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Craig Greitzer

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It’s Easy to Sell to Millennials. Just Give Them What They Want.

Posted by Craig Greitzer on May 7, 2018 5:47:28 PM

 

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Millennials are often identified as being between the ages of 18-34, though there are some who argue they should be classified more loosely by how they act. They spend about $1.3 trillion annually and by 2020 will make up 50% of the workforce in the US. 80 million millennials are members of a generation that you shouldn’t ignore.

To capture their attention, it may be necessary to rethink how you message to them. Here are some suggestions for making a connection:

They are Brand Conscious

Like many of us; millennials want high quality, but sometimes can’t afford it yet. They have become fierce online shoppers, looking for the best deals. Think about offering a name brand at a special price to catch their attention. Remember to always suggest top name brands first.

Keep Your Promises

Millennials have been marketed to since they were being pushed in their baby jogger carriages. They have a keen eye for discerning what the truth is, and as a rep, you must do everything you say you will do or they will drop you like an overheated cell phone. Want to win them over? Be straightforward and honest.

All Natural All the Time

Millennials trust what their family and friends think and consider their opinions before buying a product. Remember, they are a group who posts all sorts of things on Facebook and Instagram and will rely on feedback from their friends before they will listen to a sales rep.

 A top priority for millennials is how easy is it to do business, more than any other generation. This has led to major brands being less focused on a lengthy selling process and more focused on showing them how their product solves their problems to move them in and out of the sales process quickly.

 This generation is looking for authenticity in the people they interact with, and the way products are made. Look at the campaigns out there from major brands, like Real Beauty by Dove, or the push for ethical treatment of animals (free-range chickens).

Give. Give. Give.

The philosophy of “always be giving” appeals to millennial buyers. Building trust comes from consistently giving value including industry insights or other content that interests them. No matter what you are selling, watch what happens when you offer an infographic on the best way to take pictures on your smart phone.

For Them, It’s All About Social Equality

The causes and issues that millennials support include equality between men and women, race equality and gender and sexual equality. Be careful that you don’t step on these sensitivities as you will drive them away.

On the other hand, if they are happy with you, they won’t hold back with selfies and recommendations about you on social media. They can be your best P.R. team.

Give to Social Causes to Get Their Attention

Corporations that give back to people in need have more appeal to Millennials who prefer to support a social cause rather than contribute to corporate greed. It humanizes and shows the values of a company.

For example, Bombas is a sock company who donates a pair of socks for every pair purchased. As they state on their website:
“Socks remain the #1 most requested clothing item at homeless shelters. So for every pair of Bombas you purchase, we donate a pair to someone in need. So far, you've made over five million small acts of human kindness possible. We can't thank you enough.” Retrieved from https://bombas.com/
Corporations such as Starbucks, Ben & Jerry’s, Method, and Whole Foods have demonstrated that social giving results in a brand reputation that attracts more business. 

Please join the conversation by commenting below on how you attract millennials to your business. 

Business Management International (BMI) is dedicated to bringing business technology to companies to help them compete. We’re not afraid to offer radically great customer service and proudly offer Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 Business Central to solve real-world business problems. www.bmiusa.com.

 

Topics: Microsoft Software, BMI Software, Customer Service

Attention Distributors: Let’s Play Does Your ERP Software Do This?

Posted by Craig Greitzer on Mar 2, 2018 5:14:50 PM



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You’ve probably heard that many traditional brick and mortar stores are closing their doors due to the changing way that shoppers choose to do business. One by one they are disappearing. Retailers have announced plans to shutter more than 6,700 stores across the U.S. this year, CNN cited retail think-tank Fung Global Retail & Technology as saying.

Studies show that placing orders online from the comfort of home is the new normal. Businesses who do not modernize their systems and operations to make it easy for customers to engage with them are finding they cannot compete with the “big box” (big-budget) companies.

Technology is leveling the playing field for small businesses to be able to compete. With eCommerce integrated with ERP accounting and operations, you can access all the tools needed to get your products into the shopping carts of your customers. Many distributors realize that the path to profitability means modernizing technology to keep and grow their customers.

Here are some questions to ask when evaluating a comprehensive solution for your online distribution business.

  1. Can we easily control what products are displayed first to our customers to encourage the selection of higher profit products?
  2. Do you have an automated way to track leaking margins? Will your system identify pricing and contracts that are outside of our margin threshold? Are you able to adjust those prices easily with a click of a button?
  3. How does your system handle purchasing decisions? Can I identify the vendor pricing and make sure the first call vendor is the least cost option? Will the system take into consideration rebates to help in the purchasing decisions? Will it easily adjust who the first call vendor should be?
  4. Does your system deal with exception-based purchasing such as wholesaler stock-outs, special orders, and inventory replenishment? Does it allow for routine purchases that do not need attention, so you don’t waste time?
  5. Are you able to minimize resources to process orders in the warehouse? Is there configurable pick/pack/ship functionality to maximize warehouse efficiency?
  6. Can you run Financial Statements at any time during the month to view your financial position?
  7. Are your Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) able to view all customer activity in one spot to answer questions quickly?
  8. Do you have EDI functionality that is embedded in the software or do you use third party vendors?
  9. Are Returns easy to process and do they reflect the correct costs to return to inventory?
  10. Can Users access the software from any device?

With fierce competition all around you, doing nothing is not an option. Please feel free to use these questions to make sure you are getting technology that will pay off with more orders, more customers and streamlined workflows.

Join the conversation by commenting below.

Business Management International (BMI) is dedicated to bringing business technology to independent distributors to help them compete. We're not afraid to offer radically great customer service and proudly offer Microsoft Dynamics NAV to solve real-world business problems. www.bmiusa.com. 

 


 

Topics: BMI, microsoft ERP, Dynamics NAV, Distribution Software

BMI Software Certified by Microsoft with CfMD

Posted by Craig Greitzer on Jan 26, 2018 1:05:32 PM

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Press Release: January 2018

BMI Software is excited to announce receipt of the prestigious CfMD (Certified for Microsoft Dynamics) designation for our software. This achievement means that our solution has met Microsoft Corporation’s highest standard for partner developed software solutions. By successfully meeting all certification requirements, BMI Software can now carry the distinct Certified for Microsoft Dynamics logo. Solutions that are Certified for Microsoft Dynamics have demonstrated development quality and compatibility with Microsoft Dynamics products. VeriTest, a service of Lionbridge, performed independent and rigorous testing on the solution. Other certification criteria include:

  • Tested for integration with the Microsoft Dynamics NAV product
  • Used and recommended by other companies
  • Professionally implemented and systematically supported

 Quote for CfMD blog-1.jpg

Please join the conversation by commenting below.

Business Management International (BMI) is dedicated to bringing business technology to independent distributors to help them compete. We're not afraid to offer radically great customer service and proudly offer Microsoft Dynamics NAV to solve real-world business problems. www.bmiusa.com. 

Topics: distribution software, Dynamics NAV, Business Software, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, BMI Software, Dynamics NAV, Distribution Software

BMI Software Certified by Microsoft with CfMD

Posted by Craig Greitzer on Jan 23, 2018 11:00:00 AM

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Press Release: January 2018

BMI Software is excited to announce receipt of the prestigious CfMD (Certified for Microsoft Dynamics) designation for our software. This achievement means that our solution has met Microsoft Corporation’s highest standard for partner developed software solutions. By successfully meeting all certification requirements, BMI Software can now carry the distinct Certified for Microsoft Dynamics logo. Solutions that are Certified for Microsoft Dynamics have demonstrated development quality and compatibility with Microsoft Dynamics products. VeriTest, a service of Lionbridge, performed independent and rigorous testing on the solution. Other certification criteria include:

  • Tested for integration with the Microsoft Dynamics NAV product
  • Used and recommended by other companies
  • Professionally implemented and systematically supported

 Quote for CfMD blog-1.jpg

Please join the conversation by commenting below.

Business Management International (BMI) is dedicated to bringing business technology to independent distributors to help them compete. We're not afraid to offer radically great customer service and proudly offer Microsoft Dynamics NAV to solve real-world business problems. www.bmiusa.com and www.bmiusa.com/bmi-software 

Topics: distribution software, Dynamics NAV, Business Software, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, BMI Software, Dynamics NAV, Distribution Software

Addicted to Holding On to Old ERP Technology?  Consider This an Intervention.

Posted by Craig Greitzer on Nov 28, 2017 10:56:18 AM

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Day-to-day demands will often distract Distributors from realizing how inefficient their outdated ERP has become. Every time you are forced to create a process outside your ERP solution, you may be losing the battle to gain more customers and prospects.

The pain of operating on old technology and unconnected data systems may be hurting you more than you know. It is not only creating manual workarounds that are error-prone; it is also affecting how your customers perceive you, and getting in the way of acquiring new business.

I recently looked at a customer's ERP system that should have been retired a long time ago. The navigation was not intuitive, and multiple screens were confusing. There was no easy way to get orders into the back office accounting from the ecommerce site.  If I wanted to look closer at a transaction, I had to jump to different modules instead of just clicking a button and seeing all the data behind the numbers.

Sometimes you are so used to doing things the hard way, that you don't even know there is an easier way. For example, when tracking down the shipping costs for an inventory item. With a modern system, you could just click on the total, and see all the landed costs that were incurred to get the item into your inventory. For a distributor with tight margins, knowing your true real-time costs is critical to offering a pricing strategy that makes a profit. In an older system without this capability, you lose sight of just how much your items cost - and don't even see it until after month-end, when it is too late.

A picture is worth a thousand words; we've all heard this adage. That's why graphical representations of your most important key performance indicators should alert you so you can take action. Exception-based data management in a modern ERP solutions  means let's just look at what needs attention so you don't waste time on what's already working.

I toured a distributor's warehouse recently and noticed that there were big screen displays scattered throughout the building so everyone, from the warehouse pickers, to the receivers and purchasers knew what was happening in real-time. Their goals were clearly visible, and alerts were flashing if a sales order triggered an Out-of-Stock  notification. Managers knew when to intervene to keep operations running smoothly.

As in any addiction, the first step to recovery from old technology is admitting you have a problem. The next step is to evaluate how you can add the technology elements that are most important and drive more business into your ecommerce carts and ultimately, your bottom line. 

Please join the conversation by commenting below.

 Business Management International (BMI) is dedicated to bringing business technology to independent distributors to help them compete. We're not afraid to offer radically great customer service and proudly offer Microsoft Dynamics NAV to solve real-world business problems. www.bmiusa.com. 

Topics: distribution software, Dynamics NAV, Business Software, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, BMI Software, Dynamics NAV, Distribution Software

What the Heck are Tokamaks? The Answer to Clean Energy? Read On!

Posted by Craig Greitzer on Nov 7, 2017 9:36:59 AM

 

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One of BMI Software’s longtime customers, Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, is doing some noteworthy research on clean energy. They are working on an alternative to radioactive options that are currently reliant on fossil fuels. The initial tests offer the possibility of a limitless supply of clean, affordable energy.

We thought you might enjoy this article about Fatima Ebrahimi, a physicist working in the lab who is doing ground-breaking research into tokamaks. What the heck are tokamaks? Read all about it in the article below. Read Button.jpg

 Business Management International (BMI) is dedicated to bringing business technology to independent distributors to help them compete. We’re not afraid to offer radically great customer service and proudly offer Microsoft Dynamics NAV to solve real world business problems. www.bmiusa.com.

We welcome your comments below.

 

Topics: BMI Software

Six Reasons Why ERP Implementations Fail.

Posted by Craig Greitzer on Oct 13, 2017 12:28:27 PM

 

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When a company searches for new ERP software for the first time, their top criteria may include price, functionality, fit to their industry, ease of use, hardware compatibility and support from their implementation partner.

Once they have some implementation experience under their belt, their priorities change dramatically. Their number one priority becomes support from their implementation partner. The difference between success and failure comes down to having the right guidance to avoid the pitfalls that comes with implementing a new business system.

Avoid These Common Mistakes :

Lack of Executive Sponsorship 

Management should convey to all employees that getting the new system up and running is an important priority. If it is not communicated from the top down, employees will not devote the attention that the project requires, and the risk of failure increases. 

Not Selecting an Internal Project Manager with the Right Skills

Ensure whoever you choose to lead the ERP implementation internally has the knowledge and authority to change internal business processes. They will be making decisions about whether customizations are required or not, so they need to part of the entire process, from selection to go-live. 

Your Employees May Block Progress 

Long-time employees may feel threatened by the new technology. They know how they do things now and have a vested interest in replicating their processes in the new system, even if those processes don’t make sense anymore. Modern ERP Software systems support best practices in accounting and operations; any modifications should provide a cost/benefit that is valuable to your organization. 

Not Keeping Focused on The Big Picture 

You’ll have complainers who resist change and don’t want to embrace new processes. If you give them the reasons for the change, you are more likely to get their cooperation. For example, “I realize this is adding an additional process to your normal workflow, but this will accelerate your month-end closing time to hours instead of days.” 

Ignoring Training 

Proper training makes a big difference in user adaption of the new ERP Software. Frustration sets in when they can’t find what they are looking for. Give your employees the gift of confidence by providing training that empowers them. 

Underfunded Implementation Budget 

The old ratio of 1:1 or 1:2 of software to services costs no longer applies. When companies move to the cloud, where the software costs consist of a smaller monthly subscription, the ratios become unrealistic. Regardless of what you pay for the ERP software, the same tasks to implement and tailor your system to work for your company still must be done. Successful implementations include a services budget that will allow your employees to thrive with the new system.

Are you in the process of evaluating an ERP solution? What are your biggest concerns about the implementation? Please comment below to continue the conversation.

Business Management International (BMI) is dedicated to bringing business technology to independent distributors to help them compete. We’re not afraid to offer radically great customer service and proudly offer Microsoft Dynamics NAV to solve real-world business problems. www.bmiusa.com and www.bmiusa.com/bmi-software.

Topics: Dynamics NAV, BMI Software

Online Distributors: Technology Can Make or Break Your Business

Posted by Craig Greitzer on Sep 6, 2017 11:00:00 AM

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I recently ordered a medical product from Amazon. I ordered it at 10 am and received it the same day at 4 pm for no additional shipping charge. Now, that is service! (Granted, I was a Prime member and pay $99 per year for free shipping on all items I buy, but I use it enough that it is worth it to me to have what I want in my hands quickly).

As an independent distributor, it may be difficult to compete with that level of service, but there are many ways you can endear yourself to customers. Finding out what is important to your customers is the first step to delivering a buying experience that brings them back for more.

Customers won’t buy it if they can’t find it - Your Search function should be on steroids.

Customers want to type in logical words and have it return what they are looking for. Sometimes they are not logical, so you need to think about how they would type words in a search with spelling errors.

  • Allow them to filter with a variety of attributes like brand, size, color, etc.
  • Make it easy for your customers to mark favorite items and come back later to order.
  • Offer suggested additional items, “customers who bought this also bought…” to make sure they are not forgetting something.
  • As a distributor, you should be able to control "first in search" e-commerce product placement to encourage purchases of products that you make the most margin on.
  • Display products you want to feature to prompt them to order something they may not even be thinking about.
  • It should be easy to find out what search terms your customers are entering on your e-commerce site so that you can drive profitable and appropriate products to the top of the search results page in order to better match what your customers are asking for.

Customers want a wide selection of products. The opportunity to integrate with Master Wholesalers’ advanced content keeps your product offering diverse, whether you are a stocking distributor or not. If you offer Avery Labels, offer all sizes available. Maybe the label order is a small part of a much larger order, so don’t drive them somewhere else that has a better variety in stock.

Customers want to pay the way they want to pay. It is proven that every barrier you put in the way of a customer doing business with you will work. For example, If they want to pay with AMEX, don’t tell them you only take Visa. If it is too hard to manage the fees and maintenance of AMEX, then offer an app like PayPal or something like it. The point is that there are many retail online stores they can go to who give them those options. Break down those barriers and let your customers in.

Customers love Discounts and Promos unless they are inaccurate. Integration with your ERP system including finance, sales, procurement, and inventory is essential. You can do more business and avoid inevitable errors if you eliminate manual changes between your eCommerce site and your back office operations. One minor mistake in pricing could hurt your business and credibility.

Customers get mad when you deliver the wrong item - in fact, you just might drive them away. Good warehouse processes start with a robust, comprehensive software platform that connects your operations. If you are running on an old, clunky software platform that you constantly patch with band-aids to keep your business afloat, it will be difficult to compete with companies that offer modern integrated technology.

Additionally, put processes in place to get the outcomes you want. I heard from an analyst who visited a leading distributor’s warehouse to interview the shipping team as part of a study of their operations. There was one employee who was literally running to grab stock, pop it in a box and ship it out. He didn’t have time to stop and talk. Finally, they asked, “Why are you moving so fast?” The answer, “I get 25 cents bonus for each correctly shipped order. The more orders I ship with no errors, the more I make.”

What issues matter to your online customers? Please comment below to continue the conversation.

Business Management International (BMI) is dedicated to bringing business technology to independent distributors to help them compete. We’re not afraid to offer radically great customer service and proudly offer Microsoft Dynamics NAV to solve real world business problems. www.bmiusa.com and www.bmiusa.com/bmi-software.

Topics: BMI Software, BMI OP Revelation, Office Products

Kinder and Cheaper Robots Bring Automation To Distributors

Posted by Craig Greitzer on Aug 25, 2017 2:20:59 PM

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Robots are all around us. They are delivering room service, vacuuming your floors, and even showing up for work to stock shelves. Restaurants are placing small monitors on tables so customers can re-order drinks and pay their bill. 

When you order a drink from McDonalds, workers place empty cups under drink dispensers and they automatically fill them up to the top while employees do other tasks. In the healthcare industry robots are operating with precision on human beings as physicians instruct them from another room.

You have probably heard about the electronic labor force at Amazon; There are thousands of robots in warehouses across the country. Robots made by Kiva Systems (Amazon bought the company for $775 million in 2012), are being used to better handle the avalanche of orders placed every second. The robots bring shelves of goods from storage and carry them straight to human workers to process.

I read that Amazon employees were complaining about walking 15 miles a day to retrieve goods for orders; they don’t have any problem with robots handling that part of their job. Also, with the introduction of delivery drones into the supply chain, (being tested now), a new level of customer service is possible.

As a small business owner, you may think robotics are too expensive for your organization. But times are changing, and there are inexpensive robots (as low as $20,000) called collaborative robots (cobots) that are working with employees instead of replacing them. These robots have a smaller footprint, are very mobile and are considerably kinder to humans. Armed with safety sensors that keep them from running into bodies, the little bots are able to perform a variety of tasks.

Unlike their ancestors, the giant industrial robots bolted to a single location who work assembly lines, these cobots roam free on warehouse floors. It is interesting that studies show that small businesses who use robots increase productivity, which in turn requires them to hire more humans to handle additional business and complete tasks that robots cannot handle.

For small businesses, keeping margins low is the path to profitability. There is no need to outsource work to foreign lands and cheaper labor if they can work more efficiently in their own warehouses. Delegating repetitive work to cobots on the night shift means when employees come to work in the morning, their work is ready to process.

Warehouse robots may be the least sexy members of the robot family, until you view the bottom line. The market research firm Tractica predicts that companies around the world will spend $22.4 billion on warehouse robots by 2021.

The old adage, make it cheaper, better or faster still stands. Leveraging technology to save costs and reduce errors is a wise path for any size business; however small businesses need to think of innovative ways to compete with big box distributors.

Please share in the comments below how you view robot technology and if it has a place in your small business.

Business Management International (BMI) is dedicated to bringing business technology to independent distributors to help them compete. We’re not afraid to offer radically great customer service and proudly offer Microsoft Dynamics NAV to solve real world business problems. www.bmiusa.com

Topics: Dynamics NAV, ecommerce

Five eCommerce Blunders that Online Distributors Can't Afford to Make

Posted by Craig Greitzer on Aug 17, 2017 5:05:52 PM

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In the course of my business, I have the opportunity to speak with many online distributors. I found that some of them suffer from common mistakes with their eCommerce platform - mistakes that can be fixed.

 eCommerce is the lifeblood of online distributors. If not attended to, these mistakes can turn off customers and drive them away from your business. I read that over half of online customers have experienced problems with their purchases within the past year.

 Here is a list of some common blunders and how to fix them:

 No. 1: Choosing an ecommerce platform without doing adequate research.

Something as important as connecting with your customers shouldn’t be relegated to the back burner. Just reading a list of functionality in a brochure is not enough to verify if the platform will work for your business. We all know that once you get your hands on the new software, suddenly your “assumptions” about how you thought the software would work may be a big wakeup call and give you a bad case of buyer’s remorse.  

Create a list of the functionality that your business requires like:

  • First-in-search product positioning
  • Credit card processing
  • Online order status
  • Online returns
  • Upsell and accessory options
  • Order history / Easy re-order
  • Integrations to back office accounting/ERP

Consider these questions:

  • Is the cart easy to use?
  • Can you get support when you need it?
  • Are there positive reviews for the product?

No 2: Ignoring Security Concerns

If you want customers to buy from you, don’t scare them away. Studies show that up to 25% of users will stop an online purchase because of security concerns.

Users need to know that their information is safe and protected. Smaller eCommerce sites overlook how important a trust indicator is for the success of online business. A digital certificate communicates to customers that your site is authentic and safe to use.

If you outsource to third party providers, make sure they provide strong security best practices, verified through industry certifications and that they secure their own data with https.

No. 3: Clunky Site Navigation

The quickest way to drive a customer to your competition is to make your site so difficult to navigate that they can’t find what they want quickly.

Make sure your search is optimized. A customer should be able to find the products they are looking for with minimal clicks.

Review your analytics and note where your customers are dropping off. Continually optimize your eCommerce site base on your findings.

No. 4: Eliminate Uncertainty

Since a customer can’t see and inspect their purchases before buying, you can ease their uncertainty in other ways. Failing to give accurate or helpful product descriptions leads a customer to order the wrong product, or they may just give up on ordering altogether.

Include as much information as possible in your description. Placing information such as materials, sizing, colors, and instructions for use, how to care for, will assist your customer in deciding if this is the right product for them. Many master distributors and manufacturers provide enhanced content. Your site should be capable of taking advantage of that advanced content.

If your customer gets all their questions answered, they will order from you. Another benefit: You will reduce returns and customer dissatisfaction for your eCommerce store.

 No. 5: Poor Checkout Design

Don’t ask for information beyond what is needed for the transaction as that will frustrate your customers. Your process should be easy and painless.

If you have multiple checkout pages, you are giving visitors more reasons to click out. I have heard it said, if it is harder to pay for the item then find the item, there is something wrong. Use one page that offers account creation/guest checkout, shipping, billing and credit card information.

What challenges do you have as an eCommerce distributor? Please comment below.

Business Management International (BMI) is dedicated to bringing business technology to independent distributors to help them compete. We’re not afraid to offer radically great customer service and proudly offer Microsoft Dynamics NAV to solve real world business problems. www.bmiusa.com.

 

Topics: Dynamics NAV, ecommerce