ABM Advisor: The ABM Blog

  • 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 10 2017

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    Advanced Business Manager and Xtracta Partner Up To Launch New Data Extraction Capability

    Advanced Business Manager (ABM) has announced the launch of its new and innovative data extraction service, ABM Billfeeds.

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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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  • 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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  • Apr 10 2017

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    Data Extraction and Automation for SMEs

    Businesses face many challenges in the modern business environment. Now more than ever, business leaders need to be constantly on lookout for more effective ways of managing jobs. By staying stagnant and not improving processes over time, will mean both short and long term growth will be affected.

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  • Nov 29 2016

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    Building your accounting solution from the ground up

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

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  • Nov 21 2016

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    Custom industry solutions within ABM software

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

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  • Nov 16 2016

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    Increasing security through automated accounting software

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

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  • Nov 11 2016

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    Meeting the needs of your customers in production

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

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  • Nov 2 2016

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    Are you engaged with your customers enough?

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

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