April 2020 Newsletter


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Welcome to PSSI’s Update Newsletter

From your enterprise software experts at
Performance Software Solutions, Inc.

April, 2020

UpdateApril Edition

At PSSI, we think of ourselves as an extension of your business.  Because our consultants have decades of experience in manufacturing, distribution and accounting, we believe we qualify as your go-to team when it comes to getting the most out of your workflow and automation investments.

In this month’s Update newsletter we’ll provide news and insights about business and ERP software, as well as updates from our solution partners at Microsoft and TIW Technology on the latest releases of their business software.  Software evolves quickly these days, and we want to be sure you’re up to date on the latest technology, as well as the latest news & updates from our recommended software partners.

We’ll also take a look at the rising possible threat to jobs (maybe yours?) from AI… and on the ERP side, we’ll provide tips on cycle counting, preparing for an ERP transformation, and computer passwords.

As providers of business software and consulting help, particularly to manufacturers and distributors, our goal is to inform our clients, partners and prospective customers year-round about the tools, people and software we utilize to make you more profitable and efficient.

We welcome your feedback at any time.  You can call us at 877.273.2444, or drop us an email at info@pssiusa.com.

The AI Threat: Is Your Job Safe?As we know from our own work over many years, the worlds of technology and job security are intimately connected, and sometimes conflicted.  Historically, advances in automation have been creating job disruption for over a century, from farms to factories.  But today, artificial intelligence, or AI, is a new and looming disruptive force that many say will be different.

Different in terms of who will be impacted.  While past displacements fell into the category of repeatable and lower-skilled workplace tasks, AI threatens to disrupt a new higher-echelon level of jobs.  Vulnerable occupations include marketing specialists, financial advisers, programmers and others in what have been high-paying fields, according to a recent study by the Brookings Institute.  Even engineers, optometrists, graphic designers and sales managers are not immune.

Whereas technology in the past may have replaced lower-skilled, more repetitive tasks and jobs, AI, they say, will be different.  As Eric Morath writes in The Outlook, Wall Street Journal (2-24-20), “AI enables computers to analyze data, predict outcomes, learn from experience by recognizing patterns and make decisions.  Such tasks are currently done by professional workers, many with college degrees.”  In other words, AI machines are quickly learning to do what previously only humans could – only sometimes, they do it better.

While such tech has the ability to free up workers for other tasks, like spending more time with customers and patients for example, it could also reduce the overall need for a wide range of specialists.  Previous automation has replaced people attaching parts on an assembly line or adding columns of numbers on a ledger.  According to one researcher at Stanford University, AI will substitute for a range of tasks, which may or may not lead to a total displacement; but one thing is for sure: jobs will change.

According to a study of how much AI abilities overlapped existing occupations, holders of bachelor’s degrees are five time more likely to be exposed to some effect of AI as are those with high school diplomas. Those with the highest exposure are in the 70th to 90th percentile of wage earners.  Some tasks like intensive data analysis may be replaced by more profitable activities thus leading to productivity increases and higher wages.  But in other cases workers could find their jobs so simplified as to be filled by someone less educated, thus driving down wages in the process, or be entirely replaced by technology.

So will AI be a net gain or loss for U.S. jobs?  The U.S. has six million fewer factory jobs than it did in the late 1970s, while the economy overall has 62 million more, primarily due to growth in the service sector.  Meanwhile, unemployment levels hover at 50 year lows.  Top executives are less likely exposed to displacement (for the top 10% of earners), so CEOs are largely exempt for now.  As one study’s author deadpans, “they’re not the ones doing the number crunching and making the PowerPoints.”

Do you need help with your processes and automation?  We’re here, we’re local, and we’re here to help!  We invite you to contact PSSI directly at 877.273.2444.

ALERE: The Importance of Operating in Real TimePSSI has been implementing ALERE accounting and manufacturing software for over 25 years, and we still think it’s one of the best-priced, best-functioning manufacturing software products you can buy anywhere.  Users appreciate ALERE’s flexibility over many other systems. 

From the ALERE monthly Dealer’s Bulletin, we present some important points about operating in real-time in the production environment, courtesy of company President, Rod Hatcher…

ALERE, since its inception, has been designed to perform real time operations. Why is that important you may ask? There are many answers for that question and they all revolve around efficiencies and capabilities. Here are five examples of real time advantages:

Period and Year End Closings – Period closings are automatically performed and year end closings can be done at your convenience. This means company operations are not interrupted monthly, and year end numbers are available immediately without time constraints.

Executive Advisor – The purpose of the Executive Advisor is to provide key financial indicators that are up to date as of the moment you look at them. The information provides better control over cash flow and profitability by eliminating the guesswork inherent in a batch system.

As-Of Reporting – This allows you to know last year’s inventory levels on a given day, print an income statement for any range of dates, or compare those income statements for any range of dates.

Physical Inventory – Taking inventory is a necessary but onerous task. Using ALERE, and a portable bar code scanner, allows the count to go much faster and more accurately without requiring all, or a portion of, inventory to be frozen for a period of time. See the article in this eNotes for more information on this process.

Data Acquisition – Integrated throughout ALERE, barcoding processes orders for shipping, receives items into inventory, transfers stock between locations, and tracks manufacturing activities in real time for better control.

ALERE’s real time design will save you money and increase work efficiency.

Want to Learn More About ALERE?  

TIW has a 7 minute Manufacturing Overview Video on YouTube that gives a concise summary of what manufacturing software can do for youClick the link below to see why ALERE may be a great fit for your manufacturing operations.

  • Interested in a trial version for your organization?

PSSI can work with you to understand better what a manufacturing software system can do for you.  For information on obtaining a trial version, contact Larry Lukasik at the number below.

To learn more, call us any time at 877.273.2444, or visit us on the web.


ALERE Manufacturing Overview (7:00)

In this issue of Update

  • The AI Threat: Is Your Job Safe?
  • Who Is PSSI?
  • Tips & Best Practices: 
    • The World’s Most Popular Password
    • The 4 Key Principles of Cycle Counts
    • 4 Steps to Preparing for ERP Transformation
  • ALERE Software: The Importance of Operating in Real-Time
  • 7 Minute Manufacturing Overview video 
  • New Features in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central
  • Free White Paper: Software That Matters
  • Commentary: 7 Digital Trends Disrupting Today’s Supply Chains

Who Are We?

Performance Software Solutions, Inc. is a northern Indiana-based reseller of enterprise accounting, manufacturing and distribution solutions from leading brands including Microsoft, TIW Technology and Sage Software.  We have been serving the small to midsize manufacturer and distributor across the Midwest for over 30 years, with a team of business consulting and software experts that is second to none.

PSSI specializes in helping manufacturing and distribution firms solve some of their most complex process and technology problems.  While we implement software solutions (including Microsoft Dynamics Business Central and TIW’s ALERE), we are most tightly focused on people, workflow and process improvement.  We’ve helped hundreds of companies like yours over the past 30 years improve their operations, process flows, automation strategies and their bottom lines.

Need help with your systems?  Learn more at www.pssiusa.com or call any us any time at 877.273.2444

Looking for some prudent advice before investing in software? Check out our Knowledge Bank archives.

Click any of our links BELOW for tips and best practices on planning for software…

The World’s Most Popular Password Remains…
The 4 Key Principles of Cycle Counts
4 Steps to Preparing for an ERP Transformation

New Features Coming to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central

Microsoft is stepping up their game when it comes to incorporating AI tools with Dynamics 365 Business Central… and adding a whole more features in 2020. 

According to a new post at MSDynamicsWorld.com “Microsoft is introducing a preview of Dynamics 365 Finance Insight in May. The newest  app in the D365 AI-based lineup will provide analysis on an organization’s cash position and give users ways to ‘take proactive action to improve it.’ The tool will automate menial tasks and provide insights without the need to hire AI experts.

“D365 Sales and Sales Insights will be getting new ‘manual and predictive forecasting capabilities’ in a ‘unified engagement center for inside sales representatives.’ Microsoft President of Business Applications James Phillips wrote that, ‘the engagement center provides them with their own prioritized work queue to take action on the highest priority leads and tasks based on built-in predictive scoring from Dynamics 365 Sales Insights and new, configurable sales cadences.’ “

Sales forecasting and D365 Financial Insights capabilities will be delivered in a way that allows people who are not data scientists or professional analysts to benefit from the findings, Phllips said.

A slew of other enhancements will roll out this year as Microsoft continues to improve the Dynamics product.  The MS Dynamics World website listed a few recently that include:

  • Multiple languages

  • Auto-insert recurring sales and purchase lines

  • Bank reconciliation improvements

  • Enhanced customer and vendor document layout

  • Manage direct-debit collections in Service Management

  • Notify requester about all changes for an approval request

  • Print to attachment

  • Receive more items than ordered

  • Register capacity in seconds as UoM 

Dynamics Business Central 365 represents yet another step in the continuing evolution of the product formerly known as NAV, and PSSI is committed to keeping our clients and prospective clients up to date on the latest changes.  Continue to follow this newsletter for news and updates in the future. 

Thinking about integrating Dynamics 365 Business Central into your business?  Or just have questions about the process, or need advice and recommendations?  Call us any time at 877.273.2444, or visit us on the web.

We’re here to help!

Click HERE to read our popular white paper “Software That Matters” on the ins and outs of purchasing an ERP System.

Commentary: 7 Digital Trends Disrupting Today’s Supply Chains

Larry Lukasik is the President of Performance Software Solutions, Inc. (PSSI)

In a recent e-book published by Key Commerce, the authors noted seven digital trends disrupting today’s supply chain, highlighting how expectations for information, service and analysis are pushing manufacturers and distributors to rethink the tools they use for managing their business.  As noted in the book, these areas include:

  • Unified Digital Platforms: A business needs to ensure that all aspects of its supply chain are integrated into one system that allows visibility across all aspects of the flow, from supplier through inventory, production, shipping and logistic partners placing it on their customer’s dock.
  • Escalating Customer Expectations: Amazon has impacted the expectation of every channel that supplies materials or products, from the convenience of on-line ordering to rapid delivery.  The ease with which your customers can place orders to how quickly you respond to those orders are now measured against this standard.
  • Data Driven Supply Chain: Information silos cost you time and money.  Your information system needs to allow key information from every aspect of the process flow to be readily available to everyone so that any anomaly can be quickly recognized and responded to.
  • Connecting a Mobile Workforce: Whether your workforce is at the office, traveling or working remotely, they need to be connected in a manner that always allows them to be productive and responsive.
  • Analytic Inventory Management: More than ever, it is not enough simply to know the current status of materials in the pipeline.  Being able to identify trends, spotting increasing/declining product sales, changing lead times, and market price fluctuations allows insightful businesses the opportunity to leverage favorable conditions, or rapidly respond to negative conditions before substantial losses occur.
  • Intelligent Business Processes: Proper implementation of business automation can reduce lost time in processes that typically occur as documents and transactions flow through different departments and managers within your organization.  Having robust connected processes allows information and approvals to flow in the least costly method in both time and resources.
  • Tech-Savvy Workforce: Modern employees expect to work in a connected and information rich operation.  Being able to access information at their fingertips allows them to provide the value they have developed with the least amount of frustration.  Digging through data or waiting for information to arrive is a sure recipe for employee frustration.

These 7 disrupters represent two major challenges to a business: first, having a business information system capable of providing the workforce with the tools they need; and second, having a plan for leveraging that tool to deliver the results your business needs.

While purchasing a new information system can quickly solve the first issue, the second issue is trickier.  Many organizations see the new software implementation plan as the solution to the second issue.  Although many business processes can be re-engineered during the implementation phase, the multiple changes required in absorbing the new methodologies can be overwhelming.

We’ll let you digest the 7 disruptive trends we’ve noted above, thinking about them in terms of your own business.  And then, in next month’s Update, I’ll share with you how one business I worked with solved similar challenges and was able to turn six weeks’ lead time into – for most orders – just one day!  Stay tuned…

-Larry Lukasik, PSSI, April, 2020


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