Friday, June 29, 2018

Who was the Knickerbocker Ice Company?

Are we living through the single most revolutionary time in business? Or does it just feel that way?

When I think about the combined forces of the Internet, cloud computing, social tools, mobile devices and a nearly infinite amount of big data, I wonder how any business can fail to be transformed. (The alternative being to simply fail.)

Then I think of business at the dawn of the industrial era, and I'm convinced that we really are in the midst of revolution. Yet as a fan of history, I play devil's advocate with myself on all this. 

Maybe what the business world is currently experiencing is not all that unique.

I was recently reading about historical periods of business transformation and came across the fascinating history of the ice industry. Yes Sorry - not the Big Ice Age... but the ice business really. 

The 1860s were the height of competitive American ice harvesting, when thriving firms like the Knickerbocker Ice Co. distributed ice to homes and businesses throughout New York. In the early decades of the 20th century, the ice industry was powerful and profitable in the eastern U.S. Then along came refrigeration and home freezers, and the ice party melted.

 It's still a $2.5 billion industry (mostly prepackaged and direct-to-consumer), but dominant players like Knickerbocker went out of business.

What might have happened if those ice companies had asked themselves two simple 

  •  "What business am I in today?
  •  "What business do I need to be in tomorrow?"

Instead of thinking they were only in the ice business, they might have realized they were actually in the delivery business. By thinking a little differently, they might have figured out that those ice-delivery routes were a road map to delivering other goods to homes and businesses. (They could have been FedEx!)

Today's industry leaders constantly ask themselves those two questions. Amazon was a bookstore disrupter and e-book company just a few years ago; now it's the largest online retailer in the world, on its way to becoming a dominant power in cloud computing. Given the technology capabilities at our disposal and the ever-lower barriers to entry in so many markets, every industry is a target for disruption today.

Look at your core business and understand what is not changing and how you can adapt an keep ahead of the market.

Understanding your core business is made easier with a powerful ERP system, 
recognize trends and capabilities by using MDS Trend Graphs and the power of Data Analytics. You have the tools to identify and expand on the important components of your business, its up to you to take advantage. 

Will you be the next FedEx? - or The next Knickerbocker Ice Co?

For more information on TSH or MDS call The Systems House, Inc. at 1-800- MDS-5556. Or send a message to
Click here and tell us how we can help you with your business solutions.

Friday, June 22, 2018

For fax sake

Nod to Marcelo Ballve at CBinsights for the blog title 

How many of you use the fax every day? Interestingly enough we hear disturbing rumors that over 20 years since the birth of the commercial Internet, fax machines remain in wide use in the economy. 

Image result for fax machine meme
According to CBinsights 
Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev said most traditional stock brokerages “still run on paper and fax machines.” 

And get this 

The worst offender appears to be the US health care industry. Surveys show a majority of medical communication, including sharing of patient data, still happens by fax. 

Related image

Might the use of fax machines be positively correlated with an industry’s lack of innovation?
or Is this just an American thing like writing checks?

While we may not understand fully this somewhat old school approach,  we at TSH still have your covered. 

The MDS-Nx System is specifically tailored to the needs of the health care community.  So it is no surprise, We offer an integrated fax option for all your documents and customer communications.  Better yet when using our Cloud based software there is just one low monthly fee including all faxing, emails etc. and no usage based pricing so you can have as many clients and orders and product as you like. 

So while we do encourage you to drop the fax , we don't look down on it. 
on the contrary , whatever your needs,  we provide.. 

So keep on faxing, we got this.. 

For more information on TSH or MDS call The Systems House, Inc. at 1-800- MDS-5556.
 Or send a message to

Click here and tell us how we can help you with your business solutions.

Friday, June 15, 2018

How to make the GPO's work for you..

While not as prevalent today as in the past, there has been tension between group purchasing organizations (GPOs) and distributors over the years. A good deal of the tension was the result of a misunderstanding as to the roles each plays in the supply chain. For instance, many distributors believed — and may still believe — that they are in competition with GPOs.
While its not true for all GPOs and all situations, in the health care industry and in scores of other industries, that is not the case. In fact, instead of competing, distributors often can benefit from their association with GPOs.

The Truth is it's almost impossible to exist in the health care supply chain without some GPO affiliations or membership.

But the fact remains that the distributor remains the key element in the supply chain: the manufactured products are distributed and sold by the distributor and the distributor receives their typical fees and rebates for providing these services.

What Is a GPO?

A group purchasing organization helps its members realize savings on scores of different products and supplies by aggregating member purchasing power. The GPO negotiates discounts from manufacturers and suppliers, which are then passed on to members.
The first GPOs date back to the early 1900s and served the healthcare industry. Today, healthcare still has more GPOs than any other industry sector. According to various studies, from 85 percent to more than 90 percent of all medical facilities in the United States are members of a GPO, and many are members of more than one GPO. These healthcare facilities are purchasing everything from toilet paper to medical supplies through GPO networks.*
The key reason these healthcare facilities have signed up with GPOs is the same reason most organizations join GPOs, and that is to save money. The savings can be significant and tend to be even more significant the larger — and the greater the purchasing needs — of the GPO members. For instance, according to a 2011 report from the Healthcare Supply Chain Association, “GPO enabled hospitals [have] saved up to $33 billion each year through lower priced products [purchased through GPOs].”**
While healthcare is still prominent, many other industry sectors have also embraced GPOs. Among them are foodservice and grocery; industrial manufacturing, especially manufacturers purchasing raw materials; farming; and now cleaning. The following identifies the essential components of a GPO:
  • GPOs do not purchase products in large volumes in exchange for price reductions that are then marketed to GPO members (buyers). (That would be a more like a buying group, not a GPO.)
  • GPOs do not market a manufacturer’s or organization’s products. They are not marketing organizations. Manufacturers decide to work with GPOs because they see it as another profit center that can benefit them and their distributors.
  • Most B2B GPOs make money by receiving a percentage of the purchase price of each sale, along with membership and administrative fees charged to GPO members. These charges do not impact commissions paid to the distributor.
  • GPOs do not distribute products to their members. Delivery of goods or services is between the GPO member and the distributor…and this is where the distributor comes in directly.
In fact, most GPOs know they cannot be successful without having a strong relationship with distributors. According to Steve Tackett, vice president of national accounts with Amerinet ( now IntALere), a GPO that works with the healthcare industry, “Our big allies in all this are the distributors, given the fact that they have more ‘feet on the street’ [calling on end-customers] than we do.” However, it’s a two-way street. One way distributors benefit from GPOs is that GPOs can bring in buyers for one product who then purchase other items from the distributor. And because most GPOs work with larger organizations — for instance, most members of GPO's are large health systems or chains with larger sales — very often these larger customers also become larger buyers of a distributor’s products when compared to a non-GPO member. Another benefit is that very often manufacturers essentially beta test new products with GPO members. This provides the distributor with firsthand knowledge of new technologies entering the industry that may benefit many of their other non-GPO customers.

GPO's also level the playing field to a large extent in that the Pricing you can now get access to from your manufacturers and suppliers is on par or in some cases better then your larger competitors. This is often because the healthcare systems directly negotiate with your suppliers and just as you to service the contracts they have put in place. 

But nothing in life is free....  

The price for this wonderful arrangement is typically in the form a processing fee and a rebate agreement between you and the manufacturer. Most GPO's will take a percentage on top of a rebate you would have to claim and in many cases require and have fairly stringent reporting requirements. 
The Net affect is that when you sell a product figuring out if you are really going to make a profit becomes that much harder. 

This is where the MDS-Nx System comes in, by allowing you to load both contract eligibility and contract pricing into your ERP / Supply chain management system. This allows you to see your true acquistion costs net of your potential future rebate and calculate if the item is really profitable. 
In turn it will also track the sales and create a sales tracing claim for the rebate amount you would normally have to calculate manually 
and creates a Debit claim in your General ledger to tie out your additonal rebates against. 

This allows you to pay vendors with your rebate claims and debit memo's increasing cash flow and available purchasing power. By doing so you can take advantage of positive terms like a 2% cash discount because you are effectively paying them with their own money. 

Rebates and GPO's can sound like a problem and something to avoid. 
But the business climate today doesn't allow you to ignore them any more.

 Your competitors are doing it, you need to do it. So make sure you do it successfully. Partner with a proven solution for the NDC, NuEdge and IMCO direct vendor rebates. Team up with an industry solution that will ensure your company is taking advantage of the latest rebates and GPO management tools. 

Ready to level the playing field?

For more information on TSH or MDS call The Systems House, Inc. at 1-800- MDS-5556. Or send a message to

Click here and tell us how we can help you with your business solutions.

Friday, June 8, 2018

The Psychological Effects of Color

Using the power of color can change how 

people use your software and increase productivity and view your business.  

Like death and taxes, there is no escaping COLOR It is ubiquitous, but it's rarely recognized for it's power to control peoples behavior. By utilizing the "Power of Color" within the MDS system you can easily draw attention or  give simple visual queues on any screen or field with the click of a button. 
As an example the Open Accounts Receivable Screen now shows and past due invoices in RED - alerting a customer service rep visually that the invoice needs to get paid. 

Simple and easy system changes like this allow you to control how people use the system and build a more user friendly environment. 

For more on the power of color see below. 

The Power of Color

Red is an engaging and emotive color. drawing a user's attention to elements on a screen.
Yellow is the first color a person distinguishes in the brain. Excellent for use in classrooms. 
Orange has the characteristics halfway between red and yellow. It is one the best colors for stimulating learning.
Blue is the most tranquilizing color.
Green is also a calming color. Generally Associated with positive or good outcomes. 
Brown promotes a sense of security, relaxation, and reduces fatigue.
Gray is the most neutral color.
Dark Colors lower stress and increase feelings of peacefulness.
Bright Colors such as red, orange, and yellow spark energy and creativity.

How does your software make you feel? 

For more information on TSH or MDS call The Systems House, Inc. at 1-800- MDS-5556. Or send a message to
Click here and tell us how we can help you with your business solutions.