ABM Advisor: The ABM Blog.
Category - Wholesale and Distribution

  • Mar 23 2018

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    Why your business needs to have an e-commerce division

    The mid-1990s saw e-commerce explode into the consumer consciousness. At the time, it seemed an unassailable truth that the internet would transform the way business is done - an idea the subsequent bursting of the dot-com bubble seemed to rapidly deflate.But almost 20 years have passed since that low, and now more than ever does the internet seem to embody the lofty expectations those early pioneers expected it would. E-commerce is a huge part of the Australian economy, and it's only going to grow further.In 2018, your business needs an e-commerce division. Here's why.The state of the e-commerce marketUnlike those early days, online shopping is no longer something only the savviest of computer users engage in. Australians spent roughly $24.7 billion on online sales over the twelve months to January 2018, according to the latest NAB Online Retail Sales Index (ORSI) report. This, the report explains further, is equivalent to 7.9 per cent of the spending at bricks-and-mortar retailers in the twelve months to December 2017.

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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 4 2017

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    Online grocery shopping signals food distribution revolution

    Grocery shopping is going digital, and AmazonFresh, Woolworths and Coles are leading the way.But at the heart of it all, the biggest change won't be experienced by the consumer. The food manufacturing and distribution sector is undergoing a slight revolution as small- and medium-sized businesses now have to account for the logistics of omnichannel ordering and delivery.Online shopping is inE-commerce is certainly a welcome luxury for many food shoppers, with 29 per cent of Australians reporting they would contemplate using a digital food shopping service, according to Roy Morgan Research.29% of Australians would go online to grocery shop.AmazonFresh is primed to join the ranks of a food manufacturing industry that just posted its best monthly performance result in the last year, the Australian Industry Group reported. This brings even more competition to the burgeoning market."But the threat of AmazonFresh is not just about technology, it's about competitive pricing, service and real estate," Michele Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan, told Australian Food News. "With heated price wars already characterising the current Australian supermarket scene, a new player of this magnitude will undoubtedly appeal to grocery shoppers."This shift in behaviour represents an opportunity for innovation on the back-end of operations. As grocery shopping goes digital, food manufacturers and distributors will need to reevaluate logistics. Take advantage of the changeWarehousing software will become increasingly vital as grocery stores are faced with the prospect of erratic consumer shopping trends online and varying stock needs at bricks-and-mortar. The very source of the competitive pricing Levine mentioned will fall directly on logistics.Improvements in efficiency will need to be identified through effective asset management strategies, which will ultimately reduce costs across the board. Small business management software will become increasingly important as the need for real-time oversight of the entire operations grows accordingly. Online grocery shopping is still a fledgling concept, which means there are bound to be irregularities in shopping patterns.Above all else, it's likely that the spread of digitisation also extends to the back office of many small and medium-sized manufacturers and distributors. More focus and energy will need to be spent keeping up with fluctuating demands, urgent orders and potential issues on the warehouse floor. Accounting and finance information will be the last thing on management's mind as day-to-day operations become more hectic. It's entirely likely that many organisations will begin to take advantage of modern accounting software that's user-friendly and ensures consistent and accurate reporting.If you're interested in improving your warehouse and accounting management, contact an ABM representative today.

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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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  • Jan 26 2017

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    Smart technology in food manufacturing

    It's 2017, and we're another year closer to the futuristic society that cinema was dreaming up in the 1980s and '90s. The past decade has certainly heralded the dawn of smart technology, automation and, with it, a mounting concern over what these will mean for future production processes. Will 3D printing mean the end of food manufacturing?3D food printing works by shaping a product physically and chemically from a digital blueprint, called an Additive Manufacturing File.For those in the food manufacturing and distribution sectors, 3D printing is a contentious development. On the one hand, it has opened the door for manufacturers to drastically reduce their production costs - creating casts or complicated production lines - by removing the laborious steps required in manufacturing.On the other, the technology has afforded those with even basic computing knowledge to design, create and produce their own 3D-printed masterpieces from their home.But which has the more viable future in food production? The answer could very well be: Both. 3D food printing works by shaping a product physically and chemically from a digital blueprint, called an Additive Manufacturing File, but the quality is entirely subject to the capabilities of the printer itself. This presents an incredible opportunity for manufacturers, allowing them to create and test prototypes at a fraction of the cost and time. Cheaper machines, however, produce a lower-quality result from the same file, making them unreliable for mass production.  Imagine 3D printing this dessert in your own home. As the global marketplace becomes more consumer-facing and a greater importance is put on the recipient and their experience of the product, crowd-sourced prototype development will not be uncommon.Think of it like beta-testing a video game, but for physical objects. Your business has a select group of highly devoted customers with 3D-printing capabilities at home, who can then 3D print a prototype and provide feedback in real-time. As the costs for 3D printing are minimal, this furthers both customer relationships and product development. Imagine if, in the near future, you could sign up to test new ice-cream flavours, trial desserts from around the world and help influence the design and composition of a new kind of ravioli. If the food production industry adopts new technology as it emerges instead of fighting it, advances like 3D printing could benefit both the consumer and manufacturers alike. The world's first product scanner can now reveal chemical components, calories and other data in food.New smartphone technology could boost food developmentAre you've deterred by others handling fruit at the supermarket, squeezing and prodding produce until it is covered with polka-dot finger marks and unattractive.A new smartphone unveiled at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this January is the world's first product scanner that can reveal chemical components, calories and other data for food, pharmaceuticals and even plants. For manufacturers within the food industry, the development will allow for greater monitoring of consistency in products. From a consumer perspective, it both demands and affords transparency towards the food we are putting into our bodies - you'll never have to buy bruised, ruined fruit again.Dror Sharon, CEO of Consumer Physics, believes the technology is the next leap in smartphone evolution."Just as the smartphone put the power of the internet and a vast knowledge base into our pockets, this innovation will put the capability to learn about the chemical and molecular makeup of materials into the public's hands," he said."This is the next leap forward not just for mobile phones, but for all sorts of connected devices. The Changhong H2 and smartphones are only the beginning."Smart technology for the food industry will require software that is both intelligent and adaptable.

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  • Jan 12 2017

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    What's next for the world of e-commerce?

    Not too long ago, the idea of online shopping was a little strange. People were comfortable with just going down to their local store, driving to the mall or asking a friend to find a specific item or piece of clothing on a trip overseas. The world of online retail especially left many people feeling sceptical. Horror stories of orders gone wrong circulated heavily: products that looked nothing like the pictures, scams and overdue deliveries.Now, of course, the online world is going from strength to strength: eMarketer projects retail e-commerce sales will increase to over $4 trillion by 2020, making up nearly 15 per cent of total retail spending that year. Furthermore, the Walker Sands' 2016 Future of Retail study questioned nearly 1,500 consumers on their weekly shopping habits, with the results showing online shopping has no plans of slowing down in the meantime. Nearly 80 per cent of consumers would choose drones for delivery if it meant getting purchases within an hour of ordering.Consumer shop online once a weekThe study found that the number of online shoppers is up more than 41 per cent over 2014, with more than 30 per cent of all consumers now shopping online at least once a week. Walker Sands also questioned consumers about their in-store shopping, luxury e-commerce and mobile payment habits.According to the study, 92 per cent of respondents say they prefer shopping for food and groceries at a physical location, however nearly 70 per cent say they would be willing to buy these products on Amazon or an online supermarket site.More than a third of respondents reported using a mobile app to pay for goods in the past year, with Android Pay the most popular mobile payment option. Just as this technology has taken off in recent years, another recent development in delivery could change how we receive goods in the not-too-distant future.  Drones are projected to see future use in product delivery. Future delivery takes to the skiesConsumers were also asked about their opinion on drones being used for delivery, with nearly 80 per cent of respondents saying they would choose drones as a delivery option if it meant getting purchases within an hour of ordering. Eighty per cent of the most frequent shoppers reported they would be more likely to buy from a retailer that offered drone delivery, compared to only 53 per cent of infrequent online shoppers.When asked about safety and security concerns around drones, 72 per cent of the consumers surveyed said theft and damaged goods were their top concerns.Forty per cent of the survey participants expect to have drone delivery options within the next two years. However, the attitude towards drones are similar to those presented at the dawn of online shopping - consumers are wary of new technology that seems untested, unsafe, or a break from their usual routine. Sculpting the shopping experience for customersSo where will the future of e-commerce take us? Looking at the Walker Sands survey, customers are demanding security and efficiency from online shopping, opening the door for big data to swoop in and offer a helping hand. Data analytics will help drive the future of e-shopping, with customer information collected, collated and used to offer personalised and individual online shopping experiences. Advanced Business Manager offers core accounting system software that can be customised with additional modules. As everything begins with our core accounting software, you can easily add-on the modules that you require as you need them - presenting a scalable, durable solution that changes as your needs do. If you're new to ABM software, or already a customer and looking to make the move to an e-commerce platform, get in touch...

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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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  • 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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