ABM Advisor: The ABM Blog.
Category - Industry Solutions

  • Nov 23 2018

    is-your-businesss-warehousing-software-scalable-14107509.jpg

    Is your business's warehousing software scalable?

    Picking warehouse management software that's capable of changing with your business is key. As your business expands, your software should be able to grow with it and support your entire supply chain.A scalable software solution means it can do just that. You could start your business with 10 products and grow it to 1000 over time without having to manage a software transfer alongside your increasing sales. Similarly, if you start off wanting to record a simple inventory but want to expand it to manage your entire supply chain, you need business management software that can handle the change without complications.That's why it's important that alongside listing your products, your warehouse management software is capable of supporting your entire warehouse operations, from the arrival of goods, to their storage and shipping. It should optimise your process so it's easy for you to stay on top of your stock, however you choose to use it.Warehouse management software gives you an understanding not just of what you've bought and what you've sold, but what's happening in between and how.Here we explain why scalable software is so valuable to your overall warehouse management and how to know if yours is truly scalable.A tool that allows you to quickly locate each item of stock makes your entire warehouse operation more efficient.1) It can tell you more than just how many products you've soldA solution that enables you to keep on top of everything about your stock is crucial for large warehouses. This isn't just about the ability to keep track of a larger stock inventory, but about being able to change and improve the way your entire supply chain operates.You might start off selling black shoes, but if you then expand into selling the same shoe in 3 different colours and a wide range of sizes, you might want to start recording more details about each item of stock you hold. All these additional details let you drill down further into how stock is performing and what key aspects drive your sales, as well as ship or reorder the right product more quickly.Furthermore, as your business grows, a tool that allows you to quickly locate each item of stock makes your entire warehouse operation more efficient. Too much time is wasted in looking for misplaced stock, while profit is affected when items can't be found or orders fulfilled. With a system that helps you pinpoint stock from the moment it arrives to the day it's shipped, your operations are as efficient as possible and your customer orders satisfied within your promised delivery dates. A good warehouse management systems allows you to choose the most efficient method to fulfil individual orders. 2) Shipping and stock management are part of the same systemBeyond knowing what's in your storage facility, having a shipping system attached to your warehouse software allows you to streamline the way you do business without migrating to a new business management solution.With your shipping consignments working from the same database as your stock management, it's possible to direct the most efficient picking method for your warehouse. Modern warehouse management software allows you to organise orders to be batch or cluster picked according to the orders you have going out, and the resources you have available to fulfil them.Having one system to manage two aspects of your warehouse operations provides real-time data, an accurate picture of stock and up-to-date knowledge of your storage space and options.It also means you can keep track of stock that's being shipped between sites or branches, so that those products don't fall off your radar and create more work later down...

    Read Full Story
  • Jun 29 2018

    how-to-export-food-to-china-14112972.jpg

    How to export food to China

    Food manufacturers in Australia have a huge market to exploit domestically, but the the international market provides near limitless opportunities for growth. A popular destination for Australian food these days is China - we're their sixth largest food supplier according the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade), shipping $5.3 billion worth of edible goods to their shores in 2016.Here's what you need to now to start exporting food to China.      What makes China a good option for food exporters?China is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. A burgeoning middle class means there are always new people who're ready to try interesting food products from around the world. The country is second in the world behind the United States for total food imports, Austrade reports, with the total value exceeding $160 billion in 2016.Already this year we've seen reports about Daigou, the Chinese practice of buying products on behalf of someone else, being incredibly popular. ABC News spoke to a Sydney mother that buys groceries to ship to customers in China, who told them, "Australia's organic food is very famous in China" - it seems there's far greater demand for Australian food products in China than there is supply.

    Read Full Story
  • Jun 7 2018

    automation-positives-negatives-limits-14104858.jpg

    Automation: Positives, negatives, limits?

    If there's a theme running through 20th century manufacturing practices, it's automation. Every day, our technology improves and the list of tasks that can only be completed by a human grows ever shorter. But despite the benefits to productivity that automation can bring, it's a process that has its limits (or at least, it does today).This has been demonstrated in recent times with some fairly high profile examples. Perhaps most vivid is the automotive and renewable energy firm Tesla, and the production of its mass-market electric sedan, the Model 3. Ambitious targets and lofty promises abound, yet Tesla has failed to produce enough vehicles in the time they said they would.What can this situation teach us about the limits of automation, and its positives and negatives?Too many robots spoil the brothTesla is a company well known for its technological prowess. It was one of the first innovators in bring fully-electric cars to the masses, and making them appeal not only to tech geeks, but wider car buyers too.All that said, even titans sometimes fall. The actual production for their latest creation, the Model 3, is far behind what was initially promised and scheduled. The reasons for this could be many, but two Wall St analysts, Max Warburton and Toni Sacconaghi, have argued that the main bottleneck in their production process is the huge amount of automation they're using in their factory. And as it happens the CEO, Elon Musk, agrees:

    Read Full Story
  • May 22 2018

    should-you-join-australias-growing-organics-market-14107598.jpg

    Should you join Australia's growing organics market?

    The organic food market in Australia is currently in the midst of a boom. According to the recently released Australian Organic Market Report 2018, the total value of the market sits somewhere around $2.4 billion dollars. The same report states one in six Australian households has purchased organic products in the last year.With ABM's manufacturing module, making the shift into new market segments is manageable. But what are organics and is adding them to your product portfolio a good idea?What is 'organic' in Australia?While the common meaning of organic is to be produced without the benefits of artificial chemicals, there are specific criteria products must meet  to be certified organic.There are six separate organisations in Australia that can certify goods as organic - products need to meet at least one of these party's criteria before they can be sold as organic.For food products to be certified organic in Australia, they have to meet a number of criteria.A fast growing marketThe organics market is growing at a rapid pace. Compared with 2016, an additional 384,000 households purchased organic products in 2017 and the market grew by 13.6 per cent overall, according to the Australian Organic Market Report 2018Andrew Monk, the chair of Australia Organic said that the millennial generation was driving the majority of the demand."Millennials know more, they demand more and they expect more," he recently told the AAP.For them, the increased price is justified for the peace of mind eating organic products brings. Fortunately for organic food manufacturers, millennials are only growing as a proportion of the food buying market. Currently, cost is the greatest barrier to people buying organic, according to the Organic Market Report. As the purchasing power of millennials increases, those who want to buy organic but currently can't afford to will begin to enter this premium market.How can you expand into organics?There are some hoops to jump through but if you can find a niche that's profitable it may well be worth doing entering the organics sector. Organic products often retail for a far greater price than their non-organic counterparts. Providing you can find a manufacturing process and suppliers that keep your costs low enough, organic products command a premium that others can't. In an era of $1 supermarket milk, going organic is one of the few surefire ways to both command a higher price for your product and still have a customer base willing to make the purchases.For more information on how ABM's software can take your food manufacturing operation to the next level, request a no-obligation product demo today.

    Read Full Story
  • Apr 23 2018

    how-to-build-a-resilient-manufacturing-company-14114636.jpg

    How to build a resilient manufacturing company

    The manufacturing industry in Australia is particularly volatile, according to "Building Resilience in Australian Manufacturing", a report released by the non-profit industry body, the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC). When our economy is booming, the average output of the industry grows by 20 per cent but shrinks by the same proportion during downturns.Such volatility can be stressful for firms looking to keep a steady ship and not go under when times get tough. So with that in mind, what can you do to make your manufacturing business more resilient?Volatility and Australian manufacturingAs stated above, the volatility in the manufacturing industry is quite aggressive. The report explains that it fluctuates with an amplitude greater than many other countries round the world - the figure for the UK is 14 per cent and is 10 per cent in the US. It's argued that this is due in part to two factors:Terms of trade volatility - Australia is a relatively small economy, whose currency is heavily traded and whose exports are influenced strongly by commodity price fluctuations.Geographic isolation - being far away from other markets means changes in shipping costs are magnified.Such dramatic changes in output can have devastating effects on manufacturing businesses. Many are vulnerable to changes in customer numbers that at first glance would seem fairly insignificant. But for 30 per cent of firms, losing one customer would result in moderate to significant negative effects on their business, and 10 per cent would be forced to shut down entirely. Needless to say, operating on such a knife edge is about as far from resilient as a business could be.Manufacturing output in Australia is subject to dramatic volatility.How do you become a more resilient manufacturer?Becoming more resilient is key for businesses if they wish to stay afloat during economic downturns. But what exactly is meant by the word resilient? The report defines a firm as resilient if their earnings growth is higher than the average of their industry in a downturn. In other words, resilient firms are the ones that are able to continue trading and prosper in all economic conditions.Manufacturers that exemplify this characteristic have three traits in common:1. SuperiorityFirms with superior products are resilient because the value they create isn't affected by the economic conditions. Often this can come down to a product or service having few or no substitutes, which means demand is unaffected by downturns. Having a superior product gives manufacturers a strong competitive advantage.Key to developing superior products is investing in research and development (R & D). The report states that 60 per cent of resilient firms invested heavily in R & D in the boom times before downturns, so when the tides turned, they were able to innovate and keep ahead of the competition.Another is to compete on value - superior products are often more expensive. If you can sell a product that provides better value, you're less likely to be affected by things like exchange rate fluctuations.2. DiversityFirms with diversity in their product mix and geographic export markets are resilient because they've spread their risk. While economy-wide downturns are always possible, having your business spread across multiple sectors means a greater chance one or more of the sectors you serve will be financially healthy.Diversity doesn't necessarily require a number of different final products. Manufacturers should, alongside selling their own assembled products, take opportunities to be part of supply chains for other firms if they have the capacity. Should your product's industry begin to wane, you can continue to remain buoyant by selling intermediary pieces to other firms. Often this can be to firms in other countries - if you aren't exporting...

    Read Full Story
  • May 22 2017

    innovative-food-manufacturing-companies-solve-slowed-investment-growth-14070704.jpg

    Innovative food manufacturing companies solve slowed investment growth

    Australian food manufacturing and distribution industries have experienced excellent growth over the last few years.The one key economic metric that has stalled is affecting companies in the market directly, though. Capital investments dropped off 14.2 per cent, or $2.7 billion, between 2014 and 2015, according to the latest data collected by the Australian Food and Grocery Council's (AFGC) State of the Industry 2016 reported.A stall in capital investment is pushing companies to become innovative.Needless to say, this drop in venture capitalism can cripple small and medium-sized businesses, rendering them unable to contend in an incredibly competitive industry. Organisations that take a hard-lined stance on innovative managerial and logistical tactics, though, can find the profit margins they need to appeal to investors.Reading the fine printIt's sometimes easier to understand the larger issue in play through a microcosm. For this we can look to the recent public outcry over unsafe labelling methods. There's been a growing problem of consumers not being able to correctly identify allergens on packaged goods due to improper or non-existent labelling.Case in point: Nearly 30 per cent of foods on shelves had been cleared as safe to consume after undergoing contamination testing, but food manufacturing companies still had yet to assign a stamp of approval, according to a study conducted by the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.There are a bevy of reasons spurning this issue. One that's becoming clear is the hurdle for growing companies to keep up with demand and regulations without the help of small business management software. The industry is calling for more high-tech innovation, and the organisations that fail to meet the plea are contributing most towards the stalled capital investments.Solutions to the labelling issue are being premiered at foodpro 2017 in July, according to FoodProcessing.com. This serves as a sign that many businesses are taking the public outcry seriously. What has yet to be seen is if companies can offset the slowed venture capitalism, combined with currently unfavourable tax cuts for the industry, by developing innovative methods to raise profit margins. Food production companies need more efficient warehousing methods. Looking forwardThe search for supplemental revenue normally starts with identifying inefficient workplace methods. Not only do traditional techniques of managing stock, bookkeeping or maintaining high volumes of deliveries slow the business down, but it's part of what's putting venture capital firms off the market in the first place."Stimulating investment is critical," Gary Dawson, AFGC CEO, said. "We are now in danger of drifting into a low investment trap, where uncertainty about return on investment flowing from retail price deflation and sluggish growth is seeing investment decisions deferred or dumped."Companies need to identify inefficient workplace methods to boost margins.Food manufacturing and distribution companies can't stop market deflation at the retail end, but they can promote change from within that will help ease the burden of falling profit margins. By integrating business management software, the smaller organisations can gain a leg up on the larger ones that are cornering the market.Take the labelling issue for example. Ultimately, this method of intricate identification can create extra work on the warehouse floor, which extends delivery times and can even result in the wrong orders going out. By investing in structured stock software, these businesses can improve their time-to-market and ensure error-free accuracy.Of course, with the industry trending towards complete digitisation of the back office logistics, having software that allows you to add optional modules as you need is key. Otherwise, businesses will be using multiple systems that don't speak to each other, meaning data can be lost or management can quickly get a headache.

    Read Full Story
  • Nov 11 2016

    meeting-the-needs-of-your-customers-in-production-14107509.jpg

    Meeting the needs of your customers in production

    The issues that arise from running a manufacturing facility aren't common for many. For some, however, inventory, stock costing and time from production to delivery are as regular as a broken plate in a cafe. It's imperative, then, that a solution be available to those needing to run their manufacturing facility both efficiently and profitably. To assist in this, warehousing and structured stock software offered by Advanced Business Manager provides a fully encompassing remedy to those common irritations that can spiral out of control.This is especially true for small companies as manufacturing operations come in all shapes and sizes. Below we'll look at a few ways automated accounting software and crucial add-ons can help streamline your business now, and as it continues to grow.Automating taxing business process will put you in a better position to make employee time more useful.Reduce reliance on every centSmall manufacturing operations will have a comparatively small market to which they serve. Not only is a smaller business more reliant on the revenue gained from each of their clients, any issues that occur can seem insurmountably difficult. Small businesses will also often have smaller legal, marketing, or client management teams.Business intelligence software can be tailored to address the daily operational concerns and issues faced by any of the small teams within a business. By automating many of the taxing processes that prevent employees from fully utilising their potential, you will be in a better position to redirect that free time to something more beneficial.Prevent failure of skill transferSmall businesses understandably have a small, but dedicated, team of employees. As the responsibilities of each employee may require either extensive training or specific knowledge across certain areas, employees and management teams alike may want to keep staff working for their entire careers. Keep revenue manageable with better stock control. The key issue with this is that once at retirement age, the crucial and imperative knowledge acquired by these individuals will need to be passed down to new employees. While documentation could be put in place, this only incurs further cost for your business.By implementing a business solution that can include database management or warehouse stock control, you can spend more time focusing on the human aspects of the business that matter, and leave the repetitive, time-consuming parts to software. There are many ways a tailored small business management software solution can benefit your business. To learn more, reach out to our team and book a free demo today.

    Read Full Story
  • Aug 22 2016

    construction-boom-highlights-a-need-for-tech-based-project-management-14108809.jpg

    Construction boom highlights a need for tech-based project management

    Technological advancements have made digital disruption a commonplace term across industries - and the construction sector is no exception.According to the McKinsey Quarterly, construction projects across the globe are in dire need of a more digitally-focused approach. Yet, so far, the construction industry has been slow to adapt digital approaches to various functions.In fact, McKinsey found that in some markets productivity for construction companies has seen a decline for the first time since 1990.Moreover, large construction projects are not only taking more time than planned but are costing considerably more than projected. According to the report, these projects can be up to 80 per cent over budget, with completion rates taking 20 per cent longer than projected.There are a lot of factors that play into the construction industry's slow adoption, including roll outs across multiple sites, sectors and regions. However, the time has come for construction leaders to truly adopt tech solutions that can help address these project management issues.

    Read Full Story
  • Aug 12 2016

    managing-risk-in-the-food-industry-14102831.jpg

    Managing risk in the food industry

    While there is no way for a company to truly predict every disaster it will face - having risk management policies in place can help soften the blow of business disruptions and sometimes prevent the problems altogether.In the food industry, risk management is of particular importance as missteps can result in more than just productivity problems. When food businesses slack on their policies, consumer health can be put at jeopardy as the mismanagement of food products can cause major illness outbreaks.Risks are something businesses are exposed to on a daily basis. Whether it is an internal failure or an external event, there is a seemingly endless list of things that can threaten business productivity at any given moment. Some of these risks are even serious enough to jeopardise an organisations' survival.According to CPA Australia's Risk Management Guide for Small to Medium Businesses, solid risk management policies can result in a variety of advantages including:A decrease in insurance premiumsA diminished chance of being targeted by legal actionA decrease in cash/stock lossesA reduction in business down timeSo, how do businesses go about better addressing their risk management protocols? The first step involves identifying the potential risks not only for your industry as a whole but for your particular business.  Planning for potential risks early on can better protect your business in the long run. What risks should you be aware of?In a contributing article for Food Processing Magazine, Vice President of the Food Industry Division at SullivanCurtisMonroe Craig Kwitoski laid out some risks that specifically pertain to the food industry. According to Kwitoski, comprehensive risk management of these areas can not only salvage a business' livelihood but improve profitability in the long-term.Supply chain risk: Compared to other industries, the food sector is particularly reliant on its suppliers. However, there is a long list of things that can interrupt supply delivery. Whether it be an internal problem with the supplier or a natural disaster, shipments of products can easily be tied up, explained Kwitoski.When a major supplier is out of commission, food businesses can suffer major losses both financially and in terms of productivity. Leaders can take a variety of approaches to addressing this industry risk, from securing coverage with business interruption insurance to varying suppliers to avoid too much dependence on a single source. The important thing is to address this potential problem before it presents itself as a major roadblock.Without the proper plans, food businesses can suffer major financial losses.Food health safety risks: One of the biggest risks associated with the food industry is health. Products need to be stored at certain temperatures, expiration dates need to be monitored, cross-contamination needs to addressed and the list goes on. This area is of particular concern when you consider the number of food poisoning cases in Australia annually.According to the Food Safety Information Council, there are 4.1 million cases reported per year, 31,290 of which result in hospitalisation and 86 of which result in death. Leaders in the food industry can address this particular risk by implementing better internal procedures for monitoring inventory. Advanced Business Manager's inventory functions can help management keep better track of expiration dates, stock levels and internal organisation.Cyber risk: In an increasingly digital world, risks related to data breaches and stolen information are of considerable concern. Consider this: A joint study by the Ponemon Institute and Experian found that 60 per cent of companies had experienced more than one data breach in a two-year span. Yet, according to Kwitoski, only one in 10 organisations have cyber-liability coverage.Food industry leaders need to protect their businesses against the potential risks associated with a tech-driven world.

    Read Full Story
  • Jul 12 2016

    in-periods-of-increased-growth-importance-of-manufacturing-management-is-highlighted-14102532.jpg

    In periods of increased growth, importance of manufacturing management is highlighted

    Australia's manufacturing sector has seen some pretty impressive growth over the last year. According to the most recent Performance of Manufacturing Index by the Australian Industry Group, the end of June marks the 12th straight month of expansion for the country's manufacturing sector.

    Read Full Story

Signup for Updates and our Newsletter

Get the latest news and updates on how your business can grow with the power and flexibility of ABM.

buyers guide