ABM Advisor: The ABM Blog.
Category - Warehousing

  • Nov 23 2018

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    Is your business's warehousing software scalable?

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

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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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  • Mar 21 2017

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    Australia's manufacturing industry grows

    February saw Australia's manufacturing sector grow to its highest level since May 2002. The Australian Industry Group's monthly report showed an increase of 8.1 points to 59.3 on the country's Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI). This was the fifth consecutive month of expansion.A breakdown of the figuresThe PMI ranges from 0 to 100. A normal manufacturing level is considered to be 50, so anything above that figure indicates growth, with the distance between 50 and the month's overall PMI showing the extent of this expansion. The Australian PMI is broken down into eight separate categories - nonmetallic minerals, food and beverages, textiles and furniture, wood and paper, printing and recorded media, fuels and chemicals, metal products and, finally, machinery and equipment.Seven of these eight sub-sectors recorded growth in February. Nonmetallic minerals posted the highest PMI figure (66.3 points), followed by machinery and equipment (60.1 points) and food and beverages (58.8 points). The only sector to remain below 50 was printing and recorded media, which had 45.1 points. Wood and paper managed to recover to 51.9 points, having recorded shrinkage the previous month.

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  • Feb 22 2017

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    Why the food industry needs inventory visibility

    For management in the food industry, exercising control over stock and inventory can be an ongoing challenge without the right systems in place. Due to the fluctuations in stock caused by customer variables and perishable or wasted inventory, optimising your stock can prove an arduous task.This is why many large food businesses deploy costly, yet rigid, inventory management systems to meet their warehouse and stock control needs. However, even for big businesses, this is still an expensive and overly complicated solution, often forcing the organisation to fit into the framework of the system and not the other way around. In 2015, the total loss of revenue due to overstocked or out-of-stock items reached over US$1 trillion.Software that can be tailored for your businessThe right structured stock software should be one that is tailored to suit the needs and requirements of your business - not just in its current state, but as it evolves. Control over your inventory encourages growth, ensures that you consistently meet the needs of your customers, and boosts profitability and productivity. In short, a customisable inventory management system is the key to taking your business in the right direction. A large element of success in the food industry depends on visibility throughout the supply chain. When working with perishable gods or those with a short-shelf life, it's critical management are able to account for all goods at all times. Visibility, in this instance, leads to fewer stock losses due to mishandled or misplaced inventory. Ensuring your stock is kept at the required level is also crucial to the growth of your business. Meeting the demands of customers isn't exactly easy, and without a detailed and understandable overview of your inventory and supply, it can be difficult to project the ongoing needs of your business.  Warehousing software can help avoid stock wastage. According to RetailWire, in 2015 the total loss of revenue due to overstocked or out-of-stock items reached over US$1 trillion, with internal processes accounting for $284.9 billion of this - personnel issues were responsible for $259.1 billion.Take control of your stock with Advanced Business ManagerAt ABM, we believe control over your business is the first step to success. That's why we'd love to talk with you about how our software can fit into your business, and not the other way around. If you'd like to see what our powerful core accounting software and additional modules can offer you in providing control of your inventory, get in touch with our team today for a free demo. 

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  • Feb 10 2017

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    Why wastage could be costing your company

    There are many vital areas of a company, but one of the most significant for managing growth and revenue is stock control. No matter your business, your inventory is not only the key to prosperity, but also a method of streamlining your business operations.This relates to active management of your company's stock, ensuring you aren't spending prodigiously in unnecessary areas, while maintaining an inventory that meets the wants and needs of your customers. Ultimately, it's about control - of your business and the direction it's.Waste not, want notFor the food and beverage industry, wastage is always a concern. Damaged or aged stock are of no use to either the business or customers, resulting in a loss on both sides.In 2011, Australia, United States, Canada and New Zealand discarded 52 per cent of all fruits and vegetables.Research by Statista into the amount of food collectively wasted in Australia, United States, Canada and New Zealand in 2011 found 52 per cent of all fruits and vegetables were thrown away unused.Across the four countries, 50 per cent of seafood, 22 per cent of meat and 20 per cent of milk were also discarded. Consider what structured stock software and greater control of inventory would mean to growth within your business, reducing the amount of wasted food while also putting it to better use.Fixing the links in the supply chainOne Swedish researcher, Kristina Liljestrand, has studied the impact of wasted food, and how improvements to logistics can help reduce the severity of the issue. In her dissertation, reports WellBeing, Liljestrand proposes nine improvements developed during her research into producers, wholesalers and retailers.She stresses collaboration between all members of the food supply chain (FSC), and focuses on two key aspects of the FSC that can affect the environmental impact of an established logistics system.These are:FSC variables including shelf life, temperature monitoring and specific food characteristics, which help create conditions for an agile logistics system.Performance variables such as requirements around lead times and flexibility, of which both can conflict with the FSC party's ability to reduce environmental impact. How much food is going to waste due to improper stock management? Try our free demo - in person, or onlineAdvanced Business Manager is comprised of a core accounting system that can be tailored to suit the needs of your business with additional add-on modules.Nobody knows your business better than you do - so we would be delighted to discuss our software in more depth and see if it is a fit for your company. We offer a no-obligation demonstration, available by contacting our expert team today.

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  • Feb 1 2017

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    The importance of adaptable business software

    As Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, once said: "The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency."In almost every facet of our daily lives, automation has started to shine. The rebirth of the electric car, the evolution of the Internet of Things, and artificial intelligence finding mainstream traction in the form of personal assistants on our smartphones have all become increasingly commonplace in the last 12 months. But are we any more efficient than before?Technology and automation allow even the most niche of businesses to flourish in the physical and digital marketplace.Sculpting software around the needs of your businessWith both efficiency and automation touted as the reward and answer to business concerns respectively, 2017 will reveal the crucial third part of the equation: Adaptability.Business processes, markets and products are more diverse than ever. We can now buy almost anything online, instantly, and have it delivered to our door.It makes sense to recognise the importance of support software that adapts to your business, and not the other way round. With technology and automation allowing even the most niche of businesses to flourish in the physical and digital marketplace, framework and management software needs to offer a scalable and customisable solution. Automation will be key to accelerating growth within your business. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and a Warehouse Management System (WMS) are two crucial elements of this overall solution, but are vitally overlooked as the global marketplace becomes both automated and strives for efficiency. Including the optional Mobile Warehouse Management module to accompany our base accounting software, ERP/WMS is a key tool for solving the issues around inventory management, dispatch and transfer.Manage your inventory and customer needs simultaneously ASPluris streamlines purchase orders, shipments, pallet storage and dispatch consolidations to name just a few of its features. As a mobile solution that integrates seamlessly with Wi-Fi, 3G+ and GPRS, you can be assured that whether you're on the shop floor, in the warehouse or out delivering items to customers, you'll always be connected to your enterprise management system.Running on a handheld data-capture device or tablet with barcode and RFID capabilities, ASPluris is the perfect logistics, inventory and customer relationship management system to help your business achieve greater efficiency in 2017.If you want to learn more about our fully scalable and customisable industry solutions, get in touch with the team at Advanced Business Manager today, or try out our free demo.

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  • Jul 7 2016

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    Food safety and beyond: The power of inventory management

    Food safety and effective inventory management are inextricably linked. They are like peanut butter and jelly, fish and chips, cereal and milk - you can't have one without the other.The food industry is understandably one of the most regulated sectors in the world. Missteps with the storage, handling and preparation of food can cause serious health threats for consumers. In terms of businesses, the dissemination of this food can harm brand image, profitability and result in considerable fines.This becomes even more of a pressing concern when you consider there are 4.1 million cases of food poisoning in Australia annually, according to the Food Safety Information Council. Of these cases, 31,290 result in hospitalizations, 86 end in death and 1 million require doctor visits.As with many things in this world, new technology is increasingly being leveraged to manage these problems. Optimised inventory management, via business management software, can significantly improve upon current systems to help reduce food safety issues that stem from human error. At the same time, it can better operational visibility and open up opportunities to cut costs and streamline efficient processes.

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  • Jun 30 2016

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    Sustainability in the Australian food industry

    Sustainability has been an increasingly popular buzzword across a variety of industries. It encompasses a lot of things. From ethical questions surrounding labour practises and supply chain transparency to a deeper understanding of where in the world our food is coming from to questions regarding production emissions and environmental policies.

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  • Jun 17 2016

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    How technology is changing the Australian food industry for the better

    It's no secret that technology has changed the game for industries across the world. Platforms and software are constantly changing the market for the better. From improving operational efficiencies to inspiring more accountability within business processes, the advancements are plentiful.The Australian food industry is no exception. Technology has provided the optimal framework for the continued growth of exports, imports, production and manufacturing throughout the country. Beyond growth, digital advancements have made way for a new level of transparency in the food and beverage sector. Internal processes are in the spotlight more than ever as consumers demand to know where their food comes from and whether the conditions are ethical.Clearly, the changes spurred by technology in the food industry are wide-reaching. And for the most part, these advancements seem to be positive. Let's take a closer look at the top three food industry improvements due to technology:AccountabilityThe highly connected nature of today's world means increased levels of accountability for the modern food company. For better or worse, the window to company policies and procedures is wide open for consumers. And they are demanding changes to commonly accepted practices.The recently announced food label reforms are a great example. Consumers demanded more information about the origin on their foods and their cries were met with policies. The new legislation will require food suppliers to label their items with a kangaroo logo to indicate the product was made in Australia. The new labels will also include bar charts to indicate how much of the product includes Australia-based ingredients based off weight percentages.According to Business Insider, consumer advocacy groups such as Choice are pleased by the policies and are hopeful this trend toward transparency will continue.

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  • May 12 2016

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    The Australian food industry in close-up

    The Australian food industry is in a vibrant and profitable place currently, as good sentiment and positive financial returns grow steadily around importing, exporting, production and manufacturing. Following the ebbs and flows of such a dynamic industry is crucial in order to stay ahead of developments in new markets, legal developments and advancements in procedure and software.Demand for Australian products throughout AsiaThe Australian Trade and Investment Commission (ATIC) reports that a rise in living standards and a greater diversity of choice are two factors that play into the increased demand for products outside of China. In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Tran Bao Minh, a chief executive of International Dairy Products, said that Australian food suppliers need to move quickly and operate at full efficiency to capture and deliver to the Asian markets."Demand is changing fast and consumers are constantly looking for new and better products," Mr. Minh said.The ATIC reports that the fastest-growing food and beverage market in Asia is China, with an impressive average annual growth rate of 35.4 per cent from 2011 to 2014."Demand is changing fast and consumers are constantly looking for new and better products," The opportunity is huge; China has a population of over 1.3 billion, as reported by Euromonitor, and is undeniably a strong market for the Australian food industry. Therefore, as demand for Australian products throughout Asia remains strong, Australian food and beverage businesses should be looking to manufacture and deliver in a smooth, timely fashion.Positivity across the Australian PMI index for food manufacturingAs a sub-index, the food industry has been performing well on the Australian Industry (Ai) Group's Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI). The index overall slightly dropped by 4.7 points to 53.4 points in April.This figure means that expansion has been at a slower rate than in March, as results on the Ai PMI that are above 50 points indicate expansion and a reading a below 50 suggests a decline in expansion. The PMI generates results from a monthly rotating sample of around 200 manufacturing companies.A drop of this size can be ignored for the most part, as it is small and sits within a wider upwards trend, and the PMI April result was the highest since April 2004. This manufacturing trend sits within the longest period of unwavering growth for the Australian PMI as a whole since September 2006.According to the Australian Trade and Investment Commission, food and beverage is a major industry sector for the Australian economy both because of its employment and its financial contribution. The various players differ in size, which provides the opportunity for niche products and large scale manufacturing of bulk items to both exist in fulfilling local and overseas needs.Ai Group's chief executive, Innes Willox, said this growth is a positive turn for an industry that has, until recently, been battling the choppy post-global financial crisis (GFC) economic seas. The Australian food industry is performing well on the PMI index. "While margins remain tight, recovering domestic market share and building momentum in a variety of export markets provide a strong foundation for the lift in confidence required for the sector to move up another gear. A budget that boosts incentives for business investment and innovation would come at just the right time for manufacturers to capitalise on recent gains," Mr. Willox said.According to the PMI April release, the Australian dollar as slightly appreciated, but the overall drop in the value of the Australian dollar across recent years is the main reason for the strength seen within the index. This depreciation assists sales in exporting and importing, providing room for growth.This is a positive outlook for the...

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