Dear Clients,

A bullwhip is pretty cool in the hands of a fedora-wearing archeologist uncovering the secrets of the ages, but on the receiving end… Unfortunately, inventory control just happens to be on the receiving end of a similar bullwhip.

The phenomenon, originally documented more than 25 years ago, is that even with relatively flat end-user demand for a product (diapers in the classic example from Procter & Gamble), the farther you move up the supply chain, the more variable demand becomes for the components—and then the raw materials—because sales projections and blanket purchase orders don’t have visibility to the end-user demand so they’re trying to anticipate future unknown demand.

As well they should, since no-one DOES know the future or have perfect information. But then each slightly-incorrect-projection assumption gets baked into the projection of the layer beyond that, until… slightly-incorrect-projection layered upon slightly-incorrect-projection results in a not-nearly-correct-projection farther up the chain, and then THERE’S INVENTORY PROBLEMS for the entire chain: out-of-stock or delayed shipments to customers, production delays for missing raw materials, additional cost for expedited shipments and overtime, and the list goes on.

This has been exacerbated over the last couple years by the shipping delays forcing increasingly longer inventory forecast projection windows, and purchase orders stretching often twice as long as previously, and in-house labor availability negatively impacting ability to manufacture and distribute.

Now—CRACK!—on top of those longer acquisition times comes falling consumer demand, causing inventory overstocks at many businesses, which we all know the results of: drastic price reductions to offset storage costs and recover tied-up capital. And woe betide if the inventory is perishable or otherwise time-sensitive…

Well, now that we’ve opined on The Inventory Bullwhip—and how we’re now dealing with a double-impact of extenuating circumstances—what can we do about it?

First is to be aware of the situation. Businesses that are “on cruise control” are in trouble… Your purchasing windows may have been quietly adjusted with no visible impact to your business. However, the current decreasing demand will have a greater negative business impact than at any previous time because of exactly that expanded purchasing window you’ve already absorbed.

Trite to say, “be better forecasters,” which is the shortest answer but that can be improved with serious communication on the demand with your customers as that’s the first link in the chain where incorrect projections arise.

We have no secrets on how to predict the future, but there are reports in your system (such as the Inventory Reorder Report in AccountMate) that provide immediate visibility to current inventory quantities on-hand, availability (quantities not already committed to sales orders) and on-order (expected incoming purchase orders). This is the place to begin your analysis, followed by concerted focus on adjusting inventory re-order points and quantities.

Sadly, I’m sure The Inventory Bullwhip is going to be fiercely cracking for the foreseeable future!

 

In other news…

If you run AccountMate Payroll, we’ll be in touch very soon regarding the Annual Payroll Tax Subscription—with the usual “10% early payment” discount.

 

Regards,

Kevin E. Stroud
kestrou@nexlan.com
NexLAN, LLC
https://nexlan.com 

Sept. 28 Webinar—FMIS Fixed Assets Management System for AccountMate

Would you like to simplify and consolidate your asset tracking, depreciation calculations, amortization and asset-related tax management, and asset location and maintenance details?

We introduced FMIS Fixed Assets Management, a robust third-party add-on for AccountMate, last month here. FMIS is compatible with AccountMate SQL and SQL/Express V11 and above, and it’s highly customizable if needed.

AccountMate Corp. has scheduled an FMIS webinar for AccountMate users on Sept. 28 12:00 — 1:00 CT, where you can get an overview of FMIS and see it in action, to decide whether integrated asset management is something you want to explore for your business.

Register here for the FMIS Webinar.

    Directed Paperless Picking in Acumatica

    Acumatica has some particularly nice features to help warehouse teams get their orders out the door efficiently, while sharing up-to-the-minute picking status information.

    It’s based on the easy ability to use Acumatica from mobile devices, including internet-enabled handheld warehouse scanners.

    Here are some highlights of potential warehouse efficiencies—and an increased ability to ensure high-priority shipments to customers when needed.

    Directed picking

    • You can prioritize sales orders in the picking queue, as well as change the picking priority or remove items from queue.
    • Assign pickers to orders manually. This is very cool: Or—when a picker is ready to start, they can scan their own GPS location. If their manager hasn’t assigned them a pick list, Acumatica will assign them the next highest-priority pick list. If there are several lists with the same priority level, the system will assign one that contains items nearer to the picker’s location in the warehouse.
    • Pickers can follow optimized picking routes calculated by Acumatica. Their mobile app displays the route as they traverse bin to bin, and upon arrival shows how many items to pick from each bin.
    • With directed picking, it’s easy for your newest pickers to get up to speed and work with high accuracy rates right away.

    Picking queue visibility

    • You can see the assigned picker and the current status of items picked by refreshing the picking queue screen. It also shows the current path length covered so far along each picking route, and the amount of time the order has been in the picking queue. Refresh the screen to get an updated status.
    • Better yet—click the Watch Queue button to see continuous live updates of the picking queue. This can be displayed on a large screen in the warehouse, and shared with other colleagues in Acumatica.  Completed pick lists automatically drop off the picking queue in Watch mode.

    We like to make sure that our clients—including newer employees at our clients—are aware of the “sizzle” features available in their flexible systems. Like directed paperless picking in Acumatica. If you have questions, reach out as always.

    AccountMate Classes Coming Up

    1. Payroll Module: September 12-16, 2022—Still a few days left to join!

    Are you new to doing payroll in AccountMate? Or would you like an overview of all that’s offered in AccountMate Payroll?

    The beefiest module in AccountMate is the Payroll module because there are so many details and options in a company payroll these days. If you’re a payroll manager or specialist, it’s great to learn about the full range of what’s possible with the module, so you’re knowledgeable when ideas and changes are being discussed in your company. The payroll class is offered once per year by AccountMate corporate and, sorry, isn’t included in the free class seats of an active Lifecycle Maintenance agreement.

    Course overview

    Course outline

    Course schedule

    2. Core AccountMate Modules: October 6 – November 10, 2022

    This 6-week online class has 2 sessions per week, covering nearly a dozen core modules, and is excellent for new hires in your company—especially since registration is included in the active Lifecycle Maintenance agreement.

    There’s lots of flexibility in how you can take the course and how you can make it fit your schedule. Take some of it (for example, just a module or two that you want to learn) or the entire series of sessions; take it all at once or chip away at it now and into next year; sign up one person at your company, or multiple people—or divide and conquer to cover the sessions.

    See details:

    Course overview

    Course outline

    Course schedule

    Please send us an email with any questions or to register for these classes.

    AccountMate Tech Note: Using the Audit Trail to Improve Internal Controls

    The AccountMate Audit Trail feature assists companies in achieving effective internal controls. The Audit Trail feature allows you to track each user who amends a transaction or a master record in AccountMate and provides the ability to track the date when each record was last amended. It also allows tracking of each user who accesses certain functions in the Administrator program to provide the ability to track the date when each function was last accessed.

    Article #1296: Using the AccountMate Audit Trail to Improve Internal Controls outlines the procedures for setting up and purging the audit trail in AccountMate. This document also discusses the effects of tracking and purging audit trails as well as the reports that provide information about the audit trail settings and records. 

    AccountMate Tech Note: Guidelines for Assigning Access Rights in AccountMate

    The main objective of setting up access rights is to provide segregation of duties. Access rights determine the functions a person is authorized to use. Rights should be assigned based on the task or tasks the individual is required to perform. Proper assignment of access rights is necessary to ensure data security. In a worst-case scenario, incorrect assignment of rights may allow a person to record fraudulent transactions.

    Article #1082: Guidelines for Assigning Access Rights in AccountMate provides an example of business cycles used in a retail business, the various functions under each cycle, the steps necessary to set up rights, and the features used in setting up these rights. For each function, a recommended set of rights in AccountMate is presented. Remember, these are general guidelines and are based on a retail business such as the National Office Supply, Inc.; you can customize the guidelines to fit your particular type of business.

    AccountMate Technical Tips

    Versions: AM12 for SQL and Express
    AM11 for SQL and Express
    AM10 for SQL and Express

    Module: SM

    Q: Is there a report that shows who issued or printed computer checks in AccountMate?

    A: No report shows who printed computer checks; however, you can set up an audit trail for the AP Check File (APCHCK). If the audit trail is turned on for the AP Check File (APCHCK) file, then the Audit Trail Transaction Log in the AccountMate Administrator program will show you who issued the computer checks.

    The AP Check File (APCHCK) is in the Audit Trail Setup By Table function in the AccountMate Administrator program.

    Read Tech Note #1296 Using the AccountMate Audit Trail to Improve Internal Controls to learn more about the Audit Trail feature.

    ■ ■ ■

    Versions: AM12 for SQL, Express, and LAN
    AM11 for SQL and Express
    AM10 for SQL, Express, and LAN
    AM9 for LAN

    Module: PO

    Q: I amended a purchase order by changing the warehouse of a line item. After I entered the new warehouse, I noticed that the line item’s Unit Cost changed. Why?

    A: The following are the default unit costs used by AccountMate when you create or amend a purchase order, listed according to their priority in the costing hierarchy:

    1. Inventory Vendor Price – This will be used regardless of which warehouse is entered for as long as the item + vendor is the same.

    2. Last Received Cost – This will be used regardless of which warehouse is entered for as long as the item + vendor is the same and the purchase order is within the expiry period.

    3. Average Cost – Each warehouse has its own average cost for the inventory item. The average cost in the warehouse will be used.

    4. Zero – This will be used if this is the first time the item has transactions in the newly entered warehouse.

    For more information about the costing hierarchy, see Tech Note #1180: Costing Hierarchy in the Purchase Order Module.

    ■ ■ ■

    Versions: AM12 for SQL and Express
    AM11 for SQL and Express
    AM10 for SQL and Express

    Module: SM

    Q: Why is the Audit Trail tab disabled in the Journal Entry Transactions function?

    A: The Audit Trail tab in the transactions window is enabled only if the following conditions exist:

    • Audit trail is set up for the function (i.e., Journal Entry Transactions function)
    • The Amend option is selected when you access the function

    ■ ■ ■

    Versions: AM12 for SQL, Express, and LAN
    AM11 for SQL and Express
    AM10 for SQL, Express, and LAN
    AM9 for LAN

    Module: AR

    Q: Does AccountMate keep a list of voided AR/Customer invoices?

    A: Yes; AccountMate keeps a list of voided AR/Customer invoices. Note that the amounts and line items are not saved when the invoice is voided; thus, the voided invoice will show a 0.00 amount. You can view the list of voided invoices in the Invoice Summary Report ► Voided Invoices and Sales Returns Only option.

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