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Patricia Bennett

Blog header image of a fast car for the blog on why Acumatica is the best ERP for the automotive industry from PC Bennett

Why Acumatica Is the Best ERP for the Automotive Industry

By Acumatica, Auto Parts Database Software, Automotive Aftermarket

Looking for the Best ERP for the Automotive Industry? You’ve Found It.

 

If you run an automotive aftermarket manufacturing or distribution business, you deserve a better way to manage your inventory, operations, and financials.

Let’s face it: those homegrown systems and one-off spreadsheets are throttling your business growth – and those paper catalogs? Don’t even get us started on the time-wasting disaster they are.

By this point, you already know that a better ERP would help you grow your business, but you also know that finding the right ERP takes time to spare (which you don’t have). Wouldn’t it be great to learn about the one ERP that clearly stood out from all the rest as the best ERP for the automotive industry?

Let’s talk about Acumatica Cloud ERP.

What Is Acumatica?

A leading cloud ERP solution, Acumatica handles every aspect of your automotive aftermarket business from end to end.

From manufacturing to distribution to eCommerce to service and install, Acumatica is the one single system that houses all your data, reducing the effort it takes to manage your company. In other words, Acumatica provides the time-saving tools you need so you can focus on growing your business.

Watch Acumatica video

Like all ERPs, Acumatica streamlines traditional time wasters like financial reporting, inventory management, logistics, and sales. You expect that.

However, the reason why Acumatica is the best ERP for the automotive industry is because only Acumatica integrates with the one-of-a-kind automotive aftermarket management solution known as AutoFitmentPlus.

What Is AutoFitmentPlus?

Only available with Acumatica, AutoFitmentPlus is the automotive aftermarket management solution developed by auto enthusiasts for auto enthusiasts.

Watch AutoFitmentPlus video

Combined with Acumatica, this unique tool helps automotive aftermarket manufacturers and distributors:

  • Track, manage, and filter inventory searches for parts based on years, models, style, and color
  • Put the pedal to the metal on format and database lookup time for ACES, PIES, and SEMA data with automatic updates done for you
  • Save time on VIN Validation and Identification, with built-in capabilities
  • Access complete, real-time inventory records from anywhere at any time
  • Right-size inventory levels to meet forecasted customer demand
  • Set up optional alerts and purchasing recommendations that help you avoid “stock outs”
  • Sync up your eCommerce system and ERP for accurate, real-time part inventory data
  • Integrate all your databases, financials, and inventory into a single system that handles everything

A table that compares benefits for manufacturers and distributors showing why Acumatica is the best ERP for the automotive industry

Wait, Wait, What Does All This Cost?

If you’re ready to grow your business with the best ERP for the automotive industry, you’ll be glad to hear that you can get all this for a completely reasonable price.

And by “completely reasonable,” we mean AutoFitmentPlus is 100% free.

At PC Bennett, we’re auto enthusiasts. We’re big supporters of the automotive aftermarket industry. We’re also the developers behind AutoFitmentPlus and we’re some of the top Acumatica experts in the world.

We agree that you deserve the best ERP for the automotive industry, and that’s why we’re offering AutoFitmentPlus 100% free with a purchase of Acumatica from the PC Bennett team.

 

As soon as you’re ready to learn more, contact PC Bennett.

 

 

PC Bennett Solutions offers a personalized, full-service experience for customers by implementing business management technology. Through a hands-on approach, PC Bennett Solutions helps companies get the most out of their software system. The team provides training, implementation and customization of Acumatica. Headquartered in the Seattle area, PC Bennett Solutions is one of the largest exclusive Acumatica resellers. For more information, visit www.pcbennett.com.

Businesspeople celebrating a win at the office.

Best Way to Ensure Your New ERP System Succeeds

By AcumaticaNo Comments

You hear the stats all the time – 50% or more of all ERP projects fail to meet their objectives. And the reasons are as varied as the people that use them. One area where many projects stumble is around user acceptance testing (UAT). It may seem like a small part when compared to the setup, configuration and deployment of a solution, but in fact, it is critical to the project’s success.

Communication

PC Bennett takes a very direct approach to communication with our clients, and we start every project kickoff with a thorough outline of the phases the team will need to go through. It includes a frank discussion about the potential pitfalls, including user testing.

Technology is only as effective as the people who use it. If your team doesn’t embrace the change, the project will never realize its ROI.

Auto Action Group

  • Established in 1978 by Bruce Cohen
  • Located in Kenilworth, NJ
  • 60-65 Employees
  • Provider, distributor, and installer of automotive aftermarket & OEM products
  • Slogan – “Driving Your Lifestyle”

Executive Buy-in

One of the keys to helping users feel comfortable with testing and providing feedback on the new system is having complete support and buy-in from top management. It can come in the form of email communication, company-wide Zoom calls, enlisting department advocates to help reinforce the message, and even gamification with kudos and prizes for those who contribute the most.

Our Customer Auto Action Group, came up with a creative way to make sure their employees test Acumatica, their new ERP system.  They started wearing badges to spark conversation about the user testing, “What have you done in Acumatica today?”

Auto Action, a lot like other companies, get caught up in the day-to-day challenges business presents. We try to find ways to reinforce the need to focus continuously on things outside this daily scope. The badges help us give friendly reminders each day that Acumatica testing needs to be part of those daily tasks.

Jared Cohen (shown here wearing the badge)CEO / Owner, Auto Action Group

I love their creativity and can’t wait to see them live on the software so they can experience all the benefits of running their business on Acumatica Cloud ERP!

Project Snapshot

Auto Action Group started this project right at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, which presented its own challenges. But we approached it with a plan to document their processes with flowcharts and swim lane diagrams, videos of their day-to-day activities, and collaboration tools to keep everyone in sync.

The Project Team

Auto Action Group involved several key team members, including the CEO, from the beginning in the project, which has enabled the success to date. Involvement and buy-in from top management is essential to manage the change that is required of an organization when they upgrade to any new ERP solution.

Key Drivers for Change

Auto Action Group was on a very old DOS-based system, DB3, that just could not keep up with the demands of today’s business, particularly timely and accurate reporting. They also wanted to be on a modern system.

In addition, they were using a home-grown web application for job management.

New System Requirements

The team at Auto Action Group agreed that what they needed was something packaged that could run their business from end to end. A configurable, off-the-shelf application, as they were tired of depending on one person to maintain their legacy system. In addition, they wanted:

  • A solution able to support formal processes and procedures – in order to see operational efficiencies, they needed to improve their day to day processes and wanted a system that could help them stay true to those processes.
  • An intuitive interface that is easy to learn – they wanted to minimize the learning curve for their team.
  • A scalable, secure and accessible – they needed a true cloud solution that would enable their teams to work efficiently from anywhere, including the field. They also wanted to be able to add staff without adding technology costs.
  • Robust, native reporting capabilities – possibly the most critical requirement they had was for management to have a 360-degree view of the business health and profitability through dashboards, alerts and KPI monitoring.
  • Field service management specifically for automotive industry to replace their custom job management system, which PC Bennett brought to life with AutoFitmentPlus.
  • Streamlined CRM capabilities.After failing with many off the shelf products such as salesforce, they found they needed the CRM to be embeded in the solution to achieve better company buyin.

Now that Auto Action Group is in the final stretch of their Acumatica deployment, they can see the benefits on the horizon, and are diligently testing and trying out the features.

 

Keys to Success

Now that the bulk of the project is in the rearview mirror, they had this advice to anyone looking to update their systems.

  1. Keep it simple, streamline, and eliminate special needs wherever possible
  2. Focus on the why and not the how
  3. Crawl, walk, run
  4. Prepare well and communicate often
  5. Pick your partner wisely; it’s a relationship you’ll have for a long time
  6. Know that it will involve change and growth, which will be challenging
  7. Try to have a little fun with it

Considering an update to your legacy software? Read
5 Critical Considerations When Selecting Software for Your Business.

Mechanic works underneath a car.

Automotive Aftermarket Parts Management — AutoFitmentPlus

By Acumatica, Auto Parts Database Software, Automotive Aftermarket, Cloud ERP

PC Bennett Announces the Automotive Database Management Solution: AutoFitmentPlus.

 

On September 15, 2020 we announced our automotive database management solution: AutoFitmentPlus.  In an effort to better serve automotive aftermarket customers, we developed this comprehensive tool that combines fitment tracking and parts lookup with ACES and PIES reference specification data, packaged into an award-winning ERP system.

AutoFitmentPlus builds on the Fitment functionality that we released earlier this year, and is 80% through Phase I development. You can currently look up fitment for auto parts by year, make, model and other filters, ensuring that they get the right part, every time.

Save Time on Data Entry

When we asked our customers what they wanted most from a fitment solution, we heard many of them lament having to enter in parts data at least twice, often more than that. Then at the end of the month some of them needed to manually create an Excel spreadsheet to send to SEMA in the PIES format. It was a huge drain on their time each month. AutoFitmentPlus allows customers to enter data ONCE, and then click a button to generate the PIES file they need, in the right format, in minutes.

Quickly Find The Parts You Need

The expanded AutoFitmentPlus tool has the go-to reference specification tables: ACES (Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard) and PIES (Product Information Exchange Standard) built right into it, allowing fast, easy file preparation and transmission and seamless direct access to the data.

“We wanted to help our customers eliminate manual lookups and have an easy way to quickly find parts that match their customers’ requests,” says our Founder, and CEO Patricia Bennett.  “Integrating it with ACES and PIES just made sense, and saves our customers so much time and effort. Before AutoFitmentPlus, one customer spent upwards of 12 hours each month preparing their data file for upload to SEMA. Imagine getting that time back every month.”

In addition to parts lookup, the AutoFitmentPlus solution includes:

  • VIN validation and identification
  • Vehicle Classification data (Year, Make, Model, Engine Type, etc.) maintained and cross-referenced against your Part SKUs to establish Fitment Application.
  • Industry-standard ‘ACES’ (Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard) Vehicle Classification data automatically loaded into the ERP database and automatically updated at regular intervals.
  • Parts Fitment used to filter available products on Sales Orders and Service Orders. Fitment will also integrate with your eCommerce website.
  • Industry-standard ‘PIES’ (Product Information Exchange Standard) Product Categorization data automatically loaded into the ERP database and automatically updated at regular intervals.
  • PIES data used to provide information about your Parts in an industry recognized manner, including Attributes and other specifications.
  • Sales and Service performed on vehicles tracked by VIN, including Warranties on parts and service.
  • On-demand export of data in the ACES, PIES, or SEMA prescribed formats with no manual data manipulation or intervention on your part, providing you with seamless integration to your trading partners and the SEMA Data Coop.

For subscribing members of the Auto Care Association, AutoFitmentPlus will also ensure the data you have in your ERP system is always up to date.

You can learn more in our AutoFitmentPlus blog post.

“We couldn’t be happier that PC Bennett is developing this automotive database management tool for their Acumatica audience. It speaks to their commitment to the automotive industry, and their depth of knowledge and passion for the fastest growing cloud ERP solution,” — Geoff Ashley, Vice President, Partner Strategy & Programs at Acumatica.

A person's hand with a cupcake with a birthday candle.

Big News – Acumatica Partner PC Bennett Is Turning 18!

By Acumatica

Thank You to All of Our Customers for Making This Journey Possible – We Love Being Your Acumatica Partner

 

Remember your 18th birthday? Odds are, your answer is “yes.” After all, it was a milestone.

As we celebrate PC Bennett’s birthday, we have been taking some time to look back over everything that has happened over the past 18 years. From Patricia’s start in 2002 as a stay-at-home mom working with Microsoft Small Business Manager, all the way to becoming an award-winning Acumatica partner with offices and staff across the nation and customers around the world, it’s been great.

What a journey it’s been – and it’s all thanks to our incredible customers.

Here Are a Few Highlights Along the Way:

  • In 2002 when Patricia started the company, she thought she could handle everything herself as a stay-at-home mom customizing Microsoft Small Business Manager. The business grew quickly.
  • By 2003, she had dragged her husband, Chris, into the business. He had been working nights to help Patricia with software customizations but was worried about working full time for the company. He said, “We can’t put all our eggs in one basket,” to which Patricia replied, “But we don’t have any eggs or baskets yet!”
  • By 2004, Patricia added her first official staff member, quickly followed by another hire, a software developer, in 2005. Both the staff member and the software developer worked out of a playroom upstairs in Patricia and Chris’s house, doing all their work from an IKEA desk.
  • Later in 2005, PC Bennett hired another staff member who had to work from the kitchen table because the IKEA desk in the playroom was full. (Shortly after that, we got our first office.)
  • With a total of 5 people working hard to grow the company, PC Bennett began expanding exponentially. We added more staff, more offices, and more services. By 2014, Patricia sold her Microsoft practice to focus 100% on her Acumatica customers.
  • Then in 2016, PC Bennett acquired Roc Solutions, which added our COO Tim O’Sullivan to the team along with offices in Texas.
  • Now, PC Bennett does all Acumatica services, including software development for our leading go-to solutions. If you’ve used AutoFitmentPlus, Client Cash Management, Petty Cash Management, Positive Pay, and Shipping Container Management, you’ve been working with a PC Bennett software product.
  • Are you using Acumatica Payroll? PC Bennett wrote and sold that module to Acumatica.
  • Now, PC Bennett is an award-winning Acumatica partner with offices in Texas and Washington, with staff across the country and customers all over the world – and we have something important to say to all of our customers…

…Thank You to Our Wonderful Customers for Sharing This Journey and Letting Us Be Your Acumatica Partner!

Every step of the way, customers like you (yes, you!) have been there for us, just as we have been there for you. In fact, your ever-evolving business needs are what encouraged us to grow our skills, our capabilities, and our staff so much over the past 18 years.

The skills you’ve encouraged us to build have led to multiple awards, including:

  • Acumatica Modern Partner of the Year: 2018 (for everything including services, implementation, and subscription)
  • Acumatica Service Excellence Award: 2018 (for best scores in service)
  • Acumatica MVP: 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
  • Acumatica Gold-Certified Partner

Though you may see it as simply calling us up and asking us to tweak a setting, implement a new module, or help solve an unexpected challenge, every one of your requests has pushed us to be a better company and Acumatica partner, so we know we will be there for you when you need us.

We look forward to helping you even more over the next 18 years and beyond – what an incredible journey it has been and will continue to be!

Not yet a PC Bennett customer? Discover the PC Bennett difference.

 

PC Bennett Solutions offers a personalized, full-service experience for customers by implementing business management technology. Through a hands-on approach, PC Bennett Solutions helps companies get the most out of their software system. The team provides training, implementation and customization of Acumatica. Headquartered in the Seattle area and with offices in Dallas, PC Bennett Solutions is one of the largest exclusive Acumatica resellers. For more information, visit www.pcbennett.com.

A small turtle on the beach.

Legacy ERP Solutions ‘Move Too Slowly,’ Say Experts

By Acumatica, Cloud ERP

Modern Acumatica ERP Is a Better Choice than Legacy ERP for Manufacturers and Distributors

 

According to the expert research analysts at Forrester Consulting, legacy ERP solutions “move too slowly for today’s pace of business, lack the real-time insight necessary to drive key business decisions, and drag down [businesses] with unnecessary complexity.” (Ouch.)

Clearly, legacy ERP poses a problem in the modern business landscape… but what should a busy manufacturer or distributor use instead?

Find out when you download the new, complimentary report from PC Bennett, so you can investigate the Total Economic Impact of Acumatica.

Why Download the Report?

This in-depth report from Forrester Consulting not only carefully tracks the challenges modern manufacturers and distributors experience with their legacy ERP systems, it also carefully tracks the costs associated with running legacy ERP.

With this information in place, the experts at Forrester are able to state hard-number savings, gains, and a predicted ROI for modern manufacturers and distributors who are considering switching to a modern ERP like Acumatica.

What Is in the Report?

When you download the report, you will receive a clear summary of Forrester’s findings, including their in-depth case studies of four companies across various industries that made the switch from outdated, inefficient ERP (or no ERP) to modern Acumatica Cloud ERP.

When you have finished reading this report, you will understand the precise predicted savings and benefits that Acumatica offers when it comes to:

  • Maintenance
  • Support and licensing
  • Improved sales
  • Increased profits
  • Time savings
  • Marketing efficiency
  • and more…

The Total Economic Impact report also predicts the total costs of running Acumatica, so readers like you can clearly understand the costs, benefits, agility impacts, and risk factors involved in transforming your company with modern, Cloud ERP.

Read the Report to Discover How Acumatica Can Beat Legacy ERP

Making the leap to a new ERP solution is a large investment of your time and money. As a business leader, you know that you should ensure you have completed comprehensive research before making your decision to switch to a modern ERP like Acumatica.

The Forrester report uniquely helps you understand the numbers behind the experiences of real companies that transformed their operations with Cloud ERP. The report should be a key factor that helps you make the best choice about your next steps.

Get fast facts when you access your free copy of “The Total Economic Impact of Acumatica.” 

 

PC Bennett Solutions offers a personalized, full-service experience for customers by implementing business management technology. Through a hands-on approach, PC Bennett Solutions helps companies get the most out of their software system. The team provides training, implementation and customization of Acumatica. Headquartered in the Seattle area and with offices in Dallas, PC Bennett Solutions is one of the largest exclusive Acumatica resellers. For more information, visit www.pcbennett.com.

Featured image showing business people discussing costs for the Comparing the Value of Annual Maintenance for On-Premises ERP vs. Cloud Updates blog from PC Bennett

Annual Maintenance for On-Premises ERP vs. Cloud Updates ­- Comparing the Value

By Acumatica, Cloud ERP

Is Annual Maintenance for On-Premises ERP Worth the Cost? Find Out.

 

Let’s be revolutionary here. Let’s think outside the box. What if you didn’t have to pay annual maintenance for on-premises ERP anymore?

Ready to get truly innovative? Imagine this: What if, by eliminating annual maintenance fees, you had the opportunity to implement exciting, cutting-edge updates including the latest in AI, Machine Learning, and Robotics technologies?

If this sounds like a great deal to you, it’s time to compare the value of annual maintenance for on-premises ERP vs. the cloud update model from a leading Cloud ERP like Acumatica.

How to Compare the Value of Annual Maintenance vs. Cloud Updates

When comparing and contrasting the value of annual on-premises maintenance versus the value of cloud updates, there are two main areas you need to focus on: what you pay and what you get.

What You Pay

Let’s talk numbers.

  • Annual Maintenance Fees Add Up to the Cost of a New ERP Every Few Years

As we all know, it’s expensive to invest in a new on-premises ERP. After paying the full costs for your solution and add-ons, plus training and implementation, it’s hard to justify spending any more for your on-premises ERP.

But spend you must, because each year you have to pay those annual maintenance fees. Without them, you won’t be able to access critical software upgrades, service packs, and tax updates, and you’ll be barred from learning resources and quite a bit of customer service.

Maintenance fees typically range from 15%-30% of your initial software purchase, which means if you spent $50K on your ERP, you’re looking at ongoing costs of $7,500 – $15,000 per year going forward.

That adds up.

In fact, if you do the math on those fees, you’ll realize that (in our example), annual maintenance for on-premises ERP means you’re essentially re-buying your ERP every 3-7 years. Unfortunately, however, you’re not buying a new ERP every few years… you’re simply patching and updating your aging ERP until it eventually reaches end of life.

You can think of this like the first nice car that you bought. It was great at the beginning, but eventually you started paying more money in tune-ups and repairs than it was worth in trade-in value because it was just so darn old and out of date. When you finally got a new car again, it was such a relief.

Like old cars, old ERPs eventually run into unfixable problems. At a certain point, that old ERP may break down and require an emergency upgrade – or the issues you face could be more insidious and costly over time, such as increased cybersecurity risks.

  • Cloud Upgrade Costs Are Included in Your Subscription Costs

This will be a short section because it’s pretty simple. Instead of complex math, you just need to remember that the costs of maintenance and upgrades are included in the subscription price of Acumatica.

No annual maintenance fee to speak of.

Yes, the subscription price will increase over time, as all subscription prices do, but not by much. Plus, since Acumatica doesn’t require a massive upfront software investment, it will take you a while to spend as much on your subscription-based Cloud ERP as you did initially on your on-premises ERP.

What You Get

This is where it gets really interesting.

  • Fees for Annual Maintenance for On-Premises ERP Don’t Deliver Many Benefits

Have you noticed that your on-premises ERP’s updates and upgrades have been pretty boring in recent years? For their mid-year 2020 release, one on-premises ERP announced a series of bug fixes for bugs that shouldn’t have existed in the first place.

I don’t know about you, but I’m rather offended at the idea of having to pay money so I can get repairs for things like a buggy password requirement, Word formatting issues, inaccurate financial values, error messages on common financial processes, and employee filing status errors. Those bugs are things that should be fixed regardless – annual maintenance for on-premises ERP should deliver more.

By the way, this is completely real. This is exactly what maintenance fee payers for a popular on-premises ERP can look forward to accessing in June 2020.

Not surprisingly, this same on-premises ERP has a less-than-exciting software update planned for the end of this year, in which they’ll finally implement minor changes users have been requesting for years, such as copy/paste abilities, additional form fields, and a bigger print preview window.

Yawn.

Remember that math we talked about earlier, in which it became clear that business leaders with on-premises ERP are essentially re-buying their ERPs every 3-7 years? That means that, best case scenario, those on-premises ERP users are making a massive ERP re-investment every few years… so they can get tax updates and the ability to copy/paste.

Is that really worth it?

  • Cloud Upgrades Deliver Cutting-Edge Capabilities

Cloud upgrades and updates include all the boring stuff that you pay for with annual on-premises maintenance fees like bug fixes and UI enhancements, but if you choose the right Cloud ERP, those updates also include a lot more.

For example: Acumatica 2020 R1, released earlier this year, included:

  • Machine-learning-driven expense entry, which automatically captures and enters expense data from a picture of a receipt
  • Fully-native, fully-supported eCommerce integration
  • BatchMaster, QA, and JAAS manufacturing integrations
  • Data mining benchmarks for the construction industry
  • Robotic Process Automation integrations to streamline manufacturing and warehouse operations
  • Paperless picking using the Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Embedded PDF editing, saving you from the task of downloading a local copy of a PDF, just so you can edit or sign it
  • AI-driven image tagging, so you can upload photos into your ERP and have them automatically searchable

All of those updates were included with the subscription cost of Acumatica and, best of all, users could choose when it was most convenient for them to receive these updates.

If we return to our car analogy, the included upgrades in Acumatica’s Cloud ERP can be compared to leasing a nice, new car over time – a car that you can upgrade every 6 months to have the latest cutting-edge technology, the best gas mileage (or range), and the zippiest handling. (And, because I couldn’t resist: it’s also a car that delivers unmatched mobility because it can go anywhere at any time! Get it?)   

Remember also that Acumatica will be coming out with another round of leading-edge updates in a few months for their 2020 R2 edition. That will also be included in the subscription cost.

Are Your Costs of Annual Maintenance for On-Premises ERP Worth It?

If you’re considering an ERP upgrade because you want a more agile, more modern, more cutting-edge ERP with great performance, you may want to reconsider your outlook on maintenance fees. In today’s cloud age, you don’t have to keep paying annual maintenance fees to get very little in return.

As I said in the beginning of this article: Let’s be revolutionary. Let’s think outside the box. Let’s be innovative.

Let’s start talking.

 

Contact the Cloud ERP experts at PC Bennett to discuss the value your business could realize by switching to Acumatica Cloud ERP.

 

PC Bennett Solutions offers a personalized, full-service experience for customers by implementing business management technology. Through a hands-on approach, PC Bennett Solutions helps companies get the most out of their software system. The team provides training, implementation and customization of Acumatica. Headquartered in the Seattle area and with offices in Dallas, PC Bennett Solutions is one of the largest exclusive Acumatica resellers. For more information, visit www.pcbennett.com.

Acumatica Cloud ERP Shipping Container Management

3 Ways Shipping Container Management (SCM) for Acumatica Can Improve Operations

By Acumatica, Cloud ERP

Now more than ever, delays in product shipments to customers, or running out of products because of a late shipment are going to hurt your business. Knowing where and “when” your containers are is critical, and managing that information in a static spreadsheet or on a whiteboard is not going to keep you competitive.

What Shipping Container Software Will Do for You

  1. Allow you to track your shipping containers from the minute they touch the water until they reach your warehouse.
  2. Update the status of your inbound products (have they been held at a port, are they delayed or damaged, etc.)
  3. Capture all of the landed costs for your shipments, either by individual container or set of containers or a master container.

How Does Shipping Container Management for Acumatica Work?

PC Bennett created shipping container management solution so that you will always know where your goods are and so that you could quickly and easily calculate costs.

Acumatica Cloud ERP Shipping Container Management 1

We start with either Inventory on Hand or a Purchase Order. Based on the assets, we create a Container Order. We can tell the system where the goods are coming in from (either based on a warehouse transfer or based on a purchase), and the software will automatically create your in-transit inventory, and assign a Container ID. You can easily check a box if you want to make this a Master Container.

Once your Container Order is In Transit, you can manage all of the dates, enter any holds, receive the container, add landed costs and more.

You also have the option to create Master Containers that will track a group of containers inside it. This allows you to spread landed costs across some or all of the containers within the Master Container.

Where Do I Access Shipping Container Management for Acumatica?

SCM for Acumatica lives right inside your Acumatica instance. You can access SCM through either the Purchase Order or Manufacturing modules. No extra “system” to log into or learn.

What else can I do with Shipping Container Management for Acumatica?

  • Set the priority of the containers.
  • Track date of the order.
  • Set up multiple Container Types and multiple Warehouses.
  • Choose shipping line from a dropdown menu or add your own.
  • Specify the Vessel name and Freight Forwarder.
  • Include additional details about the Shipping Container in the Description area.
  • Set an expected Ship Out date, and track Actual Ship Out dates.
  • Automatically calculate the container payload if you have the weight and volume.
  • Use our mass processing feature to move multiple shipments from one stage to another.

Acumatica Cloud ERP Shipping Container Management 2

What about Reporting?

Shipping Container Management allows you to sort and filter your data any way you like. Just check a box to see:

  • Only those orders that are still open.
  • Containers that are coming from Singapore.
  • Containers that are disembarking from Seattle.
  • Open orders by destination or warehouse.
  • And many, many more

You can also easily export any of the data to Excel to create pivot tables, graphs and in-depth analysis.

Learn more about how Shipping Container Management for Acumatica can help you get a handle on where and when your In-Transit Inventory is.

A disassembled race car in a racing garage.

Sell More Parts and Reduce Your Costs: Fitment for Acumatica

By AcumaticaNo Comments

The Cost of Inaccurate Fitment Data

How many times have you had a customer order the wrong part?  It sounds like a small thing.  But if your order department is relying on paper catalogs or is looking up parts on multiple websites, not only are they spending more time taking orders, but you run a bigger risk of selling incompatible parts to your customers. At the least, it disappoints the customer and results in costly returns. At the worst, it can cost you their business.

As you know, managing your fitment information is an ongoing process. Vehicle standards change often. Without an integrated solution, you are left to manually maintain your database. Not only is it a huge task, but it is prone to errors and creates a lag in accurate data, paving the way for a bad customer experience.

Customers Don’t Realize They Can Search by More Than Brand

Additionally, customers often search for parts by brand, not realizing that there can be parts that fit multiple brands of vehicles. With an integrated fitment lookup that connects to your web store, you can educate your customers on how to search and serve up more compatible options. This will keep them on your site, buying parts from you instead of your competition.

Our fitment solution allows you to quickly and easily look up fitment data by year, make, model, and other filters like trim and engine type. It can be linked to ACES (Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard), as well. And did we mention that it connects to shopping cart?

Automotive ERP Fitment Acumatica

You can also quickly create new items with images, color options, finishes, descriptions, specs and manufacturer’s data with just a few clicks. This will integrate to your shopping cart.

How Good is Our Fitment Solution?Fitment Automotive ERP Acumatica

We were demoing the software to a prospective customer last week. You know how those go, you can read the room, even if it is virtual, and feel how interested the audience is. We sensed that they were going through the motions, and hoping to get this final bit of research done so they could go with another product (for whatever reason). That is, until we showed them our fitment feature. Suddenly the energy of the room changed and the engagement level shot up. They were asking questions left and right and wanted to see more of the screens and options. They chose our solution over the rest.

Why Did We Focus on Fitment?Automotive ERP Acumatica Fitment

We have a passion for classic cars, fast cars and the racing industry. This love of cars and racing started with my father and it continues with me, my brother and my son. It’s one of the reasons people choose us over anyone else. It’s why we find it easy and actually fun to help automotive aftermarket industry. It’s why we’re continually updating and improving our solution to make sure it provides everything our clients need.

Get to know us a little better…peruse our gallery of photos, and lots of other handy resources on our Acumatica Automotive page.

 

Stop “Getting By” with an Outdated Fitment Process

And start using a solution that eliminates errors and takes guesswork out of fitting parts to vehicles. A solution that won’t cost a fortune, take forever to deploy, or be hard to use. A solution that:

  • Helps sell the right part
  • Reduces research time
  • Improves customer service
  • Drives up repeat business
  • Eliminates silos of information

Take a tour of our fitment module, and let us know what you think!

Patricia Bennett at SEMA 2018 Booth

A man using a computer at home.

Protect Yourself and Your Employees with a True Cloud ERP Solution

By Acumatica, Cloud ERPNo Comments

This week I heard from a client in California. I had a trip planned to their offices and they called to tell me not to come. Why? Because I live in the Seattle area and they are concerned about the Coronavirus. They don’t want anyone from Washington State in contact with their environment. Not that I don’t understand their concerns.  After this visit was canceled, I started to notice how empty the streets and shops are — more people are staying home in the hopes of being safer. Which got me thinking…about how well-suited Acumatica Cloud ERP is to the remote worker, even if their remote work wasn’t necessarily planned.

I’m not making light of the impact that COVID-19 is having and may have going forward. I just realized this is one less thing that my clients have to worry about. Because they have Acumatica, their teams can work from anywhere without sacrificing operational efficiency, access to real-time data, and all the tools they need for success.

Work Where You Are

Whether you are running a manufacturing or distribution operation, selling  automotive aftermarket products, managing government or public sector organizations, Acumatica Cloud ERP enables your teams to order, track, update, and manage operations from their home office, car, backyard…basically anywhere they are.

It is one of the reasons that we chose Acumatica – the flexibility, scalability (unlimited users), and powerful features that can be configured to suit just about any industry.

Whether you’re handling orders, updating your item catalog, keeping an eye on delivery dates, or monitoring the bottom line, Acumatica is going to make that fast and easy, even if you’ve self-quarantined.

Acumatica offers you access to real-time data, lower administrative costs, and improved customer service because answers are just a click away. It truly is why Acumatica is one of the best options you have when moving to a cloud ERP.

Safe, Secure, Real-time Data and Insight

One concern of remote work is system security and data protection. If you’re not in control of the connection, it feels a little risky for your data, doesn’t it? Well, you can rest assured that your data is safe, because of the comprehensive, built-in security features of Acumatica.   Cloud ERP solutions like Acumatica have to be laser-focused on protective measures and constant vigilance – it is their livelihood, and that means you benefit.

Proof from Industry Experts

Don’t just take my word for it – take a look at some of the experts who have weighed in. From Gartner to Nucleus Research, to IDC, analysts have great things to say about Acumatica. Want to hear from actual users? Head over to G2 to see why Acumatica is rated #1 in usability.

Cloud ERP Work from AnywhereWhile we can’t alleviate your risk for the Coronavirus, we can make sure that your business stays healthy.

 

See how companies like yours are using Acumatica to make better decisions, scale their business and improve the bottom line.

Selecting Software for Your Business

5 Critical Considerations When Selecting Software for Your Business

By ERP Implementation, Software SelectionNo Comments

Software selection and implementation can be complicated. We can get caught up in the hype we hear. Ensuring you get the software you need, when you need it is what I’m talking about today. Ask yourself if a new software solution, such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), or an upgrade to an existing solution will increase productivity and efficiency. Are there other considerations? Maybe it will help your business be more precise with its data, encourage better inventory practices or smooth out the payroll process. Let’s go through five critical considerations when selecting a software solution for your business.

1.  Make sure there is a compelling business reason to make the change.

      • Really think through the problem you are trying to solve. Talk to your staff to get their perspective.
      • Are you entering the same data multiple times?
      • Are human errors costing you money?
      • Are most of your operations being handled in Microsoft Excel or something similar?
      • Do you have inventory control issues? Are you missing sales because you are running out of merchandise?
      • Do you have trouble getting good data to make the right decisions for your business?

If you answer yes to any of these, you have a good reason to change your software.

2.  Is the timing right for your business to make the change?

Sometimes business owners don’t realize what a big deal selecting software is. Loss of productivity, employee dissatisfaction, and cost are just a few of the side effects. In order to minimize these risks, consider the following steps:

      • Set clear goals for the new software solution. Don’t rush through this step. Know what problem you are solving and what success really looks like.
      • Involve as many members of the organization as possible. More employees on board means faster adoption.
      • Business requirement gather is critical. Document your business processes as they are today and as you would like them to be. Put it in writing. Share the business requirements internally for consensus.
      • Document things that you know are unique to your business. Maybe your geography creates unique challenges. Does your product use special materials that require a specific lead time to acquire? Are the existing software solutions in your business antiquated? Whatever the issue, get it in writing.
      • Designate a superuser. This is a person that will know all areas of the solution inside and out. This will be your go-to person for help with the solution. This individual will help bring other employees on board with the new system.
      • Have the right expectations- implementations take time. It took you a long time to get to a software decision. It will take just as long, if not more time, to implement the solution. Sometimes a phased approach will give you a faster return on your investment. Get the solution provider to help you determine the best manner for you to proceed.

3.  Finding the best solution for your business.

Every business is unique and has its own issues. One thing is universal: your competition is doing something similar. What business software solutions are they using? Are they successfully running their businesses? Find out all you can about the other guy. You’ll benefit from the information. Here are some ways to benchmark what others are using:

    • Participate in industry groups. You will find others who share your challenges. These are environments where you can share information and learn. Many of these groups are free to join.
    • Use Google. Search for “Cloud ERP”, “Accounting Solutions”, “inventory control applications”, “Manufacturing” or whatever applies to your business problem.
    • Use user-based rankings and ratings sites:
    • Evaluate the Growth Potential- ensure the software you are evaluating is using the latest technology. You are about to make a big investment. Technology changes so quickly that buying old technology doesn’t make sense, even if it saves you money. Some vendors are coming up with “new products” that are really old products with a facelift. Be aware of this. Ask the hard questions to get the facts.
      • Select 3 or 4 software solutions to evaluate. Only with choices can you make a reasonable decision. You can often save substantial money when you compare solutions.
      • Spend the time to test the software and make sure it will work for you. Have your staff try to use the solution. Bring any challenges to the software provider. Find a resolution before you buy.
      • Don’t be afraid to ask for demos and guidance from the vendor. Customer success and presales resources exist in many companies. The goal is to ensure customers effectively use the solutions.
      • Check the reviews for the products you are evaluating. Most people will take the time to review when they are not happy with a solution. Less will review when they are happy. Make a balanced decision.
      • Determine how will it interact with other software you currently use.
      • Remember to ask about the hidden value. After purchase service and training are serious differentiators that can easily be overlooked.

4.  Find the right partner.

Most of the ERP systems out there are sold and implemented by technology partners. Make sure you have the right partner. You are about to have the equivalent of open-heart surgery for your business, and you don’t want just anyone to do that job.

Implementing new software is no easy task. You will be working with your partner for some time. Make sure this is a relationship you want to be in for a while. Check references. Check their website. They usually have customers listed on their site. You may recognize a name of a company you know. Give them a call. Check their social media. Maybe ask a trusted colleague or other industry reference.

5.  Look beyond the implementation.

There are many costs to consider when running an ERP system in your business. The costs aren’t all obvious. Look for the hidden costs.

      • Support
      • Upgrades
      • Ongoing Training
      • Customizations for your business

Make sure you understand what it will cost you to run your new software. Be prepared for this. Many businesses are surprised by the cost of supporting their software. Implementing your new software was a big investment — you will need to maintain it just like you do a new car so you will need to plan for it.

These are just a few points but if you need help or have a question, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Patricia Bennett
patriciab@pcbennett.com