BMI Microsoft Dynamics NAV Blog

Your eCommerce Platform is "Giving It All It's Got", But It Just Can't Keep Up.

Posted by Craig Greitzer on Jul 10, 2018 2:23:06 PM

 

BMI Software

Recently I visited an Office Products Distributor who talked about the pains of growing his business. He let me know that growth is not always pretty and has become quite a challenge.

Maybe this scenario is familiar to you. You’re selling, and have done the best you can with your eCommerce site and your starter ERP solution, squeezing everything out of them that is possible. But you’ve hit a wall, better known as a sales plateau. When your revenue stops growing, there is little doubt that you need to act soon and step-up your capabilities.

The well-known adage that you need to deliver products that are better, faster, and cheaper in order to succeed in the marketplace is never more relevant. It may be time to take advantage of the power of a modern, integrated system that makes everything easier for your organization through automation. Don’t wait until your eCommerce platform breaks under the strain, because then it may be too late.

Here are some ways to identify the problems that indicate you are on an eCommerce and ERP platform that may be holding you back:

  • Your customer service is not getting high marks. Incorrect pricing, errors in shipping, stock outs and slow responses are causing complaints that drive away business.
  • You need better tools to analyze customer pricing and contracts to look for leaking margins.
  • Your warehouse is inefficient and becomes a bottleneck.
  • Your vendor pricing is difficult to manage and requires manual intervention, which affects productivity.
  • It is increasingly difficult to manage complex product catalogs.
  • You have some innovative business ideas but cannot “make them so” due to your rigid infrastructure.
  • You lack functionality such as currency conversions to expand to a global market. If your platform is limited, it is too difficult to launch into new markets. Don’t let Geography challenges stunt your growth.

All of the above can be solved with a more robust eCommerce platform and a comprehensive, made-for-your industry ERP. When you start experiencing the above problems, it is time to look for more power “under the hood.”

To assist you, please review this list of features and benefits that change the game for supply distributors. 

Features And Benefits that Boost ROI 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 with robust eCommerce to solve real-world business problems. www.bmiusa.com.

Topics: Microsoft Dynamics NAV, mobile e-commerce, microsoft Dynamics, BMI Software, ecommerce

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

PPPL_1.jpg

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