Posts by Indivia Australia

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How Point of Sale tracking can boost your profitability

Five ways to improve your profitability with Point of Sale tracking

Point of Sale (POS) tracking can be a valuable tool to boost the performance of your front-line sales staff and provide transparent, trackable transaction data you need to inform you when making business decisions.

POS tracking is big business for software developers with industry forecasts revealing that the global Point of Sale software industry rakes in more than $3 billion annually.

However, more businesses are turning to ERP systems that incorporate integrated POS tracking in favour of a stand-alone POS software solution.

MYOB EXO integrates POS tracking with the rest of your business to consolidate all transactions in one system for automated inventory updates and delivery logistics, resulting in better customer management all based on real-time POS transactions.

Here’s how POS tracking through an integrated ERP solution can improve your profitability:

Provide faster dispatch times

An ERP solution can integrate your POS transactions with your warehouse logistics for the order fulfilment process. This reduces your dispatch timeframes, which equals happy customers and repeat business.

Build better customer relationships

Bring together POS tracking and your CRM system via an integrated ERP solution to reveal customer buying patterns at point of sale and tailor your marketing communications to target specific buyer profiles.

Limit your losses

A good POS system can help you limit losses caused by internal theft, refunds and unauthorised discounts by building in management approval for refunds and limiting the POS discounts your front-line sales staff can apply.

Make more accurate forecasts

Analysing POS transaction data through reports generated by your ERP system will reveal your fast-moving stock and help you make more accurate inventory and sales forecasts that will lead to better overall business decisions.

Sell out seasonal stock

Integrated Point of Sale transactions will ensure stock levels are adjusted accordingly, which is especially important when you receive a large unexpected order. Such live reporting will advise purchasing of stock quantities required to replenish inventory holdings, ensuring that you have every opportunity to make the next sale. Additionally, EXO inventory tracking will help you get your seasonal stock levels right with transactional data analysis based on comparable sales performance from past years to accurately plan future stock levels for seasonal stock that needs to sell out within a set period.

Create a loyalty program

The point of sale is a great place to sign customers up to a loyalty program as a reward for their current purchase, and, if integrated with your CRM software through an ERP, will automatically capture customer contact information you use in your marketing communications.

The take-home message

Businesses that neglect POS tracking are turning their backs on a lucrative opportunity to improve overall profitability.
Rather, to gain the full advantage of POS tracking, use an integrated ERP solution to improve the customer experience while cutting your costs with automated inventory, faster delivery, more accurate forecasts and a POS loyalty program that’s directly linked to your CRM system to help you keep in touch with your customers later on.  

Contact us to see how we can help you improve your profitability with Point of Sale tracking or…

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Seven ways data reporting can boost your business

How to use data reporting to boost your business performance

In recent years, the big data revolution has put unprecedented levels of customer and operational data in the hands of business managers – and data generation is growing fast.

According to the IDC Digital Universe Study, by 2020 1.7 megabytes of new data will be created every second for every human being on the planet.

But the challenge for business managers is turning such a large volume of data into accurate metrics you can use to make effective business decisions in real time.

Integrated ERP software can provide the solution. For example, MYOB EXO features built-in Clarity Reports that streamline your data analysis and provide insights into multiple facets of your business. Often, unexpected figures on reports can raise more questions. This is why MYOB EXO also offers integration with powerful Business Intelligence applications that allow managers, directors and board members to slice and dice data on the fly. These types of applications allow key stakeholders to drill down on data collected.

You may not need this level of control in your reporting. Instead, MYOB EXO allows you to simple set queries that are relevant to your business and the software mines your customer and operational data to generate custom reports that reveal how each of your key business units are performing via an analytics dashboard that can be individually tailored for each user.

These reports can even be scheduled to run at specific times and delivered to email inboxes — a great way to remind line managers how their departments are tracking.

Alternatively, well-designed ERP solutions also provide interactive dashboards for users that provide their KPIs and how they are tracking represented graphically.

And with built-in triggers automatically alerting you to potential problem areas in real time, you’ll never miss a beat as the data you’ve collected is transformed into an essential business tool.

Here are seven key metrics that you should cover when creating customer data reports:

Overall revenue

Tracking your sales revenue is one of the best ways to assess the performance of your advertising and marketing efforts, time-sensitive promotions and new product launches. Compare spikes in sales revenues against your promotional activities to reveal which provide the best return on investment, and which don’t produce the desired results. This allows the organisation to focus their resources in areas that provide the results they are looking for.

Gross profit margin

Gross margin is the cost of goods sold subtracted from your total sales revenue – which reveals your gross profit margin on each product or service line. Monitoring your gross margin will reveal which of your customer accounts are the most profitable, and where you may need to reduce overhead costs. We have all heard the old adage that 20 per cent of our customers make up 80 per cent of our income. But do you know who your most valuable customers are? And do you focus your time and resources on retaining them?

Cash flow

Mismanaged cash flow is one of the most common reasons for business failure. That’s why it’s important to constantly balance incoming funds with outgoing expenses. To do this, monitor the average time your debtors take to pay their accounts and set your payments to your creditors along a matching timeline.

Productivity

Monitoring the productivity of your people is vital to keeping your profitability on track. Use data reports that examine time sheets, call logs and sales made to analyse employee behaviour and identify the high performers in your team, and where support is needed to improve performance. The cost of replacing personnel is far more costly to the business long term than providing short-term support to employees to help them achieve.

Marketing performance

Signing a new customer is often much more expensive than retaining an existing one. That’s why it’s important to know how much it’s costing you to recruit new customers with reports that compare your total marketing costs against the number of new customers. If this figure balloons, it could be a sign you need to rethink your marketing activities.

Employee engagement

As the war for talent continues, businesses continue to compete to attract and retain the best people. Tracking employee engagement data will help you identify what your business is doing right – and wrong – in the eyes of your employees. Addressing issues swiftly will help keep your high performers on your team.

Customer experience

Data collected from Point of Sale feedback, customer surveys and complaints can reveal operational failures or other sticking points that may be frustrating your customers. Monitor these reports to keep pace with exactly how your customers are experiencing your business and identify any negative patterns.

The take-home message

Your ability to make effective business decisions depends on your access to accurate data reporting that reveals insights into the performance of your business in real time.

Implementing an ERP system with custom data reporting will help you make sense of a range of key business metrics that will influence your business decisions today and well into the future.

Contact us to find out how we can help you make better business decisions with data reporting or…

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Five steps for setting an effective mobile ERP strategy

How to set an effective mobile ERP strategy in five easy steps

The workforce is going mobile. According to research by the International Data Corporation (IDC), mobile workers are forecast to increase from 96.2 million in 2015 to 105.4 million by 2020 and will comprise almost three quarters of the total US workforce.

That means businesses that want to compete in the fast-moving modern economy must empower their people to work from anywhere, at anytime in order to meet rising customer expectations for near instant service.

At the same time, customers are demanding greater access to their data and more management control over their accounts through customer portals that put the ordering process at their fingertips.

This represents an opportunity for forward-thinking businesses to get ahead of the curve with mobile functionality and intuitive customer portals that deliver on both demands.

However, the transition to a mobile workforce requires careful management and monitoring. That’s why it’s essential to select an ERP solution that offers mobile user access for your sales team in the field to operate efficiently wherever they are. Additionally, a Customer Portal will improve client engagements, allowing them to work they way they want, when they want. This type of flexibility improves customer interaction experiences.

One example is MYOB EXO OnTheGo, which gives mobile employees access to the same information as they have in the office to deliver accurate quotes and manage customer accounts while in the field. This reduces transaction, delivery and quoting errors. Another example is i-Track — a MYOB EXO plugin developed by Indivia to allow existing account customers to raise new orders and view the status of existing sales orders as they are processed.

Here are five steps for setting an effective mobile ERP strategy:

Step 1: Speed

While the latest generation of mobile devices draw ever closer to desktop computers in terms of processing power, they require high-speed wi-fi connections to keep pace. That may come with an increased consumption of mobile data, which is a small tradeoff for increased inefficiencies.

Step 2: Compatibility

ERP apps are not necessarily compatible across Android and iOS operating systems and are often written for a specific type of advice such as tablets. This can cause a problem if your employees use competing mobile device brands. Either set a company-wide mobile device standard, use custom coding, or look for browser-based interfaces to overcome platform compatibility issues.

Step 3: User interface

When it comes to mobile ERP apps, design counts. A user-friendly interface should provide intuitive navigation to keep productivity high, and should be optimised for the screen size of your preferred mobile device whether that’s a smart phone or tablet.

Step 4: Native hosting

Native ERP apps that are downloaded to mobile devices tend to offer faster processing speeds and better integration with your back-end system than web-hosted apps. Native apps can also be customised to align with your specific operational processes and business objectives.

Step 5: Data security

Running a mobile ERP does come with some data security issues as your company information becomes accessible from a range of employee-held mobile devices. That’s why it’s important to choose an ERP solution with built-in data security including data encryption to protect your customer information.

The take-home message

The way we work is changing, and businesses that embrace the mobile work revolution will be well placed to provide near instant customer service through mobile-equipped sales and service teams with sophisticated system access that puts all their customers’ information at their fingertips.

To successfully manage the transition to mobile work, businesses should engage the services of a professional organisation that understands these complexities and can inform you of the best route to take. That leaves you free to do what you do best — run your business.

Contact us to discuss how we can help you implement an effective mobile ERP strategy or…

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How ERP software can help reduce human handling errors

No matter what business you’re in, providing poor customer experiences is the biggest threat to your success. You might only have one chance to get it right.

According to a research report by Harris Interactive, 86 per cent of consumers quit doing business with a company because of a bad customer experience. That’s a 59 per cent increase in just four years.

So as customer expectations continue to rise as consumer patience falls, businesses are facing an increasingly unforgiving market landscape that swiftly punishes process inefficiencies and fulfilment bottlenecks.

Principal among these are human handling errors that threaten to derail your customer experience with frustrating delays and mistakes that will send your customers straight to your competitors.

Enter automation. By integrating the right ERP (enterprise resource planning) software into your operations management, you can significantly reduce human handling errors and the unhappy customers they create.

Here are five ways integrated ERP software can help you reduce human handling errors:

Freight automation

An ERP solution can significantly improve your communications with your preferred freight companies and eliminate manual data entry errors during the freight booking process. MYOB EXO automatically inputs data from the sales order into the freight system, prints a consignment note and shipping labels, generates a customer invoice, adds shipping costs, and updates the sales order with a consignment tracking number.

Proof of delivery

Prevent customer disputes with automated proof of delivery that’s built into your ERP system. For example, MYOB EXO offers a mobile proof of delivery application that delivery drivers can use to load sales orders, scan delivery dockets and save customer signatures. All delivery data – including customer signatures confirming receipt of the package – is then automatically stored in EXO for easy reference.

Warehouse streamlining

You can smooth out your inventory processes and prevent frustrating out-of-stock delays with an integrated ERP system with warehouse automation. MYOB EXO provides a warehouse scanning solution that allows you to monitor stock, perform spot inventory checks, stocktakes and bin transfers, and scan pick items from orders via multiple Windows Mobile-enabled devices with all collected data automatically consolidated in your MYOB EXO dashboard.

Assisted product picking

Accuracy in product identification and picking is vital to the smooth running of any warehouse operation. That’s why integrated ERP software that assists the process is essential for reducing human error to decrease product returns and improve customer satisfaction. MYOB EXO automatically records online orders and feeds them directly to warehouse pickers. Performance data – including average time to pick each order – is sent back to EXO to help you identify low and high performers and any fulfilment bottlenecks.

Effective communication

When an error does occur, an ERP solution will ensure all your team are on the same page with central communications that allow any staff member to instantly access order and fulfilment data to quickly address any problems and solve customer complaints before they arise. MYOB EXO can be equipped with customised triggers that alert your team to potential issues in real time.

The take-home message

As consumers become increasingly sensitive to bad customer experiences, businesses must do all they can to reduce the human handling errors that lead to preventable customer frustration.

An integrated ERP software solution that automates your freight booking and proof of delivery process, streamlines your warehouse operations, assists product picking and provides central communications across your team is the answer.

Contact Indivia to find out how we can help you reduce human handling errors with integrated ERP software.

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8 Ways to Increase Your Businesses Profit

Increasing profit in the business can be done in a multitude of ways, and the most common answer is to look into your expenses. However, expense cutting can be a dangerous gamble for the long-term health of your business, so there are many alternatives you can address if you want to increase your profit. Here are some ideas that are quick easy to implement.

1: Find you best sales margin

Find the product you sell that has the highest margin and focus on it. By spending more time and effort on the products that have the highest return, you can maximise your profitability.

2: Review you pricing

Regularly reviewing pricing is necessary for profitability to be maintained. Business can be reluctant to increase prices. However, it is important to make sure that you are not simply covering your costs. Business must maintain a steady profit margin to stay profitable.

3: Discounting by adding value

Unless discounting increases volume of sales, offering discounts will eat away at your profit. Customer’s behaviour will also begin to change, and they will expect discounts for products and services in future dealings. There are alternatives to discounting that can be beneficial for customers. Offerings such as after-sale service, bundling procedures or offering membership are all ways that businesses add value for customers without affecting your profitability.

4: Find the best suppliers

Take the time to review your current suppliers and evaluate them compared to others that are in the market to ensure that you are getting the best value for money out of your suppliers. Also, ask for discounts when volume increases, if you can get bulk buying savings this greatly increases profitability. Regular review of waste is necessary; knowing your waste means you can effectively review your supplier necessities.

5: Flexible Staffing

Having flexible staff arrangements means you are can be fully staffed during peak periods without having the cost of a full-time employee. Making use of casual staff or sub-contractors during peak periods reduces costs of staffing.

6: Service your best customers

Often a small percentage of your customer base offers the highest amount of sales. By understanding the habits of your customers you can develop relationship management strategies that help get more sales. Collecting information about your customers buying habits can help build patterns, which can be capitalised through your marketing.

7: Tap into Networks

Industry organisations are often a source of discounted services for members. One service in particular that many offer is arrangements in place with insurers, which can often be one of the largest expenses.

  1. Upgrade technology

The greatest use of technology advances is freeing of your time. Look for options that will automate business functions, freeing you and your employees time to be more profitable. ERP systems are one of the greatest tools a business can invest in to automate processes. By centralising the businesses data, ERP systems can run processes quickly and efficiently.

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Six Ways to Improve your Business before New Year

As the year is slowing down, now is the perfect time to sort your business out. Making sure your business is in top form, before leaving for holidays ensures sure that your holidays are stress free and that your business will hit the ground running in the New Year.

Create your business plan:

Spending time creating your business plan for next year gives you the blueprint for your business, sets the direction, and establishes your performance metrics. Making sure that your business is on track for next year with a clear business path clears your mind to focus on finding opportunities to grow your business. If you are too busy to have an in-depth plan make sure, you at least write down a short and simple strategy, outlining key dates and achievements.

Set a Flexible Schedule:

With so many responsibilities, it can be difficult to schedule activities accordingly. Setting your schedule to have key dates for achievements outlined in your business plan means that scheduling becomes easier knowing when to begin and when there are deadlines for targets. The key to effective scheduling is to make sure that you are flexible. Daily issues arise all the time so always set longer than necessary times to complete tasks, ensuring you meet deadlines.

Develop and maintain workplace culture:

In a small to medium sized business, it is essential to have a positive work culture. It makes employees feel valued and makes them more productive. To develop a great culture, first you must evaluate what value you can offer your employees. Having a clear value statement about what is promoted inside the business can help greatly. Valuing things like honesty, sense of community and providing education are key areas which small businesses promote a healthy workplace culture.

Staffs are the greatest asset to any business; once you have found the right people, it is vital to look after them to have a vibrant workplace.

Create powerful customer value proposition:

Creating customer value proposition is essential; it speaks directly to the customer and makes them need you. All businesses have an underlying reason to operate, that separate them from the competition. To create a powerful value proposition firstly you need to understand what it is that your business does better than everyone else does, and to make sure that you can explain that in one sentence to customers.

It is likely that your business already has a value proposition. However, it is always good to find new ways to improve or update the current one. Do you have new employees with new skills? Or a newly refined process? All these can build into value proposition for new or existing customers.

 Widen market reach:

Marketing is an expensive activity and many small businesses struggle, particularly with the online world. Online marketing, when done right, can expand your reach and find new customers. The best way to reach an online market is to have an engaging website. Make sure that the first thing your visitors see is your value proposition with eye-catching colours and graphics. If your visitors understand what makes your business great they will contact you.

Using social media, review sites and making use of business listings are all ‘nets’ which bring potential customers to your website. The same applies to ‘pay per click’ advertising through Google AdWords. Getting customers to notice your online presence can be tough, but once you do online marketing can open huge opportunities for your business.

Manage your business

Your business has a multitude of assets and financials that must be properly managed which can be immensely difficult. Many small business struggle with being able to see their business, having to scroll through endless excel spreadsheets or asking personnel to get answers needed. Making use of an Enterprise Resource Planning system, or ERP, gives you the means to effectively manage your business. ERP systems provide clarity into your business by centralising your business processes, advanced reporting functions and real time access to information, which all provide business management with the needed information to run the business.

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Five Budget Friendly ways to reward your staff.

Job satisfaction surveys and research have consistently shown that income levels is only a moderately useful indicator of employee happiness. Other, intangible factors play a large role in how employees feel in the workplace. Staff engagement is linked to how they feel about other employees and how the business treats them.

With employee morale so important for getting employees to be engaged with the business, what can business owners do, to reward their staff without breaking the budget? Here are five ideas to reward your employees.

One: Team-Building games

Team building games are a good way to build employee relations while adding staff skills and accomplishment. However, there is difficulty in creating interesting, engaging activities, compared to those these that are just dull.

Having a well-planned and executed team building experience can be invaluable to your business. However, it can be devilishly hard to strike the right balance between events that are entertaining for all and just plain dull. The key to planning events is to ensure that the staff have fun, activities such as orienteering, scavenger hunts or competitive games work well for diversified workplaces.

Two: Food and Lunches

Having a fortnightly or even monthly-catered lunch is an effective way to bring the office together to boost morale. Ordering sandwiches or pizza is an effective way to get staff together on premise without breaking the budget.

Three: Discounts or Benefits

Offering staff discounts on ‘what you do’ can be fruitful and an incentivising reward to employees. Discount schemes work better in some industries more effectively than others, but offering discounts shows your employees that you care and helps to motivate them.

Four: Be open to Flexibility

Potential employees are becoming much more critical when choosing employers and flexible working hours is fast becoming an expectation. Of course, this works more efficiently in certain industries, but offering time off for time in lieu and work-from-home days are two of the most effective ways of having flexible working policies.

Using flexible work hours as a reward system is a good way to keep employees motivated and feeling valued in the business.

Five: Treat employees as responsible adults

The best way to reward staff can often be simply to treat them as responsible adults and to improve their working environment. Give trusted staff more variety and responsibility in their work and they will in turn work more effectively.

How else can you reward staff? One way is to pay for training courses, which allow staff to invest in their personal and professional development. In return, employees can add value to the business with new skills and renewed enthusiasm.

A much-overlooked point is that when staff are doing a great job, as a business manager you should acknowledge their performance! Too often in today’s hectic world, appraisals and performance reviews focus on what staff cannot do instead of recognising their worthy achievements.

If you are unsure what rewards would best motivate your staff, the best bet is to ask your employees. Asking gives your employees what they want most and will mean they will be better motivated for your business.

 

Employee job satisfaction is rarely linked to the income level. Studies have consistently shown that workplace variety and a strong sense of teamwork, added with rewarding performance and responsibility, leads towards optimum staff engagement. It follows then, that staff rewards need to be inclusive and varied whilst letting your staff know they are recognised and appreciated.

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Why do you need to be different?

With business competition, ever increasing it is becoming more and more important for business to differentiate themselves from their competitors. To stand out among your competition you must understand what your business does better than any competitor does and what makes your business the best. Analysing your strengths and weaknesses of your business will highlight where you sit in the market and where you stand above the competition. Here are some ways that you can look to find your niche.

Analysis of the Industry:

Studying your competition allows you to find their strengths and weaknesses. You can see the competitor’s sales and customer service processes to give you a clear understanding of the customer experience for your competitors. Understanding what your competitor’s weaknesses and strengths are gives you the advantage in the market, able to build on strengths and exceling in weaknesses will make you stand apart from the competition.

Out Shine the Competition:

Put your knowledge of your competitors to use. Create a more professional, user-friendly website and if you can try to counter bid competitors contracts. Aim to limit your competitor’s market appeal by having the best service or product to make customers recognise the quality of your company as well as its integrity.

Find your core values, and perfect them:

Always prioritise your core business values. Making sure that you perform them flawlessly means that the business will gain a reputation in the industry, having an edge over competitors. Reputation in the market is vital; it influences customer interactions with your business and the attractiveness of your goods or services. Perfecting a core set of values is a key driver in differentiation for your business, providing a strong reputation and a clear way that you stand above your competitors and sustainable competitive advantage.

Innovation:

Always be looking for ways to improve your business. Key to differentiating your business from the competition is to make sure that you are always on the cutting edge of the industry. Making sure that you and your business understand new changes means that you can offer cutting edge service to customers.

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What do you need to consider when evaluating ERP systems?

Everyone knows about the unwary who was caught in costly implementations that went awry or even worse purchased software and never utilised it to its full potential.

These are the 10 key areas you need to look at when looking for ERP systems to make sure you are making a smart investment.

  1. Required Functionality: This is the biggest requirement for any investment that you make, and doubly so for any ERP system that you are looking for. It is important to spend the time to analyse the key areas in your organisation and how you wish to modify these areas wish to achieve your goals. Required functionality of any prospective system should be your ‘bread and butter’ and form the key to what you want your new system to achieve.
  2. Common Platform: A widely accepted and popular platform is important. It avoids the use of low use, high cost software which is usually associated with high cost technical labour. The more common a platform is usually equates to a more reasonable product and services. Most vendors choose to work with Microsoft products like SharePoint and SQL server for these reasons.
  3. Support Resources: Always look for ERP providers that have a wealth of resources to assist with your implementation and support. Things such as support plans and teams that are cross-trained in server and connectivity and support infrastructure are key areas to look at.
  4. Total Cost of Ownership: When evaluating a solution do not fall into the trap of buying the cheapest or most discounted product. Software functionality, implementation services, hardware and ongoing maintenances, support and upgrade costs are all key areas with are important to return on investment and can be very costly.
  5. Protection against Obsolescence: Software buyouts are more prevalent than ever, and it is important to look for a support guarantee for your product. Without this, you are at risk of hidden costs in upgrades or if a vendor decides to discontinue the product.
  6. Cap on Annual Support fees: Look for a vendor who offers an annual fee, which includes software updates and support but also future research and development. Having an annual fee means you are budgeting and accounting will be more accurate.
  7. Powerful Business Intelligence: The payoff of having an ERP system is the effective use of data. While smaller systems do, a fine job of processing transactions ERP systems ultimately can access all of your business data and utilise this to provide a competitive advantage for your organisations decision making and intelligence.
  8. Vendor stability: When evaluating and ERP system the vendors track record is very important. Consider any possible vendor’s staying power in the market and their expertise to be able to maintain the best levels of service possible.
  9. Familiarity: Your success depends on how comfortable your users are with learning the new ERP system and their willingness to embrace change. Making sure the interface is easy to use and intuitive make it easier on your staff to learn the new system quickly and efficiently.
  10. Safety in Numbers: Software stability is largely dependent on how many companies currently bug-proof it in actual production environments. Look for an ERP solution that is widely accepted and used by similar companies in your industry.
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