The Blog

Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for 2015 from the team at Abel

As another year draws to a close, it’s time to reflect on the achievements of our customers.

Our good friends at Alsco have truly had a year to remember. In 2014 they celebrated Alsco’s 125 years in the textile services business. From humble beginnings in Lincoln Nebraska in 1889, Alsco has since served more customers in more countries for more years than any other image wear services supplier in the world. Check out Alsco’s 125th Anniversary Video. This achievement is a tribute to four generations of the Steiner family.

alsco2Alsco continues to expand and innovate. In August Allan Baird and I spent a week in Italy at the Alsco Merlino branch which is about a 40 minute drive from downtown Milan.

The laundry is state of the art with so many processing stages : arrival, sorting, washing, rinsing, hydro extraction, clean handling, tumble dry & transport, loading, control & repair, automatic sorting and automatic folding and empty hanger return. It was truly fascinating watching the machines that process thousands of items every day! Check out this video to see the laundry in operation.

We visited some of our New Zealand customers as well.

In July Callum Baird and I visited GMP Dairy, New Zealand’s first and largest pharmaceutical grade dairy manufacturing production facility. Our visit included a tour of the clean room production facility which is built to strict hygiene standards with extensive automation; the facility features the most advanced dairy processing, air filtration and testing systems in New Zealand.

Allan Baird and I attended the opening of Manuka Health’s new multi-million dollar production facility in Te Awamutu. Manuka Health is the largest purpose built honey processing and distribution centre in New Zealand.

Our customers have continued to grow and expand, with Abel this year. Nautech Electronics, who design, manufacture and install Electrical and Electronic Equipment into thousands of Emergency Service Vehicles, has expanded its use of Abel ERP Software in New Zealand into their Queensland operation.

We also welcomed many new customers to Abel this year including:

  • Myriad Engineering, who has been providing engineering services since 1972, implemented Abel ERP Software into their Lower Hutt operation. Myriad Engineering provides high quality machined componentry for organizations that produce; world class racing yachts, LawnMaster lawnmowers and state of the art flag pole systems
  • Hotter Engineering, a Taranaki-based designer and manufacturer of parallel rotary milking platforms for the global dairy industry, implemented Abel ERP Software this year. Hotter Engineering has installed over 500 high quality milking platforms in 30 countries.
  • Reid and Twiname, who have been importing and distributing into the Motor Body Hardware and Industrial and Outdoor Textiles industries since 1923, implemented Abel ERP Software into their Auckland and Christchurch operations.

Our Distributor and Implementation Partner Abel Solutions has had a huge year with Abel ERP implementations on both sides of the Tasman, thank you David and the team, a truly remarkable effort for 2014.

And finally our Research & Development Center has continued to release more new features and functionality this year including:

  • Significant enhancements to our Enterprise Management capabilities for those Abel customers running multiple Abel databases, and those that have a Head Office / Branch structure.
  • Further enhancements to Manufacturing including Shop Orders, which can be used to better manage complex manufacturing processes. This functionality has enabled time saving for our milk powder processing customers.
  • Several handy features for managing stock including “First Expiry – First Out” picking for better management of perishable stock.
  • Enhancements to Abel’s Report Writer including a new pre-set automatic Report Builder.
  • Enhancements to Fixed Assets internationalization.
  • And, as always, we continue to make many small enhancements as requested by our customers.

To all our customers around the world, we wish you Compliments of the Season and we look forward to working with you again next year.

Jane and the Team at Abel

Posted in News |

Handy Features for Managing Stock

Hi there, I am just writing to highlight a few of Abel’s features for managing stock and inventory. Did you know about these?

  • Inventory Frozen Status
    The ‘Frozen Status’ is a temporary status for batch controlled inventory that stops it being used or consumed. The Frozen Status is intended for use when batches entering stock cannot be used or sold immediately for some reason (for example, until quality tests have been completed). You can include frozen batch controlled inventory on documents, but Abel will prevent you from posting them until the frozen status has been removed. You can either set the frozen status at the inventory item level (meaning stock for that inventory code will always enter stock with a status of frozen). Or you can set the frozen status manually for individual batches, serial numbers or unique numbers.
  • Stock Runout Features
    The Stock Runout Screen makes it easier to predict when you will run out of stock. It is especially helpful for finding cases where you are awaiting delivery of a supplier order (and therefore the system won’t automatically reorder) but the supplier order isn’t big enough and you are still projected to run out of stock.
    You can also generate supplier purchase orders and branch manufacturing orders using the estimated stock shortage date to derive the due date of each line plus a configurable ‘safety days’ margin.
  • Build Pick Process
    The ‘Build Pick’ process is an alternative to the requisition process for consuming stock in manufacturing. Build Pick transfers inventory to a ‘Manufacturing Department’ (e.g. a location on the factory floor) from its respective Stock, Store or Plant Company/Department in preparation for consumption within a manufacture. A subsequent back flush of the manufacturing document consumes the stock from the Manufacturing Department. A Pick can be built from Manufacturing / Jobbing / Production or Planning type documents.
  • Options for Managing Batch Controlled Inventory
    Abel offers a number of options for validating document lines dealing with batch controlled inventory. This gives you more control over batch controlled inventory and helps you ensure it is captured accurately. For example, on a receipt, you can prevent a batch or serial being received if it has been entered into Abel before.

If you want to know more about Abel’s handy features for managing stock 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 “First Expiry – First Out” picking helps you consume oldest inventory first

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

Do you sell perishable stock or consume perishable raw materials in your manufacturing processes? Have you ever wanted to easily pick perishable inventory based on its expiry date? Well now you can with Abel’s “First Expiry – First Out” picking option or FEFO for short.

Abel can store a “Use Date” for perishable inventory. For items that have a use date, Abel’s dispatch, pick and requisition processes offer batch controlled inventory with the earliest Use Dates first, so items that expire first are used first.

This example shows a customer dispatch with batch tracked inventory that has a Use Date. The ‘Issue Batches’ screen shows batches in Use Date order and suggests the oldest batch (by Use Date) for dispatch.

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The operator can either confirm or amend the suggested selections either individually or all at once. Alternatively, if the operator needs to undo and redo the allocation before posting a document, e.g. due to inventory movement, they can easily clear and then re-load Abel’s suggested allocation.

So that was a very quick summary of how Abel’s “FEFO” picking can help you better manage your perishable inventory. By the way – If supply chain traceability is important to your business, check out this case study.

To find out more about Abel’s 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 Shop Orders and Scheduling Around a Constraint Work Center

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 blog includes:

  • Abel’s Shop Orders
  • Splitting a manufacture into ‘lots’
  • Scheduling around a constraint work center

Abel’s shop orders provide a very powerful top down view of complex jobs that contain multiple manufactures. You can see  at any stage where each of the manufactures is at. Shop orders complement Abel’s scheduling functionality, making it easier to co-ordinate multiple manufactures to meet the customers required date.

The shop orders screen shows you all the manufacturing documents needed to make an item for a customer order and see the status of each. Abel’s shop order screen gives you visibility over all the manufacturing processes needed to produce an item from the one screen and schedule all the work with one click. You can easily track the status of the individual manufactures, view the schedule, and drill down to the individual manufacturing documents.

Shops are also useful if you need to split a manufacture into lots that the factory can handle. The ‘split’ function automatically creates separate manufactures in lot sizes that you specify. The separate manufactures for each lot can all be viewed on the shop screen.

Scheduling around a constraint work center can be done for any schedule (not only for shops). If you have a constraint work center in your manufacturing process then Abel can optimize the schedule to make best possible use of that work center and will automatically arrange the other items around it.

Shop Orders

You can configure Abel so that customer orders for certain inventory items automatically create shop orders when they are posted, like this example:

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For each customer order line, all the manufactures are listed on the shop orders screen. This example shows 1140 kilos of marmalade being manufactured and packaged into 3000 jars:

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Splitting a manufacture into lots

Shop orders also provide a split function for splitting a large manufacture into ‘lots’ (or batches) that the plant can handle. In this example, the marmalade is being manufactured in 400 kilo lots.

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Abel replaces the single manufacture with multiple manufactures up to your specified lot size:

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From the shop order screen you can create the schedule. This example shows the default schedule that was created:

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Scheduling around a constraint work center

If your schedule has a constraint work center, you can optimize the schedule for it. Click on a line that contains the constraint work center, then click Schedule. The schedule is re-drawn optimizing for the constraint work center.

This example has been optimized for Work Center 1. You can see that Abel has scheduled all the work center 1 lines to follow on from each other and has automatically scheduled the other lines around it.

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So that was a very quick summary of what’s cool about Abel’s shops and constraint work center functionality.

If you want to know more about these features and how they can help your business, please contact your Abel Consultant or an Abel Distributor.

Until next time.

Rik

Posted in News |

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 |