Perficient Blogs https://blogs.perficient.com Expert Insights Thu, 24 Sep 2020 23:29:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://i2.wp.com/blogs.perficient.com/files/favicon-194x194-1.png?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 Perficient Blogs https://blogs.perficient.com 32 32 30508587 Top 3 Reasons Why Episerver’s Spire Front-End CMS is Really, Really Cool. https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/09/25/top-3-reasons-why-episervers-spire-front-end-cms-is-really-really-cool/ https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/09/25/top-3-reasons-why-episervers-spire-front-end-cms-is-really-really-cool/#respond Fri, 25 Sep 2020 15:00:48 +0000 https://blogs.perficient.com/?p=281489 2020 has offered us some big surprises that I don’t think any of us could have predicted. The most obvious one I won’t waste breath mentioning, but the other surprise that came up near the end of 2019 as we looked to kick off a new decade was Episerver’s acquisition of Insite. With this acquisition, there have been many elements I’ve looked forward to seeing unfold, one of which is the introduction of Spire CMS to Epi’s newly created B2B Commerce Cloud platform. Here’s why.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’ve been a big practitioner of Insite for the past six years. With that, I’ve gotten to know the platform well and seen it grow quite a bit. So when Insite was acquired by Epi, I knew that this would be a move that would strengthen both companies, and well, would be “really cool.”

One of the reasons this acquisition is so “cool” is because these organizations complement each other well. Epi’s robust personalization experiences are something I’ve longed for in the B2B space, and Insite’s unique stronghold on the B2B manufacturing and distribution market will no doubt be an asset for Episerver.

Which brings me back to Spire CMS. What is Spire? Well in short, non-technical terminology, it’s a new front-end technology leveraging React. What does that mean for your business? Well, a lot. But in short, much more flexibility.

One of the largest challenges B2B organizations have is being able to leverage actionable tools that allow them to react (pun very much intended) quickly to the ever-changing landscape of B2B. During the recent Episerver Ascend conference we were able to see a preview of what exactly Spire looks like for business users, and well, it’s really, really cool. Here are some reasons why:

Improves Upgradability on the Front-End

Staying current with site release versions is always important but has been a challenge in the past. With Epi moving to Spire CMS for the B2B Commerce Cloud, this allows the front-end of sites to be upgraded with less effort and risk, keeping the organization current and in line with releases.

More Control in the Hands of Business Users

One area that the classic CMS lacked was the ability for business users to change elements of the site without a developer. Elements like font type, button color or shape, the ability to rearrange pages or create new banners with clickable elements all needed to have someone with coding experience involved prior. With Spire, the business user now has the control and flexibility to make these changes themselves, which is really, really cool.

Flexibility to React to Business Needs Quickly

COVID-19 has taught us a lot, and one specific lesson is the need to react quickly to business events. With Spire, what I’d previously had to send to a developer I can now complete myself as a business user. Need to create a new homepage banner and move it on the page to be more visible for customers? Done. Want to change font type to stand out better and let users know that products might be delayed in shipping? Done. Looking to A/B test call to action (CTA) button shape and color quickly? Done. Being able to do this as a business user without the need to leverage developers not only saves time, it allows businesses to act quickly and give customers the experiences they need.

There is a lot I’m looking forward with Episerver and Insite coming together, the implementation of Spire CMS being near the top. Many say B2B is not B2C, and I do agree with this to a point. B2B is not B2C, but B2B organizations still need the tools and technology to serve up customer experiences that B2B users require. Spire CMS allows for this, and I’m excited to see what else the chefs in the Episerver kitchen are cooking up for us as we approach Q4 and 2021.

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In Pursuit of Supply Chain Excellence: Perficient Webinar Featuring Forrester Consulting https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/09/25/in-pursuit-of-supply-chain-excellence-perficient-webinar-featuring-forrester-consulting/ https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/09/25/in-pursuit-of-supply-chain-excellence-perficient-webinar-featuring-forrester-consulting/#respond Fri, 25 Sep 2020 14:00:04 +0000 https://blogs.perficient.com/?p=281477 Ecommerce has revolutionized the way businesses in every industry operate and provides endless possibilities to expand sales channels, grow revenue, and elevate the customer experience. But with digital growth comes new complexities, and many companies are missing out on the benefits of ecommerce due to manual, rule-based order management processes.

By shifting your focus to implementing automated, intelligent order management and supply chain systems, you can achieve a global view of inventory and intelligently fulfill orders resulting in an increase in revenue, improved customer loyalty, and the ability to easily manage the challenges that come with increased product demand and complex fulfillment.

Empowered by Data, Driven by Results

To explore our supply chain data and findings and learn how to harness automation and intelligent order management in your own business, join us on October 8, 2020 at 11:00 AM CT for a webinar, How to Drive Customer Service with Intelligent Order Management. Featuring Perficient’s very own Steve Gatto and Sean Breeze, as well as guest speaker and Forrester Analyst, George Lawrie, this webinar follows our recently commissioned Forrester Consulting study, Get Supply Chain Right!: Intelligent Fulfillment Boosts Customer Service And Return On Inventory Investment.

Our speakers will review new data and discuss how to increase gross margin return on inventory investment and exceed customer expectations with automated order management systems, but that is only the beginning. In addition, you will gain knowledge of the following:

  • What dynamics exist around composing a global view of inventory (on-hand, in transit, 3rd party relationships)
  • What challenges merchants are currently facing fulfilling orders from multiple locations
  • How to plan to meet customer expectations with the most efficient allocation of inventory
  • How intelligent fulfillment can automatically balance customer lead time, transportation costs, and inventory holding costs
  • How other companies developed the case for embedding intelligence in their order management and the benefits they realized

This webinar will help you see beyond the outdated rules-based order management systems and empower your business to elevate and streamline your supply chain with the benefits of intelligent order management so you can keep up with the competition in this ever-changing world of ecommerce. Register for the webinar today.

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Insights from Microsoft Ignite 2020 on the Future of Microsoft SharePoint #MSIgnite https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/09/24/insights-from-microsoft-ignite-2020-on-the-future-of-microsoft-sharepoint-msignite/ https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/09/24/insights-from-microsoft-ignite-2020-on-the-future-of-microsoft-sharepoint-msignite/#respond Thu, 24 Sep 2020 19:16:27 +0000 https://blogs.perficient.com/?p=281486 I think a lot of folks have been wondering about the future of SharePoint.  Is it going away?  No.  That’s clear to me.  I participated in a couple of different research groups focused on understanding News and “Modern” Intranet Portals.  It seemed that Jeff Teper doubled down on SPFx and Fluid for Teams and SharePoint.  The new offline capabilities for not only native Microsoft Lists, but custom datasources was super exciting and will encourage people to move their data to SharePoint.  Looking forward to the near term multiple releases that improve the backend of our data in Microsoft 365 improving performance, structure, accessibility, compliance, reliability and robustness.  No one should feel bad that their data is in SharePoint Online.

Here are a few takeaways:

  • Go modern in your portals try to keep it out of the box for go forward easiest maintenance
  • Use Power Platform for applications for business automation and business integration where SharePoint can be used in variety of different ways, not just storage
  • Use SharePoint Framework (SPFx) if you must customize the UX, but ensure the app is built for both Teams and SP
  • Offline and low bandwidth capabilities coming to the platform for a richer experience in the browser
  • Investments in the Advanced AI with SharePoint Syntex will bring incredible insights, summarization, and allow you to get your head into any data that comes into the platform
  • Search improvements will continue to make information more easily accessible and provide insights
  • Recent improvements in metadata combined with SharePoint Syntex will add security, compliance, and structure to an unstructured environment and accelerate business process automation and improvements with a variety of structured and semi structured data
  • New intelligent storage platform improvements coming
  • Patient data compliance support with Microsoft Lists
  • Rich UX experiences with Microsoft Lists
  • A convergence of Teams and SharePoint UX experiences will continue to improve
  • Teams is the preferred UX for accessing SharePoint over time (IMO)
  • Improved Site templates, branding experiences, news targeting and portal experiences will continue to improve
  • Avoid Classic sites and features get to modern
  • Investments have been shipped for modern file experiences including mixed reality and 3D visualization investments with SharePoint spaces
  • Updated SharePoint admin center home page with actionable insights
  • Recent improvements in visibility on where sites are created from and by whom
  • Microsoft 365 has more capabilities for migration for Box
  • OneDrive and SharePoint admin center are being consolidated

No SharePoint is not going away, in fact both online and on premises were referenced in Jeff Teper’s session.  Lots of research projects in the SharePoint engineering product team on both enterprise and departmental portals and the lists and file storage side help us understand where the investments are going.  Healthcare and Education bring virtual applications and scenarios.  Just because Teams and Power Platform are getting a lot of attention shouldn’t make you think your data should be elsewhere.  It’s in the right place and major investments continue.

Missed the announcements?  Mark Kashman collected up many of the SharePoint Admin related ones in a single blog post “SharePoint Admin and Migration Ignite announcements” I wrote up a few of the “Top 10 Announcements from Ignite 2020” and the Ignite Book of News from Ignite has even more.  Refer to the Microsoft 365

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Interoperability Options To Meet CMS Final Rule https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/09/24/interoperability-options-to-meet-cms-final-rule/ https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/09/24/interoperability-options-to-meet-cms-final-rule/#respond Thu, 24 Sep 2020 19:11:25 +0000 https://blogs.perficient.com/?p=281485 The CMS Final Rule has caused a lot of debate among the interoperability team at Perficient. It’s one of the first times payer or health insurers have had to react to these types of rules. The way they treat the data and the location of all the data makes this a different ball game than what you have to follow if you were a hospital. That means that while the basic rules understanding remains the same, the solutions you consider are actually quite different.

The Ask

Earlier this year, CMS / ONC released their much anticipated “Final Rule” which mandates that payers who have anything to do with federally related plans have to do the following:

  • Patient Access API – Provide a FHIR based API that lets patients access their claims and encounter information through 3rd party applications
  • Provider Directory API – Make Provider Directory information available through a publicly available FHIR based API
  • Payer to Payer transfer – Allow members or patients to request you transfer their records to another payer

Payers that meet key criteria must make these capabilities available and must do it following open standards like FHIR, SmartIG, and OpenID.

The Challenge

While many payers already have data and integration platforms available, most are not setup to make this data publicly available. In addition, a lot of this data resides in a range of systems. Those systems also have overlapping data. Therein lies the issue. Overlapping data means you have to find it, transform it, and deduplicate that data.  It’s possible to make a real time call but the more duplicates you have and the higher the overlap of data then the more you need to do.

In other words, Just creating a FHIR API won’t allow you to meet the need

Deciding on Solutions

Most of the debate in our team is what type of architecture will meet the criteria demanded by the CMS Final Rule.  Unfortunately, no one architectural approach will work for every payer.  This allows integration platforms with FHIR support and FHIR server type solutions to enter the mix. They can even co-exist depending on your ecosystem of platforms and data sources. In order to make a decision, you need to take into account the following:

  • Where does your patient / member information reside? Is it in multiple location for claims, eye exams data, clinical data, etc.?
  • Where does your provider information reside?  is it easily accessible via an api?
  • Is there a lot of overlap of data in the various data sources?
  • Do you have a hard time pulling from the data sources and mapping it to the correct member?
  • Do you already have or will soon have an integration and API management platform.  (both can be needed)

A Few Thoughts on Possible Solutions

As noted, not everyone will have the same solution. The larger the organization and the larger the number of data sources drives you to a more complex solution set to meet the Final Rule.  I would put the solution in a few categories:

  1. For those that have few data sources like mainly just claims data, you can consider using an integration and API management vendor to front both provider and patient data and to serve up the FHIR based resources
  2. For more complex, you can consider a FHIR Server or FHIR “solution”.  This may need to be paired with the enterprise integration and API Management platform.  This approach means the following
    1. You pull all the data into one central location
    2. You perform data transformation and de-duplication on it so that patient data is correctly defined
    3. This data will not be real time. By it’s nature there will be some latency
    4. The normalized data can then be called securely by whatever is fronting your API’s
  3. A hybrid option can work if your provider data is easily accessible and already centralized
    1. API platform calls provider data and enables a FHIR API
    2. centralized patient data platform for the more complex patient data scenarios

 

The bottom line is that each organization has a variety of options.  You always have to take into account your systems and your data to create your final architecture. Just remember that FHIR is the standard and not the solution.  Most of the heavy lifting occurs behind the actual FHIR call.

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New Coveo MVP Program Honors Perficient https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/09/24/new-coveo-mvp-program-honors-perficient/ https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/09/24/new-coveo-mvp-program-honors-perficient/#respond Thu, 24 Sep 2020 14:49:18 +0000 https://blogs.perficient.com/?p=281467 Our partner Coveo recently announced its Coveo MVP (Most Valuable Professional) Program to provide formal recognition to those who have shared time, energy and thought leadership in order to contribute to their customers’ success deploying Coveo solutions. One of the 16 professionals being honored is Perficient’s Director of Intelligent Search Eric Immermann.

What Makes a Coveo MVP?

While Coveo plans to put a nomination process in place for 2021, this year the company has personally made the inductee selections.

“We will open a formal nomination process for 2021, in November,” said Marie-Michele Caron, vice president of global alliances at Coveo. “But we wanted to acknowledge those who have exemplified our vision, and who have helped bring so much value to our joint customers.”

According to Coveo, all of the 2020 inductees have demonstrated expertise across a wide range of ground-breaking advancements including: unified indexing and enterprise search; contextual relevance, cloud and content analytics, behavioral analytics, machine learning-powered relevance, intelligent recommendations, unified interaction journeys, NCU, AI semantics, and intent detection.

Additionally, the inductees were evaluated on the following six criteria to be selected into the Coveo MVP program:

  1. Platform Mastery
  2. Deployment Expertise
  3. Content Creation
  4. Thought Leadership
  5. Product Input
  6. Creative Positioning

Coveo Recognizes Perficient

We’re excited and proud to see our Director of Intelligent Search Eric Immermann included in Coveo’s inaugural group of 2020 MVPs. Immermann continually exhibits his influence and expertise in the Coveo ecosystem through his commitment to customers and our partnership and being a part of this new program is an acknowledgment of that.

Immermann is honored to be part of the program and looks forward to continuing to bring value to our customers.

“I’m honored to be named as an honorary Coveo 2020 MVP” said Immermann. “Coveo continues to improve and expand its powerful array of offerings, and to be recognized as a Coveo MVP is an acknowledgment of our team’s ability to evolve our expertise of the growing platform. We look forward to continue providing thought leadership for our customers, enabling them to produce best-in-class customer experiences to help them succeed.”

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Join Us at PIMpoint Digital 2020 https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/09/24/join-us-at-pimpoint-digital-2020/ https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/09/24/join-us-at-pimpoint-digital-2020/#respond Thu, 24 Sep 2020 14:00:31 +0000 https://blogs.perficient.com/?p=281423 As proud inRiver partner with years of expertise in the product information management fieldPerficient is proud to announce our sponsorship and involvement with inRiver’s PIMpoint Digital 2020. Join us for the event on October 5-9, 2020 to learn and understand the value of ecommerce and the benefits of utilizing product information management (PIM) systems for your business. Attendees will hear from industry leaders, keynote speakers, partners, and customers who want to share their stories and best practices 

Here are two ways you can connect with us during this event: 

Schedule a Meeting and Strategize with Our Experts

Our PIM experts understand how to drive successful results for your business’s commerce strategy by identifying gaps in data, avoiding supply chain disruptions, and creating a single source of truth for product content across sales channels while exceeding customer demands and expectations along the way. To learn more about our expertise in PIM and partnership with inRiver, visit our partner page and  schedule a meeting with our experts. 

Join Our Session

PIM is a key pillar of your organization’s commerce strategy and makes a lasting impact on your business’s digital transformation. To better understand the power of PIM for your organization’s digital maturity, register our webinar PIM: A Foundational Element of Digital Transformation Strategy on Thursday, October 8 at 12 p.m. CEST. Our very own Ritesh Keskar, Director and PIM Consultant, and Keith Ryals, Senior Solutions Architect will be the featured speakers at this event. 

What you can expect to discover about PIM at our webinar: 

  • How it helps streamline product sourcing and enrichment processes internally within an organization 
  • Assists in maintaining a single source of truth for product data, avoiding redundancy, and improving product information accuracy 
  • Contributes to faster speed-to-market, higher return on investment, and improved buyer experiences 

 Who should attend: 

  • Professionals in any industry who are looking for a better way to source, manage, and distribute product information but are not sure where to start 
  • Professionals considering an investment in a PIM solution 
  • Professionals working in the manufacturing and distribution sector 
  • Existing PIM users looking to get the most out of their investment

Unsure if You Can Attend?

You can still access all the sessions on-demand after the event by registering for PIMpoint Digital, including our webinar. Save your spot today for the virtual event of the year!  

For more information about our PIM expertise, and to find out how we can help you and your business begin a digital transformation journey, contact our experts. 

 

 

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Upgrade Your Mobile Experience With Mini Apps and App Clips https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/09/23/upgrade-your-mobile-experience-with-mini-apps-and-app-clips/ https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/09/23/upgrade-your-mobile-experience-with-mini-apps-and-app-clips/#respond Wed, 23 Sep 2020 11:33:59 +0000 https://blogs.perficient.com/?p=281417 Have you heard about Mini Apps or Apple’s new App Clips feature?  I think these technologies have a way to dramatically improve the mobile experience if you can take advantage of them.  Both concepts are relatively new, with Apple’s App Clips becoming available in IOS 14 this month (see our Prepare Your App for IOS 14 introduction).   Snapchat introduced Mini Apps in 2020 as well.  Before jumping into why these new technologies will become important, let’s discuss the current state.

A Good Experience could be better

I find it frustrating when mobile apps aren’t nicely connected and they force me to spend extra effort to get things done.  As an example, take a look at the mobile experience provided by the iPhone’s Map application.  Let’s say you want to order from a local restaurant.  So you open the map app and search for nearby restaurants.  You locate one, click on the location symbol, and the map app displays the Directions button prominently on the screen as shown in the first image here.  If you scroll far enough down, you might find a website link, a phone number, or other information about that location.

Apple Map display

 

While this Map experience is better than more manual alternatives, it still leaves me wanting more.   What about providing more actions in the Map app? Since I found a restaurant, one of the obvious actions is to place an order.  Another is to make a reservation.  A third might be to quickly look at their menu to see if I like anything. The only way I can get to the actions is to find a link to their site and start navigating through a series of pages.

Why are none of these actions readily available inside the Map app?  You could rightfully argue that none of these capabilities are the responsibility of the Map app, right?  The map app has enough to do already!

App Clips to the rescue

Apples’ App Clips are mini-apps that are embedded in your mobile app and can be surfaced independently of the full mobile application.  As an example, assume you are Panera Bread and have built a mobile app that includes an ordering feature.  You can now (in IOS 14) build an App Clip that can surface your ordering feature without first requiring the user to download your full app.  Apple can embed this clip into the experiences of other applications, making it quick and easy to spread your capabilities around.

Here is an example using the Map app and a Panera Bread App Clip.  In the first image, you can see that in addition to the Directions button, the Map app also displays an Order Food button.

Panera App Clip

When you click on the Order Food button, the Panera menu opens as an App Clip allowing you to quickly place an order.   You don’t have to open the full Panera mobile app, and you don’t have to open a web page and then navigate to the ordering page.

In addition to taking action, App Clips include the ability to pay using Apple Pay instead of asking for credit card info.  You can even use Apple security to sign-in to your app without prompting with a form to fill in.

There are all sorts of ways App Clips can be called up within IOS 14.  Apple identifies using NFC Tags, QR Codes, Safari App Banner, Links within messages, and, as we have seen, in Place Cards in Maps.

The impact on customer experience can be enormous

Imagine the impact this type of technology can have on our customer’s experience.  How often do customers navigate through a place card in Maps or click a link in Safari, only to be asked to spend time downloading our app or have to navigate through a web app?  Instead of getting lost in a maze of clicks, the customer can quickly accomplish key tasks on our mobile apps.

You should think about how to create these mini-apps that will drive true customer value.  Ordering food is an obvious example, but what other mini-app experiences could you create for your customers? I think the possibilities are vast.

Our ability to drive engagement can be dramatically improved

One use of the App Clip that is often cited by others is the ability to highlight information about your mobile app in a clip and provide a quick way to download or open the full app experience.  While this can be an important use of App Clips, I think it is a limited vision of their potential.  The real potential wins include the ability to promote our brand, provide meaningful information to the user more quickly, and making it easier for a customer to engage with our products or services.

While we could wait for developers of other apps to include links to our app, or provide a more connected experience, why wait for that?  App Clips gives you a way to control how your app can be surfaced and connected.  While these connections are mostly limited to Apple-specific apps at the moment, it would be great for this capability to expand to other developers.

About Perficient

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Inventory Control Solutions need a focused perspective https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/09/22/inventory-control-solutions-need-a-focused-perspective/ https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/09/22/inventory-control-solutions-need-a-focused-perspective/#respond Tue, 22 Sep 2020 20:53:04 +0000 https://blogs.perficient.com/?p=281271 Why Practice Inventory Control?

Every company that is trying to get its grips around what they have talked about Inventory control. Companies that are trying to understand what they need to meet their demands are looking into Inventory Controls.  The concept of Inventory Control is straight forward.  Knowledge of what you have and what you can sell.  Additional controls are used to make sure that this information is correct, accurate, and actionable.

From an accounting standpoint, Inventory controls are critical in understanding business costs.  Goods sitting in inventory carry a cost.  The labor required to put that item away in the warehouse and to count it periodically also carries a cost associated with it.  Rarely recorded are equipment usage and resource execution.  These operations have a cost related to them.  To properly calculate the true cost of an item you need to capture all of the resource, time, and equipment costs.  Examples of this are tasks like picking, prepping, and item consumption (Manufacturing or sales).  Capturing the associated wear on the equipment used is also necessary.

But, do we really need to practice inventory control?  We’ll consume inventory as soon as we can.  A rush order (at a premium cost) will resolve any stock-out situation.  These simple thought processes may work for small operations, but as you grow these processes can signal the demise of a growing company.

Business Requirements for Inventory Controls

Finance and Company Valuation are impacted by Inventory Control

Inventory Contol verifies the on-hand value of assets

Inventory Control Practices meet the following business requirements:

  • Accuracy of Inventory Valuation for Investors and Lien Holders
  • Research and analysis of processes to push cost-saving initiatives
  • Minimization of process downtime due to stock-outs
  • Managers wanting visibility and understanding of their operations
  • Workforce Management

Although all 5 reasons are valid, experience has shown that 80% of the time you will encounter the first two reasons as the impetus for the implementation of the processes.  Executive management is looking for ways to improve the operations budget and the profit margins for their company and the Inventory carrying costs is usually the second-highest number on their Balance sheet (Resource Overhead is usually the first).  Major investors like venture capitalists and financial institutions will want to audit the Inventory on-hand reporting to make sure that the numbers are accurate and that there are not some misleading business practices in place.  The stronger the inventory control system, the more accurate these numbers are and in turn the shorter the investor audits can last.

A company that is always “In Search of Excellence”[1] or steadfast in the beliefs of “Six Sigma”[2] will hold a manager to Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) that are based around productivity and cost reduction.  They will also want to make sure that their management personnel is “Champions of Change.” This is critical to the cause of improved practices or else the processes will remain stagnant and resistant to new philosophies and overall change.

Inventory Control: Why Carry Inventory?

Inventory Control in Action

In a perfect world, the material would be consumed onto a work order or into a process batch as soon as they are received onsite.  Likewise, Finished Goods would be sold and shipped out to a customer as soon as the manufacturing operation is complete.  These practices would optimize costs and reduce the need for having Inventory on-hand, however, this is rarely the reality.

Factors that contribute to the need to carry inventory and practice Inventory Control:

Manufacturing Operations and Material availability:

Manufacturing Industry

  • Many manufacturers will run a 24/7 production schedule. (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
  • Materials will only arrive in the facility between the hours of 9am and 5pm, Monday thru Friday.
  • To meet the Inventory demand during the hours where materials are not actively arriving at the facility additional inventory must be stored.

Supply/Demand planning constraints with Inventory Control:

Cost Efficiency Constraints:
      1. The optimal profit margin requires more Raw Materials need to be purchased
      2. Finished Goods need to be produced at a specific pace to achieve the optimal piece rate or cost per item.
Build up Supply in anticipation of upcoming demand.

You have a sales order for a large number of goods.  They all have to ship together on a specific date.  To meet that demand, you must build up the supply over time.

For example; 6000 goods are ordered to be shipped in 6 months. The production rate is 250 widgets a week.  To meet the demand, production needs to start 24 weeks before the agreed shipment date.  The 23 weeks leading up to the shipment date will resort in additional inventory on-hand. (1 week of production subtracted from the shipment date)

Changes in Customer Demand

Changes in Customer demand may lead to an excess of supply. Customers will cancel or delay orders at any time. Manufacturing is already underway. It is cheaper to store the goods than to scrap them.  The goods will be shipped once a new order is placed.

Changes to a manufacturing schedule:

Manufacturing equipment can go down unexpectedly and cause a break in the production plan. This may cause a change in manufacturing line runs and the need for materials to be consumed. During such a “downtime” another product line will get started instead.  This is down to maximize resource efficiency.  To perform ad hoc changes in production, excess raw materials will need to be on-hand. The produced goods will also need to be stored.

Conclusion

As you begin to fully understand the needs to properly carry, track, and control inventory; your company’s capabilities will grow.  As you grow, the next steps will be to add additional controls. An example of an additional control is a Cycle Count.  A Warehouse Management (WMS) Solution is also the next progression.  In order to get there, you will need to assess if you are ready.  A simple checklist is available in my post 5 Questions to See If You are Prepared for a WMS Solution.

[1] “In search of Excellence” a Book by Robert H. Waterman Jr. and Tom Peters

[2] Six Sigma: https://www.isixsigma.com/new-to-six-sigma/getting-started/what-six-sigma/

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Top 10 Announcements from Microsoft Ignite Day 1 #MSignite https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/09/22/top-10-announcements-from-microsoft-ignite-day-1-msignite/ https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/09/22/top-10-announcements-from-microsoft-ignite-day-1-msignite/#respond Tue, 22 Sep 2020 20:52:42 +0000 https://blogs.perficient.com/?p=281445  

While Microsoft had some out of this world updates including the Underwater Datacenter project data released.  The project was a success with only 1/8th the issues of the equivalent land based datacenter.  Many reasons why this project will continue from a sustainability and reliability perspective.   The outerspace update took the events to even further heights.  Azure Orbital allows you to control your satellite and analyze the data coming from the satellite.  Azure analytics and data storage was rebuilt from the ground up cloud first to support real-time analysis of Petabytes of data.  NASA and Lockheed are using Azure Mixed Reality build the latest space craft with near flawless precision.

  1. Microsoft Teams had so many announcements! New calling features (including walkie talkie mode), way more interactivity in meetings, new meeting room experiences including, updates to power platform in teams, virtual healthcare electronic health record
  2. Project Cortex is now SharePoint Syntex. Advanced AI for content management.  It will be available for purchase from corporations on October 1.
  3. Power Automate Desktop delivers RPA (Robotic Process Automation) for users.
  4. Power BI Update for the Teams App. A significant enhancement for access to data insights.
  5. Hololens 2 ships. Azure Mixed Reality services includes object anchors, new Azure Kinect SDK for partners including Time of Flight depth technology.
  6. Power Platform low code and professional developer integration with Github and Azure. New D365 Supply chain management tool with real-time inventory, voice channel and project operations.
  7. Updates to Microsoft Lists including enhancements to SharePoint storage and native fluid framework. Stream video sharing integrated with new intelligent storage in SharePoint. SharePoint Lists goes offline seamlessly!
  8. New Crowdsource feature for Yammer including voting and enhanced sharing.
  9. Security and Compliance Announcements Azure sentinel user and entity behavior analytics and threat intelligence enhancements that support a multi cloud posture for management with Azure Security Center Inventory, Azure Defender, and updates to Azure Arc.
  10. The devices updates: Surface Duo which is out now and showcased by many speakers… Then the Surface Hub 2S that’s available in 85 inch model (think MASSIVE TV that’s crazy powerfully interactive) was showcased throughout the show with multiple appearances not just in the Teams sessions. One screen with your call the other screen with your whiteboard.  Major enhancements to the whiteboarding and inking experience.
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Increasing Diversity in the Refining and Petrochemical Industries https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/09/22/increasing-diversity-in-the-refining-and-petrochemical-industries/ https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/09/22/increasing-diversity-in-the-refining-and-petrochemical-industries/#respond Tue, 22 Sep 2020 17:58:43 +0000 https://blogs.perficient.com/?p=281176 At Perficient our colleagues not only get involved within our company, but within the industries they serve. A veteran of the oil and gas industry, Cheryl Scott is no different.  Over the course of her career, Cheryl maintained a strong association with the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM). AFPM was formed over 120 years ago to represent the U.S. refining and petrochemical industries.  The association continues to act as a leading voice, educating policymakers and the public on the value these industries provide the nation and the world.

Growth Through Diversity

Cheryl has been heavily involved in AFPM’s quest to bring more diversity to the industry. According to a recent S&P Global report, boards of oil and gas companies in 2019 only comprised 14% women. What’s even more staggering is that in 2015 only 6.7% of the workforce in oil and gas were African Americans, states a report published by the American Petroleum Institute. It’s no secret that companies with diverse representation are generally more successful. They’re proven to be more profitable, innovative, and productive. “Through 2022, 75% of organizations with front-line decision making teams reflecting a diverse and inclusive culture will exceed their financial targets”, states a recent article through Gartner.

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Through AFPM’s subset group, Women in Industry, Cheryl and other members have encouraged thought leaders within the industry to have larger discussions on diversity and inclusion. During AFPM’s recent three day summit, Cheryl moderated a great discussion led by Dr. Simone Ahuja, “Navigating Change with a Growth Mindset”. Dr. Ahuja is the founder of Blood Orange, a global innovation and strategy firm, an author, and a public speaker. The discussion not only promoted gender and cultural diversity within teams, but also diversity in thought to help drive innovation. All members of the team must be able to have a voice, know how to speak up, and do so with no prejudices. Diversity is not only surface level, but brings together people who think differently than one another. They must be able to respect one another’s thoughts, ideas, and creations.

AFPM’s goal is to provide a forum for open discussions and promote new ideas.  AFPM is showing that diversity can truly help grow the industry and the individual companies and corporations that serve them.

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[Watch] Using AI & Automation to Enhance Adverse Event Case Processing https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/09/22/watch-using-ai-automation-to-enhance-adverse-event-case-processing/ https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/09/22/watch-using-ai-automation-to-enhance-adverse-event-case-processing/#respond Tue, 22 Sep 2020 14:30:13 +0000 https://blogs.perficient.com/?p=281412 Recently, Christine Livingston, Chief Strategist, Artificial Intelligence, Kari Blaho-Owens, Ph.D. Director, Safety and Pharmacovigilance, and Prabha Ranganathan, Director, Clinical Data Warehousing and Analytics, hosted a webinar with Bio-IT World that discussed how to leverage AI and automation to improve case processing.

The implementation of such cutting-edge technology results in fewer manual processes, streamlines workflows, and increases consistency. It has the potential to transform your PV operations significantly and save you tens of thousands of hours and millions of dollars. The ROI directly relates to your current processes and the number of adverse event cases you have every year.

You can find the webinar recording below, in which you will learn how you can apply AI and automation with your complementary PV/drug safety platforms to support your innovation journey. The webinar highlights:

  • Challenges in PV
  • Adverse Events Case Processing Workflow
  • AE/PQC End-to-End Data Flow With Automation and AI
  • Natural Language Processing
  • AE/PQC Intake Demo
  • Automation and AI Outcomes in PV
  • ROI of Automation for Intake

If you are interested in learning more about our PV capabilities, please reach out to us.

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Behind “Team Perficient:” A Hole-In-One Partnership with Top PGA and LPGA Golfers https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/09/20/behind-team-perficient-a-hole-in-one-partnership-with-top-pga-and-lpga-golfers/ https://blogs.perficient.com/2020/09/20/behind-team-perficient-a-hole-in-one-partnership-with-top-pga-and-lpga-golfers/#respond Sun, 20 Sep 2020 20:59:17 +0000 https://blogs.perficient.com/?p=281364 On the heels of the recent announcement of the formation of three professional golfers into “Team Perficient”, I sat down with Perficient’s Vice-President of Marketing, Bill Davis, to learn more about how the team came to be, why there’s such strong alignment between our brand and the athletes selected, and why Perficient’s so excited about these partnerships going forward.

Bill, thanks for the time. Why golf?

Hey Marisa, thank you for the interest. This is certainly something we’re really excited about. Golf’s a game that resonates with our colleagues and customers for many reasons. It’s a sport that requires tremendous dedication – to perform at the levels these athletes do requires intense focus and dedication and an unwavering commitment to determination and discipline. I’m sure each of them would tell you it’s also about a lifelong process of learning that demands humility, curiosity and flexibility.

That’s not unlike the journey many of our customers have taken – the senior decision-makers and C-level executives we partner with and advise have demonstrated a similar attitude and aptitude over the course of their careers. So, in some ways, I think our customers have an inherent understanding of the real level of professionalism this level of the game requires – beyond just the pure talent.

Yes, but tactically, why golf?

Well, there’s a couple interesting things worth noting there. First of all, we’re big believers in the power of sports marketing – we have great partnerships with MLB’s St. Louis Cardinals, the NHL’s St. Louis Blues and Dallas Mavericks in the NBA. The benefits of those relationships do drive some national exposure for us but the branding benefits accrue primarily in the specific markets. On the other hand, these golfers are truly global and the benefits are not concentrated in, or constrained to, any particular market or geography. As we continue to build Perficient into a true global powerhouse, we knew this was something that would drive visibility for us on a commensurate scale.

Additionally, we had a high degree of confidence that, on a relative basis, the game would be minimally impacted by the pandemic. Some of the challenges the team leagues and sports are dealing with are less of an obstacle to golf. So, we felt good about the game’s ability to weather the storm and keep the major tournaments and events on track.

How did Perficient assemble the team? Why did we choose the athletes we did?

Matthew Wolff - Team Perficient

Matthew Wolff

It was a really interesting process and I’m thrilled with the outcomes. Fundamentally, we started with the proposition that we wanted recognizable names, but where we could really establish a meaningful rationale and ‘connection’ with each.

We gravitated to Matthew Wolff for several reasons – obviously an incredibly exciting young golfer – one of the game’s brightest developing stars with tremendous upside – you saw that from his U.S. Open performance. But what also appealed to us was his uniqueness – he’s really forging his own path with a distinct swing and game approach. As Matthew said when we announced the Team, like Perficient, he’s a disruptor. He’s doing things his own way, distinguishing himself and shaking things up – much as we’re doing as we grow and compete against and routinely beat much bigger ‘names’ in our industry. Matthew’s unapologetically succeeding by doing things differently, just like we are at Perficient.

Morgan Pressel - Team Perficient

Morgan Pressel

Morgan Pressel we identified based on her incredible track record of longevity and performance – a truly consistent and dependable athlete. We were also inspired by Morgan’s proactive commitment to philanthropy. She’s done such great work through her Foundation raising funds for breast cancer research and as we learned more about her, it was clear we shared a common interest in and commitment to giving back and trying to make the world a better place.

And Abraham Ancer, another easy choice. Perficient’s an ambitious and innovative place, and that captures Abe’s spirit pretty well also. In addition to being one of the top-ranked golfers in the world, Abe’s the co-founder of an apparel company AND separately, a tequila company. All of that before the age of 30 – pretty impressive.

Abraham Ancer - Team Perficient

Abraham Ancer

So when you see Perficient colleagues wearing Black Quail apparel and sipping a fine Flecha Azul tequila, you’ll know why. Abe’s pride in his Latin American heritage also appealed to us as we recently expanded in the region and as we approach a point where almost half of our consulting staff exists nearshore or offshore. Perficient’s a truly global company and to be able to add Abe the team was a real highlight.

And beyond those specific reasons, each of these folks are just great people – personable and down to Earth – and we knew they’d be great ambassadors for Perficient and wonderful for our key customers to meet and spend time with.

Speaking of client engagement, what might these relationships mean for some key customers?

Well, of course we’ll encourage everyone affiliated with Perficient to root the Team on, but there are some experiential inclusions in the agreements that we’re pretty excited about. We’ll have the ability to set up some rounds with the pros, do some meet-n-greets, virtual events, memorabilia and the like. We’re really looking forward to introducing these athletes to the F500 and F100 executives we’re working closely with on a regular basis.

Thanks again for the time today – anything else you think important to cover as we wrap up?

Thank you. I don’t think so – other than to reiterate we’ll really happy about the Team we’ve assembled and that they’ll be representing Perficient for years to come as we continue to build the business into the leading digital consultancy on the planet.

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