distributor and custom processor of fresh and frozen fish, seafood, and live lobster. Located in the Toronto suburb of Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada, Seacore’s Retail division, Seafood Depot, is one of the largest seafood outlets in the world. Seacore uses S2K for Food, along with S2K Retail Point of Sale (POS), to automate its business processes, allowing expansion.

Seacore is another example of how a great company such as VAI works with its customers to understand their needs and find and apply the appropriate solution.

Dolvin hopes that it can fulfill your technology challenges.

Click here to learn more about Dolvin and our success working with companies like yours.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Should hardware play a role in your software selection?

Should hardware play a role in your software selection?

A recent post from the Technology Evaluation Center (TEC) highlight that there are alternatives to “Big ERP Platforms”.  The article specifically talks about Unit4 Coda and their solution and approach to financial systems and cost effectiveness.  Click here to read the article.

One could debate the merits and detriments of their solution, but what really matters is what fits any given organizations challenges on the near term and long term planning horizons.  Do you mold your business process to a solution or alter the solution to meet your operations.  That too can be debated.

One of the real gems from the recent posting and the reason for this post is to call attention to a computing platform that was designed for business computing.  Specifically, IBM I or I5 or Iseries or AS400 depending on how long you have been around.

Learn More

There are many seemingly inexpensive computing platforms available today that have lower upfront costs, but when you add in administration, maintenance, growth and a whole host of other factors, the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) can and should be evaluated.  Again, that material would fill volumes.

But wait, why this posting?  Unit4 Coda has been developing and updating its software for their customers over the last 23 years and still runs today on the same platform. 

Pause for a moment and think about that number (23). 

Are you using anything else that has been around that long?  Maybe an adding machine, but computing platform?  Agreed that the underlying hardware has evolved, but you can take code written on day one on that platform, place it on today’s machine and it will run just the same, but a bit faster I would imagine.  Of course, the reverse in not true.  Today’s applications often take advantage of new features to bring new functionality and the resources may not have existed way back when.

So, should you base your software decision on hardware alone?  Probably not, but you should not ignore the advantages of a platform designed for business.

We at Dolvin would like to learn where your challenges lay and help you navigate to a stable future.