AIMS Apparel ERP software – Microsoft XP Alert

Is your clothing manufacturing or wholesale/distribution business PC’s or home PC’s a part of the 300 million computers still running on XP?  If so, please be aware that come April 8, Microsoft will discontinue providing updates to it’s Windows XP operating system. 
This means that you will no longer receive patches or security updates which in turn will increase the chance of your system getting hacked.  Millions of computers from personal, to corporate, to government systems will be effected.
Microsoft will be offering $100 off new Windows 8 PCs on its Microsoft Stores to anyone who can present their existing Windows XP device to a store associate or via online.  Click here to view the deals online.
“Windows XP: Old Platforms Die Hard, Security Risks Live On”
SOURCE: Walls Street Journal

Some 300 million computers, including many that manage water, electric and sewage treatment plants and ATMs, will soon be left unprotected from new security threats.

 Microsoft will stop providing security updates to its XP operating system on April 8, leaving gaping holes in computers that run utilities, ATMs and many government agencies. Rachael King reports on digits. Photo: Getty Images.

Microsoft Corp. will stop providing updates to its Windows XP operating system after April 8, leaving holes in some computers running industrial systems as well as PCs at many government agencies.

Despite the publicity generated by this deadline, more than 10% of computers used in government and corporations world-wide will still use the 12-year-old operating system, according to cybersecurity firm Qualys Inc. Including consumer PCs, the share of desktops running XP is nearly 30%, according to researcher NetApplications.

Microsoft has been warning its customers of the coming change for years—it even has a countdown clock on its website. As the deadline approaches, the U.S. government has been urging IT administrators at utility companies and other constituents to upgrade.

The software giant itself will further contribute to the problem in May, when Microsoft issues updates to Windows 7 and Windows 8, more modern operating systems built on a similar blueprint as XP. The patches Microsoft sends for those operating systems will be pointing hackers to possible weak spots in XP without supplying the fix.

“[It's like] there’s a big air bubble on the side of your tire and it’s going to fail. It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when,” said Mark Bernardo, general manager of automation software at General Electric Co. GE 0.00% ‘s Intelligent Platforms division. The unit sells industrial control systems and software used to manage everything from electricity flow in power plants to assembly lines at manufacturers.

Between 30% and 35% of his customers are still using XP, said Mr. Bernardo. Over the last year, GE has tried to get its customers to upgrade to Windows 7.1, which is four years old. He said the most reluctant to upgrade, by far, have been water and wastewater utilities, due to the cost, he said. One water utility in Merrill, Wisc., spent $700 per computer to upgrade to Windows 7.1, including hardware.

About 95% of the 211,000 ATMs owned by financial institutions, run some version of XP. But some of those machines run on a unique version Microsoft will support until 2016, according to a Department of Homeland Security memo sent in March. Independent companies, such as gas stations, own another 210,000.

Executives at major financial institutions say they have taken steps to mitigate the problem. Part of that response may be software that prevents any new software from being uploaded to the ATMs—what security experts call whitelisting.

“Citibank is in the process of migrating ATMs away from Windows XP,” Citigroup Inc. spokesman Andrew Brent said. “We have plans in place that will maintain the protection of our ATMs during this transition.” Other large banks offered similar assurances.

One reason companies have been slow to upgrade their operating systems is the complexity, especially for some older ATMs that require physical visits for an upgrade. “It’s not as simple as upgrading a desktop PC… When it comes to an ATM, it’s a whole different ballgame,” said Robert Johnson, director of enterprise software at NCR Corp., which claims a 30% market share for ATMs in the U.S. and globally.

Hackers have a long history of taking advantage of unprotected software to create damage in the physical world. Vulnerabilities in XP were among those exploited by the Stuxnet virus that was reported in 2010 to have destroyed centrifuges in Iran’s nuclear-enrichment facilities in Natanz, according to Roel Schouwenberg, principal security researcher at security firm Kaspersky Lab.

Hackers who brought down South Korean ATMs and other systems last spring used at least one piece of malicious code that targeted XP, according to researchers at security firm Symantec Corp.

The U.S. government is trying to raise the alarm about the physical damage that can occur. A July 2012 memo from the Environmental Protection Agency to U.S. water utilities highlighted a breach to computer systems in Queensland, Australia that resulted in 264,000 tons of sewage being released into streams and park land. According to the same memo, a hacker used the Internet to penetrate security of a Harrisburg, Pa., water filtering plant in 2006. The intruder planted malicious software that was capable of affecting the plant’s water treatment operations, the EPA said. The EPA didn’t identify the operating system that was penetrated in either case.

In May 2013, security firm Invincea Inc. found hackers used a flaw in XP systems running Internet Explorer 8 to target visitors to a Department of Labor website detailing rights of workers who deal with nuclear materials. “The target wasn’t the Department of Labor, it was the people who would visit a website about the hazard of dealing with nuclear materials,” said Anup Ghosh, the CEO of Invincea.

XP, introduced by Microsoft in 2001, is a tempting target because it remains so prevalent, and it is known to be vulnerable to cyberattacks. “If there’s one core reason we’re retiring the operating systems, it’s security issues,” said Microsoft spokesman Tom Murphy.

Beginning in May, many of the patches Microsoft creates for Windows 7 and Windows 8 still would apply to Windows XP, since the systems have similar code. “We are aware that Microsoft updates are often reverse-engineered to determine the root cause,” said Mr. Murphy, who said this is a major reason why the company is encouraging customers to upgrade.

“Do we want people to buy the latest version of our operating system? Yes we do,” Mr. Murphy said. But he noted that the company supported Windows XP for two years longer than any other operating system.

Write to Rachael King at rachael.king@wsj.com and Danny Yadron at danny.yadron@wsj.com

Click here to go to Wall Street Journal article.

AIMS 360 Apparel ERP Software – Automated Software Integration in the Apparel Industry

AIMS360′ article “Automated Software Integration in the Apparel Industry” was recently published in Apparel News.  The article discusses “Application Programming Interface”  (API) and how your business tools can speak to each other.  Using an API helps bridge gaps with the tools that you may use such as AIMS360, JOOR, NuOrder, Brandboom, Shopify, Magento, factors etc. building efficiencies using a backend system to centralize and process data.

To read the article, click here.

To learn more about AIMS360, how it uses APIs, and who we integrate with, contact us today.

310-361-5710 | info@aims360.com | www.aims360.com

AIMS 360 Apparel ERP Software – AIMS RemoteLink – Feature Update

The latest update of the AIMS RemoteLink’ iPad app includes a useful shopping cart feature that allows for easier order tracking.  As you add orders using the AIMS RemoteLink order taking app, you will see a number at the top right corner of “Cart”, which will indicate the number of items that are being ordered.  Simply scroll through your look book, select an item, add it to your cart, swipe to scroll to the next color or new item you want and select “Add to Order”, and you will see the number increase in your cart.  The good thing is that you can select the quantities for each item in the cart after you are done selecting what the customer would like to order.

 

 

ABOUT AIMS REMOTELINK

AIMS RemoteLink is the leading order taking app for Sales Reps and Showrooms that are on the go.  From trade shows to any off-site location around the globe, AIMS RemoteLink is your solution.


Contact us to day to learn more about AIMS RemoteLink and how it will benefit your business!

AIMS 360 Apparel ERP Software – U.S. Eccomerce Sales Could Top $434 Billion in 2017

With record setting sales figures for the holiday season, it s more apparent that apparel businesses can capture a larger market share, globally, with a well functioning e-commerce site.

E-retail sales in the United States will grow at a compound annual growth rate of approximately 14% over the next four years, topping out at $434.2 billion in 2017, according to a new projection from eMarketer Inc.

The research firm expects 2013 e-commerce sales, excluding travel and ticketing, will reach $258.9 billion, up nearly 15.0% from $225.2 billion 2012. Annual growth rates will taper off slightly each year following: 14.6% in 2014, 14.2% in 2015, 13.6% in 2016 and 12.8% in 2017, eMarketer says.

Mobile devices will play a larger role in generating web sales. The research firm says smartphones and tablets now account for 11% of e-commerce sales. It predicts that share will reach 25% by 2017. EMarketer says it bases its forecasts on historical data from the U.S. Commerce Department and on data and trend analysis from e-commerce experts.

Current and projected sales statistics show strong web sales for products in the apparel and accessories category. EMarketer says e-retail sales of apparel and accessories will reach $54.2 billion this year in the United States, accounting for 20.9% of 2013 total web sales. Only computer and consumer electronics has greater sales and share at $56.8 billion and 21.9%.

EMarketer, however, predicts apparel and accessories online sales will post the strongest compound annual growth rate, 17.2%, through 2017, whereas computer and consumer electronics will grow at a compound annual rate of 15.3%, trailing behind food and beverage (17.0%), books/music/video (16.3%), and toys and hobby (16.2%) categories.  In 2016, apparel and accessories and computer and consumer electronics sales will account for $175.7 billion in web sales, or 45.6% of total U.S. web sales.

Article and Image Source: http://www.internetretailer.com/2013/04/25/us-e-commerce-sales-could-top-434-billion-2017

Don’t have an online presence or want to maximize your e-commerce potential, contact us today and learn more about AIMS EasyShop (B2C e-commerce shopping cart) and our Shopify and Magento API integrations with the AIMS system.

 

310-361-5710 | info@aims360.com | www.aims360.com

AIMS 360 Apparel ERP Software – How Factoring Works

To be successful in the fashion industry, one needs to have talent, out-of-the-box creativeness, and the right automation tools (such as apparel ERP software).  Clothing manufacturing companies also need a steady cash flow.

Trying to maintain a balance between creative designs and expenditures is one of the hardest tasks an apparel business faces.

These days companies have a variety of borrowing options available that will help make this task easier:

  • Traditional Banks – offer business loans
  • Trade Credit Insurance – help manage trade credit risk and insure accounts receivables
  • Factors – purchase companies A/R at a reduced amount of the face value of invoices

More About Factors

Today, many apparel companies rely on factors to process their orders.  So what is a factor? Factoring, also known as “accounts receivable financing,” is an alternative form of financing used by startup companies all the way up to multi-billion dollar corporations. An apparel factor will purchase and assume responsibility of a company’s accounts receivables while making it possible to secure the working capital needed for business growth (and yes, sometimes survival!) without creating new debt. Factoring helps a business meet payroll, take advantage of supplier discounts, and/or increases liquidity.

While factoring has been used for hundreds of years, it became popular in the U.S. garment industry during the1980s and 90s when receivables were not being paid as quickly as companies were receiving orders. Compounding this problem were rising interest rates, tighter credit, and strict bank regulations that made it difficult for businesses, especially small apparel businesses, to get traditional financing.

Benefits of a Factor

From time-to-time clothing manufactures see cash flows become sluggish. While a bank loan will take anywhere from 30 to 90 days to process, a factor can get an approval on cash for unpaid invoices within 24 hours and have that money in your hands in less than a week. Furthermore, clothing manufacturers are often faced with the realities that come with seasonal sales. Through factoring, a business can leverage the benefits of a factor’s accounts receivable management system without the added cost of an in-house credit or collections department.

While fashion businesses are focusing on designing, manufacturing, etc., factors are working continuously to make sure that the business has the capital necessary to pay for materials and equipment needed to make and manufacture goods and pay your apparel business’s overhead and expenses (i.e. payroll and rent).

Factors offers:

  •   Experienced and professional credit and collection teams
  • Competitive rates
  • Up to 90% advances against the face amount of your unpaid invoices with appropriate documentation
  • Quick and flexible responses on credit requests
  • State of the art system with online access to view ones account
  • SBA and residential mortgage programs

Factor Integration with an Apparel ERP Software

A key compliment to any apparel factor is an inventory management system.  Many factors are seeing the value and the considerable time savings by integrating with a fashion software.  With the right system in place and managing a businesses orders properly, a factor can quickly:

  • Process invoices
  • Make cash flow decisions
  • Send cash to the business

An ERP system not only makes passing on information to a factor much faster, but it also creates additional efficiencies.  The factor simply pulls the information that they need directly from the system or the client can pull it and send it to the factor directly.  Either way, the process helps eliminate the need for double entry and reduces the chances of human error.

Using the AIMS 360 system, with a few clicks of your mouse, one can:

  • Transmit Orders – select and send all orders that have not been submitted to the factor
  • Receive Decisions – Request approval or decline decisions from the factor
  • Submit Invoices – once orders are shipped, one can select invoices and send them to the factor electronically

The automation makes the approval process faster, more precise, eliminates double entry, reduces human error and speeds up the time it takes to get funding for any apparel business.

Companies don’t want to lose revenue by missing a shipping deadline because they are waiting for a credit approval to be processed.  By implementing the proper apparel software system with factor integration, one can relax while their business runs smoothly.

AIMS integrates with the top factors in the apparel industry such as Wells Fargo, CIT, Continental Business Credit Inc. (CBC), TFI, BB&T, Hilldun, Rosenthal & Rosenthal, Bibby Financial (does not integrate with AIMS system), Hana Financial, Merchants Factor (re-factor) and soon with Milber Factors.

To learn more about how the AIMS 360 factor integration can help your business run proficiently, contact us today!

AIMS 360: 310-361-5710info@aims360.com | http://www.aims360.com

AIMS 360 Apparel ERP Software – 2013 Black Friday Billions

With all the buzz of Black Friday, millions of people flocked to their desktops to make online purchases.  Not only did millions of consumers make purchases, they made history, marking the first billion dollar online shopping day of the 2013 Holiday Season.  Apparel & Accessories ranked as top product category and once again Amazon ranked top online retailer.

Black Friday Billions: $1.2 Billion in Desktop E-Commerce Spending Marks First Billion-Dollar Online Shopping Day of the 2013 Holiday Season

Americans Opting for ‘Couch Commerce’ Help Drive 21-Percent gain on Thanksgiving Day Spending at $766 Million

Apparel & Accessories Ranks Top Product Category, While Amazon is Once Again the Top Online Retailer

ESTON, Va., Dec. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ – comScore (NASDAQ : SCOR), a leader in measuring the digital world, today reported U.S. desktop retail e-commerce spending for the first 29 days of the November–December 2013 holiday season. For the holiday season-to-date, $20.6 billion has been spent online, marking a 3-percent increase versus the corresponding days last year.

Due to variation in the 2012 and 2013 holiday shopping calendars with Thanksgiving falling so late this year, current season figures are being compared to last year’s, which contain a full week of heavy post-Thanksgiving/Cyber Week buying. As a result, the season-to-date growth rate is being artificially suppressed in the short term, with the effects likely to normalize as the season progresses. (An alternative comparison to the four weeks preceding Thanksgiving in 2012 shows a growth rate of 24 percent, which overstates the growth trend much in the way the current rate understates the real growth trend.)

Black Friday 2013 (November 29) saw $1.198 billion in desktop online sales, making it the season’s first billion dollar day and heaviest online spending day to date, while representing a 15-percent increase versus Black Friday 2012. Thanksgiving Day (November 28), while traditionally a lighter day for online holiday spending, achieved a strong 21-percent increase over Thanksgiving Day last year to $766 million.

2013 Holiday Season To Date vs. Corresponding Days* in 2012

Non-Travel (Retail) E-Commerce Spending

Excludes Auctions and Large Corporate Purchases

Total U.S. – Home & Work Desktop Computers

Source: comScore, Inc.

Millions ($)
2012 2013 Percent Change
Nov. 1-29, 2013 vs. Nov. 2-30, 2012 $19,956 $20,574 3%
Nov. 1-29, 2013 vs. Oct. 26-Nov. 23, 2012 $16,530 $20,574 24%
Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 28, 2013) $633 $766 21%
Black Friday (Nov. 29, 2013) $1,042 $1,198 15%

*Corresponding days based on corresponding shopping days (November 2 thru November 30, 2012)

“While Black Friday – and now Thanksgiving Day – is the traditional kick-off to the brick-and-mortar holiday shopping season, both days continue to grow in importance on the online channel,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. “Clearly many consumers prefer to avoid the crowds and lines typically associated with Black Friday by shopping from the comfort of their own homes, and we saw a record 66 million Americans do that this year. Also interesting is that the recent trend of kick-starting holiday shopping by opening stores on Thanksgiving Day seems to be having a spillover effect on the online channel. Thanksgiving once again posted a well above average growth rate and is the fastest-growing online shopping day over the past five years, as more Americans opt for couch commerce following their Thanksgiving Day festivities.”

Amazon Ranks #1 Among Online Retailers on Black Friday

66.1 million Americans visited online retail sites on Black Friday using a desktop computer, representing an increase of 16 percent versus year ago. Amazon once again ranked as the most visited online retail site on Black Friday, followed by eBay, Walmart, Best Buy and Target.

Most Visited Retailer Properties on Black Friday

Black Friday 2013

Total U.S. – Home & Work Desktop Computers

Source: comScore, Inc.

Retail Property
1 Amazon
2 eBay
3 Walmart
4 Best Buy
5 Target

Apparel & Accessories Leads the Way for Holiday Category Spending

For the holiday season-to-date, Apparel & Accessories ranks as the leading product category for the season-to-date, accounting for 28 percent of online spending. Computer Hardware ranks #2 at 19 percent, followed by Consumer Electronics (7 percent), Consumer Packaged Goods (5 percent) and Shipping Services (5 percent).

Top Online Product Categories by Dollar Sales in 2013 Holiday Season to Date

Non-Travel (Retail) E-Commerce Spending

Excludes Auctions and Large Corporate Purchases

Total U.S. – Home & Work Desktop Computers

Source: comScore, Inc.

Category Share (%) of Online Dollar Sales
Apparel & Accessories 28%
Computer Hardware 19%
Consumer Electronics 7%
Consumer Packaged Goods 5%
Shipping Services 5%
All Other Product Categories 36%

The Apparel & Accessories category is posting particularly strong sales this holiday season as compared to the rest of the year with nearly double its baseline (i.e. January through October) market share while leap-frogging Computer Hardware to be the top-grossing product category. Notably, Computer Hardware is also outperforming its baseline market share for the prior ten months.

SOURCE  comScore, Inc.

RELATED LINKS
http://www.comscore.com

Actual PR Newswire Press Release

Don’t have an online presence or want to maximize your e-commerce potential, contact us today and learn more about AIMS EasyShop (B2C e-commerce shopping cart) and our Shopify and Magento API integrations with the AIMS system.
310-361-5710 | info@aims360.com | www.aims360.com

AIMS 360 WebLink Software Update – Style and Color Descriptions

We have made an update to AIMS360 WebLink that will allow searching for style and color much easier!  In each of the order entry pages such as the style details page, line sheet order entry page, and quick order entry pages, descriptions for the style and color are now displayed with certain characters.  The pop-up window has been removed and now you can see a vertical scroll bar with the description in it.

AIMS360 WebLink is a Web-based online wholesale B2B e-commerce shopping cart built specifically for your customers.  Create custom collections, check inventory levels, apply special pricing and discounts, conduct B2B email marketing, and much more.  best of all, AIMS360 WebLink integrates seamlessly with the AIMS system allowing for real time inventory and order placing management.

To learn more about AIMS360 WebLink, and the many other add-ons that integrate with your AIMS system, please contact your Account Advisor today!

310-361-5710 | info@aims360.com | www.aims360.com

AIMS 360 Apparel ERP Software Speaks at Cal State Fullerton

Hernan Zegarra, Director of Membership of ALPFA (California State University Fullerton chapter), invited AIMS 360 to speak to members of ALPFA on Wednesday October 16th.  Henry Cherner presented students a first hand glimpse into the business side of the fashion industry, explained apparel principles and costing, and discussed production management, integration, and the necessities of an apparel ERP software. AIMS60′ Nikki Colletti, Cheryl Lipton, and Chris Walia were also present and added more insight to various aspects of the industry and how their majors could apply.  Following the presentation, members of the organizations asked questions and inquired about getting AIMS Certified.

ALPFA is dedicated to connect industry leaders and innovators to students across the U.S.  ALPFA is a national nonprofit membership organization for Latino business professionals and students, and  is dedicated to enhancing opportunities for Latinos in business, accounting, finance and related professions and creating more diversity in corporate America. To learn more about ALPFA, visit http://www.alpfa.org/.

 

If you would like AIMS360 to come visit your trade school, university, organization, etc. and/or would like to learn more about how to get AIMS Certified, please contact us today!

310.361.5710 | info@aims360.com | www.aims360.com

NEW AIMS360 Feature – Add Order Lines Quickly

We have made the order data entry process even easier and quicker within AIMS360.  Simply start by typing in the style code.  After typing in the first 3 characters the application will automatically display the related styles in a dropdown list.  You can use your down/up arrows to select and add the corresponding style to the order. 

If there are multiple colors of the same style, the options will be populated in a colors dropdown.

This is one of the many innovative features added to help you save time and run your business efficiently.

To learn more about this feature and the many other features within AIMS360 that will make life a little less stressful, click here.

New AIMS360 RemoteLink Interface – iOS 7 Release

With the release of the new iOS 7 from Apple, AIMS has redesigned AIMS360 RemoteLink to give users an even more amazing experience with the new operating system.  The redesigned AIMS360 RemoteLink offers a more stylish interface and easy-to-use navigation.  We have changed the icons to words making it more simple to navigate through the app and making your order taking a lot easier.

Check out some of the screenshots from the new version:


 

 

 

Take Orders Anytime, Anywhere!

AIMS360 RemoteLink is the only native order taking iPad app for sales reps and showrooms.  Turn your iPad in to one of the trendiest devices used to run your business.  Features include:
- Real-time inventory – view open to sell instantly
- Email and print customized linesheets, look books, and invoices for customers
- Browse collections by season
- Real-times sales analytics: Sales reports, commission reports, order reports, and more
- Arrange appointments
- Time and action planning
- Swipe credit card
- Take electronic signatures
- Scan business cards
- Integrate seamlessly with AIMS360 for back-end order processing and inventory management
- Works offline
- No internet connection needed
… AND MUCH MORE!
To check out the newly designed AIMS360 RemoteLink and learn how this remote system can help improve, streamline processes and increase ROI for your business, contact an Account Advisor or visit our website today!

310-361-5710 | info@aims360.com | www.aims360.com