ECommerce with SIMMS StoreFront

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With SIMMS, you can interface to the most advanced ASP.NET shopping cart software on the planet.

SIMMS StoreFront offers secure, feature-rich e-commerce shopping cart solutions for multi-channel online sales, featuring integration with leading Accounting, Point of Sale, and Fulfillment systems like SIMMS Software. And we offer the professional services to help setup, customize, operate, and market your online store. Whether you’re a small merchant just getting started or a high-volume seller looking to streamline and upgrade your online operations, SIMMS StoreFront has an e-commerce solution to meet your needs.

SIMMS Inventory Management ERP system integration enables a seamless link between online shopping carts and offline processes. SIMMS StoreFront e-commerce platform solution integrating our new SIMMS StoreFront shopping cart platform with SIMMS Inventory Management and Accounting Software as well as CRMUnleashed systems. These new offerings enable online merchants to integrate many of their important offline systems with their online operations, streamlining the processes and reducing the costs associated with growing their online sales channels.

Analysts have recently noted that in order to be successful online, retailers must replace existing disconnected shopping cart software with new e-commerce platforms that integrate seamlessly with other critical back office systems. By offering integrations that allow merchants to synchronize their online and offline processes, including order details, inventory, product and customer information, SIMMS StoreFront is leading the market in addressing this demand.

Give SIMMS 2016 a free try today here: http://simmssoftware.com/inventory-software/Download-Trial.aspx

Email is Over-used These Days

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We fire up our mail program and suddenly are inundated by an Inbox chock-full of what is basically rubbish. A recent podcast from The Economist about wikis concludes that as a professional culture we use email for something for which it was not designed. Roughly 30% of employees’ emails are spam. Not the Viagra kind of spam, but what is called “occupational” spam: emails from colleagues or new and existing companies fishing for our business.

How did email go from being a model of efficiency to something that bottlenecks our inboxes, overwhelming us with volume, and ending up stalling our productivity?

Email got its start as asynchronous communication – talking to people not online at the same time as we are. But even now that we’re more connected than ever, we continue to employ email in the same way.

Analysts recommend we use either the phone or instant messaging for the people who are around at the same time as us. For those who are not, halt! Don’t send that Word document via email; use a wiki instead.

Ask yourself: do we need a written and timed record when we ask for information or provide materials? If either qualification is unnecessary, then use a more rapid (and disposable) form of communication.

SIMMS Used by Its Own Creators

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One of the things we all should consider is when someone is about to invest in a new software package, does the company that makes it and sells it actually USE it themselves? Every amendment, improvement and new feature added to SIMMS 2016 has been designed and tested by the very people who wanted it to exist. Such reliable navigation is to be expected because accurately tracking your time down to the minute, managing your stock and processing your payments – both incoming and outgoing – were initially crucial activities to our company and, thus, became a part of SIMMS 2016 so that they can remain reliable for you.

Here it is twenty years after we began and the waters are still just fine. And what’s more important, both our company and our clients are still here. It’s what we hoped for, of course, but mostly it’s what we planned for: our company and our clients’ companies all still afloat, bigger and better than ever.

It’s amazing what sound tools and dedicated work can achieve.

Give SIMMS 2016 a try today with a free trial!

https://freshvu2go.com/free-trial/?plan=trial

The Need for Preventative Maintenance

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We’ve all heard of distressing work accidents, whether it’s a sixteen wheeler that lost control on the road, or a piece of equipment that stopped working and caused downtime in production.

Following preventive maintenance practices is essential to the care and monitoring of equipment, vehicles and buildings, as well as following industry standards. Preventive maintenance is also important when it comes to extending the life of equipment, vehicles and buildings.

Preventive maintenance just makes good business sense when you want to avoid premature failures, unnecessary production loss and safety violations.

Best practices in preventive maintenance consists of evaluating equipment, vehicles and facilities through activities such as performing tests, reading measurements, replacing parts, making necessary adjustments and performing repairs on a regular basis.

Preventive maintenance includes pre-planned scheduling of inspections, recurring service and maintenance performed by trained employees and agents that are familiar with the proper use of tools and instruments. It applies to every item separately according to manufacturer’s recommendations or industry regulated standards.

Different kinds of preventive maintenance include:

  • Mechanical repairs
  • Road repairs
  • Facility repairs
  • Ground repairs
  • Vehicle repairs
  • Equipment repairs

Planning Your Maintenance Schedule
The first step is to list your equipment and assign the proper identification codes and numbers to help with tracking and scheduling. Don’t forget to indicate the health status and depreciation value of items. Schedule downtime for each asset that is essential to your overall preventive maintenance goals. Better to plan your downtime, rather than have an unexpected surprise. Also, create procedures in the workplace that allows operators and workers to identify issues that may not be a high priority, but needs to be addressed. And finally, schedule routine inspections to ensure repairs, replacements and minor adjustments have been completed to industry standards.

Prioritize Maintenance
Once you’ve addressed procedures, prioritize preventive maintenance in the workplace. Not only does this make planning for the availability of inventory parts used in repairs easier, it also distributes your costs more evenly and ensures workplace safety. You want to avoid a complete system shutdown due to problems and hazards. Set aside time in your day for a quick evaluation of scheduled maintenance and repairs. Prioritize preventive maintenance by scheduling recurring maintenance and using past work-order records to assess the performance and depreciation of your assets.

Train Your Team
Train your maintenance team in correct service and repair procedures, corresponding to industry standards. It is crucial to your success and it’s the best way to make sure that they learn the right way to perform maintenance and repairs. Make sure everyone is competent in using tools and instruments. Also, safeguard against accidents by properly training and providing access to safety equipment, such as Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), as well as gloves, vests, safety hats, ear and sight protection, when necessary.

Put Your Plan into Practice
Once you’ve identified your list of items that need regular preventive maintenance and you’ve set up a routine for each shift to follow, you’ll want to go through each of your inventoried items and determine the tasks to put into action for each item. Starting with inspections to identify, isolate and test assets, to regular servicing and repairs so the item can be restored to its operational condition, or preserved through regular maintenance. Developing a preventive maintenance list of tasks to do, when they need to be done and the frequency needed to perform those tasks, is a good start. Following up with details such as the assigned worker that will perform the tasks, completes a paper trail that functions as an audit trail and documentation to ensure certification. Your operators, drivers and agents are your first line of defense against unexpected breakdowns and repairs.

The Tool Crib: SIMMS’ Great New Feature

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SIMMS 2017’s Tool Crib provides a powerful equipment and tool management system that allows organizations in any industry to gain control of their tools, equipment or even firearms inventory. SIMMS helps companies of all sizes maximize equipment and tool utilization and improve productivity by ensuring the right tool is in the right place when it is needed.

Using a comprehensive tool, location, serial number and employee database, coupled with a simple and accurate bar-code based transaction system, SIMMS’ Tool Crib tracks the issue and return of assets to employees and contractors, and the transfer of assets between various warehouse, job-site and tool room locations (even if you employ fleet vehicles as locations).

By using SIMMS’ Tool Crib, site managers will have accurate, up-to-date inventories of their tools and equipment, which could significantly reduce the volume of tools and equipment that get lost, hoarded or removed from the work site. You can easily manage your equipment and tool inventory using scanner and bar code technology, enabling workers to quickly get and return the tools they require with or without a tool crib attendant while keeping the employee accountable for them.

Workers simply scan their ID Card badges to start the process and then scan the item bar-code and/or item serial number of the item(s) they are utilizing, then the workers confirm that the list matches their inventory and then choose whether they are checking out or returning inventory. Each and every time that item is checked out or checked in the transactions are recorded in your system, time-stamped, attributed to the user allowing you to see who performed the transactions and why.

SIMMS’ Tool Crib is the module you need to achieve complete control over your tools and equipment. Give it a free trial today: http://simmssoftware.com/inventory-software/Download-Trial.aspx

KCSI’s Software Development

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KCSI combines technical excellence and business consulting experience to create technology solutions that achieve challenging business goals. Our clients benefit from our ability to bridge the gap between business vision and real-world technology implementation.

Contact our business development team to learn more about our results-driven custom technology solutions.

Our custom application solution expertise spans the following areas:

  • Database Design & Development – Our database design and development team has broad and deep experience with all of the major database technologies: MySQL, SQL Server, Analysis Server, LINQ and ORM. In addition, our team is well-versed in OLAP and cloud storage solutions.
  • Microsoft .Net Development – The Microsoft .NET Platform is the software development framework for Microsoft Windows operating systems, that allows for custom application development for many business functions or proprietary software.
  • Mobile Application Development – Due to a convergence of factors including a multitude of hardware devices, reduction in price and performance improvements, mobile devices are now a viable application platform. We have extensive experience with application development across a wide variety of mobile platforms and in developing Enterprise Mobile Applications for clients. We have developed applications for mobile devices, including the iPhone™, iPad™, BlackBerry®, and Windows Mobile®.
  • Rich Internet Application (RIA) Development – Presenting a rich user experience on the web is virtually a must-have for companies wanting to distinguish themselves from the competition. Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) are Web apps that embody most of the characteristics of a desktop application. This means RIAs have a rich user interface and user experience – the consistency of each being controlled across operating systems. RIAs can be complex and difficult to design, develop and deploy and requires a deep understanding of the technology and the Rich Internet application framework being used.
  • Systems Integration & Custom Software Extensions – In our 18 years of experience, we have found that integrating technology systems can be one of the most frustrating technical hurdles facing many organizations. Voids existing between sophisticated applications can mean tremendous productivity loss as well as untold opportunity costs. It is also one of the hardest things to fix – causing many organizations to limp along with systems that don’t talk to each other.

KCSI has years of experience integrating not only our client’s systems, but our own systems as well. Contact our business development team today to learn how we can integrate your organization’s systems for an immediate return on investment.

7 Tips to Become More Productive

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No matter how hard we wish to deny it or change it, life is short. And each of us has so many things we want to do. Yet, there never seems to be enough time.

In fact, there is more time than most of us realize; we just waste so much of it. Here are seven tips I have observed to make more of your time. Use these for business. Use these for daily life. Or use these for any specific project you want to accomplish.

Start with a plan

The chances of ending up where you want to increase dramatically when you have a plan. A plan is simply a start point, an end point and a list of steps to take to get from start to end.

Write it down. A plan in your head is fine, but it’s like mist drifting through the air. When you write the plan down, it takes on a solid state. You are more likely to follow it. That’s why to-do lists are effective.

That does not mean the plan can’t change. Sometimes, there is a good reason to change plans:

  • you get a brainstorm
  • your situation changes
  • you find out that one of your assumptions is wrong

But altering your plan for a good reason is not the same thing as letting it change due to drift.

Prioritize

You might have 50 things to do today. You might end up doing 35 of them. But will you do the 35 most important things? Or, at the end of the day, will you have still have a few important things to do?

Do the most important things first. Make sure they get done. If you don’t, you might “waste” time on less important things and run out of time to do what you most need to do.

The bigger the project, the more important it is to prioritize. As real estate agent Anita Clark puts it:

“If you take time to prioritize up front, you will not waste many hours chasing homes that are really not right for you.”

Then do the things you tend to procrastinate on. We all have those. If you do those early on, you’ll still be motivated to do the things you like at the end of the day.

So when you write it down, group items in such a way that you can tackle them most productively.

Block out time

Do one thing at a time. Sure, we can all multitask when we need to, but we are less efficient and less productive. Saying otherwise is pure bravado.

Focus and concentration on one project at a time will make you more productive. You will end up with more hours in the day.

Marginal gains on everything

Imagine if you could make very small improvements to everything you do. For instance, what if you could reduce your commuting time by five minutes every morning? That would save you 20 hours per year.

Let’s take this one step further. Let’s suppose you use those five minutes each morning to do exercise. That’s 20 hours of exercise. How many calories have you burned?

What would be the huge benefit of changing all the plates and bowls in your house to slightly smaller ones?

What would be the huge benefit of eating lunch while you worked or while you went for a walk?

What would be the benefit of increasing your freelance fee by just 25 cents per hour?

Many small changes can make a big difference in your life.

Move

If you sit all day, don’t expect to be productive. Especially in the afternoon, you are likely to lose energy. Too much and too little exercise have a similar effect on us: they tire us out.

The key is to make sure you move every now and then. Get up from your desk. Stand at your desk sometimes, if you can. Especially try to move when you feel the ebb of energy.

Harness your afternoons

Afternoons are the toughest for many people. It’s siesta time! Energy is low. Find out what you do best when your energy is low, and what you do worst.

For instance, I get easily distracted in afternoons. If I try to multi-task too much, I end up getting lost in social media and reading the Huffington Post. I do much better working on large writing projects in the afternoon.

Save for the afternoon those things that low energy effects the least. Here is the “ideal” daily schedule.

Keep track of your progress.

What you can’t measure, you can’t change. As long as progress is positive, keep going. When it stalls, look for more ways to become productive or revisit the steps above. Make whatever changes you need to keep growing more productive, or to avoid becoming less productive. Make sure you are moving toward your goals.

It’s your life. It’s your time. You can use it or waste it. You can do as much or as little with it as you wish. These seven tips are not the only ways to become more productive, but they should work for you if you apply them to your situation.

Or you could keep wasting time, but waste it more productively.

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Get Organized and Get Busy!

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I have been involved with small and solo businesses for most of my working career, and one thing I have learned is that focusing on survival is a necessity. And just like a bunch of frightened passengers tossed into a lifeboat from a sinking yacht, getting clarity on what each person should be focused on doing in a small business can be very difficult, but it is essential. Someone should be bailing, while another should be fishing, and a third should be on the lookout for boats on the horizon. Everybody looking for boats — and no one bailing — is a recipe for disaster.

This existential aspect of business execution is perhaps the key reason that few individuals survive as soloists. It is difficult to determine what is the most important thing to do next and then to execute on that, even if the task is outside your comfort zone. If the next most critical thing is to find more clients, those that are introverts will shy away. If the next thing is collecting payables, those that find discussing money difficult will defer that phone call. If the next thing is writing a long marketing piece, those that are more sociable will find an excuse to linger with a client rather than face a blank white page.

I have often characterized life as an entrepreneur as being something like jumping headfirst down an empty elevator shaft. A seriously life-threatening undertaking.

And how to pick out those entrepreneurs that are likely to survive? Just wait a short period of time, and you won’t have to guess: survivors survive. They calm their fears, make a short list of the absolutely essential things to do, and then do them.

So, we should face each day as if we are being stalked by saber-toothed tigers, cast away on an Antarctic ice floe, or lost in the Sahara. Make that list — and it should be less than three things! — and then start with number one.

KCSI and Custom Software

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Integration is the goal for all businesses seeking to use technology as an ever-increasing tool for business success. KCSI’s custom integration help your separate applications share data with each other with complete compatibility.

Some integration we have mastered:

– Customer contacts with property management system (PMS)

– Customer relationship management (CRM) with websites

– E-commerce platforms with accounting software

– E-mail applications with CRM

If you’re after web applications, they can always be customized to suit the specifics you’re seeking to fill. KCSI defines the precise functionalities currently missing from your company’s software and your business goals. Following completion, KCSI remains by your side to host, maintain and support the software.

Contact KCSI today for more information on how integration can be achieved with your business: sales@kcsi.ca

Drop-Shipping with SIMMS

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Antiquated systems rarely still hold water in today’s market of international distribution and paper-thin overhead models. Sailing vessels evolved into power-driven craft able to meet tighter schedules without having to rely on the whim of favorable winds.

Similarly, businesses with huge warehouses and large shipping staffs from the days of the Buy-Hold-Ship style have evolved to the medium-capacity and small-staffed Sell-Source-Ship style. Warehouse space is transitive because many businesses are able to drop-ship materials right from manufacturers to their customers, thereby eliminating the need for expensive storage bills and sky-high payroll responsibilities.

Contact KCSI today to learn more about how you can quickly and easily manage inventory in transit between your suppliers and your customers — join the new wave of inventory management and avoid going down with the old ship.

Inventory Management Software Solutions