June 2020 Newsletter


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Welcome to PSSI’s Update Newsletter

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

June, 2020

UpdateJune 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.

During the current pandemic we’ve tried to keep busy with client work while observing all due precautions.  As a tech company, we’re fortunately set up to allow our team to work virtually from their homes, and to connect using video technologies like Microsoft Teams to train, support and strategize visually with our customers.  We continue to be available to you at all times to support your needs, and to consult with you on the strategies you want to employ as things gradually do return to normal — and they will!

In this month’s Update we’ll take a look at how we’ll restart our economy in the view of one global supply chain expert.  As always, 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 software.  And we’ll provide links to the PSSI advice archives with articles on empowering employees, lean transformation and why ‘grading’ your employees may not be your best idea.  Finally, in this month’s Commentary end-note company President Larry Lukasik shows you how to perform 3-way matching to save time and eliminate waste across many departments.

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.

Smart Advice On How We’ll Get Restarted

Jim Tompkins is CEO of Tompkins International, a global supply chain and consulting firm founded in 1975.  In a recent article in Material Handling & Logistics (published about one month prior to this edition of Update) he provides timely advice on what needs to happen to get the economy’s supply chains started again.  We’d like to share some of his comments here with you today.

In a newly released playbook entitled “Restarting the Economy: Guidance for Public and Private Leaders” Tompkins lays out his prescription consisting of six key points which we’ll reprise below.

1.   Governments, with the guidance of health experts, closed the economy by issuing stay-at-home orders. But governments, with the guidance of health experts, lifting their stay-at-home orders does not open the economy nor return business to “normal.”

To reopen the economy:
a. Business supply chains must restore the synchronization of supply and demand
b. Consumers must be willing to dismiss their personal stay-at-home orders.
c. The economy must adapt to what will evolve over time as the “next normal.”
d. The reality of the next normal as per the award-winning Japanese author Haruki Murakami: “And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain: when you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm is all about.”

2. For the last three years, disruptions to business via digital innovations have occurred at an ever-increasing rapid rate. For the last two months, the black swan disruption to business from the coronavirus has resulted in the momentous slowing of the U.S. $22 trillion economy.

3. The reality of business leadership today is best explained by the 1987 U.S. Army War College coined term VUCA. VUCA was created to help the government deal with the heightened levels of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity resulting from the end of the Cold War.

4. March and April 2020 have exhibited an unprecedented level of VUCA for the U.S. and global economy. Reopening the U.S. economy must be done business by business.

a. The first step requires disciplined triage to determine which businesses should be saved, paused, or closed.

b. Once it is decided a company should be saved, VUCA 2.0 (Vision, Understanding, Courage and Adaptability) must be pursued.

c. VUCA 2.0 will be different for each firm and must be deployed rapidly.

5. Confusing the governments’ lifting of their stay-at-home orders with the reopening of the economy will result in further VUCA and damage to the U.S. economy. As Vice President Pence said on Sunday, April 19, “The administration wants to be sure that the coronavirus cure isn’t worse than the disease.”

 6. We all need to focus our attention on restarting the economy to place the evil of COVID-19 in our rear-view mirror.

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: Routes, Material and the Bucketless MRP Solution

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. 

Did you know?… that ALERE Software was named for the components of the balance sheet and income statement?  As in… Assets, Liabilities, Equity, Revenues & Expenses?  Well, you do now!

This month TIW Technology President, Rod Hatcher explains how a bit about routes and material lists, and how ALERE uniquely implements not just bucketed, but bucketless MRP as well.

“Routes, which contain the instructions to manufacture products, are inexorably linked with materials that are required by individual operation steps in the production process. For some manufacturers the answer is to simply have all the materials on hand before starting the job and have it accompany the job as it moves through the shop floor. In essence, that may be viewed as having the components required on the first step of the route.

Manufacturers with jobs that have large material lists, extensive routes using material throughout the build process, and with a longer duration timeline to completion have a somewhat more complex challenge. In their case it is impractical for the material to be moved from operation to operation. Instead, it needs to be delivered to the operation where and when it will be consumed. They are also more sensitive to JIT, or Just In Time, and their supply chain must be timed to coincide with when operation steps will need the material.

In the first example, MRP bucketed techniques will suffice. In the second case, MRP bucketless techniques are required.

The software ERP industry is replete with solutions that handle bucketed requirements. However, there is a dearth of offerings to meet the requirements of a bucketless manufacturer. The number drops to basically none looking for a software package to handle both when both MRP techniques are used together, except for ALERE.

ALERE permits a relationship to be defined between a route and a BOM on the Assign Material screen.

“Here, the components and choices can be assigned to the route steps where they will be used. The schedule determines when each operation will be performed, and by extension, exactly when the material will be required. MRP can then include the production schedule into its planning, closing the loop. This is called Synchronous Manufacturing and completely meets the requirements of a bucketless system.”

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 We’ll Get Restarted
  • Who Is PSSI?
  • Tips & Best Practices: 
    • Empower Your Employees and Boost Productivity
    • 3 Key Pillars of Lean Transformation
    • Why ‘Grading’ Your Employees Is Hurting You
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central: New Plans for Handling Data Storage
  • ALERE Software: Routes, Materials, and the Only Bucketless MRP System
  • 7 Minute Manufacturing Overview video 
  • Free White Paper: Software That Matters
  • Commentary: How To Reduce Time & Waste With 3-Way Matching

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…

Empower Your Employees, Boost Productivity
Three Key Pillars of Lean Transformation
Management Ideas: Do You “Grade” Your Employees?… and Why It’s Hurting You

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central: Microsoft’s New Plans for Handling Users’ Data Storage

MSDynamicsWorld.com Editor Jason Gumpert in a recent article describes new thinking from Microsoft on how they plan to manage database storage in 365 Business Central for file storage and data archiving.

Microsoft currently provides 80GB of storage to 365BC users automatically.  Those requiring more can then purchase that additional storage space separately.  But according to MSDynamicsWorld’s Jason Gumpert, their plan is to minimize the number of clients who must endure this added expense.

Microsoft believes that knowledge gained in the marketplace will now allow it to observe what causes users to exceed base storage limits, correct some of those causes and optimize tenants’ storage spaces based on “real-world usage at scale.”

According to Gumpert… Some examples of what Microsoft plans to do for Business Central customers to limit database storage growth include:

  • Applying SQL Compression to databases, which will begin “prior to the 2020 release wave 2.”
  • Microsoft has observed that log data often uses large amounts of table storage. New configuration and management tools will help control the growth of this data in the system.
  • New alerts on unexpected database growth… Error conditions are often to blame for databases that are over the limits, and they can tell customers when such conditions arise.

He goes on to say of Microsoft (quoting Microsoft Technical Fellow and CTO of D365 Operations Applications Mike Ehrenberg in a new blog post):

“The team also has plans to update its practices for file storage and historical data archiving in the future to further reduce database size and cost. And NAV customers planning an upgrade to Business Central will be getting a new utility “this quarter” to help them estimate their database size after migration.”

A year ago Microsoft, much to the chagrin of users, implemented new additional storage pricing fees.  And so it’s appropriate perhaps that Gumpert end his article with these words:

“Based on comments in response to that reporting in 2019, that change did not delight customers or partners. The new update to Business Central database limits appears to be focused differently, with a focus on understanding what causes overages today and how Microsoft will work to minimize them. But we can also expect to hear more from customers if these changes do lead to higher costs.”

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: Getting Lean – Eliminating Time & Waste With 3-Way Matching

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

CurrentERP solutions allow businesses to streamline their operations and business processes by sharing real time information easily.  Current customer demand, purchase receipts, inventory levels or production outputs are typically only a few clicks away.  Users at every level of the organization can quickly and easily provide inputs into the ERP system to allow everyone access to the most up to date status of any production/business process.  Despite these capabilities, some companies struggle to recognize significant gains in productivity.  One of the reasons for this is that many business processes are still tied to hard copies of documents.  While the technology allows users the ability to make decisions and operate without documents, some users have a hard time letting go of their paper files.  Trust in an electronic filing system is still a bridge too far for some.  Accuracy of data entry may be questioned from time to time, and having access to the original document provides the insurance that users and managers need.

What I would like to share with you today is a way to make transitioning to a paperless process easier.  The problem with paper documents is not so much the documents themselves, but the activities associated with handling them.  Often, these documents need to be moved from one location to the next, requiring someone to stop what they are doing to move them.  Secondly, to make them more accessible, they need to be sorted in some type of manner (alphabetically, numerically, by date, customer, vendor, item number, etc.). This again requires someone to stop activities to simply sort the documents.  Lastly, to manage the piles of paper, individuals must take time to store these documents in a filing system for retrieval at a future date.  These files are not always within arm’s reach which again requires more travel time to put them away or access them when information is required.  With a little tweaking to processes we can make some gains in productivity without having to completely abandon the paper documents while we proof the business process and electronic filing system.  Let’s investigate two options.

Option #1
Scanning or linking hard copy documents to electronic records is now common in many ERP solutions.  Users can drag and drop emails, pdf’s or scanned copies to the electronic record they are entering.  Once linked, any user can access a copy of the original document that initiated the electronic record if there is any question regarding the accuracy of or need for clarification of the electronic record.  In this option, you may need to invest in scanners for your Shipping/Receiving team (packing slips/BOL) as well as your Accounts Payable person if you still received mailed invoices.  You may also need to define a filing system on your network for storing scanned documents such as AP_Docs_20xx for holding the linked documents. (Some ERP solutions do this automatically for you for linked documents).

Option #2
If your system does not allow for linked documents, changing your filing system may provide the productivity boost you are looking for.  In most cases, the need to review the hard copy of an electronic records occurs during the active life of the transactions.  In most cases this is within 90 days of entry.

Secondly, these reviews typically involve fewer than 1% of the documents stored.  For these reasons, a simplified filing system may be all that you need.  Allow me to give you an example.

As the Receiving department enters packing slips for product received, they file the packing slips in a folder by the date of entry.  These go into a rotating file cabinet with a drawer dedicated to the current month’s folders.  As a new month arrives, you start another drawer.  Once you have three months of active files, you begin purging the files.  As month #4 arrives, you purge all packing slips from the Month #1 drawer and use it to file the current month’s activity.  You begin rotating these three drawers on a regular basis.  If a question should arise regarding a purchase receipt entry, I simply check the ERP system for the date of entry for the receipt, pull that folder and search for my packing list. Again, most questions necessitating seeing a hard copy for verification typically occur within 90 days.  After that these documents never see the light of day. This same process can be used for vendor invoices, copies of customer purchase orders, and a variety of other documents.  No more sorting documents by customer, vendor or order number.  No more filling rows of cabinets with paper no one is looking at.  No more pallets of invoices from years ago taking up space in the warehouse.

Your electronic files are there to provide you the information you need for reporting on your business.  The paper documents are just a temporary tool to validate the entry of information in the system.  Once customers have received their products, invoices have been paid and checks have been cashed, the paperwork is no longer needed – thus freeing your people of the filing waste to enjoy the real benefits of a more productive workforce.

How is your organization meeting the challenges of today’s supply chain standards?  If you have questions or concerns about improving your work flow and supply chain, I welcome your call… we’re here to help!

– Larry Lukasik, PSSI, June, 2020


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