ABM Advisor: The ABM Blog.
Category - Business and Accounting Software

  • Jul 5 2017

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    What's next for the manufacturing industry?

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

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  • Jun 27 2017

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    2 manufacturing and warehousing trends sweeping the industries

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

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  • Jun 8 2017

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    Food manufacturing industry ripe for technological innovation

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

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  • May 19 2017

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    Falling manufacturing employment makes technology more important

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

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  • May 5 2017

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    Growing companies quickly adopting business accounting software

    Owners of small and medium-sized businesses seldom have easy decisions to make.Thoughts of expanding warehousing distribution operations or bringing on new employees certainly carry risk and are more difficult to put into action. When it comes to improving workflow efficiencies and accounting for a growing operation, digitising the back-end of your day-to-day operations is a no-brainer.Taking stock of the marketOne way to evaluate whether a business is on pace with its industry competitors is to look at early adoption rates of technology. Digitisation has spurned innovation in manufacturing worldwide, and companies that take advantage of it early on are likely to see improvements that provide a financial edge.14 per cent of Australian SMBs used accounting software in 2014.Australian small businesses are leading the pack when it comes to integrating business accounting software. Roughly 14 per cent were using the platform in 2014 to streamline bookkeeping, while just 11 per cent of global companies could say the same, according to The Australian. Another 46 per cent were actively looking into deploying the technology before the end of 2015.There are a number of reasons why organisations are trending towards automated accounting. Perhaps the most visible conclusion is that the Australian economy is in a period of sustained growth, which the Australian Business Economists expect to continue well into 2017, The Guardian reported. This means small businesses are invariably taking on larger workloads and hiring more employees. Scaling warehousing operations to meet that demand, all while managing bookkeeping manually, can potentially lead to clerical errors that could adversely impact the company's financial records. Efficiency improvements on the back-end extend throughout the warehouse. Evaluating your requirementsEach and every small and medium-sized business has its own needs. The most useful business accounting software will allow for total customisability through optional modifications. It needs to be able to take warehouse assets, client orders and other variables into account to really streamline the back-end of operations, Business Victoria reported.Simply put, there's no use in having separate structured stock software because it unnecessarily opens up the door to potential errors. Storing all business affairs under one platform also helps to make sure all staff members who will use the program are properly trained. If it's too complicated then mistakes can be made, which defeats the purpose of introducing the system, Business News Daily reported.Above all else, make sure to see the platform in action before you introduce it to your business. It has the potential to improve the company at a number of different levels, but not if you don't feel comfortable with it.Contact an ABM representative to schedule your demonstration today.

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  • Apr 26 2017

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    How is manufacturing contributing to Australia's food export boom?

    In the last five years, Australia's food export industry has increased from $27 billion to $44 billion. In that same period, the country has also gained 400 more food manufacturing plants. The two are very much linked, according to Anthony Pratt, who opened Melbourne's Global Food Forum on March 28. Australia's food manufacturing sector continues to growLast month, the Australian Industry (Ai) group's monthly indices saw a 1.6 point increase for food and agriculture on its performance management index (PMI)."Our agriculture sector just made its highest contribution to GDP growth since 2008," said Mr. Pratt. One of the key contributors to this is the increased number of food manufacturing plants, meaning Australia is now able to supply the demand from overseas.For instance, according to Pratt, the country is now one of the largest exporters of goat meat in the world at $250 million. Fruit and vegetable exports to all countries are also up 200 per cent, to $3 billion. Likewise fresh meat exports have increased by 90 per cent. 

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  • Apr 19 2017

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    How can virtual reality help your manufacturing business?

    Around 500,000 virtual reality headsets are expected to be sold in Australia this year, according to the Telsyte Australian VR & AR Market Study. It's not just television and entertainment that's benefiting from the advance in virtual reality (VR) technology, however.At ABM, we understand the need for efficiency and safety at all stages in the manufacturing process. This is why we believe VR is going to be the next big thing in the industry. Here's three ways VR can make your manufacturing business run more smoothly.

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  • Apr 7 2017

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    How to keep your manufacturing workforce engaged

    Around one-quarter of manufacturing employees are looking to leave their jobs, according to a survey by Global Manufacturing. At ABM, we know how important productivity is to your manufacturing business. One of the best ways to improve that productivity is to increase employee engagement. So, we've compiled a guide to engaging your manufacturing workforce, to help you retain staff and create a happier working environment.1. Frequently review payPay was the most important factor in job hunting, according to a survey conducted by ResourceMFG of over 2,500 manufacturing employees. So, you need to get your starting pay right, and frequently review it to make sure you're staying competitive. The best way to do this is through market research - make sure you're offering salaries that fall in the upper quartile of the industry's pay range.2. Provide a sense of job securityThe second most important factor for manufacturing staff was job security. This means employing them, as much as you can, on at least a 40-hour week basis, and communicating with them about upcoming work and projects, so they know their work is secure in the future.Another way to contribute to job security is train your staff up - if they have more manufacturing skills, you will be able to give them much more work than if they are only able to do one or two jobs within your company. 

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  • Apr 4 2017

    Digital technology to drive Australia's food industry

    The government has recently announced that $50 million will be granted over 10 years to the Food Agility Cooperative Research Centre (CRC). The money will be used to fund research into how Australia's food and agriculture industries can incorporate digital technology.The research will be used to build brands, markets, jobs and exports, leading to an industry that can respond better to customer preferences, as well as reducing risks in order to invite more investment.A growing population Global food production needs to double by 2050 to feed the world's growing population. This represents an exciting opportunity for the Australian food industry, and it is hoped that this research will allow Australia to develop the infrastructure it needs to meet demand.Several universities were involved in securing the funding from the Ministry for Industry, Innovation and Science, including the Knowledge Economy Institute at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).

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  • Apr 4 2017

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    Digital technology to drive Australia's food industry

    The government has recently announced that $50 million will be granted over 10 years to the Food Agility Cooperative Research Centre (CRC). The money will be used to fund research into how Australia's food and agriculture industries can incorporate digital technology.The research will be used to build brands, markets, jobs and exports, leading to an industry that can respond better to customer preferences, as well as reducing risks in order to invite more investment.A growing population Global food production needs to double by 2050 to feed the world's growing population. This represents an exciting opportunity for the Australian food industry, and it is hoped that this research will allow Australia to develop the infrastructure it needs to meet demand.Several universities were involved in securing the funding from the Ministry for Industry, Innovation and Science, including the Knowledge Economy Institute at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).

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