December 2020 Newsletter

<!doctype html>


View this email in your browser

Welcome to PSSI’s Update Newsletter

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

December, 2020

UpdateDecember Edition

December… at last!

Who among us, exactly one year ago, could have predicted the 2020 we have lived through?  You should pat yourself on the back merely for having survived the chaos, clamor and confusion.  From the global climate to the business climate, from hurricanes and market meltdowns to divisiveness and Covid despair… we are certainly exiting an annus horribilis for the ages.

All of us at PSSI would just like to take a moment to hit the Pause Button and wish everyone a peaceful, blessed, warm and safe Holiday Season — if you can even call it a season.  Can we dare proclaim that 2021 will make everything better?  Maybe not, but it doesn’t stop us from wishing you all the happiest of holidays and our best wishes for a prosperous new year.

We’ll be here in 2021 to serve your business needs.  Count on it.  Peace to you all.

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

And Now, I Really Must Be Going…

Regular readers of our newsletter may have recognized my continued editorial presence here as founder and longtime owner of PMI, then PSSI – Brian Sittley.  Well, this is the last one.  Permit me a quick farewell if you will.

Larry Lukasik – the best business and process consultant I’ve ever known, and I’ve known many – took over as sole owner fully one year ago, and I agreed to help with marketing this past year.  Unlike my prior disastrous attempt to transfer the business to employees, I’m happy to say this one has gone smoothly. You, our customers, are in the best of hands, and to my great joy, our team here has remained intact from the time we first began even discussing this transfer 4 years ago.

When I started the company long known as PMI way back in 1987, it was a different world: truly effective “personal computer” technology was a nascent industry, promising enormous benefits to businesses small and large.  “Custom” solutions were the way to go.  PC accounting systems became the rage.  Y2K galvanized the business world.  Our company’s efforts over the ensuing 30+ years changed businesses, lives and fortunes – including our own.  We grew from a one-man shop to a team of over 25 at our peak.

We kept our focus always on enhancing business productivity through improvements to our clients’ processes, efficiency and technology.  We stayed focused on software services and consulting.  Back then, we were a lot less concerned about things like viruses, data hacks, ransomware or the mass harvesting of our personal data.  Sadly, those days are gone.

Just as nearly all technology is borne of good intentions and the promise of improving lives, there is always a dark side.  Automobiles mature over a century but produce countless traffic fatalities.  Telephones evolve to plague us with never-ending robo-calls.  Global connectedness and social media lead to abuses and loss of privacy.  It seems no good deed goes unpunished.

Waxing nostalgic over those glory days of the 80s and 90s is a fool’s errand, but for a while, it was good fun, good growth, good for business and good for workers’ lives.  Today, tech’s benefits are manifest in the tools we use and the work we inhabit.  But as often as not it’s also hard work, head-banging frustration and a nagging sense that sometimes we are not in control as much as we’d like to think.

So as I make my final exit as a voice for our firm, let me reassure you that those core benefits of technology and software did not go away.  People like Larry and his team at PSSI have your best interests at heart.  They’re smart, experienced, and they’ve got your back.  They are capable of bringing worthwhile and extensive improvements to what you do and how you do it.  They’re a throwback to when technology was simply a good thing, and the biggest problem was getting it out to the clients quickly enough.  They are your trusted advisers, and through your mutual efforts they and you will build a better bridge, and continue to make lives more fruitful and productive, both now and well into the future.

Thanks for the great run everyone.  It wouldn’t have happened without all of you.


ALERE: Harnessing the APICS Supply Chain PrinciplesPSSI 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. 

One key reason we favor ALERE is its long-standing adherence to the APICS Dictionary.  APICS is the leading provider of supply chain, logistics and operations management research, publications, and education and certification programs. ALERE was designed to meet, and exceed, the definitions and processes defined by their dictionary.  And PSSI has been named an area APICS “Company of the Year” on several occasions due to our avid support of their principles in manufacturing.

You can see the APICS orientation at work in many of ALERE’s features, a couple of which we’ll briefly illustrate this month, as told by TIW Technology President Rod Hatcher.

Improved Blanket Order Integration
A blanket order (or standing order) is a long-term purchase order that has been placed by a customer. The order is valid for a specified period of time and authorizes multiple orders during that time period for supplying specified goods or services, for a fixed period or in a fixed quantity, at agreed-on prices or pricing methods. After its acceptance by the supplier, orders may be created against it periodically on an as-and-when-required basis, or as specified in the order, without calling for new purchase orders.

However, what happens when a customer calls to authorize a release from the blanket order, a sales order is created, and then the customer calls back and reduces the quantity ordered? The quantity on the order has already been deducted from the blanket order!

In ALERE v16.0 the integration of blanket and sales orders has been more tightly integrated so that changes to sales orders, created from blanket orders, automatically update the linked blanket orders to reflect the remaining quantity!

This feat is possible because of a concept in ALERE that uses the Activity tab on orders to trace the transactions that occur throughout each document’s life.

Transfer Order Planning
Prior to v16.0 manufacturing material planning took into consideration purchase orders and work orders that would be in demand for inventory items to meet production requirements. The orders that were required would be listed on the Generate Recommended Work Orders screen and the Generate Purchase Orders screen where they could be edited and then automatically released as live orders. These recommended orders save an immense amount of manual labor and keep inventory sufficiently stocked to meet the needs of manufacturing.

However, larger manufacturing companies may have more complex material planning requirements if they have multiple locations where raw material inventory is stocked, sub-components are built, and finished product is produced among them.

The planning process has been enlarged to treat different locations as suppliers. This involves recommending transfer orders, instead of purchase orders, among the different locations for raw materials, manufactured sub-components, and finished product. To support this capability, the Generate Recommended Transfer Orders screen has been added to handle material movements among the different locations.

This will be evident when the plan orders process is run and the screen will display the number of WO’s, TO’s, and PO’s recommended.

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

  • And Now, I Really Must Be Going…
  • Who Is PSSI?
  • Tips & Best Practices: 
    • 30 Years of ERP Advice Boiled Down to 1 Page
    • Six Ways to Mitigate ERP Software Risk
    • The Inventor of Search
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central: Basics of Account Schedules
  • ALERE Software: Using the Principles of APICS
  • 7 Minute Manufacturing Overview video 
  • Free White Paper: Software That Matters
  • President’s Commentary: Relief from the Annual Physical Inventory 

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…

30 Years of ERP Advice Boiled Down to One Page
Six Ways to Mitigate ERP Software Risk
The Inventor of Search

Business Central 365: The Basics of Account Schedules

General Ledger reporting is central to all accounting systems, and Business Central uses “Account Schedules” as the basis for G/L reporting.  We’ll share below an edited version of comments from BC365 blogger Elvin Narain of Evolution Business Systems in an article he recently posted here.

The Account Schedules in Business Central are used to get insight into the financial data stored in the chart of accounts. You use account schedules to analyze figures in general ledger accounts or to compare general ledger entries with general ledger budget entries by Dimensions.

Being a Microsoft product, the account schedules can be exported directly into Excel. It is also possible to export them directly into a PDF to attach to an email as a report pack.

The Account Schedule Layout

The account schedule is split into two sections, the first is the Row Layout, and the second is the Column Layout.

The row layout contains accounts from the GL or Budget; the rows can be actual GL accounts, budget accounts, or calculations based on GL accounts, for example: Sales minus cost of sales = profit.

It is also possible to repeat a GL account but with a filter applied, so for example you are able to have the “Rent” account several times on the rows, but the first time with a filter of Chicago, and the description changed to “Chicago Rent” the next line being “Milwaukee Rent” …etc. Following the office breakdown you are able to create a totals line.

It is also possible to create headings and structure the report into sections in the same way you would in Excel.

The column layouts determine how the numbers will be displayed, for example:

  • Calendar vs financial days, weeks, months, years
  • Multiple periods showing monthly columns
  • Budget figures for a period
  • Actuals for a period
  • A calculated column of the variance between budget and actual
  • Columns showing the period to date previous year / month and variance to current.

Account schedules allow financial users to create their own financial reports & statements, and use the dimensions in the system to allow for a high level of detailed reporting.

The rows and columns that are created by the user when they create new reports can be re-used so that creating new reports or adapting current ones becomes easy.

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.

Relief!… from the Annual Physical Inventory (Part 2 of 2)

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

In my prior post I talked about three fundamental changes I made to improve the accuracy and efficiency of our annual physical inventory;

  • Housekeeping
  • Zoning the Plant
  • Physical Inventory 3 Part Plan

In this segment, I want to discuss these three segments (Pre-Inventory, Inventory, Post Inventory)


The goal of this segment was to make sure that we were fully prepared for the actual inventory.  Our goal is for no surprises come the day(s) of inventory.  We created a checklist and timeline to make sure we got everything complete.


  • Order/check supplies
    • Order inventory tags, markers, tape, scales, calculators, pens, stickers
  • Confirm inventory date(s).
  • Review and update zone maps.
    • Identify Zone Leaders


  • Review and update all procedures.
    • Tag Control, Counting, Tag Entry and Auditing procedures
  • Walk Zones with Team Leaders and verify everything is orderly and ready for counting.
  • Review and resolve all rejected, quarantined, or questionable items. Ensure that their reporting status is clearly identified for inventory.
  • Authorize pre-counting to begin. (Count, seal and label containers, date and initials of counter)
  • Identify all remaining inventory personnel. (Counters, auditors, tag control, tag entry personnel)
  • Notify employees of responsibility and dates.


  • Team/Zone leaders reconcile all in-process work orders. Verify status of all active orders currently in information system.
  • Review counting, tag control and tag entry procedures with all involved personnel.  Emphasize penmanship is important. Clear legible tags are important.
  • Verify tag entry process.  Software functioning and PC’s for entry assigned.
  • Pre-bundle (groups of 100) tags by zone.


  • Final walkthrough with Zone Leaders on their zones. Everything in order?
  • Print additional copies of Item Master reports for reference by counters if necessary.
  • Remind production supervisors to create as clean a cutoff on work in process as they can just prior to inventory. All WIP jobs to have required documents attached.
  • Verify all scales in place and calibrated. (Having scales one week early helps with pre-counts)


  • Distribute tags and supplies to appropriate Zone Leaders.  Limit distribution to a few hundred tags at most. (Sufficient to immediately start counting first day of inventory. See previous year to identify how many each zone requires)
  • Run all “pre-inventory” reports so that you can have them for comparison for auditing if necessary.
  • Verify all WIP jobs labeled and organized.


  • Take two aspirins (just kidding)
  • Touch base with all Zone Leaders to ensure all assigned personnel are in place. (Reallocate resources if necessary)
  • Verify all data entry and auditors are in place and ready to execute.
  • Keep track of zones that are ready for audits and ensure auditing is taking place. (Our rule of thumb was if any item had more than a $200 variance in a location, it was audited.)
  • Redistribute resources as zones clear.  Allow counters to leave early if not required elsewhere to keep the process moving. (Incentive for them to stay focused and get counts done)
  • Make note of any problems that occur during process. (Poor counters, confusing units of measure, product packaging that makes counting difficult.)
  • Verify Tag Control Associate is verifying that all tags released have been returned.
  • Run all After Inventory reports when auditing is complete.

POST INVENTORY (No more than one week after inventory complete)

  • Time to start planning for next year’s inventory.
  • Meet with all Zone Leaders: what went right, what went wrong.  Adjust process or personnel as required.
  • Review your personal notes: What changes did you observe that need to be made?
  • Meet with auditors: Which items presented the biggest issues with getting counts correct?  Make notes for resolving this before next inventory.
  • Meet with Data Entry personnel.  Secure any recommendations for problems with tag entry. Make notes for fixing before next year.
  • Review all major dollar variances.  Attempt to identify source of problem and reconcile before next year.  Add to cycle count list if source of error is unknown.

Like any large problem, you keep chipping away at it each year.  Ensure your policies and procedures are followed, not just at inventory but all year long.  Use cycle counting as a tool to help identify sources of errors.  Document ALL procedures. It is the only way to train people properly and keep things consistent.

Last item; have a cocktail and celebrate that your next physical inventory will be better than the last.

And finally, Merry Christmas everyone!  It’s been a tough year all around. Congratulate yourselves!  (See item above.)

-Larry Lukasik, President
December, 2020

Copyright © *|CURRENT_YEAR|* *|LIST:COMPANY|*, All rights reserved.


Our mailing address is:


Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.