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Modern ERP in a pandemic. How Acumatica Cloud and Exact Synergy can help SMBs get through this crisis.

As many U.S. households hunker down to slow the spread of the novel Coronavirus, retailers and food establishments have screeched to a halt. Social distancing has quickly become the term of the year, and even behemoth companies like Amazon are struggling to meet demand for their home delivery services through Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods.

In a crisis like this one, our country needs our customers to keep running— the SMBs who manufacture, distribute, and wholesale various goods and products. But ever-growing infections and fear of the spread are straining the supply chain. This Covid-19 emergency is complicating logistics around the world. Are you feeling the weight of it yet? Are the various outbreaks in China, Italy, Spain, and elsewhere limiting the supply of certain raw materials?

Today, more than ever, your modern ERP can support your efforts to both take care of your employees and maintain production. From enhanced communications to security, we’ll explore some important ways your modern ERP helps you navigate the current situation.

1. MAINTAIN THE MOST UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION

As the spread continues to overtake countries and regions, your list of reliable suppliers, transport companies, vendors, and service providers may change by the day. Use your ERP’s centralized nature to keep your teams informed to enable adaptability across teams and individuals.

For example, you can use Acumatica Cloud to get custom reports on everything from distribution to purchase orders. Keep everyone up-to-date with the same information at a glance when you need it.

Modern ERPs allow a level of customization and ease-of-use that legacy systems simply can’t provide.

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2. BE MORE SECURE

With more employees working from home during the national emergency, your business is open to risks to your cloud software and servers that you wouldn’t normally face. More employees are logging in remotely. You need to be able to manage that traffic and threats to it.

Criminals are not above exploiting vulnerabilities in an emergency to gain access to customer data or lock down your document management software or even your whole Acumatica Cloud ERP for ransom. Ask your team to use added security like WinAuth Two-Factor authentication to make each session more secure and prevent most unauthorized access.

Here’s how: Have employees running Exact Synergy, for example, set up WinAuth for Exact:
1. On the second page in the wizard, click “choose desktop authentication app”
2. Download the Win Auth App
3. Click the WinAuth Link to install
4. Open the installed file
5. Click "Add" on the next screen and select authenticator
6. Return to Exact Online to obtain your keycode
7. Paste it in the authenticator window
8. Click "verify authenticator" to get a code for Exact online
9. Fill in the code to complete setup.

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Now, when the employee logs into Exact Online, the authenticator will provide a code to the employee to enter to complete a two-step verification.

Not using Exact Synergy? Other modern ERPs, like Acumatica will have a similar two-step verification setup you can quickly deploy to improve security. Some legacy systems, however, may not have this capability.

3. ENHANCE PROJECT MANAGEMENT & COLLABORATION

Despite self-quarantine and social distancing, you can’t afford to put projects on hold. Employees must be able to collaborate. Plus, you need to keep your team feeling calm and in control. Collaboration tools do that.

On top of that, messaging apps not intended for business can improve communications, but they also increase security risks. You have less control over the information shared and what third party may be able to access it. But your modern ERP supports more productive collaboration in several ways.

Legacy systems make it hard to collaborate together, but modern cloud ERPs like Acumatica and Exact Synergy have inbuilt tools to help you communicate and work together - even at a distance.

Let’s look at some of the tools that are at your disposal right now through Exact Synergy. Use the “recently added” filter options to quickly create groups based on:

  • Locations
  • Job descriptions
  • Active projects
  • Manager
  • And more
Add members to the group to share insights and updates on work conditions, changes, and active projects.

Timelines help employees stay current with the most recent information. You can now add documents from the team’s One Drive directly to posts for instant access by the team.

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Ah, the dreaded group email. People respond. Some reply all. Others don’t. You end up with different people having different information. Similar issues can occur with collaboration tools. Some team members are viewing older posts that were later added to, shared, or updated. It wastes time and causes confusion. Recent Exact Synergy updates eliminated this, linking back to the original post and making it harder for one-off posts to occur.

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5. SUPPORT THE E-COMM THAT KEEPS THINGS MOVING IN A PANDEMIC

According to a March 2020 Survey, 8% believe that coronavirus will increase e-Comm business, but we’re already seeing an increase across the online marketplace. Amazon is hiring more than 100K workers and Manufacturing industry trends naturally will follow suit.

While the bulk of this shift online will be temporary, past experiences have shown us that consumer behaviors change after crises like these: Columbine, 9/11, Katrina, Housing Crisis, SARS. And not only that, how well you step up to the challenge during an emergency could influence customer and partner perceptions of your company for the foreseeable future.

While brick and mortars are obviously struggling, e-Comm has the potential to thrive as more high-risk people isolate — and how you’re using your ERPs to manage the chaos and the inconsistencies we’re all facing will influence the outcome.

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6. TRACK INVENTORY

During a crisis, even large companies struggle to track inventory to meet customer demand. Use your ERP business software to more effectively accomplish this and adapt to crisis-driven e-comm and manufacturing trends.

While there are a lot of unknowns in a crisis, you can set up and expand your modern ERP to help you track data so you can use analytics tools to predict demand by analyzing smaller data sets and then extrapolating. Or use experience in certain regions to anticipate need in other regions as the crisis spreads into those areas. It’s important to note that legacy systems simply don’t have these capabilities.

7. RAMP ERP EDUCATION

As an example, Exact ERP offers educational Support Portal to help front-office employees learn about new features in this ever-expanding business software. Acumatica also has a spectacular online learning environment. Courses are divided into digestible sections, and you can track progress.

As the business software changes to meet shifting business needs, you can use these resources to learn independently or educate your whole team about the new tools available to your team.

GETTING THE CRISIS SUPPORT YOU NEED FROM YOUR ERP CHANNEL PARTNER

As a business, you need solutions now. Your modern ERP can support your efforts. If you’re using Acumatica, and EXACT Synergy ERP business software, or if you’re interested in developing a custom ERP for your company, we can help your SMB get the most out of your ERP during this time of crisis, help you plan for future events, and work more efficiently every day. Now is the time to implement solutions.

Book a demo today.

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