The Blog

Latest case study: GMP Dairy

GMP Dairy was the first New Zealand infant formula manufacturer to be approved for exports to China under their new 2014 quality measures. Read about how GMP Dairy chose Abel for its strong manufacturing features, especially supply chain traceability, to easily and efficiently track and access all of its quality control data. Check out the case study here.

Posted in News |

Latest case study: Disc Brakes Australia

Read about how Disc Brakes Australia has used Abel® to thrive in a cut-throat global auto industry. Check out the case study here.

Posted in Abel Blog |

How Abel keeps track of your Assets

Gidday, This is the latest in a series of blogs I am writing on Abel’s features and what they can do for you. This month’s topic is Abel’s Fixed Asset functionality.

The features provided by Abel Fixed Assets include:

  • The asset register including employee, location, serial number, company / department.
  • Purchase, sale, depreciation and transfer.
  • Part sale and part purchase of pooled assets.
  • Book and tax depreciation registers.
  • Consolidation of depreciation to any company, division or branch.
  • Straight Line or Diminishing Value depreciation.

When you purchase a new asset,  Abel will create depreciation from the purchase date for the remainder of the financial year. The postings will use the accounts you specify in Asset Group maintenance.

Asset groups are a mandatory classification of assets. Create asset groups that suit your business requirements, you can specify both tax account codes and book value codes (if used) for your fixed asset postings.

All transactions within Abel Fixed Assets are automatically registered in the General Ledger. Depreciation is calculated a financial year in advance using the annual depreciation journal. Any transactions you do during the year such as asset sales, purchases, transfers or adjustments will have their future asset value and depreciation automatically accounted for, so that the true value of assets is always known and correctly shown in the balance sheet. The asset stays in the asset register until sold – even if it has been written off.

Abel also supports interdepartmental asset transfers.  This is like a sale from one department to another and it automatically transfers the future depreciation as well. You can create a fixed asset journal for the ‘from’ department with a transfer ‘Trnf’ line to the ‘to’ department.

In summary, Abel fixed assets components include:

  • Asset Maintenance – holds all your asset data in one place within Abel.
  • Asset Group – a mandatory classification for assets that also defines all the posting codes.
  • Asset Category – an optional extra classification for reporting purposes – an asset can belong to multiple categories.
  • Asset Ledger – provides a transaction view per asset.
  • Asset Journals – handles asset purchases, depreciation, transfers and sales.
  • Asset Reports.

If you want to know more about Abel’s Fixed Asset functionality and how it can help your business, please contact your Abel Consultant or an Abel Distributor.

Until next time.

Rik

Posted in News |

Stock Reserves, Back Orders and Forward Orders

….or how not to run out of stock

Gidday, This is the latest in a series of blogs I am writing on Abel’s features and what they can do for you. This month’s topic is Abel’s stock and inventory demand and on order processing. This includes Abel’s basic demand, reserve, back order and forward order features.

These features have been designed to make sure you can meet deadlines, have stock on hand and accurately plan for requirements across multiple warehouses and production lines.

Abel can be configured to capture stock and inventory item demand from: Customer Orders, Manufacture Orders, Shop Orders, Jobbing Orders and Production Orders.

This basic demand can further be extended to track: reserved stock, back ordered stock and forward orders. This demand is used to calculate available stock (stock on hand less reserved and back ordered) and is used for reorder and replenishment (stock on hand less basic demand).

We are often asked: What does reserving stock mean?

Reserve is Abel’s term for current stock that is needed for a customer order or a plant order. (APICS defines this concept as allocated stock created by a reservation process – effectively an “uncashed” stockroom requisition). Reserving stock is a way of allocating available stock to customer orders or manufacturing activities (plant orders).

Back order is a technique for recording demand for a normally stocked item that is out of stock. Abel can be configured to calculate and store the back order quantity when there is insufficient stock to complete an order, so you can easily see the back order requirements on each document and inventory item. It does not reserve the stock but the orders will be in the stock allocation queue for available stock.

Forward order is a technique that initiates the manufacture or purchase of an item you don’t have in stock, or nominates a supplier order to fulfill demand. It can be used when there is no current stock to satisfy the demand (either because the item is never kept in stock or because stock has run out). For items that you never keep in stock, you can configure specific customer order line types to automatically create a supplier purchase order or a plant order when the customer order line is posted.  For items that are temporarily out of stock, you can manually create a forward order link  to a supplier purchase order, giving certainty over when that order will be fulfilled. When stock arrives for a supplier purchase order, it is not received and stored away, rather it is immediately dispatched. This is called cross docking.

Here are some more questions we often get asked:

How do I know if I will have enough stock to make an item when the manufacture starts?
Use the Available Position screen – this forecasts the available stock as at the start date of the manufacture. This example shows the available position as at the manufacture start date for a particular plant document. There is a shortage on one of the raw materials.

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What if I have an important job that I want to move up the queue?
You can move an item up the queue by changing its reserve date, you must also manage those jobs that will be short of stock as a result. This example shows an important order waiting behind three others. You can use Abel’s manual reserve feature to change the reserve date to move it up the queue.

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What does  over reserved [Rov] mean?
If you are running a reserve configuration and you see [Rov] it means the stock item is over reserved i.e. you have not got enough available stock to fulfil the order or complete the manufacture.

This example shows a customer order that has been reserved. The top line has enough stock and the stock has been reserved [Res], the second line does not have enough stock [Rov].

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So that was a very quick summary of three techniques for managing inventory demand. It is pretty much horses for courses. You can select different techniques for different inventory items according to your requirements.

If you want to know more about Abel’s inventory demand and on order processing features and how they can help your business, please contact your Abel Consultant or an Abel Distributor.

Until next time.

Rik

Posted in News |

Abel’s Project Accounting

Gidday, This is the latest in a series of blogs I am writing on Abel’s features and what they can do for you. This month’s topic is Project Accounting.

Do you have any R&D projects that you would like to track revenue and expenses for? Or perhaps you would like to track marketing costs for individual trade shows? Do you need to provide detailed analysis when you have received a government grant? Abel’s Project Accounting can help you with these challenges and more.

Many projects such as R&D can easily bleed money with no associated income in the short term so, needless to say, cost control is pretty important. My first experience of this was in 1990 when I worked for a Government Organization in Wellington. We had a large project with all its expenses going to the one account in the General Ledger. My boss wanted a breakdown of the unexpectedly large costs.  It took me a month to analyze 2 years of transactions, going back through all the lineflow printouts and paper expense records, and report back with an analysis of 40 plus classifications showing where all the costs had been consumed. At Abel, we really do understand the challenges our customers face. I would have loved to have Abel’s Project Accounting back then.

Our Project Accounting captures your project data within Abel’s  financials where the data can then be used by Project Managers to track the financial progress of projects.  You can create new Projects in Abel and then all revenues and expenses can be charged to that project as part of your normal transaction processing.

Whereas standard accounting is about monitoring financial  progress of organizations or parts of organizations over defined time periods (weeks, months, quarters and years), projects differ. Projects often cross organizational boundaries, may last for anything from a few days or weeks to a number of years, during which time budgets may be revised many times. They may also be one of a number of projects that make up a larger overall project or program.

You can create budgets for projects in the same way as you can for a business unit. This improves project tracking and control, helps you make timely decisions and gives you early warning of any issues.

With Abel’s Project Accounting you can :

  • Create project budgets.
  • Capture project data as part of your normal transaction processing.
  • Obtain full financial accounting for each project.
  • Identify cost overruns earlier and in detail.
  • Provide detailed analysis to management or externally e.g. for a grant you have received.
  • More accurately budget for similar projects in the future.

If you want to know more about Abel’s Project Accounting  and how it can help your business please contact your Abel Consultant or an Abel Distributor.

Until next time.

Rik

Posted in News |

Great Start for 2014

Happy New Year!

2014 has kicked off well. I am excited about the forthcoming year as we have a fantastic line up of great businesses joining the Abel community.

Abel Solution’s Consultants are working on pre-installation QA testing with two well-known brands, Click Clack and Deane Apparel, due to go live with Abel this quarter. Worldwide textile services company Alsco is installing yet another Branch in Italy at Melilli, in the province of Syracuse, Sicily.

By the way, I recently updated the ‘Who We Are’ pages on our website to provide more insight into the business domains we support and also more about Abel’s history. The new content is at these links:

Next month Rik will continue his series of blogs on Abel’s features and how they can help you.

Jane

Posted in News |

Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for 2014 from the team at Abel Software

As we look back on another year, it’s a chance to reflect on some of the highlights for us here at Abel Software.

We continue to reach out to our existing customers, to help their expansion into new markets.  China and the United States were the stars this year, with two of our New Zealand customers extending their manufacturing operations – one into China and another into the United States to be closer to their major markets. It’s great to be a part of our customers success stories.

Our distributor, Abel Solutions, has been busy on both sides of the Tasman with several new implementations. Their Melbourne team installed Abel for the Australian Wool Testing Authority who went live in September. The Australian Wool Testing Authority is the largest wool testing organization in the world.

In Sydney the team has been busy with existing customer upgrades and implementing Abel for Disk Brakes Australia.  DBA is an Australian owned manufacturer, designer and global marketer of automotive disc brake rotors.

In June the New Zealand team completed the implementation of Abel for Talus Industries’ Brushworks brand, which is part of the Innova Products Group.  Innova is a global company that designs and produces household brands such as Click Clack kitchenware, Dixbro, Brushworks brushware and Strahl beverageware products.

Our good friends at Alsco have also been busy installing Abel into three branches in Italy, Merlino, Padova and Sovicille.

Abel Software’s Research & Development Center released some cool new features including several significant enhancements to our Manufacturing functionality, some new cross database functions for those of you with multiple databases, as well a number of small enhancements requested by our customers.

Abel’s Material Requirements Planning (MRP), which continued to develop this year, has been a big hit with customers.  MRP is a technique which uses budgets to drive Production Planning and Inventory Control. MRP can be used to plan manufacturing, purchasing and delivery activities.  It recommends re-order quantities and timing for materials, ensuring your supply and demand is efficiently managed while maintaining low inventory levels.

To all our customers around the world, we are always striving to help you, whether it is by way of a major development to align with a new business process, assisting you to expand into new markets or providing a small tweak that makes your job a little bit easier.

We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous 2014.

Jane and the Team at Abel

Posted in News |

Abel’s Email Interface for Microsoft Outlook®

Hi There, This is the next in our series of blogs on Abel’s features and what they can do for you.

At Abel, of course, we use our own Abel ERP software for running our business. Jane our Business and Channels Manager loves Abel’s Email Interface functionality. Says Jane:

“I deal with Abel’s Customers, Suppliers and Channel Partners. Keeping tabs on all correspondence is easy using Abel’s Email Interface, and everyone in the organization can get the ‘full picture’ of our email conversations with our customers at any time.”

Abel’s Email Interface enables you to import emails from Microsoft Outlook® and store them against Customers in Abel. The Email Interface has been a great addition to our Client Relationship Management (CRM) functionality for managing all those important email conversations that you need to track as part of doing business and giving good service. As well as CRM, you can use Abel’s Email Interface throughout Abel to record all email exchanges that are important to your business including those with Customers, Suppliers, Prospects and Suspects or other Client Categories that you have defined.

With the Abel Email Interface you can …

  • Quickly and easily capture and store your inbound emails against the relevant ‘Client’. And you can easily view them from within Abel’s CRM functionality.
  • Have your inbound emails attached to the relevant Client in Abel so all your employees (with appropriate security settings) can share those important email conversations for better management of the business relationship.
  • Reply from within Abel. Your replies are automatically stored in Abel and the ‘sender’ will be the Outlook account that received the original inbound email.
  • Reduce paper filing and email management while still giving you an accurate account of email conversations for all your Customers, Suppliers, Prospects, Suspects or other Client Categories that you have defined within your Abel ERP system.

How it Works

In Microsoft Outlook, you select one or more emails that you wish to export, click ‘Export to Abel’, select the ‘Client’ to attach them to (e.g. a particular Customer, Supplier, Prospect, Suspect etc..), and off they go into Abel. You can then manage the emails from within Abel – Reply, Forward, Print, Delete etc. This of course adds to the history against the ‘Client’ in Abel’s CRM.

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For the technically minded…

The Abel Email Interface uses Microsoft® Internet Information Services (IIS) to run a JADE dll which transfers the emails to the Abel Application Server.

The Abel Email Interface is supported in Abel 5.3.179.13 and later versions.  You will also need:

  • Microsoft® Internet Information Services (IIS) version 7.
  • Microsoft Windows Server® 2008*, Windows 7.
  • Microsoft Outlook® 2007, 2010 or 2013.

So, if you would like to use Abel’s Email Interface, or to find out more about it, please contact your Abel Consultant or Abel Distributor.

Until next time, Rik.

Posted in Abel Blog, News |

Using Queue Points in Abel’s Scheduling

Hi There, This is the next in our series of blogs on Abel’s features and what they can do for you.

Have you heard about Queue Points in Abel’s scheduling process? Queue Points cause Abel’s scheduling functionality to synchronize disparate activities to a point you define in the parent Bill of Materials (BOM). For example, you can use Queue Points to identify the same kind of external manufacture within several sub-BOMs and co-ordinate them to finish together at a point defined on the parent BOM.

Benefits of Queue Points

  • Queue Points help you schedule complex manufactures more efficiently by allowing you to easily synchronize specific activities from different sub-BOMs. For example, you can synchronize external manufactures (such as powder coating or granite cutting and polishing).
  • When you need to use your sub-BOMs both standalone and as part of larger manufactures, Queue Points allow you schedule your larger manufactures more economically and efficiently while still preserving the flow for standalone use of those same sub-BOMs.

How it Works

You can define your Queue Point in the parent BOM at a point where you want to synchronize a number of activities. Then set the Queue Point attribute for the activities in the sub-BOMs that you want to synchronize, giving them the same Queue Point identifier that you defined in the parent. This causes Abel’s scheduling functionality to schedule the specified activities at the Queue Point defined in the parent BOM, instead of where they fall in the sub-BOMs, and makes them all finish at the same time.

Example:

In this example, a manufacture of metal balustrades has two sub-BOMs, one for posts and one for panels each with an external manufacturing activity for powder coating and you want to ensure that both powder coating activities are scheduled at the same time to provide an efficient workflow between your factory and the external manufacturer who does your powder coating.

  • In the parent BOM, add an activity for Queue Point ‘A’ at the place where you want the external powder coating to happen.
  • In each of the two sub-BOMs, enter ‘A’ in the Queue Point attribute for the external powder coating activities that you want to synchronize. There is no need to move these activities.

Abel’s Scheduling functionality will look for all activities that have a Queue Point of ‘A’ and schedule them to happen at Queue Point ‘A’ defined in the parent, instead of where they fall in the sub-BOMs, and makes them finish at the same time. All the powder coating activities that you identified have been grouped to the same queue point for efficient management of the external manufacturing workflow with your powder coating supplier.

If you would like to know more about scheduling, or how queue points can help your business, please contact your Abel Consultant or Abel Distributor.

Until next time,
Rik

Posted in Abel Blog, News |

New Release of Abel

Hi there, the development team has been busy again. Abel version 5.3.179.13 was released in July. This is another one of our minor releases, and includes plenty of new features to interest you. Here are just a few:

Abel Email Plugin for Microsoft Outlook®

The Abel Email Plugin is a cool new utility that exports emails from Microsoft Outlook and stores them against your Clients in Abel.

In Microsoft Outlook, you select one or more emails that you wish to export, click ‘Export to Abel’, select the Client to attach them to, and off they go into Abel. You can then manage the emails from within Abel – Reply, Forward, Print, Delete etc. This of course adds to the history against a client in Abel’s CRM.

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New and Improved Abel Functionality

  • Deposits
    We have improved our deposit functionality making it even easier to create, select, receipt or pay deposits for Customers, Suppliers and Jobs.  Two new forms allow you to view all paid and unpaid deposits. Deposits can be automatically deducted from the total owing on a receipt or payment, and you can stop a Customer Order being posted if the deposit has not been paid.
  • Build a Stock Transfer on to a Customer Consignment
    You can now add a Stock Transfer directly on to a Customer Consignment, making it easier to manage stock transfers that are required for specific customer orders. There are various options around how to set this up so you will want to discuss this with your Abel Installer.
  • New Cross Database Functions
    Those of you with multiple databases will be pleased to hear about two new cross database functions – Customer Despatch / Supplier Delivery and Customer Invoice / Supplier Invoice for transactions between your internal clients. Create your Customer Despatch or Customer Invoice and simply click Transfer to create the corresponding document in the other database.
  • Picking Bins
    We have added Picking Bin information  to Inventory Items and a Picking Reorder form to support Picking Bin processes. Those of you with Picking Bins can now manage them much more easily.
  • MRP Manufacture Reorder
    Your manufactured MRP items can now be automatically included in the Manufacturing Production Schedule, based on your MRP budgets. See my earlier blog on MRP for a bit of background.
  • Parallel Scheduling
    We have enhanced our parallel scheduling so it is now easier to manage sequential steps within your parallel manufacturing processes.
  • Fixed Asset Transfers
    We have created new functionality for Interdepartmental Asset Transfers.  This transaction transfers the asset to the new department and automatically transfers the depreciation as well.

There are around 40 items in this release and the above highlights just a few. Keep an eye out for our new Release Documentation detailing all of the enhancements.

Until next time, Rik

Posted in Abel Blog, News |