October 2019 Newsletter

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Welcome to PSSI’s Update Newsletter

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

October, 2019

UpdateOctober Edition

This month we focus on practical considerations for ERP buyers, and on new “Tips” about the software brands we implement for clients, including ALERE accounting & manufacturing software from TIW Technology, Inc., and Microsoft Dynamics Business Central (formerly “NAV”).  Software evolves quickly these days, and we want to be sure you’re up to date on the latest from our favorite brands.

Tips often provide insight into the deeper features and capabilities of software.  Today’s offerings provide surprisingly powerful features and benefits at prices that have never been lower.

As providers of business software and consulting help, we’re out 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.

The Value & Benefits of the Best ERP Consultants

It often goes unsaid, but when an ERP implementation goes right, it usually has more to do with the implementation consultants than the software itself.  Most software today is so robust and powerful that the argument can be made that almost any system (at least within the constraints of a general industry) can be successfully implemented – provided the implementation team knows what it’s doing.

So what makes a software consultant truly valuable, and what benefits do they bring to the table?  Our list below, based on 30 years’ experience, makes a good checklist for measuring a provider’s credentials.

* Experience.  The obvious one.  An experienced implementer will know the software, know business, know your industry domain perhaps, know accounting, understand business processes and, perhaps most of all, know where and how your people best fit into the equation.
* Domain Knowledge.  Does your consultant know about your industry or business?  Have they dealt with companies much like yours before, in terms of business flow, process implementation and your competitive challenges?
* Business Process Knowledge.  A key benefit of ERP is the way it can streamline your entire operation.  At its best, ERP removes redundancy, consolidates company knowledge into a single silo of information and eliminates tedium by automating what can be automated, and improving on all the rest.  Experienced consultants know how to analyze your current processes and then help you map them to better future outcomes – all while understanding how the proposed software works well enough to make it actually happen.
* Project Management.  Even the best of projects and intentions fall apart without a strong project manager who has a trusting and close relationship with their client-side counterpart.  Knowing when to run towards the fires and when to pull the emergency stop cord are learned talents possessed by the most experienced consultants – and sorely lacking in those who are not.
* A Focus on the Business Benefits.  Twenty years ago, ERP implementations focused on having ‘the best technology’ (i.e., Windows, Y2K compliance, robust network architectures, etc.).  Today, those things are taken for granted, and it’s all about understanding your business model.  The best consultants keep all parties focused on the business outcomes, not just the technology.
* A Methodology.  From your initial analysis through implementation, a project needs a well-defined, road-tested methodology.  ERP is too complex to be left to the ‘winging it’ methodology.  It’s all about process identification, meeting your requirements and being able to pivot when necessary.

Questions about your system needs? We urge you to contact PSSI directly at 877.273.2444.
We’re here to help!

ALERE Software (from TIW Technology): User Tips…

PSSI has been implementing ALERE manufacturing software for over 25 years, and we still think it’s one of the best-priced, best-functioning software products you can buy anywhere.  Users appreciate ALERE’s flexibility over many other systems. 

A few tips and concepts that make ALERE manufacturing software work so well:

  • Inheritance refers to serialized finished goods inheriting the serial number of material issued to the work order that is building the items. For example, ten derailleurs that are each serialized are issued to a work order to assemble ten bikes. The ten bikes take their serial numbers from the derailleurs.  There are two conditions for this to happen automatically. First, the work order type has to be set to Inheritance.  Second, the serial numbers used are determined by the first serialized item issued to the order. So, in the case of the bikes, the derailleurs would need to be issued to the job before any other serialized material is issued.  There are two conditions for this to happen automatically. First, the work order type has to be set to Inheritance.  This is a one-to-one relationship. The serial number of each finished good is based on the serialized item issued to it.
  • BOMs and Material Lists: A single-level BOM consists of the components that are directly used in a parent item. An easy way to picture this is the list of the ingredients to make a cake. If ten cakes were being baked, then the list of the ingredients would be multiplied by ten. The resulting list would be the material list, and serves as a picking list for the total ingredients required.

    Why is this distinction between a BOM and a material list important? When a work order is created the quantity on the order is multiplied by the BOM for the item. The list of components, and their quantities, appears on the Material tab of the work order.  The material list becomes part of the order which allows items to be added, deleted, and the quantities changed. What has been allocated, used, and is remaining is easily traceable. Changes to the root BOM can flow out to the order and the material list updated even while in process on the manufacturing floor.

    The total capability is a truly unique feature of the ALERE Manufacturing software.


  • The Service App supports the processing of service tickets, in real time via an internet, on a hand held device such as a tablet.  The app runs via terminal services and is available with the purchase of the Mobility module. The Service App has all the functionality and flexibility of its service ticket desktop counterpart, however there are some differences to support its use in the field. Touching a service ticket displays it with a menu along the left hand border. The ticket is processed in the same manner as is done in a desktop environment with some exceptions. Labor can be tracked, material issued, results gathered, and notes taken as normal but the app can also automatically track a service person’s time by clicking on the Start My Clock button.

Want to Learn More About ALERE?

TIW has a 7 minute Manufacturing Overview Video on YouTube that gives a nice overview of what manufacturing software can do for you.  Click the link above to see why ALERE may be a great fit for your manufacturing operations.

To learn more, call us any time at 877.273.2444, or visit us on the web.

In this issue of Update

  • Benefits of the Best ERP Consultants
  • Who Is PSSI?
  • Tips & Best Practices
  • ALERE: New User Tips… Manufacturing Software Overview: A Quick Video
  • Overview of the Wave Two 2019 Release of Dynamics Business Central 365
  • Free White Paper: Software That Matters
  • Getting Your Warehouse in Order, by Larry Lukasik

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, mostly 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 difficult process and technology problems.  Though 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…

5 Ways Inefficient Warehouses and Bad Inventories Cost Companies Dearly
A Great Explanation of What a Manager “Does”
Lessons For All Companies Learned From Private Equity Firms’ ERP Requirements

WHAT’S NEW? What’s Ahead in Fall for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (formerly “Dynamics NAV”)… 

Wave two of Dynamics 365 Business Central, slated for release in October, focuses on modern clients, modern developer tools and faster migration for critical ISV add-ins.  Read on for the latest updates, straight from Microsoft…

  • Service fundamentals: Laser focus on performance, reliability, supportability, and security is essential to ensure that service quality remains ahead of the growth in service usage. Accessibility, already in a strong position, must be preserved.

  • Modern client: With the 2019 release wave 2, users access Business Central in the browser, Windows 10 desktop app, mobile apps on Android and iOS, or in Outlook. We accelerate our investment in speed and productivity features for the modern browser experience, achieving a major milestone in its transformation into a world-class desktop experience for new and expert users alike. 2019 release wave 2 is the first version that does not include the Dynamics NAV Client connected to Business Central (also known as the Windows client). The modern clients now support so many productivity features that the Windows client is discontinued for Business Central going forward. The legacy Dynamics NAV client remains supported in the April ’19 update and earlier versions in alignment with the support lifecycle.
  • Modern developer tools: 2019 release wave 2 is the first version that does not include the classic development environment (also known as C/SIDE). The modern developer experience based on Visual Studio Code with Azure DevOps and an AL language that supports an extension-based approach to customization now supports developing large apps, such as the base application from Microsoft. Because of this, C/SIDE is discontinued for Business Central going forward. The classic development environment remains supported in the April ’19 update and earlier versions in alignment with the support lifecycle.
  • Empower ISV acceleration: The 2019 release wave 2 update delivers a set of features designed to simplify ISV (Independent Software Developer) development for new solutions and, specifically, for streamlining the migration from the source code customization model of Dynamics NAV to Business Central. The Dynamics NAV business has been driven by strong vertical ISV solutions, surrounded by add-on solutions. For the 2019 release wave 2 update, our focus will be streamlining the path for ISVs to bring their solutions – and in turn their customers – to Business Central online.
  • Customer migration tools: After enabling Dynamics NAV ISVs to bring their solutions to Business Central online, the next step is simplify the journey for existing Dynamics SMB customers coming from Dynamics NAV, Dynamics GP, or Dynamics SL to migrate from their current on-premises solutions to Business Central online. A set of tools already exists, and these will be enhanced with 2019 release wave 2.

BC365 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 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.

Getting Your Warehouse in Order

This is the second in a series of articles from PSSI’s Larry Lukasik on how to look at your warehouse, organize your inventory and improve your bottom line.

Larry Lukasik has spent decades helping clients improve their factories, warehouses and overall profitability by working closely with them to improve their procedures and their automation.  As the new owner of PSSI, Larry leads our team in helping all our clients make the most of their systems and improve them wherever possible.


  • The first place to start when organizing an inventory system is to map the inventory locations.  Ideally you have a rough map of the facility.  If not, improvise something with Excel or Paint.  On the map, mark all locations that are considered “inventory” locations.  This includes actual storage areas as well as staging areas.  If possible, identify each rack/shelf section within your defined storage locations.  The more detailed the map, the easier it will be to set up your program and train everyone on managing inventory.


  • Identify the functionality your ERP/Business system supports relative to inventory bin locations.  What character limits or formats are supported?  Which inventory related documents do these locations appear on?  If an item has multiple bin locations, will all of them appear on the system generated document or just one location?  If just one location appears, can you specify it (default picking location)?  Can you have established bins or locations in your business system that you cannot pick/allocate from (QA Hold)?


  • Creating a location system for your stockroom/warehouse is a must if you want to create an efficient and accurate inventory system.  They are extremely easy to learn, allow you to reorganize as inventory activities change and support zone counting when doing cycle counting and physical inventories.  DO NOT organize your stockroom/warehouse by part number.  This concept only works for a few years at best, results in inefficient picking and almost always ends with dozens of exceptions that just makes training harder.
  • Once you know the functionality of your software system, identify the location format you will use for staging areas, racks, shelves and bin locations if necessary.  For most companies, the standard format of Row, Section, Level (xx-xx-xx) works for most racking/shelving areas. If you can get an order-picker to this location and they can find the desired item in less than 5 seconds, you probably don’t need to indicate the bin location.
  • Secondly, when defining the “row,” use coding that immediately tells the order-picker where in the plant/warehouse they need to travel in order to begin the pick.  I find that when I have several unique storage areas in the plant, I begin the row with a unique character (for example: main warehouse rows start AA, AB, AC, ….; if there is another set of racks in a different part of the plant they are labeled BA, BB, BC,…) This helps my order-pickers visualize where they will begin the pick.
  • Third, when defining Levels, always begin with the lowest (floor) location as “01.”  Depending on your rack/shelving layout, you order pickers will typically be able to identify if they will need a forklift or walking staircase to make the pick.


  • Making your stockroom/warehouse a visual workplace will benefit you with both accuracy and efficiency. The easier you make if for your operators to locate materials, the more likely they are to perform well.  Every rack/shelf location should be labeled with its address.  Labels should be black lettering on a white background printed as large as possible.  Placing the label in the middle of the rack crossmember or shelf that the product is sitting on makes it easy for the picker to identify the location. In the case of floor locations for pallet racks that do not have crossmembers on the floor, I recommend placing the label on the far right side of the crossmember above the location with an clear arrow system pointing down.  Being consistent is the most important aspect of the process.  As an item of note: I do NOT recommend using adhesive labels on metal shelving/racking.  Use magnetic tape to adhere your location labels.  This will allow your stockroom/warehouse team to adapt their work area easily as the needs of the business change.
  • Do not be afraid to use signs hanging from the ceiling or painted notes on the floor for staging areas. Regarding floor locations, ensure that there is clear delineation (markings) that identify where the location begins and ends.

Next issue, we’ll wrap up with a look at housekeeping, procedures, organization by activity and metrics.  There’s a lot of money wrapped up in your warehouse.  We’re here to help you maximize its value.  Warehouse and manufacturing improvement are our specialties.  Give Larry a call if you’d like to talk about yours, at 877.273.2444 (or 574.239.2444).

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