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Cloud vs. Web Based ERP Infographic

August 10th, 2017 by admin

Web-Based ERP Systems Give You Better Control

Choosing between a web-based or cloud-based ERP system can seem difficult, especially when considering the technical specifications and functionalities native to both varieties. As this infographic illustrates, however, web-based ERP may be the more ideal solution for many enterprises. Hosting typically occurs on your own premises, which gives you complete dominion over where your data is housed. Nevertheless, you also have access to your information from any location in the world that has Internet access available. Mission-critical business functions, financial reporting, inventory management, planning and other capabilities are just a few keystrokes within your reach. You not only own the technological infrastructure and housing, but the functionalities of a web-based ERP system as well. Read More…

TGI Cloud vs Web Based ERP Infographic
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Cloud Based ERP vs. Web-Based ERP – What’s the Difference?

May 9th, 2017 by admin

During the ERP selection process, we are asked by nearly every potential new customer if Enterprise 21 ERP is a cloud-based ERP system. When we tell our potential new customers that Enterprise 21 ERP can be accessed from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection, businesses immediately assume that Enterprise 21 ERP is a cloud-based system and that they do not have the ability to have the system installed on their own hardware and infrastructure should they desire to do so. These businesses, however, are incorrect. With Enterprise 21 ERP, businesses can choose whether or not they wish to have the system installed on their own hardware and infrastructure or installed in a data center in which the infrastructure to support the ERP system is managed for them by a third-party. Read More…

Enterprise 21 ERP is a web-based ERP system, not a cloud-based ERP system. What is the difference?

What is a cloud-based ERP?

A cloud-based ERP system, at least by our definition, is an ERP solution in which the business pays a per user, per month fee for hardware and software – it is effectively a lease on hardware and software. The software system and database reside on the software vendor’s (or some third-party’s) infrastructure, and the software system is typically accessed from within a web browser. A cloud-based ERP system’s licensing model is usually subscription-based and does not provide for software ownership (although there are exceptions to this general rule). Please click here for a great definition of “cloud-based.”

What is a web-based ERP?

A web-based ERP system, on the other hand, is simply an ERP solution that is delivered over the Internet, and the system is accessed within a web browser. The web application and database may be located on-premise at the company’s facility, or it may reside in a third-party data center. A web-based ERP system may be sold to a business under a traditional software licensing model (per named user, per concurrent user, per module, etc.), or it may be sold under a cloud-based, subscription model. Please click here for a great definition of “web-based.”

With Enterprise 21 ERP, there is no subscription licensing model available; rather, Enterprise 21 ERP is a web-based ERP application that is sold on a concurrent user basis as an integrated whole. Our customers, then, have three options at their disposal: 1) purchase software licenses and have the system and database deployed on their own hardware and infrastructure; 2) purchase software licenses and utilize TGI’s hosting services to host the application and database for them for an additional per user, per month fee; and 3) purchase software licenses and contract with any third-party hosting provider they are comfortable working with.

The keys are that in any of the three options noted above, our customers do not need to pay a recurring licensing fee, have 100% flexibility and control over where their data resides, and can access 100% of their business data in real-time from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection.

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The Importance of Documenting Business Processes Before and After ERP Implementation

May 2nd, 2017 by admin

A common goal through the selection and implementation of a new ERP software solution for manufacturing and distribution organizations is to take the implementation process as an opportunity to streamline and update old and/or inefficient business processes and replace them with more streamlined, efficient, and “best practice” processes. While reaching such objectives is obviously quite achievable, a frequently overlooked task as part of the ERP implementation process is to have an individual or group of individuals on the project team document these new rules and procedures. Read More…

Documenting Processes Before ERP Implementation

In an ideal world, prior to engaging in an ERP selection project, members of the selection team should interview key users in each department (accounting, warehousing, manufacturing, quality control, purchasing, planning, etc.), identify each group’s critical and nice-to-have software requirements, and document each department’s existing processes. Specific processes should be flagged for needing improvement as part of the ERP implementation process, and these processes, along with each group’s respective requirements, should form the basis of what is ultimately shared with potential ERP vendors who will propose a software solution that can meet the organization’s requirements while delivering software functionality that can aid in achieving the desired business process changes.

Documenting Processes During & After ERP Implementation

During the implementation project, the same group assigned to documenting business processes prior to ERP selection should be tasked with documenting any and all process changes that occur as a result of implementing the new manufacturing or distribution software system. This documentation should be used when conducting end-user training on the new ERP solution so all users are aware of the new processes to follow upon system go-live. These documenters should also note why the process was changed and the expected benefit of the process change. The ERP implementation team, then, can refer back to the processes that were changed, why they were changed, what was expected, etc. as part of future continuous process improvement exercises in the months and years following software implementation.

With Enterprise 21’s built-in document management system and Integrated Training System module, ERP implementation teams can actually update all help and documentation inherent in the Enterprise 21 system to match the specific training needs and processes used by their respective organizations. Moreover, once business process documents have been constructed, these documents can be attached to specific screens within the application for users to refer to as needed. These materials can be especially helpful for new users who are brought into the organization who may need to refer to the training materials as they are executing a particular transaction or engaging in a specific process.

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Lot Traceability is Still the Dominant Theme for the Cheese Industry

April 20th, 2017 by admin

Last week, members of the TGI team were at the 2017 Wisconsin Cheese Industry Conference in Madison, WI. 2017 marked our fourth consecutive showing at the bi-annual event. While the technology space in general has made incredible strides over the past ten years, and while the technologies cheese and dairy manufacturers and distributors have at their disposal is greater than ever, the fundamental need for complete forward and backward lot traceability has remained unchanged. Read More…

The need to have a lot traceability software system in place with well-defined internal and systematic recall procedures has been around for years, yet the number of small and mid-size manufacturing and distribution companies that still resort to paper, Excel spreadsheets, and other manual methods is staggering. Cheese manufacturers invest incredible sums of money in process engineering, scales, packaging lines, slicers, and other production equipment with the idea that they can improve throughput and output while reducing per unit costs. Unfortunately, even with these improvements, many cheese manufacturers and distributors have been slow to adopt an ERP system with built-in forward and backward lot traceability to serve as the backbone for where such production and lot information will reside.

The cheese industry places a huge emphasis on quality control and traceability and makes every effort to ensure that product that reaches the consumer safe, consistent, and delicious; however, the ways in which cheese and dairy companies go about capturing their production and lot data often depend on too much human intervention and lack process controls to ensure accurate data, and their problems are only getting worse. With the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), cheese and dairy companies are subject to even greater scrutiny and must have systems in place that tie supplier approvals, country of origin tracking, purchases, and lot traceability together, a nearly impossible task without an adequate information system in place.

With Enterprise 21’s fully-integrated supplier relationship management (SRM) and forward and backward lot traceability, cheese manufacturers and distributors can leverage software technology to achieve the same objectives as they do when they leverage equipment technology – increase productivity and reduce per unit costs – all while consolidating all core business information in a single ERP solution.

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The ROI of the ERP

February 23rd, 2017 by admin

Key Factors in Your Enterprise Resource Planning Success

Is the implementation of enterprise resource planning software worth the cost? That’s a question frequently asked by managers when eyeing the high costs of both the initial purchase and the system’s roll out. However, this infographic may help you with a brief but informative cost-benefit analysis of ERP systems. With proper implementation, organizations gain many pluses such as improved customer service, easy reporting features, data security and better information. Other bonuses translate directly to financial outcomes, including reduced inventory costs, increased profit and lowered operational expenses. It normally takes around three years to see a return on a company’s initial investment into an ERP system, but the statistics are promising, suggesting that your organization will most likely gain from a properly implemented solution. Read More…

The ROI of ERP

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Concerns with the Cloud Infographic

March 12th, 2013 by admin

See the visualization of the major concerns with cloud computing through this helpful infographic. Cloud computing is still in its infancy stage and has many pros and cons. Although the benefits are real, trepidation about the safety and environmental impact of massive data centers are serious concerns. Read More…

Concerns with the Cloud Infographic
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ERP Selection Etiquette When Requesting Vendor References

January 24th, 2013 by admin

Customer reference calls and a site visit to see an ERP vendor’s customer using a proposed ERP solution in a real-world environment is a logical and essential step in the ERP selection process. That said, organizations that are evaluating distribution and manufacturing software solutions need to consider when in the overall selection process to ask the ERP vendor for such references. It is important to remember that it is not the ERP vendor’s customers’ job to “sell” the selection team on the system, and it is extremely unlikely that an ERP vendor will put the selection team in touch with an unhappy customer. In other words, customer reference calls should be used to affirm the ERP selection team’s vendor of choice and to get unbiased insight about the implementation process, lessons learned, support experiences, etc.; the selection should not simply rely on customer reference calls as a means to differentiate one vendor from another in an effort to tip the scales in one vendor’s favor. Read More…

Guidelines For Requesting ERP Vendor References

Following these three simple guidelines will not only help an ERP selection team find the best possible ERP system for their respective business, they will help the selection team make the most effective and efficient use of its and the ERP vendor’s customer’s time.

1. Complete the Majority of the ERP Selection Process First

Complete the vast majority of the ERP selection projects first, including remote demonstrations, an RFI, an RFP, discovery visits, and onsite scripted software demonstrations, before moving into customer reference calls and a site visit.

ERP selection teams should make every effort to complete other phases of the selection project before worrying too much about speaking to an ERP vendor’s existing customers. Selection teams should conduct a thorough, quantitative assessment of each potential ERP vendor and solution through distributing RFI’s and RFP’s, participating in initial web demonstrations with potential vendors, and bringing a short-list of vendors in to perform a site discovery visit followed shortly thereafter by a day-long, scripted software demonstration. Through distribution of an RFI and RFP, a perfectly logical request would be for the software vendor to provide some sample customer names who are in a similar industry and/or who have similar internal processes and software requirements. Through onsite, scripted software demonstrations, the ERP selection team should be able to narrow their short list of potential vendors and solutions down to one (or two at the very most) preferred vendor of choice. Done right, the scripted software demonstration process should provide the selection team with a clear-cut, quantitative ranking of the various software vendors and ERP solutions being evaluated.

Requesting customer references with only the preferred vendor or top two vendors will minimize the number of reference calls made by the selection team and prevent the team from calling customers of ERP vendors who have already been eliminated from the evaluation project due to functional fit.

2. Avoid Cold-calling

Allow the ERP company to arrange dates and times for customer reference calls based on their customers’ and the selection team’s availability.

Following scripted software demonstrations and identification of the preferred ERP software vendor, the selection team should request the vendor to arrange dates and times with three of its customers who are similar in size, industry, and functional requirements. The selection team should also request the vendor to arrange the calls with customer contacts who have an intimate knowledge of the proposed ERP solution and vendor, the software selection process that was used when evaluating the vendor, and who will be able to discuss his or her experiences with the ERP software implementation process and working with the software vendor.

Calling ERP vendors’ customers without having the vendor first arrange the date and time of the call with the right contact will prove to be largely ineffective. Not only does the selection team run the risk of a given customer contact not being available, it risks speaking to somebody who may not be able to answer the full scope of the selection team’s questions relating to the ERP vendor, the software, the selection process, and/or the implementation process.

3. Include the Software Selection Team on Reference Calls

The ERP selection process is a team effort; customer reference calls are a team effort.

When it comes time for the actual reference calls to take place, it is important to have the same individuals from the selection team on all of the reference calls. Too often, organizations tend to give the responsibility of reference calls to whomever from the ERP selection team is available. The problem with this approach is that it opens the door for questions to be asked differently and the potential to have one individual from the selection team experience a great reference call and a different individual from the selection team experience a mediocre reference call. This situation could ultimately lead to inconsistencies in the selection team’s view of who the right vendor is. By utilizing the same resources for all reference calls, the selection team will be able to ensure that its reference call process was objective, standardized, and consistent.

Customer reference calls are, without doubt, essential elements to the overall evaluation process. It is important, however, for the selection team to make the most effective use of its time to keep the selection process moving forward and request customer reference call arrangements to be made at the most logical time in the process.

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Managing Change: Critical Success Factors for Paperless Warehouse Management Implementation

January 17th, 2013 by admin

One of the most common objectives a business has when evaluating distribution software solutions is to find an ERP system with a fully-integrated, RF and barcode-enabled warehouse management system. Many organizations enter the ERP selection process with the goal of implementing an ERP system that will allow them to operate their warehouse in a completely paperless environment. Read More…

While the paperless warehouse is an achievable goal through implementation of Enterprise 21 ERP’s warehouse management system, there are four critical success factors for achieving such a goal, all of which revolve around the issue of organizational change management. The process of migrating from a paper-based warehouse environment to one of real-time, paperless inventory tracking requires all parties to be equally invested in the process.

The Four Critical Success Factors for Paperless Warehouse Implementation:

1. Take a Phased Approach. Too often, organizations try to tackle more than they (and their users) are capable of doing all at once. Particularly in instances in which no barcode scanning exists prior to ERP implementation, it is recommended to have an intermediate step in the process in which users use a paper-assisted method in which barcodes are scanned via an RF device but a paper pick-ticket, work order, and/or packing slip is still generated. If nothing else, the piece of paper can act as a “safety blanket” for the warehouse users as they become more acclimated with the new ERP system on a daily basis. Once the users are more accustomed to interacting with the system and have demonstrated a willingness to record data electronically in real-time, the organization is ready to move to a more paperless environment.

2. Training, Training, and More Training. Sufficient training on the new ERP system, particularly for inventory and warehouse users, is critical to a successful ERP implementation and reduces the risk of issues occurring upon system go-live. As much training should be dedicated to the warehouse users as possible; the users not only need to learn the functional processing of the system but the business processes and transactions they engage in as well. Ultimately, these users are the last people who see product before it goes out the door to a customer, making their job critical in terms of measuring the implementation’s and go-live’s success.

These users also need to be prepared for situations that they may not necessarily see on a daily basis but that arise on occasion nonetheless (a supplier shipped the wrong product, a purchase order was over-shipped or under-shipped, inventory is not in the right location, etc.). The more prepared the warehouse users are prior to system go-live, the faster they will be able to adopt a paperless warehouse environment in the following months using the ERP system.

3. Senior Management Enforcement and Oversight. Senior management enforcement of user data entry for each warehouse transaction is essential to migrating to a paperless warehouse environment. ERP software and warehouse management systems are only as good as the data they are given. As a consultant friend of mine once said, “Without a change in business process and an emphasis on good data, an ERP system just handles crap data faster.”

Management needs to be willing to adopt the motto, “If you do something, you need to tell the system you did it.” Maintaining complete inventory data accuracy and integrity, and users’ willingness to adopt such methodologies, will prove to be the most critical factor in realizing the benefits and efficiencies provided by a paperless warehouse environment.

4. Make All Users Fully Vested in the Success of the Project. Implementation of a paperless warehouse management system provides an excellent opportunity to build data and performance-based incentive programs for the warehouse staff. Defining key performance metrics to analyze over time – orders picked by picker, line items picked by picker, picking efficiency based on travel time and/or the difficulty of picking one item vs. another – can be directly correlated to financial-based incentive programs for the warehouse staff.

Such incentives can also be non-financial based. A few years ago, one of our customers was in the process of deploying Enterprise 21’s warehouse management system in a paperless environment. To mitigate user pushback and resistance to change, the senior management team made a deal with the warehouse staff. “Implement and use the system as we’ve defined for three months with no complaints, and we promise you will never have to do another physical inventory count again.”

Sure enough, within six months of deploying the warehouse management system, our customer’s auditors determined a 99.97% inventory accuracy and told the management team that physical inventory counts were no longer required, and cycle counts would be sufficient moving forward. What was previously a two day ordeal in which the entire warehouse shut down to count some 70,000+ inventory items became an hour-long daily exercise for one user conducting system-generated suggested cycle counts.

Deploying an ERP system and a warehouse management system at the same time is never easy. Deploying a paperless warehouse management system can be even more challenging. By following these guidelines, organizations can improve their likelihood of adopting a paperless warehouse with success.

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Visit TGI at the 2012 NACD Annual Meeting Vendor Expo

November 26th, 2012 by admin

TGI will be exhibiting at the 2012 NACD Annual Meeting Vendor Expo, held November 27-29, 2012 in San Diego, California. TGI representatives will be on hand at Table #3 while at the event to provide demonstrations of Enterprise 21 ERP to all NACD Annual Meeting attendees. Read More…

The NACD Annual Meeting is the National Association of Chemical Distributors’ premier event for chemical distribution industry leaders and provides a wealth of opportunities to its members to engage in industry best practice sessions, learn about changes to industry compliance regulations, interact with other business executives in the industry, and more.

With constantly changing and increasingly more stringent industry regulatory requirements, the Enterprise 21 ERP system has emerged as an ideal chemical distribution software solution in the past several years. Enterprise 21 ERP provides chemical distributors with:

  • Forward and backward lot tracking and traceability
  • A fully-integrated, RF and barcode-enabled warehouse management system
  • Advanced forecasting and MRP/DRP functionality
  • Integrated quality control functionality with Certificate of Analysis (COA) generation and management
  • MSDS generation and management
  • A built-in document management system
  • Value-added service support through advanced manufacturing software functionality
  • Sophisticated customer and product pricing rules including promotions, allowances, and volume discounts
  • Quoting and conversion of quotes to customer sales orders
  • Multiple unit of measure support
  • Multi-company support
  • A complete transportation management system
  • Landed cost, container tracking, and import management functionality
  • Fully-integrated order management, inventory management, procurement, financial management, CRM, and business intelligence functionality in a single ERP software solution.

To learn more about the NACD and the 2012 NACD Annual Meeting, please visit www.nacd.com.

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ERP Selection: Comparing Enterprise 21 ERP to the Competition

May 29th, 2012 by admin

A common question asked during the ERP evaluation process is, “How does your ERP system compare to other ERP solutions on the market?” The problem with such a question, unfortunately, is that it is typically being posed to a sales person representing a specific ERP application, making it virtually impossible for the person evaluating the ERP system to get a truly objective, unbiased response. Read More…

One of our primary business objectives at TGI is to encourage our new business prospects to compare TGI and our Enterprise 21 ERP system to our competition through a quantitative ERP selection process. We do not believe in “selling” software in the traditional sense of the word; rather, we believe in demonstrating Enterprise 21 ERP and being straightforward about what its functional capabilities are. In many cases, this means we have a strong functional fit for a given business. In other cases, however, we may not be the best fit, in which case it is better for both TGI and the prospect to part ways. No ERP software solution can be everything to everybody.

Over the years, we have attempted to provide the necessary tools to allow companies to select the ERP vendor and solution that has the best functional and organizational fit for their respective businesses. One example of this is our free ERP Software Selection Tool Kit, which has been downloaded by thousands of organizations and used to evaluate potential ERP, distribution, and manufacturing software systems.

In continuing with this approach, we are pleased to announce that businesses interested in evaluating Enterprise 21 ERP can obtain a free ERP comparison report based on user-defined functional criteria using Technology Evaluation Centers’ (TEC) online ERP comparison tool. Users may select up to three additional ERP vendors, enter their requirements, and get an immediate, detailed report comparing Enterprise 21 to the other selected ERP solutions.

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