May 2020 Newsletter


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Welcome to PSSI’s Update Newsletter

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

May, 2020

UpdateMay 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 workflow 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 take a look at what constitutes an intelligent supply chain in these challenging times… Look at how to transition to a virtual accounting department… provide links to our archives of articles including ones on continuous improvement, organizational change resistance, and hear from the greatest management guru of all time on the 8 best practices of executives.  Finally, in this month’s Commentary we’ll look at how Larry Lukasik helped one company substantially shorten its lead times (from weeks to hours) in our second of a two-part article on supply chain disrupters.

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  

The Intelligent Supply Chain

Amidst the fear and confusion surrounding our current pandemic, we hear a lot in the business sector about supply chains and their management.  Today we’ll take a quick look at the new world of supply chains, in which the traditional supply chain requires adequate ERP systems combined with business intelligence to stay ahead of the curve.

At its core, your local store’s ability to bring your everything from bottled water to toilet paper depends on a few core supply chain components.  You have to source your core ingredients or raw materials, transport them to the production site, receive them and ready them for processing, create (and track) your finished goods.  Then you have to ship, track, deliver to where someone at the other end of the chain must receive, store, shelve and sell.

Of course, it’s not as simple as it all sounds.  Efficient supply chains require strategic planning, active management, refined execution and constant tracking, reporting, projecting and updating the data fed back by the chain.  Today, a big part of this requires real-time data and fast analysis of trends.

Product life cycles are becoming more complex, more global and always, leaner.  That means having an ERP system that can match the speed of the other members of your supply chain, both upstream and down.  It means being able to know in real-time what’s moving where, at what pace and what rate of change.  It means tracking sales and other data in real-time to spot changes in trends, and the need for you to move just as quickly.

All of which adds yet another layer to your supply chain management efforts: accurate, up-to-date reporting fueled by some measure of business intelligence.  That’s real-time intelligence about inventory changes, sales patterns, purchasing lead times, delivery requirements, cash flow capabilities and more.

It’s no longer enough just to know what happened last year, last quarter, last season or even last month.  You need to know by the week, sometimes the day.  And that requires a whole lot of integration across your business planning, your supply chain, and your reporting and software integration.

Todays’ ERP and SCM tools provide business managers with the broadest and deepest views of their companies, their processes and their profit possibilities.  But you have to have the tools and know how to deploy them — and that requires more than software and reporting tools: it requires strategic deployment and a well thought out plan for how, when and where those tools will give you the answers you need.

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: How “Kits” Work

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 explains how kits work in his company’s ALERE software…

A traditional kit is an assemblage of parts that are bagged or boxed together and sent to a customer. An example would be a repair kit for an engine carburetor.

Kits can be found in three different forms:

  • Assembled
  • Unassembled
  • Configurable

An assembled kit is prepackaged and in stock and ready to be sold or used.

An unassembled kit is in stock as separate components that are collected and packaged when an order is received.

A configurable kit is in stock as separate components, some of which are dependent on the choices made and/or the quantity required, that are collected and packaged when an order is received.  (A configurable bicycle BOM is illustrated below.)

When a sales order is entered in ALERE for some number of kits, they are allocated in inventory. Those kits that are not in stock will have their components allocated and the finished kits placed on order. When the sales order is shipped, the components allocated are automatically issued from inventory, the kits that have been ordered are placed in inventory, and the entire sales order is shipped.

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

  • The Intelligent Supply Chain
  • Who Is PSSI?
  • Tips & Best Practices: 
    • The 4 Essential Factors of Continuous Improvement
    • The Hidden Harm of Organizational Change Resistance
    • Peter Drucker on 8 Practices of the Best Executives
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central: Transitioning to a Virtual Accounting Dept.
  • ALERE Software: How ‘Kits’ Work
  • 7 Minute Manufacturing Overview video 
  • Free White Paper: Software That Matters
  • Commentary: Supply Chain Disrupters (Part II): Shortening Lead Times

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…

Four Essential Factors for Continuous Improvement
The Hidden Harm of Organizational “Change Resistance”
Peter Drucker on the 8 Practices of the Best Business Executives

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central: Tips on Transitioning to a Virtual Accounting Department blogger Kerry Peters suggests in a recent article a couple ideas to help companies cope during the current national lockdown with the challenges of running your accounting department virtually.

Companies these days are usually unprepared to work at their offices without paper, let alone try to run with a widely dispersed team.  Fortunately, Ms. Peters provides a few tips and insights for your A/R and A/P functions, which we’ll recap in part below.  (Click the link above for her full article.)

Accounts Receivable: Historically and commonly, the Accounts Receivable area is dependent on the delivery of mail. If your company is already using a lockbox service where your customers send payments directly to your bank for immediate deposit and processing, you’ve made a smart move. If you haven’t gotten around to that yet, you need to decide which of your team members will be responsible for processing the daily bank deposit and have your company postal mail temporarily forwarded to their home, using the mail forwarding service provided by the US Postal Service. It can be done online, can take effect immediately, and can be easily and quickly switched back to the company address when you are ready. As an additional measure, sign up for Informed Delivery, which is a USPS service that images the exterior of every letter delivered and provides a daily email of those images so you can see what was delivered.

The team member who receives that mail is then responsible for two things: 1) processing checks received so they are deposited to the bank, and 2) scanning and distributing electronic copies of any other documents received for processing by other team members. Depending on the volume of checks your company receives, you will want to be sure they also take home the check scanner. As another alternative, they could even use your bank’s mobile app to scan and deposit checks.

More than any other function, this adjustment affects how quickly (or slowly) customer payments get deposited to your bank accounts, so make this a top priority to avoid seeing slowdowns in your cash flow and a dwindling bank balance.

Accounts Payable: The Accounts Payable team is going to need some assistance gathering everything they’ll need to do their job from home. If your company pays their vendors primarily with paper checks, they will need to bring home a supply of paper check stock, windowed envelopes, a supply of postage, appropriate toner and supplies for the check printer, the actual check printer, and any unpaid payables files or unprocessed paper invoices.

Before you help them get all this stuff loaded up, make sure you have a plan for how the payment run will be approved and how the checks will get signed. If you are still manually signing paper checks and do not alter your process, envision the delays in sending check stock back and forth between different people’s homes and the resulting bottleneck in check processing. It could mean the difference between a single day’s time versus a full week if the checks are printed, sent to another person for signing, and then sent back for stuffing in envelopes to be mailed. Knowing a reliable courier service or being ready to have FedEx supplies and knowing where and when to drop them off will make a difference.

Even more attention to fraud prevention than usual should be paid in this area. Someone else should know how much check stock has been taken and which check numbers should be monitored with the check register. Now is also the time to have someone else setting up new vendors. More detective controls where a second person reviews completed work will be needed.

Consider finding ways to scan and store documents instead of creating the old-fashioned voucher packet. Accounts Payable can be the easiest area to make paperless, and most companies already have everything they need to work differently – you just need to decide to change your processes. Start with making sure that invoices received electronically are never printed. Work with your accounts receivable person (who is managing the mail) to start scanning invoices and emailing them, instead of passing on paper copies. This is a great time to begin thinking differently about these processes.

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: Digital Disrupters in Today’s Supply Chains (Part II) – Shortening Lead Times

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

In our previous (April) issue of Update I shared with you 7 major digital trends that are disrupting supply chains today, thanks to innovators like Amazon, Inc.  The short version of our digital disrupters list is…

  • Unified digital platforms
  • Escalating customer expectations
  • A data-driven supply chain
  • Connecting a mobile workforce
  • Analytic inventory management
  • Intelligent business processes
  • A tech-savvy workforce

This month, I’d like to share with you our recommendations, as well as a story of previous success in which we shortened lead times at one company from more than six weeks to just one day for most orders.

Our recommendation for leveraging your existing or new information system is to make it part of your ongoing business plan.  Much like the planning process that goes into investing in new equipment, more space or more people, your teams should be planning on how to better leverage your information system.  Every team that uses the business system should be challenged with making it more efficient, informative, or accessible to the entire organization.  Some good places to start are: 

  • How close is our department to being truly paperless?  What prevents this from happening?   (Don’t assume legal requirements necessitate paper.
  • Is our information processing done in “real time?” 
  • Do our employees have the information they need at their fingertips without having to go to a higher authority or having to interrupt someone to secure it?   
  • When a customer calls, can our support people answer all of their questions in real time without the need for calling them back? 
  • Can your track the flow of materials or orders remotely? 
  • How many different databases and spreadsheets do I need to access to accomplish a task?  How do we reduce these?  
  • How empowered are our frontline people because they have access to the same information that their manager has regarding supporting day to day flow of orders and materials? 

Years ago I was involved in a manufacturing operation where our normal lead time for finished product was 6-8 weeks (ours was a custom-configured line of products).  We recognized clearly that we needed to improve this if we were to grow the business.  So we only half-jokingly set a goal of “in by 9:00 AM out by 02:00 PM.”  

It took us nearly five years, but for all intents and purposes we essentially reached our goal: 80% of the orders placed by 10:00 AM were shipped that same day.  A significant aspect of this improvement was putting computer terminals with the appropriate software in all our work cells. Our production teams knew about customer demand less than one hour after orders were entered.  These same production teams could quickly analyze all demand, net that demand against available inventory, see any scheduled deliveries of raw materials and even trigger replenishment purchase orders from their work area.  And the entire process was paperless!

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, May, 2020


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