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Craig Greitzer

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Don't Let Your Competition Automate You Out Of Business

Posted by Craig Greitzer on Jul 27, 2017 3:58:07 PM

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Fierce competition for sales and equally as important, efficiency, force business owners to automate as a way to be profitable. Now more than ever before, offering your customers a memorable experience when doing business with you entices them to come back for more.

Today’s instant gratification world means you don’t get a second chance to capture business. A customer who visits your eCommerce site has no patience for sloppy processes that don’t communicate what they want to know: how many, when and where they can expect items on order to be in hand.

Small to medium businesses with budget considerations may make a stab at improving selected areas of their operations. For example, they implement a stand-alone warehouse system so they can pick and ship more efficiently. Lacking integration to their back office software, they leave gaping holes in their operations. The back office does not know that a widget is out of stock, so there is a delay in replenishment. By the time the customer hears about it, not only are their expectations unmet, but a hard-fought-for relationship may go south.

Or, a distributor may implement an eCommerce solution that has to be tediously updated manually by their staff to make sure prices, discounts, and shipping locations are in synch with their ERP system. As the business grows, it becomes a nightmare to keep the data correct, and errors are sure to happen.

I heard the story of a distributor of music CDs who was doing business with Amazon. He was looking at a proposal for a new ERP system to replace his disconnected legacy system and tells how his hand was shaking as he committed to buying the automated solution. Was he going to bring his company down with this investment? Would he be able to see the ROI fast enough to justify the spend?

One month after the company was operating on the new system, Amazon notified all vendors that if they gave Amazon access to their inventory directly, the vendors who did this would be moved up in priority status on Amazon's vendor order fulfillment ranking. Because of the open technology of the solution, the distributor was able to give Amazon direct access to their inventory within three days. They moved from position 8 to position 3, and their orders soared. Within three weeks the additional orders paid for his ERP purchase. This is the kind of ROI that automation can bring.

Business owners with vision recognize they need to do more with less. If you are operating on outdated technology, your competitive edge is waning. Successful businesses prioritize investment in automation because what follows are outstanding customer experiences that lead to revenue growth.

What are the barriers to automation for your company? Please comment below to join the conversation. 

BMI supports Microsoft Dynamics NAV ERP and offers end-to-end solutions for organizations who want to automate their operations.

Topics: Dynamics NAV, Accounting Software, Business Software, Microsoft Software, BMI Software

EPIC Business Essentials Announce Record Q1 Results

Posted by Craig Greitzer on Jun 29, 2017 12:17:19 PM

EPIC Business Essentials, the national and regional accounts joint venture between Independent Stationers and Trimega, last month announced record results for the first quarter of 2017.

The organization said it saw growth in its key categories-commercial, state-local, governmenta/educational, federal and healthcare-versus the same period last year. Sales were up over 10% with federal sales leading the way, up over 30%, EPIC reported.

"We are very pleased with the turnaround year-over-year for the joint venture," commented IS president and CEO Mike Gentile. "Additional efficiencies through our industry-leading, totally integrated BMI Software ordering platform/ORDERPOINT are enabling EPIC end-users to experience a world-class platform, while enjoying the high touch local service levels that only the independent dealer channel can provide."

Added Trimega president Mike Maggio, "Not only is EPIC growing its business, we have a record number of dealers-over 300-with a record number of end-users-over 90,000 participating, and those numbers continue to grow. We are pleased to see our dealers and customers continue to embrace the model."

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Topics: BMI Software, Dynamics NAV, Distribution Software

Supply Chain Automation Interview

Posted by Craig Greitzer on Jun 8, 2017 12:43:12 PM

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As a distributor, you face unique challenges that generic business solutions do not address well. Recently, Craig Greitzer, VP of Sales for BMI Software, was interviewed by the "Find Accounting Software" organization because of the technology BMI brings to solve distributors unique pains. Craig discusses the issues and offers insights gained from working with top distributors. Click here to read the original interview in its entirety.

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Topics: distribution software, Navision, Dynamics NAV, BMI Software, Supply Chain

BMI Client, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Makes News

Posted by Craig Greitzer on Aug 30, 2016 3:43:16 PM

Spherical tokamaks could provide path to limitless fusion energy

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Credit: Elle Starkman/PPPL Office of Communications

Creating "a star in a jar" – replicating on Earth the way the sun and stars create energy through fusion – requires a "jar" that can contain superhot plasma and is low-cost enough to be built around the world. Such a device would provide humankind with near limitless energy, ending dependence on fossil fuels for generating electricity.

Physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) say that a model for such a "jar," or fusion device, already exists in experimental form – the compact spherical tokamaks at PPPL and Culham, England. These tokamaks, or fusion reactors, could provide the design for possible next steps in fusion energy – a Fusion Nuclear Science Facility (FNSF) that would develop reactor components and also produce electricity as a pilot plant for a commercial fusion power station. 

New options for future plants

The detailed proposal for such a "jar" is described in a paper published in August 2016 in the journal Nuclear Fusion. "We are opening up new options for future plants," said lead author Jonathan Menard, program director for the recently completed National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade (NSTX-U) at PPPL. The $94-million upgrade of the NSTX, financed by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science, began operating last year.

Spherical tokamaks are compact devices that are shaped like cored apples, compared with the bulkier doughnut-like shape of conventional tokamaks. The increased power of the upgraded PPPL machine and the soon-to-be completed MAST Upgrade device moves them closer to commercial fusion plants that will create safe, clean and virtually limitless energy without contributing greenhouse gases that warm the Earth and with no long-term radioactive waste.

The NSTX-U and MAST facilities "will push the physics frontier, expand our knowledge of high temperature plasmas, and, if successful, lay the scientific foundation for fusion development paths based on more compact designs," said PPPL Director Stewart Prager.

The devices face a number of physics challenges. For example, they must control the turbulence that arises when superhot plasma particles are subjected to powerful electromagnetic fields. They must also carefully control how the plasma particles interact with the surrounding walls to avoid possible disruptions that can halt fusion reactions if the plasma becomes too dense or impure. Researchers at PPPL, Culham, and elsewhere are looking at ways of solving these challenges for the next generation of fusion devices.

The fourth state of matter

The spherical design produces high-pressure plasmas – the superhot charged gas also known as the fourth state of matter that fuels fusion reactions – with relatively low and inexpensive magnetic fields. This unique capability points the way to a possible next generation of fusion experiments to complement ITER, the international tokamak that 35 nations including the United States are building in France to demonstrate the feasibility of fusion power. ITER is a doughnut-shaped tokamak that will be largest in the world when completed within the next decade.

"The main reason we research spherical tokamaks is to find a way to produce fusion at much less cost than conventional tokamaks require," said Ian Chapman, the newly appointed chief executive of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority and leader of the UK's magnetic confinement fusion research programme at the Culham Science Centre.

The 43-page Nuclear Fusion paper describes how the spherical design can provide the next steps in fusion energy. A key issue is the size of the hole in the center of the tokamak that holds and shapes the plasma. In spherical tokamaks, this hole can be half the size of the hole in conventional tokamaks, enabling control of the plasma with relatively low magnetic fields.

The smaller hole could be compatible with a blanket system for the FNSF that would breed tritium, a rare isotope or form of hydrogen. Tritium will fuse with deuterium, another isotope of hydrogen, to produce fusion reactions in next-step tokamaks.

Superconducting magnets for pilot plants

For pilot plants, the authors call for superconducting magnets to replace the primary copper magnets in the FNSF. Superconducting magnets can be operated far more efficiently than copper magnets but require thicker shielding. However, recent advances in high-temperature superconductors could lead to much thinner superconducting magnets that would require less space and reduce considerably the size and cost of the machine.

Included in the paper is a description of a device called a "neutral beam injector" that will start and sustain plasma current without relying on a heating coil in the center of the tokamak. Such a coil is not suitable for continuous long-term operation. The neutral beam injector will pump fast-moving neutral atoms into the plasma and will help optimize the magnetic field that confines and controls the superhot gas.

Taken together, the paper describes concepts that strongly support a spherical facility to develop fusion components and create on Earth "a star in a jar"; the upgraded NSTX and MAST facilities will provide crucial data for determining the best path for ultimately generating electricity from fusion.

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PPPL, on Princeton University's Forrestal Campus in Plainsboro, N.J., is devoted to creating new knowledge about the physics of plasmas — ultra-hot, charged gases — and to developing practical solutions for the creation of fusion energy. Results of PPPL research have ranged from a portable nuclear materials detector for anti-terrorist use to universally employed computer codes for analyzing and predicting the outcome of fusion experiments. The Laboratory is managed by the University for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science, which is the largest single supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.

PPPL uses a Microsoft Dynamics based ERP software system designed by BMI for their project, accounting and reporting requirements.

For more information, please visit science.energy.gov. 

Topics: BMI, microsoft Dynamics, Microsoft Software, BMI Software

Electronic Document Management In Dynamics NAV 2016

Posted by Craig Greitzer on Aug 23, 2016 9:52:34 AM

Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016 has been released with many new features in Enterprise Functionality for Wholesale Distribution and Manufacturing companies.  One of the most exciting new functions is Electronic Document Management.

Electronic Documents

This new enterprise feature allows you to capture and store invoices and credit memos as incoming documents in Microsoft Dynamics NAV, use them to create corresponding purchase documents or journal lines, take advantage of new workflow for approvals, and allow auditors direct access to source documents.

As an alternative to e-mailing as file attachments, you can send and receive documents electronically. By electronic document is meant a standard-compliant file representing a business document, such as an invoice from a vendor that you can receive and convert to a purchase invoice in Microsoft Dynamics NAV. The exchange of electronic documents between two trading partners is performed by an external provider of document exchange services.

The generic version of Microsoft Dynamics NAV supports sending and receiving electronic invoices and credit memos in the PEPPOL format, which is supported by the largest providers of document exchange services. A major provider of document exchange services is preconfigured and ready to be set up for your company. To provide support for other electronic document formats, you must create new data exchange definitions using the Data Exchange Framework.

From PDF or image files representing incoming documents, you can have an external OCR service (Optical Character Recognition) create electronic documents that you can then convert to document records in Microsoft Dynamics NAV, like for electronic PEPPOL documents. For example, when you receive an invoice in PDF format from your vendor, you can send it to the OCR service from the Incoming Documents window. After a few seconds, you receive the file back as an electronic invoice that can be converted to a purchase invoice for the vendor. If you send the file to the OCR service by e-mail, then a new incoming document record is automatically created when you receive the electronic document back.

To send, for example, a sales invoice as an electronic PEPPOL document, you select the Electronic Document option in the Post and Send dialog box. From here, you can also set up the customer’s default document sending profile. First, you must set up various master data, such as company information, customers, items, and units of measure. These are used to identify the business partners and items when you convert data in fields in Microsoft Dynamics NAV to elements in the outgoing document file. The data conversion and sending of the PEPPOL sales invoice are performed by dedicated code units and XMLports, represented by the PEPPOL electronic document format.

To receive, for example, an invoice from a vendor as an electronic PEPPOL document, you process the document in the Incoming Documents window to convert it to a purchase invoice in Microsoft Dynamics NAV. You can either set up the Job Queue feature to process such files regularly or you can start the process manually. First, you must set up various master data, such as company information, vendors, items, and units of measure. These are used to identify the business partners and items when you convert data in elements in the incoming document file to fields in Microsoft Dynamics NAV. The receiving and data conversion of PEPPOL invoices are performed by the Data Exchange Framework, represented by the PEPPOL - Invoice data exchange definition.

To receive, for example, an invoice as an electronic OCR document, you process it as when you receive an electronic PEPPOL document. The receiving and conversion of electronic documents from OCR are performed by the Data Exchange Framework, represented by the OCR – Invoice data exchange definition.

 

Topics: Navision, dynamics nav 2016, Microsoft Dynamcs NAV 2016, microsoft ERP

Source Office & Technology Goes Live With BMI Software

Posted by Craig Greitzer on Jul 12, 2016 12:53:09 PM

We are pleased to announce another successful go-live of BMI Software at Source Office & Technology located in Golden, Colorado. 

Source had 4 different systems, some of which were home grown, to handle their various lines of business along with a full IT department to support it all. Their primary goal with the BMI system was to integrate all of these divisions into a single system which will allow them to better focus on the growth of their company. 

Compared to other BMI Office Product dealer projects, there were relatively few modifications required.  This is a true testament to how much functionality has been added to our solution over the years. 

Our deepest thanks to the Source team for their efforts during this time and, as always, to the BMI implementation team for their tireless efforts over the July 4th holiday.

 

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Topics: BMI, BMI Software, BMI OP Revelation, Office Products

Garvey's Office Products Anniversary

Posted by Craig Greitzer on May 12, 2016 5:17:50 PM

Ninety Years and Counting for IL Dealer Garvey’s Office Products

(Reprinted with permission from the Independent Dealer e-zine)

 

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The Garvey family (from left to right): Kevin Garvey, Bernie Garvey Jr., Sheila Gartland, Ken Garvey, Bernie Garvey Sr. and Dan Garvey.

 

It was champagne time in Niles, Illinois last month, as Bernie Garvey and his team at Garvey’s Office Products celebrated their 90th year of service to the Chicago-area business community.

 

The dealership was founded in 1926 as Schiller & Schmidt by two printing sales reps. In 1954, Bernard Garvey, Sr. came on board as a sales rep and 12 years later, he bought the company.

 

Fast forward to today and Garvey’s is a thriving $40 million business, with some 90 employees operating out of an 85,000 sq. ft. distribution center in Niles and a product mix that covers the full spectrum of office needs from office supplies and furniture to breakroom supplies, document finishing, promotional products and more.

 

The company today is in the safe hands of the second generation of the Garvey family, with Bernie serving as president; one brother, Ken, running inside sales and larger accounts; two other brothers, Kevin and Dan, in outside sales, and sister, Sheila Gartland, handling marketing and IT.

 

The dealership has been enjoying a good year so far, Bernie reports, with furniture sales particularly strong and new business coming from a number of larger accounts that had previously been in the hands of big box competitors.

 

Our congratulations to the Garvey family and the entire Garvey team. Here’s to the next 90 years!

 

Garvey's uses BMI OP Revelation Software to run their dealership.  Click here to learn more about BMI Software.

 

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Topics: Navision, Dynamics NAV, OP Revelation, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, E-Commerce, BMI Software, BMI OP Revelation, Office Products

Southwest School & Office Supply - BMI Software

Posted by Craig Greitzer on Apr 27, 2016 11:04:02 AM

The following article is from the March 2016 issue of OPI Magazine (with permission)

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Southwest School & Office Supply went live with BMI on April 13, 2015. Aja Stickler, bid and marketing manager at the Jurupa Valley, California dealership, remembers the exact date as she says it is burned in her memory.

Southwest had been on its previous system for close to 20 years when it received notice that the system was being discontinued. That prompted an intense period of investigation and development to assure that the technology selected would meet the dealership’s business demands as the largest school supply dealer in California.

“BMI had what we needed and they were there for us during the whole conversion,” says Stickler. “Through every step of the process representatives from BMI have been available and they know what they are doing,” she says.

BMI’s employees made the difference when it came to training and working with Southwest employees. “They have some incredible programmers on staff who can walk you through the system and make you feel comfortable,” says Stickler. No matter what request she made, they never failed to come up with a solution, she adds.

The new system is cloud-based, which Stickler says is a good choice as the server they had been using was in need of maintenance. “We went with a provider called Rackspace, which was a recommendation from another BMI customer. Rackspace offers a computing infrastructure that hosts complex applications that run the latest data engines and e-commerce platforms.

“From a business standpoint BMI has enabled us to streamline operations,” explains Stickler. For example, warehouse operations have always been closely monitored but now that’s an automated process instead of paying someone to manually track how many lines a picker picked in a shift.

The system also has an iPhone-based proof of delivery feature that confirms the delivery process so that if there is ever any issue, personnel at Southwest can go in and see the signature and photo that confirms the delivery. “It also links to our ecommerce site so our customers can go online and look up their order history,” Stickler adds.

Another practical feature is the first-in-search offering that BMI offers. Because Southwest buys 90% of its inventory direct it didn’t make sense to utilize the search engine that its wholesaler offered. “We have over 6,000 of our own SKUs, and we wanted them to come up first,” says Stickler.

For more information about BMI Software for Business Product Distributors, click here.

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Topics: BMI Software, BMI OP Revelation, Office Products, Busines Products

EPIC Regional Meetings

Posted by Craig Greitzer on Apr 18, 2016 6:30:17 PM

BMI was very happy to take part in the recent EPIC Business Essentials regional meetings.  EPIC Business Essentials is a joint venture between Point Nationwide and Independent Stationers to serve national accounts and the customers are serviced by local Business Product dealers.  EPIC has been a great business partner to BMI.  They gave us time to talk about our solution, OP Revelation, and we showed some previews of our new back office and front end E-Commerce version coming out this summer.  There was a lot of excitement, especially regarding the new BMI E-Commerce site, and we were pleased to receive positive feedback. 

Coinciding with the regional meetings, we also recently re-designed EPIC's "Order Point" E-Commerce site and we were very happy about the reaction that site recevied from the audience.  We look forward to a successful launch of the updated EPIC site in the very near future.  For more information, contact us at info@bmiusa.com, call toll-free at 888-580-8382 or check out our page for Office Product distributors at http://www.bmiusa.com/industry-expertise/office-products-distribution.

 

Topics: EPIC, BMI, E-Commerce

Partner Power Becomes Pipol

Posted by Craig Greitzer on Dec 23, 2015 2:48:52 PM

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For the past 10  years, BMI has had a partnership with Partner Power to deliver international Microsoft Dynamics NAV ERP projects. Partner Power has recently been through a major transformation to provide better and broader services to international customers. To support the new direction of the company Partner Power has changed names to Pipol. Pipol is providing all the same services as in the past, plus a lot more. By adding business and technology consulting to their international ERP implementation capabilities, Pipol has added an important people dimension to their profile and offerings, and the new name “Pipol” is the symbol of that. Pipol has restructured their global partner channel into a committed partnership alliance with more specialized partners to extend their services to their customers with the best resources and solutions available on the market. Pipol has created new implementation models, which makes it much more flexible for customers to choose the implementation model that is providing most value to them. The news and announcements around Pipol will not have any practical impact on our partnership. We will continue working as a local representative of Pipol in our country and keep collaborating with Pipol on international opportunities. What’s more, we are very excited about the enhanced capabilities, new offerings and future cooperation opportunities with Pipol.

Please invest a few minutes of your time to check out the new Pipol website, and get in touch with us at info@bmiusa.com if you have any questions.

 

Topics: Dynamics NAV, Microsoft Dynamics NAV