March 2020 Newsletter


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Welcome to PSSI’s Update Newsletter

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

March, 2020

A Message To Our Readers

As we all struggle to adjust to the new normal of the corona virus, we want friends and customers to know that our entire staff remains available to all of you.  Some are working at the office, some remotely, but all are just a phone call or an email away.  You can reach any of us at 574.239.2444, then selecting the appropriate extension.

We will continue to serve your needs during these challenging days ahead, and of course wish you and your families the very best of health in managing your own way safely through the crisis.

UpdateMarch 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.

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 …

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

How Do You Measure Success in an ERP Implementation?How you measure success in an ERP implementation can mean different things to different people, companies and projects.  But taking note of a few key performance indicators (KPIs) can help to ensure that your project meets some key success criteria.

For starters: Have we improved the customer experience?  If improved customer connectivity is a key underlying reason for doing ERP in the first place, it only makes sense to include success in this area among your key criteria.  Have you organized and streamlined your business processes, eliminated redundancies and provided all the information your customers need to do business with you?  When orders are shipped correctly and on-time because the order fulfillment process has been made seamless from customer to you, then overall client satisfaction has risen, and everyone wins.  And remember, only what gets measured gets improved.  So upon implementation, start tracking!

Have we improved our inventory turns?  This requires both a before and after measurement.  Eliminating overstocked inventory, knowing which items move fastest, improving inventory visibility through improved automation and using your system to project and estimate future needs all serve to eliminate unnecessary SKUs while improving profits.  To measure turns, just divide your monthly sales by
your average monthly inventory.  Track monthly, forever.  Use the information provided to make better decisions about what, when and where to trim.

Are we living on real-time data?  Today’s ERP systems can provide up-to-the-minute information on virtually everything that happens in your company — provided you have taken the steps to get the data in there in real-time.  You do this via automation, bar-coding and similar technologies.  These have to be integrated into the workings of your system, but it’s all out there today, available in any number of the best ERP systems.  A lot of the newer systems provide business intelligence and reporting systems that, once the template has been designed, will crunch the numbers for you and turn data into information that becomes the basis for real insights and decision-making capabilities.  From tracking machine maintenance to speed of order flow and improvement in inventory turns, it’s all there for the asking, for those willing to invest the necessary resources at the front end.  And the good news of course is: you only have to set it up once!  (Keep telling yourself this during those painful early days).  From there on, it’s all about tracking, tweaks and gradual improvements.

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 Software ReviewsPSSI 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. 

In a recent dealer newsletter, TIW Technology President Rod Hatcher (pictured above) announced two sites where both users and dealers can provide feedback, comments and reviews of their ALERE software.  We’d like to share Rod’s comments today and provide two links (one even offers the opportunity to earn $20 for your efforts, if it’s not too late — and if it is, don’t blame us, we’re just the messengers…).  Writes TIW’s Mr. Hatcher:

Online reviews of ALERE will increase its visibility and add impetus to purchasing ALERE.

We have been working diligently, step-by-step, to increase the visibility of the ALERE name in the digital ERP marketplace through promotion of the TIW web site and Google advertising. We have seen great progress, which brings us to the next objective, garnering online reviews. For that we need to rely on you and your clients. So we are asking that you take a few moments and help by reviewing ALERE at these two websites:

Capterra, a Gartner company,  Incentivized Review Page. This link provides a $20 dollar gift card for the first 100 reviewers for leaving their comments. As a disclaimer, the review incentive is not contingent upon leaving a positive review.

Google general review of TIW.

The reviews are most useful if additional information is included. Some examples would be detailing your experience implementing ALERE; ease of use; scope and depth of features; customization potential; etc.

Please help the ALERE community by providing a review. A few minutes of your time will make a difference.  Every entry counts. TIW and PSSI both thank you for your partnership.

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 Do You Measure Success in an ERP Implementation?
  • Who Is PSSI?
  • Tips & Best Practices: 
    • The Business of Hacking & Ransomware
    • The Factory of the Future
    • 4 Reasons to Ditch an ERP Project
  • ALERE Software: Write Your Own Review!
  • 7 Minute Manufacturing Overview video 
  • New Fraud Protections in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central 
  • Free White Paper: Software That Matters
  • Commentary: “5 S” Your ERP System

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 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 Business of Hacking and Ransomware
The Factory of the Future
4 Reasons to Ditch an ERP Project

New in March:
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Fraud Protection

Account fraud detection through new AI tools and new loss prevention technology coming to D365/BC in March

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 is news from the folks at about the new technology coming in March to help online sellers detect and prevent fraud and its associated business losses.

The MSDW Editorial team recently published this new announcement about updates to Business Central based on recent artificial intelligence (AI) developments.  We’ll re-post their comments here…

“Account protection identifies and protects against fraudulent customer accounts. And a new loss prevention feature will identify loss patterns in physical stores. The new features add “much needed AI to make processes more efficient and protect merchant’s omnichannel revenue,” writes core product manager for D365 Fraud Protection Kapil Tandon in a new blog post.

Account protection aims to recognize patterns in fraudulent e-commerce activity around account creation and account hijacking, or account takeover (ATO). ATO leads to both financial losses and reputation damage to merchants. In addition to assessing sign-in events, the account protection feature will give merchants “an ATO assessment score that they can leverage to block such fraudulent sign-in attempts or trigger two-factor authentication or other challenges on suspicious attempts.”

The loss prevention feature will work with Dynamics 365 Commerce (formerly known as Dynamics 365 Retail) along with “the power of AI” to help businesses “decipher patterns of losses from returns, improper discounts, merchandise mishandling, and inventory turn-over,” Tandon writes. The main product page for Fraud Protection describes the loss prevention feature as working with “commerce systems”, not Dynamics 365 specifically.

Microsoft first announced D365 Fraud Protection in early 2019 and launched a preview in April 2019 and reached general availability in October 2019. The product’s initial release included a range of features including virtual fraud analysis, sign-up assessment, device fingerprinting, and more.”

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: Do You Need to “5 S” Your ERP System?

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

There is a concept in Lean Manufacturing called Five S.  It stands for Sort, Set, Shine, Standardize and Sustain.  The idea behind this concept is to organize your work environment (a place for everything, and everything in its place) so that you can be as productive as possible with the least amount of effort.  According to a report from management consultant McKinsey & Company, the average employee spends up to 1.8 hours per day searching for and gathering information in order to accomplish their tasks. This waste can easily be eliminated if the work environment is organized and labeled in such a manner as to make finding tools and information very easy.  Most companies that begin a Lean transformation initiative find that they can improve productivity by as much as 10% just by organizing the work environment.  Sometimes missed in this effort is the need to organize the information system like the physical work environment.

ERP systems and support documentation are a virtual workplace that requires the same concepts and disciplines as a warehouse or plant floor.  Information workers are constantly looking in their business systems for information to make critical and timely decisions that directly impact customers.  Customer or vendor pricing, product availability or specification, open invoices or balances, contract terms or ongoing communications regarding product/service development or quality issues are all bits of data or tools that your team needs to efficiently handle customer/vendor interaction.  The question is, how clean and organized is this data?

It is not unusual to find things such as pricing, contract terms or specifications stored on multiple PCs by the different individuals who champion these areas.  This information is often held on an individual’s computer drive under a filing system known only to them.  Sometimes this information is also stored on a server, but not necessarily in a file system that everyone knows and supports.  In doing an audit of a company that handles quotes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, we found as many as 4 different versions of the same quote among the salesperson, sales manager, network file and engineering team.  And each was adjusting their version of the quote assuming they were the only ones working on it!

The same holds true for ERP systems.  I have found business systems with product family coding that was incorrect, obsolete items not identified, inactive G/L accounts not labeled, inconsistent units of measure, descriptions of similar items within a product family that bore no resemblance to each other and pricing information that was inaccurate.   Information workers often just worked around these shortcomings by looking up information on cheat sheets that might be stored on their local drive or a network file that they created but no one else knows about it.  It all just meant more wasted time and opportunities for errors.

With Spring right around the corner, now might be a good time to Five S your business systems.  Does your team have a defined location and file system for all customer and vendor documents?  Do you have a standard folder template established that can be used when setting up a new customer/vendor?  An example might look something like this:

  • Customer Name_number (Primary Folder)
    • Pricing
    • Product/Service Specifications
    • Quotes
    • Quality Correspondence
    • Billing Issues
    • Agreements

How about your ERP system?  When was the last time you validated your product coding?  Most ERP systems allow you to filter by various codes.  What does your data look like?  Are your units of measurement consistent so as not to cause confusion in the warehouse when picking and receiving?  Are your descriptions clear enough that a new employee can readily identify a product?  Is all of customer pricing set up in your system and noted with expiration dates to allow order entry personnel the opportunity to enter an order rapidly without having to go to cheat sheets to verify the pricing?  Do you have customer and vendor part numbers correctly entered into your system so that invoices between the companies can be easily compared and reconciled without having to reference a cheat sheet to identity what is what?

I have worked with some companies where it literally takes longer for an order to get entered and forwarded to production, than it does to make the product.  Is your order process handicapped because of messy or missing data?  Then maybe doing a Five S initiative is just the thing your business system needs.

-Larry Lukasik, PSSI, March, 2020


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