ABM Advisor: The ABM Blog

  • Dec 22 2015

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    Will the food manufacturing industry be a catalyst for economic growth?

    In recent years, it is fair to say that the Australian economy has been in fits and starts. With a continuing hangover from the last global financial crisis and domestic political uncertainty, many experts are looking towards 2016 as a shining light.According to the most recent Roy Morgan Business Confidence Survey, the number of businesses that believe that the next 12 months will be great for enterprise growth and investment is above the five-year average and continues to be positive.However, with various elements of the national economy not firing on all cylinders, it is important to pick out certain industries which are primed for activity heading into the new year, one of which is food and agriculture.SA agribusiness poised for big futureBased on BankSA's economic bulletin published with Deloitte, the state of South Australia could be in line for a significant economic windfall over the coming years thanks to its flourishing food and agriculture industry. The bulletin noted that the sector contributes a growing 6.5 per cent of employment opportunities - higher than both the car and defence manufacturing sectors combined."South Australia's premium food industry is already a success story which has enormous potential to expand even further."BankSA Chief Executive Nick Reade explained that the agribusiness sector is seeing positive demand for food from overseas, a trend that will continue well into the next decade. As such, the industry could become the largest workforce across South Australia."Agribusiness is a future growth industry and South Australia's enviable reputation for producing clean, green food for the premium food sector is a strength that can't be readily replicated in many other parts of the world," Mr Reade said."The opportunities in selling to Asia's rising middle class are enormous, and they have been further enhanced by new Free Trade Agreements with Japan, Korea and China."According to BankSA, the state's agricultural commodities topped $5.9 billion in total value in the 2013-14 financial year. This included everything from seafood and dairy to livestock and crops. Making up 5 per cent of the state's economic output, there are certainly expectations that this will soar in the months and years ahead."South Australia's premium food industry is already a success story which has enormous potential to expand even further," Mr Reade added.Innovation - key to continued success Food is a growing part of the Australian economy. Of course, potential will stay potential if businesses within this industry don't innovate and continue to advance their operations. To help in this regard, the move from the federal government to create the National Innovation and Science Agenda should help leaders make the most of this advancing sector.This announcement certainly captured the imagination of AUSVEG, which represents the thousands of vegetable and potato growers. In a December 8 statement, AUSVEG spokesperson Shaun Lindhe described the commitment as "exciting" with the hope that Australia will turn into a country of technological innovation and ideas."This commitment to innovation can also be hugely beneficial for Australian growers, who are already considered world-leaders in applying ground-breaking research and development (R&D) in the field and in their businesses," he said."The future in agriculture will be driven by further innovations in productivity and technology, with incentives such as the National Innovation and Science Agenda an important driver for agribusinesses, researchers and other entrepreneurs to bring new and creative ideas to life."Food and beverage sector continues to growAs the innovation policies take shape, understanding the state of the food manufacturing sector is important for business leaders. By analysing the Australian Industry Group/Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index, enterprises can get a good gauge on their industries' overall performance and where possible improvements could be made.In the latest...

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  • Dec 17 2015

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    What technology could impact your business in 2016?

    Regardless of your industry or sector, staying ahead of the competition is vital. While it is sometimes smart to stand out from the business crowd, this must be balanced with the risk of falling behind and preventing future growth and expansion.One key area of consideration is technology. While this topic is massive, many models offer businesses the opportunity to streamline operations, reduce HR costs and enable greater control over finances. With this in mind, what technology could have the greatest impact on enterprises moving forward?Cloud computing supreme in Australia - survey"Organisations acknowledge the importance of IT when optimising and building their business."Robert Half Recruitment polled more than 900 chief information and technology officers in eight countries, including Australia. According to the global results, the biggest technological impact is expected to be IT security over the next five years - cited by 38 per cent of respondents.This was followed by cloud technology (26 per cent), social media (17 per cent) and mobile technology (11 per cent).While protecting information and data from cybercriminals is vital in today's society, it seems Australian business leaders have other trends in mind. When the Australian results were isolated, cloud computing (37 per cent) marginally topped IT security (36 per cent).Robert Half Senior Managing Director at Asia Pacific David Jones said there are many new and exciting innovations in the world of cloud computing, and Australian organisations are in a great position to take full advantage."As we move towards faster more reliable networks including the rollout of the Government's National Broadband Network (NBN), there will be greater ability to capture the benefits of working remotely by harnessing improved access to cloud technology," he noted.Additionally, Mr Jones highlighted the need for Australian businesses to think about technology as a way forward, not just a cost."No longer is IT seen as a back end function of a company. Organisations acknowledge the importance of IT when optimising and building their business," he summarised.Already a popular option? Could the cloud assist your growing business? If your business has yet to experience the benefits of a cloud computing system, findings from Infosys suggest that you could already be behind the eight ball.In its 2014 Simplify and Innovate the Way You Consume Cloud report, 86 per cent of Australian enterprises have been using cloud technology for more than 12 months. This figure was much higher than the 50-60 per cent results found in Germany, France, the UK and the US.With 2016 just a few weeks away, now is the perfect time to adopt these functions and start the new year off on the right note. For more information on how to get started, contact the team at Advanced Business Manager today.

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  • Dec 15 2015

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    Business opportunities exist despite confidence fall

    While the concept of business confidence only takes in a snapshot of the Australian economy, it provides enterprise leaders will good oversight and the desire to invest in their operations moving forward.In recent months, Roy Morgan Research reported that confidence increased dramatically, rising 16.3 per cent over September and October thanks to the Prime Minister change. However, this sentiment didn't extend in November, with the latest release showing a drop of 0.6 points to 118.7 points.The forecast is certainly not all doom and gloom, with this mark still ahead of the five-year average (116.9 points) and the economy shaping up well for 2016.Why did business confidence drop in November?"In November, confidence increased in manufacturing, construction and accommodation/food services."The leadership spill wave couldn't last forever, but there were other factors that put a damper on the progress of recent months. Roy Morgan cited the Paris terrorist attacks and the global climate meeting as major impacts on the international scale. In regards to Australia's issues, the study acknowledged iron ore prices, tax reforms and budget deficits.Roy Morgan Research Industry Communications Director Norman Morris explained many industries are still enjoying growing confidence levels."There are some good indications that increased confidence in some sectors will help make up for the decline in mining. In November, confidence increased in manufacturing, construction and accommodation/food services," he said."The highest levels of confidence are currently in education/training and retail."NAB cites business growthThe Roy Morgan Research statistics are also backed up by the recent figures published by the NAB. Confidence is growing in the manufacturing sector. In its Monthly Business Survey, overall conditions were scored at +10 points. This is well above the long-term average (+5 points) and is the fourth consecutive month of growth - highlighting the fact that the Australian economy isn't dependent on mining.NAB Group Chief Economist Alan Oster explained this concept in more detail."This is basically another strong result for the NAB Survey, which in conjunction with signs of improvement in the labour market, means we can put more faith in the building non-mining sector recovery," he stated.How to build on confidenceIn comparison to previous months, Australian businesses are in a much better position for growth heading into the new year. However, to take full advantage, enterprises need to have the tools for streamlined operations and further market investment. This is where Advanced Business Manager can be of assistance.Regardless of your industry, we can provide industry-leading business management software that is adaptable to your needs and can boost productivity for a busy 2016 ahead. For more information, contact us today.

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  • Dec 10 2015

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    Australian manufacturing industry enjoying a strong end to 2015

    As a cornerstone of the Australian economy, the manufacturing industry represents a large portion of this country's past, present and future. In fact, according to the Parliament of Australia, it accounted for 6.5 per cent of the nation's total gross domestic product (GDP) and supported close to 1 million jobs in 2013-14.

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  • Dec 9 2015

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    Australian business invoice payment times improve - report

    For a business in any industry to grow and develop, a key element is cashflow. Without the resources to invest in staff or new products on the market, enterprises can quickly lose pace with the competition - a momentum shift that can be hard to peg back.Cashflow encompasses a number of business functions, but one of the most important relates to invoice payments. Once your enterprise has delivered a certain product to your customer, you'd expect the bill settled in a timely fashion.However, according to the latest results from Dun & Bradstreet, this isn't always the case across the country, despite recent improvements.

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  • Nov 26 2015

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    Retail figures show strong potential for 2016

    The retail industry in one of the biggest sectors within Australia. Representing the very end of the supply chain, success in this industry often directly benefits suppliers and manufacturers. With positive indicators for future growth, how can firms utilise business management software to successfully realise the potential in the retail industry?Retail spending strong in 2015 According to Roy Morgan's State of the Nation: Australian Retail report, consumer spending increased by 5 per cent compared to the previous financial year. Overall, Australian customers spent over $100 billion on goods in the year ending June 2015. Australian customers spent over $100 billion on goods in 2015In terms of demographics, spending among mid-life and older couples outpaced younger demographics. This was due to a higher amount of disposable income post-Global Financial Crisis which meant this group were more willing and able to purchase luxury products. Using tools such as business intelligence software can be useful in identifying consumer segments as they emerge. Both of these reports also explored aspects of ecommerce and how this will contribute to the overall customer offering.Ecommerce continues to growIn 2015, Roy Morgan found that consumer spending online totaled $37.8 billion, a rise of 9.7 per cent from the previous year. Out of all the purchases made online, 72 per cent were from Australian companies. Recent figure from the National Australia Bank Group (NAB) supported the positive outlook, as online spending expanded by 1.1 per cent in the September quarter, when adjusted for seasonality. New measures may spur future growth in this channel.  Online shopping is continuing to grow in Australia. Australian Post recently announced an initiative to offer $20 million in funding to support ecommerce businesses. This will be open to emerging firms to help build a more effective platform for Australian Post. In order to best appeal to customers, Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine explained that businesses must be active on multiple channels. "Consumers don't care about the battle between online and traditional bricks-and-mortar stores for them, it's all 'shopping'. They research products online before visiting the store, or they touch, test and try on in-store before buying online," she said."Our most successful retailers - from niche online-only sellers to national chains to international juggernauts - are those that can supply the demand from all angles."Utilising online retail management software is a good start in building a platform for your business on the internet. Maintaining both your physical and digital presence will become key to success in the modern world of retail. 

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  • Nov 20 2015

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    How can your business optimise stock for the holiday season?

    The holiday season can be a time of great opportunity yet high stress for a small business. While consumers are more willing to spend, this requires firms to accurately predict and manage stock levels.In order to capitalise on the increased activity, businesses need to have strong systems in place, such as structured stock software, to see success.Why is inventory management so important?A joint report from eBay Enterprise and CFI Group uncovered some key insights into consumer demands and expectations for stock.36 per cent of customers expect on-demand shipping and ordering information.According to the survey, 79 per cent of consumers online will change brands if they are unable to get the product in time, rather than waiting for a restock. A further 36 per cent expect on-demand shipping and ordering information when requested. CFI Group CEO Sheri Petras explained the potential consequences businesses can face by not having the right stock levels, especially since many companies now operate in the digital space."The critical nature of product availability is emphasised when realising that not only will a retailer lose a sale on the out of stock item, but often times on other products in an overall purchase," she said."It's true that consumers have a strong desire for multiple ordering and shipping options, but first the product must be readily available."How can you better handle your stock?When estimating your stock levels for the holiday season, it is important to look at historical information and possible trends. For example, last year Australia saw a 4.1 per cent yearly increase, according to the Australian Retailers Association. The organisation stated that this was a positive sign of growth, yet noted that sale surges in December are often hard to measure in the statistics.This is where using business intelligence software can be useful in improving the accuracy of your forecast. By utilising real-time and historical data, firms can make better decisions and predictions of required to meet customer or client demand.  Using software can help businesses make better forecasts. Another key consideration is having a strong internal system in place. A report by Deloitte highlighted that businesses must establish a set of KPIs and best practices measures in areas such as inventory transfers, inventory adjustments, and procurement and sourcing to effectively meet these goals. With the right technology and methods, businesses can enter the holiday season with the confidence they will see a successful period of sales management. 

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  • Nov 12 2015

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    How can your business respond to global challenges?

    No matter the size of a firm, conditions, opportunities and threats in the rest of the world have a significant impact on operations here in Australia.Economic conditions affect the price of imports, the willingness of consumers to purchase goods and conditions within the domestic market. With this in mind, how can Australian companies utilise business management software to best navigate a variety of shifting factors?Survey shows CFOs sensitive to global marketsAccording to Deloitte, sentiment among Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) has held steady during the third quarter of this year.Increased dealings with China has lead to more sensitivity amongst Australian CFOS. While 47 per cent were concerned with the state of the Chinese economy in the previous quarter, this proportion has increased to 68 per cent. However, confidence in the European and US economies remains at positive levels.

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  • Nov 11 2015

    How are customer tastes evolving in the food market?

    When it comes to the consumption of food, individual tastes and preferences are a significant driver of innovation, market shifts and new products.With so many factors to consider, it can be hard to identify and make full use of emerging trends. With this in mind, how can companies utilise business management software to capitalise on these growing areas? Global growth propelled by changing tastesFrost & Sullivan recently predicted that the market for food & beverages will reach US$20 to US$25 trillion by 2030, in terms of consumer expenditure. This growth is compounded by rising interest in particular areas such as freedom products and organically produced foods. These two markets are expected to reach $500 billion and $40 billion respectively in global sales by the end of 2015. In order to see further growth, firms must revisit their production methods.Despite the rise in expenditure, the organisation believes that retail prices will decrease to similar levels seen in 2010. In order to see further growth, firms must revisit their production methods, aided by business intelligence software. "The food and beverage market needs new tools, knowledge and processes to produce the food that people want," said Food and Agriculture Senior Industry Analyst Tosin Jack.Consumer trends aren't the only influencing forces in the sector. In terms of raw materials, Acidulants are becoming a more commonplace additive in production. The compound helps to stabilise pH levels, balance flavour and improve the shelf life of food products. According to Report Buyer, this particular market will grow by 7.6 per cent over the next five year to a value of US$6134 million globally. Capitalising on shifting trendsIn order to keep up with these social changes, it is important for businesses to keep collecting and analysing data from their target market. As a whitepaper from MarketResearch.com explained, customers are attracted to authenticity and food purchases are intrinsically linked to a variety of social factors, often unique to the region. This requires an organisation to constantly revise its strategy. It is also important to assess whether adopting a new product or method is feasible and will produce a good return on investment. Using technology such as business accounting software can be good way to accurately calculate this and how to best price new products.Wine industry set to see major recoveryTrend shifts in the industry are not limited to food products in Australia. A number of recent reports have highlighted growing value within quality alcohol production. According to Wine Australia, September marked a key turning point in exports for local growers. Values grew by 8 per cent over the year to a total of AU$1.96 billion, the highest rate of growth seen since 2007. This was mainly propelled by growing interest in Asian markets. For example, growth in China was pegged at 47 per cent, with the country contributing $116 million. South Korea is another growing market as both value and volume exported grew by 16 per cent in the year to September.  Growers are starting to sell their wines for better prices. The average value of wine now sits at a record high of $15.45/litre. Although it is early days for recovery in the industry, Chief Executive Officer Andreas Clark was pleased with the results, stating that a small group of growers had sold their 2015 vintage wines at higher prices this year. Smaller breweries in need of new strategies Pushing value as a selling point is also becoming a more commonplace strategy in the beer industry. Tim Collin, co-director of craft beer company Vale Brewing, stated that the variety of available beers is changing purchasing habits. "In the wine industry the customer expectations in terms of flavour profiles and quality is very high, and that's the same in...

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  • Oct 30 2015

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    Can businesses rise to the challenge in food manufacturing?

    Following on from another month of expansion, the manufacturing industry is standing strong in Australia, particularly in food production. Despite positive growth figures in September, food companies will need to address future challenges to see further growth in the coming months. Can businesses harness creative solutions through business intelligence software to remain efficient and productive?Food manufacturing sector expands for 16th consecutive monthAs measured by Ai Group's Performance Index, a rating above the neutral benchmark of 50 indicates expansion, and the overall index saw a rise of 0.4 points to 52.1 in September. Ai Group Chief Executive Innes Willox pointed to wider economic conditions as major factors in propelling the industry.The rate of growth in food manufacturing has eased somewhat in September."In encouraging news for an economy searching for sources of growth outside mining, September saw the manufacturing sector consolidate on gains generated in recent months," he said.  "The lower Australian dollar is a clear driver with local producers winning against imports in the domestic market and making further progress in export markets."Despite seeing a period of growth for 16 months, the food, beverage and tobacco index fell 0.7 points to a rating of 53.5 during the previous month. When you consider the July rating of 58.9, the rate of growth has eased somewhat for this sector. Firms may need to seek measures such as business management software to help see continued success. Factory shutdown poses challenges for WA potato growersAlthough the numbers have been strong for the industry overall, some sub-sectors have faced considerable obstacles to growth. After a long-standing debate between the government and industry representatives from Western Australia, a local manufacturer will cease operations next year. As reported in an October 1 ABC article, the Canning Valley factory plant, owned by Smith's Snackfood Company, will close during mid to late 2016. For the local potato farmers, this announcement has struck a major blow as many supplied directly to the factory. This includes Bendotti Exporters, which provided 1,000 tonnes per year to the Canning Valley factory, around 20 per cent of its yearly output. CEO Gary Bendotti said that the shutdown had changed the nature of the industry in Western Australia , especially given the current deregulation measures in the state.Structured stock software can help businesses mitigate supply chain adjustments.In times of unexpected change, structured stock software can help businesses deal with surplus stock and mitigate supply chain adjustments. Identifying potential suppliers along the chain is also a good step to build an alternative strategy in the event of external disruption. ACIL Allen Consulting explained that the Potato Marketing Corporation of Western Australia (PMC) removing regulatory barriers only benefits smaller firms within the industry. Although the consulting firm found evidence that PMC's actions could reduce shortfalls and over-supply, deregulation is not an effective strategy for the industry overall. There is potential for producers in the market to address challenges through their own means. Innovation key to future growthWhen it comes to implementing innovative practices, firms must consider the entire value chain. A joint report from consulting firm Wiley and the University of Southern Queensland stated that consumers have a more vested interest in the processes involved in making the final product, reaching as far as the primary production stage. In the short term, collaboration between different points of the value chain can be an effective way to share ideas to improve processes. This can be done through innovation hubs and growth centres, allowing industry professionals to access a wider range of perspectives.  Farmers can collaborate with other industry bodies to spur innovation. Heading further into the future, exciting developments in technology and science will become more commonplace, such as traceability through DNA, the use of autonomous equipment and the creation of...

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