Inventory & Accounting ERP Software Blog

Want an Easy Way to Build Customer Trust? Data Integrity Can Help.

Want to know an easy way to build customer trust? Data integrity. Having easy access to reliable, accurate data has huge implications for the success of your company and for building trust among your customers. Not only do customers want to know that you’re keeping their data safe, but they also want to know that you’re maintaining accurate data so that you won’t double charge them, get their order wrong or send product to the wrong address. The best way to maintain accurate data records is to implement all-in-one business management software. Having a single solution and database to manage all information about your customers, accounts, vendors, inventory and finances makes it easy to share information across multiple departments. Business management software today also provides tools for ensuring the integrity of data – such as data audit trails, time and date stamps, the ability to automatically add notes, update fields and insert a record after performing a task in the system, user tracking and other checks and balances that help prevent and identify bad data. But, before we get into exactly how business management software can help manage your data, let’s first explore the importance of building customer trust. 

Getting, maintaining and increasing customer trust is important to building brand loyalty. To keep customers happy and to grow as a business, we all want our customers to trust our company, our brand, our product and our services. But even the most trustworthy businesses need a way to manage this consistently over time. It’s not enough to be trustworthy if the customer is not aware. What makes a customer trust a brand? According to a recent study by Edleman, the reasons can be divided into three distinct areas: product-oriented concerns; customer-oriented concerns; and societal-oriented concerns. By far the most common area of trust relates to product-given concerns with 87% of global customers citing this area as the most important. The best example of this is customers trusting a brand because it delivers good quality products and services. Customer-oriented concerns ranked second highest for why customers trust brands at roughly 56% globally. Examples of trust in this area include businesses that treat the customer and others well, can quickly address customer service problems and that do a good job of protecting the privacy and security of customer data. Why is trust so important? According to the same Edleman study, consumers rank brand trust as one of the top factors they consider when making a purchase decision.

Now that we know how important customer trust is, and how data integrity is an easy way to increase customer trust, let’s explore some specific examples.  

Inventory Management

Proper inventory management is crucial for building customer trust. Maintaining inventory data from within one system allows you to easily track incoming sales orders, open purchase orders, product on backorder and product available for sale in your warehouse. Customers need to trust that when they place an order for product across all available sales channel, inventory information is accurate and up to date. If customers cannot rely on the information your company provides about inventory availability and shipping times, they will look somewhere else to buy product.

Customer Relationship Management

When it comes to customer service, maintaining accurate customer data can have a huge impact on how quickly your business can respond to and remedy customer services issues. Tracking customer communication, follow-ups, account details, sales history, contact information etc. also allows you to easily reference information in the system without wasting time looking through multiple solutions and spreadsheets. This helps to address customer concerns more quickly and ensures people from different departments can easily find information about any particular customer. Maintaining accurate customer account information provides customers with peace of mind that they will get the product they ordered, when they want it, delivered to the right location at the right price. When customers trust that you have the correct information and can address their concerns quickly, it improves the overall customer service experience.

Accounting and Finance

There is nothing more frustrating than trying to get a refund, cancel an order, pay a bill or place a new order when the customer service team does not have the correct information about your account. Business management software that includes accounting functionality allows your company to easily update accounts, automatically email customers information such as invoices and past due notices, manage multiple pricing contracts and provides easy access to customer data – all from within one system.  

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Blue Link and Shopify eCommerce Integration

Did you know that Blue Link supports Shopify eCommerce integration? Well, thanks to our partner VL OMNI, we do! The following is a brief walkthrough of how a real order placed on a Shopify website for one of Blue Link’s customers ECS Coffee, flows automatically from Shopify to Blue Link, and then back again using integration provided by VL OMNI.
We want to start off by browsing to ECS Coffee’s website, and by adding an item to our cart and then checking out. This is a simple process that has been done by many, if not all of you, dozens of times before on many different websites. After we have completed that step, we get to take an inside look behind the scenes at Blue Link’s software.

Step One: Enter order through online eCommerce store. In this example, through ECS Coffee’s Shopify site. 

 

 

Step Two: Review the order in Blue Link after the information automatically populates from the Shopify Store. 

Inside Blue Link, the order review screen has been updated with the new order that was just placed. By drilling down into the order, you will notice that the Shopify order number appears in the purchase order field for easy cross-reference. Plus, on the order details tab, you can see the product quantity and price exactly match the order placed online, which is extremely useful as you don’t have to go back and forth and worry about pasting in multiple numbers in different fields and possibly creating an error. We like to keep things simple, so simple that we even transfer over the payment information for you. Depending on how you have the system set-up, orders that meet certain criteria will automatically get sent to the warehouse for picking, packing and shipping. Alternatively, someone from your team can review orders from all sales channels from Blue Link’s sales order review screen. 

 
Step Three: Pick, pack and ship the order. 

Next step is shipping, and shipping the order in Blue Link is extremely easy. Using barcode scanning tools, after you have picked the product, one scan of the barcode brings up the order on screen, and an additional scan of the product packs it into a container. Blue Link integrates with various shipping software, and in this case a single scan of the order number pulls the shipping address into FedEx  – and by clicking ‘Ship’ in FedEx, it returns the tracking information to Blue Link.

 
Step Four: Automatically update all systems and notify the customer that the order has shipped. 
Shipping the order in Blue Link changes the order status, allowing the VL OMNI integration to work behind the scenes, close the order in Shopify and update the tracking information online for the customer to see. That’s it! With full eCommerce integration between Blue Link and your eCommerce site, the only time a person had to interact with the system was to physically pick and ship the order. All other aspects were completely automated by the various system integrations.
 

 
Step Five: Watch this video to see how the above eCommerce integration looks in action!
Not only does Blue Link integrate with Shopify, but with the help of VL OMNI’s integration tools, you can integrate Blue Link ERP with various other eCommerce sites as well as marketplaces such as Amazon. 

 

 

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3 Ways to Get Immediate ROI from Warehouse Inventory Software

Purchasing warehouse inventory software to manage your wholesale distribution business requires a large investment of time, resources and money. Therefore, the sooner you start to see a return on your investment the better. Thankfully, if you’re moving from an introductory system or mostly manual processes, the ROI will be almost immediate through automation, more accurate data, and streamlined processes. Although it’s important to evaluate the cost savings from implementing warehouse inventory software, it’s also important to evaluate other benefits – such as the amount of time you save picking, packing and shipping orders, the shipping errors you’re able to eliminate, and the more accurate your inventory. Let’s explore some of the immediate benefits of implementing Blue Link’s warehouse inventory software.

(1) Reduce Manual Data Entry

With Blue Link’s warehouse inventory software, you will immediately be able to reduce the amount of data entry. This then eliminates the need to hire or pay additional employees, and instead you can improve the efficiency of your existing staff and processes. When a customer submits an order, or when you receive inventory into your warehouse, you no longer need to manually enter information across multiple systems and spreadsheets. Instead, orders from multiple sales channels accumulate into one system, automatically allocating inventory and updating inventory availability. Employees also have the option to scan new shipments directly into the system during the receiving process.

(2) Improve Productivity

Inventory accuracy empowers your team to sell more product without ever having to worry about whether or not an item is out of stock. This means you’re able to better serve customers and improve the pick, pack and ship process. With tools such as mobile barcode scanning, you eliminate the human error associated with manually picking orders and instead your employees are able to quickly and accurately pick, pack and ship product to customers. Employees are able to easily determine the next steps by quickly pulling up new orders directly from the handheld device. With bin and shelf location tracking, employees don’t waste any time wandering the warehouse floor looking for product. When you manage data from a single system, inventory availability is always up-to-date – even quantities available online through proper eCommerce integration.

(3) Increase Shipping Accuracy

Barcode scanning provides a double check when packing orders which helps to improve the accuracy of shipping. Pack-to-container functionality allows you to track and account for every item and container it was shipped in. Fewer shipping errors increases customer trust and keeps customers happy.

Taking into account the immediate benefits of implementing warehouse inventory software, it seems like a no brainer to upgrade from your introductory system and manual processes. Even if each individual task your employees are performing today do not take up that much time, when you combine the amount of time across employees and processes, the numbers quickly add up. Proper software allows you to focus on more important areas of the business – such as growing sales – instead of worrying about fixing mistakes and not having accurate information. If you’re moving from a legacy piece of software, or already have some warehouse inventory features in your current system, look for warehouse inventory software that provides advanced functionality – such as the ability to track the movement of product throughout your entire warehouse, show empty bin/shelf availability and set-up stocking location priorities and ratings.

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Apparel Software with eCommerce Integration

If you are someone who works in the apparel industry, you know the complications that come with dealing with large amounts of products that are similar, yet need to be tracked separately. Things can get off to a great start and very quickly go off the rails as your company grows and more inventory needs to be managed and different product lines begin to pop up. This is where ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software comes in and can make your life a lot easier. Blue Link ERP has a unique, purpose-built apparel software matrix, which automates and streamlines the management of products and orders, which is exactly what you need in apparel software.

 

In 2016 in the United States alone, store-based retail apparel was valued at approximately 292 billion dollars, and by 2025 is estimated to grow to a staggering 390 billion dollars. This is massive growth, and one that would be impossible to manage without the proper procedures in place. Imagine tracking that much inventory by hand, or with outdated software based on MS-DOS. You’d be pulling your hair out after the first hour. So, with highly sophisticated ERP software like Blue Link, the process is a lot simpler.

 

Product generation functionality is a vital piece of apparel inventory software and can save a lot of time when defining new products. Typically, users define a base part number with variations in the product ID to account for size and colour. Replicating this information manually across dozens of variations can be both time-consuming and prone to error. With Blue Link ERP and the built-in apparel software matrix, this process gets automated and simplified, providing ultimate flexibility for entering orders and quotes – plus, you always have the option of switching back and forth between the grid and traditional order entry modes.

Worldwide retail eCommerce sales are expected to reach just over four trillion dollars in 2020, with no signs of slowing down. If you are a company that has yet to transition to eCommerce or take eCommerce seriously, then unfortunately you are behind on the times, but it’s not too late to make a change. With Blue Link’s eCommerce integration guide, we show you how easy it is to get started, and make sure your apparel software integrates with your eCommerce channels. This will enable you to take a great leap forward, and represent your company in the online space, allowing you access to a wider audience and a greater customer base. This is incredibly important because if we take a look at the kind of numbers that eCommerce produces, we can see that in 2017, eCommerce was responsible for around 2.3 trillion dollars in sales, and this number is expected to grow to around 4.5 trillion dollars by 2021 – astronomical growth. If you’re not making your offerings available in this space, you need to.

 

When using Blue Link ERP, not only do you get access to personalized in-house support, but you also receive a powerful all-in-one system that handles both wholesale and distribution, plus features for retail and eCommerce operations. Blue Link eliminates the need to manage multiple, standalone solutions, which removes the need to enter information more than once, helping your business to run as efficiently as possible. This allows your company to grow at a manageable pace while improving sales and keeping everything running as smoothly as possible.

You may be left wondering what you should be looking for when it comes to apparel inventory software – well, Blue Link ERP has you covered with that. We have a free guide that makes that process much simpler for you, and gives you the right information without any filler.

 

“Blue Link is a unique environment in terms of you have to be ready to embrace it, but if you’re willing to really make that effort from a company standpoint and you really get your staff on board, it’s pretty phenomenal.”
– Tal Dehtiar, Owner, Oliberté

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How Wholesale Software is Evolving to Meet the Needs of a Changing Industry

When people think wholesale and distribution, they think about companies that buy and sell inventory, operate one or multiple warehouse locations and serve primarily a B2B market of customers – selling products to other businesses such as retail stores, other distributors and manufacturing companies. However, the world of wholesale and distribution has been evolving for quite some time now and will continue to do so in 2020 and beyond. The dividing lines between wholesale, retail and eCommerce continues to blur and we are experiencing a disruption of business models, distribution channels and consumer expectations, known by some as Flux Commerce. In today’s world, wholesale distributors do more than just buy and sell inventory to B2B customers – they also provide service and repair, do light manufacturing and sell through eCommerce and retail channels, targeting B2B customers and the end-consumer. This means that wholesale software to manage these types of businesses is also evolving to provide additional tools for point-of-sale, eCommerce and marketplace integration, service and repair functionality and more. Below we’ve outlined some specific tools that Blue Link offers that are important to the ever-changing wholesale distribution industry.

eCommerce

For the most part, there are 3 different options when it comes to eCommerce. Selling directly to the general public through your own website built on platforms like Shopify, selling B2C through marketplaces such as Amazon and selling to B2B customers through a secure online order portal. It’s not unusual nowadays to find wholesale distributors who sell through all 3 channels. This makes it important to find wholesale software that can manage these online sales channels in addition to traditional methods of selling by phone, email, EDI and via outside sales reps. Blue Link wholesale software includes eCommerce integration which allows for the bi-directional flow of data between each online platform. When a customer places an order online, this information automatically populates in Blue Link allowing your team to review and prioritize in conjunction with all other order types. An employee can first review the order, or the system can automatically send the order to the warehouse for pick, pack and ship based on specific system criteria. When an employee ships an order or receives new inventory into your warehouse and updates Blue Link, the information also populates online so that customers always have insight into available inventory and can easily track order status and shipment information.

Retail

Although some wholesale distributors operate brick and mortar retail stores, many others provide retail environments through cash and carry business models, front-counter operations or utilize POS functionality selling product at tradeshows. No matter the situation, this makes it important to find a wholesale solution with POS functionality for managing these different types of customer interactions. If the volume of onsite transactions is high, Blue Link provides traditional point-of-sale software with barcode scanners, cash drawers and receipt/tape printers. Blue Link POS functionality also works offline which allows you to continue to process transactions even if you lose an internet connection or when selling to customers offsite and at tradeshows.

Service and Repair

For businesses who sell inventory items with a warranty, providing service and repair on those products is a value-added service that keeps customers coming back to buy more. For true wholesale distributors, this aspect of the company is likely only a small portion of overall operations, but it’s still important to find a solution with the right tools to manage this requirement. Blue Link includes the following features for managing all service and repair requests, both on-site and in-house.

Ability to track multiple service requests per order
Assign service requests against specific equipment items
Track parts and labor against service requests as well as other non-inventory items
Service and appointment scheduling with automated communication (appointment and maintenance reminders)
Job/project costing and integrated quoting

Light Manufacturing

Many companies who identify as a manufacturing business are actually wholesale distributors with some kitting, assembly and simple BOM needs. Therefore, wholesale software is still an appropriate solution as long as it includes these additional features. When managing inventory, it’s important to be able to account for individual units and finished goods as well as those required to form a kit. Blue Link provides these light manufacturing tools in addition to functionality for production control, product configurator and more.

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Life at Blue Link ERP

A soft green light comes to life, followed by a slight mechanical whirl and the smell of fresh coffee – a staple at Blue Link ERP. Friendly faces congregate in the kitchen, sampling breakfast offerings and enjoying some small talk before it’s time to get busy. There’s laughter, there’s friendship, and there is a team of individuals that know how to get the job done and are willing to go the extra mile if it means making a customer’s day. At Blue Link, our vision is to be the most valuable, important, and trusted business partner in the eyes of our customers – and this is how we accomplish that.

Several people make their walk into the boardroom for a morning meeting. They discuss upcoming changes to the software and the best ways to implement customer ideas. It’s a brief meeting, and everyone leaves feeling heard, and that their opinion matters. One small voice can make a huge impact, and that is because of Blue Link’s small size. We may not have the numbers, but we have the right people for the job, and it is because of this that we have a competitive advantage. All our services, from sales to consulting to training and so on, are performed in-house by our experts – highly trained, and highly motivated. The phone rings and a familiar voice answers – someone you’ve dealt with before and are happy to hear from. We don’t pass you off to someone new, on an endless shuffle through customer support agents.

We believe in building close relationships, not only with our clients – who we grow with and help to achieve their goals and continuously improve their software functionality, but with our team and our community.  We believe in showing support and giving back and taking part in initiatives that make a difference. Within the city, we’ve participate in the Sick Kids Soccer Tournament, where we raise funds and awareness for children with cancer, and we also work with local branches of Goodwill and other charities to donate to those in need. Outside of this, we also contribute on a larger scale to the WWF and cultural funds in South Africa. We believe that it is important to give back to the community that you are part of, and every member of Blue Link follows this belief and takes part in it.

The software team fires away dozens of lines of code and updates the board that tracks their progress on individual processes, one down and many to go. We are constantly improving our system, not only to be ahead of the curve in terms of functionality and user experience, but also to meet the ever-changing needs of our customers. Our team listens, we take the feedback that is provided to us and use it to improve in whatever way we can. With our collaborative mentality and our desire to always improve, we constantly work to develop new ways to enhance the software and make the system as efficient and user-friendly as possible.

A space bar rattles as someone types away, working on the latest and greatest post for the blog, which will be posted by week’s end. This is where you can find information about Blue Link and related software. We do what we can do keep people informed, and to make sure that our customers – and really anyone who finds their way to our blog – gain some knowledge after browsing through our posts. We write about software, business practices, new features coming to Blue Link ERP, and so much more. This is a great source of information, and with new posts every week there’s always something to read. Make sure you have your reading glasses ready.

As the sun begins to set, and the coffee pot runs dry, the people of Blue Link make their way out the door. We believe in hard work, but nothing is better after a long day than getting home to your family. Family is important to us, and we try our best to make Blue Link feel like a tight-knit family unit. We are free to share ideas and have open discussions, we share meals and birthdays, and we grow as a team. This helps Blue Link ERP be the best team around, and this allows us to be the most valuable, important, and trusted business partner in the eyes of all our customers.

This is Life at Blue Link ERP, and we hope you follow us on our journey.

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Why 2020 is All About Employees and Customers

As we start the beginning of a new decade, numerous top 10 lists with 2020 predications can be found all over the internet. Some of these are funny predictions made long in the past that paint a world of living in flying houses and every family owning private helicopters. Other, more serious predictions include emerging partnerships and the convergence of cloud-based applications and the increased adoption of AI across multiple industries and systems. While business predictions, in general, tend to focus on changing technology, one trend that seems to be popping up everywhere is around the customer experience and building employee trust. In a world where customers are more empowered than ever to make decisions, aligning customer services roles with marketing, sales and brand values are key to winning new business and building brand loyalty in the years ahead.

Customer Values

According to Forrester, more than 55% of consumers will consider company values when making a buying decision. Although this is not a new trend, it is a growing one and something that companies cannot ignore. For companies to succeed in the future, they need to create values-driven experiences with both customers and employees. Finding customers and employees who share the same values is important in creating long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationships. For SMBs, this can mean finding and working with other SMBs, who already understand the needs and business mindset of a smaller organization. However, finding customers, vendors and employees who have similar experiences are not enough. It is also important to align other values – from sustainability to people-values to community service, to processes and more.

Human Experience

As companies look to increase automation, the human experience will become even more important internally and externally. While technology will continue to replace the need for humans to perform mundane tasks, finding employees with creative skills and the ability to easily empathize and connect with other employees and customers will be the competitive difference in the future. Just like automation delivers value throughout a business’ entire operations, the human experience and aligning the right people will also deliver value across the entire customer lifecycle. To succeed going forward, businesses need to consider aligning marketing, sales and customer services roles more closely. Building trust and loyalty to engage employees internally are the first steps to better serve customers. A 2019 survey from the Edelman Trust Barometer says that 75% of people trust their employers more than government, media or business in general to do what is right. Why is this important? Earning employee trust through a genuine commitment to purpose leads to a competitive advantage. According to Deloitte, in addition to an increase in employee and customer satisfaction, purpose-driven businesses grow 3 times faster on average compared to their competitors. When employees believe in your products and processes, they translate this information to customers. Aligning roles across your organization means that employees do not need to scramble to keep up-to-date on customer accounts and communication is seamless and effective.

As you review your plans and budget for the year ahead, consider the importance of investing in the right people and the right technology. Implementing software that automates processes allows your team to focus on building relationships with customers, vendors and each other. Companies that succeed in the future will be able to seamlessly align technology and customer service with other areas of the business. This means providing employees with the proper tools they need to succeed in their jobs, while fostering a more collaborative environment.

Looking to implement changes at your organization for 2020? Learn how to do so properly with Blue Link’s Change Management Guide. 

 

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A Decade in Review

As the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, 2019, we officially close out a decade and move into a world unknown. 10 years goes by faster than you think, and moments of significance seem to come and go in the blink of an eye, leaving us wondering where all the time went. As a business, it’s always good to reflect on how you’ve done each year to learn from your mistakes, find new opportunities, and continue to grow your business and make customers happy. We’ve decided this year to go even farther and reflect on what has happened in the world as we close out the decade. This is A Decade in Review.
2010s: A Timeline

2010: The start of a new era, and a year that kicked off with the completion of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the tallest man-made structure in the world. This year also included the 2010 Winter Olympics, held in Vancouver, and the launch of Instagram. Though, like every year, it is not always sunshine and rainbows, and there are times of trouble, like the explosion of Deepwater Horizon, or the tragic earthquakes in Haiti, Chile, and New Zealand. As we look back, we try to focus on the positives, and the events that brought us together in pride and joy, like the FIFA World Cup, which was hosted by South Africa and won by Spain. We can still hear the vuvuzelas.

2011: Space. The final frontier. NASA announces that the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has captured photographic evidence of possible liquid water on Mars. The ground trembles and quakes.  A 9.0 magnitude earthquake hits off the coast of Japan, triggering a massive tsunami and the meltdown of Fukushima Power Plant. The world mourns. We do as humans do, and we stand together strong, and we look ahead to the future, where Curiosity lands on Mars and continues to operate to this day, as Neptune makes its first orbit of the Sun since being discovered in 1846.

2012: Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 60th anniversary of her accession to the throne, where she continues to reign happily as we enter 2020. Lonesome George, the last known Pinta Island tortoise, dies in Galapagos National Park at over 100 years old, marking the extinction of the species. A skydiver named Felix Baumgartner becomes the first person to break the sound barrier without any machine assistance during a space dive from 128,000 feet. Grumpy Cat, the internet sensation, is born, and will soon enter the lives of meme lovers worldwide. Barack Obama is reelected as the President of the United States.

2013: The most powerful meteor to strike Earth’s atmosphere in over a century explodes over Russia, prompting international concern regarding protecting the planet from subsequent strikes. Pope Benedict resigns, becoming the first pope to do so since 1415, and pope Francis is elected, becoming the first pope from the Americas. The El Reno tornado strikes, lashing out with winds of almost 500 kilometers an hour, and the widest tornado ever recorded on earth. Sony releases the PlayStation 4, becoming one of the most popular game consoles of all time, just a week before the Xbox One. Gamers rejoice.

2014: Mario Goetze receives a cross from the left, he catches it in his chest, perfectly controlling the ball. It drops in front of him, and he volleys it past the goalkeeper, sealing the win for Germany in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final against Argentina. Over one billion people worldwide watch this happen. After 8 years of construction, One World Trade Center is officially completed, standing as the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.

2015: On a hot summer day in May, Les Femmes d’Alger, a painting by Pablo Picasso sells for nearly 180 million dollars, setting a new world record for a painting. Weeks later, Ireland votes to legalize same-sex marriage, becoming the first country to legalize by popular vote. New Horizons, a NASA spacecraft, performs a flyby of Pluto, becoming the first spacecraft in history to visit the formerly 9th planet in the solar system. Following their previous estimates and photographic evidence, NASA now officially confirms that liquid water has been found on Mars, bringing us one step closer to discovering alien life – time to call Mulder and Scully.

2016: For the first time in history, Portugal wins the UEFA Euro Championship, beating France in the final. A young boy falls into an animal enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo in Ohio, where a large gorilla named Harambe lives. Fearing for the boy’s life, a zoo worker shoots and kills Harambe, causing worldwide controversy and sadness. After almost 100 years, The Chicago Cubs strike it out of the park and win the World Series, ending the longest championship drought in baseball history. Do you want to be the very best, like no one ever was? Do you want to catch them all? Then you’re probably of the more than one billion people to download Pokemon GO at its release and join the Pokemon mobile craze.

2017: January 20th 2017, Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th President of the United States of America. Two months later, the March North American blizzard strikes the Northeastern US and Canada, dropping over three feet of snow and ice in many areas. Mickey Mouse strikes again, as The Walt Disney Company announces that it will be acquiring 21st Century Fox, including all their studios and properties, for 66 billion dollars.

2018: Almost two billion people worldwide watch the wedding ceremony of Princess Harry and Megan Markle, where many would say David Beckham was best dressed. Months later, the FIFA World Cup is held in Russia, and France takes the crown for the second time in history. Move aside Dolly the sheep, Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua are here, the first primates to be cloned using the somatic cell nuclear transfer method. As Apple Inc. becomes the world’s first public company to achieve a market value of 1 trillion dollars, the world’s last male northern white rhino dies in Kenya, leaving the species functionally extinct.

2019: The present. A year of ups and downs, a year of monumental events, events that will change the course of history. 2019 is the year the Avengers finally defeated Thanos, and broke box-office records around the world with the release of Avengers: Endgame. It is the year that gave us The Irishman, a critically renowned film by Martin Scorsese, starring Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci. The year that the Toronto Raptors won their first ever NBA Championship.

Looking forward, 2020 and beyond: We are entering a new age. A new age of information and technology. 2020 is already set to give us some massive events – Euro 2020, the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the US Presidential Election, and more. How can we make this the best year, and make this the best decade of our lives? By doing what we can to be good. Be good to each other, be kind to the world, set up green initiatives at your workplace, set goals for yourself and don’t beat yourself up if you can’t meet them. Just try, try your best. Try to lend a helpful hand, or a shoulder to lean on. Be there for someone, and be a voice of reason, and have an open mind. Let’s go into the new decade with hope in our hearts, not despair. Look towards a brighter future and do your part to make it happen.

To 2020, and the years to follow.

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Blue Link Food Traceability Software Makes Top 100 List

VAUGHAN, Ontario – December 17, 2019 – Blue Link food traceability software, a leading provider of all-in-one ERP software, is excited to be recognized for the seventh year by Food Logistics’ 2019 FL100+ Top Software and Technology Providers List.

The annual FL100+ list honors the top software and technology providers in the food and beverage industry. Now in its 16th year, Food Logistics highlights software companies that address challenges in the food and beverage industry and ensure an efficient and reliable global food supply chain.

Compliance with food safety regulations is a critical component of the food and beverage industry. Over the past few years, the amount of food recalls and contamination has grown. From 2013 to 2018 alone, food recalls in the United States increased by 10 percent. With almost 1 in 10 people falling ill and approximately 420,000 deaths every year related to food contamination, food distributors are realizing the demand for agile, all-in-one software that helps improve business processes.
“Blue Link is proud to be recognized by Food Logistics on its FL100+ list. Customers use the tools and best practices that we recommend to efficiently manage their inventory-centric businesses.  We are constantly improving our system and functionality to face new challenges appearing in the food and beverage industry.” – Darren Myher, CTO, Blue Link Associates
Blue Link Food Traceability Software provides an all-in-one solution that helps automate processes and provides functionality for:

Traceability – lot tracking
Fully integrated inventory management
Landed cost tracking – freight costs, duties, brokerage, etc.
Warehouse management – track shipping, container lookup, etc.
Accounting and financials

 Lot Tracking

Blue Link food traceability software allows customers to track items that require a lot number. Lot allocation enables the tracking of expiry and best before dates and the management of recalls. Blue Link’s software also shows lot history, such as current stock levels, storing and selling locations, and more. Lot tracking is a method of following the history of a product, from the receipt of purchase up until its sale. It also allows tracking variances of costs from one purchase to another.

Selling an Item that Requires Lot Tracking

When a user creates a sales order that requires lot tracking, the person must also allocate lots to the product on the order either manually or automatically. Once packed and ready to ship, the user can allocate the items into specific containers. Blue Link food traceability software supports multiple units of measures (UOMs) and barcode scanning. Users can scan or manually pick items to allocate quantities to containers. Once completed, the sales order is ready to be shipped.

Purchasing an Item that Requires Lot Tracking

Users can allocate lot numbers to a purchase order either when it is created or received. They can then assign and allocate internal or external lot numbers. Users will process the order once they have entered the required information.

Blue Link food traceability software offers a variety of flexible tools to efficiently manage inventory, track orders, manage multiple warehouse locations, integrate mobile handheld picking and barcode scanning, and more. Blue Link manages and automates business processes across your entire company and helps achieve and sustain FDA/ISO/CFIA compliance.

As the World Health Organization (WHO) emphasizes in their article on food safety, “Food supply chains now cross multiple national borders. Good collaboration between governments, producers and consumers helps ensure food safety” (2019).

Guest Post by Romane Ng Yung Kiat

 

 

 

 

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Blue Link Food Traceability Software Named to Food Logistics’ 2019 FL100+ Top Software and Technology Providers 

VAUGHAN, Ontario – December 17, 2019 — Food Logistics, the only publication exclusively dedicated to covering the movement of product through the global food supply chain, has named Blue Link to its 2019 FL100+ Top Software and Technology Providers list.

The annual FL100+ Top Software and Technology Providers serves as a resource guide of software and technology providers whose products and services are critical for companies in the global food and beverage supply chain.

“Whether you’re using sensors to monitor critical temperatures for perishables or a WMS to manage inventory flows in your warehouse, software and technology are playing a vital role in the food and beverage industry,” remarks John R. Yuva, editor for Food Logistics and its sister publication, Supply & Demand Chain Executive. “The transparency and safety of the digital global food supply chain would not exist without innovations in software and technology. Our FL100+ recipients help drive supply chain compliance and regulatory changes that benefit ev0eryone from the farmer to the food processor to the consumer.”

Companies on this year’s 2019 FL100+ Top Software and Technology Providers list will be profiled in the November/December 2019 issue of Food Logistics, as well as online at www.foodlogistics.com.

About Food Logistics

Food Logistics is published by AC Business Media, a business-to-business media company that provides targeted content and comprehensive, integrated advertising and promotion opportunities for some of the world’s most recognized B2B brands. Its diverse portfolio serves the construction, logistics, supply chain and other industries with print, digital and custom products, events and social media.

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4 Tasks You Should be Automating with Wholesale Distribution Software

One of the main benefits, if not the main benefit, of wholesale distribution software, is the ability to automate processes, reducing manual work and decreasing costs. Moving from accounting software, Excel spreadsheets or multiple, standalone solutions to an all-in-one system is the first step in increasing efficiencies across your entire business operation. Moving from introductory software to a more robust solution requires a lot of resources, but once you’re familiar and comfortable using the new solution, there are many creative ways in which you can automate processes across all business departments. There are also a couple of obvious areas where you can automate processes from the get-go to immediately see positive results.

Accounts Receivable 

Accounts receivable turnover is the number of times that your company collects its average accounts receivable per year. This is important as it indicates how well you’re able to issue credit to customers and how quickly you can collect funds which directly relates to your cash flow. Automating the process of accounts receivable reduces the amount of admin time it takes to collect from customers and helps to increase cash flow and your turnover ratio. With wholesale distribution software, you can automate the accounts receivable process by setting criteria in the system based on a customer’s account. If a customer meets those criteria, the system will automatically email the customer information about their overdue account, providing details on how to submit payment. This saves your team from hours of manual work reviewing accounts and notifying customers.

eCommerce 

If you’re not automating the process of managing website orders, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to save costs and reach more customers. Website automation starts with integration between your existing websites and back-end wholesale distribution software. For wholesale businesses, this can include integration with a B2B online order portal, integration with a customer-facing B2C store, integration with vendor portals, and/or integration with marketplaces such as Amazon. With real-time bi-directional integration, when a customer places an order online, it automatically creates a sales order in your wholesale distribution solution for picking, packing and shipping. It also automatically updates inventory levels across systems. When you receive new inventory items into your warehouse and wholesale distribution software, the information automatically publishes online so that customers can see available inventory in real-time. eCommerce integration allows you to automate various aspects of the online order process and eliminates the need to hire additional people for data entry when order volume increases.

Shipping

Automating the shipping process with wholesale distribution software gives you the ability to update an account, create an invoice or another report, email a customer, and print documents all with the change of a status or other pre-determined action. This means that once you have finished packing boxes for an order, you can change the status to “shipped” and your wholesale distribution software will automatically print a packing slip as well as any box labels and email the customer with the invoice and tracking information. There are various other ways to automate the shipping process depending on your specific warehouse layout, and method for picking, packing and shipping. 

Reporting

Without a regular review of business metrics, it is impossible to know how your company is performing and even harder to identify new opportunities or threats. Automating the reporting process is a simple task that can have significant impacts. Not only can you automatically email reports to appropriate stakeholders regularly, you can also email exception reports showing anomalies in the system. This means that when something out of the ordinary happens, the right people will be notified immediately to address the situation, instead of waiting to spot issues during quarterly or year-end reviews.

 

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