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Infor LX Tips, Infor LN Tips, BPCS Tips, Baan Tips, Infor M3 Tips & Infor ERP News

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Infor ERP Tips & News from the Experts

Infor LX | Infor LN | BPCS | Baan | Infor M3

Reports Vs. Dashboards – What do they offer and which do I need?

Kathy Barthelt 0 15 Article rating: 5.0

Companies are collecting oceans of data, and struggle with transforming it into usable information. Most businesses focus on two methods of sharing data - the report and the dashboard. While these two terms mean many things to many people, it is important to understand what these terms mean and how the report and dashboard have similar features but they are not the same thing.  

What is a Report?

A report is meant to be used to gather detailed intelligence on the operations within an organization, thus a report can be either very broadly covering a wide scope of related information, or narrowly focusing on details of a single item, purpose, or event. All of this information, while presented in a report, is meant to be a snapshot in time.

Quite often, a report is built within the ERP system itself and often is constrained by the graphical and user limitations within the ERP. More often than not, large amounts of data are exported to Excel where added features allow for better manipulation of the data to a format that is digestible by users. Regardless, the data is only valid for that moment and time.

What is a Dashboard?

A dashboard is a graphical interface that provides at-a-glance views revolving around answering a central question. For example, an executive may ask you for up-to-the-minute details on "how the business is doing?". The answer to that question is as complex as the organizational structure of the company, but it is probably very simply measured with approximately 10 metrics. Those 10 metrics can likely be analyzed in chart form, and can and should be combined into one chart when the numbers are relatable or are on a similar scale. All these things should be considered when building a dashboard.

Dashboards, similar to the one in your vehicle, display critical data. Imagine driving down the road and having to push a bunch of buttons to find out how much fuel you have left, or having to pull over and pop the hood to check the oil pressure. It would be dangerous and a waste of your precious time. Your car's control panel or dashboard displays the most crucial information in an easy-to-use, graphical way.

How do Reports and Dashboards differ?

Are ERP System Blockages Thwarting Your Progress?

Kathy Barthelt 0 328 Article rating: 5.0

After a week of blocking the Suez Canal, the now-famous cargo ship, Ever Given has been freed from the 27,000 cubic meters of sand and mud that were surrounding the ship. Supply chains are flowing again. I for one am very glad to hear that the ship has been freed since coffee, toilet paper and a whole host of other items were being held up! In all seriousness, it was and is a crisis that will have ripple effects on the global economy.

As I often do, I started to relate this crisis to the world of ERP that we live in. Although we are not responsible for dealing with a situation like what happened in the Suez Canal, we all deal with problems in our jobs every day. Some of these problems are small, and some are not so small. Some problems are caused by human error, some by prevailing winds that blow us in a particular direction, and some by circumstances out of our control. It is what we do about the problems we encounter that make all the difference. We could bury our heads and hope the problems somehow go away on their own, or we can take action and do something to bring about the change necessary to get past the blockage.

I see “blockages” every day in working with my customers. Sometimes it is a lack of understanding of best practices in a given department, or a reliance on tribal knowledge that determines how and why something is done in the system, or inefficient manual processes destroying a company’s efficiency, or hundreds (or thousands) of customizations standing in the way of an upgrade, or employees labeling an ERP system as “no longer a fit” when their company is only using 10% of the available functionality in the system.

So, maybe today we could focus on what it would take to remove the “blockage” that we have in our way. What benefits could we realize if we worked together to bring about incremental change? Could we actually get that upgrade done? Could we start operating based on industry-leading best practices? Could we increase our market share? Could we decrease our costs and boost our revenue? All of this is possible.

Contact me today so that we can begin to work together to solve the problems that stand in the way of your progress.

solutions@crossroadsrmc.com or 800.762.2077

Stop viewing an ERP system review as your personal report card

It's a no-judgment-review - we promise!

Kathy Barthelt 0 420 Article rating: 5.0

report card C minusWe all remember our school days and the nervousness that we felt when it came time to get our grades. Even if we were doing well, we were still nervous. Sometimes we experienced that same nervousness when it came time for a performance review in our job. Nervousness…sometimes dread…knowing that our performance maybe was not what we wanted it to be, or others expected it to be. 

Somehow I think the feelings that we felt in our past often find ways to creep into our present. I have seen this recently when I suggested an ERP system review to one of our customers. They immediately became flustered and thought about every possible problem that they knew existed within the software and how they were currently using it.

An ERP system review or more specifically a Utilization Review is NOT a personal report card, or performance review showing how well a particular individual does his/her job, nor is it an attack on the team that implemented the software. 

An ERP Utilization Review will:

It’s NOT All About the Money, Money, Money… Motivating Employees in the New Year!

Kathy Barthelt 0 14446 Article rating: 5.0

Have you ever thought about what really motivates your employees?

It’s not about the almighty dollar, you know. Ok, ok…..money doesn’t hurt, but money alone doesn’t keep most people in their jobs. You actually need to motivate your employees to keep them showing up, mentally, and physically. Employees that don’t feel motivated are probably underperforming, and that means you’re losing money.

Ask yourself these questions about your employees:

  • Are they happy…..YES….HAPPY! Do they enjoy coming to work every day?
  • Do they feel challenged, or do they feel demeaned?
  • Are they sinking, or are they swimming?
  • Do they have the right tools in their arsenal to battle the giants?
  • Where’s the reward?

Happiness - I’ve worked with manufacturers for almost 20 years now...

How to Survive Your “Go-To” Guy Getting Hit By a Bus

Kathy Barthelt 0 32994 Article rating: 5.0

Have you ever wondered what you would do if that guy you depend upon – your “go-to”, your right-arm is suddenly gone?

Let’s call your franchise player “Steve”. He’s your shipping/receiving supervisor, or your warehouse guy, or your top engineer, or (gulp) the guy who works in the office who has been with you for 35 years and just knows EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING.

What happens when Steve gets hit by a bus, or decides that warm sandy beaches are calling his name, and he just doesn’t want to work anymore?

Are you prepared for his departure? Is your business prepared? For many manufacturing companies, that answer would be “NO”.

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Tips:  LX | BPCS | M3

Operations are automatically backward scheduled at shop order release time. The backward scheduling algorithm starts with the shop order due date and schedules each operation based upon the standard move and queue times in the routings and the number of days the job is expected to run at standard. The system calculates and stores the operation scheduled start date. The dates may be modified by the shop order maintenance program. The number of days that a job is expected to run an operation is dependent upon the available capacity for that work center and the total hours scheduled for that operation.

The backward scheduling algorithm also considers...

The Infor Development Framework (IDF) re-architects the way a user interacts with the application. IDF provides an efficient, task-oriented process to view application information that is contained within Infor LX. IDF enables users to configure their view of the application data without modifying the core application and its supportability.

The examples below describe how users can configure their display of data and maximize overall productivity:

  • Arrange application information into multiple groupings and sequences that make sense for the job.
  • Hide information that does not apply to a particular job or task.
  • Filter records to show only the information that applies to the job or task that the user is performing.
  • Customize the information for an individual user, for a group of users, or for all users.
     
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Tips: LN | Baan

To improve performance and reduce database growth, deleting records is highly effective. The disadvantage of deleting records is that data is no longer available. Usually, however, not all records need to be saved. For example, line activities are stored by warehouse. Normally, you do not need to keep these records. Therefore, after closing a warehouse order, line activities can be removed. The User's Guide for ERP LN Archiving and the corresponding Baan IV/V Guides describe several sessions you can use to delete old data. Other data such as items and business partners can be reviewed once in a while, after which you can delete the data you no longer need. For every order and contract table, a session is available to archive and delete old orders. In these sessions, you can specify several characteristics to select the orders to be removed, such as date or status. Run these sessions on a regular basis.

Did you know that you can send a broadcast message to users on the system? This is especially useful if you need users to exit their sessions, or in the event of system maintenance.   

  • For Baan IV users, see KB 22869250
  • For LN users, see KB 1830758
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