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.

Andy Pratico was the Keynote Speaker at the APICS Vancouver Meeting

Synergy’s Andy Pratico was the Keynote Speaker at the APICS Vancouver Chapter Meeting on Thursday, November 26th. He captivated the crowd with his renowned How to Select ERP Without Losing Your Mind (or your job) presentation.  He offers live webinars every six weeks. For more information or to register, please click here.

New Features in VISUAL 8 Blog Series – Feature 3

Written by Paul Tedford

Dynamic Dashboards

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 2

Written by Paul Tedford

Graphical Document Lifecycle

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 1

Written by Paul Tedford

Drill to Any Level of Detail from Manufacturing Window’s Info | Cost Screen

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.

Synergy UserCon Canada VISUAL ERP User Conference Was A Success!

Synergy had a very successful first ever Synergy UserCon Canada VISUAL ERP User Conference which was held at the Queen’s Landing hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario on September 28 – 29, 2015.

The conference kicked off with Synergy co-owners, Gene Caiola and Mark Lilly, welcoming our valued customers during the Opening Session. This was followed by Infor’s Director of Product Management for VISUAL ERP, Rich Lagoy, presenting the VISUAL Roadmap.

Gene_Mark_OS            RL_VRM

Our attendees were able to choose from 60+ educational sessions in the Operations, Financial and Technical tracks. In addition, our attendees were welcomed to visit our Partner Exhibitors; Avalara, American Eagle, Portable Intelligence, QBuild Corporation and Infor.

katie            Partner

During the lunch hour, John Booth of Crawford Provincial and Lynn Spearing of The Peelle Company Limited spoke to the crowd about the benefits of joining the VISUAL Manufacturing Canadian User Group (VMCAUG).


Soon after, we drew the name of the lucky winner of the iPad for the early bird registration raffle. The winner was John Ashby of Crawford Provincial!


That evening we enjoyed the Welcome Wine Pairing Dinner in the Royal Cambridge room located at the Prince of Wales hotel.


The next day we welcomed speaker, Bernadeen McLeod, President and Founder of Mentor Works Ltd. She discussed various funding programs and opportunities which are available to our Canadian customers. Please watch for upcoming invitations to webinars that we will be co-hosting with Mentor Works Ltd.


We’d like to thank all of our customers, exhibitors and the Infor staff members that attended Synergy UserCon Canada and contributed to making it a success! We hope everyone found great value in the educational sessions and networking opportunities during the conference. We look forward to working with you in the future!



Synergy’s Andy Pratico Presented at NESCON 2015!

Synergy’s Andy Pratico presented “Cut Through the Hype – A Fresh Approach to ERP Selection” on Monday, October 5, 2015 at NESCON 2015 in Marlborough, MA. He filled the meeting room with interested attendees and kept the crowd engaged and entertained with his witty commentary. Pratico offers How to Select ERP Without Losing Your Mind (or your job) webinars every 6 weeks. You can register for a webinar and/or download his eBook by clicking here.

Is your QMS delivering Higher Profitability? It should be!

Written by Katie Farrand of Synergy

You may not have an answer to this question. In that case, maybe a better first question is Do you know what your Cost of Quality is? If the answer is No, then your Cost of Quality is likely creating unpredictable production schedules, variability in your organization’s Cost of Goods Sold and is likely impacting your profitability in a negative manner. Cost of Quality can be broken down into many sources and categories, but from a practical manufacturing standpoint there are three key things that should be captured: Scrap, Rework, and Warranty.

  • Scrap is any part, purchased or fabricated, that cannot be used.
  • Rework is the cost of any additional labor, material, or service that goes into bringing a nonconforming part, sub-assembly, or finished good back into specification.
  • Warranty is the cost incurred to bring any defective product that has already shipped to your customer back into specification, which may include a combination of rework, replacement, or credit. (Warranty should not be confused with Goodwill costs, which are costs incurred to satisfy a customer as it relates to product cost, delivery, or performance.)

These costs must be captured within the ERP System and flow through to the cost accounting system. Why is this so important? Because you need everyone in the company to recognize that these costs as REAL and you need this to happen so you can prioritize company efforts and resources towards reducing them. Nothing is more powerful in achieving this than the realization that this form of waste, when reduced, has an immediate impact on the bottom line profitability of the company. So where do you start? First, setup Inventory Transaction Adjustment Reason Codes tied to the appropriate GL account(s). These should be a list meaningful to the organization, but not too granular, that will let you evaluate the source of the cost – somewhere between 3 to 9 codes related to the three types of Quality Costs and possible broken down by responsibility related to Production, Design Change, and Supplier. From there, Scrap and Warranty adjustments can be captured through an inventory adjustment transaction. Rework and Warranty Rework can seem more elusive, but a tried and true method is to create a Rework Part ID and Work Order, in order to capture only the labor, material, service, and burden related to the specific effort, without negatively impacting the products’ COGS, by receiving and adjusting out the Rework Part ID. In the end, an analysis tool like SmartViews can be used to evaluate these costs and start your organizations focused improvement efforts towards eliminating the causes of the most expensive costs first. With a product like VISUAL Quality, there are even ways to link these costs to your Nonconformance records to capture even more data related to these failures. As you can see, these steps will be instrumental in driving your efforts to reduce your COGS, and therefore increasing your profits. For more information or help setting up your own Cost of Quality capturing process, contact us today!

Revving Up Your Parts!

Written by Don Cormier of Synergy

“Change is inevitable… except from vending machines” –  Steven Wright

Most of you won’t relate to this, but there are a handful of companies who experience revision changes in their parts.  These changes may affect the finished product, a subassembly, or perhaps a material component.

If you happen to fall in the minority of companies who have to manage part revisions, there are some tools in VISUAL ERP that can help effectively manage carrying multiple revisions of a part in inventory.

Part Revisions often fall into 1 of 3 general categories:

  • Revision is fully compatible. In this situation, the part revision may not affect the usage of current inventory. For example, a part revision may be implemented for cost savings. In this case, existing inventory can be consumed, and additional tracking isn’t needed.
  • Revision is not compatible. The old revision cannot be used going forward, nor can the new revision be used in current builds. In this case, a new part ID is often advisable.
  • Revision is compatible (sort of). This is the engineering equivalent of the custom sales order which is “Just like the last one we built…..with these changes”.   The old revision parts are not fully compatible, and can only be issued or shipped in certain situations. This is the situation we will visit in this article.

Part Maintenance

Part Maintenance contains the current revision of any part.  These revisions may be manually managed, or managed through the ECN module.   The current rev is passed to any Purchase Order, Material Requirement, or Customer Order which this part may be used on.


Manufacturing Window

The Material Requirement Card in the Manufacturing Window contains revision history of both the component and top level part revisions.



Okay, great.  I know what the original part revision was, and what the current rev is.  How does this help?

While the VISUAL Inventory Transaction records contain the revision of the part, once it’s in inventory, that part revision isn’t readily available for you to know how many you have at a specific revision level.  Here are some ways to track both quantity and revision on hand. Requirements for specific revisions can be communicated through order line specs, or material requirement specs in the Mfg Window.

1. Part Trace

If your part is traced, you can add Revision as one of the trace properties.


When you transact the part, (receipts, shipments, or issues), you’ll be prompted for the revision.


In Part Trace Maintenance, we can readily see the quantity we have for each revision:


Trace ID’s can be can be associated with a specific work order or customer order they should be used on, by using the comments field in Part Trace Maintenance.


2. Locations

Another way to manage quantity of a prior revision is to segregate the revisions into separate locations. These locations may be in the same physical location with different labeling, but VISUAL will see them in different locations.

  • Create a location to denote the older rev(s) for the part in Warehouse Maintenance


  • Add this location to the part in Part Maintenance


  • Transfer the back rev part to the new location using Inventory Transaction Entry.
  • The Warehouse Locations window (accessed from the material planning window, part maintenance, etc) will quickly show how may pieces are available by revision.


3. Report

The Revision ID of the transaction is stored in the Inventory transaction table. A custom report can be developed to sum up the in and out transactions, grouped by part ID and revision ID. Locations or trace properties should be used to select the correct revision when shipping or issuing parts, or VISUAL will pull based on FIFO.

4. New Part Number

If the new revision is truly not backward compatible, nor is the current revision forward compatible, consider creating a new part number. Existing inventory can be reworked, used for spare parts, etc. Using a new part number, and the material card’s effective / discontinue dates, you can plan to phase in the change.



Why Do Some Manufacturers Thrive With Their ERP While Others Do Not?

Written by Bill Reidmiller of Synergy

From my experience, there are three fundamental reasons why some manufacturers thrive with their ERP while others do not; Process Mapping, Data Integrity, and Continuous Improvement.

Process Mapping is the key to ERP implementation success.  Documenting the step-by-step Current State process then defining, testing, and documenting the Future State process utilizing the new ERP functionality helps identify waste and streamline processes.  This important step is the foundation in which the ERP system is built and utilized.

Data Integrity is a crucial element to build on the Process Mapping foundation to enable the longevity of an ERP system.  Does your data stand the test of time?  Many companies utilize a portion / abbreviation of the Customer and Vendor names as a primary search, or the Manufacturer’s part number as the primary search for parts.  This practice, while seemingly harmless at the start, will eventually succumb to the dreaded ***DO NOT USE*** in Customer, Vendors, and Parts when names or numbers change, or different suppliers are used for products.  Utilizing a numbering schema that has a primary focus on categories and a secondary search on description hierarchy maintains the data integrity for years to come and allows for changes that will not disrupt the history.

Continuous Improvement is an essential part to ERP success.  Once the ERP wheels are in full motion there are constant changes that evolve.  This can be in the form of process changes or business practices that require a review / modification to the Process Map and the reeducation of staff to ensure continuity and repeatability, utilization of new features, identifying waste and improvements through the T.I.M. W.O.O.D. methodology, and SMED or Kaizen events.

Need guidance?  Synergy can help, please contact us.