Welcome to the Exact Product Blog

On this blog we will cover stories from all around the Exact ecosystem.

Archive for March, 2012

Rafiki’s Corner – Have you heard the one about?

Written by Sander van Triet on . Posted in Exact Event Manager

With the ever expanding footprint of Exact Event Manager around the world, we are fast gaining insight into some of the effective and meaningful uses of the high-value  business solution. I have recently started contacting customers that I know and asking them for some examples of how they have deployed Exact Event Manager. This is a fascinating exercise and I thought it is relevant to share some of these experiences with the larger community through this Product Blog. I will regularly post blogs on some of the real-life uses of Exact Event Manager, in the hope that ideas being to flow.

So, yesterday, Wednesday March 28, I went to spend some time with a customer not too far from my office. This is a customer that I have known for a long time but have never visited their new Head office digs here in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. Company ABC is a Canadian company with many divisions and locations across the country, classified in the food processing industry. They use a number of Exact’s solutions to assist in driving their business forward and have done so since 1998. Exact Event Manager, along with Exact Synergy Enterprise, are their newest additions to their solution set from Exact.

Their plan was to implement Exact Synergy Enterprise to solve some challenges they faced with Quality Assurance and related documentation (Certificates of Analysis etc). This would have been accomplished with Exact Synergy Enterprsie and Exact Event Manager. The plans and ideas were well mapped out and timelines defined. Then reality poked its ugly head up like a gopher on a newly dressed golf green, right when the final goal was in line. In this case, the gopher was a well publicized strike by Canada Post employees. Hmm, you might say. How is it possible that in todays’ technology driven world would a postal strike affect business? Especially in a country such as Canada eh!! Well, it does have a huge impact, both for folk at home and for businesses.

On the 3rd June, 2011, a rolling strike was initiated across the country by the members of the Canada Post delivery services. From that point on, you had more chance of seeing the Toronto Maple Leafs making the play off’s than receiving a bill in the mail!! And therein lies the rub, as well as the opportunity! As we all know, these days in business (and at home as well!) Cash is King! However, without customers receiving invoices for products and services, no one is going to get paid. The old adage of “Your cheque is in the mail”, was not one that was going to work this time!!

So, Company ABC responded to this challenge laid down by reality and looked into their box of tricks and solutions provided by Exact, seeking ways to mitigate this potentially crippling business interruption. Low and behold, they came across Exact Event Manager!! They henceforth, postponed their other projects and focused on looking for a solution that lay within Exact Event Manager. “What if we could email all our invoices to customers?” This was the high level solution that presented itself. However, remembering to select the correct email address at the time an invoice was processed, save the invoice to disk in a .pdf format, and then attach it to the email was open to mistakes. Sending an invoice to the wrong person or customer is not necessarily a business practice supported by any college business program. Well, “what if we could have this done automatically after we have posted a whole bunch of invoices and spooled the documents to disk?” This line of questioning prompted some thought of previsously hearing in the corridors somewhere at an Exact Engage Conference that Exact Event Manager is the “Automatically” part of the solution.

So, the team at ABC Company, set about creating a single event within Exact Event Manager that would automatically send out customer invoices, a couple of times a day, taking all the batch created invoices and emailing them as attachments to the correct contacts at the correct customer. Simple, efficient and problem solved! Move forward almost a year since the strike, and all their customers still get their invoices eletronically via email, their postage costs have gone down significantly, cash flow from sales operations remains positive and the Toronto Maple Leafs still have not made the play off’s!!!!!

The deployment of Exact Event Manager within Company ABC to solve this business challenge of sending invoices automatically may seem simple and innocuous. Yes, Exact Event Manager was designed with way more horse power than simply automating a manual operation of sending invoices via email. However, the issue at hand here is that a simple, but vital business challenge was solved very quickly with some imagination and Exact Event Manager. At the same time, there are real cost savings with the reduction in postage costs, which is not trivial when you send out thousands of invoices a month! What does a single Event cost with Exact Event Manager? It is somewhere around $300 per event when you break it down. Add some time to create the event and test it out, and you are at around say $600 per event. (For complete and formal pricing, please contact your representative. These values are merely illustrative in nature) Well, it looks like this specific business challenge saved a whole lot more, not only preserved cash flow, than $600 (the price of a ticket to watch the Maple Leafs by the way!). I call that a good return on investment and an even better time to value.

There are many, many such cases where Exact Event Manager will drive significant value within your business. Some cases you haven’t even thought of yet. However, I am sure the time will come when the need arises to solve a last minute, reality based business issue and you may well find Exact Event Manager sitting in the corner waiting to help you to a long lasting resolution. More ideas and uses to come….have a great weekend!

Drop shipments in controlled release

Written by Marco Kastrop on . Posted in Exact Online

Earlier I have announced that the Trade development team was working on the new functionality to support drop shipments. This functionality is currently in controlled release, which means that a selective group of customers is piloting this new functionality and will provide us valuable feedback which we will evaluate before making it available for all Exact Online Trade customers.

As explained in my previous blog: drop shipment is the process whereby goods are delivered by your supplier straight to your customer without your intervention. Translated into functionality this means that from the sales order (or group of sales orders) you can initiate purchase orders (back to back ordering). If a sales order line is marked as to be drop shipped (a sales order line will be marked automatically based on business rules) then when generating the purchase order system will mark it as a drop shipment purchase order. The main difference between a drop shipment purchase order with a normal purchase order is the delivery address. Also sales order lines marked as to be drop shipped will not appear in your normal goods delivery screen neither will the drop shipment purchase order lines in the goods receipt screen. Instead a new screen for creating drop shipment deliveries by your supplier will take care of the movement of products from your supplier to the customer.

Some additional features:

  • Quantity in drop shipment is visible on the stock positions overview
  • On the cockpit on your To Do-list you will be notified when drop shipments are late for delivery
  • Financially we will keep track of all in and out transactions on a separate ‘Goods in transit’ general ledger

Stay tuned for some more updates relating to Exact Online. If you have any questions or remarks, do not hesitate to post them!

Central Master Data Management

Exact Central Master Data Management is now generally available

Written by Richard Smits on . Posted in Exact Globe, Exact Synergy

We are pleased to announce that after an extensive controlled release period Exact’s solution for centrally managing master data for multiple divisions is now generally available. Exact Globe customers with multiple divisions that are dealing with cross divisional related master data can make use of the Central Master Data Management (CMDM) solution. Although being a topic on the agenda of many international operating companies, local operating companies with multiple divisions can also benefit from implementing Exact’s CMDM solution.

Companies with multiple divisions have a challenge in managing data across these divisions and facilitating companywide compliance and a foundation for consolidated management reporting and analysis. Besides that, being consistent in the way master data is set up facilitates effective collaboration between individual divisions by sharing available capacity, knowledge, resources, products and even customers or suppliers, leading to better overall results for the group. This leads to a need for CMDM.

Our offering

Exact CMDM makes it possible to manage the following entities “Accounts”, “Items”, “General Ledgers Accounts” and “People” as per Exact Globe product update 403/ Exact Synergy Enterprise product update 248.

Benefits

  • In control over divisional risk and results.
  • Compliance on company standards.
  • Workflow management for creation and maintaining master data included.
  • Offering blueprints for business processes.
  • Work together increasing efficiency and avoid redundancy where possible.
  • Facilitate consolidated reporting and consistent local reporting for better decision making.
  • An in-house Exact solution that synchronizes between Exact databases.
  • Including Exact business logic reduces implementation time and eliminates database (update) related constraints.

For whom

  • Companies with multiple divisions that share related master data.
  • Exact Globe customers with multiple divisions that share related master data.
  • Exact Globe customers with multiple (country) licenses.

For more information about the CMDM solution, please refer to our videos.

Should you have any questions regarding our Central Master Data Management solution, please comment on this blog post.

 

Exact Online Manufacturing

Exact Online Manufacturing sneak preview

Written by Pieter Hamans on . Posted in Exact Online

Last year Exact released online solutions for trade and for professional services. This year, we will add a solution for Manufacturing. Our development is in full swing and we are now able to explain in more detail what this solution is about and how the release process is planned.

Exact Online Manufacturing is a member of the Exact Online family and is therefore a multitenant SaaS solution that will allow you anywhere, anytime access through the Internet. Subscriptions have a monthly fee that includes usage of the software, support, and upgrades. Exact Online Manufacturing includes the functionality for financials and logistics of Exact Online Trade.

Our target customer is the small manufacturer with either (or both) fabrication activities and assembly activities. These activities will be typically customer order driven. Amongst our customers we will find both job shops and makers of repetitive products. Noteworthy is that we have developed Exact Online Manufacturing in cooperation with our customers. From early on in this project we have invited customers with manufacturing activities for interviews about their business practice and their future needs. We have now reached the stage where we are showing our prototypes to this so called “innovation panel” for fine tuning.

Controlled release phase 1

Right in the summer we will start the controlled release with the job shop type customers. Typically we will find these in the metal, wood and plastic product industries. The emphasis will be on the process from quotation to delivery. The quotations are based on planned material use, cost of operations and subcontracted work. From a quotation/sales order we generate a shop order and purchase orders for materials and subcontractors. Visually attractive screens will assist in managing the jobs through the floor and in managing each individual operation. We will also be able to record the actual material use and cost, operation time and billing of the subcontractor. After calculation reports are available that that compare quote to actuals.

Controlled release phase 2

After the summer we start with the controlled release for the makers of repetitive products. These could be makers of machinery, electric equipment or so-called assembling wholesalers. The functionality that we focus on is based on a Bill-of-Materials (BOM) that describes the structure of the make product. From sales orders that contain such make products we can generate shop orders based on the BOM. All the functions that have been mentioned for phase 1 are of course already available.

Generally available

The full Exact Online Manufacturing offering is planned to become generally available by the end of 2012. Exact Online Manufacturing is planned for release in the Benelux.

Looking for controlled release customers

Exact is currently looking for controlled release customers. Interested parties may contact pieter.hamans@exact.com for more information.

New UI

E-WMS in product update 404 – sneak peek on the new UI

Written by Wilfred Bossenbroek on . Posted in Exact Globe

With Exact Globe product update 404, E-WMS will offer a completely changed user interface (UI) for the hand terminal. Based on a direct feedback from our partners, the message for us was clear, E-WMS should look more trendy. Of course, E-WMS should also still be usable by the employees in the warehouse, so we paid attention to user feedback such as ‘too small texts’ and ‘tiny buttons’.

Along with a changed UI, we also included some UX (user experience, usability) enhancements. For example when choosing an item code in a browser list, you don’t have to confirm that item code anymore when returning to the main screen. It will be automatically selected for you.

Another UX change is replacing the READY and LINE READY button by one button: the STOP button. When pressing STOP, you will see a list of context sensitive choices of how you want to progress (or stop).

This new interface will require a new client on the hand terminal. This client app will cache objects on the device, in order to make the scanning experience smoother. The client is still told by an IIS server what to show, and also still requires .NET Compact Framework 3.5, so usage is intended for Windows CE and Windows Mobile. The current ERF client will still be supported (for now) but we expect and intend the new UI to be used by default.

Ok, by now you are certainly eager to see some screenshots; here we go. Please click here to view them. For comparison: on the left the current (old) UI, on the right the new UI. Please mind that those are not final screens, we still need to work on for example buttons naming.

 

She-did-it

Who did it?

Written by Aida de Reede - Heijbroek on . Posted in Exact Globe

Every organization faces this issue on regular basis: something has been changed in the database but who did it and when did it happen? To make sure that you don’t draw wrong conclusions on whose fault it is, you need to be able to track down the adjustments and have a good insight in the changes that have been made in the Exact Globe database.

Of course there is already a standard logbook available which can be used for various orders like sales orders, purchase orders, quotations, RTV/RMA order etc. To give you even more insight from product update 404 this logbook will be improved with a lot of new features which will be extended throughout this year!

As of product update 404, you will be able to use the following improvements that are based on your direct feedback:

  • Log for deleted lines in orders
  • Log for deleted orders and possibility to link a reason of deletion
  • Log for change in status of orders
  • Log for completed orders
  • Added log for serial/ batch numbers

Possibility to add a reason of delation

Reason available in a deletion logbook

 

Service Management: We are in Controlled Release!

Written by Robin den Buurman on . Posted in Exact Globe, Exact Synergy

On behalf of the whole solution team and the development teams we are happy and proud to announce the next phase of Exact’s Service Management solution!

It all started out on June 4th last year with the first sneak preview blog post and a video. Then we showed you a simple example how the solution integrates both Exact Synergy Enterprise and Exact Globe processes. We shared our ideas on the dispatch board and combined everything in a full concept video. We also showed you how we will use SQL Server Reporting Service reports with the solution and how we register the agreements you made in contracts with your customers and finally you could see how the functionality comes together.

And now we have reached the stage of controlled release! The first customers have started implementing the new service management solution. Many more customers are scheduled to be implemented shortly.

In case you would also like to participate in this controlled release please contact your local Exact representative or Exact Partner.

Who can join controlled release?

Exact’s product development process involves five main phases: verification, design, implementation, acceptance and launch. During the final “launch” stage, selected customers have the opportunity to take part in the controlled release of new product updates.

Please note that there are numerous pre-conditions for participation, thus taking part in a controlled release may not be for everyone. In addition to the use of Exact software, the requirements include:

  • An infrastructure that permits testing in a real-life environment
  • The creation of a database backup which is sent to Exact before the controlled release starts
  • Provision of remote access to help identify and evaluate any issues
  • A capacity to test documentation in detail
  • The preparedness to share results and opinions in periodic evaluations

Benefits of our controlled release program

  1. Gain privileged access to pre-release software
  2. Be the first to benefit from enhancements
  3. Become part of the development process
  4. Receive personal coaching on new functionalities
  5. Enjoy dedicated support throughout the controlled release
  6. Know that any issues will be resolved quickly
  7. Have a say in the development of a specific product update

 

Rafiki’s Corner – Calling All Exact Event Manager Evangelists!!

Written by Sander van Triet on . Posted in Exact Event Manager

Are you a user of Exact Event Manager? (if not why not ?!) The solution has now been out in the market, globally, for almost a year now and the growing number of users point to a measured level of success. All is good! We are hard at work on the next release of Exact Event Manager, that promises to be an awesome release and at the same time, we are working on a Maintenance Release that will include various software corrections.

Now, the time has come to take the solution to all corners of the earth, ensuring all Exact customers benefit from the huge business potential built into the DNA of Exact Event Manager. However, to do so, we need your help. Here is how you can help….

As everyone in business knows, the most effective form of marketing is not campaigns or branding, but word of mouth referrals and references. It is here that we need your help. We are looking to recruit customers who are willing to act as a reference for Exact and Exact Event Manager. These references may be called upon to talk to prospective users of the technology and answer some of their questions, based on your own experiences. This is an extremely important cog in the gears of a product life cycle. We have a large pool of customers already embracing the technology and we would like to hear about you. We would like you to tell your story, and provide other users and prospects with insight into the rewards and benefits that Exact Event Manager brings to the Exact solution stack and potentially to your business. When I say “Story”, I mean exactly that, in your own words. You have bragging rights over your successes and we would like very much to hear those stories and share them with a broader, global community.

If this is something that interests you, please contact me and we can get together and chat about what the program involves and what the benefits on your side are for joining such an important program.

Cheers!