Collections Window: Stop Scribbling Notes Everywhere!

-Written by Bill Lannan

How much time and effort do you spend on AR Aging and collection reviews? Are you still using outdated printed reports? How are you capturing recent cash receipts, adjustments, and credits? Do you still write hand notes all over your printed copy of AR Aging and pass it around? What happens to those notes when you’re done? Can you easily retrieve them when needed? Are you able to share them with others easily? Is information being shared in a timely manner?

The Collections Window in VISUAL is an excellent way to organize your collection activities. You can run it for all customers or just one customer. It only shows what’s open and can be filtered for just past due or all items. It’s sortable allowing you to organize data by dollar amounts, age of receivable, etc.

You can attach customer notes which are viewable by Customer Order Entry. You can attach collection notes which are viewable by Accounts Receivable. You can attach invoice notes which are viewable by Customer Service. You can attach invoice collection notes which are viewable by Accounts Receivable.

Every time you open the Collections Window, it’s automatically updated with recent invoices, recent cash receipts, and recent new or updated notes.

So if you haven’t been using the Collections Window and notations, give it a try! I bet this will help to better organize and streamline your collection activities.

As always, if you need more information, training, or assistance, Synergy Resources is available to help. Just contact your Account Manager or Customer Care today!

Feel overwhelmed by everything you see in the Scheduling Window?

Written by Greg Miller

Get to know the Throughput Window and build efficiency into your production scheduling process.

Users who are new to VISUAL’s scheduling toolset are both intrigued and overwhelmed by VISUAL’s Scheduling Window presentation. Although the Scheduling Window does provide valuable at-a-glance information relative to lateness, scheduling gaps and overall resource backlog, successful VISUAL scheduling professionals have found VISUAL’s Throughput Window to be the hub for high-level and detailed schedule analysis.

The Throughput Window provides the following quantitative measurement tools:

  1. Customer Service Impact- A metric which quantifies the number of days late and associated dollar values for Past-due and Anticipated Customer Order Lateness.
  2. Contention- Provides a measurable indicator for current and upcoming shop resource bottlenecks by capturing the number of times and associated severity (number of delay days) that the scheduler encountered a scheduling conflict at a particular shop resource.
  3. Material Constraint- Do you ever wish that you had a Pareto chart showing the top “x” (count of) materials that are causing the greatest scheduling impact? The Material Constraints button provides that.  As with all charts in the Throughput Window, you can double-click the particular bar to open up a hyperlinked grid which gives you all of the details (Part ID, Work Order ID, Severity, etc..) to dig in deeper.
  4. Actual and Expected Throughput- This tool quantifies the business’ actual and expected throughput values. Throughput is defined as Selling Price – Raw Materials-Purchased Parts- Service costs. This is a great place to validate your overall schedule against weekly or monthly production targets.  “What-If” schedules can be created to simulate the throughput impact of adding capacity to a bottleneck resource. Does the increased capacity add more to the company’s bottom line or just create a downstream bottleneck?

The next time you are faced with answering difficult scheduling questions from upper management, open up the Throughput Window, analyze the information, create a simulated schedule and compare the results using the above tools. You will quickly get quantitative measurements that will help validate your assumptions and allow you to manage the routine scheduling challenges with confidence in an efficient manner.

Have questions or require assistance? Please contact us. We are at your service!

 

 

 

 

      

Additive Manufacturing – The Next Industrial Revolution

Written by Robert Anand

Additive Manufacturing (AM) is the name to describe the technologies that build 3D objects by the accumulation (layer-upon-layer) of material, whether the material is plastic, metal, concrete or even human tissue.

Common to AM technologies is the use of a computer, CAD software, machine equipment and layering material.  Once a CAD MODEL is produced, the AM equipment uses data from the CAD file to lay down or add successive layers of liquid, powder, sheet, or other material, in a layer-upon-layer fashion to fabricate a 3D object.

The term AM encompasses many technologies including 3D Printing, Rapid Prototyping (RP), Direct Digital Manufacturing (DDM), layered manufacturing and additive fabrication.

Examples of Additive Manufacturing include:

FDM
Process oriented involving use of thermoplastic (polymer that changes to a liquid upon the application of heat and solidifies to a solid when cooled) materials injected through indexing nozzles onto a platform. The nozzles trace the cross-section pattern for each particular layer with the thermoplastic material hardening prior to the application of the next layer. The process repeats until the build or model is completed and fascinating to watch. Specialized material may be need to add support to some model features. Similar to SLA, the models can be machined or used as patterns. Very easy-to-use and cool.

MJM
Multi-Jet Modeling is similar to an inkjet printer in that a head, capable of shuttling back and forth (3 dimensions-x, y, z)) incorporates hundreds of small jets to apply a layer of thermopolymer material, layer-by-layer.

SLA
Stereolithography is a technology utilizing lasers to cure layer-upon-layer of photopolymer resin (polymer that changes properties when exposed to light).  The build occurs in a pool of resin. A laser beam, directed into the pool of resin, traces the cross-section pattern of the model for that particular layer and cures it. During the build cycle, the platform on which the build is repositioned, lowering by a single layer thickness. The process repeats until the build or model is completed and fascinating to watch. Specialized material may be needed to add support to some model features. Models can be machined and used as patterns for injection molding, thermoforming or other casting processes.

SLS
Somewhat like SLA technology Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) utilizes a high powered laser to fuse small particles of plastic, metal, ceramic or glass. During the build cycle, the platform on which the build is repositioned, lowering by a single layer thickness. The process repeats until the build or model is completed. Unlike SLA technology, support material is not needed as the build is supported by unsintered material.

LMD
Laser deposition welding, also called laser metal deposition (LMD), is a generative laser procedure in which metal is applied on existing tools and components in layers. The laser generates a molten bath on the existing surface into which one or more metal powders is sprayed through a nozzle. The powder then melts and bonds with the base material. Bit by bit, a new material layer develops.  Using LMD, certain properties of parts can be targeted for improvement by systematically refining or combining materials. For example you can give a softer metal a hard, high-quality surface; combine a thermally insulating material with a conductive layer; or coat metal with materials that resist high temperatures, salt water, or chemicals. Laser deposition will not only lengthen the life components, it can also significantly reduce the overall manufacturing costs.

Once confined to manufacturing labs and research institutions, Additive Manufacturing has taken hold in industry.  GE expects to manufacture over 100,000 parts using this technology by 2020.

Have you introduced any additive manufacturing processes in your shop?  We’d love to hear about it! Contact us to tell us your story!

Updating Standard Costs in VISUAL 8

Written by Bill Lannan

When was the last time you updated standard costs in VISUAL? Are you seeing large variances between your actual costs and your standard costs?  Then it’s probably time to bring your standards up to date.  Commodity prices, labor rates, manufacturing processes, and business operations are all changing constantly and more rapidly than ever before in today’s world.

The once-per-year review and update may no longer be sufficient if you want to properly price products and remain competitive in today’s environment. Accordingly, you may need to develop a different strategy and frequency for updating your standards.  This requires a fair degree of judgement, effort, and discipline, but luckily, VISUAL provides some tools to help you.

In particular, VISUAL 8 provides a tool called “Recalculate Standard Costs” that helps you to analyze and evaluate prospective changes and then apply those changes as desired. This tool works in both Actual and Standard Cost environments.  Along with the recalculation tool, VISUAL also provides tools to help you to reset your standards and implode them into your engineering masters so you can use the new cost standards going forward.

The Recalculate Standard Costs tool provides a historical review of receipts over a user defined period of time to calculate new unit costs for parts in your database. This powerful tool has the following features:

  • Filtering:
    • You can select a single part, unrelated multiple parts, multiple product related parts, fabricated parts, purchased parts, or all parts in your database.
    • You can select the date range (i.e. start and end date) for your study and/or use the latest receipt available.
  • Information provided:
    • Current Unit Cost (per current standard) versus New Unit Cost (as calculated from receipts history).
    • Source or basis of the New Unit Cost.
    • Total unit costs or the breakdown of the costs into material, labor, burden, and service categories.
  • Output flexibility: You can output to view, send to a printer, or create a CSV file for further refinement and analysis.

So, if you haven’t updated standard costs in a while, you may want to plan a project to review, evaluate, and update your standard costs soon. If you need more information, training, or assistance, Synergy Resources is available to help.  Please contact us today!

 

Leveraging VISUAL’s Quoting and Estimating Capabilities

Written by Darryl Walker

If Shop Floor Scheduling leads the way in the least utilized VISUAL tools, and by most accounts it does, then a very close runner up must be the Estimating Window. I’ve been working with VISUAL clients for 23 years now, and it’s a rarity to come across a company using this tool to their advantage.  It’s unfortunate that a powerful yet simple to use set of applications so frequently go unused.

In the Estimating Window you can create a Quote with or without a Customer ID attached, you can Quote existing Parts or even things that you haven’t yet created. Each Quote line can be directly linked to a Quote Master that can be as detailed as you want it to be.  You can send the Materials and Services on your Quote Master out to various Vendors as a Vendor RFQ and apply the quotes that you receive in return as the cost basis for your Quote to your Prospect or Customer.

You can attach drawings or other documents to your Quote as a reference for Sales or Engineering to use later. If you win the Quote and use the functionality in Customer Order Entry to Generate a new Customer Order from a Quote, you will always be able to look at your Gross Profit on that Customer Order in the future and easily find the Quote that you based the order on.  This is an invaluable tool to help in future quoting to ensure you are able to achieve the numbers you are quoting to your Customers.

If you haven’t used the Estimating Window and Estimating Process in VISUAL up to now, you owe it to yourself and your company to invest a little time learning how it works and seeing if it can help you take your company to another level.

 

Synergy SmartViews – The Smartest Way to View Your Data!

Are you an IT Professional INUNDATED with requests for report mods? Are you an ERP end-user FRUSTRATED with how long it takes IT to change a simple report for you?

Synergy SmartViews allows the users to get the data they want, when they want it, how they want it! Click Here to learn more about this powerful tool.

Hear what one of our customers has to say about it:

“From the very beginning, starting with the concise operation review to the implementation of SmartViews, the process has run ahead of schedule and has been based off the premise that our systems are established with our business in mind, not the other way around.  That was important to us.  This helped to keep my staff engaged and was also a major factor in the success of these changes.   I will say having an integrated software suite is something we didn’t have prior to SmartViews and that was a great deal of our challenge.  It is funny because we just received our permanent license codes for SmartViews yesterday so our seats were inactive this morning.  I overheard my Scheduler saying to my IT Coordinator, “Wow I didn’t realize how much I do in SmartViews until I could not get into it this morning”.”  – Jaimie Bezanson, Tru Form Precision Manufacturing

See, analyze and track your company’s performance metrics and goals, all at the click of the mouse with SmartViews.

SmartViews is an Online, Realtime, Analytic Decision Support Tool for ERP. SmartViews comes pre-packaged with over 25 standard views for your company data:

  • Sales
  • Production
  • Planning
  • Purchasing
  • Financials and so much more

New Features in VISUAL 8 Blog Series – Feature 7

Written by Paul Tedford

Ease of Use and Improved UX (User Experience)

Each week we will be sharing a new VISUAL 8 enhancement, click here for a VISUAL look at one of the customer requested enhancements in VISUAL 8.

New Features in VISUAL 8 Blog Series – Feature 6

Written by Paul Tedford

Auto Run

Each week we will be sharing a new VISUAL 8 enhancement, click here for a VISUAL look at one of the customer requested enhancements in VISUAL 8.

New Features in VISUAL 8 Blog Series – Feature 5

Written by Paul Tedford

In Context Analytics

Each week we will be sharing a new VISUAL 8 enhancement, click here for a VISUAL look at one of the customer requested enhancements in VISUAL 8.

New Features in VISUAL 8 Blog Series – Feature 4

Written by Paul Tedford

Activities & Collaboration

Each week we will be sharing a new VISUAL 8 enhancement, click here for a VISUAL look at one of the customer requested enhancements in VISUAL 8.