TUG veterans and first time participants both find solutions at TUG Connects.

Nem_160214_084851The rave reviews keep pouring in for TUG Connects 2016, with participants talking about the knowledge they took away from conference sessions and the tips and advice they picked up from their colleagues and peers.

From first-time participants to TUG veterans, we keep hearing how much value participants received from the conference—and how certain they are that they’ll be back next year.

Jumping In With Both Feet

Logan Smith of Alaska Industrial Hardware first heard of TheUserGroup.org a couple of months before the conference. “That first day, I probably read hours’ worth of TUG posts,” he says. “I saw issues we didn’t even know were issues until then, so we were sold.”

The company initially decided to register two staff members for TUG Connects. “Then we started putting checkmarks to every class we wanted to go to, and realized there were more classes than there were enough of us to attend. By the end, we had four full-time employees there for the entire conference,” and “none of us were prepared for how much we learned in those four days.”

Solutions That Work

Before the conference, Smith was looking for a solution to a problem with substitute items coming in from vendors. A simple process in Alaska Industrial’s legacy ERP system seemed to require manual entry in SX.e—until Smith and his team began talking to their colleagues at TUG.

“The first day there, we met someone from another IT department who had the same issue,” Smith recalls. “Not only did he offer to help. He showed us the solution he’d come up with. That was our first impression—two hours into TUG, we had met a group of users who all had the same issue, and one person who was able to share his solution with everyone.”

Another discussion brought an unexpected solution for stock orders in a distribution center running under TWL. Smith says a simple process change will save his company five to 10 minutes per order on a volume of 300 orders per day.

“We were wasting hours of staff time just trying to get orders shipped,” instead of using the counter sales system that already worked well for AIH’s eight retail outlets. “We didn’t know our process was broken,” he says. “We would have just continued on the way it was.”

21 Years of Content and Networking

For Jeff Focke of Shealy Electrical Wholesalers, it’s no news that TUG Connects! is the place to be to get the most out of his distribution software. He’s been attending the conference for 21 years and has no plans to stop.

“What keeps me coming back is the excellent content, and the networking with my fellow users and peers that I’ve worked with over the years,” he says.

Someone recently asked Focke what he gets out of the conference when he’s a regular presenter each year. “I answered by quoting Confucius,” he recalls. “’Only the wisest men and the stupidest men have nothing to learn.’ I always have something to learn and people to share ideas with, to hear about things we may not have considered. It’s just a first-rate forum.”

‘The Business is Always Changing’

TUG Connects! 2016 focused on the transition to the Web UI, but Focke says every year’s conference features state-of-the-art content on the latest industry issues.

“The distribution business model is nothing new, but the business is always changing and evolving,” he says. “So there’s always something new to do, a new way to do it, a new feature set. It’s always something we haven’t thought about before, something new on the horizon that’s going to challenge us and push the limits of what we know, or of what we think we know.”

TUG is Your Gateway to Infor’s Enhancement Request Process

By David White
Chairman, TheUserGroup.org

The new year dawned with Infor putting the finishing touches on a more streamlined, technology-enabled enhancement request process that relies on the TUG portal as a gateway for distribution businesses.

As TUG’s representatives on Infor’s Customer Experience Board since the spring of 2013, Past President Suzanne Minard and I have had a window on the development of the company’s new Enhancement Review System (ERS). Its purpose is to do away with the spreadsheets that all of our Special Interest Group (SIG) leaders have worked so diligently to maintain, just to keep track of the requests members had put forward for different Infor products.

A Universal, Interactive Request System
Through the Customer Experience Board, we learned that the challenges with the previous enhancement process were not limited to distribution: Around the world, and across multiple industries, Infor product managers were constantly trying to manage and balance a continuing flurry of requests, with little transparency for the users whose needs they were striving to meet. So the Customer Experience Board agreed on an audacious goal. Working with Infor, we set out to create a universal, interactive system for all enhancement requests that would be transparent to all licensed users of Infor products.

It took a lot of time and hard work. But as of February 9, SX.e users have access to a system that:

  • Brings all enhancement requests together on a single platform
  • Creates a space where users can comment on current requests
  • Gives TUG members a one-stop platform to help Infor deliver solid products and enhancements that will help keep our businesses viable for decades to come.

The system is available for SX.e and Infor SyteLine during the initial rollout. It will be extended to all distribution ERPs later this spring.

Volunteering: The More You Give, the More You Get Back
With TheUserGroup.org actively searching for volunteers to serve as committee members and chairs, the saga of the Enhancement Review System has really reinforced my sense that the more you contribute to your user group, the more you get back.

It’s a hard message to swallow when you’re scrambling to fit 10 hours of work into an eight-hour day. But when I look back on my years of involvement with TUG, I know that the professional network I’ve built—with my peers across the industry, and with dozens of key contacts at Infor—is a cornerstone of my ability to work smarter and faster, more globally and more profitably.

Your active participation in TUG gives you the knowledge and exposure to help your company get the most out of its investment in Infor products. And your contact with other volunteers is a constant opportunity to learn what they’re doing in their businesses, giving you ideas that you can bring back to make a difference in your own work.