ABM Advisor: The ABM Blog

  • Jul 20 2017

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    The missing key to effective barcoding in food manufacturing

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

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  • Jul 12 2017

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    4 signs your company needs business accounting software

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

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  • Jul 5 2017

    What's next for the manufacturing industry?

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

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  • Jul 5 2017

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    What's next for the manufacturing industry?

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

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  • Jun 27 2017

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    2 manufacturing and warehousing trends sweeping the industries

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

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  • Jun 22 2017

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    Food manufacturing is one ingredient away from the perfect recipe

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

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  • Jun 8 2017

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    Food manufacturing industry ripe for technological innovation

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

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  • May 22 2017

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    Innovative food manufacturing companies solve slowed investment growth

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

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  • May 19 2017

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    Falling manufacturing employment makes technology more important

    The recent growth in certain sectors of the manufacturing industry has come at an expense; employment is contracting.Over the past 17 years, the market has shed 130,000 jobs, according to The Australian. There are a number of reasons behind the fact that hiring has slowed, and the occurrence of the worldwide economic recession nearly a decade ago is certainly near the top of the list.Technology has helped sustain growth despite falling employment.The fact is, though, the manufacturing industry is incredibly strong right now. In April, the AI Group bumped it up to 59.2 on the Purchasing Manufacturers Index (PMI), where anything higher than 50 is considered good. This is partly because employers are leaning on technology and digitisation now more than ever, and they're finding it works.Hungry for knowledgeIt's clear the market is gaining more success with less staff. Companies are looking for innovative ways to improve not only the warehouse floor, but how the company is run as a whole, according to Marcel Bick, the business development manager at Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation."Companies that are highly innovative have been reaching out to us to partner with them to develop innovative technologies," Bick told Manufacturers' Monthly. "They either ask us to create a new product for them or improve on existing technologies to improve processes and ultimately maximise cost savings."With robotics and artificial intelligence dominating the headlines lately, some companies may not have picked up on the usefulness of business management software. Improving efficiency on the back-end of operations ultimately extends out to the day-to-day tasks, ensuring a cleaner and smoother running engine. Small businesses are gravitating towards database software to help automate back-end tasks. Where to improveFor small and medium-sized businesses, creating an entirely new product can be an arduous and expensive process, even if the financial benefits are valuable. These companies can really gain an edge and leverage their limited staff by investing in database software.Inventory levels, accounting and order management can all be improved upon by automating previously manual methods of said tasks. Speeding up these taxing aspects that are vital to the organisation gives managers more time to assess other areas of need that might require more attention, all while ensuring complete and utter accuracy.The upside of having a lean staff is that it takes little time to integrate small business management software - employers just have to take the first step. Contact an ABM representative today to find out more.

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  • May 10 2017

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    Advanced Business Manager and Xtracta Partner Up To Launch New Data Extraction Capability

    Advanced Business Manager (ABM) has announced the launch of its new and innovative data extraction service, ABM Billfeeds.

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