February 2020 Newsletter

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Welcome to PSSI’s Update Newsletter

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

February, 2020

UpdateFebruary 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 wrokflow and automation investments.

We aim always to improve your profits and productivity while helping you to simplify your business and lean out into a lighter, better version of yourself.  We bring all our tools and experience to bear on simply improving your business — just as we’ve done for hundreds of clients much like you over many years.  That’s why we’ve evolved our motto into… How can we help?

In this month’s Update newsletter we’ll provide 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 new court rulings regarding internet sales tax collection and how they may affect you, as well as share tips on things like: accounting red flags, questions to ask before buying an ERP system, and the one key accounting rule that governs the rest.

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.

How the New Court Ruling on Sales Tax Collection Affects Your Web Sales

A recent article in The Wall Street Journal titled “Web Sales-Tax Ruling Jolts Small Businesses” points out the possibly dramatic effects of last year’s Supreme Court ruling in a dispute between Wayfair, Inc. and the state of South Dakota, which held “that states had the authority to make online retailers collect sales taxes even if they didn’t maintain a store, warehouse or other physical presence.”

This is a likely game-changer for any company doing business over the internet.

Sales taxes are levied differently in every state, and who pays what varies widely.  It’s a complex web of regulations, requirements, taxing methodologies and of course taxes and penalties for those who fail for whatever reason to comply.

“Small businesses are definitely the ones that are really adversely affected,” notes a tax attorney in Atlanta.  “A bigger business is typically going to have more robust sales-tax software.”

The problem in a nutshell is tracking, since each state applies its own rules and logic, as well as minimum taxable thresholds.  As the article notes, most states have tried to limit the impact for smaller sellers.  For example, South Dakota exempts sales under $100,000 or fewer than 200 transactions; California has a $500,000 threshold, while Kansas has none.

The challenge for the small to midsize business is keeping track of all the limits and regulations to ensure compliance.  One firm noted that it spent $25,000 last year tracking $90,000 in taxes.  Another noted that it took more than a week to determine that his one-person company didn’t trip any state sales-tax requirements, though it came close in several.

One solution supplier PSSI has worked with in the past (and who counts among its staff several former SBT Accounting Systems staffers, we might add) is Avalara, Inc.  Avalara’s software plugs into many existing accounting solutions, and takes the drudgery and guesswork out of state-by-state sales tax reporting, compliance and calculations.  (Avalara recently went public and, no surprise, has seen its stock price soar since.)

Anyone selling in other states over the web is now liable for sales tax calculation, collection and remittance.  Companies like Avalara aim to make this new business burden manageable.  If you have web-based sales across state lines, you may want to look into a sales tax solution soon.  Before the states start coming to you.

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.

Knowing the One Fact That Can Make Sense of Accounting

PSSI 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 reminds us of a single fact that makes all accounting make sense.  His comments follow…

When you are not familiar with accounting it can be quite intimidating. Heck, just the word “INTIMIDATING” is intimidating! Debits and credits – how do you know what they do and when to use them? But, in truth, just knowing one fact can make sense of accounting. And what is that one fact you ask?

You always debit an expense.

It can’t be that simple! In fact, it is. Just knowing that you always debt an expense will allow you to figure out everything else. After all, accounting is all about making two offsetting entries that add up to zero: a debit and a credit. For example, if you buy office supplies you debit expenses. If they came out of your checking account, then you credit the checking account. If you sell a towel, then you debit the checking account which is the opposite of taking money out of it. That leaves crediting a sales account. Follow how that works?

Of course, a little chart of shortcuts can help:

This table chart can be found in your ALERE HTML Manual by clicking on the Finance section instead of the “+” button to open the section.

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

  • How the New Court Ruling Affects Your Web-Based Sales
  • Who Is PSSI?
  • Tips & Best Practices: 
    • Accounting Red Flags
    • 10 Questions to Ask Before You Buy an ERP System
  • ALERE Software and The 1 Key Accounting Rule
  • 7 Minute Manufacturing Overview video 
  • Key Differences Between Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 Business Central 
  • Free White Paper: Software That Matters
  • Commentary: Finding the FLOW For Each of Your Processes

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.

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

A Few Big Red Flags That Show Your Accounting System is Hurting Your Business
More Big Red Flags That Show Your Accounting System is Hurting Your Business
10 Questions To Ask Before an ERP Implementation

The Key Differences Between Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 Business Central 

Since clients have been asking… so we thought we’d explain.  (Frankly, if you can just get the names straight, you’re probably half-way there!) 

The new business management software offering from Microsoft called “Dynamics 365 Business Central” is in large part the evolution of the product formerly known as Microsoft Dynamics NAV (or previously, “Navision”).  Following are a few of the differences between the older product and the newer that show how it’s evolving today.

Dynamics 365 Business Central provides a complete business application solution designed and optimized for SMB organizations. Since its launch in April 2018, Business Central has seen increasing adoption by organizations looking to digitally transform their businesses. But for longtime NAV users, the product looks very familiar — since it’s built on NAV code.  Following are some of the key product differences you may want to know about.

  NAV: Local data center; your own in-house servers; or in the cloud, i.e., Microsoft Azure
  BC: Cloud-hosted, i.e., Microsoft Azure

  NAV: Local desktop client (i.e., Windows); Web browser; Mobile App for Devices/Tablets; Outlook client
  BC: Web browser; Mobile App for Devices/Tablets; Outlook client

  NAV: Perpetual or Subscription Licensing (Maintenance included)
  BC: Monthly Subscription; Pay only by “named user;” Includes the Application, Maintenance and Hosting

  NAV: Dynamics NAV “Starter Pack” and (for extra fee) “Extended Pack”
  BC: Dynamics 365 Business Central Essentials and Premium

  NAV: Via “extensions” purchased through partners and through custom development & modifications
  BC: Via “apps” purchased from Microsoft’s AppSource (store); NO modifications or custom development

  NAV: Updates based on annual version release
  BC: Continuously updated on a monthly basis in the cloud

Business Central 365 release 2019 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: Finding the Flow For Each of Your Processes

More advice on… Business Flow and the Importance of Lean Manufacturing.

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

As stated in my previous article (in January’s Update), finding the flow for each of your processes is key to improving it.  Knowing that heartbeat (i.e., rate of demand) allows you to sync all support activities to the primary flow. In addition, once you know this demand, it is much easier to plan appropriate levels of resources.  Keeping the pendulum from swinging too far on a process allows you to staff at the average level of demand instead of overreacting to the swings.  Finding that flow however, sometime involves some investigative work.  Here is an example where the flow was not obvious.

A company in the Midwest produced aftermarket custom versions of stainless steel machine center way covers. Each cover was produced to order and ranged in size from as small as a bread box to as large as a full size freezer.  Order quantities ranged from 1 to 20 pieces with 90% being in the 1 to 3 range.  The basic process was to laser-cut the necessary metal components, form them, spot weld hinges and guides, assemble and fit the parts together, then polish the stainless covers and package them for shipment. The average lead time was 4-5 weeks from receipt of order to shipment.  Internally, the covers flowed through several departments traveling about 4,300 feet from start to finish and taking about 3.5 weeks to complete.  The company was looking for a way to reduce its lead times on the product.

There was no discernible pattern to the orders, each had to be handled on a FIFO basis and the sales department was constantly “expediting” orders and changing priorities.  It was more fire drill than flow on a daily basis.  The operations manager was looking for help.  We decided to crunch the data to see if we could find any patterns.

The team looked at the last two years of sales and categorized products by several different factors, always looking for a pattern.  After a few days, the data began to show itself.  About 73% of the covers were 3’ wide or less and they represented about 60% of the dollars.  Since the covers were under 3’ width, that meant that they could be handled without the need for forklifts, pallet jacks or special hoists. The team decided to segment the production process into two flows: small covers and large (over 3’ wide) covers.  Once the team decided to do this wonderful things happened!

They redesigned the production process for small covers to use push carts to move the items between operations.  Carts were limited to two per operation.  Each operator could not start another cover until they had a cart returned from the downstream operation.  If none was available, they moved upstream to assist the team member to keep the flow going.  Because the covers were small and no special material handling equipment was needed, the overall length of the entire process flow was reduced from 4,300 to 150 feet.  Each operator was cross-trained to assist upstream so that flow was always maintained.  Covers laser-cut in the morning were ready for shipment by the end of the shift, resulting in a reduction of almost 3 weeks of in process lead time.  The team learned so much from this experience that they later redesigned the flow of the large cover line to gain additional productivity improvements.  Overall, the entire process flow now uses less than half of the previous floor space and wasteful “expediting” has almost disappeared as rapid delivery is now commonplace.

For every major product or business process, always start with flow.  Once you know the heartbeat, redesign the process to support that flow in the most efficient manner possible.  Reference Lean Manufacturing concepts to assist you with streamlining your process and you will be rewarded with improved productivity and customer service.

-Larry Lukasik, PSSI, February, 2020


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