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Posted by & filed under Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).

Read more on "How Customizing Your ERP Is Like Making a Pizza" »

How Customizing Your ERP

Here at TGO Consulting, we understand that every business is unique. Every industry has its own set of needs and priorities, and within those industries, every business has its own approach and individual goals. Because of this, we offer a variety of ERPs – but we don’t stop there. We can customize any one of our ERP solutions to fit your company’s needs exactly.

Over the years, we’ve come to think of the way we help our customers as a sort of build-your-own pizza experience. Pizza is one of those foods that can be anything, really. Your standard delivery pizza can elicit cheers from an office full of workers on a dreary Monday, while a gourmet interpretation at a fine dining establishment can excite even the most upscale diner. And within those genres, there are endless possibilities for customization – meats, cheeses, veggies, sauces, crusts… There’s quite simply a pizza for everyone.

The same goes for ERP solutions. And to show you just how similar ERPs and pizzas really are, we’ve put together a little list of the customizations we offer, and their corresponding pizza equivalents.

The Crust
The crust is the basic core of the pizza. Without a crust, you really can’t call it a pizza, right? Well, the ERP core application is the crust of TGO’s pizza. This is the base that is necessary in order to build your customized solution on top of it. Of course, there are different types and different sizes of crusts, from personal to extra large, and from thin and crispy to deep dish pan pizza. These correspond with the various different ERP solutions we offer, from Microsoft Dynamics GP to Sage ERP X3. Our ERPs can work for large companies and small businesses, and can be put to work for tasks as lightweight or in-depth as you require.

The Sauce and Cheese
Sauce and cheese are another necessity for a pizza – without them, it’s really more of a flatbread. Their flavors can vary drastically, however, from standard tomato sauce to creamy alfredo sauce, and from mozzarella to feta. These flavors are just like the standard extensions you can choose from to make your ERP fit your needs more closely. Maybe you need advanced reporting and analytics capabilities, or maybe your workflow is more complex than usual. You may require document delivery or online customer account management services. Whatever your needs, TGO can add those components to your ERP to create the base from which you’ll work.

The Toppings
Now we come to the part where your pizza becomes truly your own – the toppings. Whether you like plain old pepperoni or prefer sundried tomatoes and spinach, you can customize your pizza to fit your exact tastes and preferences. Our ERP offerings can be individualized in exactly the same way, with enhancements from our partners. Need help with collections management or recurring billing? Maybe you need a robust CRM, or a solution to manage your professional services organization. Or it could be that you just want to be able to manage multiple checking accounts at once. We’ve got ERP toppings to suit every need, and every taste.

Are you ready to create your own ERPizza? If so, contact us at TGO Consulting today. We can walk you through the process of choosing the features you’ll need, and make sure your ERP’s crust, sauce, cheese, and toppings are just right for your company’s unique goals and priorities.

Posted by & filed under Business Software, Enhancements.

Read more on "How To Convince Your Boss You Need A CRM System" » How To Convince Your Boss You Need A CRM System

 

You know you need to drive sales, and that means investing in CRM software.

But how can you justify this purchase to your CFO? Whether it’s consulting time, resources to manage it, or software, it all comes at a price. Upper management must weigh competing requests and determine the best allocation for resources. How can you make sure your request makes the cut?

It’s tempting to lean heavily on ROI, but so will others in your organization. It’s not hard to make the case for ROI for any project. To win your case – and the investment you need to succeed – you need to stand out.
That’s why you need to tie your request to established executive goals. By demonstrating the multiple solutions your CRM will achieve and how those solutions contribute to company values and priorities, you will make a strong, compelling case. Besides revenue growth – the most important goal – be sure to tie your request to key goals your customer-focused business executives hold dear.

Know your ideal customer.
You may think you know your company’s target client, but it’s time to get personal with the ideal customer. If you can specifically speak to the details that set your ideal customer apart, you can better articulate the necessary actions that will drive the customer’s desired response.

If your business leaders know this ideal customer intimately, they will make stronger business decisions across the board. First of all, they will more wisely make advertising decisions, making the most of each dollar where it counts. Secondly, branding decisions will become clear, as the message that resonates with this customer will be obvious. Business development will become more focused with this information, and the resources for development and sales will be allocated to the right areas.

This is why your CRM software’s database is so valuable. By recording the customer attributes, it gives you a pee k into who your customer really is. The CRM system does not just record the interactions of each customer, but even the results. This gives you a more complete picture of what your customer is really like.

Know your customer’s issues.
This information is vital if you want to find out who your ideal customer truly is. But even more important is to grasp what issues the customer is facing. Sales people will uncover these hopes, dreams, and struggles as they interact with customers on a daily basis, and they will record it in CRM. This allows the entire organization to gain a deeper understanding of the customer, resulting in better customer service.

These are just two ways that a CRM system can benefit your company and your sales team for increased revenue. The entire organization, top to bottom, wins with a deeper understanding of the segment you serve and what makes them tick.
Here at TGO Consulting, we can implement and customize CRM software to your ERP solution as an enhancement to fit your company’s needs. Contact us today to learn more!

 

Posted by & filed under Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).

Read more on "Everything You Need to Know about ERP Licensing Agreements" » Everything You Need to Know about ERP Licensing Agreements

 

Do you click “Agree” on the “Terms and Conditions” box before reading the fine print? If you are like most people, the answer is “yes!” With your company’s ERP software, however, you’ll want to be sure to read it. It spells out important information you need to know, including support level, costs, price changes, and division of responsibilities.
Wish it could be simple? It can. Here are nine details you need to inspect before clicking “agree.”

1. Number of users.
Make sure you check how the software defines users and determine if multiple users can share one user name without voiding your agreement. If you can have concurrent users, you may save considerable money.

2. Length of time.
ERP systems generally use either a perpetual license (for as long as you use the software after purchase) or term-based license (monthly or yearly intervals). Keep in mind that this license for the software may not correspond to your length of product support.

3. Functionality included.
Some ERP systems are all-inclusive, while others allow businesses to choose the functions they desire a la carte. Be sure to scrutinize the agreement to make sure everything you need is included. You should also take some time to forecast what your needs may be over the growth of your business to determine if this will likely meet those needs, as well.

4. Implementation services.
Find out what the implementation requires on your end, any deadlines, expected labor hours and billing, where and how the work will be completed, and a list of your responsibilities. You want to make sure you are clear on this before moving forward.

5. Included support.
Beyond implementation, there might arise support issues in the future. Various users will experience snags and need help. Be sure to determine the level of support you can expect, how to obtain it, and how support is defined by the provider. Do they provide monitoring or training? How can users contact support staff and what is the availability? How quickly can questions be resolved? Is there a limit on questions or support hours?

6. Software updates.
Be sure to look if software updates are included. How are they communicated, and how do you implement them?

7. Source code.
You may not be concerned with this yet, but be sure to find out if you have access to the source code. In the event you want to make customizations without starting over with a new software, this could be valuable. Not all ERP developers want to share access to their code. Be aware that changing the code could void your support contract.

8. Usage fees.
Determine if there are any additional fees based on bandwidth or storage. Some have task-based fee structures, for the number of documents processed, units logged, or contracts created. For a small business, this could be economical, but with a large or growing business, additional charges could quickly add up.

9. Data rights.
An important consideration with ERP implementation is data ownership. Most software developers, however, will provide an export solution. Be sure to determine what can be exported, how this data will be backed up regularly, and how confidentiality is maintained.

TGO can help you find the right solution when purchasing your company’s next ERP system. With our Assurance Plans, you’ll always receive the best support  for your entire solution. Contact us today to learn more!

Posted by & filed under General.

Read more on "3 Dimensions of ERP System Scalability" » ERP System Scalability

 

Scalability. It’s a term that nearly every business chases, often times without knowing exactly how to achieve it. For businesses large and small, many strive for growth and expansion – strategies that require flexibility in all aspects of the business, including software programs such as ERP solution. While scalability in your company’s software won’t necessarily propel it to an international industry leader, it will save you money and allow for flexibility to expand globally.
Instead of investing thousands of dollars to overcome your current system’s shortcomings as your business expands, scalable ERP software will not require these expenditures. Similarly, it will not hold your business back from any potential growth opportunities.

When looking to invest in an ERP system, there are 3 dimensions that can help you determine whether or not the system will be scalable and flexible for the future growth of your company.

  1. Utilization
    Utilization refers to how the system will respond when the amount of data it stores is increased. Ensuring reliable performance with an increased utilization rate is often solely connected to the hardware but, the truth is, that software plays a role as well.
    In some ERP systems, there are “tipping points” where the volume of data and information begins to impact performance. An open database structure that allows you to add server space to account for this increased volume is a must-have for any scalable ERP solution. In companies where there are spikes in the utilization, for example seasonal increases in demand, there are tools available, such as traffic prioritization. This allows the “essential” data to continue to flow, while pushing other data off to the side.
    The best solution, of course, is to ensure full scalability in your ERP and completely avoid this issue.

  2. Platform
    When looking at operating systems, a 2013 survey found that 90% of desktops run some sort of Windows OS. Consequently, many ERP systems are designed with this information in mind. There may be, however, times when your company may have to support an alternative operating system. To increase scalability, companies often look to browser-based software so that the device’s operating system essentially becomes a non-factor.
    Similarly, scalability can be increased by augmenting the functionality of the backend database. While it is not directly run with the ERP system, increasing its data storage capacity can help increase the effectiveness and integration with ERP and throughout the entire business.

  3. User Count
    As your business grows, it is logical to assume that the number of employees and users of the ERP system will also need to increase. Many systems allow you to add users, but it’s important to be aware of how the cost and relative ease of doing so differs between solutions. Are additional licenses sold on an individual basis or in bundled groups (1 vs. a package of 20?). Can new users access all functions of the system and under the same security measures? Does new client software need to be installed to every additional workstation? These questions, among others, are extremely helpful in gauging the process of adding additional users to the system.

When looking to purchase an ERP system, these three dimensions are important to keep in mind. While they may not seem relevant right now, they will come into question as your company begins to grow and looks for scalability in its software programs.

One client, IS5 Communication, opted for a full-fledged ERP system for their start-up from the get-go and reaped the benefits. Read how they did it to see how you can follow their lead.

Posted by & filed under General.

Read more on "4 Reasons Manufacturing ERP Systems Fail" »Manufacturing ERP Systems

 

ERP systems are a valuable addition to any manufacturing company. From discrete manufacturers to process manufacturers, there are a large number of benefits to be gained from implementing a new ERP solution into your business. While software, hardware and other miscellaneous costs may seem formidable, ERP systems aim to save your business money in the long-term by streamlining processes. In addition, they can help to reduce inventory shrinkage, labor costs and cost of goods sold by improving purchasing practices.
Each type of manufacturer has specific needs, but generally speaking, those companies working within the manufacturing field have a number of similarities. To ensure that your new ERP system is beneficial to your company, all manufacturers should be wary of reasons why ERP systems fail.

  1. A faulty inventory item number scheme
    When products are exchanged between suppliers and manufacturers, inventory numbers tend to be duplicated or operate on different systems. With different numbers and identification methods for each product, companies may reorder a new inventory supply when, in fact, it was simply numbered in a way that it was not picked up in the system. With multiple suppliers, these coordination efforts become even more complex. When purchasing a new ERP system, be sure that it maintains a cross-reference between your internal numbering system and each supplier’s system.

  2. Inaccurate inventory on hand
    One of the benefits of integrating your systems is that redundancies are eliminated across all areas of the business. One of the downsides is that an error is automatically compounded. An inventory mistake in the beginning of the manufacturing process will continue to repeat itself throughout the system. ERP systems that offer “net-change” physical inventory functions can make it easy to correct stock counts without having to stop production to do a physical inventory count.

  3. Lack of coordination between engineering and manufacturing
    An ERP system cannot help your company achieve its goals if the objectives set forth by different departments are diverse. By working together before implementing a new solution, all departments can be sure their needs are plausible and can be met. Working with a consultant can help develop a thorough implementation plan to appease all stakeholders before software installation begins.

  4. Unrealistic expectations
    Even if all departments of your business are on the same page as far as objectives and goals you want the ERP system to achieve, they need to remain within a realistic scope. It is important to balance what you need the solution to do with what it can actually do. Start by making a list of functions that are essential and adding a few “would be nice” items. When shopping for systems, you can then line up the specific functions you need with what each system offers.

When purchasing an ERP system for your manufacturing company, it is equally important to know what not to do in addition to what you should do. By identifying these implementation mistakes, your company can make efficient strides towards streamlining processes and saving money.
If you’re not sure what steps to take (or not take), then feel free to get in touch for a consultation before moving forward; we can point you in the right direction.

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