ABM Advisor: The ABM Blog.
Category - Business and Accounting Software

  • Jun 7 2018

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    Automation: Positives, negatives, limits?

    If there's a theme running through 20th century manufacturing practices, it's automation. Every day, our technology improves and the list of tasks that can only be completed by a human grows ever shorter. But despite the benefits to productivity that automation can bring, it's a process that has its limits (or at least, it does today).This has been demonstrated in recent times with some fairly high profile examples. Perhaps most vivid is the automotive and renewable energy firm Tesla, and the production of its mass-market electric sedan, the Model 3. Ambitious targets and lofty promises abound, yet Tesla has failed to produce enough vehicles in the time they said they would.What can this situation teach us about the limits of automation, and its positives and negatives?Too many robots spoil the brothTesla is a company well known for its technological prowess. It was one of the first innovators in bring fully-electric cars to the masses, and making them appeal not only to tech geeks, but wider car buyers too.All that said, even titans sometimes fall. The actual production for their latest creation, the Model 3, is far behind what was initially promised and scheduled. The reasons for this could be many, but two Wall St analysts, Max Warburton and Toni Sacconaghi, have argued that the main bottleneck in their production process is the huge amount of automation they're using in their factory. And as it happens the CEO, Elon Musk, agrees:

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  • May 22 2018

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    Should you join Australia's growing organics market?

    The organic food market in Australia is currently in the midst of a boom. According to the recently released Australian Organic Market Report 2018, the total value of the market sits somewhere around $2.4 billion dollars. The same report states one in six Australian households has purchased organic products in the last year.With ABM's manufacturing module, making the shift into new market segments is manageable. But what are organics and is adding them to your product portfolio a good idea?What is 'organic' in Australia?While the common meaning of organic is to be produced without the benefits of artificial chemicals, there are specific criteria products must meet  to be certified organic.There are six separate organisations in Australia that can certify goods as organic - products need to meet at least one of these party's criteria before they can be sold as organic.For food products to be certified organic in Australia, they have to meet a number of criteria.A fast growing marketThe organics market is growing at a rapid pace. Compared with 2016, an additional 384,000 households purchased organic products in 2017 and the market grew by 13.6 per cent overall, according to the Australian Organic Market Report 2018Andrew Monk, the chair of Australia Organic said that the millennial generation was driving the majority of the demand."Millennials know more, they demand more and they expect more," he recently told the AAP.For them, the increased price is justified for the peace of mind eating organic products brings. Fortunately for organic food manufacturers, millennials are only growing as a proportion of the food buying market. Currently, cost is the greatest barrier to people buying organic, according to the Organic Market Report. As the purchasing power of millennials increases, those who want to buy organic but currently can't afford to will begin to enter this premium market.How can you expand into organics?There are some hoops to jump through but if you can find a niche that's profitable it may well be worth doing entering the organics sector. Organic products often retail for a far greater price than their non-organic counterparts. Providing you can find a manufacturing process and suppliers that keep your costs low enough, organic products command a premium that others can't. In an era of $1 supermarket milk, going organic is one of the few surefire ways to both command a higher price for your product and still have a customer base willing to make the purchases.For more information on how ABM's software can take your food manufacturing operation to the next level, request a no-obligation product demo today.

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  • May 9 2018

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    Innovation in the Australian food manufacturing industry

    The Australian food manufacturing industry is a place where innovation thrives. It's a sector that's often under pressure due to slim margins, high inputs and fierce competition.It's also an industry that faces many troubles, one of the most significant being the massive amount of food that's wasted both pre and post consumer. Here we take a look at the efforts of one company, Freeze Dry Industries, to minimise food waste and increase revenues for food manufacturers.Food waste in AustraliaAustralia has a food waste problem. That's not quite fair - the world has a food waste problem, in which Australia plays its part. Approximately a third of the food produced worldwide each year for human consumption is wasted, according to the United Nations. In absolute terms, that's some 1.3 billion tonnes being lost or destroyed every year.A great deal of food is wasted before it even hits supermarket shelves because it's too ugly. A series run by ABC called "War on Waste" revealed, for example, that banana farmers are sometimes forced to throw away 40 per cent of their crop yield because the bananas don't fit the standards that supermarkets and other retailers set. 

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  • Apr 30 2018

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    3 tips for better food inventory management

    This too is a feature of ABM's manufacturing module. A visual presentation of your production schedules and capacity loads lets you plan efficient production runs. The integrated power of ABM means these schedules can be sent and linked to other aspects of the production chain.Getting your inventory under control is easy when you have the right software. For more information on what ABM can do for your business, get in touch today.

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  • Mar 23 2018

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    Why your business needs to have an e-commerce division

    The mid-1990s saw e-commerce explode into the consumer consciousness. At the time, it seemed an unassailable truth that the internet would transform the way business is done - an idea the subsequent bursting of the dot-com bubble seemed to rapidly deflate.But almost 20 years have passed since that low, and now more than ever does the internet seem to embody the lofty expectations those early pioneers expected it would. E-commerce is a huge part of the Australian economy, and it's only going to grow further.In 2018, your business needs an e-commerce division. Here's why.The state of the e-commerce marketUnlike those early days, online shopping is no longer something only the savviest of computer users engage in. Australians spent roughly $24.7 billion on online sales over the twelve months to January 2018, according to the latest NAB Online Retail Sales Index (ORSI) report. This, the report explains further, is equivalent to 7.9 per cent of the spending at bricks-and-mortar retailers in the twelve months to December 2017.

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  • Feb 23 2018

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    Australian manufacturing maintains its momentum to kick off 2018

    Few industries in the world have come close to the success that Australian manufacturing has had over the last year.The sector recently hit its 16th straight month of improvement, the longest stretch it has had since 2005, Business Insider reported. With all the prosperity comes a tall task for organisations, though: Staving off competitors and supporting greater capacity for work. With business management software, that's easier than ever.A look at the numbersThe Ai Group's Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI) tracks the sector's growth rate. Any score over 50 shows improvement, and the distance that figure is away from 50 suggests the speed with which it's happening at. In the first month of 2018 the PMI rose 2.5 points, signifying that it's not only expanding but doing so quickly as well, according to Business Insider.

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  • Feb 19 2018

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    Why is the future of the food manufacturing supply chain bright?

    Eating food is an age-old concept; the way it's being delivered is refreshingly modern.Where innovation has automated the warehouse floor, digital transformation has given the food manufacturing supply chain a brand new mode of operation. Technologies like blockchain, the Internet of Things (IoT) and business intelligence platforms are all set to have a drastic impact on the way organisations of all sizes approach it.Fuel behind the changeBefore diving into the digital revolution and what it has to offer, it's important to understand where the headwinds are coming from. For the food manufacturing in particular, one key driver is the modern consumer and client: They both require increased visibility and traceability into the supply chain.Customers, clients and technology are at the heart of it all.The former is growing more conscientious of what they're eating, in part because of a change in dietary restrictions. Nearly 12 per cent of Australians are now vegetarians, according to a study from Roy Morgan. But they're not the only segment that could be concerned with how food was processed or transported with. The organic movement is growing, and society at large is more interested in learning what goes into the products that they're eating.On the other side, clients are expecting more from vendors than ever before. Customer service is turning into a competitive advantage as rising energy prices and the consolidation of the sector are supporting slimming profit margins. Being able to deliver a wide variety of information on the supply chain - and improving its efficiency - has become a key selling point for many companies.The other component driving this digital transformation is the development of technology itself. Organisations are simply able to do more than ever before thanks to platforms like business management software, which integrates a suite of applications to create a fully connected workforce. It's helping to break down silos previously marred by disconnected legacy equipment.From Bitcoin to bananasBlockchain technology is a hot topic across every industry, but its usefulness is heralded in markets like finance and manufacturing. Blockchain is under a decade old and was created in 2009 as a way to securely record Bitcoin transactions, Food Processing magazine reported. Blockchain first appeared to support Bitcoin, but soon it'll help manufacturing companies. It serves as a foundation for transcribing trades in a fashion that's unchangeable and completely reliable. Each interaction is bound to a theoretical block, and all subsequent transactions are ascribed to the previous one. It creates a reliable history of product movement without the need for human input.What type of value does this bring to manufacturing? If customer service is a driving component of success, being able to produce verifiable information that inventory was delivered on time and without damage is one foundation of an effective strategy. Since data recorded on blockchain cannot be altered after the fact, this type of transparency is miles ahead of the industry average, according to Food Processing magazine.This technology is still in its relative infancy, so don't expect it to be a widely available option just yet. But organisations should keep an eye on how it's developed and rolled out, and should look to stay ahead of competitors by integrating it into their supply chain as soon as possible.IoT is allowing organisations to gather vast sums of data.All-knowing sensorsIf we see blockchain as a way to safely store and view information, then IoT is the cog behind collecting it. By leveraging wireless sensors, organisations create unparalleled insight into previously manual tasks; collecting temperatures within the cold chain and tracking delivery routes are just two of their many uses.IoT isn't anything new - it has been...

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  • Feb 13 2018

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    Is it time to transition to information-driven manufacturing?

    Big data runs the world, and companies are scrambling to gather as much of it as possible.It's because information is power, and that couldn't ring more true than in the manufacturing industry. Organisations are leveraging their existing assets in a variety of innovative ways to improve their processes. Information-driven manufacturing is one strategy that's benefiting enterprises that have undergone a digital transformation, and there's no end of it in sight.On a need-to-know basisThe Internet of Things (IoT) and platforms like business management software are making it simple to collect data on areas such as the production floor or the supply chain, and spin it into tangible insights. This is the fundamental understanding of information-driven manufacturing: Enhancing best practices by making assets more intelligent.Information-driven manufacturing relies on intelligent assets.But the new strategy doesn't simply apply to automation or predictive maintenance. Organisations are taking a unified approach to the supply chain by connecting a variety of databases and creating a unified network that supports information sharing. With structured stock software, the customer relationship management (CRM) application and the general ledger all communicating with each other, administrators gain real-time access to figures and metrics that can support better decision-making.In turn, this is making it easier for employees to retain customers or make quick changes in support of better quality control on the warehouse floor. Companies aren't blindly following a set blueprint because it worked in the past; they're continuously questioning it.  Information-driven manufacturing is powered by a web of digital applications. Where to beginThe first step to incorporating the strategy is in the name itself: information-driven manufacturing. Unfettered access to data makes it easier for personnel to adapt their approaches and gain an all-encompassing view of operations. This wasn't possible through legacy systems like spreadsheets or even pencil and paper bookkeeping.Trying to connect the dots by piecing together siloed systems can be time-intensive and a huge investment of capital. Instead, companies are integrating platforms like business management software that provide a full suite of interconnected applications. By doing so they're able to keep the programs that employees have come to rely on, like digital accounting or project invoicing, while ushering in innovations like business intelligence or a mobile CRM.An information-driven manufacturing strategy is only as effective as the platform powering it. Talk to an Advanced Business Manager representative today to learn more.

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  • Jan 31 2018

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    Why it's time to upgrade your customer retention strategy

    With profit margins slimming by the hour, customer retention can make the difference between success and failure.It's no secret that keeping a client happy is more affordable than trying to win one over, and it's time your company's plans reflect this. With a customer relationship management (CRM) tool built into a business management software platform, keeping customers happy becomes a whole lot easier.No task too tallThe challenges posed to manufacturers are the driving force behind the need for a better CRM solution. Although prices are always taken into consideration, purchasers have far higher expectations than ever before. They want to be included in the design process for proprietary products, expect order and activity history at a moment's notice and have come to rely on after-market servicing to meet a variety of needs, Infor reported.

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  • Jan 19 2018

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    Food manufacturing companies are going digital in 2018

    Food manufacturing companies all over the world are digitising operations in 2018, but what exactly does that look like?This type of transformation manifests itself in a variety of ways, and it largely depends on the needs of specific companies. Here are a few ways your business can get started this year to get a leg up on the competition.1. Automated bookkeepingThe days of using pencil and paper, or even an excel spreadsheet, to maintain the financial side of a business are gone. Organisations can start their digitisation efforts with accounting software, which can bring a variety of benefits to the table.Incorporate accounting software as you digitise the business.Real-time access to financial reports, streamlined job and project costing, integrated stock control and an array of customisation options are just a few of the features businesses get to take advantage of. As enterprises scale, so too does the demand put on financial staff to ensure the general ledger is kept updated. Using a program to manage this cuts out the potential of human error from the equation and makes like a little easier for everyone involved.2. Inventory oversightThe average warehouse has to deal with distribution through retail brick-and-mortar, handle imports and attend to other obligations. In simpler terms, it can be difficult to get a clear picture of what products are available and the associated details.Leveraging structured stock software is a way organisations can cope with increased activity without having to expend an exorbitant amount of resources on the task. Through digitising this process, companies get access to real-time reports that can help curb overstock. Structured stock control makes inventory management simple. 3. Connected ecosystemThe goal of every company investing in digital transformation should be to deploy business management software that can bridge the gap between previously incommunicable aspects of operation. This would be, for example, capturing data on inventory levels to develop insights as to how you can optimise purchasing patterns to support the best profit margins without hurting performance.Programs on their own can be helpful and intuitive, but if they can't effectively transfer data between one another to support analytics, organisations will have a tough time keeping up with competitors that can. Before integrating a new application, evaluate how it fits in with your future plans. Ideally, everything you need should be on one platform. Contact an Advanced Business Manager representative today to learn more.

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