The Blog

CHANGE IS GOOD! A fresh look for Abel ERP

Hi Everyone

In my June blog I mentioned that we had released Abel Version 6.0 featuring Abel’s new User Interface (UI), and now I can tell you a bit more about it!!

We’ve been planning to update Abel’s look for some time. In 2016 we reviewed several ERP systems in the Tier 2 space to gain a better understanding of how Abel compared. The review confirmed what we’d been thinking. We needed to improve Abel’s User Interface, both to position us for the future and also to deliver real benefits to our customers.

We wanted a really professional look and feel, so we engaged a team of user experience designers to work with us on all the design elements and also on the usability aspects. This collaboration has delivered Abel 6.0 with:

  • A fresh modern User Interface
  • A more intuitive system that’s easier to learn and easier to use
  • A UI framework and style guide for future development

It’s important to note that only Abel’s User Interface and appearance has changed. The layout of the screens is mostly the same, so it’s easy for existing customers to upgrade. Abel’s underlying functionality and business logic remains the same as before so 6.0 still provides the functional breadth and stability of Abel’s tried and tested core.

Usability was a key goal for this project. Throughout the 6.0 development, we considered all the graphical elements from a usability perspective. This led us to make the following improvements:

  • We have made the screens kinder to your eyes by using a larger screen size, more whitespace, a new font, more restrained use of color and more subtle borders and lines.
  • We redesigned the header area at the top of each screen to reduce visual clutter and make it faster and easier to navigate.
  • We have used icons extensively to make functions easier to find and to make field actions more obvious. This makes Abel easier to learn and more intuitive to use.
  • We have improved accessibility for people with conditions like color blindness. To start with we’ve reduced the use of color in the common elements of the screens. We still have a way to go (as we still have colors within the functional areas) but we are happy to have taken this significant step towards a more accessible system.

Here are a few examples that show the differences between Version 5 and Version 6.

This example shows the re-designed header. The new header is cleaner and all buttons have icons to improve usability. 

This example shows how more subtle borders make the new screens clearer than the old ones. The date picker is much more readable.  This example also shows how we have reduced the use of color.

We’re delighted with the fresh look and feel of Abel ERP. It uses our proven underlying framework and significantly improves overall experience and productivity for our users.

Abel 6.0 is available now for new installations and for upgrades.

If you want to know more about Abel 6.0, please contact your Abel Consultant or your nearest Abel Software Office.

Until next time

Jane

Posted in Abel Blog |

Midwinter Madness!!

It’s been an exciting and busy time over the past couple of months!
In April we released Abel Version 6.0, featuring Abel’s new User Interface along with plenty of new functionality. We’ve had great feedback so far from customers who have already upgraded and Rik will be showcasing Version 6.0 in our July blog.

In May I announced that Abel Solutions and Abel Software were merging. Since then we have been busy with all the practicalities that a merger brings. We are confident that the merger will streamline and strengthen our ERP software and service offerings, delivering greater product innovation and accelerating Abel’s growth in the highly competitive mid-size ERP market.

In the meantime, it’s been business as usual and I am pleased to welcome three new customers into the Abel community:

All Guard Safety Equipment
For more than 20 years All Guard Safety has been supplying New Zealand companies with compliant personal protection equipment (PPE) and workwear products. Based in Auckland and offering nationwide support, their mission is to make New Zealand a safer place. Their products include: dangerous goods storage, environmental control spill kits, hi-visibility clothing, respiratory products, footwear, safety signage and many more.

Amrita Nutrition
Amrita Nutrition provides contract manufacturing and packing services for dairy powder products and also for honey. They carry both MPI and China CNCA registration. Their purpose built Auckland facility runs multiple state-of-art production lines for dairy powder products including dairy powder formulation, blending, canning, pouch and sachet packing, and hardgel encapsulation. Their Gisborne factory provides a one stop solution for honey sourcing, extracting and packing.

Hatuma Lime Company
Based in central Hawkes Bay, Hatuma Lime was established in 1932. 86 years on, this third generation family business makes fertilizer products for farms and gardens. Hatuma Dicalcic Phosphate® , their flagship product for over 50 years, is a non water-soluble and plant available phosphate for farm pasture and is also used in Hatuma’s garden fertilizer blends. With less run-off, it keeps the goodness on the soil for longer, making it both cost-effective and better for the environment.

Three very interesting and diverse businesses, all using Abel ERP.

And finally, congratulations to Abel customer and pet food manufacturer Ziwi Limited, who recently won Best Medium to Large Business Exporter at the 2018 Zespri BOP ExportNZ Awards. Read more on the Ziwi blog.

Until next time.

Jane

Posted in Abel Blog, News |

Abel Software and Abel Solutions Merge to Strengthen ERP Offering to Customers

We are pleased to announce Abel Software and Abel Solutions are merging to streamline and strengthen our ERP software and service offerings to local and international customers.

“Joining our two organisations into a single business enables us to streamline operations, share our knowledge and collaborate more efficiently,” said Allan Baird, Managing Director of Abel Software.

“This will not only accelerate Abel’s growth in the highly competitive mid-size ERP market, but also give us greater flexibility to deliver the ERP solutions and service our customers need to improve and grow their businesses.”

Abel Software, founded in 1996, is a global leader in ERP business management software, delivering innovative and integrated systems for small, mid-sized and large businesses. Since 2000, Abel Solutions has supported Abel ERP with implementation and support services to customers in 22 industries across 13 countries.

The merger, which takes effect this month, unites both organisations under the Abel Software name and brand. It will not result in any disruption for customers or changes in staff, all of whom have been retained in the merger.

Allan Baird will remain as Managing Director, and Jane Mattsen will continue to manage finance, administration and marketing. Callum Baird will continue to manage the company’s Software Development division and David Mills will head the Consulting and Support division of Abel Software as he did with Abel Solutions.

“David’s passion and enthusiasm for Abel is unsurpassed,” Allan says, “and we look forward to supporting him with the resources and flexibility he needs to deliver the best ERP solutions for our customers.”

David says the merger reflects Abel’s long-term vision to offer small and mid-sized businesses the flexibility, scalability and service they need to stay competitive in their ever-changing and fast-growing markets.

“This is a very positive and exciting move both for the Abel team and our customers,” David says. “By bringing all our resources, innovation and expertise together, we will offer a better overall solution to help our customers in Australasia and around the world.”

 

Jane Mattsen

For more information please contact:
Jane Mattsen
Business & Channels Manager
Abel Software, + 64 (027) 442-4603

Posted in News |

Scheduling similar jobs to save setup time…

Hi There. As well as Abel’s automatic scheduling capabilities, we have some handy features that help schedulers make more informed decisions when they are fine tuning the schedule. In this blog I am writing about a particular feature that helps schedulers identify jobs with similar setup, so they can minimize work center setup time to maximize production throughput.

This capability suits operations that have a mixture of jobs but with some common factors in the work center setup. e.g. jobs with the same machine settings or the same raw material. For these operations, information is key to helping schedulers significantly reduce work center setup times.

With Abel, you can configure up to six parameters for each work center in your plant that are significant for your operation. (Consider factors that cause the longest setup times and are common across your typical work stream). This enables your schedulers to:

  • Optimize the production sequence to reduce setup time and maximize production throughput.
  • See the impact of commercial pressures on the schedule e.g. If we do this urgent job now, what does it cost us in terms of extra setup time? When can we slot in this urgent job with minimal setup time?
  • Track KPI’s around minimizing setup time to gain efficiency in the plant with Abel’s reporting.

The below example highlights the savings in setup time across 5 jobs in a work center. In this case, the parameters are length and width of the item being made. Two of the jobs don’t need any setup time because the length and width are the same as the prior job. One of the jobs (highlighted in blue) only needs half the setup time because the width is the same and only the length differs from the prior job.

This a small feature within Abel’s extensive scheduling functionality but it’s gold for operations that can use it to maximize their throughput. If you would like to know more about Abel’s functionality and how it can help your business, please contact your Abel Consultant or an Abel Distributor.

Until next time.

Rik

Posted in News |

Managing your Intangible Assets…

Hi There. Did you know that Abel handles Intangible Assets?

Intangible assets are non-physical assets that normally have a useful life greater than one year that local accounting practices permit you to amortize. Often they arise from buying other companies where part of the purchase price is for intangible assets such as the customer base, trademarks or goodwill of the company you are buying.

What’s different about Intangible Assets?

  • Intangible assets are amortized, whereas fixed assets are depreciated
  • Amortization requires an additional transaction to clear it from the balance sheet in the month that the asset reaches its Amortization Last Date

Intangible assets often have a simpler lifecycle than typical fixed assets…

  • Create the Intangible Asset
  • Create the Purchase journal
  • Raise the Monthly Amortization Journal

And at the end of their life…

  • Reverse the Amortization for fully Amortized Assets – Abel automatically creates postings for assets that have reached their Amort Last Date to remove them from the Balance Sheet. This is done during the Monthly Amortization Journal processing.
  • Make the Asset inactive – You can deactivate assets that have completed their lifecycle when you no longer want them to appear in the default view of asset maintenance, reports, or select screens.

Intangible Assets are another example of the breadth of Abel’s functionality. If you want to know more about Abel’s functionality and how it can help your business, please contact your Abel Consultant or an Abel Distributor.

Until next time.

Rik

Posted in News |

Managing Bills of Materials in different currencies…

Hi There. Did you know that Abel handles Bills of Materials (BOMs) in different currencies?

This feature suits businesses that run their offshore manufacturing operations within their “home” database. Installers can configure this feature for you. Abel uses the currency associated with a BOM to calculate the BOM’s pricing. This enables BOMs to be priced in different currencies according to each BOM’s setup (the default is that BOMs are priced in the System currency of the database).

BOM currencies are used together with Abel’s standard multi-currency pricing capabilities to price the BOMs appropriately for each offshore manufacturing operation. BOM Price calculations in the pricing screens, and BOM pricing calculations elsewhere in Abel, handle currency as follows:

  • If the BOM’s inventory (and other components) have prices in a currency that matches the BOM currency, then BOM price calculations use it.
  • Else BOM price calculations convert the system currency prices to the BOM currency using the current exchange rates.

Running offshore operations from the home database might not be all that common, but this is a very helpful feature for businesses that need it. Just another example of how you can configure Abel to suit the way your business is organized.

If you want to know more about Abel’s functionality, please contact your Abel Consultant or an Abel Distributor.

Until next time.

Rik.

Posted in News |

Twenty Eighteen

Happy New Year!

I reported in my Christmas blog that we had new customer sites being implemented over the summer holiday.  I am delighted to welcome them to the Abel community and share with you who these new customers are.

30 Seconds

30 Seconds supplies a wide range of household cleaners, industrial cleaners and accessories, from mould & moss treatments to BBQ cleaners.  Their products are available through major chain stores such as Mitre10, Bunnings, PlaceMakers, Hammer Hardware, Countdown and The Warehouse, and are also sold throughout Australia.

New Zealand Casing Co.

NZ Casings is based in Whakatu, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, they provide 100% natural sausage casings for their clients, who then produce high-end sausages and other small goods. I love their slogan “It takes guts to make the perfect sausage”.

Wishing you all a productive 2018.  We will have plenty to share with you in the coming months.

Jane

Posted in News |

Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for 2018 from the team at Abel

As we wrap up another year it’s time to share some of our achievements and celebrate having new customers join the Abel community.

In my May blog I advised that we had several implementations on the go – and I provided an update on Supreme Health and Alpha Group (both Bio-Tech Manufacturers) who joined us in April and May respectively. The remaining implementations that I mentioned in my May blog are now complete.

There is no rest for our implementation staff over the Christmas break – we have new Abel customer sites being implemented as I write this blog. I will share these with you in the new year.

This Year’s Highlights

2017 has been another great year for Abel Solutions, our Distributor and implementation partner, with Abel implementations in Australia and New Zealand. To meet this demand Abel Solutions has expanded its coverage in New Zealand and Australia, with Abel ERP Consultants now based in Wellington and Christchurch.

Below are some of the customers who have joined us this year:

  • GDM Retail Systems joined us in June. GDM have more than 35 years designing and manufacturing for leading retailers globally. They provide end to end solutions for the retail industry, with customers such as Line 7, Glassons, Rodd & Gunn, The Warehouse and Mitre 10.
  • Integrated Controls UK joined Abel in July. ICT is a world leading manufacturer of unified and intelligent electronic access control and security solutions that enable organizations to protect their people, operations and information.
  • In July Fibermount LLC went live with Abel. Fibermount is based in Oregon, United States. The business manufactures fiber cement mount blocks for the building industry.  Products include mounts for lights, vents, pipes, electrical and custom made products.
  • In September, Quality Safety Limited joined us. QSI has been designing, manufacturing and distributing premium quality health and safety equipment for over 40 years. Their product range is very comprehensive: first aid kits and products, survival, paramedic rescue, spill solutions, height safety, industrial clothing, general safety, signage, industrial coveralls and electric arc clothing – the list goes on.
  • Pasta Vera Limited went live with Abel in October. Pasta Vera is the market leader for quality pasta and related products, delivering great products to restaurants nationwide. They are also involved in the community, fund-raising for worthy causes – heart-warming, splendid work.

Across the Ditch – Denice Bennet-Rae, General Manager of Abel Solutions Australia, was pleased to highlight two innovative Abel customers:

  • Australia’s Helios Power Solutions turned to Abel® ERP to drive the automation, flexibility and efficiency needed to strengthen its expanding international business. Read more in the Helios case study.
  • Devex Systems, a leading supplier of specialized heating and cooling solutions for homes and industries across Australia, chose Abel® ERP because they wanted a system that could power their complex business functions. Read more in the Devex case study.

Also, Auckland based Fero has been in the news this year as they continue to expand their offshore operations. Fero is New Zealand’s leading manufacturing solutions provider of wiring and assembly for the technology sector.

In other news, our Research & Development Centre continues to extend Abel ERP. Here is a snippet of some of the features we have worked on this year:

  • We have extended Abel’s BOM Versioning and BOM Authorization capability. Read more in our November blog.
  • The team has enhanced our Report Writer with extra functionality and additional report scheduling capabilities.
  • Our manufacturing functionality has seen several small enhancements this year, including additional options for scheduling both manufactures and sub-manufactures.
  • Our shop order framework for managing manufactures has been extended. It continues to be a popular management tool with our customers.
  • We have also enhanced our stock issue and stock count processes to make it easier to work with different kinds of stock. For example, foodstuffs that have variations in weight of the packs issued or counted.

Finally, we have welcomed several new software developers, who are working with our special projects delivery team on some new, innovative developments for Abel ERP.  I hope to be able to provide some insight in the first quarter of 2018.

Thank you so much to our dedicated software engineers and support staff for their efforts again this year, I am very proud of what we have achieved.

To all our customers around the world, thank you for your business. We wish you and your families a safe and happy festive season, and we look forward to working with you again next year.

Jane and the Team at Abel

Posted in News |

Managing changes to Bills of Materials…

Hi There. This month I am writing about how Abel helps Manufacturers manage changes to Bills of Materials (BOMs). If you want more control over changes to your BOMs then have a look at these handy features that can be configured to suit your business:

  • Use the check-out process to make a copy of a BOM for maintenance. The original remains in use until the changes are complete, and the revised BOM is checked back in.
  • Create multiple versions of BOMs with effective dates so you can manage when BOM changes take effect. You can also keep versions of a BOM’s attachments like CAD drawings or recipes.
  • See what has changed on the new version compared with the original BOM.
  • Implement a BOM authorization process and restrict authorization to designated users only.
  • Create BOMs for new products by copying and changing existing ones.

Let’s look at those features in a bit more detail:

Check Out a BOM for Maintenance

The check-out feature enables you to make copies of a BOM for maintenance without affecting production. The original BOM is still used for normal processing until the new BOM comes into effect. With this feature you can manage changes in a timely way, ahead of when they are needed.

Make your changes on the checked-out copy of the BOM – it won’t affect production until you check it back in. The check-out process also checks out any attachments to the BOM (e.g. CAD drawings, recipes) so you can deal with those as well. Attachments can be removed, replaced or left as they are.

Use the View BOM Changes screen to see what’s changed compared with the original BOM. The screen is color coded so you can easily see additions, deletions and changes. This is a useful cross-check for users and approvers to ensure all their intended changes have been covered.

Next, the BOM is authorized (more on this below) and checked in with the following options:

  • Overwrite Original BOM (this is allowed unless versioning is enforced).
  • Add BOM to the same Inventory Item(s) as the original (in Abel, inventory items can have multiple BOMs).
  • Remove original BOM from its Inventory Items. The original BOM still exists in a detached state and can be used elsewhere or kept for historical purposes.
  • Make this BOM the default BOM on its Inventory Item(s). The default BOM is used for pricing and planning purposes.
  • Use BOM in place of original in sub-BOMs. This option also replaces the original BOM where it appears as a sub-BOM within other BOMs.

You can specify an effective date for the new BOM, otherwise Abel gives it today’s date.

BOM Versions

A setting controls whether BOM versions are mandatory or optional. If BOM versioning is mandatory, each BOM version has a unique code and Abel prevents changes to the original BOM. Users can also record the version of any related attachments e.g. CAD drawings or recipes.

BOM Authorization

At a minimum, users who have maintenance access to the BOM screens can authorize BOMs. If you want more control, you can switch BOM Authorization to specified users only. Abel will then ensure that only users with BOM authorization credentials can authorize BOM changes. In either case, the user’s credentials are recorded as having authorized the BOM.

Other Features

  • Abel keeps audit information so you always know who authorized and checked in the BOM and the date and time that these two steps happened.
  • Abel automatically highlights any inactive inventory items within your BOMs so you can easily spot them and deal with them.
  • You can change the effective date of an active BOM. This enables you to change the order of upcoming versions or push one out to a future date if things change. It also means you can retrospectively give existing BOMs an effective date if you are adopting BOM versioning for the first time.
  • You can use the Check Out feature to make multiple copies of an existing BOM for use elsewhere e.g. for new products. In this case, you would disconnect the BOM copies from the original during the check-out process.
  • BOMs that are imported into Abel using the BOM import process follow the same authorization steps as BOMs created through the Abel screens. If BOM versioning is switched on, the import process loads BOMs in the checked-out state. You can authorize them and check them in through the Abel screens in the same way as manually maintained BOMs.

Well that’s a quick round-up of some of Abel’s BOM maintenance features. If you want to know more about Abel’s functionality and how it can help your business, please contact your Abel Consultant or an Abel Distributor.

Until next time.

Rik.

Posted in News |

Latest case study: Devex heats up the Australian Market…

Australia’s Devex Systems, a leading supplier of specialized heating and cooling solutions, chose Abel® ERP because they wanted a system that could power their complex business functions. Abel had the features and flexibility they wanted… Read more  >>

Posted in News |