Friday, December 18, 2009

Green Green Grass of home.

Every industry is going green and ICT is no exception. From green bulbs, green servers, notebooks and routers. Green the hottest colors in business marketing these days. Increasingly, customers prefer brands that use resources wisely and respect the environment.Corporation large and small are taking note and in their PR drive - pushing the “GREEN” image. They want to be associated with this cause. Even big MAC has its color change to green  But SAGE has its original color in green, an environmental friendly color image..

What about ERP and Accounting Software provider?
Going “Paperless" is what it’s recommended in order to save trees. But, we all know that ERP/Accounting is very form based, so the publicist slogan “toward a paperless office” remains a myth. In fact with the implementation of ERP the usage of paper has increase for some as automation and computers make it easy to churn out documents. So is it a lost cause?

Can Sage 300 ERP (formerly Sage Accpac) promote Green?
I believe so, as one goal is to reduce the use of paper. A paper “LESS” office is what we should be striving for. And for good reason Sage 300 ERP built-in functionalities help reduce the use of paper. By converting forms, like PO, DO, Statements, reminder letters & others into PDF format within it application and to be electronically mail out to its target recipients. This is one way to promote a paper “less” office and also reduce mailing cost.
Another way to eliminate paper is by automating paper-based processes that rely on forms, purchase requisition and approval and quotations can be electronically approval online via a automated workflows based purchasing and approval functions. So we reduce paper by automating these processes.

Transforming Paper-Based Documents

Another aspect is the use of technology to convert paper based documents, pictures, engineering plan into to digital documents. Document managements system working in tandem with a high speed scanner is the key to achieve this. Software Sage 300 3rd party solutions provided such functionalities to quickly transform these into digital documents that integrated with your Sage 300 ERP.
Business Intelligence and Analytics
Sage 300 ERP 6.0 brings Business Intelligent and Management dashboard to the desktop. Executives no longer have to print rolls of reports and sieved through them. But will know at their finger tips what’s happening to sales, collections, profitability and so on. I believe this too contribute toward a paper “less” office.

“Although a completely paperless office is not a realistic goal for us, we believe that Sage 300 ERP functionalities and together with its 3rd party application, like works flows & electronic document management and access is helping to reduce our reliance on paper and manual processes."
In Short Sage 300 ERP GREEN friendly.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sage Asia Top Premier Partner Award - Malaysia

The news is out; Careware Systems Sdn Bhd has been awarded the Top Malaysia Sage Premier Partner 2009. In fact she is the only Premier Partner in Malaysia. Careware is also the Asia Sage Premier Partner 2009.

We would like to take this opportunity to THANK YOU to all our value customers for your continued support without which we will not be achieve this in the challenging market situation brought about by market downturn. Also big thanks to our dedicated team of staffs who work hand in glove to minimize cost and provide the same level of support to our valued customers.

Another year is coming to end, and a new year is on the verge of beginning, we look forward to another fruitful year ahead. “Together we can Excel”

 Robert Tan receiving the Award from Mr. Low Gee Sing MD of Sage Asia

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Introducing ACCU-DART for AutoSimply

Introducing ACCU-DART for AutoSimply

Bring efficiency, simplicity, and accuracy to small and medium-sized manufacturers with ACCU-DART's integration with AutoSimply.

AutoSimply's Manufacturing Order (M/F) is an easy-to-use manufacturing solution. It is fully integrated with Sage Accpac ERP, and covers: manufacturing order entry, release & tracking, material issuance & return, work-in-progress tracking, consumption & scrap, MO receipt & costing, master production scheduling, material requirements planning, and MO lot tracking.

With integration with ACCU-DART, users will be able to update this essential manufacturing information directly in Sage Accpac ERP through hand-held, radio-frequency bar code scanners.

Real Time Updating - ACCU-DART allows the staff on the shop floor to instantly carry out AutoSimply's functionality. For example: when receiving assembled goods, the plant employee simply scans the goods being received, and ACCU-DART will - through AutoSimply's functionality - automatically update this information directly into the Sage Accpac system.

Direct Integration - Both ACCU-DART and AutoSimply believe strongly in direct integration: both systems read and post data directly into Sage Accpac. There is no second database to maintain, no second set of data to reconcile. This makes the solution simple and easy to use for manufacturers,

Functionality - ACCU-DART provides real-time, radio-frequency updates of AutoSimply's functionality in one module set. This includes: Issuance of Materials; Return of Materials; Receipt of Assembled Goods; and Closing MO.

By updating in real-time directly to the Sage Accpac Data, ACCU-DART and AutoSimply allow manufacturers to get control of their inventory and improve their operations.
For more information on ACCU-DART and AutoSimply, please contact or visit

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

ERP - History

ERP is a Business solution that addresses all the needs of an enterprise with the process view of an organization to meet the organizational goals and integrate all the functions of the Enterprise.

Traditionally an MRP system runs on minis and mainframe computers in the early 60s and 70s. Initially corporate mainly runs the inventory control, sales and financial accounting systems. Some of us are old enough to remember fondly the IBM 3090 mainframe which need water chillers to cool the CPU and hard disk the size of our desk. Then came the Minis Systems IBM Systems 36, 38 and then the AS400 in the 70s where MRP1 was introduced to the corporation, mainly the manufacturing companies.

That was the big question for corporate America in the 80s and rightly so. Can I have complete confidence that the system will perform reliably, that it will be up to the task, that I will get support and that I will keep my job.

Aside from the quality of the available application software, die-hard supporters of big-iron system argue that LAN-based servers don't have the storage capacity or ability to handle multiple simultaneous input /output request present in mainframe - systems

Not until the launched of the Intel 80386 CPU in 1985 that reportedly eclipse the procession power of mini system like IBM Systems 36, 38 and network operating systems as Novel Netware 3x with the support of 32 bit and the introduction of Netware 3 SFT-III (System Fault Tolerance) which allowed a logical server to be completely mirrored to a separate physical machine that we see the drive to move the “Big Iron Systems” software to the LAN and client/server mode. The buzzword in those days were Downsizing & Rightsizing.

More and more MRP/ERP systems was being re-engineer to take advantage of these “tiny” servers on the LAN with capacity of carrying many hundreds gigabytes of hard disk storage. The beginning of the 1990s new software systems known as enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems have surfaced in the market, targeting mainly larger complex business organizations.

Today Intel Xeon based servers should coast along as they support hundreds of active concurrent users running on Windows, Linux with SQL databases.

Corporate America's growing dissatisfaction with the results achieved for the money spent on corporate information systems is becoming mere apparent in recent years. What defines a traditional Mini is not simply its size and capacity. Its proprietary architecture, proprietary operating system, proprietary networking protocols, and proprietary application software lead inevitably to the semi-monopoly pricing that is an inescapable part of its operation.

Information executive are open-minded on the alternative solution provided by less costly client server and Internet ready system. Anyone who is dumb enough to insist on solving problems with a Million Dollars Mini System when they could solve it with a system when they could solve it with a System Costing a Hundred Thousand is just begging for a new career, perhaps in consulting.

Depending on your particular requirement and budget you will select the combination of equipment and software that will achieve what you want.

With the unprecedented growth of information and communication technologies (ICT) driven by microelectronics, computer hardware and software systems has influenced all facets of computing applications across organizations.

In this context, management of organizations needs efficient information systems to improve competitiveness by cost reduction and better logistics. It is universally recognized small-to-medium-size enterprises (SME) that the capability of providing the right information at the right time brings tremendous rewards to organizations in a global competitive world of complex business practices. This is serve today by the many ERP solutions that is affordable to the SME.

Because there are a lot of younger team members that weren't around for the first few decades of ERP, the ERP Timeline was created by Mr. Houston Neal that will help the new IT workforce to have a macro view the ERP history and development on the time- line basis. It's a quick way to understand the context of current enterprise software sequences and events. It has also brought me down the memory lane as I reflect upon its contents with nostalgia. Maybe things weren’t that fast in those days.

Thanks to Mr. Houston Neal for providing me this informative website.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


During the Sage Vision 2008 conference held in Kota Kinabalu, which was attended by business partners from all over Asia, Careware was awarded the Asia Top No. 1 Sage Business Partner. So we are not only Malaysia Top Business Partner but are now Asia no. 1 as well. Now we can truly say Malaysia Boleh!!

This is certainly a resounding testimony to our team capability and expertise in the sales and support in the Sage software solution that we carry. Truly we want to say a big thank you for the support of our loyal customers and friends over the years.

We take this opportunity to seek your forgiveness for any shortfalls that we may have and look forward to work with you together to face the coming challenging year ahead.

Together We Can Excel!!!!!!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sage - Peachtree Quantum Manufacturing Edition.

Peachtree by Sage - Quantum Manufacturing Edition.

I would think that this release gives the market a credible and full function manufacturing solution that integrates back to sales and accounting. Small & medium manufacturer now has an alternatives to the cumbersome big manufacturing ERP systems that requires a large teams and resources to run and managed.

Peachtree Quantum Manufacturing just hit the sweet spot, for SMALL Manufacturing companies that is not the level in terms of budget-prices or complexity. (Debatable as some small manufacturer do have complex requirements) They can’t go too entry level accounting + inventory and some bom functions throw in but they are not up to the Tier 2 ERP level.

So Sage release of Peachtree Quantum Manufacturing is just right for them. It scale from 5, 10, 20 to 40 users. Just nice for sme.

“ The new Peachtree Quantum Manufacturing Edition rounds out Sage's manufacturing portfolio by providing a powerful solution at a very affordable price and low ongoing total cost of ownership, and is designed to help manufacturers address the many varied challenges they face daily to stay ahead of their competition," said Connie Certusi, general manager, small business accounting solutions, Sage North America. "

Small to mid-sized manufacturing companies face a host of market challenges; increasing operational and material costs, along with increased competition from larger firms moving down market and pressure from global competitors. Many firms are struggling to maintain profitability with reduced headcount and in the face of inconsistent customer order volume, making it difficult to predict and keep pace with demand.

The new Peachtree Quantum Manufacturing Edition helps small- to mid-sized manufacturers face these and other challenges head on, and is ideal for job shops, custom manufacturers, and make to order and make to stock manufacturers in a variety of industries, such as electronics, medical devices, defense manufacturers, medical/control instruments, transportation, plastics, auto parts, industrial equipment producers, food industries, and process manufacturers. It provides easy to use core accounting and manufacturing functionality to companies that need an out-of-box solution, including inventory control, WIP tracking, multi-level bills of materials, multi-warehousing, work orders, and other key features, at a price small manufacturers can easily afford.

For more information on Peachtree Quamtum Manufacturing Edition visit here.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sage ACCPAC Mobile SalesPerson - Van Sales

If your mobile sales force process orders while on the move, Sage ACCPAC Mobile SalesPerson or Van Sales solution will help boost their productivities by allowing them to process Orders and Invoices at remote locations. This solution is certified by Sage to work with your Sage ACCPAC ERP modules.

Optimized to run on the Pocket PC or PDA with Windows Mobile, Mobile SalesPerson© or Van Sales solution takes full advantage of new and unique features which provide ease-of-use through a more natural interface that is just like using pen and paper to process orders.

Developed using Sage ACCPAC SDK, it distinguishes itself from others without the need to install and customized a costly and error prone "integration" module - a costly mistake which often overlooked.

Our Mobile SalesPerson© or Van Sales solution integrates with Accpac 5.3 / 5.4 / 5.5, it enables sales force to work with customers and manage accounts in person and also have all the information they would normally need to access sitting at a desk in their office.

As a result , Mobile SalesPerson© or Van Sales solution can help salesperson better manage their daily customer visits, track POS items, take orders on the move and access information to help them up sell and cross sell with little or no learning curve– all in real time with the customer.

Mobile SalesPerson© or Van Sales solution is the perfect solution for sales professionals who need to process orders directly with their office while conducting business at a remote locations.

Key Benefits

• Increase in salesperson productivity

• Increased customer satisfaction

• No back office order entry clerk

• Instant access to customer and item information to the Salesperson on the field

• Improvement of sales force efficiency by providing access to the correct information at the right time

• Reduced manual order entry errors

• Quick order execution – no time lost due to time

• Enable seamless data flow between mobile workers and the central office

• Facilitate real time communication between the field and the central office

• Reduction in sales process cycle time

Key Features

Critical Data: Instant access to contract pricing and Item status. Complete access to customer's data that improves decision-making.

Scheduling: Route schedule organize a sale person's daily customer visit priority.

Portability: The Mobile SalesPerson© interface enables automatic updates to Order Entry completely eliminating paper work. The 2 way data flow is like carrying Accpac 5.3 / 5.4 / 5.5 Order entry on a PDA. Data transmission can be via email, wireless, activesync or Internet connection.

Security: Device level security is embedded in Mobile SalesPerson© to ensure only authorized sales people have access to confidential company data and order processing capability.

Fast/Easy: With an easy to use interface and full screen, field representatives are never more than few clicks away from necessary information.

Customer-centric: All customer information and Item details are instantly available any time, anywhere.

Reports: Printing of Sales Orders can be accomplished through hand held printers.

CALL 03-79588232 or for more information.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ship Sales Order

Ship the right goods to the right customers, the first time!

At the core of most businesses is the desire to provide their customers with the right goods in a timely fashion. For this reason shipping sales orders is an essential part of many operations. Perhaps our most popular functionality, ACCU-DART makes shipping orders quick, accurate, and easy.

The old way: When an order was ready to be shipped, the warehouse staff took the order, grabbed all the items, and wrote down what they shipped. At various points in the day, all the paperwork was delivered to a data entry clerk who manually entered all items into the accounting system.

The ACCU-DART way: When shipping an item, the warehouse staff simply take the order, scan each item, enter a quantity, and scan the next item. When the order is complete, they press "Post". ACCU-DART automatically updates the accounting system. There are no additional steps or manual data entry to be processed. You can also set ACCU-DART to generate invoices, etc.

In addition, ACCU-DART makes tracking serial and lot information* easy. ACCU-DART can scan, verify, and update the accounting system with the correct serial or lot information for each transaction.

The old way: manually writing down serial and lot numbers can be very time consuming and mistakes can be easily made. For example, when the warehouse staff manually ship serialized items, they write down each serial number as they pack the box, and then pass the paperwork to the office staff for entry. But what if one of the serial numbers was written down incorrectly? The staff then need to unpack and recheck the entire order, or if it's already shipped, just select another serial number even though it is incorrect. These costly mistakes lead to inventory inaccuracy.

The ACCU-DART way: ACCU-DART verifies in real time that the correct serial and lot information is being recorded. So when a serialized item is being shipped, the warehouse staff simply scan the serial numbers into the system, and it validates that this is the correct serial number. Upon posting, ACCU-DART automatically updates the accounting system with this crucial serial and lot information.

Shipping the right orders the first time can have significant benefits to your clients' bottom line. When your client ships the wrong goods to their customers, the mistake needs to be fixed, usually by resending the correct item, at the company's cost. This can negatively affect profitability many areas: they may lose long-term business by decreasing customer satisfaction; then they must pay the staff wages as they process the return and reshipment; they also will need to pay the freight charges to correct the mistake. In addition, having inaccurate inventory will lead to loss of sales and incorrect purchasing decisions, all of which affect their profitability. With ACCU-DART, your clients will reduce the number of errors made, saving countless dollars, increasing staff efficiency, and improving profitability overall.

By shipping sales orders with ACCU-DART, your clients will be able to ship the right goods to the right customers the first time, and have the information be instantly updated in the accounting system. This in turn enhances customer satisfaction, increases productivity, and improves inventory accuracy.

For more information about ACCU-DART, please visit

* Serial and lot functionality available as separate modules for Sage Accpac ERP.

Bin Tracking

Make Bin Tracking easy and efficient with ACCU-DART!

The ability to identify what items are in which bins can be of substantial benefit to many organizations. Attempting to track bins without a real-time radio-frequency system can be incredibly difficult:
The Old Way: Your clients may be storing their inventory in bins, but not tracking this information in their accounting system. If they are tracking bin information in the accounting system, they may be recording this manually. Every time an item is picked for shipping, or moved from one bin to another, the warehouse staff manually record what bin the item was taken from and where it is going. This information is then entered into the accounting system. Because bin movements are not being recorded in real-time, errors are easily made and inventory is constantly out of date. The usefulness of bin information is greatly reduced.

The Sage Accpac Way: With ACCU-DART, when an item is picked for shipping, or for any other bin movement, the warehouse staff scan the items with radio-frequency scanners. ACCU-DART will prompt the user to enter the current bin they are taking the items from, and the "destination" bin - either another bin (for bin transfers), or a shipping area (for picking orders) etc. ACCU-DART validates and, upon posting, automatically updates the accounting system in real-time.

For Sage Accpac ERP users, this functionality is available through integration with the Bin Tracking solution designed by Orchid Systems. This new third-party solution allows Sage Accpac ERP users to track inventory items stored in multiple bins within a warehouse or Inventory Control Location. For more information, please visit

ACCU-DART makes it easy to maintain inventory and bin accuracy within the warehouse. For more information about ACCU-DART, please visit .

Physical Inventory Count

Physical counts can be one of the most time-consuming and tedious tasks in a warehouse.

Traditionally, all inventory transactions are put on hold for up to several days while the warehouse staff count and record every item in stock, and then manually update the accounting system with the latest inventory levels. This slow process can also lead to numerous inaccuracies - data can be lost in translation from the original count, to the paper, to the computer system. If your client needs to record lots or serial numbers, this problem becomes even worse: hand-writing long serial/lot numbers for each item is both exceptionally time-consuming and can lead to countless mistakes.

Using radio-frequency scanners, ACCU-DART improves accuracy and timeliness for updating inventory counts.

When performing physical counts with ACCU-DART, the warehouse staff scan the items and quantities (as well as serial or lot numbers, where appropriate) as they count. Once all items have been scanned, the data is updated in the accounting system. By scanning barcodes for the items (and serial/lot numbers), ACCU-DART ensures that the correct information is recorded in the accounting system. This module can also be used to perform periodic cycle counts.

Scanning items for physical count also saves countless man-hours. One ACCU-DART client - with several warehouses across the country - used to take 4 days to count their inventory and get it into the system. With ACCU-DART, it took less than a single day.

By performing physical counts with ACCU-DART, your client will be able to quickly and accurately manage their inventory in the warehouse.

For more information about ACCU-DART, please visit

Warehouse and Inventory Management

ACCU-DART is the Ideal Inventory Management Solution!

ACCU-DART is a real-time warehouse and inventory management solution, designed to integrate directly with Sage Accpac ERP. It is easy to install and easy to use. Using radio-frequency scanners, it allows the warehouse staff to instantly update the accounting system, ensuring that all users throughout the organization have the most up-to-date information. ACCU-DART will:

1. Improve Accuracy of Shipping: Ship the right goods to the right customer - the first time
2. Increase Efficiency: Reduce manual data entry
3. Enhance Productivity: Minimize inventory dollars – Maximize sales
4. Improved Inventory Control: maintain accurate inventory in real-time

ACCU-DART has been designed to integrate with accounting/inventory control systems. All inquiries and
updating occur against the existing system. Having a single source of data eliminates synchronization and reconciliation issues. Functions can be performed using ACCU-DART or by using the regular accounting system. The same updates are performed in either case.

Posting happens in real-time. No data synchronization or additional steps are required!

Ship the Right Goods to the Right Customer, the First Time!

ACCU-DART is a comprehensive inventory management tool that enhances accounting and inventory systems. ACCU-DART comes equipped with the most common required functions for efficient and effective warehouse and shop floor management.

ACCU-DART’s Functions Include

• Ship Sales Orders
- Option to Print Invoices/Packing Slips
- Option to Ship Kit Components
• Receive Purchase Orders
• Physical Inventory Count
• IC Warehouse Transfers (one-step)
• In-Transit Warehouse Transfers (two-step)
• Change Warehouse
• Lot Tracking Integration
• Serialized Inventory Integration
• MISys Integration (level one)
• Various Inquiries
- Item Inquiry
- Sales Order/Purchase Order Inquiry
- etc.

For more information about ACCU-DART, please visit or contact

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Economy Recovering?

CFOs Express More Confidence in Economy in the US economy which will augur well for those who operates from Asia as well.

The economy slow down has affected the ERP Business in Asia with factories retrenching workers particularly the semi conductors and consumer electronics industries that are largely dependence on the US market.

Tourism and its related industries were hit too with the Swine Flu (H1N1) that swept through the world including South East Asia. So actually we are hit with a double whammy, which is much worse than the previous 1997 recession.

But recently, particularly in South East Asia where we operate from, we see the economy and consumer spending are showing signs of picking up. Also factories that previously halted spending or which has KIVed their buying decision are resuming their evaluation of ERP systems again. Factories CFOs tells me that they received some large order that will keep them in production for the next two years. This is a good sign of recovery.

Our government reiterated its view that exports are picking up, with shipments to Asia particularly China rising and those to the United States and Europe showing signs of improving. It maintained its assessment that industrial output is also picking up, as manufacturers claw back production cuts from last year.

Off course we are not out of the darken tunnel yet but we are beginning to see the light.

Needless to say we have got some large orders which were KIVed since the beginning of the year, to help us closed off with a good showing in September in line with Sage Asia year end.

And I heaved a sigh of relief after that!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Window 7

Windows 7 is fast approaching its launch. Some who has tested and experienced what this latest operating system can do, have offer praises for its stability and memory thriftiness.

The potential of Windows 7 continues to grow as developers and consumers gain interest in it rapidly.

You can find out what the community is already saying about Windows 7 on  Facebook as well as on the Windows 7 local community portal. Microsoft has also created an official site to tell you more about the operating system here. Don't forget to take a look at the Facebook product page as well. On October 23, take off occurs!

Finally, if you are able to do sign up for the launch of three exciting and innovative products from Microsoft: Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 at The New Efficiency session. The day-long event will address your questions about what these three products can do for you and enhance the way you work, simplifying systems and optimising the office environment for the best solution.

Sage ACCPAC Myth Busters

MYTH: I heard ACCPAC was hard to use.

BUSTED: Sage ACCPAC is a comprehensive system but well worth the investment to learn. The upfront investment will result in you having the accuracy and control you need, ensuring that you get the numbers right and avoid surprises down the road. Sage ACCPAC ERP comes with several tutorials and an extensive in-product help system. Once set-up by our qualify consultants it is easy to use – we’re there to take care of you and help you get the most out of your product.

MYTH: ACCPAC is only for larger businesses with an accountant in-house.

BUSTED: While Sage ACCPAC ERP is being used by many large (ERP500) businesses. But it comes with a number of editions for medium (ERP200) to small (ERP100) businesses and is used by hundreds of thousands of SMB ranging from 10 to over 1000 employees. Many of the companies that use ACCPAC do  have an accountant in-house. While some of the smaller company may not have accountant in house.

MYTH: I heard you need to know accounting to use ACCPAC.

BUSTED: Sage ACCPAC is based on true accounting principles. It is useful to know accounting but you don’t need to know accounting to use it. The product is, in fact, very easy to use and comes with several tutorials to help you with key tasks. It’s easier than you think.

MYTH: Is ACCPAC still around? It must be old and outdated. Will they be around in the years to come?

BUSTED: Yes, ACCPAC is still around and in fact, better than ever. During the DOS era it grew up with the PC revolution as the accounting software on PCs; together with WordStar, Lotus and Dbase. Under Sage it has been upgraded and enhanced to enterprise class ERP software. Sage has just release the version 5.5 version. Celebrating over 30 years of serving SMB needs, Sage ACCPAC ERP is used by hundreds of thousands of small-medium to large business and is part of the Sage Software family with over 5 million customers worldwide.

MYTH: I heard that ACCPAC on Windows is slow, buggy and unstable.

BUSTED: This must be the oldest story that competitors ever told and continue to tell. While this is true during its first Window’s version launched way back in 1995. (Ca-Accpac/2000- that comes with a dongle). Today almost 15 years later and in its ten (10) releases all known bugs would have been cleared. Sage Accpac is due to release the 5.6 that comes with ACCPAC Business Intelligence and much added functionalities. Sage ACCPAC ERP is used by hundreds of thousands business and its stability data integrity has never been in questions.

MYTH: ACCPAC is only an accounting system for smaller companies and not suitable for larger business with complex manufacturing or project accounting needs.

BUSTED: Sage ACCPAC ERP has a solution for difference size and type of business. From the start-up service operations to more mature, *complex industry-specific organizations, Sage ACCPAC will provide scalability across small-medium-large businesses. It can support every stage of your business, from single users to hundreds of concurrent users.

* See industry specific software from Careware website.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Blame Game.

While reading the article posted at Inforworld about Dirty Vendor Tricks.

My thoughts are is it always the vendor faults? What about the end-user, do they share the blames on the failures of an ERP implementation?

Based on my experience, while there are unscrupulous vendors, very often the end-user is as much to be blamed and has to bear responsibility for the failure as well.

1) They do not have a proper understanding of their requirement. Not documenting their requirements strategic, reporting, functional, processes and pain-points that they are now facing. So there is no benchmark to compare.

2) They are told that their friend, uncle, neighbor and some big name company are using it. So they reckon well, if it is good enough for them it is good enough for me.

3) They are won over by a salesman who is a top class demonstrator with slick graphics and colors. And it looks cool and with sexy interface and yes, believes it or not its “look and feel” as MS Office.

4) And worst of all the go for the lowest bidder and squeeze every little margin there is from the vendors. This is surely a win-lose negotiation.

Remember ERP is not a panacea for all ills nor it is a quick fixed (of years of accumulated problems) It is just a tool and the other side of the equation is planning, management of process and users (employees) expectation.
If you buy cheap-you buy twice!

It's unwise to pay too much,
but it's worse to pay too little.

When you pay too much, you lose a little money-that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.

The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot-it can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.

JOHN RUSKIN (1819-1900)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

SAGE SOLUTION – Sage Accpac ERP- Food & Beverages

Razor-Thin Margins, Cutthroat Competition – It’s Tough out There

The Food and beverages business operate in an environment where retail and restaurant chains are consolidating and becoming more powerful and demanding. Responsiveness and delivery accuracy determines who wins and who loses a customer’s business. In a competitive market with pressure on prices resulting in low margins, cost control is imperative.

You have to source and supply rapidly in an environment of unexpected change, an environment often driven by seasonal and promotional demand. On top of this, rules and regulations are becoming increasingly complex. With food safety and traceability now a major concern, end-to-end transparency along the food supply chain is essential.

To stay in the race, you have to be able to manage these processes effectively. At CAREWARE, we understand this.

That is why our food distribution solution offers:

• Better information visibility to improve your responsiveness and agility;
• Better support for your customer-facing activities to ensure customer satisfaction and loyalty;
• Improved integration and consolidation of your business process to reduce redundancy, maintenance needs and cost.

Careware has successfully implemented Sage Accpac ERP for Food and Beverage industry with fully-integrated solution that is easy to install, and inexpensive to operate. It can handle all types of products and processes in the food and beverage industry.

Some of the biggest issues in the food and beverage industry today is that of food safety and quality. As a result of growing concerns about food contamination risks, threats of bioterrorism and other food-related health and ethical issues, tougher standards are being implemented globally that are redefining the way imports enter some countries.

Lot traceability is a unique requirement of the food distribution business. Our solution for Food and Beverage provides support for total supply chain management and accommodate the unique needs, as spoil date, RMA, Stock aging, weights and units of measurements.

Operational Modules
• Order Entry
• Inventory Control
• Purchase Order
• Lot Tracking & RMA

Manufacturing Modules
• Manufacturing Order Level 1
• Production Planning Level 2
• Manufacturing Lot Track

Financial Modules
• Accounts Receivable
• Accounts Payable
• General Ledger & Financial

Monday, September 7, 2009

Corporate Culture

Who will care for the children?

We believe our corporate character is defined by our actions both at work and in our communities. Thanks to the efforts of our founder & Managing Director, Careware has a history of social responsibilities specifically aimed at helping children succeed.

The results have been euphoric. Many of these children are from very poor family from the squatters’ house of Kuala Lumpur, which lack the basic amenities. Many of these children are not send to school. Some of them are from Tamil school and because of their living conditions are not regularly attending classes and not performing up to par with others.

But the most meaningful and significant benefit has been building something that is far greater than us by helping to positively transform the lives of children. We believe we are better for it.
We are truly committed to making a difference in children lives. And we take our commitments seriously.

Belief Statements

• We believe in going the extra mile for our customers
• We believe in striving for excellence
• We believe in realizing dreams through teamwork
• We believe in tolerance & fairness between one another
• We believe in human dignity & individual strength
• We believe in kinship & in helping one another in time of difficulties
• We believe in contributing back to society

(Our MD Teaching English to the squarters children)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Enterprise Software Mergers and Acquisitions

If you run an ERP system, software industry consolidation is a very important issue. Your entire business is running on your application and you have placed a long term and expensive investment in your ERP vendor, not only in where the company's products are going but also in the very company itself. Once you buy, you are normally locked in for about a decade.

In the last few years there has been a tremendous amount of mergers and acquisitions in the enterprise software industry. The turmoil of the recent large downturns in the economy, has affected the manufacturing industry. Adding insult to injury, the chaos in both ERP solutions and solution providers has created a challenging predicament for manufacturers as they adjust to a myriad of changes in the global marketplace and also in their own businesses.

Fourth Shift has a colourful history. It was acquired by AremisSoft in 2001, a public company that had already bought some hospitality software vendors Softbrands. AremisSoft filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March 2002. After some reorganization SoftBrand emerged as an independent company.

Fourth Shift->->AremisSoft->->SoftBrands->->Infor

One of its flagship products is Fourth Shift manufacturing which has dwindling sales. Recognizing the potential of Fourth Shift in the SMI market, it makes a special arrangement in 2004 with SAP to integrate/interface to its manufacturing suite to SAP Business One. Business One is SAP's small company system, which does not have extensive manufacturing systems functionality requires to serve small manufacturer of its own.

SoftBrands has stopped selling the non-SAP flavor Fourth Shift completely some time ago. Its own website and literature indicated a departure from selling the traditional Fourth Shift application but that it now focuses on Fourth Shift for SAP Business One.

Industry observers are on the consensus that SoftBrands are hoping that they will be acquired by SAP. But after batting eyelids for a number of years without response from SAP, a new suitor in Golden Gate and privately held business software company Infor Corp then becomes the knight in shining armour to acquired SoftBrands.

What is there in it for infor? She already owns many ERPs for manufacturing on all Tiers level. Perhaps the acquisition is for SoftBrands suites of Hospitality software.

Will Infor carry on the Fourth Shift's special arrangement with SAP thereby promoting and enhancing competitor ERP sales?

Will small manufacturer that is already on SAPB1 + Fourth Shift get further support and enhancement for the manufacturing portion?

Well you guess is as good as mine.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Why Does Manufacturing ERP Fail?

What are the challenges facing SMEs when they embark on IT-lization? What and how must they prepare for implementing an ERP/MRP System.

With hordes of terms and acronyms (JIT, ERP, MRP MPS, ATP, Kanban, etc) thrown about by software vendors and salesmen. It is no wonder that many SMEs are bewildered and floored by them.

Amidst the clamor, hype and one up-man-ship portrayed in the software vendors environment. Can the SMEs be sure of anything?

This article hope to bring a balance and try not to be too technical, although some technical terms may invariably be needed and used in the discussion on the successful implementation of a Manufacturing Systems.

Manufacturing Information System, which uses the computer process to integrate various modules such as Inventory Management, Bill of Material, Production Scheduling, Material Requirement planning, should also integrate with the Distribution and Accounting systems of the company.

Very often, the implementation of a Manufacturing System is led and dominated by members of the MIS department with users performing a "back seat" functions.

While the MIS department provides the technical support in the implementation, the project should be driven by the users. In this manner, the users assume ownership and therefore the commitment for the entire project.

Ingredient for Successful Manufacturing Accounting implementation

  • Top Management Commitment.

  • Lower Management Co-operation.

  • Involvement of the Account dept, Production dept and sales/distribution dept.

  • Co-operation of every dept to product accurate and reliable Inventory data.

  • Setting up accurate Bill of Material from the organized inventory data.

  • Realistic goals of the Software.
Experience has shown that the successful organizations are those who have addressed a much wider range of issues other than just hardware and software. These organizations have defined at the outset how the system would be applied to gain maximum advantage.

They then systematically tackle all the technical and non-technical issues, involving people, organization, working practices, and physical layout, and establish an appropriate environment to support the system.

A successfully implementation invariably reflects the organization's ability to manage change and early recognition that it involve much more than installing computer systems and effective pre-planning.

So, why isn't everybody successfully employing Manufacturing Information System. What has differentiated those organizations that have achieved substantial benefit from ERP/MRP from those who have not? The answer is simply, "It's not easy!"

You may not get it 100% right the first time. There is nothing wrong or shameful about it. You can always try again. Here I will details some general phases that an organization should embark upon.

Phase 1 - Preparation

This first phase is aimed at developing understanding of how ERP/MRP should be applied, and identifying changes that are required to support the formal ERP/MRP environment.

It involves carrying out a diagnostic review of the functional areas of the organization to assess current strengths and weaknesses. Based upon the diagnostic findings, the next step is to prepare a systematic procedure of control. The next task is to define the improvement projects, which must be undertaken in order to correct the deficiencies, identified above. These may cover system development, procedural reorganization and data establishment work. Priorities are assigned to the various projects based on the assessment of business benefits and the seriousness of the problems identified in the diagnostic profiles.

In summary, a new way of working designed to correct current planning and control deficiencies and meeting the business objectives has to be kept in mind.

Phase 2 - Software and Hardware Selection

The choice of software and platform is important. The company's approach to the selection is software-led. There is now numerous approaches to control the manufacturing process.

The Manufacturing Accounting Approach.

- Manufacturing Inventory
- Manufacturing Purchase Order {sub - system}
- Bills Of Material / WIP {sub - system}
- Time Phrased Production Scheduling {sub - system}
- Material Require Planning {sub - system}
- Production Work Order {sub - system}
- Manufacturing Tools {sub - system}
- Work Center capacity {sub-system}
- BOM Routings {sub - system}
- General Ledger And Financial Reports
- Sales Inventory Control And Analysis
- Accounts Payable / Accounts Receivable
- Order Entry / Sales Analysis
- Fixed Assets Accounting & Maintenance
- Multi-user LAN Licenses
- Network operating system & Databases

A comparison of software packages would determine which package is more suited for each particular case or needs.

In selecting software, emphasis must be given to those features that support the essential operating practices. If the software does not incorporate these key features, the implementation will inevitably be complex and tedious.

There are a number of other factors which will influence the final selection, such as cost, track record, local support, database design, report writer facility, documentation, integration to the accounting system, Hardware requirements and installed base. All these factors will be weighted according to their level of importance in the final consideration of the most appropriate solution.

Depending on your particular requirement and budget, you will select the combination of equipment and software to achieve the specific result that you desire.

Ideally the Software should be modular in design so that the SMEs may buy what is needed at the moment. And will be able to add Modules as and when they are ready and required. This will help SMEs to plan and managed the finance and implementations readiness of its organization.

Phase 3 - Design, Training and Implementation

* Design
Once the software is selected, further skills are required to apply it correctly to the operating environment. The best software is one that offers power with ease of use.

Occasionally there may be a need for customization of reports to presents each company manufacturing accounts.

The principal issues addressed during the course of this design phase are as follows:

# Specific plan to integrate Manufacturing Information to Accounting System. It will integrate with the Financial Accounting System. A thorough discussion and consultation with the Financial Controller/Accountant to design charts of accounts, decision on accounting codes and feeds for implementation of a manufacturing accounting system.

# Specific application of the system in the company environment. This involves structuring the bill of material, defining the usage of the data fields and the software functions and features; establishing data recording and updating procedures/inquiry usage; and defining the use of the customizing parameters, etc.

# Definition of the control and security requirements;

# Specification of all necessary vertical add-on and enhancement to the software;

# Finalization of the system conversion and implementation plans.

* Training
An essential element of Manufacturing System implementation is education and training. People most understand the principles of MRP, how they influence the system and what they must do and when.

The training should be extended to the majority of people in the organization, involving the marketing and finance personnel in addition to those from manufacturing.

* Implementation
Experience had shown that Manufacturing systems frequently do not match initial expectations because of difficulties in the he user areas. Prior to applying ERP/MRP principles, most companies rely on informal recording, reporting and expediting procedures to coordinate manufacturing activities.

By contrast, ERP/MRP imposes disciplines and formal controls. Developing this change in the approach and attitude is often the most difficult implementation task.

Our approach to implementation covers two main aspects. Principally the user-related and data processing aspects. The user-related aspects includes the following areas:

Improvement projects - In the user-related areas, the implementation program starts with the improvement projects mapped out in the diagnostic phase. These are designed primarily to correct procedural weaknesses and establish accurate data.

Typical projects would include inventory accuracy improvements (physical storage arrangements, recording, cycle counting, etc), engineering change control improvements, and database accuracy Improvements, and simple shop floor work-in progress control, etc; Policies and procedural definition and documentation - In this area, We assists management to define and document the policies and other issues arising from the new way for working in the company.

We also work with users to establish and document simple, effective operating procedures to support the computer system;

Problem Solving - The Company works with users to solve implementation problems and design issues that inevitably arise during the course of the implementation.

Phase 4 - Post implementation

Getting the system up and running is not the final step. 'Closing the loop' is not easy and a program for continuous improvement musts be developed. A software maintenance contract should be signed for trouble-shooting and when necessary retraining of staff should be done. Continuous update on software enhancement should be provided by vendor.

As can be seen from the above, the successful implementation of the Manufacturing Information System requires much effort with proper planning, control procedure, charts of accounts, products code, accurate inventory data to built accurate BOM, and last but not lease the co-operation of every department involve.

Even if you were to achieve only 85-90% success you will still benefit from your investment. Never feel that this is a failure. You may try again to achieve greater success in the not to far distant future.
Contributed By Robert Tan.
Robert Tan is the founder and Managing Partner of Careware Systems Sdn Bhd.
Careware has been focusing on the Manufacturing Solutions for 20 years and is the Sage Manufacturing Solution Specialist.
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