Midwest Wheel Boosts Customer Service with Infor Coleman AI-Driven Parts Recommendations

Long time Infor customer Midwest Wheel Companies is using Infor Coleman AI-driven parts recommendations to boost their customer service. By doing this, the truck part distributor company will be reducing sales order processing time by 30 percent and helping customers save money by ordering the right mix of parts. Per the press release, Infor’s Coleman AI solution has put parts information and recommendations at the fingertips of its customer-facing teams, enabling them to serve customers more effectively. Previously, Midwest Wheel’s customers lost time at the sales counter, or over the phone, when salespeople had to manually search for the right interdependent parts to order for repairs. Infor developed an artificial intelligence (AI) application, which analyzes order data and includes a recommendation engine. The application was deployed in only four weeks, and Midwest Wheel’s salespeople didn’t need any special skills or training to use it. Further, Midwest Wheel also is using Infor CloudSuite Distribution and Infor Birst analytics to help manage inventory across its seven warehouses, enable complex Infor Intelligent Open Network (ION) workflows and alerts, and do more online business. With Infor’s multi-tenant cloud solutions, including Infor OS (Operating Service), the company has improved customer service, realizing as much as a 15 percent improvement in order fill rates.


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How To Manage Your Suppliers

Against this background, rewards should function as expectation. Thinking through the worst-case scenario is important, but provided the supplier exceeds your expectations, he should be rewarded for what he has done. This can be an instant payment or a simple thank you. [Sources: 0]


Both the customer and the supplier are responsible for the success or failure of the working relationship. Take responsibility for your place in the process and acknowledge that your decisions about delays, timing or changes in project scope can affect the ability of suppliers to do their job. Maintain your sanity and the sanity of your office manager. [Sources: 0]


By sharing the results of this analysis with your suppliers, you can develop a more accurate sales plan and work on a common sales forecast and planning. The use of an ordering system to control and monitor the purchase of goods and services from suppliers can be used to facilitate internal financial control and to avoid specification misunderstandings with suppliers in the end. You should also have a payment policy that requires your company to pay undisputed invoices on time, with copies sent to your suppliers. This puts a strain on your relationship with suppliers, but can also lead to more favorable conditions in the future. See our Guide to Storage and Control of Stock. [Sources: 9]


When you talk to purchasers and quality teams, one of their main obstacles to good supplier management is supplier information management – the constant maintenance of information. Make sure that the platform you choose allows providers to update their own information systems so that it is easy for them to do so. In this way, they are responsible for maintaining up-to-date information, which is important for all suppliers. For example, set notifications and reminders for vendors whose certificates have expired so they can make a new copy, rather than having to chase them. [Sources: 4]


The supplier management process does not end when you have chosen a supplier. After selecting and entering, you will need to evaluate their performance to see if they meet a range of objectives and requirements. To ensure a practical evaluation, make sure you create KPIs to measure performance. [Sources: 3]


The following chart shows the basic strategic levels that are necessary to effectively manage suppliers. The execution of basic activities in connection with complex supplier relationships is computationally intensive and expensive. When a company merges data from daily supplier management with data from the broader industry, the company, its vendors and the market, it draws a detailed picture of the source relationships and their potential for improvement. [Sources: 1]


The responsibility for supplier relationship management lies solely with the procurement team. Strategies for managing supplier relationships are craftsmanship and can never be achieved without involving internal stakeholders. One villain can bring down the entire process. [Sources: 5]


Here are five ways to improve strategic supplier relationships. One of the most overlooked aspects of strategic supplier relationship management is how suppliers are viewed by the purchasing organization. When an SRM considers the entire supply base, strategic suppliers are seen as part of the whole. [Sources: 8]


Strategic suppliers, be it strategic issues or cross-functional concerns. Therefore, buyers should be careful to bring their stakeholders together and involve them in the management of the partnership. Companies should invite relevant employees to supplier meetings to discuss performance and future opportunities. [Sources: 8]


GM should have a formal system for suppliers to provide it with feedback. Assessment procedures should not be a one-way street. GM cannot be expected to build trust without listening to its suppliers. What we need is to pool resources for joint projects and reassure suppliers that GM is committed to their success. [Sources: 2]


Be sure to maintain strong and regular communication with your suppliers. If something doesn’t work for you, let them know. Keep them informed of your strategy and plans so they know where they fit in, how they can help with the plan, and who benefits. If you appreciate their work, let your suppliers know. [Sources: 7]


Your suppliers play a big role in your retail business, so don’t neglect them. Strive to find the best providers in your industry, and once you have an agreement, maintain a healthy relationship through communication, professionalism, and good old-fashioned kindness. [Sources: 6]


Procurement officials need to research carefully to maintain beneficial relationships with suppliers, not counterproductive showdowns. Poor quality can be expensive, so procurement officials should be more careful in selecting suppliers and learn more about the suppliers they want to know. [Sources: 2]


Globalization has torn today’s businesses apart and made business processes more dynamic, competitive and complex than ever before. Organizations engage suppliers to provide various goods and services to maximize business performance. Suppliers are an indispensable part of any business and their effective management is crucial. [Sources: 3]


For many organizations, SRM is seen as a tool to manage critical suppliers. In a previous paper, I examined the SRM framework. In researching the entire supply chain, I segmented strategy and supplier initiatives by segment. [Sources: 8]


Expenditure management and visibility: not having SRM on board means missing data and poor visibility of expenditure. If you do not know how much is spent on a seller or what is bought in detail, it is impossible to judge whether you are getting the best service value and it is difficult to compare providers. [Sources: 7]


If you have a Service Level Agreement (SLA), it will help you to assess the relationship between companies and suppliers as objectively as possible. Not all levels are the same, but it is worth using an SLA to define the level of service you require from your suppliers. [Sources: 9]




[0]: https://quickbooks.intuit.com/r/products-and-manufacturing/10-tips-to-effectively-manage-vendors-and-suppliers/

[1]: https://isg-one.com/third-party-management/isg-governx-spend-management/articles/top-ten-fundamentals-for-managing-suppliers-a-checklist

[2]: https://hbr.org/1989/07/managing-suppliers-up-to-speed

[3]: https://www.zycus.com/blog/supplier-management/understanding-supplier-management-its-benefits-process-and-best-practices.html

[4]: https://spendmatters.com/2019/10/17/5-easy-steps-to-better-manage-your-suppliers/

[5]: https://kissflow.com/procurement/vendor-management/supplier-relationship-management/

[6]: https://www.vendhq.com/blog/supplier-relationship-management/

[7]: https://planergy.com/blog/improve-supplier-relationship-management/

[8]: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jwebb/2018/03/30/how-to-manage-strategic-suppliers/

[9]: https://www.infoentrepreneurs.org/en/guides/manage-your-suppliers/

Z Nautic Group Floats to the Cloud with Infor

Z Nautic Group is deploying multi-tenant cloud ERP system Infor CloudSuite Equipment, which is specifically designed for equipment manufacturers, dealers and rental companies. This decision was made following the group’s demerger and the relocation of its French production unit to Tunisia. Founded 125 years ago and originally named Zodiac, Z Nautic has undergone several changes in recent years that have reshaped the company and its organization. Per the press release, Events from the demerger were  due to losing control of its IT tool in terms of distribution, equipment management and tracking of boats by serial number. Already equipped with an older version of Infor M3, Z Nautic chose Infor and its partner Hetic 3 at the end of 2020, opting for a cloud migration process rather than replacing its solution. Deployed in a multi-tenant cloud environment, Z Nautic will be able to eliminate time-consuming maintenance and upgrade processes for its IT team. The plan is to have 130 users will be working with the new Infor CloudSuite Equipment solution by the end of 2021.


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Selecting the right IT partner to help you with your Divestiture

You want to work with an IT partner that has functional knowledge in addition to the technological ability to extract and re-map the data.  This allows a true partnership that looks at the process from a high level and keeps an eye on the details at the same time.

You need to look for a partner that has experience extracting data from Lawson and mapping to the format needed to upload set up and transactional data to any system and taking extracted data from another system and formatting it into what Lawson needs and uploading the data.  A partner who uses a repeatable process that allows for tweaking the process if needed through testing cycles and then having the final version ready when you are ready to go-live.

When considering a divestiture there are many considerations. Some of these are:

How much history needs to remain on the current books?

How much history needs to be extracted for the divested company?

What happens to any un-paid vendor invoices?  Will they remain on the current company or move to the divested company?

What kind of training will be needed for the divested or remaining users?

What interfaces need to be addressed?  Are there any that need to be moved to the divested company or more importantly changed on the current company to ignore the divested company’s data?

Make sure to start with a BRD – Business Requirement Document – so you have a road map of what is expected throughout the process.  This helps you, the divested parties and your partner know what is expected from all parties.

With the right partner, you can have a smooth and successful transition.

6 Reasons Why You Should Update Your ERP System Regularly

When implementing an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, everyone is involved and committed to learning the new process. But once implementation ends, the enthusiasm subsides. At this point, many people expect the ERP solution to run in the background. However, that may not be the best idea. Branding expert Peter Navarro shares an article on Business2Community 6 reasons why you should update your ERP system regularly to keep everyone involved.

  1. Keep up with technological advances. “ERP providers are constantly developing their software, eliminating errors and adding new features. Every minor release brings with it optimizations that increasingly support business processes.”
  2. You are better prepared for unplanned events. “Companies that have neglected their ERP system for a long time are faced with a problem in the event of an unplanned event. If you always keep your ERP system up-to-date, you distribute the maintenance effort over time.”
  3. Your ERP solution remains compatible with complementary IT systems. “An ERP system is almost always part of a network of different software solutions. ERP updates often include interface adjustments so that compatibility with third-party systems is maintained.”
  4. Security patches offer hackers less target. “An ERP system stores important business data and forms the technical basis for many business processes. You should always make sure to apply security patches consistently and as quickly as possible.”
  5. You consolidate the ERP competence of your team. “In the course of the ERP implementation, your employees will acquire in-depth knowledge of the ERP software. Regular ERP updates mean that your employees deal with the system on a regular basis.”
  6. Your data quality does not reach a critical low. “Everyone knows master data is the foundation of every ERP system. Consistent data maintenance ensures that the maintenance effort does not reach a critical level.”


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Help your distributed team thrive with a cloud ERP

When the pandemic hit, many companies had to force their business dealings to be done online with remote employees. While this isn’t a new concept, the environment and practice isn’t familiar to many companies. Some businesses didn’t have the right tools for an easy or connected workplace. The easiest solution for this is a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. Gadget deals partner Stack commerce shares an article on Engadget explaining that with a cloud solution all departments can easily gain access to their business functions to perform real-time processes, make decisions, and collaborate with their coworkers in real-time – all in a moment’s notice.  A cloud-based ERP system also allows employees to work at their own pace and still stay connected with their peers. The potential for a quick and responsive workforce is the same, making this transition go as smooth as possible.


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How your IT department will be affected by a divestiture

Your IT department will be busy during a divestiture.

The obvious part your IT department will play is data extraction for the data that needs to moved (or copied) from the current company to the divested company. All of your interfaces need to be reviewed to determine which of those need to be turned off or adjusted to prevent data from the divested company coming into your system after the divestiture is complete.

When considering a divestiture there are many considerations. Some of these are:

How much history needs to remain on the current books?

How much history needs to be extracted for the divested company?

Coordination between IT departments (current company, divested organization) on current interfaces and how they will be handled in the divested organization.

Make sure to start with a BRD – Business Requirement Document – so you have a road map of what is expected throughout the process. This helps you, the divested parties and your partner know what is expected from all parties.

Penn Highlands Healthcare selects Infor CloudSuite Healthcare

Pennsylvania based Penn Highlands Healthcare (PHH) has selected Infor CloudSuite Healthcare and Infor Cloverleaf Cloud. With the help of Infor implementation partner Bails, the move to a more modern cloud architecture solution will provide PHH with a clinically-connected healthcare operations platform on which to build its patient-centered network. Per the press release, the six-hospital integrated health system will be able to consolidate information across its network and deliver financial data to decision makers that will improve budget management, cost reduction strategies and forecast accuracy. PPH will be able to reduce the total number of reports, interfaces, conversions, and enhancement components, which will allow their teams to be more productive and more strategic. Additionally, Infor Cloverleaf Cloud will deliver clinical integration technologies that create a foundation to manage, coordinate, and share data across the care continuum to improve quality and care outcomes. PHH will also be able to incorporate Infor HR applications designed specifically for the healthcare industry.


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Update LDAP Bind Connection

Sometime you may have a need to update your LDAP bind connection, such as when the domain controller you are bound to is decommissioned.

To update the LDAP bind connection,

First figure out which service is using ldap bind.  To do that, go to http(s)://<server>:<port>/ssoconfig/SSOCfgInfoServlet.  Make a note of the service name displayed on the page.

Next, log into ssoconfig and export that service:

Now, open the file you just exported.  Update the OVERRIDE attribute to “true”.  Update the “PROVIDER” element to the new server and port.

Next, upload your updated file into ssoconfig.  The syntax is ssoconfig -l <password> <full file path>

For example:

Ssoconfig data is stored in the security cache, so you will need to recycle your system for this change to take effect.

NOTE: If you need to change the credentials for the domain controller, this will be an extra process.  You will need to update the service associated with your LDAP bind.  This is most likely your SSOP_BIND service.  You can look under privileged identities in Lawson Security, check for a “DEFAULT” key associated with your ldap bind user.  That is your LDAP bind service.

To update the credentials for this service, log into ssoconfig and select Manage privileged access to services > Change existing identity.  Enter the service that you noted above.  Enter the correct user DN.  Enter the password.

Recycle Lawson.


4 Powerful Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Social CRM

In the digital age today, consumers have access to anything and everything in real time. This proves a powerful took for customers and their expectations are at the highest, putting pressure on the brands they like to better understand and cater to them. The best tool to control customer behavior for a company is a customer relationship management (CRM) system. These systems help companies know their customers through interaction, purchase history, and predictive trends. With social media being an invaluable tool for information. connecting social platforms with CRM should be a priority. Social CRM integrates your brand’s social media presence and campaigns into your existing CRM system. An interesting article on Innovation & Tech Today provides 4 powerful reasons why your business should have a social CRM strategy in place.

Social Media Analytics. “When using CRM, your brand can access comprehensive information about your customers such as demographics, interests, goals, and buying behavior. With this kind of information, your sales and marketing teams will better understand their target market, allowing them to concentrate only on authentic leads, which improves the probability of converting into sales.”

Unified Social Communication. “When you have customers interacting with your brand from different platforms such as emails, social media, chats, and phone calls, keeping track of all these channels can be challenging. With a social CRM, it is possible to stream all the notifications from the various social platforms in one place.”

Damage Control.

“With a reliable CRM in place, you can promptly respond to customer complaints before the situation gets out of hand. Keeping track of negative comments and criticism can help your brand make improvements and meet the customer’s expectations.”

Today’s business is all about understanding the customer. With social media being a main platform for consumer behavior, it’s critical to put a social CRM plan in place with your existing system.


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