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It’s been a long time since I’ve found something this cool in Microsoft PowerPoint, so I had to share!  Motion paths for animating objects in PowerPoint.

Here’s the scenario:

My manager came to me one morning with this slide and said: “I need ‘Member 1’ to be grouped and animated with 4 random ‘Subs’ and placed at either Table 1, 2, 3, or 4. I also need that repeated with each ‘Member’ with one click.”  What?  Can that be done in PowerPoint?  You bet, with motion paths.

Here’s how:
  1. The first step is to make sure all your SmartArt or objects are ungrouped.

Note: if using SmartArt, you will have to click ungroup 2 times to allow for each object to move freely on the slide.

  1. Next, hold the SHIFT key and select Member 1, and 4 random sub boxes.
  2. Now, move to the ANIMATION tab (green arrow) on the ribbon menu, and click on the arrow button down (blue arrow) to expand the animation options.
  1. Once the animation menu is expanded, click on “LINES” under the motion paths section.
  1. Here’s the fun part. Once you click on the motion path LINES, (or any motion path you desire) each object you have previously selected will have a red anchor (see circle on each block with black arrow pointing to it). Those red anchors will now be individually clicked and dragged to wherever you want! In our case, to each table.
  1. All you do is click and drag each of those anchors to Table 1. Then repeat the steps above for each Member, Sub and Table.

    Here’s a better screen shot, so you can see how everything looks once you add motion paths to all the objects.

Note:  I made the Member and Sub objects hide behind the table objects so the end result was only showing the 4 tables.  To do this, I selected the objects I needed to hide and used the Send Backward option in the arrange menu.

  1. Next, while still under the Animations menu, click on Animation Pane, this is where we will work to have each sequence move right after the other on one click.

First, click on the downward arrow, then click Start on Click for the first box.

Next, click on the downward arrow for each Freeform Shape after that and select Start with Previous, until you get to the next group.

For each group, you will see a number. Click on the downward arrow, then click on Start After Previous. This will allow for the next group to start animating after the previous group. Repeat all steps above for each Freeform Shapes and groups until all are formatted.

When completed your Animation Pane should look like the screen shot below. Next click on Play All to view your animation.

Watch this video to learn how to set up motion paths and see the animation in affect.  I hope you find this tip helpful. For more Office Productivity Tips & Tricks, subscribe to the Crestwood Blog.

The post Cool Animations in PowerPoint Using Motion Paths appeared first on Crestwood Associates.

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You’ve likely heard the phrase, “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” For product-based businesses, whose customers rely on an efficient supply chain that connects source to end user, a stockout harms everyone—often in more ways than you’d think. Ultimately creating a ripple effect, someone has to pay to rectify it.

How Much do Lost Sales Cost You?

When you think of lost sales, it seems simple: revenue you would otherwise have. However, it goes much deeper than that. From increased inventory costs for products that could replace the missed sale to damaged reputation, every missed sale as a result of an out-of-stock item starts to add up.

Direct Costs of Lost Sales from Out-of-Stock Items

Pertaining to the lost income and the increased expenses associated with an inventory shortage, stockout costs are calculated in two ways—sales-related and internal process-related.

  • Sales-related: When a customer wants to place an order and there is no inventory available to sell to the customer, the company loses the gross margin related to the sale.
  • Internal process-related: When a company needs inventory for a production run and the inventory is not available, it must incur costs to acquire the needed inventory on short notice. Say your customer needs an item as soon as possible. As you won’t charge a customer more for your own mistake, this also requires you to cut into your own profits to save face. For manufacturers, this could mean overtime and production adjustments, which in turn could take away from a different product and create a ripple effect. For distributors, this could mean the payment of a rush fee and delivery fee.

While the idea of direct costs may seem straightforward, lost sales rarely appear on the income statement and rush costs/additional labor often get buried in the Cost of Goods Sold report.

Indirect Costs of Lost Sales from Out-of-Stock Items

Of course, in addition to lost revenue, lost sales due to out-of-stock (OOS) items create a ripple effect, harming everything from the happiness of your staff to your reputation with both customers and suppliers. Among the many indirect costs associated with OOS:

  • Grievance Handling: If you are out of an item, it’s not just a lost sale. It’s time spent by your sales team either trying to rectify the situation, either reaching out to distributors to find the item or working to salvage the relationship.
  • Damage to Reputation with Your Supplier: Consistency is key, and your out-of-stock item creates a ripple effect throughout the supply chain. An OOS results in irregular ordering patterns on your behalf, resulting in your supplier needing to make up for the inconsistency, damaging your reputation.
  • Higher Costs in the LongTerm: Your OOS means that your supplier will need to face an unexpected change, throwing off their production scheduling and creating inefficiencies. Those costs get passed back to you.
  • Damage to Reputation with Customers: Word travels fast, and if you can’t provide, customers talk. Especially in an age where Amazon is entering the B2B world, relationships are no longer as tight as they once were. If you start to gain a reputation for your failures, more and more customers may begin to consider your competitors.

The potential for loss is huge, and these four only scratch the surface of the risks. Hoarding at retailers, lost sales for your clients, or even a complete severance of business if a retailer decides to stop selling the product.

For today’s product-based business, as fast-paced and data driven as it is, customers will shop, and if you can’t provide what they need when they need it, they will head to a competitor. However, there is a way to address this—know how to stop the leak.

Your ability to keep a customer requires you to have product information available with a few clicks. Any time spent emailing the warehouse for a substitution is time your customer could be spending talking to your suppliers. However, at Crestwood, we developed a solution that lets you find replacements (and upselling opportunities) directly from the sales order window in Acumatica.

Inventory Substitutions: An Acumatica Add-On from Crestwood

If you are tired of losing out on sales because you had to spend hours waiting for a response on possible alternatives for a customer request or if you feel there might be a better way to recommend products that complement a product, there is. Crestwood Inventory Substitutions is an add-on for Acumatica designed to help sales staff find replacement or complementing items within your inventory, allowing you to avoid losing or even increase your sales through upselling and cross-selling items you have.

Setup is easy—simply define which items make for acceptable substitutes or companion items—and the Inventory Substitutions add-on starts working for you. Leveraging Acumatica’s already-powerful advanced inventory and warehouse management functionality, Inventory Substitutions completes the cycle, delivering this functionality to the sales order screen.

If a product is out of stock, not a problem—your staff has access to replacement items. If someone is about to close a deal, they are provided information on potential add-on items that could improve the customer experience and ultimately drive more sales.

Ready to learn more about this solution? Watch the video below and click here to read about the benefits.

Inventory Substitutions & Upsell [Acumatica Add-On Product] - YouTube

The post What are the Dangers of Losing Sales from Stockouts? appeared first on Crestwood Associates.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2019 at 11:00 AM to Noon (CST) Register Here!

Join Juliet from Crestwood and learn how to use SmartList Designer. During this hour-long webinar, she will teach you:

  • Quick overview of SmartLists Desinger
  • Setting up a new report
  • Modifying your reports
  • Sharing your reports
  • and much more! Join us!

Save your spot and register today! 

The post Webinar: SmartList Designer 101 – Your Reporting Weapon appeared first on Crestwood Associates.

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Thursday, July 18, 2019 at 11:00 AM – Noon (CST) Register Here!

As a follow-up to last month’s “Intro to Acumatica Manufacturing,” Tom Bardwil presents the optional modules for Manufacturing! We’ll look at:

  • The Forecasting module again (lots of interest in this one!)
  • Product Configurator
  • Estimating
  • Material Requirements Planning (MRP)
  • Engineering Change Control (a new feature from the latest release!)

Acumatica ERP software for the manufacturing industry integrates seamlessly with financial and CRM modules to effectively support all major business areas. Customize the industry’s best software for your manufacturing plant’s unique needs. Join us to see how!

Join us to learn more! Save your spot and register today!

The post Webinar: Optional Modules – Acumatica Manufacturing Edition appeared first on Crestwood Associates.

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Microsoft Dynamics GP has been a mainstay in the ERP community. Designed for small and mid-sized businesses who want a reliable and well-vetted solution, GP has evolved and grown to be one of the most trusted ERP vendors for this market. However, no matter how consistent this solution is, no matter how powerful, there are certain areas where it could be improved or better customized for your unique needs.

At Crestwood, we have worked with GP for years, and would like to today share some of the areas we have found that the product could be improved, whether through an upgrade, an add-on, or a helpful tip we have come across over the years.

Challenge 1: We Archive, but Dynamics GP is Running Slow

Even if you archive your GP data with Professional Advantage’s Company Data Archive, you still may run into the slowdowns. A common issue for companies using Analytical Accounting (AA) with Dynamics GP, even if you do archive, your databases might still be growing, ultimately resulting in decreased productivity and performance.

Many customers neglect data management, only handling it on a repair and maintain basis, with no data archiving or purging. As a result, their databases grow exponentially over the years. They don’t realize that database archiving and purging is a critical task that can greatly improve daily performance, and avoid data corruption and system crashes.

Solution: Company Data Archive Plus for Dynamics GP

If you are archiving your GP data, you probably want to include your Analytical Accounting data as well. Our Analytical Accounting extension to Professional Advantage’s Company Data Archive (CDA) tool will archive your AA data along with your GP data. Without our tool, your AA data will be left behind and will not be accessible in the archive.

Get to know more about Company Data Archive Plus from Crestwood here.

Challenge 2: We Don’t Want to Give Every User Full Access to Every Field

For many organizations, security is a top priority. While external controls are a necessity, you need to address internal security controls as well. Not every user needs access to every part of your solution, and as an administrator, you have many options to implement these controls. In GP, the easiest first step is to implement screen-based security options. But did you know you can take this even further?

Solution: Use Field Level Security

GP is designed for user control, but much of these user- and role-based security options are screen based. But did you know that you can take even more control, down to the field level?

Dynamics GP Field Level Security allows you to control user access and edit abilities at a field level in Dynamics GP windows. Our Field Value Security software monitors the system to prevent the use and display of checkbook IDs on any window and report for any module in the system. Users will only see those checkbooks to which they have been assigned access.

By implementing Dynamics GP Field Level Security, you can control individual fields with a simple click. You can set up Field Level security right within the Dynamics user interface.

Learn more about Crestwood’s Field Level Security for GP here.

Challenge 3: We’re Nearing the End of Mainstream Support for GP 2015/Extended Support for GP 2010

As a solution for specifically-sized organizations, many may use GP for the entirety of (or even beyond) life of the licensing and support. While some businesses can operate under extended support, it becomes incredibly complicated to complete year-end closing — especially without payroll and tax updates. Go back even further, and continued use means you are increasing risk of data loss or corruption (as well as server failure).

At Crestwood, we recommend staying no more than two years behind the latest version and the longer you stick with a product, the greater the risk your hardware or software falters.

Solution: Upgrading or Replacing Your GP Solution

With the end of mainstream support for GP 2015 rapidly approaching and 2016’s mainstream support window ending just a year later, it might be time to upgrade or replace your solution. Added to this, the Extended Support schedule for GP 2010 ends next year as well, meaning that many companies could be left without critical updates and patches.

Upgrading to GP 2018 R2

The latest edition of Dynamics GP brought a wide range of much needed improvements to the software. Whether those are features requested by users or Microsoft’s enhancements to make the product competitive in the ERP market, GP 2018 R2 was released last year and makes the product more intelligent and easier to use. Get to know more about things you should consider before making the upgrade and learn how a GP upgrade works here.

Replacing Dynamics GP

Of course, you may feel that it’s time to part ways with your GP solution. Whether you are looking for a true cloud solution, something that can facilitate your next level of growth, or are just looking for something different, it’s vital to work with a partner who has worked with companies like yours. At Crestwood, we recommend Acumatica as an alternative to GP, and even though we will continue to support the GP product, if you are in the market for a change, we can help you.

Challenge 4: Our Partner No Longer Supports GP

As the ERP market has evolved, the partner landscape has changed alongside it. Sadly, for some customers, it also means that their partners have either moved away from or put Dynamics GP (and the companies using it) on the back burner. However, GP is still alive and kicking, and the 2018 update brought much needed improvements to the software.

For many customers—especially those who have worked with smaller Dynamics GP partners in the past—when a company adds new vendors, they no longer have the time or manpower to support their current users, making it harder and harder to get the support you need.

Solution: Support and Services from Crestwood

If you feel like you’ve lost the loving feeling from your ERP partner or they no longer have the skills or people to handle your needs, Crestwood can help.

We still have the size, scope, and focus to support your use of Dynamics GP, and our highly skilled staff can deliver. Whether you need someone who can integrate your GP solution with other applications, you need a support partner who can deliver continued assistance where your current partner can’t or are looking for someone to help you complete an upgrade or update, we’re here to help.

Additional FAQs and Tutorials

Throughout the years, we have written a variety of articles on improving the customer experience with GP, and invite you to read some of these here:

At Crestwood, we have helped companies like yours to realize the full value of their GP solution, and even though many VARs are leaving the product, we are proud to continue delivering this solution for our clients. Get to know more about our work and contact us for a free consultation’.

The post 4 Dynamics GP Challenges and How to Address Them appeared first on Crestwood Associates.

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Are you interested in Power BI?  Maybe you’re wondering what it can do for your business and Dynamics GP data?

We recommend starting with this Microsoft self-paced, hands-on learning tutorial, “Explore what Power BI can do for you.”  You will learn:

  • Understand Power BI service basic concepts and terminology.
  • Find your content in dashboards, reports, and apps.
  • View and export data from dashboards and reports.
  • View filters that are used in a report.
  • Explain the relationship between dashboards and reports, visualizations, and tiles.
  • Display action menus for tiles and details for report visualizations.
  • Collapse and expand the nav pane and the Filters and Bookmarks panes.
  • Subscribe to a dashboard and report.
  • Set a data alert.
  • Collaborate by using dashboard commenting.

Need help?  Crestwood has Power BI experts in-house.  We can help bring your data to life and grow your business, contact us today!

The post Learn Power BI the Easy Way appeared first on Crestwood Associates.

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We ran into an issue recently where client would receive the following error when logging into Microsoft Dynamics GP even though licenses are available: 

“The maximum number of users are logged into the system.” 

Clicking OK closes Dynamics GP.  What is also strange is that the “Users Allowed” and “Current Users” fields both show 0.  

When logging in with SA, there are no issues and the correct number of Users Allowed is displayed, as well as the correct number of users currently logged in: 

How to Solve the Error 

This turned out to be a very simple issue.  The user logging in was assigned the “Limited” User Type, and the client did not own any licenses for limited users: 

Licenses Owned: 

  • Full User                   7
  • Limited User            0
  • Self Serve User     21
  • Platform: Intel
  • Operating system: Windows, Win
  • Database: SQL

The client had recently made some licensing changes to GP and overlooked the fact that one or more users were assigned this User Type. 

Our team loves this type of detective work. Subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss the next hot tip for Dynamics GP! 

The post “Maximum Number of Users” Error in Dynamics GP  appeared first on Crestwood Associates.

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Microsoft Office 365 provides so much more than just the ability to access Microsoft Office suite (Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, Excel, etc.) from any device.  One important feature (that I learned about the hard way) is the ability to restore deleted files with OneDrive version control. 

What is OneDrive?

When I first started with Crestwood, I didn’t understand OneDrive, the cloud storage service that is part of Office 365.  I found the navigation slightly less familiar than storing my files locally, so I stayed with what I knew. I’d drag all my files to OneDrive once in awhile when I remembered, but eventually I got out of the habit.  

Then I lost a year’s worth of files when my laptop accidentally hit the floor.   

After a month of anxiety and inability to access my current projects, there were two silver linings: the hard drive manufacturer was able to restore all my data. AND I learned to start using OneDrive every day.   

OneDrive is just like your local hard drive, except it is synced both locally and in the cloud.  You can access files offline and they are synched when you reconnect.  You can access all your files from any device.  Plus, you can share files and folders easily with other people, work on the same Office document at the same time, even share files or folders with someone without a OneDrive account.  (To do this, just right-click any folder or file from OneDrive through Office.com and click the “Share a OneDrive Link” option.  To remove access, click “More OneDrive Sharing Options,” manage access, and click the button to remove the link.) 

Fear of losing all my data again got me started using OneDrive religiously, but when I made another snafu that OneDrive solved, I became a fanatic. One day, I was updating an old file and I saved over the original by accident. I panicked, because I should have been using a template and took a shortcut.  (I’m a troublemaker, clearly.) 

OneDrive Version Control Saves the Day 

Version control gives you lots of previous file versions to choose from, any time, so you have an extra layer of protection that you can access without the help of your IT folks. Here’s how it works: 

  1. Go to Office.com and choose OneDrive
  2. Navigate to your file.
  3. Choose the three dots next to the file you want and select “Version history.”

  4. Pick the version that you want and then save it back to your local OneDrive on top of your current version.  All fixed!

Click here for detailed instructions from Microsoft which alerted me to the fact that you can even restore deleted files!  

Needing to restore one file gets you out of a small jam, but it can also make life easier in much bigger ways.  With everything you need on OneDrive, switching workstations is a breeze.  And with frightening new malware and ransomware threats crippling businesses, you can even restore ALL your files from a point in time, just by choosing “Settings” and then “Restore OneDrive.” For even more information about backups and security in the cloud, visit this page.  

The post Restore Deleted or Missing Files with OneDrive Version Control  appeared first on Crestwood Associates.

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Distribution is a complicated business. Ensuring products flow properly, people work effectively, and cash moves smoothly is a necessity, but too often, processes get gummed up and technology becomes more of a hinderance than a help. This is especially true if you are relying on outdated or undersized technology for the job at hand.

Unfortunately, the path to upgrading or replacing business management software for the distribution business is rarely as straightforward as you may hope, with dozens of options available and each vendor going out of their way to say why theirs is “the best.” No one wants to admit weakness in this industry, and unfortunately, some vendors and resellers care more about sales than they care about developing relationships.

There are few trends that point to this more than the rise of ‘fake cloud’ distribution software.

What is Fake Cloud Distribution Software and Why is it Such a Big Deal?

Something that has been trending for the past few years has been the “fake cloud,” a term used to define legacy software modified slightly and hosted in a data center. While technically a cloud software, these products were never designed to be delivered and used in the same way that a real cloud solution would be.

How Fake Cloud Software Came to Be

Fake cloud distribution software came as a result of shortsightedness. Look back a decade or so to the rise of and realization of the cloud as a viable way to deliver software. While many were still skeptical of the cloud as an enterprise-ready product, built-in-the-cloud vendors were building, securing, and refining their products, playing the long game and readying themselves for a cloud-first world. About seven years ago, the market began to shift and legacy vendors were left trying to catch up.

With true cloud vendors ready for the new reality, legacy software providers were not. This meant that in order to compete in this new reality, the old guard would need to discover how to offer “cloud” software. Unfortunately, they were already behind the learning curve and their attempts at creating such a product were flawed—often just their old products offered through an adapter software.

The Problems with the Fake Cloud

Think of your current product—the challenges, lack of integration, poor user experience, and custom coding to get basic reporting. It’s a hassle, right? Now, add to this an additional layer of complexity to access your product, a specialized software needed to access your distribution management platform. This is the essence of the fake cloud, and this is why you can’t afford to fall into a fake cloud trap.

For many businesses, this trap could cost them the visibility, user-friendliness, and integration they need. Among the common warning signs:

  • Some require specialized software for access, so the system has limited availability.
  • The user interface cannot be personalized by each user. It requires the assistance of a trained programmer.
  • The legacy solutions were written in tools and techniques that are not relevant today, and the expertise to modify them is becoming scarcer and more expensive.
  • Legacy ERP software may use proprietary tools to integrate third-party applications, making it difficult to communicate with other applications.
  • The systems often lack technology tools such as virtualization and load balancing to provide scalability. This restricts system performance.
Learn More: True Cloud vs. Fake Cloud: A Guide for the Distribution Industry

If you’re looking to get the real benefits that exist in the cloud, you need to know what to look out for. At Crestwood, we have helped companies like yours to discover what works for their business, understand the difference between true and fake cloud, and ultimately choose and use the right solution for them. If you are looking to understand the differences and leverage the technology that works for you. We invite you to download the free guide titled True Cloud vs. Fake Cloud: How Companies Can Tell the Difference in Distribution.

In “True Cloud vs. Fake Cloud: How Companies Can Tell the Difference in Distribution,” you’ll find out:

  • Three reasons mobile devices alone can’t meet the need for real-time information.
  • Four ways the cloud can enhance productivity for distribution companies.
  • Five reasons legacy applications don’t play well with the internet.
  • Eight ways to identify true cloud software for distributors.
  • Where to see true cloud software in action.

Ready to learn more? Explore our work and contact us for a free consultation.

The post Warning Signs You Might be Working with Fake Cloud Distribution Software appeared first on Crestwood Associates.

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Big News…this morning, Acumatica announced they have been acquired by EQT, a global private equity firm that also manages IFS, an enterprise ERP product well-known in Europe.

This will give Acumatica a very significant step towards globalization of their systems, specifically to address regulatory and lingual support.  At Crestwood, we see this as a positive and surely something that was expected to occur at some point.

This is good news and we are assured, there are no changes for our clients.  It’s business as usual and we are looking forward to the increased development of Acumatica through the acquisition.  If you have any further questions, feel free to reach out to your Crestwood Account Manager.

Learn More Here:

Press Release – EQT acquires Acumatica 

IFS and Acumatica to Form Global Cloud ERP Powerhouse under EQT Ownership

The post Acumatica Joins IFS Under EQT Ownership appeared first on Crestwood Associates.

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