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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 mechanic works underneath a car at a car dealership.

AutoFitmentPlus — Your Automotive Aftermarket Auto Parts Database Software

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

When we started down this Automotive Aftermarket road, we had no idea it would lead to the creation of a custom solution like AutoFitmentPlus. But we are happy it did – it is helping our clients have an edge that no other companies have.

How It Began

While working with customers, we realized a major struggle for them was centered around parts database management. Order departments were relying on paper catalogs or were looking up parts on multiple websites, which was frustrating and time-consuming. Not only were they spending more time taking orders, but they ran a bigger risk of selling incompatible parts to their customers. Which at a minimum disappoints the customer and results in costly returns. At worst, it can cost them their business. There had to be a better way.

The Birth of Fitment for Acumatica

As you know, managing 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.

Additionally, customers often search for parts by brand, not realizing that there can be parts that fit multiple brands of vehicles.

We realized an integrated fitment lookup that connects to your web store would allow you to educate your customers on how to search and serve up more compatible options. This also keeps them on your site, buying parts from you instead of your competition.

We developed and launched our fitment solution earlier this year, which allows you to quickly and easily look up fitment data by year, make, model, and other filters like trim and engine type. And did we mention that it connects to shopping cart? You can also quickly create new items with images, color options, finishes, descriptions, specs and manufacturer’s data with just a few clicks.

The Evolution to AutoFitmentPlus

We know there’s always room for improvement. So, we took our Fitment product to our clients for testing and recommendations. They did not disappoint. We came away from those meetings and conversations with a host of recommended features. And we got to work.

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.

Auto Parts Database Acumatica Fitment

How Good is AutoFitmentPlus?

Auto Parts Software Acumatica FitmentWhen we talk about the features with any current or potential client, you can feel their interest grow. It’s no longer an ERP solution and our knowledge around how to implement. It’s a passion for the automotive industry that has resulted in a truly unique offering, designed from the ground up to save you time, money, and frustration.

We are 80% through phase I of development, so we are still a bit away from launching, but this product builds on a solid foundation of the fitment functionality we already created, and promises much more, including:

  • 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.

Why Did We Focus on the Automotive Aftermarket?

Auto Parts Database Software Acumatica FitmentWe have a passion for classic cars, fast cars and the racing industry. This love of cars and racing started a generation ago 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! Your comments could lead to an even better solution!

See Fitment in Action

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.

A large boat hauling shipping containers.

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.

The word Implementation in scrabble peices.

The #1 Way to Make ERP Implementations More Successful

By ERP Implementation, Cloud ERPNo Comments

If you’ve ever implemented new software, you know it can be painful. Change is hard. It takes your time, energy, and money, and frequently you come out the other side feeling like you haven’t gotten what you signed up for. What would you give to make it easier? We’ve come up with a sure-fire way to lessen the frustration and ensure success. Mentoring.

I like Wikipedia’s definition of Mentorship: Mentorship is a relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. The mentor may be older or younger than the person being mentored, but he or she must have a certain area of expertise. It is a learning and development partnership between someone with vast experience and someone who wants to learn. Interaction with an expert may also be necessary to gain proficiency with/in cultural tools. Mentorship experience and relationship structure affect the amount of psychosocial support, career guidance, role modeling, and communication that occurs in the mentoring relationships in which the protégés and mentors engaged.”  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mentorship)

As a professional services company focused on the Enterprise Research Planning (ERP) industry, we see a variety of customers from many different market spaces. At PC Bennett Solutions, we want to empower our customers to self-service their ERP (Acumatica) system at the highest level possible to obtain maximum efficiencies while using the software. To do that, we take the approach of “teaching you to fish” through a mentoring process. This is done so that you and your team can sustain your system with minimal input from us. If we do it correctly, we not only have a customer for life, but the value we impart is tangible and the Return on Investment (ROI) is measurable.

Why Customer Mentoring? Everyone does things a little differently, and our customers are all unique. The need arises to mentor our customers on how we approach work that will be performed. This can encompass our:

  • Implementation methodology
  • Timeline and expectations
  • Go-live
  • Support
  • Billing and maintenance

…and everything in between. It is paramount to a good partnership to have these mentoring sessions. Through these sessions, the customer gets comfortable with the process and it helps disperse feelings of fear and anxiety. If you know when and why something is going to occur, you are less anxious and the potential to become frustrated because of overages in budget or extensions to the project timeline are minimized or averted altogether.

The Pain of an ERP Implementation

Let’s face it – ERP implementations are painful, sometimes ugly, and can feel like open heart surgery for a business. This is a perfect opportunity for the implementor (what we call a business partner) to mentor you through the process to achieve a successful outcome. At PC Bennett we use a proven methodology to walk through our implementation process.

We communicate with you beforehand about the challenges and emotions that will be felt as we go through the process. We always show the Kubler-Ross Change/Grief Curve, JM Fisher’s version, at our kickoff meeting as it is a great visual for showing the typical paths an ERP implementation may take. We want you to stay on the “purple path” as close as possible.

Kubler-Ross Change Grief Curve

Phases of an ERP Implementation

PC Bennett utilizes a structured implementation methodology to ensure Acumatica is configured and implemented in a manner that best supports your business requirements. We communicate this five-phase process to you from the onset of the project and all the way through to ongoing support and after:
Phases of Acumatica Implementation

Discovery and Planning

This phase is probably where we mentor the most. I always tell customers in our kick-off meetings that this is the one area they will likely get the most frustrated. Discovery usually takes the longest and is the most detailed phase during an implementation. The general rule-of-thumb is the Discovery Phase will take between half and two thirds of the total project time. As the implementors, we want to get the project right from the very start. To do this requires determining any current special processes and then lining them up with standard ones in Acumatica. We try to work as much out-of-the-box as possible and leave customizations as a last resort.

This phase can and will be an extremely frustrating time because customers don’t see anything happening, as most of the work is internal to the PC Bennett implementation team. Communication and transparency is critical during this phase. We want you to know what is being accomplished.

https://dilbert.com/strip/2006-01-29

Key Activities & Deliverables during this phase:

  1. Install or establish your Acumatica site and create your Company files.
  2. Plan and hold a series of meetings with you to establish a baseline of understanding of the company’s business structure, current operational practices and business requirements.
  3. Prepare and deliver a “Significant Business Processes” (BRD) document outlining PC Bennett’s understanding of key operational practices that may impact the project’s budget, timeline and scope, as well as the Configuration Design and implementation of Acumatica.
  4. Prepare and deliver a project Statement of Work (SOW).

System Initialization and Design

During the System Initialization and Design phase, we start the process of core configurations within the system (master records such as Accounts, Sub-accounts, Customer, Vendors, and Inventory). During this phase we typically go on-site for an Orientation session which helps us expose the customer to Acumatica. The Orientation also helps get the Project Team members engaged by going through the majority of the transaction screens and key reports.

Key Activities & Deliverables during this phase:

  1. Plan and conduct a series of Software Orientation Meetings with you and your team to establish a baseline understanding of Acumatica’s configuration requirements and impact to aid the Company to make informed decisions in its configuration.
  2. Establish and document an initial Configuration Design of key components within the application.
  3. Establish module-level preferences and validating components to be used within by the system’s master and transaction levels.
  4. Establish a Pilot Configuration you can use to test and validate the basic configuration of Acumatica.
  5. Initial Training to your personnel on processing transactions within Acumatica for the purposes of validating the Pilot Configuration.
  6. Initial Training to personnel on the configuration of areas in which your company has sole responsibility (e.g. user security, creation of Notification Templates).
  7. Obtain your acceptance of Pilot Configuration and approval for final System Configuration.

System Configuration

System Configuration is the last phase before we take you through testing and training. During this phase a pilot, or sandbox, site is created where all of the final configuration is completed. We want you to complete as many of these tasks as possible for a couple of reasons. One, to engage you in the processes within Acumatica, and the second is for you and your team to take ownership of the system.

Key Activities & Deliverables during this phase:

  1. Import final master records as applicable to modules “in scope.”
  2. Review final configuration to identify configuration gaps and provide guidance to correct these gaps.
  3. Migrate final configuration to a pilot company file for final testing and training.

Testing and Training

PC Bennett is responsible for initial preliminary testing of the setup and data converted, but the bulk of the testing responsibility will fall to your Project Team. An understanding of the data is required to test the data and processes. Therefore, the Project Team will have the majority of the work in this area.

Testing will occur through each Area Leader. Testing will not occur until the initial setup occurs and preliminary data entry has been completed. The testing environment should be as close as possible to the live environment to establish a greater level of comfort with system processes and the like.

PC Bennett trains throughout the project. For instance, the Project Team will get overall Acumatica ERP training once the system has been installed and the preliminary setup has occurred. Training will occur in the following areas:

  • General usage and module configuration
  • Transaction processing and month-end closing
  • Reporting and inquiry overview

We recommend that the Project Team understands the system as a whole and its members are encouraged to attend as many of the training classes as possible. Once the system has gone through the bulk of testing, a second training schedule will be created for users not on the project team to receive training in their functional area as needed.

Key Activities & Deliverables during this phase:

  1. Conduct “Train the Trainer” training to a company-designated “Super-user” responsible for transferring system and functional knowledge to Company personnel.
  2. Perform a mock “go-live” dry run for the purposes of validating the successful import of open documents for in-scope modules, as applicable, and a sample of Historical General Ledger Trial Balances.
  3. Obtain overall User Acceptance and make a “go/no-go” decision.

Deployment/Go-Live

Once Testing and Training has been completed, we work with you to determine a mutually accepted “go-live” date. Once that is established, the following activities and deliverables will occur for this phase:

  1. Migrate opening balances for all “in scope” modules.
  2. Assist you in the importing of historical trail balances as needed to support comparative financial reporting.
  3. Provide on-site training and assistance to personnel during the go-live transition to ensure successful use of Acumatica.

Ongoing Support – Customer Care Plan 

PC Bennett is dedicated to the long-term success of your Acumatica investment. The Customer Care Plan ensures you get the most from your system by providing expert, reliable personnel to train and advise you and your team. Our dedicated support staff is ready to solve any technical issues, and experienced, dependable software developers keep customer systems upgraded with the latest software enhancements.

Unlike traditional ERP customer support, which is billed on a per-hour or per-incident basis, PC Bennett’s Customer Care Plan is billed as a monthly subscription. This helps you budget support expenses and avoid any unpleasant billing surprises.

What PC Bennett’s Customer Care Plan includes:

Unlimited Support Tickets

  • Correcting data-related issues
  • Troubleshooting ERP processing issues
  • Solving security related issues within ERP
  • Troubleshooting and reporting issues to software vendor
  • Documenting issue resolutions or workarounds

Software Upgrades

  • One Minor Acumatica Upgrade per year (e.g. version 2018R1 to 2018R2)
  • One Major Acumatica Upgrade per year (e.g. version 2018R2 to 2019R1)
  • Unlimited software patches required for bug fixes
  • Upgrading any PC Bennett customization packages or products

Unlimited Training

  • Unlimited training on all modules that have been implemented
  • Training of new employees

Mentoring doesn’t stop after the implementation is completed. We work hand-in-hand with you throughout the year to determine areas we can improve and optimize Acumatica. We want to continually add value to what our customers are doing with Acumatica.  Our CEO, Patricia Bennett, makes it a point to see each and every customer at least once a year. This is getting to be a difficult task as our customer base grows, but it will continue because we feel so strongly about making and maintaining a personal connection with our customers. The time and expense are inconsequential compared to the outcomes of face-to-face meetings.

Because of the way we work with our customers, PC Bennett is very proud to have been recognized with two awards at Acumatica’s 2019 Summit. These awards go to the very heart of why we mentor. We start the mentoring process from the first minutes we engage with you as a future customer all the way through the lifetime of the entire engagement.

The first award received at the Acumatica Summit for work in 2018 was the Customer Service Excellence Award which is given to the partner that has the highest Customer Satisfaction score. Acumatica polls all of their customers twice a year, and PC Bennett had the highest rating out of almost 400 partners. This award goes to the very core of what PC Bennett is trying to accomplish in creating “Customers for Life”.

The second award was the Modern VAR of the Year. This award is special because it identifies a partner who continues to evolve their practice from a traditional professional service model (time and materials) to one based on a subscription model (value based – fixed fees). Acumatica likes to describe themselves as the disruptive teenager in the middle of the market cloud ERP space. PC Bennett likes to say we are the disruptive teenager in the Acumatica partner channel because of our innovative practices. The way we mentor our customers is probably the single largest contributor to why we were recognized with this award.

Go forth and mentor. Trust me, it will be a rewarding journey both professionally and in the lifetime relationships you build!

 

Tim O’Sullivan is an owner and Chief Operating Officer at PC Bennett Solutions, a Value-Added Reseller in the Acumatica partner chain. He oversees the day-to-day operations of PC Bennett including the consulting and implementation teams. He has over 25 years in the Tier 1 and 2 ERP spaces with a focus on Distribution and Manufacturing.

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.

 

A man using a laptop 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.

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What Is An ERP System And What Are They Used For?

By Cloud ERP, ERP ImplementationNo Comments

What is an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) System?

Most people start by talking about the various components of ERP systems. I’ll get there, but first a little background – what is an ERP? In the 1980’s software companies came out with MRP systems that ran on mainframe systems initially. MRP at that time was an acronym for “Materials Requirements Planning”. These systems were focused on reducing material shortages and excesses on the manufacturing floor.

At that time, and still today, MRP calculations generally look at demands and supplies of inventory items. Demands include forecasts, sales orders and manufacturing orders. Supplies are inventory, purchase orders and manufacturing orders, which both consume inventory and produce it. The final factor was a bill of materials, which in complex products can be multiple levels deep. When MRP runs it looks at demands, supplies, bills of material and other planning parameters and then suggests that buyers and planners take actions to place, adjust or cancel purchase orders and manufacturing orders.

Next software companies and manufacturing companies moved to include resources, such as production workers and equipment in the planning process to help manage capacity and production levels. They also linked inventory-related activity to the accounting systems so that there was a closed loop, integrated system which enabled manufacturers to better manage and account for the business.

In the 1990’s Customer Relationship Management, or CRM, systems started to catch on. These systems allowed companies to manage the sales process and track activity with customers.  They started as standalone products but eventually MRP companies and CRM companies merged, or MRP companies developed their own CRM systems. That left the marketing with a challenge of what to call the combined systems so they ended up with Enterprise Resource Planning, or ERP as a label for the combination of MRP and ERP systems.

Software companies that did not have a manufacturing option picked up on the ERP label as well (and don’t necessarily have the “P” or planning component). These days the ERP term is used to label accounting and operations software no matter the industry.

Perhaps a simpler way to explain what ERP systems are is to think of them performing several functions:

What does ERP do?

Lead to Cash

Lead to cash starts with the process of acquiring new customers, securing orders, delivering products and services and finally invoicing for and collecting for those products and services. Typical software components include:

    • Lead management
    • Customer management
    • Sales order entry
    • Shipping
    • Project costing
    • Invoicing
    • Cash receipts

Procure to Pay

Procure to pay starts with ordering things like services, inventory, expense items and assets and then receiving them followed by recording the invoices and paying for those items.

    • Purchase requisitions
    • Purchase order management
    • Receiving
    • Production
    • Services delivery
    • Invoice entry
    • Cash disbursements

Reporting

The lead to cash cycle and procure to pay cycle both generate financial transactions that end up in the “books” or general ledger, which is the foundation of financial reporting. In addition the other cycles can also provide information for reporting and analysis of business performance. Some systems include report generation tools that are used to define and produce financial statements such as income statements and balance sheets. But some systems require an additional external tool to design and produce those reports. Most systems have a query tool that allows users to create their own views of the data. And most of ERP systems support exporting data to Excel for further analysis and some allow for the automatic refreshing of the Excel data without logging into the ERP system.

In the end, the primary objective of ERP systems is to enable companies to better manage their operations and provide better information to decision-makers at all levels. So if you are looking for a system make sure the systems you consider meet your information needs and company objectives.

Are you interested in working with PC Bennett for your EPR requirements? Schedule a free ERP demo here.