It feels like convention season here at the Navy Gold Coast small business conference in Austin, TX where several hundred small- and medium-sized business leaders have met to discuss implementations and improvements on Business One, SAP’s SME ERP offering at the 2015 ASUG Summit (enough abbreviations for you?).
In an ongoing effort to evolve the business processes at Tork Systems and provide better customer service, I’ve been tasked with rolling out a new inventory management system at our Oakland facility. We’ve outgrown our current system and are chomping at the bit to take the next step toward top-tier customer service and delivery. I’m banking on SAP to help deliver on both fronts.
The goal: Improving Tork’s customer service experience and streamlining our sales cycle.
I’m always wary of trying to solve specific issues by attending a conference. We’re a niche market, and big conferences like this are usually designed to cast a broad net to capture a wide array of interests and industries. (Believe it or not, most folks here at ASUG Summit don’t know a union end globe valve from a threaded bronze gate valve!).
That being said, I’ve been able to glean some incredible tips, tricks, and insights from SAP gurus and other small business leaders. Here’s a couple of my highlights from the conference:
Tuesday’s Keynote and SMB Sit Down
with Luis Marguia (@
Mr. Marguia spoke to a topic that is especially relevant to the marine valve industry. The theme was, “Barbarians at the gate,” and dealt with the increasing pressure from international competitors. The solution he gave included omnichannel sales, specifically the importance of mobile solutions for SMBs. SAP Anywhere, which is currently rolling out a beta in China, is a solution designed to help smaller businesses gain entry into larger marketplaces. It’s likely that in the future we could see a growing importance for mobile technology in our industry, and mobile technology may greatly improve the customer experience.
“Optimizing Your Sales Order Process”
with Neil Swanson, Director of Sales at Achieve IT (@achieveone)
Mr. Swanson addressed the issue of consistent pricing and stock availability. Achieve IT, SAP B1 offers software to coordinate selling, purchasing, and quoting. If your sales team has access to last price information, unit information, and stock quantity, they can give a more accurate and consistent quote for all products. It also helps the team know what they should be paying when they are dealing with vendors. Perhaps even more useful is the ability to cross sell. Setting up a database to track what gets sold gives the sales team the opportunity to ask questions such as, “Do you need a monel hex head bolt with your 803-2177917 Navy gate valve?” All of this combined means an easier sales process and better pricing for everyone doing business with our company.
“SAP Business One Tips and Tricks”
On-stage chemistry isn’t the only thing Oren and Caryl brought to stage. The audience oooh’ed and ahhh’ed for an action packed hour and a half presentation, and the knowledge gained was astounding! The specific uses of B1 must be tapped into for the full benefit of the software. Caryl Miller demonstrated an alert notification that improved her quote-to-order success rate by 8%, and even more astounding, it only took Oren Tabib 10 minutes to script the alarm! Our take away is that to achieve the promised results of an application, you have to get your hands dirty and learn a little bit. Doing so can improve operations, accounting practices, reduce production waste, and more. A lot of it isn’t difficult. It just takes a small amount of time to figure out.
My team owes a big thanks to Darren Vayhinger and Stephen King of Effective Computer Solutions (ECS) (@ecsjax) for helping connect us with answers and great people, like Tom Blais of VZ Grips (@vzgrips) and David Shinn of EvoShield (@evoshield).
Tom is helping build VZ Grips into the premier American-made gun grip on the market. He has lots of quality advice to offer if you’re looking to learn about initial startup and e-commerce integration. David is protecting pro and amateur athletes alike. I think Luis’s tweet summed it up best:
Lastly, a big shout out to the fine folks at Flotech, Inc. who remain the best in the business (I’m looking at you Diane and Lynette).