The Blog

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.

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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  >>

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Handy Features for Manufacturing…

Hi There. This month I am writing about some nifty features for manufacturing.  Within Abel’s serious manufacturing and scheduling functionality, are some small but handy features for special situations. I am highlighting two of these today: Start-Start Dependency and Pack Days per Customer Order. My third topic for this blog is a quick look at one of Abel’s Work Center Loading Views that gives a great overview of daily operations within the plant.

Start-Start dependency for routes in a manufacturing process

Did you know that, in Abel, you can specify a start-start dependency between routes on your schedule? (The default is a finish-start dependency). This small but useful feature enables schedulers to specify the gap, in hours and minutes, between the start of adjacent routes. Use this feature if you have routes that overlap:

You normally specify these settings in the Bills of Materials, so they default through to the manufacturing processes where you can override them if needed. Customers who need to overlap their routes are putting this feature to good use.

Different “pack days” per customer order

When standard pack days are not enough, you can specify different pack days per customer order. Some of our manufacturing customers have challenges with long packing times that differ with each order. They need to make sure the manufacture is completed with enough time to pack the order properly and still meet the customers expectations.

Abel’s scheduling process takes the pack days into account and ensures that the manufacturing process starts early enough to meet the Customer’s required date. This feature is especially useful for large or complex manufactures-to-order that require lengthy or specialized packing.

This diagram shows how Abel allows for the customer order pack days to ensure the manufacture starts early enough:

Multiple views of work center loadings

Abel provides multiple views of your work center loadings, giving you a great overview of your workload in the plant. Below is one example and it shows how you can:

  1. View the MRP forecasts for a selected Work Center / Work Group while reviewing the actual Loadings data.
  2. View the expected Revenue / Cogs / Margin associated with your schedule. This indicates your expected gross profit and helps you judge which work to prioritize to meet your sales target.
  3. View the loadings by day in chart form. This provides a visual way of understanding the forecast and load compared with the capacity, so you can see the loadings at a glance (another tab provides the same data in tabular form).

Abel’s manufacturing features are rich, flexible and configurable to your requirements. You can run Abel with a simple configuration or adopt additional features. The depth and sophistication of functionality is there if you need it. And remember – all of Abel’s functionality is in the one application, so manufacturing and all your other business functions can share data and inform the financials in real time.

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: Helios Powers up with Abel…

Australia’s Helios Power Solutions turned to Abel® ERP to drive the automation, flexibility and efficiency needed to strengthen its expanding international business, powering electronic equipment in the transportation, mining, military, marine, medical and telecommunication industries… Read more >>

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Latest case study: Alsco Inc. Continues to Innovate with Abel…

Global leader in textile rentals, Alsco originally chose Abel® ERP to automate and manage their fast-growing business.  15 years on, Alsco continues to partner with Abel on further innovations to optimize their operations in 13 countries across the globe… Read more >>

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Two Bio-Tech Manufacturers choose Abel ERP

In my January blog I advised that we had several implementations on the go.  Two of these sites are now up and running on Abel ERP.  Here is an overview of what they do.

Supreme Health is a bio-tech manufacturer specializing in health products.

Supreme Health manufactures natural Astaxanthin, which is the most powerful antioxidant found in nature.!  Astaxanthin is 6,000 times stronger than Vitamin C.!

Supreme Health grows an exclusive New Zealand strain of microalgae, haematococcus pluvalis, sourced from freshwater lakes, rivers and streams at the top of the South Island.

Supreme Health carefully selects the microalgae to grow in its cultivation plant. The algae quickly multiply into much larger numbers turning its environment into a deep green colour. The algae are encouraged to change their focus from multiplying to producing Astaxanthin. Gradually their environment changes colour from rich green to brown, and finally to a brilliant red, as the concentration of Astaxanthin reaches its peak.

The Astaxanthin is harvested by careful extraction from the algae to produce a rich dark red oil. The oil is the foundation for the products Supreme Health produce for a wide range of specific health conditions. Other bioactive ingredients are combined with Astaxanthin to provide consumers with natural products capable of improving their lives.

Supreme Healths Manufacturing Facility

Alpha Group is a bio-tech manufacturing company dedicated to the production and promotion of natural medicines.

Alpha Group manufacture a range of health supplements specifically medicinal fungi on herbals used in Traditional Chinese Medicines (TCM).

TCM herbal formulas are a central part of treatment for any physical, mental, or emotional health issues in Asia, and many formulas have a long history of use.  Formula composition is a carefully balanced co-ordination between superior and subordinate elements in response to the TCM diagnoses of yin and yang imbalances in the body, so that physical illnesses and recuperation ultimately reach the goal of optimal health and disease prevention.

Alpha Group has extended the applications of TCM formulas by utilising current research on active herbal factors, and combined them with advanced and innovative biochemical technology, extraction, purification, and activation.

Alpha Group operates in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau.

 

On an “innovative” note – Massey University, Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED) and BNZ are working together to develop a smart innovation district in Auckland North.

Residing on Auckland’s North Shore Abel Software is pleased to be part of this eco-system.

The Grow North, initiative is the glue that connects together a pipeline from schools and incubators through to scale up businesses, fostering and accelerating a sustained stream of exciting innovation that is very good for New Zealand, for our story and to read about other “innovative” Kiwi companies – view here.

Jane

Posted in News |

The latest BUZZ about Abel’s traceability…

Hi There, This month we are looking at how Abel’s functionality can help producers track their production from the field through to manufacturing and packaging of finished goods, meeting requirements for traceability and quality right through the whole supply chain.

In this article we focus on how Abel’s flexibility and traceability is providing a competitive edge for some of New Zealand’s honey producers.

With the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) strengthening authentication, labelling and rules for exporting Manuka Honey, traceability of the supply chain from the hive through to the finished goods has become even more important.

With Abel configured to suit, honey producers can monitor and manage their entire operation, tracking sites and landowners (suppliers in Abel) and recording location information about each site.

Honey producers can create a site inspection regime that suits their operation and record key information about each site. From a mobile device, bee keepers can locate, monitor and inspect each site. The information gathered is configurable to suit each producer but it generally includes information about the bees and their health, the site and the environment. This information is captured back into Abel.

Abel’s flexibility enables installers to tailor Hive Tracking functions to suit each honey producer. This is one example:

Abel manages the collection, certification and production processes as well. Abel stores all the details about the hive sites and suppliers and, once the honey is collected, supports full traceability from the site through to drums of honey collected and ultimately to the finished goods produced. Abel’s standard manufacturing processes can be configured to suit honey production and Abel provides for a number of specialized honey production functions as well including:

  • Record samples sent to the lab for testing.
  • Scan or allocate barcodes on drums of honey.
  • Generate EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) files to load into the MPI website for their e-certification process.
  • Record test results, costs and payments against drums.
  • Revalue drums on repeated test knowledge.

Abel’s functionality enables honey producers to track all finished goods batches back to the drum and the drum back to the site meeting full traceability requirements. And, on the financial side, Abel captures operational costs at site level through to consumption of unique drums at their actual cost in manufacturing. This enables producers to see the final revenue against the actual cost of producing each batch.

Abel helps producers manage all aspects of their production including quality, traceability, compliance and financials.

So that was a quick look at how Abel helps honey producers capture the necessary information to meet industry standards and give their customers certainty about the quality and provenance of every jar of honey.

To all our Honey Producers keep up the good work. We are proud to be part of your success in growing New Zealand’s export industry.

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 |

Twenty Seventeen

Happy New Year!

The year has started very well. Abel Solutions is already underway with customer implementations, it’s so exciting to see how Abel’s flexibility adapts to meet the needs of our customers diverse business processes.

We are presently working on implementations for customers whose businesses span a variety of sectors:

  • A Biotech manufacturer specializing in health products
  • A global provider of custom interiors
  • A plastic extrusion manufacturer

I will announce who these new customers are once their Abel implementations are complete.

Our Research and Development Centre released Abel  5.8.20.17 in January.  This release comprises approximately 45 enhancements across many existing functions including: Manufacturing, Report Writer, Inventory Management and our Statistics Framework that enables businesses to analyse their data based on statistics important to their businesses.  If you want to know more about the latest release please contact your Abel Consultant or an Abel Distributor.

In other news our Distributor Abel Solutions has opened two new offices. Late last year they opened the Wellington office with Lee Drummond looking after our Wellington customers.  And in January Craig Whitehead relocated from Auckland to set up the Christchurch office and look after our South Island customers.

With all of the new enhancements in Abel  5.8.20.17, Rik will be back with you next month continuing his series of blogs on Abel’s features and what they can do for your business.

Jane

Posted in News |

Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for 2017 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.

This Year’s Highlights:

Investors in peopleIn February, Abel Software was delighted to achieve Investors in People accreditation, an internationally recognized accreditation in people management, from High Performance Centre.

In March we celebrated Abel’s 20th Birthday.

In June some of us were fortunate to escape the cold of winter and spend time in North America where Abel Enterprise Management was implemented into the Corporate Office of Alsco Inc, a worldwide leader in the rental of linen, uniforms, healthcare garments, and washroom services and products.

This has been a great year for Abel Solutions, our Distributor and implementation partner, with Abel implementations in Australia and New Zealand. We are very pleased to have: Austin Engineering, Devex Systems, NZ Drinks, King Honey, Playground Centre, New Zealand Health Manufacturing, and ZiwiPeak join the Abel community.

Client Services Manager of NZPICS Vishnu Rayapeddi (left) meets David Mills of Abel Solutions (right).

Client Services Manager of NZPICS Vishnu Rayapeddi (left) meets David Mills of Abel Solutions (right).

November saw NZPICS hold its Supply Chain Conference in Auckland. NZPICS are the New Zealand premier Channel Partner for APICS, the worldwide organization for Supply Chain Management and research. Abe Eshkenazi, Chief Executive Officer of APICS USA, gave the keynote address.

Our Continuous Improvement programme and adherence to APICS best practice standards delivers ongoing results for more Abel customers each year. Andrew and Alison Turner from Nautech Electronics share their story.

In other news, our Research & Development Centre released more new features and functionality this year. We are always looking for new ways to improve Abel and to meet specific customer needs. Here are some highlights:

Manufacturing Functionality:

  • We extended Abel’s MRP (Material Requirements Planning) to include Activities e.g. spraying a kiwifruit orchard – showing when the chemicals, equipment and labour will be required for each activity.
  • We have also extended the use of Abel’s “Shop Order” functionality so you can use it to group existing orders for efficiency in the plant.
  • We have introduced an option for Batch or Unique tracked stock to be consumed at actual cost of the tracked items (rather than at the average stock price).

Customer Story: Mathew Metcalf CEO of Dairy Products NZ Limited explains how Abel’s manufacturing is helping his company deliver automation, flexibility and quality control.

Report Writer Enhancements:
This year our report writer has undergone several significant enhancements:

  • Export to Microsoft® Excel® enables you to export multiple reports to a multi-tabbed Excel workbook e.g. one worksheet per branch.
  • Ranking reports enable businesses to easily compare the financial performance of various branches within a company. They can rank different branches in order of a statistical comparison that you specify. For example, Office Supplies compared to Total Revenue
  • New benchmark line feature prints a line across a report at a “benchmark” value that you specify to highlight data that is above or below expectations.
  • Conditional formatting which enables you to alter the format of groups, lines or fields on a report depending on the value in a field. It works for both printed reports and Excel exports. For example under performance can be highlighted in red.
  • Multiple reports that run in one run for printing or export to Excel. When used with Excel exports, this feature creates an Excel workbook with multiple tabs – one tab for each report within the Multi Report. Multi Reports can be scheduled in the same way as Abel’s other reports.

Abel Enterprise Management:
We have continued to expand Abel’s Enterprise Management functionality this year.

New Dashboards:
We have introduced more Executive Dashboards for tracking KPIs and managing by exception. Our new dashboards include:

Customer Overview dashboard enables you to:

  • View Customers Orders, Invoices, Returns and Credit Limit
  • View Aged Balances, Pay Days and Sales History
  • View Triple A Rating and Contact Details,
  • View and Create Notes, Events and Tasks.
  • View recent customer order details for the last 3, 6, 12 or 24 months
  • Create new Customer Orders.

Customer History

Customer Rating screen for ranking your Customers by Revenue, Profit and how quickly they pay you. The Customer Rating screen helps you understand which customers are contributing the most value to your business.

Manufacturing Work Center Loadings screen that shows work center capacity and loading in a graphical form. The Work Center Loadings dashboard shows you which work centers in your factory are over capacity and which ones are under capacity for the next 10 days.

Work Centres

Some of the Abel Team at a recent Planning Day

Some of the Abel Team at a recent Planning Day

As always, we continue to work alongside our customers to make sure Abel meets their evolving business needs.

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 this year.

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 |

Latest case study: Dairy Products NZ

When master chef Mathew Metcalfe decided to start a business making premium soft-serve ice cream and dairy-free desserts, he chose Abel® ERP to deliver the automation, flexibility and quality control he needed to compete in NZ and overseas… Read more >>

Posted in News |