PRESS RELEASE – Macola Reseller Group Files Suit Against ECi Macola/MAX

Macola Reseller Group Files Suit Against ECi Macola/MAX for Antitrust and Other Violations

Suit says ECi is forcing unwanted services on clients and attempting to prevent competition 

COLUMBUS, Ohio. Nov. 9, 2018 – Macola Channel Partners and resellers recently filed a multi-count lawsuit against software developer ECi Macola/MAX, LLC, (“ECi”) alleging antitrust violations, tortious interference, breach of contract, and other claims.

On October 1st, 2018, resellers of Macola Software received a notification from ECi Software Solutions, Inc., the parent corporation of ECi Macola/MAX, that in the coming months it would be discontinuing its partner channel that had been running for more than 25 years. The notification also stated that customers would no longer be allowed to work with their reseller partners on ECi products in the future.

Macola resellers have for many years provided sales, support, and consulting services for users of Macola, an enterprise resource planning software system used primarily by small- to mid-sized businesses in manufacturing. According to the lawsuit, ECi has decided to cut out its former reseller partners and prevent them from offering support and consulting services to businesses using Macola. By preventing competition, the lawsuit says, ECi will create a monopoly for itself in the markets for support and consulting of Macola. The complaint contends that ECi is already exercising monopoly power over Macola users, forcing them to purchase services they do not want in exchange for continuing to receive routine Macola software updates.

According to the lawsuit, ECi is attempting to prevent competition by fraudulently telling Macola users that they will breach their software license agreement with ECi if they continue to do business with their reseller. At the same time, the complaint alleges, ECi is pressuring Macola users to sign new software license agreements that contain restrictive language that would prohibit Macola users from hiring anyone other than ECi to perform support or consulting on Macola software. In addition, the lawsuit claims that ECi has committed or threatened multiple breaches of its contract with the resellers, including cutting off earned commissions and other benefits under the contract.

On November 7th, 2018, a seasoned group of Macola resellers with hundreds of combined years of service, represented by the law firm Organ Cole LLP, filed suit against ECi in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, alleging that ECi’s conduct constitutes breach of contract, tortious interference, unfair competition, and violates state and federal antitrust law.

“It’s a daunting task for a handful of small businesses to take on ECi’s millions, but we made a promise to help our customers grow their businesses and we’ve become an integral partner with those companies,” said Michael Oswalt, CEO of Algorithm, Inc., one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

“We believe every customer is valuable,” agreed Jeff DeSchon, Vice President of iPro, another of the plaintiffs. “We will continue to serve them, and we will protect our employees and their families. That is why we’ve taken this action.”

Chuck Wise, President of another plaintiff in the lawsuit, Copious Solutions, added, “We believe that our customers should carefully review any new contract documents put in front of them by ECi, including click-through documents and sales order footnotes, and seek legal counsel where appropriate.”

Currently pending before the court is the Macola resellers’ request for a temporary restraining order. If that request is granted, the order would prevent ECi both from telling Macola customers that they are prohibited from doing future business with the resellers and from requiring customers to purchase unwanted services as a condition of receiving software updates.

You can find a copy of the complaint here and a copy of the motion for a temporary restraining order here.

We encourage your feedback. Comments or questions may be sent to ECiMacolaSuit@algorithminc.com

This email address will be forwarded to the resellers as a group.

If you would rather, address your feedback to me directly at jmayer@mayererp.com

Common ERP Implementation Strategies

Enterprise Resource Planning systems (ERP) make business work. They allow you to see the big picture so you can move your business in the right direction. However, just having a solution is not enough to lead your company to success. Your success will largely depend on your implementation strategy.

You need consider your implementation strategy as soon as possible so to maximize the benefits. No single blog post can fully explain every strategy, but here is a quick guide to get you started.

 

Big Bang 

Big bang Implementation happens all at once. You install every module on every computer system in your entire organization in a single night. While there are some pre-implementation tasks, there is no turning back once you changeover to the new system.

Big bang has its supporters and critics. Most people claim the risk factors as their main reasons to not use a big bang. However, you can set up your ERP quickly and more cost efficient with a big bang. If you choose this strategy, be prepared for temporary reduced productivity as your personnel get used to the new system.

 

Phased Rollout 

With phase rollout, you install components over time rather than all at once. Your company moves from your legacy system to your new one in a series of predetermined steps. You can complete these steps using one of the following formats.

  • Phased Rollout by Module – With module rollout, you install ERP modules one at a time. Most people typically start with the core functions and then add other modules based on their needs and hierarchy.
  • Phased Rollout by Business Unit – Business unit rollouts make the changes based on the needs of your business units. ERP implementations happen department by department.
  • Phase Rollout by Geography – This format works great for companies with multiple locations. Also known as pilot adoption, each location or department implements the new system when they feel they are ready.

As with big bang, phase rollout has its own fair share of pros and cons. Phase rollouts let your company ease into the new system, but they also make your network and infrastructure more complex and error prone. You also risk data loss as ERP modules exist to work together as a single unit.

 

Parallel Adoption 

Also called parallel conversion, parallel running, or parallel cut over, parallel adoption is the least risky of the three implantation strategies. With this strategy, you run both the old and new ERP system at the same time, and then phase out the old one.

Parallel adoption is slower than big bang, but faster than phased rollout. On the other hand, it has a smaller learning curve that big bang, but it is more difficult than phase adoption. However, cost is parallel adoption’s main trade-off since you need twice the resources.

Which of these ERP implementation you should use depends on your business goals and needs. There is no one size fits all solution here. Every business is unique and requires a unique implementation based on careful planning and analysis. For advice on which is right for your business, contact us today, and we will help you devise a strategy that will lead your business to success.

What’s the Next Generation of ERP Software?

Throughout the business world, enterprise resource planning (ERP) is enabling new standards of efficient collaboration. Whatever one’s industry, ERP software is a vital and well-recognized tool for success. To fully understand the future of ERP, it is helpful to understand current innovations.

It makes sense to separate applications into the categories of ERP, II and III. Classic ERP integrates processes within organizations. In the ERP II category, applications integrate supply functions, drawing in exterior enterprises and vendor-affiliated partners. ERP III extends dichotomy even further by strengthening ties with customers and sales processes.

In the near future, a number of trends like Work Spaces should improve the outlook for ERP customers. Leading developers should double down and further improve current innovations. These include medical device software manufacturing solutions with serial lot traceability. ERP applications will include numerous new functions–not bells and whistles but critical solutions designed around customer feedback. Of course, it does little good to add features without maintaining adequate usability. In the early days of ERP, applications were notoriously opaque and difficult to master. Cutting-edge ERP providers will meet the public demand for convenient interfaces and shallower learning curves.

Increasingly, ERP applications will become more useful for companies of all sizes. Historically speaking, a sharp divide separated software for small firms and larger corporations. As ERP solutions gain more flexibility, users will be able to keep using familiar applications as their enterprises grow. In the thriving medical technology sector, innovative software solutions solve a variety of common problems. In the past, it was typical for medical device companies to waste substantial resources coordinating different departments. Personnel responsible for accounting, HR and inventory would consult differing versions of data sets, leading to regular misunderstandings.

Using a search engine, one can easily identify a promising business software solution for small to midsized medical device manufacturers or distributors. Though there are plenty of ERP developers plying their trade today, with the release of Macola 10 with Configurable Workspaces, Business Activity Monitoring, and Business Process Management, ERP as we know it has changed.

Medical Device ERP: Your Boots on the Ground

This is a good time to fully recognize the potential of innovative business software. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a fairly recent software discipline that addresses many important needs. ERP streamlines varied processes that previously demanded costly individual attention. Quite a few industries have widely adopted ERP solutions. The medical device industry offers an interesting case study in adopting new technologies quickly. In this fast-growing sector, competition is relatively fierce. Only organizations that rapidly adapt to new technology trends can remain fully competitive.

Mid-sized companies face unique challenges as they manage numerous subordinates on a regional or international level. An integrated ERP solution can bridge the gap for managers who need more control over remote teams and projects. Like virtual “boots on the ground,” ERP gives managers more direct control over broader swathes of people and processes.

In recognition of developing trends, ERP developers are broadly addressing the needs of the medical sector. The best developers have fully mastered inventory management software for medical device manufacturers or distributors. With a more centralized inventory management system, it is simple to keep well stocked without overbuying. In any industry, inventory shrinkage is a constant, nagging source of concern. Medical device manufacturing solutions with serial lot traceability are critical for containing shrinkage.

It isn’t hard to find a business software solution for small to midsized medical device manufacturers or distributors. In the competitive software industry, developers who consciously address user needs quickly gain visibility. The most prestigious of these developers are now providing serial lot traceability for medical device manufacturers. Only time will tell how many more ways ERP will change the ace of modern manufacturing.

Even with dedicated software support, learning new software is a time-consuming process. Nevertheless, cutting-edge ERP software is generally a worthwhile investment. Updating software is an essential way to improve workflow processes for medical device manufacturers and distributors. Some managers stubbornly cling to older software that is conveniently familiar. That convenience might come at the expense of slow-bleeding company resources. Modern ERP solutions increase transparency; crucially, they identify processes that are quietly dragging down organizational efficiency. Maintaining an innovative tradition, ERP developers provide crucial tools for connectivity. With ERP, one manager can keep track of key data points for far-flung warehouses, annexes and offices. By allowing greater transparency and communication, ERP helps professionals prioritize their best efforts

Strategies to Automate Your Business Processes

Wouldn’t it be great if you could run your business on autopilot? All of the human capital that goes into producing your product would be automated. Most small to medium-sized businesses spend thousands to millions of dollars each year on manual labor to carry out their business processes.

Of course you are going to need people to run your business, but where many businesses go wrong is when they do not take advantage of the technology that is available to them. Macola, for example, offers extremely intelligent business software systems that eliminate the need for so many employees. If you wish to set your business on autopilot, a software system like Macola ERP solutions may be a great choice to consider.

Consider, also, the competition and its effect on your bottom line. With so many similar businesses, not to mention large companies, to compete with in the marketplace, your enterprise must stay on top of the market and get an edge over other companies that offer similar products. A great way to do that is to upgrade to smart business software that can complete many tasks and lower your business overhead.

Macola ERP Solutions is designed with Business Process Management capabilities. Your partner works with the business to determine needs and then design a system to assist or totally accommodate those requirements. Macola’s software can cover almost all aspects of your business needs. The software contains applications that are designed to complete tasks in accounting, manufacturing, distribution, HR, document management, CRM, and much more.

Macola applications are designed for exceptional accuracy and efficiency. Using Macola ERP Solutions, your company can have a single human resources employee instead of an entire team doing busywork.

Instead of hiring an IT team to create applications for your business, you could simply have one IT employee to run software and train new employees. Macola’s programs are already designed to complete common business tasks, and with a partner who can handle custom solutions, there is less need for an IT department.

Accounting can benefit from automation as well. Macola software is capable of completing tasks such as writing and sending invoices, sending late payment notices, sending non-payment notices, auto-detects, automatic e-mail reminders, accounts receivable and accounts payable tasks, and more. The business automation solution can handle workflow processes, triggers, and has an event manager. Almost all common tasks that burn the majority of employee’s work time can be automated to allow them to handle more important and complex duties throughout the day.

The technology is here and the small investment for a business to purchase software like Macola ERP Solutions is definitely a smart move. Get an edge over your competition and lower your overhead costs by purchasing Macola software through a trusted partner.

Forget Your Competition

Some of the most frequently repeated principles regarding business are concerned with competition. We are constantly being reminded to study, track and outperform our competitors. This advice, however, can lead us astray if it causes you to focus on what others are doing rather than maintaining emphasis on your own efforts.

 

Be Aware of the Competition

You should not ignore the competition or deny that it exists. That would be silly and counterproductive. It’s helpful to be aware of your competitors and to know what they’re up to. For example, if one of your leading competitors releases a new product in your niche, you will naturally be concerned and want to know everything about it. It’s sensible to keep a watchful eye on your industry and to be familiar with the players. There is no denying that competitors can have an impact on factors such as product features, prices and policies. It’s equally important, however, not to become obsessed with the competition.

 

When to Forget About the Competition

Essentially, you should take note of what your competitors are doing and then get back to your real job, which is to focus on your own products, services and, most of all, customers. Too many companies forget this and keep the spotlight on other businesses, those they are trying to outshine. This strategy can easily backfire. For example, if your advertising and promotional campaigns are constantly discussing why you are superior to Product X or Company Y, you are inadvertently calling attention to these other products and companies. Even when you are criticizing something, you are causing people to think about it. What you want people to be thinking about is you.

 

Where to Keep Your Focus

Your primary focus should be on your own business, products and customers. When you try too hard to beat the competition, you are going to be neglecting these crucial issues. Remember, few products are unique in every way. It’s pretty much guaranteed that there will be competitors who offer something similar to you. It’s also true that you are never going to control 100 percent of your market. Fortunately, it’s not necessary for you to beat your competitors into the ground in order to succeed. Your job is to provide the best possible value to your customers so they don’t have a reason to go anywhere else. The best way to do this is to foster an ongoing relationship. Developing that interchange allows you to offer the best possible products and services, clearly convey the benefits you provide and show your customers how much you value them.  The more effective you are at catering to your customers, the less bothered you will be by others in your industry. While you want to be aware of your competitors, they should never be your main concern. Differentiate yourself by offering the best possible customer service every day. Create loyal fans and they will be your best salespeople.

Social Media for Distributers and Manufacturers

Back in the day, when you wanted to get the word our about your products and services, you would have taken out an ad in the Yellow Pages. You paid for each year’s edition. It was costly and static, and there was no way to determine if anyone even saw your listing.

Social media is like the Yellow Pages on steroids. When you are the owner of a business or in charge of maintaining relationships with customers and vendors, it is important to know how to connect and maintain communication at all times.

When you implement social media for your own brand or business, you can open a dialogue with customers, vendors and other potential business partners or associates you may work with in the future. Social media is an ideal outlet to promote brands with giveaways, contests and announcements and is a great platform to build professional relationships.

The Benefits of Social Media

Social media networks are completely free to use for both personal and business purposes. There is a very short learning curve, and since most of us already have personal accounts on Facebook and Twitter, it’s a no brainer to move to the next level and create a brand page for your business. Facebook even walks you through the process step by step, pointing out each aspect of your page as you go.

When you register for an account on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or even Tumblr, you can instantly increase the reach your brand has regardless of the types of products and services you are trying to sell. Create social media pages for your business online to help build long-lasting relationships with potential customers and clients, regardless of the industry you represent.

When you use social media to advertise your brand, there are fewer limitations and restrictions when it comes to reaching specific audiences. You can quickly add posts, images and updates to your social media accounts to keep your viewers and potential customers informed of new releases, sales, discounts and upcoming news you want to share.

Another side benefit is that you can reach customers outside of your immediate target demographic. You can make educated guesses, but you don’t always know where your next customer is coming from. A robust Twitter account gets your message out to the entire world and brings those outside your circle to the table.

Social Media for Business Purposes

Social media is a great way to maintain communication with everyone from family and friends to business associates and networking partners. Perhaps you are seeking new professionals to partner with, or maybe you are on the lookout for new companies for an advertising opportunity, social media helps to save time as opposed to using traditional print methods to market.

When you have social media accounts set up to represent your business or brand, you can easily reach out to ask questions and to get input from individuals who are already your fans online.

A word to the wise: the more consistently you update your social media pages for your business, the easier it is to build a larger base of fans and followers. When you keep your online followers interested and engaged in the content you publish, it is easier to increase sales, and through word of mouth, peak interest in your brand. A social media strategy must have a long tail. Execution is and will always be the key to success.

Should I Purchase my ERP or Rent it?

Should I buy or rent my ERP?

Enterprise resource planning software is more essential than ever before, and if you want to gain an edge over your competitors, you must ensure that you are making the most out of your systems. For small to medium sized businesses, Midsize Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is a worthy upgrade from less encompassing programs like QuickBooks. However, using ERP software involves a number of decisions, such as determining whether renting on a monthly basis or if purchasing is best for your business. Here are a few tips for choosing whether to rent or buy your ERP software.

 

Which is Cheaper?

Ultimately, one option will be more cost effective for your particular business in the long run, and saving money on software gives you the flexibility to spend elsewhere. If you know which package you want to purchase and want to commit for the long term, it may be best to buy it outright. When you buy, you own your system and your data. Typically you get a return for your investment within 5 years. When you pay a monthly fee for a SaaS based solution, your data is hosted in the cloud environment and you pay a recurring monthly fee. The convenience of a rented solution is not dealing with, worrying about, purchasing or maintaining infrastructure. To answer which path is cheaper, compare cost over 5 years. In most cases, purchased solutions end up being the less expensive alternative.

 

Is Flexibility Important?

By renting your ERP software, there are limits to customizations. For those new to ERP, having the ability report on data from within the system is crucial. Having the ability to add custom reporting fields is a benefit of a purchased solution. Work with an experienced provider who can assess your needs and determine which system works best for your organization.

 

Are there options?

The software economy is moving toward a model where applications tend to be rented or cloud based. However, a one time capital expenditure may be more suited for companies that prefer not to commit to a monthly fee. If you are interested in taking advantage of a cloud solution, purchased solutions can be placed in a hosted environment and you won’t have to worry about infrastructure expenses.

 

The Right Size For You

ERP software is valuable for businesses of all sizes, as it allows owners and managers to focus on what they do best instead of dealing with financial nuances and logistics. However, it is important to choose the right package for you and decide whether it is best to make a one-time purchase and maintain a program, or rent it and pay ongoing costs.

How ERP Helps With Business Finances in the Medical Device Sector

Since the very beginning of the computing revolution, business software has enabled new milestones in productivity and operational control. Throughout many industries, companies that implement ERP are able to realize improvements remarkably quickly. Few would disagree that this is an era of expansive business regulations, as well. In particular, corporate finance rules are becoming more numerous and complex. ERP software provides crucial support for responsible firms that prioritize compliance.

The medical technology sector has long valued cutting-edge applications for business. In this growing industry, up-and-coming companies and veteran firms alike value innovative software. There is a growing need for inventory management software for medical device manufacturers or distributors. Medical devices are valuable enough that any amount of loss or damage can affect professional reputations and corporate bottom lines.

Exact Macola is a great example of a business software solution for small to midsized medical device manufacturers or distributors. Innovative and critically well respected, this product supports medical device manufacturing and distribution with serial lot traceability. This sophisticated functionality allows companies to control their inventories with conscientious care. With Macola, Exact has solidified its reputation in the world of business software. Importantly, this company is an established developer that will support its products for many years to come.

Wherever ERP is fully implemented, businesspeople report improved internal transparency and communication. Historically, midsized and larger companies have struggled to understand discrepancies between multiple data sets. With different departments working from differing versions of the same data, it is understandably difficult to realize maximal efficiency. Manually resolving discrepancies is a time-consuming process that can distract from more important tasks. With ERP software, data is streamlined and stays consistent throughout the organization. With this consistency, cross-departmental initiatives and projects can operate far more smoothly.

Like many other industries, the medical technology sector is facing new challenges along with increased opportunities. While the aging of the general population ensures a strong need for medical devices, political and regulatory changes can limit profitability. Instead of passively reacting, cautious firms are acting now to improve efficiency. ERP solutions like Exact Macola can diversely improve workflow processes for medical device manufacturers and distributors. Throughout the business world, ERP applications like these are proving their qualities time and time again.

Does Your Business Really Need Enterprise Resource Planning?

Remember when your accounts receivable department consisted of a person with a sharp pencil, an adding machine, and a four column ledger?  Or how about when your inventory was handled by the high school kid who came in on Saturdays and counted what was in your warehouse?  While a trip down memory lane may bring a smile to your face, it will not bring clients to your retail space.

Today’s consumers are looking for much more.  Tech savvy and easily distracted by your competitors, consumers are doing their research on the fly.  They search the internet for today’s deals and the latest thing.  And they expect instantaneous, smooth service when they interact with your business as well.  This mindset extends beyond individual consumers into the business sector, as wholesale clients have similar expectations.

With the fast pace of business today, it may be time to get back to the basics of what really makes a business both productive and profitable for all concerned.  You know the answer.  Successful businesses keep up with consumer demand, and do it professionally.

To that end, modern businesses usually employ some type of enterprise resource planning technology.  Today’s ERP software must be much more agile than yesterday’s versions.  Examining the components of a comprehensive ERP system can greatly improve your position in the marketplace.

For instance, automation of accounts receivables does much to reduce the time your office staff spends on producing manual invoices, and also ensures quick delivery of those invoices to clients.  This in turn leads to improved cash flow, a real bonus to every business owner.

But a comprehensive ERP solution goes well beyond this.  Integrated software systems can trigger the creation of invoices when the order is filled, while also keeping a much more accurate and up-to-the-minute account of inventory status.  Such a system eliminates the redundancy of entering information into an inventory database and a receivables database.  What was done twice can now be done just once.  It is easy to see how this integrated approach saves time and money.

The same is true for your payables department.  Largely eliminating the need for written checks, an integrated ERP system greatly reduces labor-intensive tasks, freeing your staff to work on more profitable areas of your operation and providing for up-to-the-minute reporting of your cash position.

Not to be ignored are the benefits of ERP solutions which include a nimble CRM component.  With such a system, you can keep your finger on the pulse of your business by understanding consumer trends as they pertain to your enterprise.  This information is invaluable to the modern business owner, as it enables a rapid response to customer demand and optimizes your position in the marketplace.

For more information about how ERP software can work best for you, please contact us today.  We will be glad to help you reach your goals with seamless efficiency and optimum performance.