September 2020 Newsletter



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Welcome to PSSI’s Update Newsletter

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

September, 2020

UpdateSeptember 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.

With each issue of our monthly Update we set out to educate and inform our clients and potential customers about the latest news, advice and innovations in ERP, business process improvement and how to lean out your workflows and operations for greater profitability.  Each month we provide the latest updates & insights from our software partners at Microsoft and TIW Technology, Inc., along with home-grown advice borne of our decades of experience helping companies just like yours.

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

Emerging Stronger

While it may currently be difficult to speak of any rays of light shining through the current pandemic, political scientist, author and President of Eurasia Group Ian Bremmer (pictured above) recently pointed out one silver lining – at least in terms of the U.S. economy – amidst the ruin of the current COVID crisis.  He notes the continuing dominance of U.S. tech companies.

13 of the world’s 16 largest Internet companies are American.  More than that perhaps, is the fact that the U.S. produces “far more of both the biggest digital platform companies and the startup unicorns [startups with a billion plus in revenues] that will drive innovation in artificial intelligence, Big Data, cloud computing, autonomous vehicles, drones, and other cutting edge technologies that will dominate global economic development for decades to come.”

As the U.S. is also becoming the world’s de facto banker by increasing margins (over 60% of global foreign exchange reserves are denominated in U.S. dollars, with the Euro a distant second around 20%), we’re also extending our dominance in tech sector innovation.  U.S. companies are setting new standards in many of these areas.

The current COVID crisis, Bremmer notes, has actually increased the U.S. advantage, thanks to the tech sector’s central importance in restarting many stalled economies.  He points out such predominantly U.S. originated innovations like geotracking for contact tracing, the development of immunity passports and the ability to conduct business at a safe ‘social’ distance.  Or take Zoom, whose “daily meeting participants” count soared from 10 million in December to over 300 million by April.  An even better metric, “daily active users” has not been revealed by Zoom, but Microsoft’s Teams platform claims 75 million DAUs, Google has exceeded 100 million daily meeting participants and Cisco has 300 million Webex users.  All are American companies.

Unfortunately at the same time, far too many people are dying, lives are being upended and livelihoods are being lost.  Bremmer ends a piece he wrote in Time Magazine in May noting this: “… Whatever else can be said about tragically dysfunctional American politics and the country’s substandard health care system, the U.S. has lasting advantages that will matter in the years ahead.”

It’s small consolation for some, but these times will pass, eventually, and Bremmer rightly points out at least this one ray of hope of an America emerging stronger.

ALERE: News & Tips for ALERE Users

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 companies are set up in ALERE, and why the way ALERE does it is important and makes sense to users.

ALERE is unique in that it manages all companies, including your company, together. In fact it is the first menu option, called Company that appears when the software starts. Why is that important to you?

Well, would you prefer multiple different places in software to remember where key company information is located or would you prefer one? After all, the only difference between companies is their relationship with your company. And, there are significant benefits to this approach.

Company information is only entered once. Companies can be both customers and suppliers. Payables can be directly offset against receivables. The process of doing refunds or credits is considerably easier. In fact, the entire process of managing companies and their locations becomes smoother for your staff.

In ALERE, it is a concept called Single Point Entry.

Your Company Comes First!

How do you find your company on the Company screen in the Manager module?

Your company will always be the first, or top, company on the Treevision list. When your company is chosen the Locations, Consignment, and Contacts tabs are active (and visible in the picture below, if you squint just right – sorry). The Customer and Supplier tabs are inactive and are used for those companies listed below yours.

The Locations tab for your company is where all of your business locations are established. This includes consignment locations, anywhere equipment is stored, and locations your company uses for scrap.

The purpose of the Consignment tab is to provide key information for consignment locations. A consignment location must exist on the Location tab before using this screen.

The Contacts tab is where you add and manage the employees at each of your company locations. It is here that the personnel are entered with additional distinguishing information for sales and service staff.

Each location in a company can be assigned attributes which determine what role that location will play within ALERE. These characteristics are profoundly different between your company and other companies. Defining locations by these attributes tells the software how to handle those locations and helps to filter the browser lists that are called when using certain functions throughout ALERE.

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

  • Emerging Stronger
  • Who Is PSSI?
  • Tips & Best Practices: 
    • The No. 1 Reason ERP Implementations Fail
    • The Next “Quantum” Leap in Our Computers
    • Keeping Your IT Strategy Up To Date
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central: Get on the Business Central Train — Before It’s Too Late
  • ALERE Software Tips: How ‘Companies’ Work
  • 7 Minute Manufacturing Overview video 
  • Free White Paper: Software That Matters
  • President’s Commentary: “Not So Obvious Benefits”

Who Are We?

Performance Software Solutions, Inc. is a northern Indiana-based consulting firm and 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 No. 1 Reason ERP Implementations Fail
The Next “Quantum” Leap in Our Computers
Keeping Your I.T. Strategy Up To Date

NAV Users: Get on the Business Central Train Now, Before It’s Too Late

Robert Jolliffe is President of Sabre Limited (whose firm PSSI partners with on projects) and recently explained why customers using Microsoft Dynamics NAV “should consider locking in your plans for an upgrade to Dynamics 365 Business Central 14 before it is too late.”

In a long article detailing his reasons here (login required, but it’s free), Jolliffe explains why clients should begin now to make upgrade plans, before current versions expire in 15 months.  Three key reasons:

First: Testing an upgrade to Business Central 14, as compared to higher versions, will be much less work and much less costly. I like saving money, and so should you!

Second: Business Central 14 is the gateway (literally) to the cloud.

Third: You get a 3:1 user boost (converting concurrent to named users) when you switch to Business Central. For 99% of businesses this is a lot of extra users for your Business Central environment. There are some caveats, but usually it’s a fantastic gift if you are even remotely considering adding more users.

Historically, NAV upgrades have been very expensive, due to the language and programming environment.  The upside was that you could make NAV do practically anything a user wanted.  The downside was the expense incurred when it came time to upgrade.  The cloud model, and Business Central, are turning all that on its ear.  You may lose some in terms of customization capabilities, but you gain a system that can easily and perpetually be upgraded at minimal cost, and you’ll be in the cloud forever after.

As Joffiffe points out then, Business Central 14 is the ideal upgrade path for NAV Customers.  It’s a big decision, with huge cost savings down the road — and that road is coming to a very particular decision point next month.

BC users have until Sept 25, 2020 to start your upgrade to Business Central 14.  After that, you will not be able to request that version.  This does not commit you to completing your upgrade by September 25th. You would have about a year more to complete the transition with no real penalty to you.

As Jolliffe notes in his article, “My professional opinion is that this will be the most important decision you could make regarding upgrading Dynamics NAV.”

Read the full article we linked above for all the details.  Or contact us at PSSI for further assistance and guidance.

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.

“Not So Obvious Benefits…”

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

Several years ago, I was working with a small structural steel manufacturer.  This company made custom components for the HVAC industry as well as some standard items for industrial piping installations.  The margins on their business were very low and they were under constant pressure from competitors that were bidding on jobs against them.  The owners realized that they needed to find a better way to manage costs and improve margins if they were going to survive.  It was at this time that they made a commitment to invest in training and implementation of Lean Manufacturing concepts and techniques.

As with most organizations that make this journey, the initial start up was challenging, but they quickly began to see more and more opportunities.  In the past, the focus was on an individual’s productivity.  The belief was “if the operator was productive, the process was productive.” This thinking typically results in batch processing of similar orders and components.  Long setups are productivity killers so once a machine/tool was ready to go, the operator made as many similar items as possible to achieve high productivity numbers.  This sometimes resulted in extra inventory or processing customers’ orders out of sequence to maximize operator performance.  While individual performance looked good, overall company performance was still lacking.

The company looked at the production process for each product family and flow charted it.  Using the concept of one-piece flow, they began to rework each process to streamline it.  They standardized steps and materials wherever possible, employed quick change techniques to reduce set up times and reorganized the plant to allow parts to move from first to last operation (work cells) with a minimum of effort.

In most cases they were very successful, but there was a recurring issue with each cell.

Space was tight in the plant and material storage was an issue.  Most of their products required structural steel raw materials (strip/angle/bar/tube) that were 12’-20’ long.  To keep costs down, steel was ordered once every three to four weeks to create a truck load order that provided them a discount as well as free freight.  Since they could not store all of this volume in the plant, many items were stored in the “yard” and then brought into the plant on an “as needed” basis.  This required the cell operator to jump on a forklift, search the yard for the materials and bring in a bundle or two for current production.  Needless to say, not only was this unproductive for the operator, but now they often had the added issue of removing rust from the material in order to complete production on the product.  Analysis of their ordering pattern showed that the loss of the discount as well as the added freight charges would really limit any gains in the reduced material handling.  They hit a wall on making their improvements.  That was until they tried something unique with their vendor.  Tune in next month to see how they solved their flow problem.

Need help with your shop floor tools or production planning?  We’ve developed decades of experience helping folks just like you.  Call us… we’re here to help.

-Larry Lukasik, President
September, 2020

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