Should your clients be selling online? Discover if e-commerce is right for their business

Have your clients been thinking about online selling?

If they are, the good news is that online sales reached $1.5 trillion dollars worldwide in 2016, and over the last 2 years has continued to grow.

That number demonstrates that customers are increasingly refusing to be limited by physical boundaries and the need to shop in store or fill out manual orders. So, there are some huge opportunities to expand into e-commerce in order to tap into that market.

But is it worth it for your client’s businesses?

With so much potential revenue waiting for them, it’s a smart move to start weighing up their options and considering the viability of an e-commerce website for their business.

Online Selling

Online shopping is one of the largest and fastest growing industries in the world.

Taking the first step into the world of e-commerce

For businesses who engage in traditional offline selling practices, deciding to sell their products online is a new terrain and may seem intimidating at first. There are many questions to ask yourself, including:

  • How will their customers benefit from an e-commerce site?
  • How much is an e-commerce site going to cost them?
  • How will they set up the site?
  • Who will set up the site?
  • When is the right time to launch?

But, before your clients even begin to go down that rabbit hole, they need to weigh up what they would like to achieve with online selling. Then collectively you can determine whether or not e-commerce actually has the capability to achieve these goals for your clients.

If your clients already know that e-commerce is a direction they want to take, our Selling Online e-book, is a complete guide to everything they need to know to get them started on their e-commerce journey. But, if they’re not sold on the idea yet, read on.

Your client’s objectives vs. e-commerce capabilities

For any business, it’s safe to assume that they’re always looking for new ways to make their processes more efficient, grow their business and make more money.

That’s why e-commerce and the opportunities it creates (and the needs that it can fulfil) is so exciting.

Let’s take a look at the 3 most common needs businesses are wanting to fulfil with online selling.

1. Increasing their customer reach

The beauty in your clients having a smaller customer base is how well they get to know their customers, so there are definitely some advantages to staying traditional. By building stronger relationships, your client’s customers will often become advocates for their brand and spread positive word-of-mouth to their network.

While traditional bricks and mortar businesses are limited to the customer base that surrounds the vicinity of the store or warehouse, one-on-one customer engagement is still an extremely important part of selling. Being able to speak directly to customers about their needs, issues and the value your client’s products offer will provide them valuable guidance.

For these reasons, sticking with traditional practices is a totally viable business option. But, when it comes to e-commerce, your clients can gain access to an entirely new customer base — and boost their sales volume as a result.

With e-commerce, it’s possible to reach thousands of new customers (potentially from anywhere in the world), at any time of the day or night. Traditional business hours no longer matter, as customers can complete their orders 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

And even better than that?

Your clients, as the merchant, wouldn’t need to dedicate any extra resources to support it.

2. Increased workflow and supply-chain efficiency

While front-facing operations are a huge part of selling online, there is a whole other side of online selling that involves processing customer orders and getting them out quickly and efficiently.

When set-up correctly, e-commerce sites are a cost-effective way to streamline your client’s workflow processes by eliminating manual, labour-intensive processes and replacing them with automation.

e-commerce platforms can help your clients to:

  • Streamline order processes
    Manage all incoming orders from a centralised location, leading to larger volumes of orders that can be filled daily.
  • Increase order accuracy
    Maintain order accuracy, even during busy times of the year like major sales and Christmas.
  • Complete inventory visibility
    Having accurate, real-time views of their product inventory will enable them to maintain accurate orders.

However, if your client’s currently operate warehousing facilities but they aren’t currently selling online, these systems are still able to be utilised with mobile warehousing solutions.

Your clients don’t necessarily need an e-commerce site to automate their warehouse processes, but seamlessly integrating the two will make the buying process a lot easier for them, and their customers.

e-commerce and distribution integration

Seemlessly integrate e-commerce and distribution operations.

3. Achievement of financial goals

If your clients are after quick, short-term financial gain, e-commerce may not be the right move for their business. Online selling is much more of a long-term investment that will cost them at first but will certainly earn back its value very quickly.

They need to be aware that there will be initial set-up costs to get their site up and running. But, before they even get to that stage, there will be lots of time (and money) spent on strategy and planning to get the right solution for their business and — more importantly — their customers.

In saying that, in the long-run, e-commerce is an extremely successful and sustainable business model. The operational costs are far lower than traditional bricks-and-mortar, and marketing automation functions will lower the total number of employees required to run your client’s business. This will result in outstanding long-term ROI, and the initial set-up costs will quickly be forgotten.

Selling Online

Online selling isn’t a quick fix, it’s a long-term financial investment.

There’s no question that more and more businesses are turning to digital, driven by customer demand. But that doesn’t mean it is the right move for your client’s businesses to move online — yet.

In order to be successful, your clients will need thorough planning, and be supported by well-chosen technology that suits the needs and wants of their business and their customers. Check out the Selling Online eBook for more information about assessing if your client’s business is ready for online selling.

Are your clients thinking about online selling?

HARMONiQ has helped a wide range of retail, warehousing and distribution business make a successful and seamless switch to a fully integrated e-commerce solution which maximised their sales and ROI.

We’re using that expertise to keep you informed about your client’s selling online options. That’s why next month, I’ll talk more about ensuring their transition to selling online is a success. Meanwhile, why not learn more: download HARMONiQ’s “Complete Guide to Online Selling” e-book.

Here you’ll find a complete overview of all the planning and resources your clients need to invest in, so they can effectively facilitate the launch of a successful e-commerce platform.

And if your clients would like to see first-hand how our system can help them seamlessly transition to online selling, click here to request a demo and I’ll be in touch shortly.

Author bio:

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology. If your clients want to gain better control of the sales processes in their business, click here to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to their business, or click here to get in touch.

Seeking a competitive advantage for your clients? Try automation and cost controls

In my last blog, I spoke about the massive issues caused by manual systems, and how adopting process automation can help your clients control costs and eliminate these inefficiencies.

But in competitive industries such as wholesale, distribution, or retail, your clients need to do much more than just eliminate inefficiencies. Every dollar counts, so they need to be looking for ways to both cut costs where necessary and invest in long-term solutions that will be more cost-effective.

Every business is striving to stay competitive with innovation, technology and improved processes. That means your client’s businesses need to be too. Because continuing to rely on how things have always been done can be the fastest way for them to get left behind.

When I previously spoke about process automation, I talked about how it can help your clients achieve:

  • Increased staff productivity
  • Streamlined reporting
  • Better management of suppliers
  • Improved customer satisfaction.

Which ultimately all results in tighter costs and margin controls — and therefore, more revenue.

You might think that the intricacies of increasing cost controls can be daunting and complex, but it’s been laid out in an easily understandable way in HARMONiQ’s Controlling Margin and Costs eBook.

Process Automation

Unsure where to cut costs, and where to invest? Find out in the eBook

The eBook will go into more detail about the various processes and changes you can implement in order to control costs, but today I’m bringing you the top 3 methods of leveraging process automation. These will increase your client’s capability to control costs and give a huge leg-up on your ability to be competitive.

Every dollar counts: 3 ways process automation can control costs and boost your client’s competitiveness

  1. Eliminate double-handling

Technology can make or break your client’s business. While the right kind of tech can boost their efficiency and productivity, the wrong kind could be their downfall.

This is especially the case if they have multiple systems working in isolation. This creates a huge number of issues, one of the most significant being an extreme amount of double-handling. This includes:

  • Importing and exporting data between different systems
  • Entering the same data multiple times
  • Re-entering data if there’s errors and inconsistencies

Obviously, this level of inefficiency is going to rapidly increase costs, not help control them.

Double-handling is a constant adversary for retail, warehousing and distribution businesses, and process automation is one of the only ways to guarantee victory over it.

Businesses who use software that integrates all aspects of their operations (accounting, inventory management, customer service, eMarketing, etc.) can easily identify and eliminate instances in which staff duplicate their efforts, make errors, or repeat data entry.

  1. Streamline your client’s reporting

Monitoring your client’s KPIs through robust reporting is a great way to ensure their business stays on the right track and is effectively controlling costs.

Many business executives think this means having to dedicate significant resources towards data compilation and analytics. But is that really the case?

Of course not!

Automated reporting is an opportunity being seized by businesses who want to gain a competitive advantage.

By making full use of their reporting tools, leading businesses generate reports to ensure that:

  • Financials are on track
  • Variances are investigated immediately
  • Sales staff are held accountable for their targets
  • Generating pipeline analytics is fast and easy

So not only does process automation allow your clients to track how they have done in the past, it can also help them plan intelligently for the future.

  1. Engage your client’s customers

Businesses frequently rely solely on staff to action follow-up tasks and respond to customer enquiries. This almost inevitably results in some tasks falling through the cracks, which means missed opportunities and a compromised customer service record.

That’s hardly ideal if your clients are trying to remain competitive — especially if they are relying on referrals or return business to boost their bottom line.

This is where I’ve seen businesses use their CRMs (Customer Relationship Management systems) to intelligently achieve significant advantage in customer satisfaction. Some examples of what they do:

  • Automatic follow-ups to quotes
  • Targeted emails to touch base with existing customers every few months
  • Personalised follow-up emails to customers who have deviated from their usual buying habits

By using a CRM to automate these tasks, your clients could be saving time and effort for their staff, while also continuing to maintain meaningful relationships with their customers and drive increased sales and cost controls.

Seize the automation opportunity

The endless benefits of process automation don’t just stop there. If your clients are trying to stay competitive and you want to know more about methods for controlling costs, then check out HARMONiQ’s Controlling Margins and Costs eBook.

Process automation software

Boost your efficiency and competitiveness with process automation and integrated operations

As strong advocates for automation, we’ve helped businesses leverage technology to increase their efficiency and profitability with our HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software.

It’s a unique platform that gives your clients:

  • Full integration by incorporating all operations into one platform — totally streamlining their business.
  • The ability to track key performance metrics, as well as pipeline analytics, allowing your clients to forecast their outcomes and make more informed decisions.
  • Automation of simple selling and sales support tasks, such as sending follow up emails for quotes, or setting reminders for follow up calls.

These are just a few of the ways HARMONiQ can help your clients optimise their business processes and gain that edge they need. As a truly customisable and scalable software, your clients can leverage HARMONiQ to drive significant efficiencies, while also ensuring that the software will continue to grow alongside their business.

If you would like to discuss how you can start leveraging process automation for your clients and other great technology to achieve significant efficiency improvements in their businesses, please call me on 02 9542 2000.

Author bio:

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology. If you want to gain better control of the sales processes in your client’s business, click here to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to their business, or click here to get in touch.

Lost inventory getting your clients down? Fight inventory shrinkage with process automation.

It’s estimated that Australian wholesalers and retailers lose an average of 1.24% of total turnover per year through various forms of inventory shrinkage.

That adds up to a huge amount of money — last year alone, it was estimated that a staggering $4.5 billion was lost due to inventory shrinkage in Australia’s retail, warehousing and distribution sector.

Most businesses attribute a large portion of these losses to theft and breakage. While these factors do play a significant part in lost capital, there’s no denying the huge losses that are caused by inefficiencies and errors.

Inventory Shrinkage

Inventory shrinkage is a massive cost for Australian businesses

By inefficiencies, I mean:

  • Unchecked stock variances, or the excessive monitoring of variances
  • Invoicing errors
  • Administrative mistakes
  • Double-handling of inventory and tasks

And the worst part?

Often these expensive drains on productivity are either passed onto your client’s customers, or simply taken as a hit to the company’s bottom line.

So, how can businesses, like your clients, minimise their costs when it comes to dealing with variances and shrinkage?

The best way is the adoption of process automation.

See how process automation can help your clients control costs: HARMONiQ’s Controlling Margins and Costs eBook

How manual processes are wasting time

The following are just two of the many examples where the speed and productivity of a business is drastically affected by processes that have not yet been optimised.

Inefficient Exception Reporting

Exception reporting is the process of flagging any discrepancies between a company’s actual and expected performance. It is an essential part of controlling costs and tightening margins, but completing it manually causes all sorts of problems.

There are so many points in the reporting process that are prime opportunities for errors and inefficiencies:

  • Scrutiny of inbound stock data
  • Analysis of outbound stock data
  • Data entry across a number of different points
  • Reconciling data across different systems.

Not only is this hugely inefficient, but an error in any one of these steps means massive inaccuracies across all reporting.

Needless to say, the whole process is prone to administrative and paperwork errors that can contribute in driving your client’s businesses inventory shrinkage.

Delayed Variance Investigations

A good example of a knock-on effect from inaccurate reporting is the way it can affect stock variance.

Adjustments and variances tend to pile-up. If you’re waiting weeks, or even months, before you sift through paperwork and complete investigations, then your clients are in huge danger of chasing red herrings and failing to identify the real source of the issues.

By this time these situations will have become not only more difficult to identify and resolve, but more expensive as well.

For example, they might discover that they have been short-delivered stock far too late. Obviously, this is not ideal for a myriad of reasons, but it’s the lost capital that’s going to hurt the most.

That’s the advantage of process automation — real-time alerts of excessive variances and the easy identification of problem areas.

process automation

Administration issues contribute greatly to inventory shrinkage

How can your clients get a better grip on their stock — and their margins

Although it will likely always be a factor for any retailer or warehouse, inventory shrinkage can be massively reduced with greater automation.

See how process automation can help your clients gain visibility and increase efficiency: HARMONiQ’s Controlling Margins and Costs eBook

Automating inventory parameters

Once your clients have process automation integrated within their business, they can set parameters to avoid various triggers of inventory shrinkage. With these parameters your clients can set alerts for whenever they go above or below acceptable stock levels.

This way your client can make sure they never promise a customer a product that they don’t have, or over order stock that will pass a use-by date before it is sold.

Automated stock adjustments

Process automation can also let your clients know when stock adjustments have been completed. This means any issues that come up relating to invoicing or stock levels can be immediately dealt with.

With this process in place your clients will know in real-time if they need to chase up that supplier who forgot to deliver that one extra pallet before it becomes an issue for their customers.

The best part? Implementing process automation doesn’t have to be difficult

HARMONiQ has already helped many wholesalers, retailers and distributers reduce their inventory shrinkage, and ultimately create a much healthier turnover.

HARMONiQ can provide you and your clients with:

  • Real time alerts
  • Accurate adjustments
  • Easy reporting
  • Stock investigations

To learn more about the capabilities of our system, check out our eBook.

In my next blog I’ll be talking about how process automation and cost controls can contribute to a competitive advantage.

In the meantime, book an online demo to see how process automation can benefit your client’s business.

 

Author bio:

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology.

3 essential considerations before you implement new margin and cost controls for your client

In a globalised market that is fiercely competitive, businesses need to outperform their competitors wherever and whenever they can.

One huge opportunity for competitive advantage is margin and cost optimisation.

Last month, we established the importance of introducing tighter margin and cost controls. (And the risks of not doing it.)

The next step: how to implement those controls for your clients.

As much as you might want to jump straight into a new margin approach for your clients — knee-jerk, short-lived changes can put their staff off side, and do more harm than good.

How do you ensure their new approach lasts?

Taking an integrated, project-based approach is the best way. But it’s not without its own challenges.

HARMONiQ has helped a wide range of retail, warehousing and distribution businesses put in place the metrics and controls they need to stay more competitive.

We even created a whole eBook about it. Download HARMONiQ’s Controlling Margin and Costs eBook here.

In this month’s blog, I’m discussing what you have to think through before you get down to implementing tighter controls in your clients’ business…

3 essential considerations

1. How effective is your clients’ change management?

“Creating sustainable cost transformation is not a change in process – it is a change in thinking that requires complete organisational commitment and involvement.” – Tania Seary, The Faculty

For change to occur – a complete staff buy-in is needed

Management’s ability to prepare and support their team in making fundamental changes will be a defining factor in their success

Your clients will need to establish a culture of cost and margin optimisation.

This new culture must be embraced by all. It won’t happen if senior management is resistant and staff is not involved.

How do you ensure organisational commitment and involvement?

First, management need to make sure it’s not seen as a cost cutting exercise.

The initiative needs to be embraced as a positive, value-adding endeavour —  to identify and leverage every point where your clients add (or don’t add) value to their customer.

Second, senior management must commit up front to the mission — its importance — and the process to ensure staff buy-in all the way down the line.

2. Are the right metrics and controls being measured?

To make the right decisions you need to be measuring the right metrics

With today’s modern technologies, businesses can measure almost anything — it’s choosing what to filter out that’s the real challenge.

Businesses need to find the true primary and secondary drivers of their value chain. These are the activities that provide significant value to the end-user — and consequently, competitive advantage to their business.

For example: Is their logistical ability to deliver product more quickly than competitors delivering value to their customers? Or is this unimportant to the customer, and a cheaper alternative could win the day?

A deep dive into each of your clients’ organisational activities will highlight the true value drivers. This will ultimately allow your clients to:

  • Reduce the cost of invaluable activities.
  • Spend to add value where it truly matters for their customers.
  • And make their business more competitive as a result.

3. How will you embed the new controls into your clients’ business?

Reporting on the new metrics must become a core part of their organisation

When you’ve decided the right metrics, you’ll need to set up your clients’ business systems to track, measure, and report on them.

But that’s not just a one-time project.

It’s a continuous process that needs to be imbedded into everyday operations — kept top of mind — and used long-term as an ongoing management tool.

It’s imperative that the project isn’t forgotten just because it is a continuous project.

At the same time, the metrics need to remain flexible, adaptable to market changes and open to continuous improvement.

What happens when you get it right

Once you’ve done the initial hard work, your clients’ business will benefit long term from their ability to:

  • Make informed business decisions
  • Cut costs
  • Implement consistent controls, while allowing staff room to negotiate on prices
  • Access one source of truth for all aspects of your business
  • Get accurate real time reporting
  • Encourage team collaboration
  • Get better at purchasing, selling, and negotiating

But most importantly… cost and margin control ultimately means your clients will be more profitable and competitive.

Why not learn more! Download HARMONiQ’s Controlling Margin and Costs e-book.

Next month, I’ll bring you more insights on how to keep up with rapid changes in the retail, warehousing and distribution industries.

And if you’d like to see how our system can help your clients gain control and streamline your processes, click here to request a demo and I’ll be in touch shortly.

Author bio:

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology.

Tightening cost and margin controls to weather uncertain times

A decade of blistering change — technology advances, economic uncertainties and rising customer expectations — has shifted the ground seismically for retail, warehousing and distribution businesses.

And there’s only more uncertainty ahead. Probably the greatest threat (or opportunity, depending on where your clients sit) is the growing inroads made by e-commerce.

The arrival of Amazon, in particular, has everyone on edge. According to the Australian Institute of Company Directors, 52% of Australian businesses see Amazon as a threat. Yet only 25% have a plan to compete with the online shopping giant.

With uncontrollable threats to business-as-usual crashing in from all sides, the need to better control what you can control in your client’s business is more vital than ever.

And one area where too many businesses control less than they could? Managing margin and costs.

3 common cost and margin control failings

We’ve worked with a wide range of businesses throughout Australia and New Zealand to pinpoint where they’re vulnerable, and where and how controls need to be tightened.

In fact, we’ve created a whole e-book about it: download HARMONiQ’s Controlling Margin and Costs here.

Meanwhile, these are three areas in particular where I see repeated underperformance — and serious risk to the business as a result

1. Inefficiencies lurking in systems and processes

It is paramount your client’s business technology system stays up to date in order to spot inefficiencies early on.

Technology advances keep rolling in and can make a live-or-die difference to your client’s operations — and ultimately, their bottom line.

Those whose systems and processes fall behind can lose ground competitively, and see margins progressively eroded by cascading inefficiencies like:

  • Excess downtime;
  • Haphazard and un-optimised e-commerce sites;
  • Errors in distribution, stocktake, or inventory; and,
  • Rising customer complaints and defections.

What’s needed today: a thorough and continuous process of technology re-assessment.

Businesses that want to be nimble enough to survive the unexpected need regular forensic analysis of their operations to:

  • Map out and thoroughly understand businesses processes;
  • Break down and quantify cost components;
  • Spot inefficiencies early;
  • Identify risks and vulnerabilities; and,
  • Uncover potential improvements and their financial impact.

2. Not knowing where to invest and where to cut costs

To tighten your client’s businesses cost and margin controls effectively, they need a system that gives visibility of all financial decisions.

Companies that can’t precisely understand, monitor and manage costs and margins can too easily make the wrong financial decisions — and undermine their ability to stay competitive:

  • Opting for short-term financial gains, vs investing in long-term competitiveness and growth;
  • Under-investing in ‘good costs’ — the elements that add value for customers and competitiveness for the business; and,
  • Over-spending on ‘bad costs’ — the ones that don’t add intrinsic value to your client’s business.

What’s needed today: the right metrics and controls to provide a solid business case for your client’s spending decisions.

This requires:

  • Identification of the true drivers of cost and margin performance in your client’s business;
  • A business system that automates their tracking, measurement and reporting; and,
  • A culture of margin and cost optimisation across the entire organisation.

3. Software and systems that just aren’t up to the task

Your client’s business needs to be supported by one cohesive system.

Having production line, inventory, pricing and other systems spread across multiple platforms might once have been manageable.

And for smaller businesses certain simple, cheap, easily accessible solutions seemed to make sense, even if they were cumbersome, error-prone and less than optimal.

That’s just not good enough anymore, for businesses of any size.

A lack of reliable, integrated systems and data isn’t just a headache. It can cost a fortune, hold your client’s business back and even threaten its viability:

  • Monitoring production costs and margin controls becomes imprecise, difficult and time-consuming;
  • The flexibility that staff need to meet the market is hampered;
  • Problems and inefficiencies get overlooked; and,
  • Opportunities for growth or improvement are missed.

What’s needed today: up-to-date, integrated software that provides full margin and cost visibility and control

Very simply – your client’s software and systems need to let them:

  • Monitor and interpret data across the entire operation;
  • Spot problems in real time;
  • Operate flexibly, but within strategically-defined constraints; and,
  • Act swiftly on factors affecting their bottom line

Any of these issues sound familiar?

HARMONiQ has helped a wide range of retail, warehousing and distribution business put in place the metrics and controls they need to make an immediate impact on their bottom line.

Next month, I’ll talk more about ways to implement tighter margin and cost controls in your client’s business.

Meanwhile, why not learn more: download HARMONiQ’s Controlling Margin and Costs e-book.

And if you’d like to see how our system can help your clients gain control and weather the pressures ahead, click here to request a demo and I’ll be in touch shortly.

 

Author bio:

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology.

How your clients can gain efficiency with an automated warehouse system

Many businesses, including those owned by your clients, find that as they grow, their warehousing becomes inefficient and drags behind them. Very few businesses have warehouses optimised for productivity, and continuing to rely on labour-intensive processes results in poor resource utilisation and ineffective inventory management.

The consequences of inefficient warehousing are numerous and affect all aspects of an organisation, especially revenue generation. It also affects customer satisfaction, particularly when your clients’ products are delayed or lost due to disorganisation.

Automated mobile warehousing is becoming an increasingly attractive option as businesses seek a dramatic improvement in their productivity and stocktake process, as well as seeking to have control over inventory.

In this month’s blog, I’ve outlined the three ways that an automated warehouse system can improve previously labour-intensive tasks, and the significant increase in productivity that happens as a result.

 

3 ways that automated warehousing can simplify previously labour-intensive tasks

1.Increase pick efficiency 

automated warehouse system

Increased pick efficiency allows your clients to better deliver their products to customers

For your clients, knowing where products are located in their warehouse is a basic necessity—they need this knowledge for picking stock, which is the first step in delivering their product to a customer. But many organisations, due to incorrectly labelled goods or other reasons, have inaccurate picking methods. Errors in stock management lead to a negative cycle of pick inefficiency in which goods are continuously handled incorrectly and rushed out, leading to a knock-on effect into purchasing and re-stocking. This ultimately results in massive holes in the system that require extra work from warehouse employees to try and mitigate.

In an ideal warehouse, stock is correctly labelled and managed, leading to optimised pick time and making the process much easier. Download your copy of the HARMONIQ Effective Stock Management eBook to learn how an automated warehouse system can increase pick efficiency and save time for your clients.

2.Accurate stocktakes

automated warehouse system

Changing up your clients stocktake process saves time and improves accuracy in stock management

Most companies see stocktakes as something to be scheduled annually. This often involves shutting down the warehouse for the day, and beginning a slow, labour-intensive process that ultimately results in inaccurate stock levels.

Instead, stocktakes need to be optimised for efficiency and accuracy. We’ve found that the best way to do this is to avoid annual stocktakes, and instead utilise the downtime that happens between couriers. An automated warehouse system allows your clients to use spare moments to run a cyclic continuous stocktake, which increases efficiency and accuracy.

To learn how smarter warehousing can optimise the stocktake process in your clients’ organisation and make it less labour-intensive, download your copy of the HARMONIQ Effective Stock Management eBook.

3.Better warehouse layout

automated warehouse system

Improving your clients warehouse layout ensures processes and tasks are actioned faster.

Warehouses usually have one layout plan developed right at the beginning of the moving-in process, and then stock stays in that arrangement forever. This means that as products change, or your clients get more of them based on demand, the warehouse layout stays the same and isn’t optimised for efficiency.

Ideally, the warehouse layout would be improved in much the same way as stocktakes would—using moments of downtime to re-shelve products. A better warehouse layout would lead to a better pick-rate and replenishment system. By continually adapting the warehouse layout to respond to the demands of picking, the process would drive efficiency and be less labour-intensive, leading to on-time deliveries and even more time to do other tasks.

Download your copy of the HARMONIQ Effective Stock Management eBook to learn how smarter warehousing can dramatically improve efficiency in your clients’ organisations.

 

How can I start leveraging automated warehousing in my clients’ businesses?

As well as eliminating or simplifying labour intensive tasks, organisations driven by an automated warehouse system have the edge over their competitors because they are able to:

  • Save time and money;
  • Improve stock accuracy;
  • Reduce overstocking and shrinkage;
  • Track items from ‘goods in’ to ‘goods out’;
  • Automatically update stock records in real time;
  • Minimise picking times and picking errors;
  • Assign barcodes for loose or un-barcoded items; and
  • Carry out rolling stock takes.

Download the HARMONiQ: Effective Stock Management eBook today as your next step guide on becoming a supplier that allows organisations to be driven by smarter warehousing—because your clients’ computer systems should not be a barrier to implementing an effective stock management process.

If you would like to see the impact HARMONiQ’s Mobile Warehousing can have on your clients’ businesses, then click here to request a demo and I’ll be in touch shortly.

 

Author bio:

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems, and is focused on working with accountants and professional services providers to help their clients tune their businesses by leveraging cutting-edge technology. If you want to help your clients gain further efficiencies within their business while boosting your own revenue, click here to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to their business and your own, or get in touch.

3 reasons why your clients’ business should be thinking about an inventory control system

There’s no doubt that gaining control of your clients’ stock and learning how to manage it is one of the most challenging things you could do for their business. The best way to think about your clients’ stock is to treat it like cash – if your client wouldn’t leave $100 notes lying around their warehouse, why would they leave their stock unchecked and waiting to go missing? Learning how to efficiently manage stock for your clients is critical.

More and more businesses like your clients are thinking about how to optimise their stock management strategy – using tools and equipment to control their inventory in order to balance customer needs while minimising the cost of carrying excess items.

Today, organisations have access to control and update their inventory in real-time. By embracing effective stock management, organisations can mitigate future risks, and optimise purchasing procedures.

In this blog, I’ve outlined the three reasons why your clients’ business should have control of their inventory, and the ways taking control can benefit their organisation.

 

3 reasons effective inventory control systems can optimise operational effectiveness for your client

 

1. Mitigate risks early on

A better inventory control system in your clients’ warehouse will eliminate inaccuracies in their stock levels.

Traditionally, the recording of stock is done through a time-consuming, labour-intensive yearly stocktake — a highly inefficient process that inevitably leads to inaccuracies and loss in your clients’ stock levels.

Having doubts about the accuracy of your clients’ stock-on-hand reports costs them down the line. Ultimately these mistakes get recorded as shrinkage, resulting in lost revenue and, sometimes, the perception of theft in your clients’ warehouse.

By implementing a new system that allows you to efficiently record and track all of your clients’ inventory, eliminates inaccurate stock records and minimises time spent on stocktakes. Download your copy of the HARMONIQ Effective Stock Management eBook to learn how adopting an inventory control system through an integrated ERP will mitigate risks in your clients’ warehouses.

2. Eliminate excess or back-orders for your client

The inaccuracies of pen and paper processes are in the past once you adopt effective tools for stock management.

What tools are you using to optimise your clients ordering process?

Many warehouses much like your clients, rely on guesswork to order stock, and as a result stock levels don’t match what is required to meet demand. This means your client either doesn’t order enough of what their customers require —resulting in lost sales, dissatisfied customers and reputation impacts — or they have excess inventory and dead stock, meaning money wasted and an impact on their profitability.

Some of your clients’ business’ might simply lack the tools to optimise their ordering, and instead rely on simple programs like Excel or pen and paper processes even when their business has far outgrown them.

A system that is fit-for-purpose and will allow your client to gain control over the ordering process will be a powerful tool, and our studies show that an integrated inventory system can result in a 7.5% decrease in the frequency of out-of-stock inventory. Find out more about how to gain control of your clients’ stock ordering in the HARMONIQ Effective Stock Management eBook.

3. Visibility over your clients’ entire stock

Gain insights into your clients’ business when you gain visibility over all of their inventory.

If your clients’ have multiple warehouses and they’re still using basic systems for inventory management, it is virtually impossible to have visibility over all of their stock. A lack of visibility ultimately causes all of their other tasks to be time-consuming and inaccurate, such as transferring or sending out stock.

By eliminating basic processes, you can help your client can gain valuable insights into their business. Our studies show that, paired with an integrated inventory system like HARMONiQ, 95.4% of your clients’ outbound orders will be delivered to customers complete and on time. Your client is also much more likely to have online visibility into in-transit shipment status.

Maintaining accurate and visible stock levels across your clients’ organisation enables all departments who rely on accurate stock detail to work more efficiently and make smarter decisions. To learn how to implement an inventory control system that provides access to real time, accurate data and can also simplify work processes within your clients’ organisation, download your copy of the HARMONIQ Effective Stock Management eBook.

How can my client start leveraging an effective inventory control system?

When your clients’ organisation is driven by an effective inventory control system, they will have the edge over their competitors because they can easily track, record, and order stock, eliminating inefficiencies and helping them to minimise excess and keep their customers happy.

Download the HARMONiQ: Effective Stock Management eBook today as your next step guide on helping your clients to become an organisation driven by an optimised inventory control system.

If you would like to see the impact effective stock management can have on your clients’ business, then click here to request a demo of HARMONiQ and I’ll be in touch shortly.

 

Author bio:

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems, and is focused on working with accountants and professional services providers to help their clients tune their businesses by leveraging cutting-edge technology. If you want to help your clients gain further efficiencies within their business while boosting your own revenue, click here to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to their business and your own, or get in touch.

Big Data software for your clients: Why Big Data is changing businesses of all sizes

Does real-time data back your client’s decision-making or do they just rely on a gut feel approach?

With a world of data out there, think about how much more your clients’ business could improve if they were backed by robust data analysis and insights.

Many people think leveraging Big Data software is unaffordable and too time-consuming for small to medium businesses, but is this really the case?

Today, businesses of all sizes use data to obtain greater visibility of current trends and market activity, enabling them to make effective decisions, create opportunities, and control their inventory.

When your clients’ organisations embrace the power of Big Data, they have the potential to develop an informed understanding of their business, backed by hard numbers.

In this month’s blog, I’ve outlined the three most common ways a shift to Big Data can benefit your clients’ organisation.

Three ways Big Data software can improve your clients’ business

 

1. Effective decision making

Man standing with light bulb

For your client, Big Data software will increase the effectiveness of their everyday decision-making.

Traditionally, you will find most of your small to medium clients rely on a gut feel approach when it comes to important decision-making. Because decision-makers in companies of this size are often the business owners or CEOs, relying on a gut feel approach is time-consuming and can lead to unaffordable delays in important decisions.

In our experience, your clients will usually only investigate data when they need an answer to a specific question, or when something has gone wrong. A major issue with this approach is it makes your clients’ business reactive and not pro-active. Helping your client manage their business is difficult enough, but without real-time data, they won’t be aware of a problem until it’s too late, and they can’t just hand over some of the pressures of decision-making to their staff.

Implementing Big Data software in your clients’ organisation empowers their staff with the ability to make data-driven decisions so that the owner or CEO can focus on the higher-level strategic initiatives of the business. Download your copy of the HARMONiQ Power of Big Data eBook to see how data-driven decision making can empower your clients’ staff and improve their organisations.

2. Opportunity creation

Connecting the pieces of the puzzle.

Increase the creation of opportunities within your clients’ business when you help them unlock the power of Big Data.

A data-driven organisation can access insights that lead to opportunity creation and optimisation. Big Data can allow your client to identify why some customers are growing faster than others, and how they can work to improve relationships with their weaker customers.

Often Big Data software can break down your clients’ customers and salespeople into three categories: Average, Good, and Great.

Using this grading system, your clients’ may decide to assign their top performing resources to under-performing opportunities to lift their standing. Alternatively, they may decide to have their poorer performing resources shadow their top performers for training purposes.

Big Data helps your clients’ business by giving them visibility of open opportunities in their organisation so they can make the correct resourcing decisions.

Learn more about opportunity tracking for your clients’ organisation in the HARMONiQ Power of Big Data eBook.

3. Inventory control

Stock of inventory

For your client, effectively controlling their inventory has never been easier with HARMONiQ’s ERP software.

Your client’s inventory should be treated like cash because, at the end of the day, the money they’ve spent on inventory has an opportunity cost. Unfortunately, clients’ like yours, often make the mistake of letting excess inventory lie – what else could they be doing with the funds they have tied up in excess inventory?

HARMONiQ’s ERP platform is specifically tailored to help your clients assess what stock isn’t selling well, or where it is selling best, and what products they should be restocking. Their inventory will be monitored around the clock, enabling your clients to make effective purchasing decisions based on real-time inventory data.

Big Data software will ensure your clients’ inventory is up to date, is tracked at all times, and is easily comparable with market trends. To find out more about inventory control for your clients’ business, download the HARMONiQ Power of Big Data eBook.

How can my client begin leveraging Big Data software?

When Big Data software drives your clients’ organisation, they have the edge over their competitors because they can easily track, record, and utilise data in their business to facilitate and expedite the decision-making process.

Download the HARMONiQ: Power of Big Data eBook today as your guide on assisting your client in becoming driven by the power of Big Data. This eBook will help your client identify how Big Data can be utilised in their business to lift their performance.

If you would like to see HARMONiQ solutions in action and witness the power of Big Data for yourself, then click here to request a demo and I’ll be in touch shortly.

Author bio:

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on working with accountants and professional services providers to help their clients tune their business by leveraging cutting-edge technology. If you want to help your clients gain further efficiencies within their business while boosting your revenue, click here to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to their business and your own, or get in touch.

Big Data for businesses: is your client making data driven decisions?

Is data driving the business decisions your clients make in their organisation? Are their decisions rooted in actual results and insights from performance, or are they just based on gut feel?

Businesses have traditionally relied on gut-feel alone to drive decision making. It’s not because organisations are unwilling to crunch the numbers to help decision making, but because tracking, organising, and analysing large volumes of business data has been simply unaffordable and too time-consuming to justify. So, the benefits of big data decision-making seemed only attainable by big business.

But that doesn’t need to be the case for your clients.

Today, organisations have just as much access as big business to make smarter, more informed, data-driven decisions. When organisations embrace big data, they can replace the traditional gut-feel approach by developing an educated understanding of their business, backed with statistical evidence.

But for your clients, implementing a data-driven approach can seem daunting.

In this blog, I’ve outlined the three most common challenges organisations face when trying to become more data driven – and how to overcome them.

Three common big data challenges for businesses:

 

1. Challenge One: Not knowing what to track

Big Data for businesses plan image

For your client, being able to capture all their data in one platform seamlessly is crucial to becoming a data-driven business.

For most organisations, data is often under-utilised because most professional service providers simply don’t know what their clients can track, or what they should be tracking. Many organisations I speak with just limit themselves to Net Profit and Gross Profit figures, and if those numbers tell a good story, they see no need to dig further.

For your client to be a truly data-driven business, they need to think beyond tracking profit value and consider the other elements of their company that offer invaluable insights to future growth and productivity. Even if their business is seeing growth in revenue or profit, as the professional, you need to think about how much more it could be making if their business were tracking and analysing data more effectively.

With a world of data out there your clients simply need the tools to capture it, and the guidance on what to track. We offer just that, in the HARMONiQ Power of Big Data eBook, click here to download your copy.

2. Challenge Two: Lack the tools or the time to collect data

Big Data for businesses tools image

HARMONiQ’s ERP platform is designed specifically to cut manual labour, saving your clients both time and money.

Often data goes uncaptured due to the lack of tools or time available to spend gathering it. Data in the form of excel spreadsheets or paper based capture is time-consuming and relies significantly on manual labour.

HARMONiQ is an integrated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platform that captures data seamlessly from all departments, such as your client’s inventory, sales, business management, and accounting systems.

With the added ability to truly personalise the system to match the way your client wants their business to operate, it’s a software solution of its own class. To see how powerful Big Data can be for your clients, download the HARMONiQ Power of Big Data eBook.

3. Challenge Three: Inability to turn data into meaningful insights

Big Data for businesses insights image

Equipped with the power of Big Data for your client’s business, you can help your clients make educated decisions backed by statistical evidence.

In my experience, most clients only interrogate the data when they need an answer to a specific question, or something has gone wrong. But, ad hoc reporting of this nature is often limited and reactive. As the professional services provider, all the pressure is on you and the business leader as the key decision maker, and often the business contact won’t know anything is wrong until it has already happened.

Your client needs the in-depth insights that can help them identify trends and be proactive. By engaging with the power of Big Data in their business, it enables them to make educated decisions and manage their risks based on previous data. HARMONiQ provides visual dashboards with a control desk which will only show your client the information that they need to know to make decisions quickly, meaning they can rhythmically access meaningful data, accurately.

How can my client start leveraging Big Data?

Big Data for businesses opens a world of opportunities to take your clients to the next level by increasing efficiency and improving operation structures.

Download the HARMONiQ: Power of Big Data eBook today as your next step guide on assisting your client on how to be a data driven organisation. The eBook will help your client identify how Big Data can be utilised in their business to lift their performance.

If you would like to see HARMONiQ solutions in action and witness the power of Big Data for yourself, then click here to request a demo and I’ll be in touch shortly.

Alternatively, if you want to know more about the benefits of the HARMONiQ Channel Partner Program, download our Partner Information Pack to get the full overview of how we equip our Partners to better serve their clients – by walking them through how their clients could benefit from Big Data.

Author bio:

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on working with accountants and professional services providers to help their clients tune their businesses by leveraging cutting-edge technology. If you want to help your clients gain further efficiencies within their business while boosting your own revenue, click here to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to their business and your own, or get in touch.

Preparing for End of Financial Year 2017 with a focus on growth

As a professional services provider, this is it! Preparing for End of Financial Year: this is your time. It certainly is your busiest time and it’s also the biggest opportunity to you have all year to deepen your relationship with your clients, increase the value you add, and earn significantly more (all year round) as a result.

Many providers get caught up in the busy-ness of this period and fail to truly leverage the opportunity that preparing for the End of Financial Year presents them. But that doesn’t have to be the case for you…

Here’s how you can be the exception:

1.   Help them plan for their next Financial Year

Often, companies get so caught up focusing on preparing for the end of the financial year that they only realise too late that it’s also the start of a new one. As service providers, it can be easy for us to fall into this trap as well.

As a proactive consultant looking to add more value to your clients, the best place to start is to bring your clients’ focus to the year ahead.

Companies often spend too much time preparing for End of Financial Year, and not enough time planning for the year ahead.

Facilitating a planning workshop

Even in an especially busy time, we can all carve out a small window of time for a planning session – and by being the person facilitating (and enforcing that your client take the time to do so), you’re already adding incremental value to their business.

In terms of the actual workshop, it doesn’t have to be complicated.

Here’s a simple agenda that I often use in business optimisation planning sessions:

  • Brainstorm the high priority objectives for the coming year.
  • Use a prioritisation process to narrow them down to an achievable number (top five perhaps).
  • Then, develop a roadmap to achieving these objective:
    • What should you keep doing?
    • What should you start doing?
    • What should you stop doing?
    • What should you automate?
    • What should you outsource?

You may have seen the keep / stop / start approach in many places, but I’ve always found that extending that line of thinking to include automation and outsourcing is where the magic truly happens – you are essentially working with your client to identify actual business problems for which your own offerings will be the right solution.

Take for example a client who still uses manual processes to manage a lot of their tasks. Once you’ve identified this as a gap, you can help them:

  1. Identify which of those tasks can be automated, and how;
  2. Identify the right tool to support that automation;
  3. Drive the implementation of that tool; and
  4. Help manage the change around the new process.

Understanding and identifying your clients’ problems will help them prepare for End of Financial year, and for the year ahead.

2.   Preparing for End of Financial Year is the perfect time to drill into client data and identify opportunities for growth and improvement

When you are preparing for End of Financial Year, it is probably the time when your clients are most open with their doors, diaries, and data for you. To avoid squandering this opportunity, I’d take a deep dive into your customer’s data, and not just what you need for essential reporting.

There’s always a breadth of insights in Sales information that can help highlight significant process gaps. Owners are also keen to invest in improving this area because it has the potential of a direct revenue impact on their business.

Consider the nuggets of gold you may be able to uncover that can genuinely increase the performance of your client’s organisation.

  • Sales person performance
  • Customer experience
  • Profit margins
  • Regional growth
  • Category winners and losers

And if you’re starting to shake your head thinking that there’s no way your clients are tracking their data in a trustworthy way… well, that’s an insight in itself. Studies show that leveraging a Sales tracking system or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can have a significant benefit on a businesses’ performance.  In fact, according to the 2016 Miller Heiman Group Sales Best Practice Study, 94% of World Class companies leverages a CRM to track their sales metrics, when compared to 30% across the rest of the world.

Armed with these insights, you could build the case for helping them choose and implement the right CRM platform for their business.

Another area that owners will happily invest to optimise is Inventory Management, due to the direct cost saving opportunity it represents. By analysing a client’s inventory data, you can help businesses make better decisions regarding:

  • Stock holding
  • New order timeframes
  • Dead stock
  • Pricing

Again, this presupposes that the client is capturing and tracking the necessary inputs to this analysis well, which as we know, is not often the case.

3.   Help them get the right system in place to gain visibility and control of their whole business

With all this process improvement, you’ll know that piecemeal and point solutions will quickly fall short. In my experience, working with clients of certain size and level of activity, eventually highlights a need for a single, integrated platform to run their business on.

HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software offers an affordable and powerful ERP for SMEs that can provide your clients with an integrated platform for financials, inventory, sales, and marketing.

With a solution like HARMONiQ in place, you can be sure that when you’re preparing for End of Financial Year 2018, you’ll have all the data and value adding opportunity in place already!

If you want to know more about the benefits of the HARMONiQ Channel Partner Program, download our Partner Information Pack for more details on the how, what and why of becoming a HARMONiQ Channel Partner.

Want to see what HARMONiQ can help you achieve for your clients? Book in a live demo.

About Drew:

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems, and is focused on working with accountants and professional services providers to help their clients tune their businesses by leveraging cutting-edge technology. If you want to help your clients gain further efficiencies within their business while boosting your own revenue, request a demo to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to their business and your own.