Category: ERP Reporting

What to Look for When Selecting the Perfect ERP Vendor

Selecting a vendor is as important as selecting an ERP system. ERP vendors must be experts in their field and, to an extent, yours. They must also be professional and available when you need them, and provide clear communication to keep you informed of important changes. Here are important things to consider about potential vendors when evaluating ERP systems.

  • What is the implementation process? Is there a dedicated Project Manager who is readily available? The implementation of an ERP System is a large undertaking that needs careful planning with the proper time and resources allocated to avoid surprises during Go-Live. Since this is not something your company does on a periodic basis, a number of unknowns could end up causing you a lot of unnecessary problems and expense. Be sure the vendor has plenty of experience.
  • What is the vendor’s availability for support? This indicates how responsive the vendor will be when you have questions or need assistance. How often is the system upgraded and what is involved? It is important that your system always has the latest updates for security and functionality – without disrupting your business.
  • What about references? Request them and follow up on them. Reviews for vendors are as important as they are when shopping online. Experience with your industry is a plus.
  • What types of communication are provided? Notices of updates are important for security and training, as well as details about what’s in each update. General information about the system is always helpful, and of course, documentation on how to use the system is a must. It is beneficial to you when the vendor is actively in touch and keeping you informed.

Make sure you can work with the vendor to get what is important to your business within a specific time-frame. Top-notch support is key. It takes commitment – not only during implementation, but for the life of the system.

To help with a smooth implementation, follow these tips from things we’ve learned over the years. And when you’re ready to check out ERP systems, contact us for a free demo of InOrder.

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Increase Receipt Processing with InOrder RF

The InOrder RF communication system efficiently handles inventory through real-time inventory tasks, improving productivity and control for major warehouse functions.

One InOrder site reported that, after rolling out InOrder RF in their warehouse, the inventory receipt processing went from an average of 20 line items per hour to 55 line items per hour, per person, and is now 90% paperless. Some helpful tips include receiving products for many of their vendors that do not provide bar codes by printing a bar coded copy of the vendor PO to use during receiving, using dry-erase boards on their put-away carts, and reviewing a receipt variance report to expose and correct any discrepancies.

InOrder’s RF Communication System supports any internet-capable device. One option includes the Janam XT1 mini tablet, which uses the Android operating system. Another option uses the following configuration:  IPod Touch, 5-16 gb ($159, Ebay) with Honeywell Captuvo SL22 Enterprise Sled ($304, Ebay), and Dryrain Technologies’ Enterprise Browser for Captuvo® app ($99).

InOrder ERP RF

For more information about InOrder RF, please contact sales@morsedata.com.

 

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InOrder Catalog Request Manager Puts Your Brand in Your Customers’ Homes

Catalogs are necessary for direct response businesses. They attract new buyers, they help to sustain repeat buyers, and are typically less expensive than paid search advertising.

Customers can order catalogs from your sales reps:

Select Catalog

Or they can order catalogs from your website:

Catalog Request

You can review a report of all pending catalog requests before sending, and use the customer’s timeline to remove any invalid requests or spam. Catalog requests are printed as labels or exported to a spreadsheet.

Print Catalog Requests

Setup is easy – simply define each catalog / brochure in the familiar InOrder interface.

Brochures

InOrder users have also leveraged this feature to track customers requesting other literature, such as rebate forms or white papers.

For more information about the InOrder Catalog Request Manager, contact sales@morsedata.com.

 

 

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Use Your ERP Software to Avoid a “Big eCommerce Short”

SmPmtPicThis article compares increasing eCommerce sales to the housing market bubble. It discusses loss of sales in the checkout process that merchants might know about, calling it a new “big short.” The article continues to explain where the sales breakdowns occur, including the checkout process, consumer confidence in the merchant, and how payment declines are handled.

You can use your ERP system to help avoid each of those breakdown points. Using a smart checkout process and your ERP system to its potential, your eCommerce business can provide your customers with a smooth purchase process and the information you need to monitor it. Here are just a few ways to help protect your eCommerce business against abandoned carts:

Checkout process – Keep it simple. Show your shoppers the checkout flow to let them know what to expect. Keep it efficient with as few steps as possible. Giving customers an up-front shipping estimate, or the option to bypass registration (when appropriate) can eliminate some of the breakdown at checkout.

Trust – This is a big deal. Customers don’t want to think about security – they want you to. And if you’re not easy to contact, they may go elsewhere.

It can be complicated for any business to keep up with all the cyber attacks and payment fraud going on around us, but you must be vigilant. Keep up with your PCI DSS requirements, have a security process and an incident response plan, and train your employees on them. A good ERP system can help with features such as fraud scoring, and it will support your PCI DSS efforts to keep your sensitive data safe.

Make sure your customers can reach you immediately with any questions. Display your phone number where it can be easily and quickly seen. If a shopper has a question or problem navigating your site, make sure you can help. Keep Customer Service always at your customers’ fingertips, and make sure your customer service reps can pull up the customer’s shopping cart, edit it, and help the customer get through checkout if necessary.

Payment Declines – This is when knowing your business and your customers is so important. While you can detect patterns that are typical of fraud, you may also be flagging valid transactions, especially if you do business internationally.

Know Your Business – Where are your transactions failing? Put a process in place to check your data regularly, and follow it. Review the tools from your payment gateway(s), Google Analytics, and reports from your ERP system to see what might be causing a problem. And use these suggestions to recover up to 30% of abandoned carts with Email reminders. Use your data to your advantage by making adjustments where they’re needed.

It’s your business; be aware of it. Don’t bet against yourself.

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If You Don’t Know How Your Customers Shop, They May not Find Your Products

We know that if shoppers can’t quickly find what they are looking for on your website, you may as well not offer it, because they will often just give up looking for it, or worse – they will go elsewhere. Giving your customers more options may help them find your products faster.

Web store searches are usually designed by product hierarchy, which is a popular setup. Items are grouped into levels that open as you click to drill-down further. The problem with this is that it’s like going from one room to the next – you usually have to backtrack to enter different rooms. With searches that are designed by product hierarchy, a shopper must keep returning to the “front door” to start looking for the next product.

Your shoppers can find items faster if you provide them with the ability to combine any different criteria, in whatever combinations they choose (even including that hierarchy). This concept is called “Facet Filtering.”

Facet Filtering helps customers fine-tune their search results as they search. Shoppers can make additional selections within current search results based on their individual interests, eliminating the need to sift through too many results all at once. It provides a lot of power for minimal setup.

An example of a search facet can be anything such as color group, size, manufacturer, price range, or whether or not a special feature is included.

Different Facet Types may be used: Single Select, Single Select/Collapse, and Multi-Select. When Single Select is used, facets appear on the website as links. Only a single facet may be selected per category. When Single Select/Collapse is used, facets appear on the website as links. Only a single facet (subcategory) may be selected per category. When a selection is made, the facet list collapses to only show the selected facet. With Multi-Select, facets appear on the website as checkboxes. Multiple facets may be selected for each category.

InOrder ERP Software Facet Filter Examples

Rather than limiting your customers, give them as many ways to shop as possible and let them decide. Then check your analytics – use your InOrder reports and Google Analytics – to learn how your customers shop. InOrder’s superb flexibility allows modifications on the fly, so you can set up products to match how shoppers are searching for them.

Our most notable feedback from merchants using InOrder’s Facet Filtering on their website? Customers frequently searching for products starting with unexpected facets, such as Manufacturer rather than starting with a basic product category. As it turns out, customers often have their own plan they want to follow, and will be more likely to buy what they need on your website if it is flexible enough to let them follow that initial plan.

Finally, accommodating customers’ plans to find their first item will shorten their initial “Add to Cart” times. But customers also can get frustrated if their direct path to the next item they need requires “starting over.” Can they easily edit existing facet filters after placing an item in their cart? If they spent several minutes building a filtered list and now they need three more items from that list, can they add them all or do they need to rebuild the list three more times? Better yet, can they tweak the existing list if needed, without restarting it from the beginning? Check your analytics here as well, to confirm there are no patterns of extra steps they had to take to get to the next item, vs. steps they took on their own due to actual browsing.

With this approach, your abandon rates will be lower than ever, but more importantly, your eCommerce revenue will be better than ever.

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InOrder Packing Verification Provides Heads Down, Hands Free Data Entry

With the InOrder Packing Verification Enhancement, your warehouse personnel can scan and pack items to record and verify the contents of individual shipments. As items are scanned, InOrder compares what was packed with what was ordered and allocated.

InOrder reports to the packer with distinct audible signals throughout the process. This speeds the verification process by not requiring the packer to constantly view the results on the screen. When the order is complete, the shipment is accepted.

InOrder Packing VerificationPacking is at the shipment level and recording is at the order level. InOrder can check for unprinted / ready to print orders that are shipping to the same customer as the shipment currently being packed.

Picker and packer initials are recorded, along with carton details and shipment summary.

InOrder Lookup Packing InformationThe InOrder Packing Verification provides three different packing verification methods:

  • Single Scan – Each unit in the shipment is individually scanned. This method is used when line item quantities are typically low enough to scan each unit.
  • Multi Scan – This method is used when line items often have higher quantities, so the process is streamlined for keying in the quantity when a line item has more than one unit to ship.
  • High Quantity – This method allows quicker packing verification when the quantities are unusually large and difficult to count during packing. Each SKU is scanned once, regardless of quantity to be packed in a single carton.

The Packer Analysis Report provides at-a-glance analysis of packer productivity.

InOrder Packer Analysis ReportWhen you pack your shipments with InOrder, you can assemble all available items for the shipment at the packing station, use picking forms or produce separate packing slips, pack cartons for EDI orders, and track lot or serial numbers. You can even control if a shipment can be posted without packing verification.

For more information about the InOrder Packing Verification Enhancement, contact sales@morsedata.com.

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Use Order Fill Rate to Measure Customer Service

The F. Curtis Barry & Company, a consulting company that provides solutions for multichannel operations and fulfillment, recommends that multichannel companies use Initial Order Fill Rate (IOFR) to measure customer service and inventory availability by order.

We agree. Both of these metrics are provided on InOrder’s Order Statistics Report. This data shows where you stand in regards to providing what customers expect – that inventory is available when ordered, and orders are shipped in a timely manner.

Initial fill rates are shown for orders within a range of weeks that you specify, along with the average number of hours it takes to fill those orders.

InOrder Weekly Order Statistics to Measure Customer ServiceFor the complete article by F. Curtis Barry & Company, click here.

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New InOrder ERP Reports to Encourage Customers to Place Orders

Loyalty Programs give customers incentives to buy. They provide benefits for both your business and your customers by generating income and expressing appreciation to your customers. Companies from grocery stores to your local day spa use loyalty award programs to help keep customers coming back, increase sales, and improve customer engagement.

Two new reports, Loyalty Point Expiration Card and Loyalty Account Statements, have been added to the InOrder ERP Loyalty Program Enhancement.

The Loyalty Point Expiration Card is used to generate postcards to send to customers when their loyalty points are nearing expiration.

InOrder ERP Loyalty Point ExpirationLoyalty Account Statements are generated with the customer’s loyalty point activity and balance.InOrder ERP Loyalty Point Statement

Contact us for more information about the InOrder Loyalty Program Enhancement.

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Protecting Against Theft with ERP Software

Employee theft goes well beyond loss of cash or product to get to your bottom line. It can affect your customers by way of higher prices and inferior shopping experiences, which can have a direct impact on your reputation. Imagine what your customer thinks of your business when he or she is promised an item by a specific date because you think you have it in stock. Although your (paper) records showed you had the item, it was ultimately backordered. Unfortunately, the item was stolen by an employee and you were not aware until the customer was already disappointed.

And speaking of your reputation, you don’t want to invite even more shoplifting because your business is known as an easy target.

Employee theft can also affect other employees. Stealing from you indirectly steals from them. How many times will it happen before other employees question whether you’re competent enough to keep the business strong and safe? After it happens, will you unfairly limit the freedoms of the rest of your staff?

Software Advice™, a consultancy that analyzes inventory management software, recently released the results of a study exploring how inventory management software can detect employee theft.

The survey questioned U.S. retail employees about store types, job titles, inventory management methods, theft perception, and outright stealing from their employers.

According to the report, the National Retail Federation (NRF) estimates that employee theft accounted for almost 44% of total losses for US retailers. Some of the data revealed from responses to the survey from Software Advice™ included the following:

  • 85% of national retail chains, 53% of local and regional retail chains, and 37% of small stores surveyed use inventory management software.
  • Only 28% of employees whose stores use inventory management software said internal theft is a problem, compared to 37% of employees whose stores use other methods for managing inventory.
  • 22% of employees at stores without inventory management software openly admitted to stealing products, compared to 15% of employees whose stores use inventory management software.

As explained in the report, modern inventory management systems can be integrated with other software and hardware to detect suspicious patterns, providing data for management involvement.

InOrder ERP Audit TrailFor example, when you use a quality ERP system, your inventory availability is tied directly to your order system. The InOrder ERP system includes audit logging, which provides dates, user names, and tasks each user performs. The inventory on hand is tracked for the duration of its time in the warehouse. Any inventory transactions including receipts, sales, returns, as well as all types of adjustments, such as kit assemblies, facility transfers, inter-facility bin moves and replenishments, cycle count adjustments, damaged write-offs, etc. are tracked to allow precise SKU audits. Additionally, full warehouse “snapshots” of quantity and value on hand are taken whenever an accounting period is closed, allowing reports to show beginning on hand, activity, and ending on hand for an accounting period. Inventory accuracy typically approaches 99.9%.

How else can InOrder help detect theft?

Because InOrder’s Purchasing, Payables, and Inventory systems are all connected, you can compare what was ordered to what was received, to what you are paying your vendors.

The system tracks all purchase orders placed with your vendors, and any subsequent changes to those orders. Inventory receipt transactions are linked to purchase orders, recording what happened to each carton entering the facility. Vendor bills are entered into the system before or after inventory receipt. These bills get linked to the receipt and the purchase order. Any inventory that is received damaged is tracked as it gets routed back to the vendor for credit, and the credits are tracked. These processes enable control over what you receive and approve for payment with your vendors, stopping vendor billing fraud in its tracks.

Then these processes directly feed G/L, thwarting the rogue accountant who tries to skim by charging higher expenses on the G/L than the expenses actually incurred on your vendor bills, and then pocketing the difference.

Finally, InOrder’s tracking auditing enables you to isolate and trace other types of employee theft, such as generation of bogus customer refunds, gift cards, or credit memos issued to friends of employees. Seeing who performed a transaction and when is helpful, but forensic analysis of suspicious transaction patterns in the database can also help to isolate the employee(s) involved.

With a good ERP system, employees discover that they can trust the system, and you in the process. With their trust comes respect and confidence that their jobs will be secure and the business will continue to grow. A good ERP system helps you improve your customers’ shopping experience, achieve their trust that you keep your word about your products, and you take their business seriously.

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Quick Tip – Copying Deposit Batch Details to a Spreadsheet

Do you need to quickly get deposit batch details to a spreadsheet? To copy the details, use the copy shortcut (Ctrl+C) or click the copy button on the InOrder toolbar.

Then paste (CTRL+V) the details into your spreadsheet:

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