SAP Business One Advice

Sap Business One Advice

SAP Business One and 3 ways to improve efficiency and help you make better decisions for your company.

 

So, what is SAP Business One?

SAP Business One is a software designed specifically with SMEs in mind.
SAP Business One combines an array of your business’ functions including its sales, customer relations, inventory, operations and financials and all from a single application meaning that you can take an overview of all aspects of your business at a glance. Continue…

5 Ways to Promote Consumer Trust in the Food Industry

As a series of high-profile food scandals and scares have progressively eroded public confidence in recent years, consumer protection and the interests of the food industry should go hand-in-hand. Building and maintaining consumer trust is hard. But following a food safety incident or revelation of dubious practices, restoring consumer trust is harder still. The implications for missing the mark in terms of how the incident is handled can come at a high cost from both a revenue and brand perspective. 

While more and more manufacturers are explaining how they source and make products, a significant portion of shoppers remain wary. The human brain is wired to be sensitive to potential risks, therefore bad news spreads like wildfire, and the actions of a tiny minority of rogue suppliers can discredit the entire industry. The reality is that companies invest heavily in optimising food safety, yet very few consumers understand the challenges involved:

Accidental or deliberate contamination 

When our pantry is global, so are the chances of contamination. The majority of food recalls stem from operational deficiencies, and come at a high direct and indirect cost to firms. In undifferentiated markets, where consumers can’t distinguish between sellers of good product and contaminated product, this can result in consumer avoidance of the entire category.

Food fraud – when products are deliberately diluted, tampered with, mislabelled or otherwise misrepresented, or substituted with another product – is a highly lucrative business and often integrated with organised crime networks. But when economic times are tough, the opportunities to cut corners become harder to resist, even for otherwise legitimate businesses, as evidenced by the adulteration of food safety records by a major UK poultry supplier which made the headlines in late 2017. Food fraud also impacts on sustainability, nutrition, animal welfare and human rights, which are becoming increasingly important to consumers.

Food labelling

Food labelling is a huge area of contention: on one hand, consumers want more product information to make informed choices; on the other, they often distrust the accuracy of labels or are confused by them due to inconsistency or information overload.

Fundamentally, consumers’ needs are simple: they want to know they’re buying food that’s safe to eat, and doesn’t harm people or nature. In today’s digital world, relevant information needs to be made available to connected consumers at the time of purchase, particularly online where the shopper is at arm’s length from the physical product and packaging.

Greater supply chain complexity

No food safety system is perfect, but the greater the number of links in the supply chain, the more points available for penetration. Food supply chains are becoming longer and more complex, and therefore more prone to potential disruption. Most food retailers know all their first-tier suppliers, or have a good understanding of those suppliers with whom they have the highest spend, but a lack of insight into subsequent tiers or smaller suppliers means many can’t determine where ingredients are sourced from or how those ingredients are processed or handled.

Establishing the vulnerability of suppliers, especially those operating in higher risk jurisdictions, can be time-consuming unless companies implement ways to monitor and manage increased sourcing complexity. But without effective visibility into the supply chain, businesses can have significant blind spots in their enterprise risk management structure, leaving them exposed to potential legal, financial and reputational damage.

Shifting regulatory framework

The food industry has had to contend with a large number of new regulations and standards in recent years, such as the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011, together with numerous national programmes and industry initiatives that attempt to address the issue of food integrity and authenticity.

It’s therefore worth looking to the pharmaceutical and life sciences sectors, which provide a leading indicator of what’s likely to come in the food industry. Several bills and directives have been introduced across the EU and US dealing with pharmacovigilance, such as the use of serial numbers and track-and-trace technologies to prevent counterfeit drugs entering the legal supply chain.

Given the impact of food on public health, it’s feasible to expect to see greater regulatory focus on implementing similar requirements in the food industry.

Amid this complex landscape, food businesses can respond to these risks and challenges effectively, and help to restore consumer confidence in the industry as a whole, by taking five fundamental steps:

Step #1: Promote a culture of safety and quality from the farm to the shop floor Forward-thinking companies develop a culture of food safety through education and communication to ensure staff are aware of the importance of good practices and the controls to be applied. They are also proactively identifying and managing potential risks by analysing data within and beyond their organisation on leading indicators such as customer complaints and media reports. There is a range of nationally and internationally recognised standards for certification relating to product quality, social and environmental sustainability and system and process certification. Voluntary participation in such schemes can enable organisations to provide various assurances as a competitive differentiator.

Step #2: Lead risk-resilient business culture and best practices from the topThe buck stops in the boardroom. Business leaders need greater over-sight of and engagement with food trust issues, and executive buy-in is essential to developing a culture that is relevant and responsive to both current and emerging concerns. Food businesses need not reinvent the wheel, but should instead look to adopt proven practices from similar, highly-regulated industries such as pharmaceuticals, to start building transparency and trace-ability into their processes now, rather than waiting to be forced by evolving regulation.

Step #3: Continuously review supply chain risks and benchmark against best practicesBusinesses are held accountable for their supply chain actors’ performance, yet for many, supplier risk management is regarded as something of a tick-box exercise. Regardless of which point in the supply chain may be responsible for a food crisis, customers tend to blame the brand from which it was purchased.

So it’s vital to have end-to-end visibility of the supply chain and carry out regular reviews of suppliers’ food safety and quality standards. Taking a pro-active approach to supplier risk management can pay dividends in terms of product integrity, reducing compliance costs, and minimising the need for product recalls.

Step #4: Make considered investments in technology-enabled solutions – The key to transparency is to capture full and accurate data about product movement. Modern manufacturing, warehousing and traceability solutions are designed to help businesses improve standards, manage risks and provide consumers with better information about food products. Industry-specific solutions are purpose-built to support full compliance with food regulations and guidelines, such as GS1. Real-time visibility enables businesses to pinpoint inventory at any stage of the production or logistics process, and automate quality controls and monitoring from end to end, so any problems can be caught before products make it into consumers’ hands.

Step #5: Focus on consumer transparency and prepare to handle crisis events – If a crisis should occur despite all reasonable endeavours, food companies should be able to support near-surgical recall – getting the minimum amount of product off the shelves at maximum speed. This capability can be developed through scenario analysis, planning and drills, underpinned by robust product recall and crisis procedures. A swift response is also reliant on the availability of data in a suitable reporting format within minutes rather than hours, which can support both the crisis event itself, and open and honest consumer-facing communications after the fact.

As bargaining power in the food industry shifts towards the consumer, we will see the lines becoming increasingly blurred between food safety, health and well-ness, and corporate social responsibility. When risks are well managed, there are opportunities to deepen relationships with today’s connected and demanding consumers, and create the conditions for sustainable, profitable growth in the process.

To understand how Signum Solutions and SAP Business One Food and Beverage edition can support such initiatives as GSI contact us on 01244 676900

What is SAP HANA? Is it Right For Me?

We hear a lot about SAP HANA, but what is it all about? SAP HANA is an in-memory data platform that is deployable as an on-premise appliance, or in the cloud. It is a revolutionary platform that’s best suited for performing real-time analytics, and developing and deploying real-time applications.

By adopting SAP HANA you gain a single secure environment for all your mission-critical data assets, so you can manage large volumes of structured and unstructured data efficiently to improve total cost of ownership. And, at the same time, you can simplify your IT landscape and reduce administrative effort by consolidating multiple workloads onto SAP HANA.

Being able to Run Simple helps you deliver insight into ongoing transactions, so your organisation can respond in real time to market change, seizing new opportunities more quickly than your competitors.

Benefits of HANA

Accelerate Database Processing
Process transactions and analytics against a single copy of data in-memory for real-time insight

Deliver More Intelligence
Use advanced analytical processing for deeper insight into the past, present, and future

Create Next-Generation Applications
Design and deploy intuitive applications to deliver the right information at the right time to business users

Integrate All Types of Data
Access large volumes of data from a variety of sources to unlock insights never seen before

Simplify Your IT Environment
Reduce complexity with an unified, yet open, platform on premise or in the cloud

To find out more about making your business run more efficiently with SAP HANA call us on 01244 676900 or fill in the form below.

Run your business any time, any place – with the SAP Business One mobile app for iOS and Android

Give your entire team the power to accomplish business tasks from their iOS or Android devices with mobile access to SAP Business One.

The SAP Business One mobile app is designed to help your business stay connected, allowing you to gain access to all the relevant business information you require to be more productive whilst out of the office.

Whether your company already uses SAP Business One or would like to learn more, you can try the free mobile app to enjoy on-the-go productivity today.

  • Manage customer and partner contacts as well as scheduled sales activities
  • Get alerts about deviations from approved prices and other significant events
  • Visualise key business information with real-time reports
  • Create or view sales opportunities and orders, and handle service call activities
  • Monitor inventory levels and get detailed product information

Download the free App from iTunes

Download the free App from Google Play

To find out more about making your business run more efficiently call us on 01244 676900 or fill in the form below.

Top 10 ERP manufacturing requirements for Food & Beverage

As a result of greater reported health incidents due to poor labelling, cross contamination and false ingredient declaration across the supply chain has led to increased regulation in the Food and Beverage industry. Changing your current ERP landscape may be necessary to meet the regulatory demands of today and also for the future.

Here  are the top 10 requirements you should be adding to your ERP section checklist:

  1. Ingredient Declaration and Allergens – calculate nutritional and allergen data, and record supplier certificates and specifications data for Halal, Kosher, Bio categories.

 

  1. Batch Traceability and Recall – simple and easy to use forward and backward tracking to understand and answer all your batch related questions.

 

  1. Batch Date and Quality Status Control – shelf life, expiry date, and inspection dates to reduce stock  write-offs, obsolescence and increase business profits, and status control to block batches to be consumed or sold.

 

  1. Material Consumption – based on a FIFO and/or FEFO basis, and in high volume production backflush traceable products.

 

  1. Quality Control – manage pre, in-process and post production quality control checks, batch and serial re-testing and purchase goods receipt to increase product quality and safety.

 

  1. Recipe Management – create percentage based recipes to include scrap and yield, co-Product, by-product and scrap management – to manage product variation as a result of the production process.

 

  1. Yield Planning and Analysis – build into your recipe planned yield percentages and method for calculating actual yield.

 

  1. Complaint management – centralise customers, supplier and internal business complaints into your ERP system, for analysis and business process integration to product returns, financial credits and quality processes.

 

  1. Scheduling – optimise the factory based on an allergen vs non-allergen production plan, while keeping to customer delivery dates.

 

  1. Certificate of Analysis – print general and customer specific certificate of analysis documents for the same batch

 

If you want to know more about upgrading your ERP system, give us a call on 01244 676900 or fill in the form below.

 

 

 

 

The food & drink supply chain: quality and contamination risks

Guest Blog by Food Journalist Paul Gander

In my last entry, I looked at the risks to the food ingredient supply chain from criminal adulteration of (usually relatively high-value) raw materials. In fact, the role of food fraud in downstream threats to quality and safety is minor in comparison with other challenges – despite the high-profile exceptions to this rule.

Those challenges from the upper reaches of the supply chain tend to have more to do with negligence than malice, potentially involving inadvertent contamination with allergens, pathogens or simply poor-quality ingredients.

Naturally, even those manufacturers which take the greatest care in screening and updating their supplier lists can fall prey to these issues. So is there anything else that can be done to reduce risk?

Increasing amounts of information directly relevant to quality monitoring are becoming available from external sources. Some of this comes from third-party quality/safety certification providers such as the British Retail Consortium (BRC). Just one small (but important) example is the BRC’s advice to manufacturers and other supply chain partners that they should check the certification status of supplier sites on its online directory. Talking to BRC packaging expert Joanna Griffiths ahead of the launch of the new issue of the Global Standard for Packaging, she told me that forged certificates of compliance were still a problem among some suppliers.

Third-party certification will provide reassurance with regard to the overall probity of your supplier, but what about specific contamination risks?

There may be nothing new about the EU’s Rapid Alert System for Food & Feed (RASFF) when it comes to potential risks from allergens and pathogens, but the number of additional tools for monitoring the global marketplace is increasing and will grow still further.

Take, for example, the widening use of whole genome sequencing (WGS) of pathogens. While some still consider this an unnecessarily elaborate (and costly) route to relatively straightforward data, the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is using the technique extensively, and in the UK, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) is assessing its wider value.

Head of science delivery at the FSA Alisdair Wotherspoon tells me that WGS and other relevant data is finding its way into the Global Microbial Identifier (GMI) project. This aims to create a shared platform and database ‘fingerprinting’ a broad range of micro-organisms and showing how they are linked.

On the level of chemical contamination, the UK’s Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) has been developing the idea of ‘smart surveillance’. If you have a ‘snapshot’ of what is ‘normal’, chemically-speaking, (the theory goes) then you can pick up any divergence from that benchmark. This could in turn automatically trigger a system of ‘traffic light’ warnings.

Wotherspoon makes the point that the key developments with the GMI project, for example, will come in the field of bio-informatics. That is certainly true of the way data is collected, but equally important will be the IT routes by which businesses can access that – and other – data.

No one can eliminate risk from the supply chain altogether, but by accessing and integrating external data, future food manufacturing may be able to travel a long way in that direction.

To find out how Signum and SAP Business One can aid your business call 01244 676 900, or click the button below.

An investor perspective on IT: Do your systems give you the capacity to grow?

As noted in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s report, “Scaling SMEs: Building a flexible platform for growth,” investors care about what you’re doing – and are planning to do – to ensure that your business actually has the capacity to grow. Because failing to invest in the right areas can structurally limit growth in the future.

A growth strategy should define how and when you are putting in place new IT systems, processes, and organisational structures to support sustainable operations. It should cover everything from management structures, reporting lines, policies and disciplines, and communications channels to the establishment of repeatable processes and procedures – which is where IT can help the most.

Investing in the right IT solution can simplify much of the complexity that naturally develops as companies expand nationally and globally, go digital, hire new people, acquire new businesses, develop complex supply chains, and more. Along the way, they need to comply with more regulations, perform financial consolidations faster, and understand what’s happening across the business to make better, faster decisions.

You can standardise and automate everyday processes in areas like these. Think purchasing, invoicing, new employee enrolment, financial reporting, bank reconciliation, and expense approvals. By automating key steps in processes in these types of areas, you can multiply the productivity of your employees. Many tasks simply take care of themselves, as process and decision automation built into ERP and other systems can trigger next steps, such as reviews and approvals – automatically.

This means you can run your business more efficiently and transparently, as well as scale your business without having to hire more people. In other words, you can run simple.

All this is music to an investor’s ears – and your bottom line. Of course, this assumes that you make wise choices when it comes to technology.

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s research shows that, “The more you rely on general purpose technologies to invent, build, and deliver stuff you’re doing, the easier it is to scale.”

Special-purpose technologies, which may offer lots of impressive features, tend to add to complexity and can actually lead to more delays and capacity constraints. So think about how you can use standard functionality built into ERP, CRM, analytics applications, and other general-purpose software to execute on your scalability strategy.

The good news is, you can access a wide range of cloud-based business software designed to grow with you – quickly and cost effectively.

To find out more, give us a call 01244 676 900, or click the button below.

Start Simple with Business Simplification

As your business grows, the bolted-together systems and processes that worked when your company was smaller won’t scale sufficiently to support new customers, employees, product lines, and service offerings.

Equally important, there’s a natural tendency for companies to create more complex processes over time – for example, to accommodate new customer demands or to work around disconnected systems. And as they build up, these complex processes create inefficiencies, drive up costs, and make your business less agile.

But if barriers keep slowing down your simplification efforts, you’re not alone. As noted in a recent Knowledge@Wharton paper, “Business Simplification 2015: The Unmet Strategic Imperative,” companies battle everything from a resistant culture (often due to fear that simplification will lead to lost jobs) to managers who lack the time to implement new systems, processes, and policies.

But sometimes simplification initiatives stall because they fail to start simple. Sometimes the best way to get the ball rolling is to focus on one or two processes – for example, a decision making and an approval process – and empowering the people closest to those processes to simplify their daily work.

  • The project should have clear-cut goals and incentives tied to performance.
  • What might this look like? Consider
  • As this example illustrates, this approach to simplification changes people and culture from the bottom up, paving the way for acceptance of larger initiatives that require a more top-down, technology-driven approach.

Such projects still need to have the support of top management and be tied to strategic initiatives, of course – but the goal is to build momentum around the goals and benefits of business simplification.

People can experience first-hand that it’s really just adopting a simpler way of working that reflects proven business practices. And they can realise the benefits directly, right away.

So where do you see opportunities to start simple with simplification within your business? Contact us for more information on 01244 676 900

New Study: Small and Medium Companies Who Start Simple Grow Faster

New research  reveals the importance for small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) to design their businesses to run simple from the beginning.

The announcement was made at the SAP SME Summit being held in New York City on Nov. 10, 2015.

Businesses add new software and processes as they grow in size. This introduces complexities into their business, that can create a series of dis-jointed solutions that can stiffle efficiency and growth. According to a survey conducted  of SMEs conducted by  Knowledge@Wharton and SAP, 72 percent of business leaders and team members say business complexity has effected efforts to meet their  goals. Over 30 percent said it “strongly inhibited” that ability, and 58 percent pointed directly to technology complexity as the culprit.

While  companies see the need to leverage technology in the near future, only about half (49 percent) of senior leaders believe business simplification is of significant strategic importance today. That number jumps to 65 percent when asked if they believe it will be of significant strategic importance within the next three years. Looking ahead, 47 percent of respondents believe they will be using self-service tools when they are making decisions within the next three years, yet only 19 percent are currently using this kind of support.

“Business simplification is much more important to small and medium business than ever before,” said Rodolpho Cardenuto, president, Global Partner Operations, SAP. “The interconnected global economy has opened opportunities to small businesses that never existed before, but they come with new challenges as well. If these businesses think and plan from the beginning on how to run simple in the long run, they will grow faster and perform better.”

Small and midsize businesses need secure solutions that help them to start simple and stay simple with minimal risk or disruption to services. The path towards simplification requires a strategic plan that will get them to being digital, connected and able to grow their business. Running simple in the digital economy was identified as being more important the larger a business becomes. The earlier small and midsize businesses can design systems to help them stay simple, the faster they will grow.

To find out how Signum can help your business call 01244 676 900, or fill in the form below.

Four ways to simplify and grow your business

As a business owner, you’re probably thinking about the most effective way to grow and build a profitable company. But it can be hard to focus on growth when you spend all your time working on the smaller details. And if your business is not functioning as effectively and economically as it could be, it can be even harder.

These tips can help you simplify the way you run your business, leaving you time to focus on the areas that will help you to grow it…

  • Put all your data in one place

When you use one software application that integrates all your systems, you get instant company-wide insights into all areas of your business. So you don’t have to search through multiple entries, across a number of spreadsheets and databases, to find what you’re looking for. Instead, you have all the facts at your disposal instantly, so you can make smarter decisions. And you can make them quicker.

  • Save time and money through automation

Manual entry of data across a number of systems can be very time consuming. And it takes staff away from performing other critical functions, or working towards helping you achieve greater ambitions. If you automate the key functions of your business, everyone will have more time to focus on development projects that help you drive growth.

  • Reduce simple mistakes and human error

Mistakes in your data can be costly. Experian’s Global Research Report 2014 found that 59% of data errors are caused by human error. And it can cost between £1 and £100 to rectify each mistake, depending on the time at which the error is noticed. Cut down on the potential for mistakes by streamlining your operations, reducing the number of physical entries that need to be made.

Studies also show that up to a third of data breaches are the result of human error. So not only will your systems run better when manual input is reduced, you’ll also benefit from improved security.

  • Make sure you’re working with clean data

Clean up your data by removing any outdated information, incorrect figures or poorly input customer details. Research shows this ‘bad data’ affects the bottom line of 88% of companies worldwide. And the average company could be losing 12% of its revenue due to wasted marketing spend, resources, and staff time – all due to inaccurate data.

By cleansing your data and integrating it into a single system, you can ensure against duplicate or inaccurate entries, spot errors more easily and make sure you have one single version of the truth. So you can be confident in your data, cut down on wasted resources, and focus on growth.

As a smaller or mid-sized business, in order to take these tips on board, you need to ensure that any new software solution you invest in isn’t going to break the bank.

With a single IT application helping your business run more simply, you’ll see increased efficiency and productivity. And with all your data stored in one place, you can be sure it’s accurate and up to date – so you can make more confident decisions more quickly. You’ll also save time and resources that would otherwise be spent simply managing your data. So, your smoother running business will give you more time to focus on the areas that really help you to grow.

Want to find out more? 

Call us on 01244 676900 or email enquiries@signum-solutions.co.uk