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Top Benefits of ERP According to Industry Professionals

By Jason Brown on 5/15/24 10:00 AM

When looking for a new ERP solution, most companies are seeking to fix areas of the business that are struggling. Some companies may not have an ERP and want to move away from spreadsheets and QuickBooks. Others have an ERP that is not performing in a manner that meets the organization’s needs.

Topics: ERP research
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Infor CloudSuite Industrial (Syteline) ERP Consulting: Types of Services Provided

By Tim O'Brien on 5/1/24 10:00 AM

What does consulting mean?

We find that many of our prospects and customers may not understand what consulting means and how it can be applied to their situation.

Topics: ERP selection
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Infor vs. SAP: Why We Chose Infor

By Jack Shannon on 4/24/24 10:00 AM

Infor vs. SAP

SAP is arguably the most recognized name in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, and it is ranked number one in ERP revenue. Its ERP product is designed to serve the Tier 1 market. The best way to define the Tier 1 market is to think in terms of a Fortune 1000 company. The revenue of a company that makes this list is defined in billions, not millions. In 2020, the company that ranked last on the list was PC Connection, with revenue of $2.85 billion.

Topics: ERP selection
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Infor CloudSuite Industrial (SyteLine) Review

By Tim O'Brien on 4/17/24 5:00 AM

 

What is CloudSuite Industrial (SyteLine)?

Infor SyteLine ERP software (also known as Infor CloudSuite Industrial or CSI when deployed in the Amazon cloud) is Infor’s ERP offering for small and medium-sized manufacturers and distributors.

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ERP Implementation in the Manufacturing Industry

By Bryan Foshee on 3/8/24 10:00 AM

What does it consist of?

An ERP implementation in the manufacturing industry typically consists of two companies—the company that provides implementation services and the company that procures them—working together to successfully bring the ERP implementation live.

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Manufacturing Variance Analysis: How & Why to Run One

By Jack Shannon on 3/8/24 1:30 AM

 

Here's a simple concept: Measure what you want to improve. Six simple words, but put together they convey a powerful concept that can transform manufacturing companies. (Point of reference: Visual South works with small to medium-sized manufactures that use work orders.) It’s a basic concept that’s hard to argue with: Collect data, see where the data leads you, and make changes that have a positive impact on the data. Repeat often.

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Syteline Integration: How to Make Infor CSI ERP Work with Existing Systems

By Tim O'Brien on 3/7/24 8:00 AM

Infor CloudSuite Industrial is integrated with many business systems

Infor CloudSuite Industrial (CSI) /Syteline ERP is already integrated with many of the common systems used across most enterprises. So, there is minimal effort (if any) to make CloudSuite Industrial work with your existing complimentary business systems and tools. CloudSuite Industrial/Syteline benefits from having thousands of customers and decades of development; the application is built to be deeply integrated with many popular programs.

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What Does An ERP Implementation Project Manager Do?

By Bryan Foshee on 2/8/24 2:45 PM

ERP implementations need a project leader

For any project to be successful, it requires a leader, and an ERP implementation is no different.  Projects involve people who take on roles, responsibilities, tasks, and decisions. They are a true team, and everyone’s actions (or inactions) affect the team and project. The ERP Project Manager (or ERP Implementation Manager) is the leader of this team, and is ultimately responsible for the success or failure of the implementation.

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ERP Implementation Team: Roles & Responsibilities

By Jack Shannon on 1/18/24 6:00 AM

 

Teamwork in ERP implementation

Implementing a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system can be a humbling challenge for any company. Four critical factors will determine the success of your new ERP implementation:

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Technology Trends in ERP Software for Crane Manufacturers

By Tim O'Brien on 1/17/24 10:00 AM

Crane manufacturers are increasing their focus on integrated service and quality

Over the past few years, many manufacturers have sought to extend the capabilities of their crane ERP software. Engineer-to-order and project-based manufacturing tools, along with planning and scheduling modules, have always been essential parts of any ERP software for the crane industry. But increasingly, crane manufacturers are recognizing the need to have an integrated quality system to help them address and comply with International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards. Additionally, integrated service management is becoming a critical part of ERP for crane manufacturers. In this article, we’ll explain why these trends are emerging and how they impact the industry.

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ERP Evaluation: 4 Questions to Ask to Get the Right System

By Tim O'Brien on 1/10/24 10:00 AM

ERP software assessments provide answers to your questions

Visual South assists companies with ERP assessments and implementations every day, and has since 1993. It’s what we do and we have been through the evaluation process hundreds of times.

However, companies typically only evaluate ERP software every 10 to 15 years (if that). The ERP selection team members may have never evaluated software, or may have done so only once before. This leads to the development of disparate processes -- some are good and others not so good. The Visual South team can help regardless.

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What Does the Infor OS Do?

By Tim O'Brien on 1/3/24 10:00 AM

Infor OS overview

The Infor Operating Service (or Infor OS) is a cloud innovation platform of Infor-built applications that significantly enhance CloudSuite ERP.

The Infor OS platform is included with the CloudSuite ERP subscription. Infor OS is composed of many applications that allow CloudSuite customers to maximize the use of their purpose-built ERP.

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How to Select the Right Project-Based ERP Software

By Tim O'Brien on 12/20/23 10:00 AM

Project-based manufacturers have specific ERP functional requirements

To effectively address business needs, project-based companies must choose an ERP system that meets their specific functional requirements. This is critical for success. The first step is to assess whether the ERP you’re evaluating offers project-related functionality at all, in addition to its standard functionality.

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Cloud ERP Implementation: Unique Steps in the Process

By Bryan Foshee on 12/13/23 10:00 AM

On-premise vs. cloud ERP implementation

A cloud ERP implementation requires the same elements as an on-premise implementation from a methodology perspective, but not from a technical perspective. The difference lies in the level of responsibility.

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ERP System Integrations: What to Consider

By Bryan Foshee on 11/29/23 9:00 AM

How to know when ERP integrations with third-party applications are appropriate

The upside of buying enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is the economy of scale. Since it is written for the masses and not customized for one company, the cost per user plummets. For example, Microsoft Office certainly costs more to develop than the few hundred dollars it costs to license. One of the other upsides is that thousands of users create a robust community that quickly flushes out weaknesses in functionality, helping the software become stronger. The downside is that the ERP may not be totally in sync with the company’s culture, and that’s when most people start to think about ERP integrations. To give an instance, what some may call a production order, the ERP may refer to as a work order. Some of the ERP system’s screens may be laid out differently than what the company would have preferred. Or maybe the processes the software supports are not in total alignment with the company’s current processes.

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ERP Requirements for Crane Manufacturers

By Tim O'Brien on 11/2/23 2:45 PM

Crane manufacturers have specific business system needs

What crane manufacturers have in common with other types of manufacturers is that they must plan for material requirements, schedule jobs, and execute the production of those jobs. However, crane manufacturers have many requirements and needs that are unique to their industry. In this article, we’ll review how those unique requirements can be addressed with crane industry software or crane manufacturing software.

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ERP for Metal Fabricators – Biggest Trend We See with Our Clients

By Tim O'Brien on 10/30/23 11:30 AM

An increased focus on visibility

More and more of our customers want to have visibility of variables affecting manufacturing. They need clear information about capacity and on-time delivery, potential capacity or supply chain issues, and job costs. Our customers are getting this visibility by leveraging the Infor ERP application’s manufacturing industry purpose-built functional abilities.

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How to Select & Test Your New CRM System

By Jack Shannon on 10/27/23 9:36 AM

Table of Contents:

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Types of ERP on the Market Today

By Tim O'Brien on 10/27/23 1:15 AM

Choosing between the types of ERP systems available

It can be an involved and complicated process for first-time evaluators to understand the types of ERP on the market and decide which meet the business requirements and objectives. There’s a significant research component when kicking off an ERP evaluation.

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An Exhaustive ERP Cost Breakdown

By Bryan Foshee on 10/20/23 4:00 AM

Some background before we begin

The process to evaluate and choose an ERP software is not a simple task; as a matter of fact, it is a complex task. Because of the risk and cost, it’s a big decision for a company, big or small, to find and implement an ERP. I have numerous conversations with companies that are going through this selection process, and if they don’t bring up the subject of cost in our first conversation, then I do because it is so important! To help you set a realistic budget for your new ERP system, read below for a list of costs you should plan for.

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ERP Implementation Costs & Estimates to Plan For

By Jason Brown on 10/18/23 10:30 AM

Is everything in your budget?

When companies are looking for a new ERP or reimplementing a system, they start with a budget. That budget typically includes standard implementation costs and estimates on service hours from vendors. But those vendor quotes are almost never inclusive of everything. While not hidden, these unexpected costs can be high enough that the budget is at risk.

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ERP Database Design: A Guide for Non-Technical Managers

By Bryan Foshee on 9/15/23 10:00 AM

What is an ERP database?

All ERP solutions have a database, which is where all the information is stored. This is important information, like customers, vendors, parts, costs, balances, and so on.

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How to Choose an ERP Vendor – Before the Demonstrations

By Tim O'Brien on 9/13/23 10:00 AM

You need a plan that outlines how to choose an ERP vendor and system

It may seem relatively easy to choose an ERP vendor—just pick the one that offers the best technology and customer support, right? But it’s often not that straightforward because many companies do not have a plan when evaluating vendors. I’ve been involved in enterprise application sales for over 25 years and there is little consistency on how organizations evaluate vendors like Visual South. What I can tell you is that organizations are happiest with their choice of ERP vendor when the evaluation team has a logical process in place to assess the ERP system’s functionality and the vendor’s services.

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How To Run an ERP Conversion and Data Migration

By Bryan Foshee on 8/17/23 10:00 AM

What is a data migration and why is it important?

ERP data migration is a big step in the implementation process that is critical to get right. The ERP system will not function at optimal levels otherwise. Smaller start-up companies typically have less data to convert than larger businesses that have been around for decades, but data migration takes place in all implementations. So, what is it? In simple terms, it is getting the information out of the old system and putting it in the new system.

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Benefits of the Infor API Toolkit

By Jason Brown on 8/2/23 10:00 AM

API defined

One of the most common questions we hear during implementations lead by Visual South is, “Can we connect our current solution to your ERP system?”  The answer is YES.  The Infor API (Application Programming Interface) Toolkit  was built with the different manufacturing verticals in mind to manage all connected applications. In other words, it connects different applications across internal platforms or third-party platforms to share information.

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How Infor ERP Helps Manufacturers Meet CMMC Compliancy

By Tim O'Brien on 7/6/23 10:00 AM

CMMC compliance for DoD manufacturers

The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) is a Department of Defense (DoD) program that outlines the cybersecurity standards and best practices required for government contractors. CMMC compliance for manufacturers in the DoD supply chain involves meeting specific cybersecurity standards and best practices

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ERP Implementation Services: How We Help

By Jason Brown on 6/28/23 10:00 AM

There is a process

Implementations are not something a business does all the time, so most tend to look for a consulting group like Visual South to guide them. We have been implementing companies across the country since the early 90s to help them address multiple business needs. Over the decades, we have developed an implementation process that is methodical, thorough, and has consistently proven to be successful. Here are some of the ERP implementation services we offer and why we think they play a big role in the overarching plan.

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On-Time Delivery KPI For Manufacturers: How To Measure/Improve

By Jack Shannon on 6/22/23 10:00 AM

 

Measure what you want to improve

There are many opinions as to what key performance indicators (KPIs) should be monitored at a small to medium-sized manufacturing company, but the on-time delivery (OTD) KPI is on everyone’s list. It doesn’t matter if the company is build-to-stock, a job shop, or something in-between; there are many steps in coordinating the production of a product and OTD is a nice summation of manufacturing performance.

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ERP Security: Best Practices & What to Know

By Bryan Foshee on 6/21/23 10:00 AM

Setting a baseline for ERP Security

The term ERP security generally refers to two different things. The first is the security at the ERP user level inside the system itself. The second is the security of the ERP data as it relates to external threats (i.e., hackers) that want to access the system. I am going to focus on the second item in this blog.

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A Guide to Developing an ERP Strategy

By Jack Shannon on 6/21/23 10:00 AM

The good, the bad

I’ve been involved with manufacturing and ERP for over 30 years. During that time, I’ve learned a lot about the interaction between a manufacturing organization, their goals, and their ERP (or lack thereof). I’ve seen companies who have a good plan for choosing ERP; I’ve seen companies that don’t. I’ve seen companies that use ERP well; I’ve seen companies that don’t. I’ve seen companies admit they weren’t using ERP well and then work towards fixing that problem. I’ve seen companies admit they weren’t using ERP well and then lose interest in using it better. I’ve also seen a common thread between the companies who excel in selecting/using ERP, and those that don’t. The ones who excel have the expertise to develop a good strategy and execute it, or they admit they don’t have the expertise and they get help. They view the cost of getting help as an investment that has a payback. The ones who don’t excel aren’t aware they don’t have the expertise, so they never get the help they need. They view the cost of getting help as an expense.

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Do I Need a Strategic Plan?

By John Altstadt on 6/7/23 10:00 AM

Overview

Formal research indicates that companies with a strategic plan perform better and generate better results than those who do not. Per the ASPA (American Society for Public Administration), “There is a direct and positive relationship between strategic planning and performance… It is concluded that strategic planning is a beneficial activity for all firms.” But you need not look to research studies to come to that conclusion. Companies like Dell, Southwest Airlines, IKEA, Cisco, Starbucks, and Proctor & Gamble have all excelled in the marketplace, and returned better than average profits as a result of their robust strategic planning programs.

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How to Structure Your Manufacturing Capacity Planning

By Nick Mendolia on 5/31/23 7:30 AM

Planning for success

Capacity planning in manufacturing is a big job and sometimes an even bigger headache. The methods we’ve seen used to perform this task include spreadsheets, whiteboards, pencils and paper, a big stick, and ERP software. In many cases, it’s a combination of any of the above.

In this article, we will explain how to structure your manufacturing capacity planning to work in any software. Our goal is to eliminate the need for using the “non-software” options listed above (although the big stick can usually be reassigned elsewhere effectively).

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Business Process Review (BPR): 5 Steps to Include

By Nick Mendolia on 5/31/23 1:45 AM

Everyone needs a plan

Every organization should have an ongoing plan for continuous improvement. In a competitive environment, any chance to improve upon a process can provide the edge a company needs to survive—and ultimately thrive.  A good Business Process Review (BPR) template is a valuable first step in that plan.

 

What is a Business Process Review?

A business process review is a project that aims to identify areas in your operations that can be enhanced and provide practical solutions to improve your use of software or procedures.

 

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What's In Your Weekly Manufacturing Production Report?

By Jack Shannon on 5/31/23 12:45 AM

 

Production reporting is about the data

I’m a big believer in measuring what you want to improve. Measuring gives you data and you’ll see trends (good or bad) emerge. Figure out what is causing the good trends and keep doing that. Maybe you can even find ways to make the good trends better. Figure out what is causing the bad trends and find ways to stop doing that; or at least, minimize it.

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Why Hire a Management Consultant?

By John Altstadt on 5/26/23 10:15 AM

Overview

Management consultants help businesses develop strategies, find opportunities, solve problems, and support management that they don’t have the time, resources, or specific expertise to do themselves. It is estimated that 72% of manufacturing companies in the U.S. have engaged a management consultant at one time or another. Based on an annual survey by Guiding Metrics, 87% of the companies that used a management consulting company were highly satisfied with the results, and 78% hired the management consultant for another engagement. For most companies who have chosen to seek this kind of help, it has clearly provided value.

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ERP Vision Statement: An Example to Get You Started

By Bryan Foshee on 3/15/23 10:00 AM

What is a vision statement?

Most people have heard of a mission statement, but a vision statement is typically less well known. While there is some overlap, there is a distinct difference between the two. To put it simply, a mission statement describes what a company is doing to achieve its goals today, and a vision statement describes what a company wants to achieve in the future.

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Standard Costing Options for Manufacturers

By Tim O'Brien on 3/8/23 10:00 AM

When is standard costing the best option?

The Visual South team works with hundreds of manufacturers with varying manufacturing modes. Many of our customers fall in the “to order” category. That means they are mostly make-to-order; and within that category they are either engineer-to-order, configure-to-order, assemble-to-order, project based, and mixed mode (they build some sub-assemblies to stock that can be used as a component part, finished good, or replacement part). The predominant costing method for “to order” companies is actual costing.

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What Goes Into an ERP Implementation Testing Process?

By Bryan Foshee on 3/1/23 10:00 AM

What is testing and why is it important?

Visual South has implemented countless companies on a new ERP. If we look through the lens of an ERP implementation—meaning a company is leaving a legacy system or systems, and migrating to a completely new ERP—testing is when we make sure we are comfortable with how everything has been set up. Testing in ERP implementation reduces the risk of discovering misalignment or problems AFTER go live. We want to unearth and solve as many problems as possible BEFORE go live. If testing reveals the ERP has been set up correctly, then it will be able to support the new procedures and processes once it is live.

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The Process of Choosing, Implementing, and Successfully Using an ERP System (4-Chapter Guide)

By Jack Shannon on 2/22/23 10:00 AM

Contents

Introduction

Buying ERP is a big deal. I know because I’ve done it. I was a Plant Manager in the mid-90s, and we were running production with a homegrown system that could not be modified because we didn’t have the source code. It was better than nothing, but not by much. We were not managing our capacity, our scheduling consisted of pushing product through the plant day in and day out. It was exhausting, and our on-time delivery range fluctuated from OK to bad. The results we got did not reflect the work we put into it.

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How to Draw Up Your ERP Data Migration Plan in 6 Steps

By Tim O'Brien on 2/9/23 10:00 AM

Data migration is an important part of an ERP implementation

The Visual South Professional Services team has been guiding and assisting Infor ERP implementation since 1994. One critical part in the implementation process is managing and converting data from your current system(s) to your new ERP application. Those activities happen throughout the ERP implementation project, not just at the beginning. This article explains how you can properly execute this activity in six clear steps.

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ERP Implementation Project Plan & Timeline (2023)

By Nick Mendolia on 2/9/23 8:48 AM

 

There’s a method to ERP implementation plans and timelines

Creating an ERP implementation timeline can be a difficult process. There is no standard template that will magically fit all projects, as every one is unique. No two businesses, even in the exact same industrial segment, are alike. Each has a different scope, team, and availability. However, what’s typically the same for just about all small to medium-sized ERP implementations are the core phases and tasks to get from purchasing your new solution, to going live with it, and beyond. This blog will discuss Visual South’s methodology for an ERP implementation project plan.

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Infor ERP Software: Everything You Need to Know (2023)

By Jack Shannon on 2/8/23 10:49 AM


 

Infor is the third largest ERP solutions provider in the world. The two main Infor ERP solutions we (at Visual South) help manufacturers implement are Infor CloudSuite Industrial (Infor SyteLine) and Infor VISUAL. In this guide, we'll take you through everything you need to know about Infor and its ERP software options. Click the links below to jump to specific chapters.

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What an ERP System Does Not Include

By Jack Shannon on 2/7/23 10:00 AM

ERP solutions don’t have everything

Evaluating Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems is not an easy task. Naturally, your focus will probably be on finding a system that is a good match for your company. Much of the criteria used to judge the software will likely be based on what features and functions it has or doesn’t have. That’s reasonable, but limiting your evaluation to features and functions will not give you everything needed to make a great ERP decision for the company. To make a great decision, you also need to consider factors outside the ERP system.

Topics: ERP research
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Top Manufacturing KPIs to Measure and Track

By Bryan Foshee on 2/1/23 10:18 AM

What is a KPI?

A KPI (key performance indicator) is a measurement of value that can be quantitative or qualitative in nature. Manufacturing companies typically use and track KPIs to determine how a particular area of operations is performing. KPIs are ideally presented in dashboard format, giving decision makers the ability to quickly answer the questions like, “How are we are doing?” and “What is causing performance issues?” Think of KPIs as a company or department’s scoreboard for how the team is playing the game.

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Cloud ERP For Manufacturing: A Complete Overview

By Tim O'Brien on 1/25/23 10:00 AM

Manufacturers have made the move to cloud-based ERP systems

It seems like just yesterday that the concept of cloud-based ERP for the manufacturing industry was far-fetched. But today’s reality is manufacturers are choosing cloud deployment over on-premise deployment virtually every time. That is a paradigm shift for those of us who have been working with enterprise applications in the manufacturing sector.

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A Full ERP Terminology Dictionary: 166 Terms Defined

By Jack Shannon on 1/18/23 8:00 AM

Topics: ERP research
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ERP for Mid-Sized Businesses: The Selection Criteria

By Bryan Foshee on 12/21/22 10:15 AM

A big decision

If your company is evaluating ERP solutions, you already know that choosing the right system is a big decision. The evaluation process is not straightforward, or something that companies do on a regular basis. Selecting a new ERP is typically a “once in a (business) lifetime” decision, because if you land on the right solution, your company will extract value from it for decades.

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The Future of Cloud ERP for Manufacturing Companies

By Tim O'Brien on 12/7/22 10:00 AM

The future is bright for the continued growth of cloud ERP

More and more manufacturing companies are moving away from on-premise applications. Cloud-based ERP applications are the future for the industry due to the myriad of benefits: alleviated need for hardware, database, and operating system software; fewer internal or outsourced teams for maintenance; and never having to worry about being on the latest version of your ERP.

Topics: ERP research
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Analyze Your Use of Your ERP System with a Business Process Review

By Jack Shannon on 11/30/22 10:00 AM

What is a Business Process Review?

What we do in a Business Process Review (BPR) is pretty straight forward, and we perform several for our clients over the course of a typical year. In the review, we observe how the ERP processes have been built to manage the business. Then, we make recommendations to streamline and improve the processes and procedures related to the flow of data in the company. For example, how to use the ERP to alert procurement of projected material shortages, as opposed to having them look for shortages in a spreadsheet – usually after it was manually updated. In essence, an ERP business process review is a gut check on how things are working, and what can be done to make them better.

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Top 3 Reasons Why ERP Projects Fail

By Tim O'Brien on 11/17/22 10:00 AM

The most common reasons for ERP project failure may surprise you

That vast majority of ERP projects are successful. There are obstacles and challenges associated with any large project, but good teams always succeed. That means you understood the specific steps in the ERP project, built a strong ERP implementation team, and made sure business objectives drove the primary deliverables of the expected new and improved functionality.

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6 Shop Floor Management Techniques Learned From 30 Years of Experience

By Jack Shannon on 11/16/22 1:36 PM

It ain’t easy on the shop floor

Managing a shop floor is no easy task. Your employees make mistakes, equipment breaks, rush orders slip in, jobs ship late, and days are long. On top of that, there is the constant demand to reduce costs and increase quality. It’s a real pressure cooker.

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How To Select the Right ERP System

By Bryan Foshee on 11/9/22 10:00 AM

A big decision that you want to get right

If your company is thinking about getting or actively evaluating new ERP software, then you’re probably in a quandary about how to balance priorities and needs. Selecting the right ERP system for your company means finding one that’s not the most basic, not the most complex, not the cheapest, not the most expensive…. you get the picture. It can be tough to determine which one is a perfect fit. And to complicate matters, an ERP solution is typically a generational decision. Ideally, your company will use it for decades to come, so choosing the best ERP means being able to extract benefits from it now and way down the road.

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Infor VISUAL ERP: In-Depth Review

By Jack Shannon on 11/4/22 1:07 PM

An Exhaustive Look at Infor VISUAL's Functionality

Looking for information on Infor VISUAL ERP? You found the right blog. It's long, but it's thorough. Buckle up, it's going to be an interesting ride.

Why would any manufacturing company want VISUAL ERP?

Actually, that’s an easy question to answer. There are three reasons:

  1. Value: You will not find an ERP product with more depth and breadth of functionality at the same price point.
  2. Ease of use: VISUAL is built by software developers, but the interface was developed by designers to focus on ease of use. The screens are simple and intuitive, yet answers to your next question are in a secondary (child) window or are a simple click away.
  3. Focus: VISUAL is designed for small-to-medium sized manufacturers who create work orders to make or repair items. If this doesn’t describe your company, Infor VISUAL will not be a fit for your manufacturing company. If this does describe your company, keep reading—VISUAL may be exactly what you're looking for. 
Topics: ERP selection
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ERP Software Requirements for Make-to-Order vs. Make-to-Stock

By Tim O'Brien on 10/26/22 10:00 AM

Differences between make-to-stock and make-to-order manufacturing

These two manufacturing modes are just what you’d assume. Make-to-stock manufacturing is where finished goods are built to inventory. The demand associated with make-to-stock is typically driven by a forecast. Additionally, a mix of forecasting, inventory quantities driven by planning policies, and actual demand can drive planning and scheduling for make-to-stock manufacturers.

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Standard Cost vs. Actual Cost in a Work-Order-Driven Manufacturing Company

By Jack Shannon on 9/30/22 4:30 AM

 

The difference between standard and actual cost

Before I get into the best costing methodology for a work-order-driven manufacturing company, let me define both methods. With standard cost versus actual cost, the discussion centers around how the ERP system values an inventory or labor transaction. Here is how the different costing methods calculate the value of the transactions.

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How to Implement an ERP System Step-by-Step

By Jack Shannon on 9/28/22 2:21 PM

Searching for ERP

In my years of working with companies looking for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, there is usually a lot of emphasis placed on buying the right system along with declarations on how the new system is going to help run the business better. Other companies have achieved this, your company can also.

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Which Types Of Companies Use SAP’s ERP Software?

By Bryan Foshee on 9/28/22 10:00 AM

What is SAP?

SAP is a technology company that has been around a long time and offers what is often regarded as the top ERP software in the world. SAP ERP is built primarily for large companies in a variety of industries. Companies that are household names (e.g. BP, Coca-Cola, BASF, Audi, Burger King, and Citrix) very likely use SAP’s ERP software somewhere in their operations.

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Is There a Best ERP for Manufacturing? Not Really.

By Jack Shannon on 9/26/22 10:00 AM

We’re good, but are we the best?

Visual South sells ERP for manufacturing-centric companies. More specifically, we sell Infor CloudSuite Industrial (SyteLine) and Infor VISUAL ERP. My experience with VISUAL goes back decades: When I was a plant manager, I bought and implemented VISUAL; I was a VISUAL consultant for years; and I’ve taken deep dives into CloudSuite Industrial.

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ERP Requirements for Sign Manufacturers

By Tim O'Brien on 9/14/22 10:00 AM

Sign manufacturers have specific business system needs

What sign manufacturers have in common with other types of manufacturers is that they have to plan for material requirements, schedule jobs, and execute the production of those jobs. That being said, sign manufacturers have numerous requirements and needs that are unique to their industry. In this article, we’ll review how those unique requirements can be addressed with sign industry software, or sign manufacturing software.

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Manufacturing Process Planning: The Complete Overview

By Bryan Foshee on 9/7/22 10:00 AM

An ERP supports manufacturing process

Manufacturing ERP solutions and manufacturing processes go hand-in-hand. Your manufacturing process is typically defined by how you make what you make: the materials needed, the operations required, and the sequence of those steps. An ERP digitally supports any given manufacturing process by giving users a tool to help them execute, track, and analyze results of that process. When the tool used to support manufacturing process planning changes (like replacing Excel sheets with a new ERP), the processes typically change, too.

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How to Select a Mixed Mode Manufacturing ERP

By Bryan Foshee on 8/17/22 10:00 AM

What is mixed mode manufacturing?

A mixed mode manufacturer is a company that does not have a single manufacturing process. It is typically a combination of one or more of the following modes of manufacturing:

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Discrete Manufacturing Systems: High-Level Requirements

By Tim O'Brien on 8/10/22 10:00 AM

Discrete Manufacturing

Discrete manufacturing differs from primary modes of manufacturing in the following areas:

  • Repetitive manufacturing
  • Process manufacturing (continuous & batch)
  • Job shop manufacturing

Discrete manufacturers typically have production lines or areas where the finished good is produced in a non-continuous process. In addition, they are often categorized as “to order” manufacturers, with mixed mode components when there is a make-to-stock or forecast demand to be addressed.

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Types of ERP Consultants and Their Roles

By Tim O'Brien on 7/6/22 10:00 AM

There are four types of ERP consultants on the Visual South team

The types of consultants are: project managers, manufacturing consultants, finance consultants, and technical consultants. All of these individuals are typically engaged in a new implementation and used for varying consulting and technical efforts. There are a select number of consultants who are versed on the three primary areas of manufacturing, finance, and technology; we are proud to have these rare talents on the Visual South Professional Services Team. Please remember that the team helping you implement the software is just as important as the software itself . Our consultants exist to coach you on how to successfully use the application.

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ERP Software for SMBs: A Guide

By Bryan Foshee on 6/30/22 10:00 AM

One size does not fit all

If you are a small to medium-sized business (SMB), then you know you have unique needs when compared to a large company. This is especially true when it comes to evaluating ERP solutions for SMBs.

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How to Select Discrete Manufacturing ERP Software

By Tim O'Brien on 6/15/22 10:00 AM

Address your business issues

When selecting discrete manufacturing ERP software, choose an application that addresses your business issues. That should be the primary goal of an ERP evaluation, but we often see the focus of the evaluation shift to matters that truly do not impact the business. Cool features can distract you from picking an application that can help discrete manufacturers manage their business better. That’s why a plan is needed that includes an ERP Evaluation Checklist.

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How to Measure and Improve Your Manufacturing Process Control

By Bryan Foshee on 5/18/22 10:00 AM

Choose the right tools

At Visual South, we have decades of experience implementing ERP software. I personally have been with Visual South for 20 years, and spend a lot of time working with manufacturing companies. Some of our customers are looking to get the most out of their Infor ERP, while others don’t have a solution and need help evaluating which ERP platform is the best fit for their company. Regardless of where they’re at in their ERP journey, I have found that just about all of these companies are working to have better manufacturing process control. How they do that is highly dependent on the tools they use to manage their business.

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Engineer-to-Order ERP Software – An Executive Summary

By Tim O'Brien on 5/11/22 10:00 AM

Specialized ERP is needed to address engineer-to-order requirements

Not all ERP systems are designed with the capabilities to address the somewhat unique requirements for manufacturing organizations that specialize in engineer-to-order products. There are significant differences in the business requirements of engineer-to-order manufacturers, compared to those of repetitive, make-to-stock, mixed mode, and even make-to-order manufacturers. The key difference is that engineer-to-order companies may build a specific design and configuration only once. That’s it. You need engineer-to-order manufacturing software to be able to accommodate the unique requirements of creating singular products.

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Cloud ERP Investment: Why Small & Medium-Sized Manufacturers Can’t Calculate an Accurate ROI

By Jack Shannon on 5/4/22 10:00 AM

Emotion and data

I like a sense of order. If a picture is crooked, I straighten it. If there is a mess in the kitchen, I clean it up. I’m not obsessive about it, but it is part of my nature.

I also like data. Not data for data’s sake. Rather, data that brings clarity to a problem or situation, which brings me right back to my desire for a sense of order. Data helps me understand if a problem is fixed, or situation is under control. The data feeds my need for a sense of order.

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3 Types of SyteLine Training You May Need

By Bryan Foshee on 3/30/22 4:20 PM

The benefits of training

CloudSuite Industrial (SyteLine) is a sophisticated, robust ERP solution with a full complement of functionality that provides solutions to enterprises of all sizes. ERP software depends on processes, and tools to support those processes, along with people who understand how to do their jobs. Think of the software as an airplane—even the newest, best model still needs a pilot, so training is key. A plane is no good if the person commanding it does not know how to fly it.

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Aerospace & Defense ERP Software: 10 Unique Features You Need

By Bryan Foshee on 3/30/22 10:00 AM

We have what you need

There are a variety of ERP solutions on the market, but it can be difficult for aerospace and defense manufacturers to find a solution that addresses their specific needs. Infor’s ERP solutions, Cloudsuite Industrial and Infor VISUAL, are configurable and robust, with advanced functionality that directly address the requirements of aerospace and defense manufacturers.

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Project-Based Manufacturing Software: How to Find the Right Fit

By Bryan Foshee on 3/23/22 10:00 AM

Some background before we begin

There are ERP solutions out there for every type of manufacturing company. One of the niches Visual South works with are project-based manufacturers, who have similar needs to other manufacturing companies, but also some exceptionally specific ways of doing business. These companies work in a world of “projects” and their ERP solution needs to support this requirement.

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ERP for Manufacturers in the Aerospace Industry

By Tim O'Brien on 3/2/22 7:33 AM

Aerospace ERP must have traceability

Aerospace and defense customers need ERP with industry-specific functional attributes to help them comply with mandatory regulations. For that reason, ERP for the aerospace industry includes the standard functionality provided in general manufacturing systems, plus additional tools. In this article, I focus on one of the most important functional areas for those who are evaluating or seeking to improve their aerospace ERP software.

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The Top Benefits of ERP According to Industry Professionals

By Tim O'Brien on 2/2/22 10:23 AM

 

What others say are benefits of ERP

We’ve written many articles about the benefits of ERP, but also wanted to poll the industry to hear what others had to say. Below is a compilation of the answers we received to our survey question, “What is the best benefit you or your company has experienced from using an ERP system?”

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CSI Implementation – Infor Changed the Game

By Jack Shannon on 1/26/22 10:00 AM

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Infor Implementation Methodology

By Bryan Foshee on 1/19/22 10:00 AM

Some background before we begin

An ERP implementation is not something that manufacturing companies do all the time, which is why they typically need another company to help guide them through the process. There are a lot of moving parts in an implementation, not to mention a ton of work, plenty of risk, and a million decisions to be made!

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What Does Field Service Management Software Do?

By Tim O'Brien on 12/29/21 10:00 AM

Applications for field service management software

There are multiple uses for field service management software, across many different industries. This type of platform is widely used by companies that do service and repair work in HVAC, electrical, commercial, and industrial maintenance industries. It’s also used in the repair industry itself, where work is performed onsite and remotely.

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Why Switch from Infor VISUAL to Infor CloudSuite Industrial SyteLine ERP?

By Tim O'Brien on 11/24/21 10:00 AM

Should you switch from Infor VISUAL to Infor CloudSuite Industrial SyteLine ERP?

The team at Visual South often discusses that question, both internally and with our customers, and the answer varies. The fact is, you need a reason to switch. A real business reason (or reasons). Otherwise, it will be difficult for “to order” manufacturers to justify the ROI to replace a highly functional ERP application like Infor VISUAL.

If VISUAL is working fine for you, there may be no reason to move. If you think you can better utilize VISUAL ERP, our team can help. But if you have maximized VISUAL’s functionality and scalability, it might be worth switching to CloudSuite Industrial SyteLine. But let’s validate that case together.

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The Backbone of Infor VISUAL: The Manufacturing Window

By Bryan Foshee on 11/11/21 10:00 AM

Some background before we begin

Infor VISUAL ERP is a solution built for small to mid-market manufacturing companies. The primary customer for VISUAL ERP is organizations that use a work order to produce their product, as opposed to those in a highly repetitive or process manufacturing environment. These work-order-based companies could be make-to-order, configure-to-order, make-to-stock, engineer-to-order, or a combination of all of these.

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How To Calculate Total Manufacturing Costs

By Tim O'Brien on 10/27/21 10:00 AM

Knowing your manufacturing costs are critical

A recurring theme we’ve seen with companies over the past 25 years is they want to know their total manufacturing costs. Not only do they want to know these costs, but they want to trust the numbers are accurate, and be able to make important business decisions with that knowledge.

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Is QuickBooks an ERP Software?

By Bryan Foshee on 10/16/21 10:00 PM

A little background

I have been in the ERP industry for over 21 years and have worked with companies of all sizes and industries, but primarily have experience with small to medium-sized manufacturing businesses. I am currently in a sales role, so I frequently talk with companies that are interested in one of our Infor ERP products. One of the questions I always ask is “What are you using today?” A lot of times the answer to my question is QuickBooks.

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Production Planning: The Common Challenges

By Tim O'Brien on 10/6/21 10:00 AM

Everyone wants to optimize production scheduling

While everyone wants to be good at production planning, not many are. The most common challenge we see is that everyone wants to use their respective ERP’s scheduling application, yet they struggle to make it work. And this struggle leads to the abandonment of the native ERP application and the subsequent creation of spreadsheets, custom reports, and a variety of other methods that attempt to manage production planning. Needless to say, these “Band-Aids” can cause challenges of their own, and ultimately result in a lack of a unified and coherent approach from a systemic standpoint.

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Explaining Infor’s Business Intelligence Software, Birst

By Bryan Foshee on 10/1/21 10:00 AM

What is Business Intelligence?

The software industry has no shortage of terms and acronyms, so before we talk about Infor’s Business Intelligence Tool (thats called “Birst”), what is Business Intelligence (or “BI”)? Business Intelligence refers to solutions and processes that support the gathering, analysis, integration, and presentation of business information. Business Intelligence tools help companies understand their business better, and enable their employees to make better decisions because they have the information they need. At its most basic level, Business Intelligence is what is commonly referred to as “reporting”, like a bookings report, a purchase orders due for receipt report, for example. Business Intelligence solutions take reporting to the next level by making the data easier to consume for end users, easier to analyze, and easier to get answers to difficult questions.

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How to Use Infor ERP Correctly in Advanced Planning and Scheduling

By Nick Mendolia on 9/30/21 10:00 AM

 

Planning for success

Material planning and scheduling are perhaps the two most difficult processes for any manufacturing company to perfect. While the processes generally live in two different departments, the success of one is highly dependent on the success of the other. In this article, we will discuss Visual South’s methodology for implementation of the Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) functionality in manufacturing. I will use Infor CloudSuite Industrial as the ERP software of reference.

Related: CloudSuite Industrial: Run at Maximum Efficiency

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Infor CloudSuite Industrial/SyteLine ERP Pricing and Budgeting Tips

By Tim O'Brien on 9/29/21 10:00 AM

Infor CloudSuite Industrial/SyteLine ERP Pricing – How It Works

Whether you are working with an Infor Channel Partner or Infor Direct, you’re using the same pricing data. There are no dealer markups or first-line support charges like those that value-added resellers (VARs) typically pass on to their customers.

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VISUAL Focus Preview: Learn Infor VISUAL During a Free, Online Event

By Bryan Foshee on 9/22/21 10:00 AM

What Is VISUAL Focus?

VISUAL Focus is an educational conference for users of Infor VISUAL. If you have never been, it is a fantastic event hosted by Visual South and Synergy Resources. Over the years, the conference has been in a variety of locations like Nashville, New Orleans, Orlando, Chicago, and Louisville. In 2022 it will return to Nashville.

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Change Management and ERP

By Jack Shannon on 9/15/21 10:00 AM

Let’s figure this out

I like figuring things out. It’s a simple statement, but now that I’m older, and yes, a bit wiser, I see that this desire to figure things out has been the driving factor behind many of my traits. From an early age, I made stuff. I’d see something that looked cool and would figure out how to make it. Scrap wood, a saw, and some nails would result in some sort of toy. I completely disassembled and re-assembled my bike to see how it was put together. As I got older, I tackled bigger projects. My first car was free because it needed a transmission. I figured out how to remove the old transmission, bought one at a junkyard, and put the “new” one in. It worked! It was the ugliest car you ever saw, but to me it was a triumph. I drove it with pride.

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Infor VISUAL 10: What’s New?

By Bryan Foshee on 9/8/21 10:30 AM

The latest and greatest for VISUAL

Infor VISUAL 10 was released in December 2020, and quite a few features were added. There are many resources that go into great detail about the new functionality, including release notes, but here are the highlights we think are most important to know. If you want more details, go to the Visual South VISUAL upgrade page here.

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Are Infor SyteLine and CloudSuite Industrial the Same Product?

By Bryan Foshee on 9/1/21 10:00 AM

What’s in a name?

Infor SyteLine has been around for over 30 years and has operated under a few different names and brands during that time. The product has been called Symix, Frontstep, and SyteLine. Most recently, Infor rebranded to CloudSuite Industrial, but the SyteLine name really never went away, so you will hear these terms used interchangeably among people who work with the product.

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Infor CloudSuite Industrial/SyteLine is the Best ERP for Project-Based Manufacturers

By Tim O'Brien on 8/25/21 10:00 AM

Project-based manufacturers have specific needs

Overwhelmingly, project-based manufacturers have a requirement for a physical project plan to execute against, where costs can be captured at many levels. That is why Infor CloudSuite Industrial/SyteLine ERP provides a good solution for traditional build/engineer/configure-to-order manufacturers who need to manage a more complex series of events to manufacture finished goods.

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Analog vs. Digital Work Orders

By Jack Shannon on 8/18/21 10:00 AM

Let’s break it down

I like to take big, complicated topics and break them down to their simplest form. This gives me the clarity to evaluate new ideas, propose changes, identify problems, and such. For example, this is how I explain what Visual South does: “We work with SMB manufacturers to help them become the best company they can be. The tools we use to do that are ERP, consulting, and change management (usually involving processes and procedures).”

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Why You Need an ERP Selection Scorecard to Properly Evaluate an ERP Solution

By Tim O'Brien on 8/11/21 10:00 AM

You need a plan to select the right ERP

Visual South has helped thousands of manufacturing businesses evaluate ERP software since we launched in 1994. During all those evaluations, we have engaged in both good and bad experiences.

Topics: ERP selection
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Here’s How to Keep Your ERP Real Time

By Jack Shannon on 8/4/21 10:00 AM

Are you guilty of any of these data flow blockades?

A modern ERP system is an amazing thing to behold. A materials manager can look at a screen and know what to buy, and when. This can be achieved with confidence, without a spreadsheet and without a meeting. Someone in order entry can check on a realistic promise date for a product that hasn’t begun to be built yet. Again, there’s no spreadsheet and no meeting needed to accomplish this.

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4 Factors That Affect Your Production Costs

By Bryan Foshee on 7/28/21 10:00 AM

What are the ingredients in your cost of production?

For manufacturing companies, it’s critical to understand your production costs. If you know your costs, you’ll have better control over your profitability and make better business decisions. I’ve had conversations where companies thought certain customer orders were critical to their business, but after understanding their costs better, they decided to turn those orders away because they were NOT profitable.

To help you determine what your cost of production actually is (versus what you think it is), here are the four primary factors to consider:

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Is Inventory an Asset or a Liability?

By Jack Shannon on 7/21/21 10:00 AM

Spoiler: It could be both

There is an old saying in purchasing: You get yelled at for having too much inventory; you get fired for not having what you need. I think this perfectly describes the situation the purchasing department finds themselves in when they don’t have good data on what to buy. They do what any of us do when we must make a decision without having enough information – we guess. It may be an educated guess, but it is a guess nonetheless.

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Do You Need ERP Software Development?

By Tim O'Brien on 6/16/21 10:00 AM

Yes, no, or maybe?

The answer to the question of “Do your need ERP software development services?” is typically “no,” but that’s based on having a capable and purpose-built ERP application, such as Infor CloudSuite Industrial ERP. There is a caveat: Sometimes you may need to extend the application using the native toolset to address business-specific requirements.

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What’s New in Infor CloudSuite Industrial/SyteLine 10

By Tim O'Brien on 6/3/21 10:00 AM

Infor continues to rapidly develop CloudSuite Industrial/SyteLine ERP

The development team for Infor’s CloudSuite Industrial ERP continues to follow the well-planned product roadmap, and is executing the plan efficiently. The roadmap enriches and extends the highly ranked and widely accepted application, which now has well over 5,000 manufacturing sites running it worldwide.

In this article, we’ll highlight our favorite features that have been released since the CloudSuite Industrial/SyteLine 10 core application debuted in 2018.

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Is an End of Life Planned for Sage 500?

By Bryan Foshee on 5/6/21 7:30 AM

Some background before we begin

I speak with lots of companies and many of those conversations revolve around ERP software evaluations. Recently, I’ve had quite a few conversations with companies that are running Sage 500, or any of the other Sage products. They ask me whether the rumors about a Sage 500 end of life are true and if so, what the future holds for their ERP system. To be clear, I represent Infor ERP and that is where my expertise lies. I am not an expert in any competitive solutions, but my views are shaped by what I hear from the people I talk with. In this article, I’ll give a quick rundown of what I think you should expect with your Sage 500 ERP.

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The Best ERP for Medical Device Manufacturers

By Tim O'Brien on 4/7/21 10:00 AM

Medical device manufacturing ERP requirements

Medical device manufacturers need specific functionality in their ERP system. The functionality requirements fall into three main categories: in-depth abilities to handle cradle-to-grave lot and serial traceability; integrated quality control; and extensive abilities to meet demand requirements and schedule the associated work orders to build-to-stock, build sub-assemblies, and produce finished goods.

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How to Manage Shop Floor Planning and Control

By Tim O'Brien on 3/24/21 10:00 AM

Know what to make

Shop floor operators need to know what to make and when to make it. That sounds simple enough, and it can be with the proper tools. The process really starts upstream with a finely tuned ERP application that is using MRP, Forecasting, and Advanced Planning and Scheduling to properly plan what work orders are needed to meet demand.

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Why Top 10 ERP Lists Are Worthless

By Jack Shannon on 3/17/21 10:00 AM

The ERP search begins

When a company decides to start an ERP search, the people involved can articulate why they are looking for ERP because it’s their reality. But finding the right solution is more difficult because looking for a new ERP system isn’t something they do every day. In many cases, people involved in the search have never looked for a new ERP system. In other words, it’s a lot easier to identify why you need an ERP rather than what ERP you need.

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Should You Look for an Alternative to SAP Before Moving to S/4HANA?

By Bryan Foshee on 3/10/21 11:28 AM

A little background first…

I want to start by telling you a little bit about my background because I believe it will give some context to this blog. I proudly represent Infor ERP products and have been at Visual South since 2002. Five years prior to coming on board here, I was an SAP consultant. My specialty was the sales/distribution module, along with the variant configurator. I was part of many full implementations in a variety of industries, taught training classes, and helped with presales efforts. My first implementation was on R/3 version 3.1G and my last was on version 4.6.

Topics: ERP selection
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The Most Important Infor SyteLine/CloudSuite Industrial Optional Modules – Take Them or Leave Them?

By Tim O'Brien on 3/3/21 10:00 AM

What are the best optional SyteLine/CloudSuite Industrial modules?

The question of which are the best optional modules in Infor SyteLine/CloudSuite Industrial is contingent upon your business requirements. So, the actual answer is…“it depends”.

The first thing to know is there are two distinct core sets of functionalities that make up the Infor CloudSuite Industrial ERP for the cloud, and the Infor SyteLine offering that is deployed on premise. They are the same code sets, but bundled differently. The SyteLine on premise offering is more a la carte, whereas CloudSuite Industrial’s cloud-based subscription includes more functional attributes. However, there is an abundance of ERP modules available with both options.

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Top 6 Evaluation Criteria for ERP Product Selection

By Jack Shannon on 2/24/21 10:00 AM

Jumpstart you ERP evaluation

Looking for ERP can appear to be a daunting task. This is not surprising because chances are it is not something you do every day. Plus, there are plenty of stories of failed ERP implementations going around. Unfortunately, failure is an option. The risk is real.

Topics: ERP selection
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Don't Do ERP Customization, Do ERP Configuration Instead

By Bryan Foshee on 2/17/21 10:00 AM

A little background first

I have been in the ERP industry for close to 25 years, both as an implementation consultant and a salesperson. For my customers who have been using ERP for decades, as well as those looking for their first ERP, one of the most common discussion points is customization versus configuration. Let’s take a look at each approach, and I will tell you why we recommend one over the other.

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Should You Opt for Infor’s On-Premise ERP Tools?

By Tim O'Brien on 2/10/21 10:00 AM

Infor on-premise ERP is still a great option

Companies looking for new ERP systems are predominantly only interested in cloud applications. However, some are still looking for on-premise applications. It is not as massive of a shift to cloud applications as we are led to believe. Many companies are still ok with having a server onsite because they have internal IT expertise or have a leading provider, such as Rackspace, hosting the application on a private cloud.

Topics: ERP selection
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What Is ERP Consulting?

By Bryan Foshee on 1/27/21 10:00 AM

A little background first

I have been in the ERP business since 1997. While I’ve been in a sales role since 2002, my first five years in the industry were spent as an ERP consultant. This hands-on experience has given me a unique perspective on what makes for good versus bad consulting. At Visual South, we believe consultants are as important as the ERP software you choose. If you are actively evaluating ERP solutions and are interested in learning why evaluating consultants is as important as evaluating software, you can read all about it in this blog. If you are interested in getting foundational knowledge on the basics of ERP consulting, then read on.

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Why Do Manufacturers Choose Infor CloudSuite Industrial/Syteline?

By Tim O'Brien on 1/20/21 10:00 AM

A leading ERP for small-to-medium-sized manufacturers

Visual South has sold and implemented Infor ERP for over 25 years. The Infor CloudSuite Industrial/Syteline solution is the most technologically advanced and functionally rich application that we have worked with. Prospects note that it is far superior in regard to manufacturing-centric functional depth and user experience (the Infor OS).

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Electronic Payment Systems & ERP: How to Get Set Up the Right Way

By Bryan Foshee on 1/13/21 10:00 AM

How are electronic payments used?

Electronic payment systems are just what they sound like: a way to send or receive funds online. Depending on your business, you can execute financial transactions electronically through a variety of ways:

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3 Quality Control Measures In Manufacturing

By Bryan Foshee on 1/6/21 10:00 AM

Working toward a quality product

Manufacturing a quality product is at the top of the list for every manufacturer in order to obtain and keep customers. There are quality control measures that a lot of manufacturers use to control their quality, and a few of them are listed below:

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How Do You Define ERP?

By Bryan Foshee on 12/30/20 10:00 AM

 

What is ERP?

I have been in the ERP world for over 25 years—primarily in sales, but I’ve implemented ERP software for companies as well. My experience is largely in manufacturing environments, so that is the point of view from which I write this blog.

Topics: ERP research
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What to Expect During an Infor VISUAL Upgrade

By Bryan Foshee on 12/23/20 10:00 AM

Why upgrade?

Your ERP is the systematic backbone of your company, and it is important to get the most value you can from your investment. New releases and versions of VISUAL contain enhanced functionality that can make your company run more efficiently. In addition, VISUAL upgrades allow you to take advantage of new versions of underlying technology, like Windows, server operating systems, and database platforms. Having a regular cadence of upgrading keeps you current and up-to-date with all the latest technology, and reduces your risk of falling behind to an unsupported version of your ERP. At Visual South, we have been performing upgrades for over 25 years, and have developed a successful process that our clients can rely on.

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Getting the Most Out of Your Manufacturing Capacity

By Tim O'Brien on 12/16/20 10:00 AM

Maximizing capacity

For many reasons, you get a direct return on investment when maximizing your current manufacturing capacity. Capacity planning and production scheduling are prime areas where we help our manufacturing customers. Improving the use of available capacity often transcends ERP software, as having the proper infrastructure in place ensures proper measurements can be taken, and accurate data collected—and that there is a mechanism to balance manufacturing throughput in its truest form.

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Why Evaluating ERP Implementation Consultants is as Important as Evaluating ERP Software

By Jack Shannon on 12/9/20 2:00 PM

This isn’t just about functionality

If you are in the market for a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, don’t just focus on the software’s functionality. Limiting your search criteria to just the ERP is like shopping for a new house and not factoring in the location. Not paying attention to, or discounting the importance of other critical factors can narrow your choices, but increase your chance of being unhappy with what you ultimately choose – whether that’s a nice house in a bad location or new ERP that isn’t working for your company. The good news is this can be avoided. In the case of ERP, it comes down to closely evaluating the ERP implementation consultants you’ll be working with just as much as evaluating the ERP itself.

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3 Benefits of Infor VISUAL ERP for Manufacturing

By Jack Shannon on 12/9/20 12:00 PM

There aren’t only 3…

Listing all the benefits of VISUAL ERP would be a book, not a blog post. But you didn’t come here to read a book, so I’ve chosen what I think are the most significant benefits that manufacturing companies will get out of using VISUAL ERP.

Topics: ERP selection
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The Importance of ERP Data

By Bryan Foshee on 12/2/20 10:00 AM

Some background before we begin

I work with companies that are in all stages of their ERP journey. Some companies are looking to purchase and implement their first ERP system; they are typically trying to understand what ERP can do, how to evaluate vendors, and dreaming of the “to be” state they are trying to attain. On the other end of the spectrum are companies that have been running ERP for 25 years and longer. These clients are always trying to improve what they have and make themselves a better company. Whether your company is at the same stage as the former, the latter, or is somewhere in between, there is one fundamental truth you need to keep in mind: an ERP system is only as good as the data that is put in it. Let’s get a little background on the types of data an ERP needs before we get in to the importance of the data itself.

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Are You Considering Going Through an ERP Reimplementation?

By Jack Shannon on 11/25/20 10:00 AM

 

Video transcript

Hi, I'm Jack Shannon. Are you thinking you're not getting as much out of your ERP as you should be? Perhaps you've even thought about reimplementing. Well, let's talk about that.

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The Infor ERP ION API – Why It Helps

By Tim O'Brien on 11/18/20 10:00 AM

Having interoperability is critical and Infor APIs allow for this

Infor is somewhat different than other ERP providers in that it tries to provide as complete a solution as possible with Infor supported, developed, and enhanced applications. Other ERP systems often rely on third-party applications using point interfaces or APIs. An API, short for application programming interface, basically allows for different software applications to work together by virtue of pushing and receiving data between each other. The ability to leverage APIs is important because it provides the ability to use other, third-party systems to exchange data and communicate with the host ERP system in order to build out business functionality.

Topics: ERP selection
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The Best Features of VISUAL Time and Attendance

By Bryan Foshee on 11/11/20 10:00 AM

What is VISUAL Time and Attendance (VTA)?

VTA is exactly what it sounds like: it is a time and attendance solution for your employees. A lot of VISUAL customers use the labor barcoding or new Shop Floor Mobile applications to track the time of employees doing direct work on jobs. VTA allows you to do the same, plus much, much more!

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How Infor CloudSuite Industrial ERP Improves Service Management Profitability

By Tim O'Brien on 10/28/20 10:00 AM

Infor CloudSuite Industrial/Syteline ERP addresses all your service-related needs

When manufacturers look for areas to grow their revenue and find high-margin opportunities, many focus on the service component of their operation. Our team at Visual South has talked to many companies with ongoing initiatives to improve both after-market sales for replacement parts and service agreements with customers. This is especially prevalent in the engineer-to-order space and capital equipment.

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Shop Floor Scheduling in ERP Systems

By Bryan Foshee on 10/21/20 10:00 AM

Scheduling in your ERP is a great goal

I have been in the ERP world for close to 25 years, both as a consultant and salesperson. I’ve seen companies buy ERP for many reasons, but usually the driving factor has something to do with being able to use the system to schedule their shop floor. This is a fantastic goal. Not because shop floor scheduling with ERP sounds cool, but because to do it, you have to be good. Really good. The reason being that if you are going to have an algorithm in the software help you make valid decisions; you have to give it valid input. And that valid input has to come from almost every functional area in your organization. Everyone has to be on board!

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Infor ERP Evaluation Criteria – Built-In Reporting & Analytics

By Jack Shannon on 10/14/20 11:15 AM

 

Video transcript

Hi, I'm Jack Shannon. If you're looking for ERP software, you're probably wondering how are you going to get the data that you need out of that ERP software.

Infor understands this. So, this is what Infor has to offer:

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Infor ERP Evaluation Criteria – Integration Capabilities

By Jack Shannon on 10/14/20 11:00 AM

 

Video transcript

Hi, I'm Jack Shannon. If you're looking for ERP, you might be wondering how you're going to integrate your other programs into that ERP.

The good news is Infor ERP will communicate with other applications. There is no bad news. I'll get into a little more detail in just a moment, but first let's talk about if you even need to communicate with other applications. Infor ERP provides a complete, fully integrated software solution. Many times, this complete solution eliminates the need for the band-aid solutions that have been created over the years because the ERP provides the functionality needed. So, keep that in mind.

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Infor ERP Evaluation Criteria – Affordability

By Jack Shannon on 10/14/20 10:45 AM

 

Video transcript

Hi, I'm Jack Shannon. If you're looking for ERP, there's a lot to choose from, but is it affordable?

Affordability is a subjective topic without any defined boundaries; but it's an important topic. You don't want to waste your time looking for software you can't afford, but how do you know that you can't afford it if you haven't figured out what you can afford?

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Infor ERP Evaluation Criteria – Completeness of the Solution

By Jack Shannon on 10/14/20 10:30 AM

 

Video transcript

Hi, I'm Jack Shannon. If you're looking for ERP software, you want a complete solution, not a partial solution.

A partial solution by definition is not going to handle all of your business needs. You'll have gaps and you'll need to fill those gaps with something. Chances are, you'd be filling those gaps with spreadsheets. That's probably the environment you have today. It's probably the environment you're trying to get away from now.

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Infor ERP Evaluation Criteria – Fit & Functionality

By Jack Shannon on 10/14/20 10:15 AM

 

Video transcript

Hi, I'm Jack Shannon. If you're looking for ERP software, it's important that that software fits your company and has the functionality you need.

I know I stated the obvious, but sometimes you get so wrapped up in looking at what vendors have, you forget to evaluate them on what you need. So, let's talk about what Infor ERP has.

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Infor ERP Evaluation Criteria – The User Experience

By Jack Shannon on 10/14/20 10:00 AM


Video transcript

Hi, I'm Jack Shannon. If you're looking for ERP, I know that user experience is going to be important to you.

The user experience can be explained this way. How easy is it to use the software? I know this is an important issue not because of a survey that I read. I've been working with ERP and ERP users for over 30 years. It's reasonable that you want to have a better experience with your new ERP as compared to the experience you're having today. We understand this, Infor understands this, and this is what they've done:

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Are You Getting the Most Out of Your ERP?

By Jack Shannon on 9/28/20 2:18 PM

Video transcript

Hi, I'm Jack Shannon. Are you getting the most out of your ERP? More importantly, how do you know if you're getting the most out of your ERP?

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The Infor VISUAL Time and Attendance Function that Benefits Almost Every Manufacturer

By Bryan Foshee on 9/16/20 10:00 AM

Some background before we begin

The ability to understand your costs, manage your capacity, and accurately quote all depend on knowing what your labor costs are for each work order. Infor VISUAL customers typically use the labor barcoding functionality, or the brand-new Shop Floor Mobile solution to capture labor on their work orders. (If you would like to learn more about Shop Floor Mobile, click here to view a demo of each module.)

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Addressing Enterprise-Level Needs with Infor CloudSuite Industrial

By Tim O'Brien on 8/5/20 10:00 AM

Customer success with Infor CloudSuite Industrial

Infor CloudSuite Industrial (Syteline) ERP is specifically designed for manufacturers. The greatest benefit, as well as differentiator of the system, is that it can address almost all business needs. Providing a complete, integrated, and single-sourced application is an important—and rare—asset to have as an ERP provider.

Topics: ERP selection
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Manufacturing Metrics: How to Measure Profitability

By Tim O'Brien on 7/29/20 10:00 AM

 

Measuring performance in a manufacturing environment is critical

How manufacturers measure their performance varies from company to company. We often see companies using manufacturing metrics or KPIs that are not necessarily what they need, but rather what they know can be measured (and trusted). That is a big difference. When the critical determinants for collecting data are largely based on technical infrastructure, discipline, and existing processes, that data might not be exactly what you’re looking for.

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ERP for Small Manufacturers: Top Considerations

By Tim O'Brien on 7/15/20 10:00 AM

How should small manufacturers address their ERP needs?

Small manufacturing companies are often caught in the conundrum of aligning business needs with sometimes arbitrary budgets. Over the past 20 years, I have worked with many small manufacturers looking for ERP solutions, and it is always an interesting balance between the functionality they want, what they can actually utilize, and what they are willing to invest financially.

Topics: ERP selection
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ERP vs. MRP: Which System is Right in a Manufacturing Environment?

By Jack Shannon on 7/1/20 10:00 AM

It’s really no contest

If you are looking for software to manage your small to medium-sized discrete manufacturing business and don’t know if you need MRP (material requirements planning) or ERP (enterprise resource planning), let me make this easy for you. You should look for an ERP system. Read on to learn why.

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How to Use Machine Data to Drive Profitability in Infor VISUAL

By Tim O'Brien on 5/20/20 10:00 AM

What is machine data and why does it matter?

Machine data is feedback that comes directly from the operational resource on the production floor. It is true, real-time data of run rates and cycle times that can provide exceptionally valuable information for companies where managing capacity is critical and actual costs need to be accurate.

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You Won't Fix Your Manufacturing Production Schedule with a Stand-Alone Tool

By Jack Shannon on 5/19/20 10:00 AM

A scheduling pressure cooker

I used to be a plant manager, an operations manager, and a supervisor. I understand the importance of on-time delivery. If a company I worked for wasn’t tracking it, I started to. Anyone who reported to me also knew the importance of on-time delivery.

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What is the #1 Manufacturing ERP? (Hint, there is no #1)

By Jack Shannon on 5/6/20 10:00 AM

“Software first” is the wrong strategy

If you search the term “manufacturing erp,” the results show many articles that tout the best, or the top [insert number here] manufacturing ERP packages. I understand that this is advertising and there is only so much space to proclaim, “Look at us!” However, I see this “software first” mentality live through the sales cycle and even drive manufacturing ERP selection decisions. A software’s functionality should not be the first criteria when selecting a manufacturing solution. At best, it’s the second criteria. (In fact, I will make a case it’s actually tied for second.) I’ve spent over 35 years using, implementing, or selling manufacturing ERP, so I’ve learned a few things along the way. Read on and I’ll share them with you.

Topics: ERP research
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The Main Benefit of ERP: Grow Without Adding Admin Overhead

By Bryan Foshee on 4/29/20 10:00 AM

Some background before we begin

I work with all sorts of companies and many of them already use an ERP, but many more do not and are evaluating solutions. You may think a lot of my conversations revolve around the software itself, explaining its functionality, the technology, how it’s licensed, etc. While I do have many detailed conversations about those things, most of my discussions center on what challenges businesses are having and how an ERP might benefit them. There are all sorts of reasons to implement and use an ERP, which vary from company to company. But one of the main benefits of ERP that is close to being universal for all companies is being able to control overhead costs.

Topics: ERP research
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Work Breakdown Structures and Your ERP System

By Tim O'Brien on 4/22/20 10:00 AM

What is a work breakdown structure (WBS)?

A WBS is a framework that defines the deliverable or outcomes of a project. The WBS is a hierarchical view of what can be considered 100 percent of the scope of desired deliverables—all desired results—of the project.

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Comparing Infor vs. SAP Ahead of SAP's 2025 Product Migration

By Bryan Foshee on 4/15/20 10:00 AM

Some background before we begin

I want to give a little background before we jump into the meat and potatoes here. I have been selling Infor ERP products since 2002 and spent 5 years as an SAP consultant prior to that. I’ve helped implement SAP from beginning to end in many companies, ranging from service providers and distributors, all the way to manufacturing companies. I’ve worked in small, midsize, and Fortune 100 companies in my different roles as a consultant, trainer, and project manager. I think my perspective can be helpful to someone currently running SAP who is faced with the forced transition to HANA by 2025.

Topics: ERP research
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Guide to VISUAL Shop Floor Mobile Licensing

By Tim O'Brien on 4/1/20 10:30 AM

This guide will walk you through how to determine your current licensing for VISUAL Shop Floor Mobile Licensing and possible licensing based on desired modules.

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Digitally Transform Your Processes with VISUAL Shop Floor Mobile

By Bryan Foshee on 4/1/20 10:00 AM

What is it?

VISUAL Shop Floor Mobile (SFM) is a solution that provides mobile functionality in the areas of Labor, Attendance, Materials, and Scheduling from a web application that allows you to deploy it on mobile devices such as scanners, tablets, and mobile phones. It takes the existing VISUAL functionality in these areas, and gives them a technology overhaul which provides a variety of benefits.  Better yet, there is a licensing option that gets you UNLIMITED licenses. These exciting new developments allow you to become more efficient by putting the solution in the hands of more users. The technology uplift allows more cost-effective hardware options, and provides a streamlined, modernized user experience.

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Visual South COVID-19 Update

By Jack Shannon on 3/30/20 8:33 PM

We are adapting

We are living in a time that is unprecedented in my lifetime, and probably yours. So, let me start with a statement that for me is obvious, but comforting: We are all in this together.

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Why You Need Manufacturing ERP Software

By Tim O'Brien on 3/18/20 10:00 AM

Manufacturers need specific software to support their operation

There are many software systems available to help companies execute various functions. For example, our team at Visual South works with many businesses that use QuickBooks and Excel to handle day-to-day operations. However, we often find that these companies—along with similar businesses running legacy systems—are looking for a better way to manage all their processes, especially if they have some form of manufacturing or production requirements.

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Work Order Management Process from Creation to Closing

By Jack Shannon on 3/11/20 10:00 AM

No works orders, no production

For a discrete manufacturer, work orders are the lifeblood of production. The work order authorizes the development of a product—it provides the production team with a method to create the product to meet the specifications for the demand it is fulfilling.

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Production Scheduling Software: What You Should (And Shouldn’t) Expect

By Shannon O'Loughlin on 3/4/20 10:00 AM

Everyone schedules, but not everyone does it well

It’s a universal truth that every manufacturing company schedules. You may not do it well, but you do it. It’s simply the nature of the business—customers request an item and you must look into the future to predict (and commit) to when it will be done…before you even start working on it.

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What Workflows & Processes are Supported in Manufacturing ERP Software?

By Bryan Foshee on 2/26/20 10:00 AM

A little background first…

ERP software is a tool that supports business processes and workflows. Some ERP software systems are generic while others are designed for particular industries. Visual South focuses on the manufacturing industry and our ERP solutions are designed for manufacturing companies—more specifically, order-driven manufacturers. Our customers are typically make-to-order, configure-to-order, engineer-to-order, make-to-stock, or a combination of all of the above. So, the ERP processes and workflows I cover in this article are primarily targeted toward manufacturing companies and their software.

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Modern EDI Solutions for Manufacturers Running Infor VISUAL and Cloudsuite Industrial

By Matt Rogers on 2/19/20 10:00 AM

A shift for EDI

EDI is an often overlooked business process that rarely gets a fresh look, especially in the context of established systems like Infor VISUAL and Cloudsuite Industrial (CSI). Like most industries, however, EDI has undergone a shift as a result of competition for steadily dwindling resources and early-generation technology reaching end-of-life.

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The Hidden Costs in ERP Implementation

By Tim O'Brien on 2/12/20 10:00 AM

Overlooked costs when implementing ERP systems

The Visual South team has over 25 years of experience with implementing ERP applications. We have basically seen it all when it comes to ERP implementations and come to recognize the characteristics of successful implementations, as well as the warning signs when an implementation is at risk. The good news is that the typical implementation goes as planned and is successful. But a common challenge that can derail the implementation process is a failure to identify hidden costs. Companies must have a plan to manage those hidden costs.

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A Straightforward Comparison of the Infor ERP Products

By Jack Shannon on 2/5/20 10:00 AM

Infor ERP products

Visual South sells, implements, and supports two Infor ERP products: CloudSuite Industrial (formerly known as SyteLine), and VISUAL. We are commonly asked, “What are the differences between the two?” That’s a reasonable, straightforward question, but the answer is much more nuanced because these ERP products are used to run manufacturing businesses, which are not simple and straightforward. At a high level, the two products feel similar; they are both ERP products with deep functionality. Also, at a high level, two manufacturers feel similar; they both make stuff. As you look deeper into the manufacturers, differences emerge and the same is true with the Infor ERP products. For this article, I’ll start by comparing what is similar between the two products and then work through the differences.

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How To Get The Most Out of Your ERP Costing Module

By Tim O'Brien on 1/22/20 10:00 AM

Benefits of having accurate job costing

Given that many of Visual South’s customers and prospects are “to order” manufacturers, one of the prime operational areas they are typically looking to improve when we speak with them is costing. Additionally, many companies we work with are engineer-to-order, configure-to-order, and project-oriented manufacturers, so job costing is critical.

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Inventory Management for Manufacturing Companies: Assess Your Process

By Bryan Foshee on 12/18/19 10:00 AM

Inventory management is critical

I visit companies all the time that are looking for an ERP software solution. In almost all cases, these companies mention that they need to manage inventory better. Solid inventory management for manufacturing companies is a result of solid processes, but solid processes are difficult to execute if you do not have a tool like ERP software (Cloud Suite Industrial or VISUAL) to support them. Below, I list some of the inventory management issues I hear about all the time and how ERP can address these issues, which will hopefully help you determine if your current solution measures up.

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ERP Budgeting 101

By Tim O'Brien on 12/11/19 10:00 AM

Budgeting for an ERP purchase

Budgeting for an ERP purchase can be a significant challenge. There are many cost factors to consider when replacing your current system and choosing an arbitrary dollar amount as your ERP budget is a mistake. But it is a mistake that many first-time ERP shoppers make.

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How ERP Customization Can Lead to Major Issues

By Tim O'Brien on 11/27/19 10:00 AM

Things to consider before customizing ERP software

Visual South has helped hundreds of manufacturers implement and optimize operations with their ERP systems. Often there are functional gaps between the ERP software and the business requirements of the customer. When this situation arises, we have a couple of options to close the gaps, such as using the development toolset to add functionality or develop a bolt-on application. Some consider this approach customization.

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The Issue with Using QuickBooks for Manufacturing

By Tim O'Brien on 11/13/19 10:00 AM

QuickBooks & manufacturing have inherent problems

QuickBooks is an accounting-focused application that’s built for small businesses. Offering a lot of great features, it is one of the most commonly used accounting programs for all types of small companies. However, it is not an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. There’s some improved functionality available with QuickBooks Enterprise, but companies tend to outgrow that functionality quickly—especially work-order-driven manufacturers. We have seen many companies struggle when trying to determine how to use QuickBooks for manufacturing.

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3 Questions to Ask During an ERP Evaluation

By Bryan Foshee on 11/6/19 10:00 AM

Before we get to the three questions…

This blog is written assuming that you are following some sort of methodology for managing your ERP evaluations. The following questions are geared toward helping you decide which vendor to work with, not the mechanics of the evaluation itself.  If you don’t have a methodology, my suggestion would be to first download our ebook to get some fantastic advice on how to carry out your ERP evaluations. You can download it here.

Topics: ERP selection
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How to Match ERP Training Types with Business Problems

By Tim O'Brien on 10/23/19 10:00 AM

How to Successfully Apply ERP Training

ERP users run the spectrum in regard to their ability to properly use their current system. Some are Jedi masters, many are proficient, and others know only the basics. Oftentimes, a user’s ability is directly related to their role in the organization and amount of training they’ve received on their ERP system.

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3 Manufacturing Efficiency Metrics & KPIs

By Jack Shannon on 9/25/19 10:00 AM

Production performance metrics

Visual South works with manufacturers who use work orders, so this article focuses on job shops and discreet manufacturers. In this type of environment, production’s job is to deliver a certain quantity of a certain product. There is a defined start and a defined finish. Maybe production has made it before, maybe they haven’t. They may make it again, they may not.

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Engineer-to-Order Examples in CloudSuite Industrial

By Tim O'Brien on 9/4/19 10:00 AM

Engineer-to-order manufacturers are unique

Engineer-to-order manufacturers seldom make the same product twice, which makes them unique when compared with their make-to-stock and make-to-order counterparts.

These engineer-to-order manufacturers are project oriented and manage front-end loaded engineering efforts. They handle manufacturing processes, actual costing environments, potentially unique revenue recognition requirements, and installation and potential after-market service requirements.

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Benefits of CloudSuite Industrial (SyteLine) on the Shop Floor

By Tim O'Brien on 8/28/19 10:00 AM

Shop floor execution for to order manufacturers

Infor CloudSuite Industrial (SyteLine) is a purpose-built ERP application for those in the discrete manufacturing sector, with specific focus on To Order manufacturers and mixed-mode manufacturers that build to order and to stock. If your company fits within these categories, there are many benefits of using Infor CloudSuite Industrial (SyteLine) ERP on the shop floor, as well as throughout the entire organization.  

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What Do You Get with an Infor Quality Management System?

By Bryan Foshee on 8/14/19 10:00 AM

What functionality does it have?

The Infor Quality Management system is a robust and complete platform. It can run standalone or integrate with Infor ERP products. The system comes with a plethora of functionality modules:

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How to Make Sure Your ERP Production Planning Works for You

By Jack Shannon on 8/7/19 10:00 AM

Production planning definition

ERP production planning can mean many things to many people; so, let me start out by explaining what it means to me; and therefore, what I’ll be writing about. ERP production planning is the coordination of people, machine capacity, and raw materials all coming together, so you can make what you make when you need to. “…when you need to” is based on a customer demand or an internal demand (sub-assembly, forecast, etc.). The need for better production planning is usually a major driver for the search and purchase of an ERP system.

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Manufacturing Data: What You Should Collect & Analyze

By Nick Mendolia on 7/24/19 10:00 AM

 

Manufacturing data: Where do I start?

With the continuous evolution of modern ERP software solutions, there is a growing number of manufacturing data collection and analysis options available to you. In this article, we’ll discuss a few manufacturing data points that provide a good overall view of your performance and how they fit together.

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Manage Your On-time Delivery with Infor Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

By Jack Shannon on 7/22/19 12:00 AM

We use the tools we know

I have been to a lot of companies and worked with a lot of people over the years, and I've come to the realization that we all use the tools we know to deal with issues we face. If you ask an assassin to fix a problem, someone is going to die. If you ask a programmer to fix a problem, a new program will be created.

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Digital Transformation in Manufacturing: What Is It?

By Jack Shannon on 7/17/19 10:00 AM

 

Just what is digital transformation?

For a while now, I’ve been hearing the term “digital transformation”; but I never really thought about it. Usually, when I hear the same term over and over, I can figure out its meaning by the context in how it’s used. That was not the case here. I never asked the person using the term because I didn’t want to look stupid. Of course, pretending you know something when you don’t is the ultimate in stupidly, so I Googled it. Here is the definition according to i-SCOOP's website:

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What’s in Development for Infor VISUAL?

By Tim O'Brien on 7/10/19 10:00 AM

Pushing out faster releases and new functionality for VISUAL ERP

Infor has released more functional enhancements for VISUAL ERP in the last 24 months than we normally see. Infor VISUAL ERP Product Manager Rich Lagoy and the VISUAL ERP steering committee are driving out new functionality at a faster pace than before, delivering quarterly updates to the large VISUAL ERP user base and new sales customers.

Topics: ERP selection
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ERP Cloud vs. On-Premise

By Bryan Foshee on 7/3/19 10:00 AM

 

Which one would work better for you?

If you've read any Visual South blogs, you know we like to focus on solving problems. This article will help you think through which deployment option (cloud or on-premise) would be a better fit for your company.

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Build A Sound Process for Manufacturing Capacity Planning

By Bryan Foshee on 6/19/19 10:00 AM

What is capacity planning?

Capacity planning is almost always involved, whether directly or indirectly, with the work Visual South does with manufacturing companies. Over the years, we’ve learned the best processes for capacity planning, but let’s first define the term, so we all begin on the same page.

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A Business Process Documentation Template for Manufacturing

By Bryan Foshee on 6/5/19 10:00 AM

The case for having documentation

At Visual South, we always recommend that our customers have solid business process documentation templates. Companies often have written procedures for quality control, human resources, safety, and the like, but not always for enterprise resource planning. Not having processes documented for your ERP software creates risk that can have disruptive effects and negatively impact the bottom line.

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3 Common VISUAL ERP Trainings That Make a Big Impact

By Nick Mendolia on 5/29/19 10:00 AM

Infor VISUAL ERP Training

As with any modern ERP software solution, getting the proper training on specific functional modules is necessary for initial and continued success. During implementation, you should be trained in all areas of the application.  However, for companies that have been using the VISUAL solution for some time, there are certain modules that we at Visual South recommend you take refresher courses on every so often.

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How to Reduce Manufacturing Lead Time by Optimizing Your ERP

By Tim O'Brien on 5/22/19 10:00 AM

Reducing Manufacturing Lead Time

Many of the manufacturers our team speaks with have put improving lead time at the top of their priority list. That’s no big surprise—lead time can be a determinant in winning new customers, driving business growth, and achieving on-time delivery.

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How to Fine Tune Your ERP Production Planning

By Nick Mendolia on 5/8/19 10:00 AM

ERP production planning options

All modern ERP manufacturing solutions contain planning modules to assist in managing your inventory, supply chain, and production scheduling. But how each solution helps you perform these functions can differ. To begin, let’s review two of the common modules you would likely use for ERP in production planning:

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Why These Two Manufacturing ERP Modules are Most Important to Get Right

By Nick Mendolia on 4/24/19 10:00 AM

Why only two?

Dozens of modules are used in just about all manufacturing ERP implementations, so why would we only focus on two of them? Of course ALL modules are important, but these two have the greatest impact on the entire ERP system. 

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Why Visual South is a Good Choice as an Infor Channel Partner

By Bryan Foshee on 4/17/19 10:00 AM

Important decisions take thought

Your ERP forms the backbone of your company. It is the platform that people use to support and execute the processes that make your company work. ERP software is a “tool” for a job, but how you use that tool is what separates good companies from great ones. ERP is also a large, often one-time investment. The partner you choose to help you bring this tool to life and apply it to your business to get the most out of your investment is of vital importance and should be carefully considered. Of all the Infor Channel Partners, here are some reasons we think Visual South is the best.

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The History & Evolution of ERP Applied to Your System

By Tim O'Brien on 4/10/19 10:00 AM

Times they are a changin'

A quick review of ERP history and the evolution of ERP systems will show there are three primary, interrelated drivers: technology, functionality, and usability.

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ERP Evaluation & Comparison: A Guide For Switching Systems

By Jack Shannon on 4/3/19 10:00 AM


Contents

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ERP Implementation Strategy: Advice From 30+ Years of Experience

By Jack Shannon on 3/27/19 10:00 AM

Attitude isn’t everything

I’m a fan of a “can-do” attitude. Having a positive attitude helps you overcome obstacles and get through anything life throws at you. If a new ERP implementation in a manufacturing industry is something life will be throwing at your organization, a can-do attitude is the right attitude for the implementation team to have.

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Thinking About Hiring a Scheduler So You Can Use ERP Scheduling?

By Jack Shannon on 3/10/19 11:10 AM

Chances are good you don't need to hire someone

I have a certain passion for helping companies manage their capacity by scheduling properly. In this blog post, I’m going to discuss a common thought process companies go through to finally get to the point of using ERP to schedule their shop floor: They need to hire a Scheduler. Put someone in charge and have them get the company to the promised land of scheduling properly. It sounds reasonable, but in my experience, it’s a misguided strategy. Let me explain why.

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ERP Scheduling Workshop

By Jack Shannon on 3/10/19 11:09 AM

I used VISUAL ERP scheduling

When I was a Plant Manager at a rotary die manufacturer in 1994, I bought an ERP system. The biggest problem I was trying to solve was scheduling the shop floor. We were in an industry that demanded 2-4 day lead times. Everything we did was custom; each work order had around 20 operations. It was rare for me to get a question about our ability to produce a die, because we had all the right type of fabricating equipment to produce a die. The real question was if we could produce it in the lead time the customer provided. In other words, did we have enough open capacity to do what the customer wanted us to do?

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Manufacturing Database Backup Strategy for Companies Without IT Teams

By Nick Mendolia on 3/6/19 10:00 AM

Intended audience

As an ERP vendor for small and medium-sized manufacturers, we see a wide variety of tactics when it comes to managing information technologies. Some companies have a dedicated IT staff whose sole responsibility is keeping all servers, clients, networks, applications, and other related systems up and running. These companies typically also have a database administrator who insures all critical databases are properly backed up and maintained. However, we also commonly see manufacturers put less emphasis on IT. In other words, someone has been designated as the “IT” person, yet that is not their primary role.

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What's a Visual South Account Review?

By Bryan Foshee on 3/4/19 10:03 AM

Knowledge is power

The power of an ERP solution is highly dependent on the knowledge of the company using it.  One company can use the software really well, while another company, well, not so much.  We often use the analogy of an airplane; the airplane is built to fly, but it only works if there is a pilot sitting in it that knows what he is doing.  Is your company flying the plane, or figuring out how to open the cockpit door?

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Is Big Data in Manufacturing a New Buzzword or a New Tool?

By Tim O'Brien on 2/27/19 10:00 AM

What is big data?

The term big data may mean different things to different people and organizations.

Google’s dictionary defines big data as “extremely large data sets that may be analyzed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions.”

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How Infor ERP Helps Assemble-To-Order Manufacturers

By Tim O'Brien on 12/19/18 10:00 AM

Infor provides options

Infor provides ERP solutions that help manufacturers with all order modes, including assemble-to-order, make-to-order, configure-to-order, engineer-to-order, build-to-stock and forecast, and mixed-mode production. Some Infor ERP solutions are manufacturing-centric—such as CloudSuite Industrial (Syteline) and Infor VISUAL—and manage all manufacturing modes, including assemble-to-order, very well.

Topics: ERP research
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Why Use ERP's Built-in Functionality?

By Jack Shannon on 12/12/18 10:00 AM

Riddle

If you had to travel from New York City to San Francisco, what’s faster, a jet or a car?

♩♫ Jeopardy music ♫♩

Right now you’re thinking, “The obvious answer is “jet”. But if that’s the right answer, this wouldn’t be a riddle.”

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What We Look for in a Consultant at Visual South

By Bryan Foshee on 11/21/18 10:00 AM

Experience in manufacturing

Visual South’s number one criterion in hiring consultants is experience in manufacturing. Almost all of our customers are responsible for making or repairing something, and the entire business usually revolves around work orders. With this being the case, our consultants have to understand manufacturing.  Typically, they held a leadership position in a manufacturing company, such as controller, CFO, plant manager, CIO, COO, or other similar titles.

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IT's Role in ERP: Before, During & After the Selection Process

By Tim O'Brien on 11/14/18 10:00 AM

Include IT for the best results

The role of Information Technology (IT) in an ERP implementation project is very important. The IT manager should always be part of the project as their department will be responsible for assisting during the software evaluation, installing the software or connectivity, and providing the ongoing infrastructure support needed for an optimum-performing ERP system and environment.

Topics: ERP research
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Top 10 Things I Wish My ERP Implementation Partner Told Me About

By Nick Mendolia on 10/24/18 10:00 AM

If only I had known…

...the “Top 10 Things I Wish My ERP Implementation Partner Told Me About.” This was the title of a session at a recent ERP user conference I attended. Naturally, as an ERP implementation vendor, I wanted to sit in and gain some perspective from a large group of customers.

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How to Get Great Manufacturing Analytics from Your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System

By Jack Shannon on 10/10/18 10:00 AM

Why have ERP without manufacturing analytics?

If you use work orders to produce goods and aren’t getting manufacturing analytics out of your ERP system, you have an important resource that’s untapped. The good news is this can be fixed. The other good news is fixing it will lead to a smoother operating production floor with a more predictable output. There is no “easy” button, but there is a proven method you can follow to mine manufacturing analytics. Companies that use this method find managing production is easier, because they have data. They know what to fix, and just as importantly, what to leave alone. Data leads to focus, which leads to better results. It’s not magic, but it does work.

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When to Use SyteLine SQL Tables for Custom Reports

By Jack Shannon on 10/3/18 10:25 AM

Oh, you’ll want a custom report

In 1789, Benjamin Franklin wrote, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” I think he got it mostly right. He should have said: “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes, and the need for custom reports from your ERP system.” In Ben’s defense, computers and ERP systems weren’t invented yet, so he did the best he could...

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Managing Capacity Because It's What You Sell

By Jack Shannon on 9/26/18 10:00 AM

What do you sell?

In the job shop machine industry there is a funny answer to the question, “What do you make?” The response is, “Chips. We make metal chips. The faster we make them, the better we are doing.” (Metal chips are made with a metal cutting tool removing the material you don’t want. The tools are used on equipment like a lathe or a mill. Want to know how they work? Read this.)

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How to Make Manufacturing Data Matter

By Nick Mendolia on 9/19/18 10:00 AM

Data collection

It seems that “manufacturing data analytics” is the popular buzz term in every facility these days. Management concludes they must collect and analyze as much data as possible to identify trends and opportunities within the manufacturing process. Every sample of data should somehow equate to an ability to gain a competitive advantage. And yet the most common result is analysis paralysis.

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Summer is Over, It's Back to School Time

By Jack Shannon on 9/7/18 10:00 AM

Seek knowledge, solve issues

I hope everyone had a nice summer. Now that all the kids are back in school, maybe you should think about going “back to school” as well. Let me explain.

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How to Determine If Your Manufacturing ERP Software is Failing You

By Bryan Foshee on 8/22/18 10:00 AM

 

Could your ERP (and you) be performing better?

Companies put a lot of time, effort, and money into evaluating, purchasing, implementing, and maintaining ERP systems. They are worth the effort, but if managed incorrectly, you can slip backward and revert to being the company you set out to correct when you initially purchased your ERP.

Topics: ERP research
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The Benefits of Documenting Your ERP System Procedures

By Jack Shannon on 8/10/18 10:00 AM

Floss your teeth, don't eat junk, document your procedures

My guess is the headline above didn't tell you anything you don't already know. There is a difference though between knowing and doing. You don't need me going into detail of the benefits of flossing your teeth or eating right, so I'm going to focus on the benefits of documenting your ERP system procedures. I promise you two things: This won't be a finger wag if your procedures aren't documented. Also, I will reveal an easy way to document your procedures. The third point isn't a promise, but it is a goal. I'll try to make this interesting, so keep reading.

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Is It Possible to Have an ERP Free Trial?

By Tim O'Brien on 8/8/18 10:00 AM

ERP software free trials

Visual South is often asked by potential customers if it’s possible to try the Infor ERP software. The answer to that question is yes; we’d be happy to arrange a test drive of the software for you. However, we do ask that you complete a few steps prior to the ERP trial to ensure our software would be a good fit for your functionality needs and budget.

Topics: ERP selection
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The Right & Wrong Ways to Run Your ERP System Demo Process

By Jack Shannon on 8/1/18 10:00 AM

Understand what you are evaluating

Before I go into the right and wrong ways to run your enterprise resource planning (ERP) system demo process, let’s establish what it is you should be evaluating during the entire selection process. Obviously, it’s ERP, but it’s not only ERP. You will also be entering into a long-term relationship with the company providing implementation and ongoing services. Your implementation provider is as important to the success of your ERP project as choosing the right software. That may sound like a bold statement, but think of it this way: Buying a plane doesn’t make you a pilot. Training, practice, and passing certification tests does. Buying ERP doesn’t implement it. Developing new procedures, training, practice, and successfully completing real-life scenarios does. Who assists you through all this? Your implementation provider. ERP is worthless if it’s not implemented properly, so don’t overlook the importance of your implementation provider.

Topics: ERP selection
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ERP Selection Consultants: What Do They Do and Do We Need One?

By Bryan Foshee on 7/11/18 10:00 AM

What do they do?

Searching for and evaluating ERP software is difficult. Really difficult. There are so many different terms, products, markets, deployment models, and technologies, that it can be hard to narrow down your choices to a select few. I talk with people all the time who have undertaken this challenge, and clarity is a challenge. Occasionally, companies pay a selection consultant for help figuring out which solutions to learn more about.

Topics: ERP selection
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Manufacturing Production Process: How To Believe Your Data

By Jack Shannon on 7/4/18 10:00 AM

Does this describe you or your company?

It seems like managers involved in the manufacturing production process never have enough reports or data. It’s not uncommon for our consultants at Visual South to get requests that begin with, “It would be great if I could get a report that…” Truth be told, the requests usually make a lot of sense. So, we develop the report and our customers start using it.

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ERP vs. CRM

By Bryan Foshee on 6/20/18 10:00 AM

What is the difference between ERP and CRM?

There is no shortage of three-letter acronyms in the software industry. Sometimes it can be confusing to try to figure out what they mean, much less what the solutions do. Let’s take a closer look at both.

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Improve the Bottom Line

By Jack Shannon on 6/6/18 10:00 AM

A better strategy leads to better results

Back in the late 80s, I was an Operations Manager at a job shop manufacturer. I was responsible for all aspects of the business group I ran (except sales) and had seven supervisors reporting to me. The data I used to measure how we were doing was our on-time delivery; because that was the data Senior Management used to judge me. I'm proud to say my group consistently outperformed the two other business groups in the company.

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Manufacturing Process Improvements That Make an Impact

By Jack Shannon on 5/23/18 10:00 AM

 

Is the solution hidden in plain sight?

When I talk to Visual South customers about using their ERP system to guide them to manufacturing process improvements that could be made, I always ask who is responsible for the variance in estimated vs. actual costs in a completed work order. In some cases, I get a quick answer with a name. That speaks volumes to me because it means they are proactive in looking at cost data. Companies who do this become comfortable with the accuracy of the data. This doesn’t mean they like all the data; but that’s the point. If there is an unacceptable variance, they find out what caused it. Perhaps the standard was wrong (in either direction). Perhaps the execution was flawed or exceeded expectations. The important thing is they know about it, and can do something about it.

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Field Service Management App: What Features Do You Need?

By Tim O'Brien on 5/9/18 10:00 AM

Choosing field service management apps can be easy

The Visual South team frequently discusses the need for a foundation and process to ensure success when choosing enterprise systems. The same is true with field service management apps – if you have a plan, then it’s easy. If you don’t, then not so much. One way to hit that easy button is to learn how to select service management software as it will give you guidance on the steps to create a process and a plan.

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