ABM Advisor: The ABM Blog

  • Jan 19 2018

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    Food manufacturing companies are going digital in 2018

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

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  • Jan 5 2018

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

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

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  • Dec 19 2017

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    Maintain control while scaling your manufacturing company

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

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  • Dec 13 2017

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    The manufacturing factory of the future counts on the cloud

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

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  • Dec 5 2017

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

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

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  • Nov 27 2017

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    Will your manufacturing company be pushed out of ecommerce?

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

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  • Nov 18 2017

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    Competing in food manufacturing industry isn't about luck

    All good things must come to an end, as the saying goes.If you're working in the food manufacturing industry, you better hope that isn't true. The sector has experienced unrivalled success over the past few years, but increased competition and rising energy prices could signal a halt in growth. Companies will have to review their operations in their entirety to understand where they can find savings, and perhaps how business management software could position them to prevail in the future.A look at the industryThere isn't an executive in the country who hasn't heard about Amazon making a move to the Australian market. The e-commerce giant is stepping into food manufacturing and distribution, and the new competition will likely squeeze small- and medium-sized enterprises out of their comfort zones.Maintaining success in food manufacturing isn't clear-cut.The answer as to how to maintain success throughout all of this isn't so clear-cut, according to Jeff Roster, vice president of research firm IHL."Everyone's game just needs to get tighter and that battle for the customer becomes all the more apparent," Roster told CNBC. "This is brand spanking new territory we're smashing through here."The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) believes innovation in the supply chain and changes to how businesses operate, among other new ideas, will be a foundation for many companies. This includes shifting costs to accommodate more expensive wholesale energy prices.Get on the right track todayOrganisational decision makers will have to draw a fine line between saving the enterprise money, and putting it at a disadvantage. There are only so many budget cuts you can make before the ramifications begin to impact the very things that made the company great in the first place. Improving profit margins doesn't have to impact your supply chain. Because of this, one direction to look towards in terms of improving profit margins would be internal operations. This covers aspects like stock control, inventory management or even bookkeeping. If still on legacy systems like Excel spreadsheets (or even pen and paper), an organisation could find themselves vulnerable to costly mistakes and missed opportunities in terms of productivity.Moving all the day-to-day routines to a business management platform can free up valuable time for staff members to cover other pressing tasks. Accounting, for instance, can be streamlined in a bid to cut out any potential errors, while also ensuring the company's finances are always accurate and up to date.Interest in learning more about how to keep your company competitive in a tough food manufacturing industry? Contact an Advanced Business Manager representative today for more information.

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  • Nov 4 2017

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    4 industries that can benefit from business management software

    Sometimes it's the most costly digital solutions that dominate the headlines as must-have technologies for businesses.In reality, not every industry benefits greatly from robotics or augmented reality. While they can certainly be valuable, it's often the tools that aren't as trendy that can have the most visible impact on an organisation. Business management software is ideal for streamlining various tasks and making cross-departmental collaboration a breeze; two problems that small businesses can have big trouble with.Here are four industries that could benefit from a change of pace:1. ConstructionBuilding is on the rise in most parts of the world as the recent run of strong international markets has instilled confidence in both consumers and companies alike. This can lead to an increase in work for businesses in construction, but it's also having a negative side-effect. A lack of productivity is leading to slimmer profit margins for many organisations, according to Digitalist magazine.

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  • Oct 31 2017

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    Food manufacturing technology's true value lies in operation

    Margin chasers will have their eyes glued to screens awaiting news on virtual reality (VR), the Internet of Things (IoT) and robotics for the food manufacturing industry, but the solution that'll have the most impact is likely already available.The need for quick turnarounds within complex supply chains is making business management software and its host of applications more valuable by the minute. Intelligent organisations are beginning to revamp their internal infrastructure to create a digital ecosystem that gives them more of a competitive advantage than some of the other disruptive products hitting the warehouse floor.Future of the food manufacturing industryIt's easy to be enamoured with headlines. The value of VR, IoT and robotics is often propped up on a statistic or catchy quote. It's not to say they're worthless; VR has immense value as a collaborative design tool, according to Food and Beverage magazine. IoT is also providing more intelligent ways of accomplishing routine tasks.Business management software is just as disruptive as VR.But not all the disruptive ideas are glamorous. Let's take a common problem for accountants like data streaming. Staff members have to log in and out of multiple applications to pull data sets for legacy programmes like Excel. It's time consuming, inefficient and can often be riddled with mistakes.Solutions like business management software are improving speed and accuracy in an industry where margins are everything. While it may not carry the same name appeal as other futuristic technologies, it's proving to be just as valuable - if not more.One of many nichesPerhaps the most important feature of this type of digital platform is its adaptability. Where VR and robotics succeed in providing an answer to a problem, business management software must be all-inclusive to continue to hold weight in an industry that's seemingly always in transformation. Technology can be just as useful in the office as it is on the warehouse floor. Smaller companies, for example, may be considering labelling their products in the future. This will help to streamline inventory and, especially in a market that's trending upwards, gain better oversight over the minutiae of operation. But a simple programme that offers labelling and SKU tracking is missing out on the larger picture.Inventory management should connect with the accounting software, e-commerce platform and importing application. Without seamless transferal of information, the data can become siloed and therefore relatively useless to the business as a whole. Facilitating its delivery across the organisation can improve the speed with which nearly every department does its job.Contact an Advanced Business Manager representative today to learn more about how business management software can help your company.

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  • Oct 16 2017

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    3 statistics that define the 2017 food manufacturing industry

    The manufacturing industry has experienced unrivaled growth over the past year, but it hasn't been without an unsung hero.Food and beverage manufacturing in particular - a now $126 billion sector - is estimated to bring 30 per cent more value to the industry than it did just 10 years ago, according to research from Ernst & Young and the Australian Food and Grocery Council. Success is arriving by the truckload and businesses that find themselves in the midst of it will likely have to leverage business management software to keep up with all the demand.How well do you know the industry?Numbers tell a story, and for food manufacturing it's one of abundance. The State of the Industry report goes into great depth about the economic health of the sector, and here are three statistics that serve as the best synopsis:11.4 per cent: Growth of total value of imports ($35.2 billion) between fiscal years 2014 and 2015.5 per cent: The rate of growth for food and beverage manufacturing.2.1 per cent: The increase in the industry's value-add ($24.7 billion) to the Australian gross domestic product. Food and beverage manufacturing organisations are welcoming the extended growth of the industry. We're nearing the end of the 2017 fiscal year, but there's still time for businesses to make strategic decisions that can support growth into 2018. Given that the industry is trending upward, it's likely this period of success will sustain, and smaller organisations need the tools to handle the uptick in activity.Breaking down the insightThe most eye-popping statistic could be import growth, which was clocked at 11.4 per cent. With growth that high it's clear that the trend will continue for at least another year. Organisations can gain an upperhand by integrating import costing software, which can help them handle the high volume and any issues that may arise because of it.Import costing software can help manage the associated complexities.For example, one possible downside of the uptick in importing would be an increase in the amount of capital that is subject to volatile conversion rate swings. Many businesses simply don't have the staff to consistently monitor and calculate real-time changes. By leveraging an application that automates the process, staff can focus on other key areas of the company and conserve resources.As the industry continues to grow, business owners will have to streamline certain tasks and aspects of operation to keep up. Contact an Advanced Business Manager representative today to learn how.

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