ABM Advisor: The ABM Blog

  • Dec 22 2016

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    The future of food will be automated

    Automation is the use of various control systems for operating equipment with minimal or reduced human intervention. Many industries have seen the benefits of automation, with completely automated systems providing far greater accuracy and precision over time than humans are capable of.Take the automotive industry, for example, where robotics are put to great use and have removed much of the need for human labour in vehicle manufacturing. Assembly line robotics are just one example of automation improving quality while reducing or eliminating the need for humans to put themselves at risk. Furthermore, the accuracy of robotics ensures limited wasted materials, and allows human workers to take on positions in less hazardous areas.One of the biggest impacts in the coming years and decades will be on the food industry. Already, automated robotics are being put to use in the agricultural sector to monitor crops and distribute liquid, while 3D printing is changing the face of fast food by creating processed meals for the elderly.3D printing makes the most of out meatFor those who have trouble chewing, or swallowing in the case of dysphagia, 3D printed meals offer an appetising solution to traditional pureed food - creating authentic, realistic-looking meals. Recently, Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) examined the benefits of 3D printing red meat, saying the benefits to the consumer would be disease prevention, convenience, appearance and decreased malnutrition for elderly aged care patients. 3D printing food could lead to lower food waste and a greater level of happiness for aged care residents. In aged-care facilities, the use of 3D printers to generate meals for the elderly reduces the strain on staff and creates a greater number of meals than a human chef would normally be capable. Due to the need for food safety, much of the food in aged-care facilities can be tough due to being overcooked. The limited resources of such a facility can then mean that many patients slowly develop malnutrition and, most importantly, don't experience a high quality of life. 3D printing, and automation of food processing, eliminates much of the dependence on human chefs, and maximises the use of a facilities' resources, which could lead to lower food waste and a greater level of happiness for residents. In the world of production and automation, however, robotics are being put to use in the agricultural sector - where a solar-powered farming robot from the University of Sydney is making life easier on the farm. The robot caretaker changing agricultureRobotics specialists from the University of Sydney have created RIPPA - Robot for Intelligent Perception and Precision Application - a robot capable of detecting weeds and eliminating them using a directed micro-dose of liquid. RIPPA is an example of how automation is generating higher levels of efficiency in commercial food production, and quite possibly just the first in many future farming robots.  Could robots one day help manage our land? Systems engineering and operations specialist Mark Calleija, who built the solar-powered farming robot, believes their creation is the key to farms of the future. "The technology can be used to automatically apply the correct dose of fluid required anywhere on the farm at high speed," he said."It will enable farmers to capitalise by minimising application input costs and improving information quality for better high-level decision making. This type of new technology will assist growers in taking their farms into the future."Automation is the key to future manufacturing and food production and, in a few cases, the future is already here. Automated accounting software with ABMAdvanced Business Manager is software comprised of a core accounting system that can be custom-tailored to your suit the specific needs of your business.

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  • Dec 21 2016

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    The building blocks of future manufacturing

    The Australian manufacturing sector has fallen from the high point it experienced 20 years ago, with significant drops in both gross domestic product (GDP) and employment contribution.In 1995, Australian manufacturing employed more than a million individuals, and contributed to 14 per cent of the GDP. Now two decades later, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) reports the industry has dropped to an employment figure of 856,000 and a GDP contribution of just 6.05 per cent.The manufacturing industry has dropped to an employment figure of 856,000 and a GDP contribution of just 6.05 per cent.Rebuilding the manufacturing industryBut is Australian manufacturing set to experience a further decline or a revival? Currently, industries all around the globe are experiencing a state of disruption, from both advancing technology and a change in workplace culture.CSIRO recently released "The Advanced Manufacturing Roadmap", a plan that highlights significant growth opportunities in manufacturing emerging technologies such as 3D printing, sensors, augmented and virtual reality, advanced materials and robotics.The success of this plan will largely be dependent on matching global and local appetites for new technologies, and supplying market-leading products that will see worldwide adoption. Two markets that have shown demand for emerging technologies, specifically in the area of robotics, are Japan and Korea.Strong trade agreements will support exportsIn the Australian Industry Report 2015, the successful future of manufacturing was highlighted by two recent trade agreements, with Japan and Korea, which will provide almost entirely duty-free entry of exported goods into both countries.The Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement and Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement entered into force in 2014 and 2015 respectively. For Korea, 88 per cent of Australia's exported resources, energy and manufacturing products will receive duty-free entry, with all remaining tariffs set to be removed by 2023. The Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement entered into force in 2015. The Japan agreement allows for an even higher rate of goods access, with 97 per cent of exports being giving preferential access or allowed to enter Japan dutyfree.Future materials and production linesOne of the underlying themes of the market transition for manufacturing is digital disruption. To illustrate this point best is to look to the 1980s and 90s - when the personal computer was introduced. This change led to the closure or sale of many microcomputer manufacturers, as they were unsuccessful in forecasting how the market would change - and how soon. Advanced Business Manager is a powerful and customisable accounting system, capable of adapting to the changing needs of your industry. To find out more about what our software can do for you, reach out to our team today.  

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  • Dec 20 2016

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    Are you prepared for advanced manufacturing?

    In an effort to revitalise the Australian manufacturing industry back to the days of its former glory in the mid-90s, in 2015 the Queensland government created the Queensland Advanced Manufacturing Roadmap.The 10-year plan is to invest nearly $200 million across a range of industries. But what exactly is advanced manufacturing, and why does the government believe that pursuing it is the key to turning the Australian manufacturing industry around?The current and next generation of advanced robots will find use in a number of customer-facing roles.What is advanced manufacturing?Advanced manufacturing entails more than just building emerging technology, and incorporates everything from the design stage through to research and development and beyond into distribution and after-sale support services. This ensures that value is increased across the entire lifecycle of the product.However, the real excitement comes from the products themselves, four of which are detailed by in the 10-year plan:Advanced robotics - the current and next generation of robots will be used in a number of customer-facing roles. Already, many are being deployed at ports and airports, with interest increasing each year. Nanoelectronics - our reliance on computers, smartphones and communications technology has furthered research in nanoelectronics; advanced materials that will enable products to be thinner, lighter, store a greater amount of information and use less power. Biomanufacturing - the world of advanced medicine is expanding through the use of cells and living organisms to create vaccines, organic clones and medical proteins. Materials by design - aerospace, transportation and electronics will be reliant on creating materials that can withstand extreme temperatures and promote energy efficiency. In their 10-year plan, the Queensland government lay out expectations for advanced manufacturing, the focus required by businesses to achieve the goals and the potential challenges they will face. Nanotechnology will allow for flexible, lightweight screens. The challenges faced by future businessesThe first challenge to overcome for the food industry, according to the discussion paper, is a lack of integration into an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or control system, either due to cost complications for businesses, or a lack of trust that software will work effectively. The second, and interlinked, challenge is a low number of smaller businesses developing into medium, globally-focused enterprises. This, the roadmap states, has widened the gap between local business practices and the international standards for technology and design.Advanced Business Manager provides not only a reliable and powerful core accounting platform, but a number of additional modules that be tailored to suit the needs of your evolving or growing business. To learn more about our additional software modules and what they can do for you, get in touch today.

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  • Nov 29 2016

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    Building your accounting solution from the ground up

    No two industries are exactly the same. While there isn't a lot of crossover between fields such as warehousing, online retail management and architecture, they all share one common thread. An intuitive accounting system can eliminate the time spent on repetitive processes and improve efficiency through automation.So what exactly does the Advanced Business Manager core accounting system offer?Over 60 per cent of managers believe they aren't doing a good job at meeting the needs of learning staff.The core accounting system frameworkBefore introducing any new piece of software into a business, it's imperative staff training be taken into account to avoid company downtime. Our core accounting system integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Office, providing a familiar user interface that will reduce the time spent getting accustomed to how the software works.How crucial is initial training though? According to SHIFT eLearning, over 60 per cent of managers believe they aren't doing a good job at meeting the needs of learning staff, resulting in early departures from staff within a business. If that statistic doesn't illustrate the benefits of training then the financial incentive surely will; the same report states that ineffective training costs businesses over $13.5 million each year.We also provide ongoing assistance through our expert support services across Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and the United Kingdom. All our solutions providers have been through extensive training, so you can rest assured any problems will be addressed and resolved quickly and professionally. Staff training is vital to get the most out of new software. How does business intelligence software fit into my company? ABM offers add-on modules that can tailor our core accounting product to almost any industry. Just a few of the solutions that can be tailored to include:Wholesale and DistributionOnline Retail ManagementWarehousingConstructionImportingArchitectureConsultant EngineersThe open architecture of the system is designed to work in unison with third-party software. This allows for a highly customisable and specific business solution, and one that will fit effortlessly into your current accounting model.For example, our service management add-on allows companies that deliver solutions on-site to track personnel, automatically log client history and distribute billing and reporting. This add-on alone can benefit equipment servicing professionals, field engineers, tradespeople and more.From a data-based perspective, our business intelligence module allows for a top-down view and detailed analysis of business profitability. You can then use this information to identify strengths and weaknesses within your business model, and enact customer and staff performance reviews. With a strong focus on improving business efficiency and revenue, this add-on module is applicable across a wide range of industries.To learn more about ABM business management software, get in touch for a free demo today.

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  • Nov 21 2016

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    Custom industry solutions within ABM software

    When choosing to integrate a fully-formed piece of accounting software into your business, it's entirely possible parts of a solution will work for you and others will not. Unlike many other potential products, however, Advanced Business Manager works by starting with a core accounting system, then providing industry-specific add-ons that tailor solutions to your needs.Below we'll look at just one of the industries that can optimise the use of our business intelligence software through modules specific to their sector, offering automation across invoicing, sales management, cost reduction and more. 

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  • Nov 16 2016

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    Increasing security through automated accounting software

    The subject of internet security isn't one that many businesses like to approach unprepared. After all, everyone wants to feel that they are secure in how they conduct business, and provide this level of safety and trust to their customers.But as more businesses more to a digital format - online stores, interactive website customer service and email communications to clients - it's crucial that the information we send online be protected. So how can incorporating automated accounting software into your business help keep it safe at the same time? Businesses that integrate cybersecurity with digital strategies will be better poised to build trust into everything they do and transform faster.Increased security at a lower costFor many small businesses, allowing resources to be set aside for a dedicated IT team isn't really an option. However, two reports released by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) bring to light just how serious security is for businesses as they embrace a digital future. For small businesses with limited funds, moving to and off-site storage option that uses cloud technology can remove the stresses associated with storing data. Tom Puthiyamadam, PwC's Global Digital Services Leader, notes that digital business models addressing security are the key to success in a changing marketplace. "Businesses that integrate cybersecurity with digital strategies will be better poised to build trust into everything they do and transform faster," he said."Leading companies are integrating cybersecurity, privacy and digital ethics from the outset. And that enables them to better engage with existing customers and attract new ones. Many also see efficiencies in operations, business process and IT investments."Moving to the CloudIf you haven't already started looking at cloud technology for storage, it may be a little daunting to approach. So how does the cloud work, and why is it safer? Essentially, cloud storage is just information that is kept off-site and in a data centre. This could be anywhere; from someone's garage to a multi-location data fortress.  It's important that businesses address cybersecurity. One way to explain cloud technology is to look at an email provider like Gmail. When you create a Gmail account, everything is stored online, but essentially it's kept on Google servers. When you receive an email or an attachment, it doesn't download directly onto your computer, it's instead stored in a data centre that you can access freely at any time. This saves you space in storage, while taking advantage of Google's excellent security. Of course, while there are a number of small cloud providers, large and trusted hosts - like Microsoft, Google and Facebook - are increasingly commonplace. According to the PwC report Moving forward with cybersecurity and privacy, 63 per cent of businesses say that they run IT operations in the cloud. But is this just because of security, or for another benefit to business? When you receive an email or an attachment, it doesn't download directly onto your computer, it's instead stored in a data centre that you can access freely at any time.Collaboration through automated work processesMoving to the cloud offers another benefit beyond security - it enables an organisation to communicate easily and instantaneously, allowing them to collaborate and share information automatically. This automation is at the heart of software like Advanced Business Manager, streamlining processes like timekeeping and customer relationship management so you can focus on the areas of your business that you need to. Business intelligence software combines the best parts of these two concerns - it removes the potential for human error, offering greater security and better insight into the information you gather. With PwC noting that 34 per cent of customer service and marketing functions are run from the cloud, you won't be alone...

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  • Nov 11 2016

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    Meeting the needs of your customers in production

    The issues that arise from running a manufacturing facility aren't common for many. For some, however, inventory, stock costing and time from production to delivery are as regular as a broken plate in a cafe. It's imperative, then, that a solution be available to those needing to run their manufacturing facility both efficiently and profitably. To assist in this, warehousing and structured stock software offered by Advanced Business Manager provides a fully encompassing remedy to those common irritations that can spiral out of control.This is especially true for small companies as manufacturing operations come in all shapes and sizes. Below we'll look at a few ways automated accounting software and crucial add-ons can help streamline your business now, and as it continues to grow.Automating taxing business process will put you in a better position to make employee time more useful.Reduce reliance on every centSmall manufacturing operations will have a comparatively small market to which they serve. Not only is a smaller business more reliant on the revenue gained from each of their clients, any issues that occur can seem insurmountably difficult. Small businesses will also often have smaller legal, marketing, or client management teams.Business intelligence software can be tailored to address the daily operational concerns and issues faced by any of the small teams within a business. By automating many of the taxing processes that prevent employees from fully utilising their potential, you will be in a better position to redirect that free time to something more beneficial.Prevent failure of skill transferSmall businesses understandably have a small, but dedicated, team of employees. As the responsibilities of each employee may require either extensive training or specific knowledge across certain areas, employees and management teams alike may want to keep staff working for their entire careers. Keep revenue manageable with better stock control. The key issue with this is that once at retirement age, the crucial and imperative knowledge acquired by these individuals will need to be passed down to new employees. While documentation could be put in place, this only incurs further cost for your business.By implementing a business solution that can include database management or warehouse stock control, you can spend more time focusing on the human aspects of the business that matter, and leave the repetitive, time-consuming parts to software. There are many ways a tailored small business management software solution can benefit your business. To learn more, reach out to our team and book a free demo today.

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  • Nov 2 2016

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    Are you engaged with your customers enough?

    Customer engagement is important in any business, but for utilities it can present a significant challenge. Perhaps it's that, as a society, we've taken clean water and abundant electricity for granted, to the point we're critical of our utility company for not offering the lowest prices or the same deal as a startup competitor.To address the need for increased transparency in how their business operates, many utilities have taken to social media to engage with customers.While this is sound advice for the majority of companies, how can you ensure you have all the information needed to face the public's questions? Below we'll examine a few steps you can take to engage successfully with your customers.By adding services such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, you can create a total social profile that addresses many different customer bases at multiple levels.Talk to your customers, not at themA key part of engaging with customers in our current age is by taking the leap to social media. However, if this is your first time jumping into the online world to talk with your customers, there are a few key points to remember.One common mistake many make is dehumanising their business and responding with robotic and unsympathetic responses. Generally, customers will go online with their concerns. While you may get a few people wanting to congratulate you for the excellent service you provide, many people look at social media as a way to vent their frustrations, or gain the collective support of other customers when they have a problem.By addressing your customers as people, and responding to their concerns with empathy and sincerity, you can ensure that when your customers have an issue they don't abandon your business due to an impersonal or insufficient response.Spread yourself across social mediaMaybe you want to create a company Facebook page, and interact with your customers that way, or perhaps you think Twitter is an easier method of communicating with your clientele.The secret to success in this area is to not limit yourself to just one piece of social media. Thinking about your online presence as a whole can help illustrate this point; Facebook is excellent for responding to individual customers and sharing articles or thought leadership appropriate to your industry, but it's just the start of your online profile.By adding services such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, you can create a total social profile that addresses many different customer bases at multiple levels. Twitter is great for providing instant, snappy updates on your service or something that needs to gain traction quickly, while if your business is visual-heavy you could even create an Instagram account to update your customers with enticing photos. Engaging with customers brings them closer to your business. By communicating with all levels of your customers, there's no risk of you alienating a single group or presenting an image that only appeals to one demographic.Some common mistakes to avoidIf this is your first time jumping into the world of social media for customer engagement and retention, you'll no doubt experience a few trip ups along the way. Although this is bound to happen at some point, we're grouped together the most common issues to help you get started in the right way.Some of the problems companies experience when entering social media are:Keeping it short-term: Successful social media engagement is a long distance run not a sprint.Don't flood your customers: People already chose your business for a reason, so bombarding them with pointless posts will do little to keep them engaged.Tackle the tough subjects: Don't avoid the tricky questions.

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  • Oct 12 2016

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    3 ways you can benefit from online retail management

    If you've already entered the online shopping world, you'll know some of the trials and tribulations that accompany the process. In a world rapidly embracing the move to digital, an online version of your store is a logical choice. For many though, the move to online isn't accompanied by a team of marketers, accountants and social media professionals.As such, it can be difficult to juggle the responsibilities of an online store concurrently with an online presence, which is where online retail management software can help by removing some of the pressure to allow you to be focus on the areas of your business that need attention.Below are just three ways that freeing up resources through business accounting software will help you approach your online venture in a much smoother manner.Over 90 per cent of the public are turning to social media to help make buying decisions.Better sales managementimplementing automated accounting software into your business will greatly increase your ability to manage and track sales. Starting with our core accounting software, you can add a number of optional modules that can assist in managing your e-commerce project.The Advanced Business Manager Structured Stock module is designed for businesses that wish to track and organise their stock more efficiently. Featuring a flexible structure that allows for user-defined attributes, improving your sales through better recording means you'll always have full awareness of stock levels.More connection with your customersHaving greater control of your stock levels means you'll have more time to interact and reach out to your customers.This can be the deciding factor for many businesses moving online - maintaining a level of engagement with your customers that encourages them to keep coming back to your business is almost as important as having a popular product in the first place. Could your online store benefit from accounting software? If you don't see the importance of social media, then there are some troubling statistics you may want to see. According to Slant Marketing, Facebook accounts for 64 per cent of total social revenue. Even more telling, Magento reports that 93 per cent of the public are turning to social media to help make buying decisions.Analytics helps further the processHaving more time to reach out to your customers is only helpful if you've got something to say to them. The Business Intelligence module presents your business data in an entirely new way: Real-time reporting without delay.Analytics is also helping businesses predict trends in the marketplace, by identifying popular products, promotions and areas of your site your customers are more engaged with. If you want to discover the power of the software for yourself, get in touch today for a free demo.

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  • Sep 14 2016

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    Will humanoid robotics change manufacturing?

    The world is growing undeniably digital.The progress we've made in computing and cellular technology alone has afforded almost every one of us a device that can fit inside our front trouser pocket and enables us to access nearly every piece of information known to man in an instant. Everything we do is increasingly virtual, from shopping and dating, to attending university and posting our most intimate secrets online. A rise in digital ways of living are bringing rise to another form of advancement however: electromechanical manufacturing. If a global adoption of robotics in all sectors is successful, the manufacturing industry will see an even greater spike in production.A helping hand from roboticsUsing machines in manufacturing is by no means a new idea. A quick search around the internet will show that recently, many are wondering if their jobs will be replaced by automated robots, however these mechanical assistants have been widely employed in many industrial positions starting back in the 1960s. The adoption of robotics was an enticing option for many mass-production corporations, as they can be programmed to perform incredibly accurate actions repeatedly and without variation.However, these machines aren't robots of the humanoid variety, but more mechanical arms that are set to defined parameters for direction, acceleration, velocity, deceleration and distance. But if this iteration of robotics has been present in manufacturing for over fifty years, why has the topic been recently met with such controversy?Machines more popular than everAccording to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the number of global published patents for robotics technologies passed 5,000 in 2013, the highest ever recorded and a sharp increase from around 1,400 in 2004.Interestingly, an increasing number of industries outside traditional manufacturing are investing in robotics startups. If a global adoption of robotics in all sectors is successful, the manufacturing industry will no doubt see an even greater spike in both robotics implementation and production. One popular opinion is that with machines taking many of our jobs, the world will see little growth and many members of the population will become unemployed, while another points out that an automated society will provide cheaper products and greater personal freedom.  Industrial robotics is just the start of the mechanical revolution. However, just looking at the profound effect that robotics had in manufacturing automobiles alone, if these machines can be put to greater use across our society, there is no doubt we will all benefit. We at Advanced Business Manager are no strangers to automation, with our comprehensive accounting and business management software automated to ensure the absolute minimum amount of time is spent on data entry.

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