Inventory & Accounting ERP Software Blog

Purchase Orders and Purchase Order Requisitions in Blue Link ERP

Purchase orders and the purchasing process is a key component of any wholesale distribution business. Where a sales order is an order from your customer to buy goods from your company, a purchase order is a request from your company to purchase products from your suppliers to then sell to your customers. For wholesale distributors, purchase orders are a part of everyday life. However, depending on your business operations, the creation of a purchase order can be triggered by different scenarios. For example, you may issue purchase orders to maintain a certain stock level in your warehouse based on inventory min and max levels, or you may issue a purchase order only after receiving a sales order from your customer. Whatever the process, purchase orders allow you to buy product to then sell to your customers (the backbone of your business). Pretty simple right? Where there is sometimes confusion, is around the topic of purchase order requisitions. Below we take a closer look at the difference.

Purchase Order Requisitions

Not every company will need to create purchase order requisitions, and some companies may only require this type of document for certain types of products or purchases. Implementing the creation of purchase order requisitions (or a PO REQ) as part of your purchasing process can be a means to prevent fraud, or for control and tracking purposes when buying product over a specific value. The creation of a PO REQ is a request from an employee to make a purchase on behalf of the company. It is a formal process that allows an employee to create a purchase order request, send the request to a manager or department head for review and approval before it gets turned into an official purchase order, which is a legally binding document. The manager or department head has the authority to make any necessary adjustments to the PO REQ or deny the request. Only once the appropriate managers/department approves a purchase order requisition, can it be turned into a purchase order and sent to the supplier.

Creating a Purchase Order Requisition

In Blue Link, security permissions dictate who can create a purchase order, who can create a purchase order requisition and who can authorize submitted requisitions. When creating a PO REQ in Blue Link the first step is to choose the vendor you wish to purchase from and then add product to the order. This allows a business to assign an employee the groundwork for creating an order – the task of finding out information about a product and pricing but not creating a purchase order. If necessary, the employee can create multiple PO REQs for the same product from different vendors which allows the person with authority to choose which product and vendor they want to purchase from after reviewing all the options. When an employee submits a PO REQ, the systems records the date, time and employee ID. An employee can also set a status for the PO REQ – for example, important, submitted, on hold etc.
Blue Link Demo Video: Purchase Order Entry, Receipt and Requisition

 
Authorizing a Purchase Order Requisition

When authorizing a PO REQ, the person with the right permissions in Blue Link has the option to authorize only specific items and quantities in the PO REQ or all the products. Once someone authorizes a PO REQ, the system records the date, time and employee ID and updates the status. The authorizing person can then choose to take action and create a PO from the PO REQ screen. Automatic workflows in Blue Link ERP also notify the appropriate people when someone authorizes a PO REQ. Since you can create a purchase order from a PO REQ, this allows the authorizing person to add quantities from a PO REQ to an existing open purchase order (if you’re buying multiple items from the same vendor for example).

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How to Reopen Your Business During Uncertain Times

Businesses worldwide have been struggling with how to handle the constant changes and developments brought forward by COVID-19. Lockdowns that cause businesses to shut their doors, lack of money that leads to layoffs, outbreaks at factories that shut down the supply chain, and what seems like an endless list of changes and procedures that will affect businesses going forward. As a society, we are trying to be as safe and responsible as possible, but at the same time, we must be able to continue to work and offer our goods and services. During this unprecedented time, it is not business as usual, as we must learn to adapt and be one step ahead of the curve to continue to operate. Now, as businesses begin to reopen, there are plenty of things to consider to ensure a smooth transition in a world where COVID-19 exists.

 

Preparedness:

 

The most important part of reopening during this time is preparedness. Businesses need to be smart and prepare for any possible outcome. Even if everything is done perfectly, and every possible safety procedure is put in place, there is always a possibility for a future outbreak to occur, which could lead to your business once again taking a step backwards and reducing back to minimal output levels. This is something that a business needs to prepare for. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Businesses should also prepare for various degrees of ramping up. There shouldn’t be the expectation that once your business reopens it will immediately resume to a pre-virus level of sales or activity, so it is best to gradually expand, and not spend on anything unnecessary without thoroughly thinking it through. Discuss with your team, form a plan of action, and have a backup plan just in case. The more prepared you are the better and be sure to consider the following:

 

How long in advance will you know when your business can (or will) reopen or ramp back up?
Be prepared in case a restart is temporary – there may be another shut-down or slow-down in the future.
Plan for various degrees of ramp-up – your sales may take a long time to get back to where they were, but if you’re not properly prepared to handle orders when they do arise, you may end up actually causing or exacerbating it. Therefore, plan different ways to ramp up output without overly committing cash before it’s justifiable.

Inventory and Supply Chain:

 

If you haven’t already, now is the time to get in touch with your key suppliers, partly to “insure” the relationship, and partly to be on top of issues they may have in restarting. If a key supplier has gone out of business or is not prepared to revamp to pre-virus levels, the sooner you know this the more prepared you are to come up with alternatives. This not only includes suppliers of products, but also services such as software. Make sure you have access to all the supply chain technology and partners that you rely on.
 

Staffing:

 

After deciding on a plan of action, a business must then look to whatever staffing needs are necessary. During this time, millions of people lost their jobs due to businesses closing for a time or perhaps permanently. It is now time to look at bringing these people back into the fold. If you are ramping up at a high speed and expanding to pre-virus levels of operation, it would be wise to offer those laid-off their jobs back. You will need them to operate at efficient levels, though as a business you should always be prepared that some of the employees that were let go may not return whether due to retirement or finding employment elsewhere. This is another aspect that a business owner should prepare for and have a plan for. To operate successfully, you need trained staff to be able to handle the workload, and if that isn’t properly in place, then you may end up seeing poor results. How long will it take to re-hire staff or hire new employees?

 

Customer Continuity:

 

During these times of uncertainty, it is likely that some of your customers also experienced disruptions to their business. For those that have struggled, is there a way that you can proactively help them remain in business and also ramp back up?

 

Your business is nothing without your customers, so use this time to strengthen those bonds. Keep your customers in your plans and try to do what you can to show support for them.
 

Keep in mind that there are potential opportunities to gain market share if you’re able to restart your business quickly and efficiently, especially if you’re ready to go before your competitors. However, this means the converse is also true. Now is the time to start preparing for the future, even as so much uncertainty still remains.

 

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The Surprising Truth About Custom Software

Your business’ USP or Unique Selling Proposition is a unique aspect of your business that provides you with a competitive advantage. This could refer to a feature of your product, service aspect of your business or a specific process that allows you to beat competitors and grow your customer base. Sometimes your USP requires a specific piece of software or software customization to manage. However, before you jump into custom specifications and custom development, it is important to be aware of the downsides of custom software. Not only does custom software come with its own set of issues, it can encourage more complex business processes and product development.

Follow the 80% Rule

As a rule of thumb, it is always a good idea to try to find a business management solution that can address 75-80% of your business needs out-of-the-box. The other 20% can then be addressed through configuration, workarounds or lastly, through customization. If you’re struggling to find a solution that can manage the 80%, it may be because you’re looking for the wrong system, or it might be time to adjust your expectations and processes. This applies to whichever type of system you need – whether an accounting solution, CRM or all-in-one ERP. Unless your business operates in a very niche market, it is safe to assume that there is an existing solution that can meet most of your needs. While it is true that there may be certain processes that require a specific set of software tools, you could also be over-complicating processes based on old habits. This is especially true since most advanced software solutions will provide multiple ways in which to complete a process. Therefore, you can train employees on how to use the software in a specific way, as opposed to trying to find and customize a solution that provides limited tools.

This ties in with the MVP methodology. The idea is to find a system that allows you to operate business as usual, with the option to add additional features as needed down the road. At a minimum, you want to ensure employees can do 80% of their job using what is already included with the software.

Consider Future Business Disruptions

An important consideration when deciding to customize or not, is the potential for things to change down the road. Not just your business processes and strategic goals, but also other changes such as:

Technology changes
Government regulations
International trading rules
Competitor offerings
Customer/target market needs
Reporting requirements
Environmental/economic changes – think of COVID-19 as an example
Opportunities to increase efficiencies, etc.

When internal and external factors change – most of which are out of your control – your custom software will no longer work leaving you to either develop new custom or find a new solution. Neither of which is an ideal fix.

Configure the Software to Meet Your Needs

Another option over customization, is configuration. Most systems allow you to configure the software to meet your specific business processes. For example, configuration allows you to:

Turn on “flags” for specific actions such as customers over their credit limit, which prompts employees on what to do when that happens
Set-up available order statuses based on workflows
Automatically update a status, populate a field, email an employee etc. based on certain criteria being met

Many businesses require some small amount of customization when implementing software, however, too much customization and you start to run into problems.

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How Are You Managing Your Landed Costs?

There are a few different ways that you are probably familiar with for tracking and managing your actual cost of goods, with some being more exact than others. Maybe you calculate everything manually, or maybe you’re adding the same markup percentage across the board to cover all the factors that go into getting the product into your inventory (your landed costs). Maybe you have software in place that works for you, that gets the job done and gives you a number you’re happy with. Is the number accurate? Even a 1% variance can cause a massive headache and a potential loss of profit down the line. So, now you’re wondering what you can do to improve your odds and give you the best and most accurate result. Good, because we are about to show you.

First, whether you are aware of it or not, it is important to bring you up to speed with “Landed Costs”. Landed costs are the total cost of a product, or inventory item once it has arrived at your facility. This means it includes the original purchase price of the item, the shipping costs, customs, duties, taxes, and really any fees that are incurred during the process of getting the item from the seller to the buyer. If you are not tracking your landed costs, then you are most likely losing money as a business, and that is something that you will want to fix. It is impossible to know the true valuation of your inventory without tracking landed costs.

Manual tracking of landed costs is a viable solution, though it can end up being extremely time consuming and allows for plenty of errors when attempting to figure out the true landed costs associated with each unit received. These errors can end up causing you to lose money if you’re marking-up a product without having an accurate idea of all the Landed Costs. That’s something we are trying to avoid. The less manual processes here, the better.

Some companies may find they have had good results by adding an average mark-up across the board, on all their products to cover the incurred fees/costs, a tactic that is ultimately better than nothing, though it is still not giving the accurate numbers that you as a company need to be looking for.

The best and most accurate way to track your landed costs is with landed cost tracking software. Blue Link’s landed cost tracking software allows you to account for all the costs associated with getting inventory to your warehouse — your true valuation of inventory. By using Blue Link’s landed cost tracking software, you completely eliminate all manual processes, and use a fully automated system that accurately tracks true product costs per each individual item,  which gives you the ability to make informed pricing decisions that reflect the true costs of product at any given time. This puts you in the best situation possible and gives you the most accurate and informed view of your inventory.

Once you have decided to move away from an archaic form of tracking your real cost of goods, and onto a system that can accurately and efficiently give you the correct numbers, you’ll be able to see the real profits when a product is sold, where you weren’t before. With Blue Link ERP you will end up with a system that you can rely on, with automated results that improve your workflow and better manage your business as a whole.

 
Landed Costs Whitepaper: Why Landed Cost Tracking Matters

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How the MVP Methodology Allows Your Business to Quickly React to Change

There has never been a greater example of the importance of being able to adjust, change and adapt quickly than the disruptions caused by COVID-19. In a matter of days and weeks, businesses were forced to send employees home to work remotely, close their doors temporarily (or in some drastic cases permanently), and get creative on how to serve customers virtually. With so many unknowns about the future of our economy and workforce, making the decision to drastically change business operations, or pivot existing offers is scary, however, this is where MVP methodology thrives.

You may have heard the term MVP referenced in sports, which stands for Most Valuable Player. In the business world, however, MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product and describes a development technique in which a new product is developed according to the least amount of functionality required by the end customer. In other words, the idea is to quickly develop the most basic version of a working product. The final version of the product and additional features are then developed after testing the product in the market and considering feedback from users. The point of following the MVP mindset is to focus on the core objectives of a product and to quickly get it to market, without wasting time developing additional features. In the case of MVP, the speed in which you can get a product to market is more important than creating the perfect product, with the goal of establishing a product roadmap to evolve over time. A great example of a company using the MVP mindset in action, is Bulk Barn. Bulk Barn, a traditional brick and mortar retail store selling bulk food products, was deemed a non-essential business, and was forced to close its doors due to COVID-19. In an effort to remain open for customers, the company made the quick pivot to selling online – in less than 48 hours.

Bulk Barn: A MVP Success Story

Bulk Barn is a traditional retail business, selling bulk food products such as candy, baking items, nuts and more to customers through a self-serve model. Although prior to COVID-19 Bulk Barn had an online presence, the company’s website acted strictly as a retail store locator, pointing customers to the closest store in their geographic area. Not deemed an essential business, Bulk Barn was forced to close its doors to the general public to help flatten the curve. This is what led the company to start considering ways in which it could still serve customers. In order to provide options for online sales, the company used the MVP methodology to quickly set-up a functioning eCommerce site with curb-side pick-up.

MVP Approach to eCommerce

Unlike traditional eCommerce stores, which take months to develop and cost thousands of dollars, Bulk Barn was able to provide enough functionality to sell to customers online within 48 hours. The site was transformed with functionality for customers to choose their location and then fill out a simple online order form with information about product and order quantities. Following the MVP development technique, this online form was simply that – an electronic form not integrated with any database and with no real-time inventory management. Once a customer submits the form, an email is sent to the appropriate retail location where an employee can pick the order for customer pick-up. This approach to eCommerce allowed the company to achieve its goals in a very short period of time. And even though the website does not include any bells or whistles (or even any features), it still allows customers to place orders and is therefore helping to keep Bulk Barn open for business.

It’s easy to get caught up in features, advanced functionality, and the aesthetics of developing a new product. However, following the MVP methodology allows you to first and foremost come up with a working product that customers actually want and need. This helps set you up for success down the road, without wasting valuable resources and delaying time to market.

As Charles Darwin famously said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” In these uncertain times, learning more about the MVP technique and how you can apply it to your business products and services can help you quickly adapt to market changes.

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HDA Webinars and ARCOS Reporting

During the week of April 14th, the Healthcare Distribution Alliance (HDA) held a free Distribution Management Webinar Series to present some of the sessions that were scheduled for this year’s 2020 HDA Distribution Management Conference but canceled due to COVID-19. The series of 9 webinars educated participants and introduced them to a wide range of topics online instead of in-person, as the DMC was canceled due to COVID-19. These webinars brought up some very interesting ideas and raised some very good points on the current struggles the industry is facing due to the virus. A long list of topics including a DSCSA FDA Activity Update, Saleable Returns Verification Industry Update and a Controlled Substance Legal Panel were presented.

These HDA Webinars are a very valuable tool, and a great way to stay up to date and informed on important aspects of the industry, and will be available online for your viewing pleasure on April 24th, 2020. Plus, if you’re interested in finding out more, you can browse their website for additional webinars that are taking place during the first week of May.

As everyone in the industry is aware, there are many different and important factors to keep track of as changes brought forth by the virus come into effect, so it is good to be informed on those by an industry professional. So, with the HDA giving the opportunity, it was definitely worthwhile to take part.

The HDA Webinars gave an update on the potential changes to the schedule of enforcement of Verification of Saleable Returns to the DSCSA – which is November by the way – and introduced some valuable information on importing pharmaceuticals and rules that might be set in place for importing to Canada from the US. Though these are just a small sample of topics discussed.

Taking a step away from the HDA, we at Blue Link have some information to share with you all regarding ARCOS Reporting. ARCOS, or Automation of Reports and Consolidated Orders System, is a drug-monitoring system that was developed by the Drug Enforcement Administration. ARCOS enables the government to monitor the movement of controlled substances from manufacturing through point of sale. This is something that is well known in the pharmaceutical industry and is an integral part of Blue Link ERP’s Pharma Application.

All controlled substances in Schedules I and II and all narcotic controlled substances in Schedule III must be reported to the DEA, who must receive the report by the 15th of the month or else a company can be flagged as failure to report. This reporting gives the DEA a better insight into which substances are going where, and how each company is handling its product.

By having ARCOS Reporting within Blue Link’s Pharmaceutical Distribution system, Blue Link customers are able to easily provide accurate information about the movement of controlled substances throughout the supply chain, and automatically provide the DEA and other governing agencies with the electronic paperwork that is required to do business and operate within the pharmaceutical space.

As Blue Link continues to grow, we develop new features for our software based on current and future trends within the pharmaceutical industry, as well as by learning from our knowledgeable customer base. It is important that we not only look at current trends, but that we also look to the future, so that we are always one step ahead, and are always able to give the best and most feature-rich software to our customers.

Blue Link’s pharmaceutical distribution software helps your business reduce manual work, automate processes, and remain compliant with industry regulations so that you can focus on what really matters: growing your business.

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How to Track Sales Prospects with Contact Management Software

Contact management software as the name suggests, allows you to manage your business contacts – customers, suppliers, partners and prospects. Many software systems, such as the accounting system QuickBooks, will include built-in tools for managing your contacts. However, this type of functionality is different from true contact management software which is commonly referred to as CRM, or Customer Relationship Management. While contact management features allow your business to track information such as name, address, bill-to and ship-to, it lacks advanced functionality for managing advanced sales funnels. This is why true contact management software in the form of a CRM system is a better solution when you have a long and multi-step sales process. Instead of looking for standalone CRM software, consider ERP with built-in CRM tools. The benefit of this type of system is that it allows you to maintain information about a company once they turn from a prospect into a customer – such as tracking sales history and quotes. Once you decide what type of system is best for your business, it’s time to start mapping out the information you need to manage according to existing processes and potential opportunities that the new software can provide.

When do you enter lead information?

The first step to tracking sales prospects with contact management software is to enter information about your lead into the system. However, this is easier said than done. You need to decide WHEN to enter information about a lead. Do you enter information about every single lead you speak to? Do you enter information only when a lead has been qualified by someone on your sales team as a legitimate opportunity? It’s important to determine exactly what type of lead you decide to enter into your CRM – for example, you may decide to only enter Sales Qualified Leads.

The difference between a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) and Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)

What additional information do you want to track?

Aside from basic information such as address, phone, email, currency, ship-to address(s) etc. robust contact management software provides you with the opportunity to track additional information to improve your sales process and for reporting purposes. With CRM software such as Blue Link, not only are you able to track information such as industry, lead source and sales rep, you can also track industry-specific information through User Defined Fields (or UDFs). This allows you to choose the information you want to track based on what is important for your business. For example, for each prospect, you can track information about company size, annual revenue, type of company, seasonality impacts etc. You can then automatically report on this information to help direct your sales and marketing activities.

How do you determine next actions?

Most contact management systems provide tools that allow you to set-up next action dates. This is useful for moving sales prospects through your sales funnel. You can track what steps they have already completed, what needs to happen next and when, and who is responsible. Sophisticated systems can automatically populate certain fields based on specific changes. Let’s look at an example. Let’s say you choose Demo from a list of actions under the column header Next Action. You then set a date for this Demo in the Next Action Date column. Then, once you have finished the demo on the set date, you choose Complete from a list of drop-down options under the column Result. By choosing Complete as the Result, the system will now automatically set a new Next Action item and associated Next Action Date such as Send Pricing Information set for 3 days after the Demo is marked as complete.  

What happens when the lead becomes a customer?

The biggest benefit of implementing ERP software with built-in CRM tools is that you have one system to manage sales leads and customers. When a lead turns into a customer, you can simply change the status and start interacting with the customer maintaining a history of all original contact. This allows you to immediately start creating quotes and orders for the customer, utilizing the information you already know about their preferences – such as shipping and billing.

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Tips to Keep You on Track While Working from Home

Staying focused on the task at hand isn’t always as simple as it seems. Your mind wanders, email alerts keep popping up, deadlines draw closer, and you just keep jumping from project to project. You’re pulled in ten different directions, and it’s seriously having an impact on your process. Just as you seem to get a grasp on one thing, an unexpected email takes you in another direction. You’re frustrated, and it’s becoming apparent in your work. Plus, with what seems like a neverending stream of bad news in the air, it’s probably a little harder than usual to stay focused on the task at hand. You can always try to go radio silent, and turn off your phone, the tv, or even your wifi, but even then it’s hard to not think about what’s going on in the rest of the world. So, what do you do? How can you stay on task and make things run a little more smoothly? Well, here are some tips to keep you on track while working from home – hopefully they help.

Start with the Easy Stuff
If you have a long list of things to do, you might feel a little bit overwhelmed, because you’re unsure of how to start. Some people will say to start with the most difficult task, as that’s the one that will take the longest, but I see it the other way around – start with the easy stuff. If you have a list of 10 things, and 9 are easy and short, and one is very difficult, it’s a lot easier to bang out some of the easy things, which will not only shorten your list, but you will end up feeling very productive as you knock tasks off your list. Start easy, cut the list down, stay productive.

Learn to Communicate
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes you need a bit of support to help accomplish a task, or maybe you need a bit of extra information to be able to wrap up that project in the best way possible. It’s better to ask and get the help you need from your team, rather than trying to figure it out on your own and wasting valuable time. Your team is there to support you, and if they’re a good team then they’ll be happy to help. A team that helps each other is one that produces the best work, and does it most efficiently. So, don’t be afraid to reach out with an email or a message on Teams, or even a quick call over Zoom, and get the support you need to do your work and keep you on track while working from home.

Make a List
One of the best ways to help keep you organized is to make a list of what you need to do each day. A nice list helps you figure out which task needs to be taken care of first, and what can be pushed to later. Having things laid out visually for you will help you have a better grasp on how to handle your work, and its always revitalizing to cross an item off the list.

Take a Break
This might be the most important one. Sometimes you just need to recharge, whether it be for five minutes or a half-hour, sometimes your brain just needs a bit of time to relax and refocus before getting back into things. There may be times where you get on a roll, and your fingers dance across the keyboard with ease, and you’re pumping out work for hours that seem to just fly by, and that’s great. Getting to that point is especially helpful when you have a lot to do. Though there are times where you just can’t seem to stay productive for more than 10 minutes, and if that’s the case, then sit back, relax for a minute, take a breath, and get back to it. Your brain will appreciate it.

Hopefully, these tips help keep you on track as you try to stay focused during these uncertain times. Though at the end of the day, if what you really need is some time to yourself to recoup, then that’s OK too. We need to be OK with people being stressed or not being able to focus. It isn’t always about putting on a positive face and cracking down, it’s about actually feeling good – because if you’re not, then the work won’t be good either.

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Supporting Each Other During a Crisis

A Message from Blue Link ERP President, Mark Canes

Just like almost every other company during these past couple of weeks, Blue Link ERP has had to make some changes as we continue to navigate the ever changing COVID-19 crisis. As I write this, I am sitting in my makeshift home office. All Blue Link employees are now working remotely to help flatten the curve as part of the social distancing efforts recommended by our governments and health care professionals.

Facing an unknown future, it can be scary to think about the impacts COVID-19 will have on individuals, communities, businesses and the world economy. During this time of instability, it is inspiring to see people helping each other and the community at large in a selfless manner. We can also take some positives from the creative ways in which people are staying connected and businesses are continuing to help customers. Thankfully, today’s technology makes it possible to communicate around the world, maintain relationships and foster new ones. Supporting each other during these times will help us to come out stronger and more connected than ever before. We’ve already started to see good examples of retail businesses focusing efforts on online sales, and gyms, schools, art classes and other in-person businesses live-streaming and creating video content for customers, as well as businesses changing their manufacturing practices to focus on those essential medical, household and safety items in high-demand.

The truth is, some SMBs will have to close their doors, but hopefully, we can all play a part in limiting the numbers. Consider supporting a local company, small business, new brand, friend or neighbor these next couple of weeks in whatever way you can, and actively support the businesses that have temporarily shut their doors when they re-open again in the future.

As we all experience history in the making, our thoughts are with the world as we collectively try to navigate through this very challenging period. While some of our normal business operations have changed, our commitments to our employees, partners and customers have not.  We have been providing other SMBs with the tools and software they need to be successful for the past 28 years and Blue Link will continue to do so as we remain open for business. The relationships we have with our partners and customers run deep and we will continue to provide services and offer help in any way possible to get through this together.

To those around the world suffering from the impacts of the virus, our hearts are with you and we wish a full recovery. We believe that together, with some creative thinking and open minds, we will not only survive this crisis, but thrive again in the future.

 

 

 

Mark Canes, President

Blue Link ERP

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The (Technology) Times They Are a-Changin’

The famous words of Bob Dylan perfectly describe the world we live in as it learns to adapt and adjust to the massive changes that are brought upon it by advancements in technology. Our lives are constantly changing, and every day new forms of software and hardware are introduced in ways to make our lives easier and more focused. There’s an app for everything these days, and every real-life action has its own online counterpart. With the world forced to adjust due to a pandemic, we are finding new ways to continue to operate our businesses and shift even faster to an all-digital world.

Back in 2010, our founder and president, Mark Canes, wrote a blog post about how the newly introduced iPod Nano featured a camera and video capabilities, and that we should be prepared for what seems like a never-ending onslaught of people sharing every moment of their daily lives. That was 2010, and in 2020 it almost seems strange if you aren’t posting even the most private aspects of your life online. What a difference 10 years make.

(Image: apple-history.com)
If we look 10 years before that, the year 2000, just coming off the Y2K scare, we have a population that is unfamiliar with technology and the internet as a whole. No Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram, and no YouTube. How did we survive without YouTube and Netflix? This was a time when Blockbuster thrived, when Amazon wasn’t the main supplier of, well, everything. Apple’s iMac seems completely archaic compared to their latest iMac release. That was 20 years ago, but with how fast things change and how much technology improves, that seems like a lifetime ago.

(Image: http://www.designandtech.net/)
With shows like Stranger Things introducing a large percentage of people to what the 80s looked like, we get an even crazier view of the world before tech. Kids on bikes, people hanging at the mall all day, people going to the drive-in. When you really think about it, the 80s weren’t that long ago at all, but 1980 was 40 years ago. Forty years. We live in a completely different world than the world of 1980. In 1980 the Atari 2600 practically just released, giving most Americans their first taste of video games at home, and don’t even get started in cell phones, which the only ones available at that time were the size of a brick. Today, we have phones that are approaching the thinness of a piece of paper, and video games that are difficult to separate from real life. What a difference 40 years makes.

We can go back further, but at that point we might as well be looking at Old West. It’s crazy to think that there are people that have seen it all, a World War, the first rocket launch, the moon landing, color TV, the list goes on. These people have seen the world at it’s worst, and at it’s best, and are now journeying into the unknown. We are a world full of endless possibilities, and we really don’t know where we’ll end up. All we can do is hope for the best and hope for a bright future. The world has changed so much in such a short time, and it looks like that won’t be stopping any time soon. As the present now will later be past, for the times they are a-changin’.

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