Saturday, May 28, 2011

System Review and ERP and CRM integration

I recently met with a manufacturing and service customer that is interested in having us assist them in conducting a system review of their Sage ERP system, dsicuss integration strategies with their existing CRM, and to assist with the automation of their sales tax calculation and reporting processes.  (See  They had been putting off upgrades for several years during the downturn, but now that their business is recovering, they are looking for technology solutions to help them scale as they are anticipating significant growth. 

As a first step in the process, they agreed with my suggestion to conduct a simple, low-cost internal survey of their users to help us build an agenda for future in-depth investigation.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sage MAS 500 and Process Manufacturing Expertise

C&G is assisting a large Illinois based manufacturer and distributor of raw materials and ingredients for the food, drug and cosmetic industries evaluate and improve its' utilization of their current ERP software. C&G was contacted by this company to help them evaluate and improve on their current Sage MAS 500 and Process Manufacturing implementation. C&G was chosen for the project based on our extensive expertise with mid-market ERP solutions as well as high recommendations from our clients in similar industries.

During our first visit, a C&G consultant conducted user interviews spanning all key operational and financial areas of the company. The purpose of these interviews was threefold. First, to get a good understanding of how the users are using the Sage ERP system today. Secondly, identify what data they are capturing outside the system and why. And finally, document those areas of concern or lack of system usage which inhibits them from efficiently maximizing the in-depth capabilities of the MAS 500 and Process Manufacturing software.

Upon conclusion of the interviews, C&G prepared a report for management that summarized the key findings of the user interviews and a breakdown of major system improvements that could be gained through additional user training and changes to some operational workflows. The report concluded with what we believed to be the steps, priorities and associated investments to successfully re-engineer the prior implementation to take full advantage of the ERP software capabilites as well as significantly reduce reliance on external subsystems in day-to-day operations.

C&G's recommendation to conduct a complete evaluation of and change to the current Pricing and Quotation process was selected as the first major initiative to pursue.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Save Time and Energy with Sage MAS 90 and 200 Sales Tax

Do you ever worry about being in compliance with the latest sales tax rules and regulations? Or has it become increasingly difficult to manage the calculation and reporting for multiple state, county and local sales tax jurisdictions?

If so, C&G Consulting can help! C&G Consulting has assisted clients with automating sales tax calculations, reporting and return preparation with seamless integration to the business management / financial system. Depending on the business system, integration is transparent to the end-user who experiences no changes to the internal process of the order/invoicing process. We offer a hosted, web-service-based solution that automatically performs address validation, sales tax jurisdiction research, and rate calculation for multiple state, county and local tax jurisdictions. Reporting and return preparation is also simplified with easy access to the online reporting system.

If you would like assistance with your sale tax reporting needs, please contact C&G Consulting.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Selecting a new Accounting/ERP system - Part 1

How to select a new ERP system - Part 1 - "Creating a selection committee and documenting your needs"

First and most importantly is to create a steering/selection committee that is represented by individuals throughout the organization. This committee will be the resource to move the company through a successful selection by representing their functional area, defining the requirements, evaluating software against those requirements and be an advocate for the software chosen. Much higher success (based on completion of selection and implementation within a timeline) is achieved with a committee verses only production, financial, or IT involvement.

Generally, these are the steps you should take when looking at replacing your existing systems:

-Document your needs — Most companies will start searching for software when they really don’t know what they’re looking for. Thoroughly documenting your current processes and procedures will allow you to identify what really keeps your business running, identify opportunities for improvement and most importantly, keep you from forgetting critical needs. Gather this information by functional area (invoicing, job costing, payroll for example).

- Identify your key requirements — The ability to print checks is not a key requirement, as all software can, but things such as supplier price-list imports, serialized service history, machine or technician scheduling, customer asset listing, seasonalized inventory levels, customer discounts based on sales volume and return material authorization are key requirements. By functional area, document the key items you need your system to perform. Don’t forget reporting, as most businesses have very specific information they need in management reports to make daily business decisions.

In Part 2, we discuss researching solutions and creating the request for information.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Security - The Big Picture

Bruce Schneier, well-known security pundit, has an excellent 20 minute presentation from a TED conference where he discusses the concept of security. Mr. Schneier frequently comments on technology security issues, but in this presentation, he expands his scope to talk about the very concept of security and illustrates how we make security-related decisions every day, often without even thinking about it. Here is a link to the video of the talk.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mac OS Malware

It appears the first prevalent piece of Macintosh malware is now proliferating. It is reported here that a fake antivirus tool is popping up on Macintosh computers via web browser. We have been testing Eset NOD32, and it appears to be a more advanced and effective blocker of viruses and malware than the traditional Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro products.