ABM Advisor: The ABM Blog

  • Feb 23 2018


    Australian manufacturing maintains its momentum to kick off 2018

    Few industries in the world have come close to the success that Australian manufacturing has had over the last year.The sector recently hit its 16th straight month of improvement, the longest stretch it has had since 2005, Business Insider reported. With all the prosperity comes a tall task for organisations, though: Staving off competitors and supporting greater capacity for work. With business management software, that's easier than ever.A look at the numbersThe Ai Group's Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI) tracks the sector's growth rate. Any score over 50 shows improvement, and the distance that figure is away from 50 suggests the speed with which it's happening at. In the first month of 2018 the PMI rose 2.5 points, signifying that it's not only expanding but doing so quickly as well, according to Business Insider.

    Read Full Story
  • Feb 19 2018


    Why is the future of the food manufacturing supply chain bright?

    Eating food is an age-old concept; the way it's being delivered is refreshingly modern.Where innovation has automated the warehouse floor, digital transformation has given the food manufacturing supply chain a brand new mode of operation. Technologies like blockchain, the Internet of Things (IoT) and business intelligence platforms are all set to have a drastic impact on the way organisations of all sizes approach it.Fuel behind the changeBefore diving into the digital revolution and what it has to offer, it's important to understand where the headwinds are coming from. For the food manufacturing in particular, one key driver is the modern consumer and client: They both require increased visibility and traceability into the supply chain.Customers, clients and technology are at the heart of it all.The former is growing more conscientious of what they're eating, in part because of a change in dietary restrictions. Nearly 12 per cent of Australians are now vegetarians, according to a study from Roy Morgan. But they're not the only segment that could be concerned with how food was processed or transported with. The organic movement is growing, and society at large is more interested in learning what goes into the products that they're eating.On the other side, clients are expecting more from vendors than ever before. Customer service is turning into a competitive advantage as rising energy prices and the consolidation of the sector are supporting slimming profit margins. Being able to deliver a wide variety of information on the supply chain - and improving its efficiency - has become a key selling point for many companies.The other component driving this digital transformation is the development of technology itself. Organisations are simply able to do more than ever before thanks to platforms like business management software, which integrates a suite of applications to create a fully connected workforce. It's helping to break down silos previously marred by disconnected legacy equipment.From Bitcoin to bananasBlockchain technology is a hot topic across every industry, but its usefulness is heralded in markets like finance and manufacturing. Blockchain is under a decade old and was created in 2009 as a way to securely record Bitcoin transactions, Food Processing magazine reported. Blockchain first appeared to support Bitcoin, but soon it'll help manufacturing companies. It serves as a foundation for transcribing trades in a fashion that's unchangeable and completely reliable. Each interaction is bound to a theoretical block, and all subsequent transactions are ascribed to the previous one. It creates a reliable history of product movement without the need for human input.What type of value does this bring to manufacturing? If customer service is a driving component of success, being able to produce verifiable information that inventory was delivered on time and without damage is one foundation of an effective strategy. Since data recorded on blockchain cannot be altered after the fact, this type of transparency is miles ahead of the industry average, according to Food Processing magazine.This technology is still in its relative infancy, so don't expect it to be a widely available option just yet. But organisations should keep an eye on how it's developed and rolled out, and should look to stay ahead of competitors by integrating it into their supply chain as soon as possible.IoT is allowing organisations to gather vast sums of data.All-knowing sensorsIf we see blockchain as a way to safely store and view information, then IoT is the cog behind collecting it. By leveraging wireless sensors, organisations create unparalleled insight into previously manual tasks; collecting temperatures within the cold chain and tracking delivery routes are just two of their many uses.IoT isn't anything new - it has been...

    Read Full Story
  • Feb 13 2018


    Is it time to transition to information-driven manufacturing?

    Big data runs the world, and companies are scrambling to gather as much of it as possible.It's because information is power, and that couldn't ring more true than in the manufacturing industry. Organisations are leveraging their existing assets in a variety of innovative ways to improve their processes. Information-driven manufacturing is one strategy that's benefiting enterprises that have undergone a digital transformation, and there's no end of it in sight.On a need-to-know basisThe Internet of Things (IoT) and platforms like business management software are making it simple to collect data on areas such as the production floor or the supply chain, and spin it into tangible insights. This is the fundamental understanding of information-driven manufacturing: Enhancing best practices by making assets more intelligent.Information-driven manufacturing relies on intelligent assets.But the new strategy doesn't simply apply to automation or predictive maintenance. Organisations are taking a unified approach to the supply chain by connecting a variety of databases and creating a unified network that supports information sharing. With structured stock software, the customer relationship management (CRM) application and the general ledger all communicating with each other, administrators gain real-time access to figures and metrics that can support better decision-making.In turn, this is making it easier for employees to retain customers or make quick changes in support of better quality control on the warehouse floor. Companies aren't blindly following a set blueprint because it worked in the past; they're continuously questioning it.  Information-driven manufacturing is powered by a web of digital applications. Where to beginThe first step to incorporating the strategy is in the name itself: information-driven manufacturing. Unfettered access to data makes it easier for personnel to adapt their approaches and gain an all-encompassing view of operations. This wasn't possible through legacy systems like spreadsheets or even pencil and paper bookkeeping.Trying to connect the dots by piecing together siloed systems can be time-intensive and a huge investment of capital. Instead, companies are integrating platforms like business management software that provide a full suite of interconnected applications. By doing so they're able to keep the programs that employees have come to rely on, like digital accounting or project invoicing, while ushering in innovations like business intelligence or a mobile CRM.An information-driven manufacturing strategy is only as effective as the platform powering it. Talk to an Advanced Business Manager representative today to learn more.

    Read Full Story
  • Jan 31 2018


    Why it's time to upgrade your customer retention strategy

    With profit margins slimming by the hour, customer retention can make the difference between success and failure.It's no secret that keeping a client happy is more affordable than trying to win one over, and it's time your company's plans reflect this. With a customer relationship management (CRM) tool built into a business management software platform, keeping customers happy becomes a whole lot easier.No task too tallThe challenges posed to manufacturers are the driving force behind the need for a better CRM solution. Although prices are always taken into consideration, purchasers have far higher expectations than ever before. They want to be included in the design process for proprietary products, expect order and activity history at a moment's notice and have come to rely on after-market servicing to meet a variety of needs, Infor reported.

    Read Full Story
  • Jan 19 2018


    Food manufacturing companies are going digital in 2018

    Food manufacturing companies all over the world are digitising operations in 2018, but what exactly does that look like?This type of transformation manifests itself in a variety of ways, and it largely depends on the needs of specific companies. Here are a few ways your business can get started this year to get a leg up on the competition.1. Automated bookkeepingThe days of using pencil and paper, or even an excel spreadsheet, to maintain the financial side of a business are gone. Organisations can start their digitisation efforts with accounting software, which can bring a variety of benefits to the table.Incorporate accounting software as you digitise the business.Real-time access to financial reports, streamlined job and project costing, integrated stock control and an array of customisation options are just a few of the features businesses get to take advantage of. As enterprises scale, so too does the demand put on financial staff to ensure the general ledger is kept updated. Using a program to manage this cuts out the potential of human error from the equation and makes like a little easier for everyone involved.2. Inventory oversightThe average warehouse has to deal with distribution through retail brick-and-mortar, handle imports and attend to other obligations. In simpler terms, it can be difficult to get a clear picture of what products are available and the associated details.Leveraging structured stock software is a way organisations can cope with increased activity without having to expend an exorbitant amount of resources on the task. Through digitising this process, companies get access to real-time reports that can help curb overstock. Structured stock control makes inventory management simple. 3. Connected ecosystemThe goal of every company investing in digital transformation should be to deploy business management software that can bridge the gap between previously incommunicable aspects of operation. This would be, for example, capturing data on inventory levels to develop insights as to how you can optimise purchasing patterns to support the best profit margins without hurting performance.Programs on their own can be helpful and intuitive, but if they can't effectively transfer data between one another to support analytics, organisations will have a tough time keeping up with competitors that can. Before integrating a new application, evaluate how it fits in with your future plans. Ideally, everything you need should be on one platform. Contact an Advanced Business Manager representative today to learn more.

    Read Full Story
  • Jan 5 2018


    What does 2018 hold for Australia's food manufacturing sector?

    Australia is coming off a record year of growth in its manufacturing sector, but will 2018 bring more of the same?Continued growth is often unsustainable for the entire market without investing in innovative solutions. But with a few adjustments based on potential problems that could crop up, organisations can stay a step ahead of any detrimental disruptions and avoid a slip into regression.Challenges for Australian businessesOperational uncertainty isn't limited to the manufacturing industry; corporations of all types across the country will face many of the same issues in 2018. The first is the arrival of Amazon. This will have far-reaching effects that include controlling consumer shares, purchasing warehouse space and presenting more complex logistical dilemmas.Companies across Australia will face similar issues.It's estimated that the company's revenue will be more than double that of Cole's and Woolworth's beyond this year, according to News.com.au. The troubling part is that it's also cutting operating costs already with the construction of its new plants."The fulfilment centres … with the robotics technology tend to be more capital intensive than prior versions of warehouses and they generally have much better operating efficiencies," Brian Oslavsky, chief financial officer at Amazon, said.Other challenges affecting the vast majority of Australian organisations include the administrative difficulties associated with the switch to single touch payroll, the new roll out of the National Broadband Network and poor financing. The latter may prove to be a major roadblock, as just half of all Australian small enterprises have reported positive cash flow, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.If you add all these problems up it's clear that greater visibility throughout the organisation, a better handle on inventory and corresponding logistics, as well as exceptional control over accounting and the budget will be key to maintaining success. Profitable cash flow has been an issue for smaller Australian enterprises. Specific concerns for food manufacturingOf course, each industry has specific dilemmas it will face over the course of 2018 and food manufacturing is no different. The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) recently released its ninth analysis of the market, and here are some key takeaways:Worth $127.4 billion, largest manufacturing sector in the country.Over 320,000 employed through 2017 and created 3,700 new jobs in 2016.The 4.7 per cent increase in foreign investment reversed the three-year decline it had previously been on.Real value of food, grocery and beverage exports saw a 15.4 per cent drop, but volume rose by 3.6 per cent.Although there was mostly growth across the board besides the real value of exports, the figures themselves could be cause for alarm given the minor improvement they represent. This is because input costs are expected to continue to rise in 2018, which starts the clock on how quickly organisations can boost profit margins that were already slim to begin with."We are expecting these pressures to only increase as energy, especially gas, has seen a doubling and in some cases a tripling of price that is likely to have dire consequence for Australian jobs and investment, with some companies re-assessing their long term future in Australia," Tanya Barden, chief executive officer of the AFGC, said.This could spawn a ripple effect that can send foreign investment back into a downward spiral if it gets out of hand.The AFGC predicts energy costs will be a major factor in 2018."Continuing to stimulate investment in site modernisation is critical particularly in light of mounting input cost pressures. We are now in danger of drifting into a low investment trap, where uncertainty about return on investment flowing from retail price deflation and rising costs is seeing investment decisions deferred or dumped," Barden said.Another important aspect...

    Read Full Story
  • Dec 19 2017


    Maintain control while scaling your manufacturing company

    Success comes with a price, and sometimes it's having to scale to meet customer demand.It's strange to think of opening a new location as having a negative impact on your company, but there are a number of hidden dangers in doing so. For instance, businesses can see quality drop given the lack of oversight. Adopting business management software with a branch management program is the key to overcoming this obstacle.Common issuesEffectively scaling a manufacturing company relies on resolving potential problems before they have a chance to crop up. Here are a few that persistently plague growing companies:

    Read Full Story
  • Dec 13 2017


    The manufacturing factory of the future counts on the cloud

    The manufacturing industry develops at an extraordinary rate.Some aspects that may have been commonplace only 20 years ago could be entirely non-existent today. With a slew of new tools on the way thanks to the fourth industrial revolution - Industry 4.0 - the factory floor is set to undergo another change. This begs the question: What will the future of manufacturing in Australia look like?Future factories will rely on the Three C's to be effective.Watching the trendsIt's tough not to have noticed all the headlines surrounding the sector lately. Virtual reality, the Internet of Things (IOT), robotics, automation, 3-D printing - all of it will certainly become staples on the factory floor as prices begin to drop. The shift is already starting at larger corporations: Foxconn replaced 60,000 employees with robots in 2016, the BBC reported.With much of the discussion focused around how these tools can impact and benefit businesses, it's easy to lose track of how they're actually integrated in the first place. Many, if not all, of the solutions are functional with the help of cloud computing. It's the platform that provides the Three C's, and what the World Bank deems essential to modern manufacturing: connectivity, connectedness and capability.Setting up the right systemBefore investing in the technologies that will reside on the factory floor, it's imperative that organisations look first to create the foundation it resides on. Business management software that lives on the cloud is an excellent start as it fills three key needs:Platform to facilitate the flow of data and develop analytics.Back-office functionality through accounting software and other applications.Cloud and IT support from dedicated team.It's important to remember that it's not only the factory floor that is changing, but the business model as well. There's a greater emphasis on speed and efficiency, which inherently values programs that can automate bookkeeping or other important processes. What will the factory floor of the future look like? Mistakes are made when companies look to incorporate the technology first, without first understanding how the front- and back-office will communicate with each other. One instance of this is in IOT: Inventory transparency can be made possible through sensors and other tools, but it's useless if it can't transfer that information to specific departments. Then organisations scramble to find a way to connect the two, when basing all operations on one platform would've solved any problems to begin with.Is your company ready for Industry 4.0? Contact an Advanced Business Manager representative today to learn more about business management software on the cloud.

    Read Full Story
  • Dec 5 2017


    What's on the horizon for Australian manufacturing in 2018?

    When it's all said and done, 2017 will be seen as the most successful year for Australian manufacturing in over a decade.The value of goods that are created and the investments being made into the country's economy are allowing organisations of all sizes to succeed in a variety of ways. But for as much fanfare that surrounds the sector currently, it's how companies approach the future that will dictate whether this will continue or if it will revert back to stagnation. At the heart of it all lies the changes that enterprises need to make in 2018 if they want to stay competitive.Manufacturing saw 14 consecutive months of growth.A year in reviewNovember 2017 marked the 14th month in a row that the manufacturing sector held a score above 50 on the Ai Group Performance of Manufacturing Index. Any figure above 50 indicates the industry is experiencing success, while the amount above it is from 50 represents its rate of growth, according to Business Insider.The industry's activity levels haven't been this high and prosperous since 2005. Automotive manufacturing has now been closed across the country, and the final plant that was shutdown prompted an increased rate of expansion across the general sector. Major players in the space are still trying to figure out which sub-sectors will be taking lead, but improvements in new orders and exports mean success is likely on the way in 2018 regardless, Business Insider reported."The very large food and beverages sub-sector strengthened further, but non-metallic minerals weakened, following a strong period of demand for building products earlier in 2017," the Ai Group said. "Participants said demand from residential construction was tailing off in November. Other participants noted stronger demand for equipment, machinery and other inputs or Government projects and procurement, agriculture, renewable energy projects and the local leisure market."With a growing number of industries becoming increasingly competitive, it's likely that advantages won't be found solely in how companies approach the market space. The way these organisations operate and the internal productivity improvements they make will largely influence their direction. The closure of Australia's automobile manufacturing plants actually led to growth. The digital economyAustralian's manufacturing revolution is coming at a time where technology is having a vast impact on the way enterprises are run - and the country's gross domestic product (GDP) itself. Innovative solutions like business management software are making it easier than ever for organisations of all sizes to reduce waste of resources, streamline complex processes and improve margins.In fact, a report by Deloitte found that the average Australian benefits monetarily from digital disruption by A$4,663 each year, given the influence it has over product pricing, quality and employee productivity. Overall, the solutions are expected to contribute almost $140 billion per year to the country's GDP - or 7 per cent - by 2020 in a variety of ways.Technology will contribute 7 per cent of the country's GDP in 2020.While it's clear that solutions like robots, augmented reality headsets, drones, the Internet of Things (IoT) and wearables will all play a role for successful organisations, some industry thought leaders may be overlooking the foundational benefits of a digital platform.Many of these devices rely on transmission of information between various points in the company. This means that the shipping department should be able to digitally communicate with accounting, for example. This was previously an issue, as many organisations leveraged legacy systems for cross-departmental collaboration - this doesn't allow data to flow freely.Now, though, enterprises are adopting business management software that comes with optional modules to keep pace with the disruption taking place.

    Read Full Story
  • Nov 27 2017


    Will your manufacturing company be pushed out of ecommerce?

    The Australian manufacturing industry isn't without unfortunate irony. For all the success that technological innovation has brought to it, some organisations are seeing those windows of opportunity shut before they can take advantage.Ecommerce is an excellent example, allowing small- and medium-sized enterprises to compete with larger businesses on an otherwise uneven playing field. But it's only a matter of time before the platforms with household names take over, and those that are lacking certain key qualities find themselves at a difficult crossroads.What the future holdsIt's difficult to predict what the next five years will hold for manufacturing companies in relation to ecommerce, but one way to gauge what's going on is by looking at the past. Consumers are slowly but surely turning towards online shopping. 

    Read Full Story

Signup for Updates and our Newsletter

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

buyers guide