August 2020 Newsletter


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Welcome to PSSI’s Update Newsletter

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

August, 2020

UpdateAugust 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 strive to be your go-to team when it comes to getting the most out of your workflow and automation investments.

With each issue of our monthly Update we set out to educate and inform our clients and potential customers about the latest news, advice and innovations in ERP, business process improvement and how to lean out your workflows and operations for greater profitability.  Each month we provide the latest updates & insights from our software partners at Microsoft and TIW Technology, Inc., along with home-grown advice borne of our decades of experience helping companies just like yours.

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

Cynberattack: Small Manufacturers Found to be Among the Most Vulnerable

A recent survey of over 400 firms by WSJ Pro Research points out all too clearly that small businesses are far more vulnerable to cyberattacks, and that manufacturers (as well as retail and government) were behind other industries in important areas.

As pointed out in the survey, highlighted recently in The Wall Street Journal (6-22-20), “organizations aren’t necessarily prepared for the threats they are most concerned about.”  Nearly 80% of respondents viewed ransomware as a high risk, but only 70% felt prepared to deal with it.  (It’s real, and we have several clients who’ve suffered painful consequences.)

Small companies tend to lag behind large ones in preparedness, probably to no one’s surprise.  63% of companies under $50M sales have a cybersecurity program (compared to 81% of larger firms).  Worse still, 15% of companies have no plans to put one in place.

Several measures were found to be crucial indicators of companies’ preparedness:

– Companies with cyber insurance were likely to perform better on other aspects of preparedness.  Simply having insurance, The Journal noted, “suggested businesses have assessed their risk, understand their critical data assets, and are aware of the potential for disruption if attacked.”

– Companies receiving executive level training were more likely to have identified and protected critical data.

– Industrial and manufacturing companies appear to struggle the most with third-party risk, and fewer than two-thirds of manufacturers have a cybersecurity program.  Manufacturers even planning to have programs in place also lagged other industries, and 63% lack any cyber insurance.

Sadly, results showed in many cases that a company’s “perception of risk” outweighed its “perception of preparedness.”  In other words… we know it’s out there, we just haven’t done much about it.

Finally, suggested actions include:

– having an in-house cybersecurity program
– have a dedicated budget for cybersecurity
– hire qualified cybersecurity employees
– identify and protect critical data
– pursue ongoing cybersecurity training
– have an incident response plan
– purchase cybersecurity insurance
– get exec-level education

The threats are real.  We’ve seen them firsthand at client sites.  It doesn’t take a lot to begin to take basic preparedness actions.  Which will be it be for you: an ounce of protection… or a pound of cure?

Do you need help with your processes or managing your supply chains?  We’re here, we’re local, we know the territory… and we’re here to help!  We invite you to contact PSSI directly at 877.273.2444.

ALERE: News & Tips for ALERE UsersPSSI 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. 

This month TIW Technology President Rod Hatcher shows how to perform ‘drop shipments’ in ALERE, and how to export your data to an Excel worksheet.

Drop Shipments with ALERE 
A drop shipment takes place when a company takes the title of the product but does not actually handle, stock, or deliver it to the customer. Instead, the supplier receives instructions to ship directly to the company’s customer. In ALERE, sales orders handle drop shipments.

There are four, possibly five, items to be addressed when preparing to handle drop shipments.

  • In inventory on the Item tab screen check the item attribute Drop Ship check box for any items that can be dropped shipped.
  • At a minimum, also check the Purchase and Sellable boxes.
  • Assign a location to use as a default for the item on the inventory Location tab.
  • Add any suppliers that can handle a drop shipment for the item on the Supplier tab.
  • If a company uses permissions to create accepted drop ship purchase orders, then assign them the appropriate permission. The permission type is PFAO.

Use the Line Items tab on a sales order to enter orders for drop ship items. This permits the Ship ID and Ship Locn of the supplier fulfilling the drop ship order to be designated. Items being drop shipped are labeled, clearly in red, as illustrated on the screen below.

Start by entering the account from which the funds will be taken. Choose the Transfer (circled in red) radio button and enter a reference and an amount. The GL Journal Entry screen is displayed when the Post button is clicked.

A purchase order for the item can be created and automatically emailed to the supplier when it is released on the sales order. The purchase order contains the customer shipping address.

Even though drop ship items do not move through inventory, their activity is captured. They will show up on the Log of Activity and Future Activity screens and on any usage and analysis reports. General ledger postings for drop shipments will be made to accommodate the slightly different path than standard sales items because no physical inventory moves through the company. Other accounts, such as sales discounts and shipping, are added in the normal fashion.

Exporting to Excel from ALERE 
Often there is the desire to take the information generated by an ALERE report and perform further calculations on it. Sometimes a certain format is required by a company to meet special report requirements. Then, there are the occasions when data from different reports or sources need to be combined for the information to be visible. Since the most common vehicle for these various requirements is Excel, all of the reports in ALERE have an Export button to convert into to Excel.

The Export button will create a spreadsheet, in XLS or XLXS file type, which can be opened and edited in Microsoft Excel. It is automatically compatible with the 64-bit version of Excel. The information will be exported even if Excel is not installed on the workstation. The file automatically names and stores in a default location. However, both can be changed to allow full control over what to call the file and where to store it.

When exporting a report the formatting and grouping are not exported. Any calculations made by the report will therefore not be present. This method of exporting is followed because it allows the data to be manipulated. If the report were to be exported in a formatted manner, as is done when the report is printed, the data would be all placed into one cell on the spreadsheet and the ability to edit it would be lost.  Having the ability to export any report to Excel greatly enhances report functionality.

Questions about Excel exports?  Just call us!

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

  • Small Manufacturers Among Most Vulnerable to Cyberattacks
  • Who Is PSSI?
  • Tips & Best Practices: 
    • The Real Challenge Today for Small Business
    • ERP Selection Tips
    • Inventory Lessons: Cycle Counts
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central: New (Monthly) Payment Plans
  • ALERE Software Tips: How To Do Drop Shipments… Exporting to Excel…
  • 7 Minute Manufacturing Overview video 
  • Free White Paper: Software That Matters
  • Commentary: Price Check on Aisle 3

Who Are We?

Performance Software Solutions, Inc. is a northern Indiana-based consulting firm and 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 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 Real Challenge Today for Small Business
ERP Selection Tips
Inventory Lessons: Cycle Counts

Microsoft Announces New Payment Plans for Enhancement Plans & New Subscription License Discounts editor Jason Gumpert recently detailed a new offer from Microsoft that aims to draw customers of several on-premises Dynamics ERP solutions to the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program with new monthly payment options for traditional enhancement plans and new subscription license discounts for Dynamics 365 Business Central SaaS.

The new “CSP-Enhancement Plan Renewal Offer,” which was revealed to Microsoft partners in recent days, allows customers to renew their Dynamics NAV (and other Dynamics products) or Business Central on-prem enhancement plan  (often referred to as “BREP”) through their partner at a price equal to their annual enhancement plan renewal.

However, according to Microsoft, “instead of your annual Enhancement Plan payment, you pay for and license Dynamics 365 Business Central (Cloud) users on a monthly basis at the same total amount as your annual Enhancement Plan.”

Microsoft is noting several customer selling points of the deal…

First, it offers customers the ability to spread capital spending out into monthly payments rather than a lump sum enhancement plan payment while still getting the same benefits.

And for the same price it gives those on-prem customers Business Central cloud subscription seats at a 1:4 concurrent to named user ratio for no added cost. Business Central cloud subscription seats are priced at a 60% discount. For a premium seat, that would be $40 per month as opposed to the $100 list price.

While the new offer is designed to entice on-premises Dynamics SMB ERP customers to the cloud, the offer also grants customers dual-use rights and downgrade rights, Microsoft stated. That means customers can continue to use their current applications and get their enhancement plan benefits “while you transition to your Dynamics 365 Business Central (Cloud) solution”.

The offer is available from June 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, and it is for a one year subscription with two year auto renewal option.

Customers can also continue to have the option to annually renew their enhancement plans through traditional methods, Microsoft added.

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.

Price Check on Aisle Three…

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

On a recent shopping trip with my wife, we ran into a situation that brought something to my mind.  While walking the aisles, she saw an item that interested her.  After picking up and examining it, she looked to see the price on the shelf and noticed that there was none.

Standing there for a moment, she thought about whether to track down an associate for some help, or just put it in her cart and decide when she got to the register.  Neither of these options appealed to her as this was more of an impulse purchase than a needed item.  As she was about to return the item to the shelf, I noticed a pricing kiosk just a few feet away and quickly grabbed the item and checked the price for her.  Delighted with the results, she purchased the item.

This got me to thinking about day to day decisions on a plant floor.

How often do your employees encounter a situation where they could really use some additional information to make a decision for the benefit of the organization, but instead, because it is not readily available, simply ignore it and move on?

In the same fashion, having multiple access points on your shop floor or warehouse to your ERP system can pay dividends to your business. If employees recognize that inventory is low, a quick check of the ERP can tell them if the system counts are correct and whether a replenishment order has been placed and scheduled correctly.  If it looks like a “stock out” situation may occur, employees are more likely to bring it to someone’s attention.  Maintenance and tooling personnel are more likely to check production schedules to determine the best time to plan changeovers or maintenance, or to notify someone if they perceive a problem.  Production teams can more easily check bills of material or routings if something doesn’t look correct or if there is a better opportunity to coordinate an engineering change. They can also check actual sales demand to see if pushing through a partial production order will allow an earlier shipment to a customer.

With this type of easy access to information, you are more likely to have more eyes on your plant floor looking for opportunities to improve your business.  With the low cost of PCs and tablets, improved security to limit what a user can see and do within the ERP system along with the ability to block internet access, it becomes a very small investment for a big return on your plant floor.

Need help with your shop floor tools or production planning?  We’ve developed decades of experience helping folks just like you.  Call us… we’re here to help.

-Larry Lukasik, President
August, 2020

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