ABM Advisor: The ABM Blog

  • Aug 16 2017

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    Actionable insights from big data require a powerful platform

    Big data is the new buzz term making its rounds in every executive meeting. Yet, unlike other initiatives, deploying and leveraging it on a regular basis isn't as simple as saying, "Get it done."

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  • Aug 10 2017

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    What can digitisation bring to your small business?

    Growing a company is a challenging endeavour. It seems every organisation has more resources and capabilities than yours in the early going.Hurdling that barrier is perhaps even more important in a country like Australia, where 97 per cent of all businesses have between one and 199 employees, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. In the highly competitive professional climate of today's modern business world, nearly 60 per cent fail within the first three years.The key to competing with well established organisations lies within digitisation. While the initial up-front cost alarms some owners, the long-term benefits truly sway the cost-benefit analysis.The key to competing with large organisations is digitisation.Why digitise? At this point in the stage, the minority of companies are either all aboard the digital train, or are stuck in the past with isolated business processes, the Harvard Business Review reported. In the middle lies the vast majority that have adopted some form of technology, whether it be cloud capability or a solution like structured stock software.There are two target audiences that businesses account for when digitising: Customers and employees. Both are mutually beneficial, in that improving internal processes will likely bring benefits that extend to the front-end of the company - consumer interaction.Digital upgrades in the form of business management software, cloud integration or other popular solutions allow Australian companies to compete on a global scale. With so many multi-national corporations moving into new market territories quickly, like Amazon or Uber, this type of innovation is essentially required to stay afloat. It also gives small businesses the best chance to expand their own operations. Small businesses across Australia must digitise to keep up nationally and globally. What type of technology can help?Manufacturing in particular is an industry experiencing great month-to-month net gain recently, as the economic health of the sector has trended positive for the last 10 months, according to AI Group. This is, in part, due to a variety of technologies becoming viable solutions to increasing productivity and reducing man-made errors.Automation is at the top of the list, and companies like Amazon are taking a step further by using robots to deliver packages and maintain inventory management. Of course, this isn't possible without a robust enterprise management platform.Bar code scanning has become essential in food manufacturing.Bar code scanning through the use of SKUs has become all but essential in many organisations. Similarly, a number of food manufacturing companies are investing in research and development to improve quality control through innovative, proprietary devices, FoodBev Media reported.For small businesses, one of the safest and best steps that can be taken is to improve internal processes. Accounting, structured stock control and managing contractor claims are all part of day-to-day operations, but they can be time intensive. Moving to business management software gives company owners the ability to streamline these actions and cut back on redundant staff, while actually improving productivity and the business' reputation.What are the benefits?There are a number of advantages that can be gained, though perhaps the most important is a more connected organisation, from top to bottom. Many small businesses focus on bringing in solutions that will aid specific pain points, such as a customer relationship management application for the sales team, but that does more harm than good.The digital revolution is moving towards a more interconnected company - the Internet of Things (IoT) is especially gaining popularity in food manufacturing. But that type of connectivity can't be found if the technological upgrades being made unintentionally silo certain areas of operation. Manufacturing is experiencing a digital revolution, but the most valuable upgrades lie in business management software.

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  • Jul 25 2017

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    Small businesses can still compete with large organisations

    Whether it be in retail, manufacturing or construction, one truism has always held firm; it's difficult to compete with companies that have more capital and a larger market share than yours.But the big brand looming over your small business isn't impossible to topple. Smaller organisations have more resources than ever to gain firm footing in their industry and build positive year-on-year sales and revenue. The key is utilising the advantages you have in the right ways.Streamlining operationsWhile large companies have the financial resources to attract large clients and hire away quality candidates from competitors, the sheer size of their organisations coupled with the volume of work being done can hinder their internal operational agility.Small businesses have the ability to make quick decisions and act on them just as fast - whether it be a rush order for a new client, or transformational improvements to the company itself. This type of flexibility is harnessed through improving internally with digital upgrades that streamline back-end functions, but makes its impact felt on the warehouse floor.

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  • Jul 20 2017

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    The missing key to effective barcoding in food manufacturing

    Small- and medium-sized businesses are constantly looking for ways to contend with larger competitors.Without the right internal infrastructure in place, though, scaling to meet market demands can quickly lead to insolvency. Taking on more clients and orders is vital to financial growth. It often leads smaller organisations to introduce barcoding to keep better track of inventory, but a lack of a digital ecosystem to store, access and transmit that information is what ultimately becomes their downfall.Scaling for growthOn the surface, barcoding is a rather simple strategy that can yield a number of advantages. By assigning stock-keeping units (SKU) to products, management can gain better oversight over inventory levels and operations as a whole. With the food manufacturing industry moving closer to total automation, this type of internal improvement is vital to incorporating future technology.

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  • Jul 12 2017

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    4 signs your company needs business accounting software

    There comes a time in the lifecycle of every company where it needs to digitise.Manufacturers in particular have made headlines for their innovative use of robotics and automation on the front-end, where enhancements can speed up productivity and improve profitability. But with that increased revenue comes another challenge: maintaining records.While the term bookkeeping earned its name for a paper-based process that was vital to an organisation, the technological revolution has changed the underlying method of that moniker. The need for business accounting software is growing quickly throughout many companies - here are some signs that it's time for yours to make a change:Bookkeeping has evolved into a digital process.1. Your finances are time consuming and often have errors.While the boon of technology is its ability to improve speed, that can be an issue if your accountants are still bookkeeping with pen and paper. Gathering orders, account names and other pertinent information is an efficient method, but one mistake can cost your organisation hundreds or thousands of dollars and hurt its reputation.2. Your company has too many silos.When some organisations digitise, management can forget that unless the business management software can connect to every endpoint, it can fail to fulfil its purpose. There's no use in logging in and out of multiple platforms just to get a name and a few numbers. Modern accounting software can connect directly with stock control, project invoices and even subcontractor claims to streamline the process. Small businesses that are growing quickly need to scale their accounting department. 3. Your company is starting to grow.Growth is a double-edged sword for small businesses. While your revenue is starting to take off, you may not have the right number of employees to help compensate for the increase in workload that's associated with success. Automated accounting allows office staff to scale their time management with that of the organisation's, and it frees them up to tackle other tasks as well.4. You're venturing into foreign markets.If you thought handling a single currency was difficult, you'll want to be prepared for ever-changing conversion rates if your organisation has been lucky enough to secure overseas contracts. It's always better to be safe than sorry, and business accounting software can ensure there are zero errors as you get familiar with the new country.At its core, digitisation is about improving key processes to improve productivity and drive profitability. Business accounting software - that can connect with other platforms - is a proven upgrade for any size organisation. Contact an Advanced Business Manager representative today to learn more.

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  • Jul 5 2017

    What's next for the manufacturing industry?

    The manufacturing industry is in the midst of a minor revitalisation, with new technologies and digital platforms being rolled out every quarter to help compensate for shrinking profit margins.In Australia, the sector recently hit its ninth continuous month of improvement; it now currently sits at 55 points, or 5 points above neutral, according to the Australian Industry Group. It has so far weathered the storm well in comparison to other waning markets, yet small- and medium-sized business owners will have to continue to improve their organisations moving forward to keep up with competitors.Digital revolutionTechnological upgrades are coming in every shape and form for the manufacturing industry. Robotics, the Internet of Things and 3D printing are all helping to save money on the front line - often replacing employees for more efficient machines.But it's the back-end of the businesses that need the most improvement, yet don't receive the same limelight. Increased costs for utilities and other key day-to-day tasks are expected to have a drastic affect on some organisations in the coming future, especially food manufacturers.

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  • Jul 5 2017

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    What's next for the manufacturing industry?

    The manufacturing industry is in the midst of a minor revitalisation, with new technologies and digital platforms being rolled out every quarter to help compensate for shrinking profit margins.In Australia, the sector recently hit its ninth continuous month of improvement; it now currently sits at 55 points, or 5 points above neutral, according to the Australian Industry Group. It has so far weathered the storm well in comparison to other waning markets, yet small- and medium-sized business owners will have to continue to improve their organisations moving forward to keep up with competitors.Digital revolutionTechnological upgrades are coming in every shape and form for the manufacturing industry. Robotics, the Internet of Things and 3D printing are all helping to save money on the front line - often replacing employees for more efficient machines.But it's the back-end of the businesses that need the most improvement, yet don't receive the same limelight. Increased costs for utilities and other key day-to-day tasks are expected to have a drastic affect on some organisations in the coming future, especially food manufacturers.

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  • Jun 27 2017

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    2 manufacturing and warehousing trends sweeping the industries

    As we approach the middle of the year it's always a good strategy to reflect on the trends shaping the industry. Doing so can give you an idea of what competitors are doing and perhaps provides foresight that could prove advantageous for your business.The manufacturing industry is undergoing a massive upheaval in terms of technological integration, with many companies quickly adopting solutions that improve various aspects of day-to-day operations. The market is currently in an upward trend and it's clear that the innovative strategies being deployed aren't just for show - they have a tangible impact on small and medium-sized business' ability to turn a profit and manage a growing list of clients.Robotics and automation are earning praise for revolutionising the industry.With all of this in mind, here are a few things to keep your eye on as the year rounds out:1. Mechanical revolutionManual labour has its pros and cons. On the one hand, there are certain jobs that skilled technicians can accomplish that just wouldn't be possible for a robot. On the other hand, unexpected downtimes can result from injuries on the job, confusion among workers as to what needs to be done or anything else that commonly plagues productivity in warehouses.Due to the latter, it's expected that more small and medium-sized businesses in Australia adopt innovative technologies being deployed worldwide, Process Online reported. Automation, robotics and the Internet of Things (IoT) are leading the way as tools that owners can integrate on the warehouse floor in an effort to improve productivity across the board without sacrificing accuracy.Although they may have an expensive buy-in price, they're key to competing in a future reliant on big data. IoT especially has the benefit of providing valuable metrics that can find inefficiencies in operations and provide analysis that could potentially increase profits, according to Cerasis. Manufacturing and warehousing companies are relying on technology to lighten the load. 2. Transition away from manual processesThe other trend sweeping the industry is impacting the office, but its benefits extend to the warehouse floor. Small and medium-sized organisations are doing away with paper-based bookkeeping by integrating a business accounting software platform. Stuart Scotis, a consultant for Deloitte, told the source he expects this trend to continue in Australia."Technology as a whole is increasing its spend across industries in Australia, and further growth is expected," Scotis said. "2017 will see the continued movement to the consumption based models as CIOs continue to see the speed and flexibility together with the potential cost savings become increasingly attractive to a widening technology landscape."Business accounting software streamlines day-to-day tasks and modernises the company.But the digital revolution isn't reserved to accounting. Business management software is being seen as a necessary step for small and medium-sized companies to take if they want to compete with larger organisations in an increasingly competitive market, and bookkeeping is just one piece of the puzzle.For the large part, companies are building a digital ecosystem that encapsulates every day-to-day and long-term task. In this sense, accounting is only a small part of that grand idea. Business owners are adopting a platform that offers the ability to add on additional modules, like structured stock software or project invoicing. By moving all of this to the cloud, business owners are able to get rid of silos that hamper production. They improve efficiency across the board, which then allows them to transfer those cost-cutting measures into savings for clients - a trend in itself that PricewaterhouseCoopers expects to gain more traction as the market gets more competitive.Technology is certainly the underlying theme of 2017, and companies are already buying into these trends.

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  • Jun 22 2017

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    Food manufacturing is one ingredient away from the perfect recipe

    The food industry's future is looking up, especially in Australia.While grocery corporations continue to make headlines for technological innovations, such as the "smart" store that's slowly being rolled out by Amazon, it's the food manufacturing sector behind the scenes that's truly experiencing unparalleled success.Australian economy at largeThe Australian manufacturing industry has been in an upward trend for the last 8 months, according to the AI Group. It currently sits at a healthy 4.8 points above the neutral threshold, which is 50, and just two points below construction.The food and grocery sector composes 30 per cent of manufacturing.A recent report by Ernst & Young indicates its continued climb may not be ending anytime soon. The food, beverage and grocery sector now represents nearly one-third of the manufacturing industry's total worth. The sector is now valued at $126 billion AUD."While domestic conditions remain challenging, food and grocery processing is an area of strong export growth with an 11 per cent surge in food and beverage exports to $26b last year," Australian Food and Grocery Council chief executive Tanya Barden said.Sustaining successThe food manufacturing market will undoubtedly become more competitive in the coming years as larger corporations begin to use their resources to their advantage to push out small- and medium-sized businesses. Successful companies will be those that latch on to innovation not just for the warehouse floor, but for the back-end of operations as well.Streamlining manual processes like bookkeeping, project invoicing or asset management with business management software can help organisations in a number of ways. By eliminating human interaction, management can spend more time focusing on other ways to improve the business without having to worry about any potential mistakes being made that could put the company at a financial deficit. Technology on the back-end can provide the same benefits as it would on the warehouse floor. Integrating a platform that maps directly to your industry, rather than just the tasks you need to get done, is key. Businesses of all sizes should be aiming to create a technological ecosystem. For example, the stock control application should be able to seamlessly send information to the ledger and accounting module of the system.While food manufacturing continues its upward trend, the work that business owners do on the back-end of their business to improve efficiency and streamline manual processes will be the big difference maker. As it becomes a more competitive market, advantages will be found in technological integration that improves productivity and reliability across the board.Contact an Advanced Business Manager representative today to learn more.

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  • Jun 8 2017

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    Food manufacturing industry ripe for technological innovation

    For years the mining industry reigned supreme as a key cog in the Australian economy, but food production and manufacturing is set to take over.From production to distribution and everything in-between, small and medium-sized business owners in the sector are experiencing sustained growth. Some of that success can be attributed to technological innovations that have allowed many companies to streamline operations and cut costs.Taking stock of the marketThe Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index continues to trend upward with strong support from the food sub-sector, according to data from AI Group. The index currently sits at 59.2 and has experienced growth for the last seven consecutive months. Wayne Driver, managing director for SMC, told Food and Beverage Industry News that this expansion isn't just a blip on the radar.Robotics and automation are becoming more popular in food production."...With the mining boom over, the area that is growing is food and packaging," Driver said. "Food and packaging will continue to grow, because let's face it, we all have to eat and while Australia only has a small domestic market, the majority of OEMs in ANZ can only grow their businesses by exporting."As is the case with many industries, companies are looking for advantages over competitors to gain a financial edge. This has led a number of organisations to look into technology like robotics or artificial intelligence, according to Food Processing Technology news.A report from Infosys estimated the food manufacturing, production and distribution industries will be the most affected by the many technological revolutions being made. Companies quick to endorse and integrate artificial intelligence are expected to earn revenue increases of nearly 40 per cent by 2020, according to the study. But the innovations spawning increased growth don't necessarily belong solely to the warehouse floor. Small and medium-sized businesses are using software to streamline day-to-day operations. Streamline back-end operationsSmall and medium-sized companies around the world are quickly gravitating towards business management software because of its ability to automate certain manual functions. Roughly 65 per cent of organisations in the U.S., for example, already use accounting software to handle day-to-day financial transactions, Forbes reported. This practise likely extends to Australian companies as well.Business accounting software is becoming increasingly popular for a couple of reasons. The Forbes article estimated small business owners spend roughly four hours per day online managing their company - a significant amount of time. They can gain some of that back by automating tasks like bookkeeping, asset management and time sheet tracking.Business accounting software can automate bookkeeping without chance of error.With the right platform, owners can extend that technological innovation to other aspects of their business. Some business management softwares offer organisations the option to attach modules, which helps to integrate financial information with, say, structured stock software.The key to receiving any type of competitive advantage from adopting this strategy is to track all aspects of the operation within one digital platform. Otherwise, managers will have to log in and out to obtain data - this defeats the purpose of streamlining back-end operations, and could actually hurt productivity in the process.With the food manufacturing, production and distribution industries growing rapidly, leveraging digital technology will become vital to keeping up with the unprecedented rate of expansion. With that prosperity comes more orders, clients and employees to manage. Modern software can effortlessly link warehouse floor operations to bookkeeping, meaning it's never been easier for small and medium-sized businesses to handle whatever is thrown their way.There's no sign of slowed growth, as the last index contraction came nearly one year ago, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

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