With the rapid changes in the business landscape brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, the majority of our customers have made considerable changes to their day-to-day operations. This has included home working, material collections and short term closures.
The Metalogic team has been working hard to support these changes, setting up VPN’s and even installing the counter sales modules for some clients to assist in the implementation of collection systems.
In many cases due to the move to home working offices, premises have been left unattended or very short-staffed. Therefore, although their teams have been working from home safely, IT equipment and in particular servers, have been left operating but unattended without administration and maintenance. This means that in some cases backups are being implemented to single media without change and system management is not taking place.
For those customers that have our Facilities Management services, we can confirm that we continue to monitor the servers to ensure no faults are indicated and that backups are being completed successfully.
If you currently do not subscribe to this service and would like to discuss the options please contact Nigel Johnson our PS team leader on email@example.com or via the support line on 888-217-7580
Another unfortunate effect of the lockdown policy, owing to buildings being left unattended, is the opportunity for elements of our society to cause mischief.
We have recently had a report of a number of incidents where customers have had a break-in and network and IT equipment were removed, causing problems with the day to day operation and additional stress in these already stressful times.
Therefore, if you currently do not have an offsite data storage solution and have concerns regarding the safety of your data or IT equipment and are looking to ensure that a backup of your data is safely being kept, Metalogic can provide the facility of cloud backups. This will provide daily copies of the data to the cloud on an agreed rolling retention period, ensuring that multiple copies are retained offsite until you return to the office.
If you require further information or want to discuss any other IT requirements during these strange and unusual times please do not hesitate to contact Metalogic Support team, either by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 888-217-7580
For the first time in this generation, we are facing unprecedented challenges in regard to the global pandemic COVID-19.
As you know we are well placed to maintain and support your operations as our staff work from home and as such have been following the policies laid down by the government from day one in regard to reducing contact. To support this we have postponed our normal quarterly face to face “town halls” and have issued guidelines to our staff in relation to working from home during this difficult time.
This will not affect our service levels in regard to customer support services but may make training and professional services more difficult as this can require a face to face meeting.
Where possible all training and meetings will be carried out by our staff via the internet. The teams are highly skilled at this, having delivered many hundreds of hours of training in this manner. They have a number of different communication tools that they can use and therefore will be able to provide you access to meetings and training sessions with little or no technical challenges. The main issue is ensuring that you have the correct audio equipment, which would normally be a headset with a microphone or a conference telephone or just a telephone with access to a quiet office and a PC/laptop linked to the internet. If you need any advice on this please contact your account manager.
In regard to face to face meetings, as part of our policies, we have an onsite risk assessment policy and this has been enhanced to cover COVID-19 policy.
Before any face to face work on onsite visits can be authorised the request will be reviewed by a senior manager and a risk assessment carried out. This will include questions for yourselves that will cover the polices, the health status of your staff and the location where the meeting will take place. This information will be treated with the highest confidentiality and we do not need personal details just general information.
We will be contacting you on a personal basis to discuss your current situation, business continuity plans and to provide support and assistance with requirements that you may have in regard to home working, etc.
We will not need to change any communication methods as our systems are all cloud-based and as such requires no physical attendance to re-configure or support them.
Thank you for your understanding in this challenging time. We will continue to communicate on a regular basis with any updates and changes and look out for our Spring newsletter that will have additional contact details and an update on new functionality.
Image Credits: Creator: ffikretowCredit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
The iMetal Fabrication module provides value-added processes with the ability to quickly and accurately quote and sell fabrication jobs. Most shapes or items that can be defined by an equation can be quoted effortlessly. In addition, the quote can automatically include multiple predefined charges for inside or outside processing, freight, etc.
iMetal New Functionality – Counter Sales
Many metal distribution centres have a requirement to process cash or credit sales from a formal sales counter environment. Historically this is implemented using standard iMetal functionality, which requires the production of picking and dispatch notes making the counter sales process longer than it could be.
iMetal has been enhanced with two new modules, the counters sales module and sales order invoicing.
Counter Sales What Does It Do For Me?
This functionality provides the option to record the payment details at sales order entry and produce the sales invoice upon completion of the order without having to force the order through the dispatch modules. This makes the flow is slick and efficient, which is needed in a counter sales environment. The module also has the facility to be interfaced with cash registers.
If material does need to be delivered, payment can be recorded in advance and the order pushed into the standard delivery processes. The same flexibility exists should the material need processing before being collected (or delivered).
“Cash On Delivery” flows are also supported in this module, with the system ensuring that the appropriate payment has been made before the transactions are allowed through to the finance system.
For more information please contact your customer services team.
iMetal New Functionality – Price Books
iMetal already provides functionality for defaulting standard prices into sales enquiries and sales orders. However, these are static prices that do not reflect the customer or the quantity required.
By targeting prices based on clients, order/enquiry quantities by products companies can guide a sales team or persons to maximise margins or protect stock that has become scarce.
Module Price Book – What does it do for me?
iMetal already provides certain methods for defaulting standard prices into sales enquiries and sales orders. However, these are static prices that do not reflect the customer or the quantity required.
The price book enhancement in iMetal now allows users to maintain tables that can determine the selling price on items. These tables can be set up by customer, by products and quantities to allow a very flexible configuration with minimum effort.
Key features include Price Book Maintenance, allowing price books to be maintained for specific customers or as more general prices
Price book entries can be at different levels:
Also each entry can specify its own Starting Price or the source of the initial cost:
Clients who have implemented this functionality have seen improvements in margins of small quantities, protected stock sell outs and development of a profit focused culture in the sales team.
If this module is of interest contact the customer services team or your account manager
So what technology are metal distribution and processing companies looking for as they move into the next generation of software? With functionality like EDI, workflow mapping, and process optimization available in modern ERP systems like iMetal what else could drive a business to improved profitability?
Companies discuss the ease of implementing a new system, but then if you pick the right system, implementation and ongoing functionality improvements come as part of the package. The days of companies having to write customized functionality to ensure that their ERP solution works for them, and not they work for it, are over.
So how do you find out what is the next great thing in software for service centers, what is the magic bullet? Well one of the ways to find out is to ask them.
In a survey carried out across a wide range of service centres, the functionality request that came back clearly as the favorite was the ability to communicate with the shop floor via tablets and smartphones. Making the collection of data the movement of batches and processing as simple as possible for shop floor operatives.
So why is it that a technology already available not desired by companies? Many companies can already use hand-held scanners for bar code retrieval, terminals for updating systems and in some cases tablets with customized screens for data collection.
The answer seems to be in the next generation of employee who is heading for the metals sector.
Future generations of employees may not necessarily have the same work ethic or commitment as the employee of today. Gerry McGovern in his article Millennial Attitude* states that “millennials” are the least engaged entity within the US workforce, 70% of them do not feel in the right job and most will leave their jobs within the first three years, costing employers an average of $20,000 each.
They don’t particularly want job security because they believe it doesn’t exist anymore. What they want is the ability to train and develop and have a work environment that reflects their life environment with the same cool tools and “ease-of-use”. If correct, (and his comments are backed up by other sources) it means employers looking for new staff will struggle to train, retain or even employ the next generation if their systems are not up-to-date, make life easy and provide validation.
Therefore, the question of ease of use on the shop floor spreads to the whole system. With the requirement for data entry still high priority but also to be matched by flexible easy-to-use systems that can be run from smartphones or tablets. Couple this with the move of systems to the cloud, increases in home working and mobile data availability starts to become key.
With Android proving to be the mobile operating system of choice due to many factors companies like Honeywell are providing mobile devices running on Android. If you combine this with the ability to carry a subset of the database on the device it means operators can work outside of the range of WiFi connections, carry out tasks and update the main system upon their return to WiFi range. Incorporating hand-held devices with simple to use graphical icons for quickly recording production and material movement can simplify operations and improve productivity in the warehouse.
Finally, the introduction of voice recognition and image recognition means that some of the assumptions that we have made about the way our staff work may have to change.
It is on this basis that tests are currently being carried out where systems are controlled by the voice, and products are recognized by graphical images allowing physical inventories and material picking to be done whilst the controller has visibility of the operator’s activities. Sounds like science fiction, well it wasn’t that long ago that the telephone was a device that was attached to the wall and powered by cable.
The iMetal team are currently working on proof of concept developments with a number of selected customers to make these functions available in the next generation of the software.
*A Rebel’s Guide for Digital Transformation
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