Tag Archives: human resources

Why Phoenix Systems?

One of the trends that we at Phoenix Systems are noticing is that ERP is becoming a commodity. What matters most is the VAR Partner you have chosen to assist with implementing, developing and supporting your system.   This trend made us ask the question, “Why Phoenix Systems?” Initially we thought that the question should be easy to answer – not so.  It took much discussion to come up with a comprehensive list as we all had different ideas as to where our strengths lie.  It was an interesting journey, and we want to share the result with you.

International Resource Specialists

We have offices and branches across both Canada and the US with highly skilled resources in:

  • Business Consulting
  • Development
  • Technical Consulting
  • Project Management

Our leading realization was that the nature of the consulting business has changed. It has been a gradual process but over the last decade telecommuting and remote access has changed the landscape of our primary function.  In most cases we have access to servers via various methods which allows us to provide our customers with excellent support and consulting regardless of where they are located.  Additionally it allows us to assign the resource best suited to your project, even when the resource isn’t local. Of course if your offices are close to ours and the resource is local then we are happy to be on-site that hasn’t changed but remote access has opened up many opportunities that would not have been available to many of our customers decades ago.

Support Desk

Phoenix Systems has a leading support desk which is manned by dedicated staff every day and we do not assign inexperienced consultants to our helpdesk. Our philosophy is that we can with careful scheduling have our experienced consultants assigned to the support desk in order for you, the customer, to have first-rate support on a daily basis.  There are two support desks, one for the Eastern customers and one for our Western customers and the two desks collaborate internally to ensure that support is available across most of the workday in North America.  The consultants are supported by our technical services and our development teams which ensures that all your issues can be resolved as promptly as possible.  Our annual support agreement allows your staff access to the support desk for a fixed cost and allows your staff to call in whenever they are stuck.

The most important role of the support desks however is to be your champion with the developers of the software i.e. SYSPRO. We troubleshoot issues, test and report errors on your behalf. Our role is to be your advocate and to ensure that SYSPRO gives us the best service possible.  If we have identified a problem with software we will report errors, track fixes and report back to you when the issue has been resolved.  Additionally our consultants will find a workaround for you while the error is being addressed.

Solution Partners – Best of Breed

We all know that there are areas in SYSPRO that can be better handled by software that is dedicated to a process i.e. Warehouse Management. Another way that we are able to provide excellent consulting is by aligning ourselves with many “Best-of-Breed” vendors and integrating to SYSPRO.  What we know is that often SYSPRO will not have the in-depth requirements needed.  Here is a list (not comprehensive) of Best-of Breed vendors that we have worked with on many occasions:

  • Manufacturing Systems Corp – Warehouse Management
  • Cabot Software – SAW
  • Preactor – Graphical Planning Board
  • CyberStore2 for SYSPRO – Website integration
  • RiteScan – Mobile Warehouse for SYSPRO
  • iDashboards – Dashboard Tool
  • Dash – Document Management
  • uniPoint – Quality and Maintenance
  • iWorx – Cloud Datacenters

We are however not limited to the vendors on this list and we are open to working on integrating any software that you might want to integrate to SYSPRO with our team of developers.

Custom Development & Custom Software

The development of custom software and enhancements is the basis of the origin of our organization. For over 35 years we have designed and developed web-based, distributed and standalone applications to meet our client’s specific business requirements. We utilize our own in house development team equipped with extensive business backgrounds and required certifications.

We follow proven practices that allow for successful project completion and deliver solutions that exceed customer expectations. We have experience working with a broad range of customers, from smaller organizations to much larger companies with worldwide operations.

Our skill-sets include:

  • .Net, VB Scripting and all presentation tools
  • SQL programming
  • Database level customizations
  • Website Development
  • SYSPRO Espresso
  • Micro Focus COBOL – enables us to modify SYSPRO Source code if needed which we can secure from SYSPRO

Professional Services – Goals & Philosophy

Based on our extensive 35 years of business experience and trained and committed Team:

  1. We wish to be a true partner, with a vested interest in working with client staff/teams to optimize your SYSPRO environment.
  2. We excel at project-based solution design and delivery. Projects may be fixed-bid or T&M, to be determined prior to each project.
  3. We can provide ad hoc and non-project based support as required. We can also provide (E.g. implementing investigating automated processes that run after hours)  Time-shift /work outside of regular hours where needed as long as planned in advance.
  4. We can help develop multi-year, scalable ERP architecture/roadmaps supportive of clients’ growth and expansion plans. No shortcuts. No Band-Aid solutions.
  5. We can provide end-user and super-user (train-the-trainer) training, tailored to the specific needs of your users; we have experienced trainers available for this purpose.
  6. We can provide support of your IT environment and deploy remote services as needed.
  7. We provide dedicated account management/account ownership to maintain an active relationship and as such look forward to being considered as an extension of your Team. This approach is consistent with our operating structure.
  8. We pride ourselves in leveraging native SYSPRO functionality as much as possible to reduce reliance on in-house application development. This extends to leveraging SYSPRO supported 3rd party applications of which we are very familiar and work in conjunction with vendors with whom we have established business relationships and concluded successful projects with over many years.
  9. We are well versed in Business Analytics and Business Intelligence information be drawn from SYSPRO and other recognized 3rd party applications such as SAW and iDashboard, for which we are certified. Additionally we are experienced at integrating products such as COGNOS to SYSPRO.
  10. We handle all requirements related to managing SYSPRO licenses changes, additions and annual renewal.

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Non Traditional Cost Reduction Experiences.

Written by: Dan O’Toole President

“A penny saved is a penny earned” so the saying goes. Ben Franklin expressed this thought many years ago and it continues to bear fruit today. Our organization has undertaken significant growth over the past ten years, both in product offering and geographically.  As we continued to expand, we found overhead expenses growing, sometimes disproportionate to our sales.  Something had to be done to reverse this trend.

A key cost centre in our company is telecommunications. Amongst other products and services, we depend on WebEx and GoToMeeting for both internal and customer communication on a daily basis.  The cost of these services has been more than significant.  A way to reduce these costs had to be found.  Coincidently, we bought into video conferencing back in the 1990s as a means of managing travel and meeting costs.  The technology works great but adoption had been a challenge, at least until now.

The opportunity afforded to us, improve adoption of key technology and reduce overhead expenses.

The introduction of a new player in the video conference world has led our company to a double win. Not only have we experienced significant improvement in internal/external adoption, we’ve totally replaced WebEx and GoToMeeting, savings of over $40k per annum.  In April alone our teams engaged in 350+ meetings with over 930 participants, totalling 34,000 minutes of calling time.  So what was the difference in adoption?  The very same design feature that allowed Apple to capture a huge market with their iPad, ease of use.

By reducing the complexity of our organization and improving adoption, we’re more streamlined, cost efficient and maybe most important, more EFFECTIVE. Zoom is proving to be the fastest adopted collaboration technology for our teams at Phoenix Systems.

Reduce costs, improve efficiency; to coin another phrase, “You can have your cake and eat it too”.


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5 Corporate New Year’s Resolutions

Written by: Hanna Kounov

It is that time of the year and possibly you are making personal new year’s resolutions but have you ever considered making New Year’s Resolutions for your company or your department. Interesting thought right? This is the perfect time, in most cases year ends have just been completed and you have the big picture right at your fingertips. The point is to not just focus on the bottom line but on a broader spectrum.

So where do you start? Logically, with a review of the previous year. Word of caution, do not call it a post mortem. Post mortem by definition imply that something has died of unknown causes. Avoid this term when looking at the year or at anything else going forward for that matter. The idea for this review is to determine where you have been succeeding and where things can be strengthened. The fact that you are still in business means you are doing something right. The question is how do you make it better? These are the areas where you should focus your New Years Resolution’s.

With this in mind I did some research and found some of the key areas that companies are looking at for 2016:

1. Get to know your customer better.
You may be under the impression that you know your customers needs but things change constantly and what may have been important might not be now. Do you know their pain points and their needs? Find new and innovative ways to engage with your customers. Does your marketing strategy speak to their needs? If not how is that corrected and devise a plan of action. Marketing is important and there are many inexpensive ways to engage with customers in this day and age. Look for ways that work not just for you but also for your customer.

2. Time management.
Why do we fail at time management? Because everything we know about it is geared towards managing “clock time” and what we should really be managing is “real time”. Real time happens in our heads; we create it and anything we create can be managed. The first thing you have to know is how effective your company is at managing time. You could send your key people on time management courses but that would probably be a waste of time (pardon the pun) because they will be working with “clock time”. Perhaps a better way is to ask those same key people to jot down every thought, conversation, task or action they take for one week. At the end of that week look for the places where time is wasted on unproductive things that don’t produce results . Now you have the information to Organize, Prioritize and Schedule. Make sure that 50% of your teams scheduled time is spent on activities that generate results and schedule time for interruptions. Remind your team that it is impossible to get everything done in a day and be okay with that, tomorrow is another day and that is why you are prioritizing. The good news is that 20% of your teams actions will generate 80% of the results so if everyone is concentrating on the things that matter, you are way ahead of the game!

3. Maximize employee contributions.
Forget everything you know about this because there is no “secret”. Simply treat people the way you wish to be treated. Nothing makes up for compassion, mutual respect, kindness, open communication and flexibility. Adhering to this very simple rule will produce happier employees and happy employees engage with customers and each other in a positive way. Let your employees know that they are valued. Communicate the companies goals and values and allow for the people to have a say if they want to. Strengthen your teams skill sets with targeted training. When you invest in your people they feel valued, important and secure in their future with the company.

4. Understand your data.
Your company has a ton of data but other than the financials the rest may be shrouded in mystery. Find out what your key performance indicators are. Once you know what they are find ways to extract, massage and delve into it. Do you really know what is going on? Do you have enough historical information to make informed decisions in regard to budgets and sales targets? If the answer is no put it on your resolutions list and work with the data the whole year. Build a comprehensive Business Intelligence Strategy for the year. You will be tapping into a gold mine.

5. Set your goals for the year.
You do this every year and this one should be no different. The question would be, do you understand the information that is driving the goals? If you didn’t reach the previous year’s goals special care should be given as to why. Were you pushing the right products? Is your customer demographic in a strong position but you still missed out on sales or are you feeling the pinch because of an economic slowdown? Asking the tough questions will help you determine a valid sales target for the year ahead. Break down those lofty goals into milestones to be reached throughout the year. This will allow the team to feel that they are reaching their objective and motivate them. The final word I found in my research is; be realistic. If you are asking your sales force to reach unattainable goals it could have the opposite effect and make them feel defeated before they have started. Realistic goals make them strive and often exceed expectations.


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