What You Should Expect from Your ERP Vendors in Your RFP, and Why It Matters

At many firms, RFPs are overlooked opportunities. These documents give companies the chance to tell vendors what they want out of an ERP system. It’s also the time for businesses to share what their expectations of the vendor are. After all, how can you expect a vendor to do something if you never share that information?

Read on to learn about what you should reasonably expect from your vendors when writing your RFP and why those expectations are important.

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The Food Safety Modernization Act: One Year Later

Since President Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) on January 4, 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has made significant progress in developing proposed rules to implement the sweeping food safety reform law, publishing mandated reports, and taking important steps toward increasing overall food safety capacity in the United States. Below are brief summaries of what FDA has accomplished to date.

Highlights of FSMA during 2011:

  • Issued interim final rules on criteria for administrative detention and used this authority three times; issued interim final rules on prior notice of imported food.
  • Issued guidance to the seafood industry on food safety hazards and to the dietary supplement industry regarding new dietary ingredients.
  • Conducted extensive domestic and foreign outreach to all stakeholders to receive input in developing the proposed preventive control rules.
  • Established the Produce Safety Alliance and the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance.
  • Met the FSMA mandate for foreign food safety inspections, and is well on its way to meeting the 5-year inspection frequency mandate for high-risk domestic food facilities.
  • Continued to build State-Federal and global partnerships.

Moving forward, the ability to track and trace ingredients is likely going to be a major focus for food manufacturers as the FSMA is rolled out. The days of brand recognition alone will be long gone; worldwide, all the major producers of food products will now need to focus on brand reputation as well as brand recognition. Government authorities will be requiring companies to track and trace all products to the original point of origin. Today, companies only track goods at convenient points in the supply chain, such as when one ingredient leaves the warehouse and when it arrives in the manufacturing plant. Expect the future to mandate much tighter controls.

From a systems perspective, none of the Tier 1 or Tier 2 ERP vendors have announced a system that supports the mandates of the FSMA. True winners in ERP solutions will be vendors that can provide material and routing information that identifies critical control points in the manufacturing process. Likewise, the system will also need to be made aware of potential new hazardous and other airborne bacteria identified as risks. To date, the only systems tool to support the food safety initiative that is approved by the GSFI is a document management system that is not integrated to the ERP or quality management systems. While many of the Tier 1 and Tier 2 ERP vendors are hosting Food Safety webcasts, none of them are proposing a resolution for the complexity that the FDA is now mandating.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks as Merit Solutions will offer a new perspective on how Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 will support the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2012!


Upcoming Webinar: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 for Food

Please join Merit Solutions on Wednesday, October 26th at 11am CST for our Food Industry Webinar: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 for Food!

Find out how Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 helps medium to large manufacturers and distributors in the food industry to monitor food safety, streamline business processes, and enhance customer responsiveness. This next generation ERP provides a complete, enterprise wide business software solution designed to reduce an organization’s total cost of ownership and improve profitability. See how Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 can impact your whole food organization – from finance and accounting to inventory, production, and distribution.

Register now!


Microsoft and Yahoo Announce Search Deal; Go After Google

Microsoft and Yahoo have finally teamed together for a 10-year deal that gives Microsoft access to the Internet’s second-largest search engine audience.

The long-rumored Internet search deal was announced on Wednesday, and is aimed at challenging Google’s dominance of online advertising. The deal adds a potentially potent weapon to Microsoft’s Internet arsenal as it prepares for an all-out assault against online search and advertising leader Google Inc.

This deal is a win-win for Microsoft and Yahoo, said Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer in an e-mail to employees announcing the alliance.

The extended reach will allow Microsoft to introduce its recently upgraded search engine, called Bing, to more people. The Redmond, Wash.-based software maker believes Bing is just as good, if not better, than Google’s search engine.

Taking over the search responsibilities on Yahoo’s highly trafficked site gives Microsoft a better chance to convert Web surfers who had been using Google by force of habit. In return for turning over the keys to its search engine, Yahoo will get to keep 88 percent of the revenue from all search ad sales on its site for the first five years of the deal, and have the right to sell ads on some Microsoft sites.

Continue reading on MSNBC.com.


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Dynamics AX 2009 Snap In Launches at Convergence

Dynamics AX 2009 Snap In at Convergence

Microsoft Convergence is rapidly approaching, taking place next week in New Orleans. For Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 users – this is great news!

The Vendors Journal Snap In for Dynamics AX 2009 is launching next week in Booth #840. This FREE Snap In enables offline visibility into vendor attribute information within the Dynamics AX 2009 system by capturing that information in a Microsoft Office InfoPath 2007 form. This gives employees the ability to capture all the information needed about a particular vendor, take that information with them, view it and update it, all while remaining offline from the Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 system. Users can then update the system when back on the network.

Be sure to stop by the booth to be the first to see the Snap In in action. Make sure you ask a Merit Solutions Representative for your download card. Booth attendees will be given exclusive access to the Vendors Journal before general availability on April 1.

If you cannot attend Microsoft Convergence, but are interested in downloading your FREE copy before general availability, request your free Snap In download online. Valid requests will be sent further information on download options.


The Latest on Microsoft Convergence 2009

In today’s difficult economic environment, there has never been more value in attending Microsoft’s Convergence. This year is geared toward helping attendees leverage their Microsoft Dynamics solutions to increase visibility into operations and maximize efficiencies. Convergence attendees will better understand their business management software and unleash its full potential.

Customers will gain a competitive edge by attending Convergence and will be better positioned to weather this economic storm. Customers will learn how to:

  • Easily analyze their financial data and respond to changing business conditions.
  • Effectively forecast and manage their cash flow and compliance with clear understanding of reporting and process automation capabilities.
  • Access comprehensive client information and stay connected to the needs of your customers.
  • Leverage implementation with related applications like SQL Server and the Microsoft Office products which are an integral part of an integrated Microsoft Dynamics business solution
  • Improve fiscal responsibility and the delivery of public services.
  • Boost efficiencies and improve accountability with accurate financial tracking and reporting.
  • Save money on Business applications with the Convergence Attendee Sales Offer!
    • ERP – Microsoft Dynamics AX, GP, NAV and SL customers who attend Convergence 2009 are eligible to receive up to a 20% discount. Terms & Conditions*.
    • CRM “ Save 75% on CRM Online – $9.99/user for 6 Months. Terms & Conditions*.

Presentations and discussion topics for this year’s event are coming together very quickly, so be sure to check out the Convergence website regularly, as sessions are added daily. Concurrent sessions, Interactive Discussions and Hands On Lab details are included in the Session Content section of the site. Within the Networking and Content navigation, we’ve included information on the groups represented in the Community and Learning Center, and the Microsoft Pavilion. As always, the opportunities to learn and network are endless at Convergence!

Visit Merit Solutions in Booth #840 to learn about Microsoft Dynamics integration and Dynamics AX Development, as well as be the first to see the Vendors Journal Snap In for Dynamics AX 2009.


Dynamics GP Webcast: Do More With Less

Please join Merit Solutions for this exciting Microsoft Dynamics GP event!

Are you concerned with the ability of your current accounting software to adapt to the current economic climate? Do you worry about compliance and the security of your financial information? Have you experienced performance or reliability issues as your business has grown and become more complex? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then you do not want to miss this webcast! Learn about software that can save you money and enhance your productivity now”and into the future. Learn how Microsoft Dynamics GP can help your company:

  • Adapt to the economic climate
  • Take time and costs out of your business processes
  • Secure the integrity of your financial information
  • Integrate with familiar software like Microsoft Office: Outlook, Word, and Excel
  • Understand how you can get up and running quickly on a Microsoft Dynamics GP solution at a price designed to fit your budget

Step up to software that can handle your business needs, save you money, and enhance your productivity NOW — and into the future.

Date: 2/25/2009
Time: 1:00 – 2:00 CST
Register Now


Microsoft Dynamics for Food and Beverage

The Food and Beverage industry is incredibly diverse, and defined by strict government / consumer compliance standards and intense competition. Manufacturers and Distributors alike are constantly looking for ways to drive down costs, streamline operations, and monitor food safety.

Now there is a new site devoted to Microsoft Dynamics for Food and Beverage companies. Learn about solutions designed specifically for food and beverage manufacturers / distributors.

See how Merit Solutions provides Food and Beverage Industry Software Services that can automate quality control, reduce operating costs, and provide real-time reporting and analysis. Through our experience working with Food and Beverage companies, we know real-time visibility into your data can empower your people.

Visit the site online at www.FB-Dynamics.com


Mobile Life Ventures Case Study: Rapid Configuration Tool

Mobile Life Ventures chooses to implement Microsoft Dynamics GP in two weeks using the Rapid Configuration Tool with Merit Solutions Directed Implementation methodology.

Mobile Life Ventures was recently acquired by a Chicago-based private equity company, and they needed a central system put in place that would work in conjunction with their retail POS system to track sales transactions and financial reporting.

Merit Solutions was able to meet the two-week go live date on time and under budget. From day one, Mobile Life Ventures was importing hundreds of financial records representing thousands of inventory and initial sales transactions from nearly 100 locations.

Read more to learn how Mobile Life Ventures was able to have Microsoft Dynamics GP live within two weeks. Contact Merit Solutions to learn more about our Rapid Implementation services.