ERP

Reasons to choose Microsoft Dynamics 365 for your business in 2022

Reasons to choose Microsoft Dynamics 365 for your business

Reasons to choose Microsoft Dynamics 365 for your business 2400 900 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

Cloud based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software continues to shine as more companies focus on moving away from archaic legacy solutions. Modern replacements are able to do more now than ever thought possible, including processing much more complicated tasks to fill modern needs and requirements.

With ERP solutions becoming increasingly important to properly running a modern business, choosing the right one is a big deal. Once things like budget, timeframe, and availability are addressed – the final decision is often a compromise based on the needs of different departments like; Sales and Marketing, Operations, Customer Support, Financial Management, and more.

One of the best all-round solutions available is Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 line of products – designed as all-in-one enterprise resource planning solutions that help businesses stay competitive in their fields.

With millions of customers using Microsoft Dynamics in more than 150 countries worldwide, it’s worth understanding how this popular solution can benefit your business as well.

Sales and Marketing

While most departments stand to benefit from Microsoft Dynamics 365, sales and marketing departments will find many of its tools especially helpful. Microsoft Dynamics 365 helps enterprises manage all kinds of professional activities – like marketing, sales, service delivery, and more – under one roof. For example, its native capabilities for data capture and customer relationship management help salespeople move more smoothly through every part of their day.

When it comes to marketing campaigns, Dynamics 365 is able to automate much of a campaign’s launch so marketers can focus on other tasks that require more time and attention. It also enables cloud deployments by default which guarantees high levels of agility and flexibility without making existing investments obsolete.

Let’s discuss the best offerings from Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP for your business needs in 2022

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Operations and Customer Support

Operations departments will benefit greatly from Microsoft Dynamics 365’s ability to integrate with CRM and other back-office applications. User management, reporting, and information sharing become much easier when all these different systems are operating on one platform.

Customer support teams can use online chat or emails to collect feedback from customers who contact them. Microsoft Dynamics 365 helps sales teams stay organized by setting up follow-up reminders, so they don’t forget about clients after an initial meeting.

Financial Management and Regulations

Microsoft Dynamics 365 provides financial departments with a single source of real-time data to manage accounts payable, accounts receivable, and more. Financial departments are often under immense pressure to deliver accurate numbers as fast as possible to management and stakeholders.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 will cut down on accounting errors by providing accurate data that is easy to access. This should make it easier for CFOs and auditors to find insights into improving business processes.

It’s also designed to meet compliance regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX), Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), etc. These regulations require companies across all industries to take steps to protect information held or transmitted on their systems against unauthorized access or disclosure.

This is an area where the functionality in Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 products is invaluable.

Business Intelligence

Being able to monitor critical KPIs along with real-time operational data can be the difference between succeeding or simply operating. Every company needs a way to track this information, allowing them to react to any scenario that may arise. The Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Intelligence (BI) solution is designed to help analyze and monitor data from multiple sources and deliver information that can be used to make strategic decisions.

Business Intelligence departments choose Microsoft Dynamics 365 because of its ability to integrate with other Microsoft products. Another reason departments choose one software or another is the cost, and D365 has proven cost-effective, able to increase revenue through increased operational efficiency. Microsoft’s solution offers real-time insight into how a company is performing while offering a single source of information that can be accessed quickly and easily at any time. This enables a company to adapt its sales, marketing, and procurement strategies quicker, giving them an edge over the competition.

Project Management

Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers project management departments their own powerful set of tools to help manage and streamline their projects. These tools include time reporting, Gantt charts, and more advanced features like project prioritization and resource management. As soon as they launch Microsoft Dynamics 365’s streamlined Project Management module users see how much easier it is to organize tasks, track time spent on certain tasks, and manage progress overall.

Also, with full integration into other modules within Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) it becomes possible to seamlessly pull data from all parts of an organization together into one central location; giving managers better insight into data across divisions without having to manually search for information or sift through emails.

In addition, Microsoft’s D365 Project Management can help alleviate an often overlooked problem in small businesses: meeting basic compliance requirements.

Final Thoughts – Dynamics 365 in 2022

Regardless of industry, choosing to implement an ERP today is a big step. Pick the wrong ERP or fumble the implementation and you risk creating significant disruptions to your operations. Microsoft’s devotion and recent investments into their Dynamics 365 products have topped millions of dollars to create systems that balance functionality and affordability.

Because Microsoft Dynamics 365 is so affordable and user-friendly, it’s no wonder that businesses from all sectors choose Dynamics 365 as their system of record. In fact, Dynamics 365 has been adopted by over 1 million users worldwide since it was launched in 2016! Building to this point, Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 system is primed to continue as a leader in 2022. So what are we waiting for? It’s easy to get started with Microsoft Dynamics 365 today!

About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company and delivers transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com

Handling Different Types of Purchase Orders in Microsoft Dynamics 365

Handling Different Types of Purchase Orders in Microsoft Dynamics 365

Handling Different Types of Purchase Orders in Microsoft Dynamics 365 2400 900 Xcelpros Team

By the Numbers

  • $35.88: The minimum cost of a PO according to APCQ.
  • $506.52: The estimated maximum cost of a manual purchase order according to APCQ.
  • $53-$741: The average cost range of POs according to CAPS Research.
  • $60,000: APCQ’s estimated annual cost associated with manually producing purchase orders.

POs and the departments that approve them

  • 8%: No approval required
  • 21%: Finance
  • 52%: Budget owners
  • 84%: Supply management

Introduction

Today, purchase orders (POs) are the lifeblood of all companies, especially manufacturers. Being able to properly use POs helps in a number of different ways, including:

  1. 1.Simplifying the ordering process, making it easy to find approved items and place orders.
  2. 2.Aiding in budgeting by helping you determine how much you need to spend and how much you need to sell.
  3. 3.Enabling accurate planning by providing insights into company performance.
  4. 4.Warning of unexpected expenses when a PO is submitted, providing time to research it.
  5. 5.Confirming the quantity and price of goods bought or sold, eliminating miscommunication.
  6. 6.Providing legal protection against errors in quantities or unexpected price increases.
  7. 7.Controlling spending by limiting who can place and approve POs.
  8. 8.Tracking spending by providing details into where your money goes.
  9. 9.Helping manage vendors by seeing who delivers on time at the agreed price and who is late or constantly complaining.
  10. 10.Improving inventory management by telling you what should be arriving compared to what actually arrives.

Types of Purchase Orders

Most POs used today typically fall into one of four types. An automated purchase order system helps manage each of these types of POs.

1.Standard Used for one-time orders such as office furniture.

2.Planned purchase orders (PPOs)Typically lacking a delivery date and location, they are used for restocking items at irregular intervals.

3.Blanket purchase orders (BPOs), also known as “standing orders.”While similar to PPOs, they lack the known quantity in addition to having uncertain delivery dates. Vendors may place limits on quantities so they can deliver.

4.Contract purchase ordersUsed to set the terms and conditions for future purchase orders. Their main function is ensuring a smooth ordering process.

The Disadvantage of Manual Purchase Order Systems

The job of a purchase order automation system is to send each PO to the appropriate staff member for review and approval. These systems leverage existing purchasing processes and rules to perform their jobs while protecting your business at the same time.

Modern automated systems are often used to counter major issues associated with older manual PO processes.

Figure: 1Disadvantages of an Manual PO System

Disadvantages of an Manual PO System

Compared to modern, automated systems, manually created POs tend to suffer from a number of drawbacks, including the following:

  1. 1.They’re less efficient
  2. 2.They’re paper heavy
  3. 3.They lack accountability
  4. 4.They open the company to security risks
  5. 5.They lack process regulation
  6. 6.They’re often time intensive

Using an automated system for POs in place of any older, manual processes results in a number of benefits, regardless of a company’s size:

  • Increased cost savings
  • Reduced human input error
  • More visibility into the PO process
  • Increased flexibility and control

Most importantly:

  • Improved process efficiency

Improving process efficiency is usually overlooked in a businesses day-to-day affairs, but this boost to efficiency is huge and provides a number of key benefits, including:

  • Significantly reducing the time between orders being placed and shipped.

And

  • Providing a verifiable audit trail so a manager wanting to know the status of a requested item can get a real-time view of the order. If a discrepancy occurs, the PO provides a written record.

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Benefits of a Modern PO Management System

According to a recent Altametrics blog, a purchase order management, “is an in-house procurement process implemented by businesses to make certain that every purchase is required, accounted for, and augmented for costs. The purpose is to ensure workers are following all policies and procedures before fulfilling a purchase order.”

Using a modern automated PO management system ensures that all orders are created, approved, and dispatched according to current policies and procedures set in place by the organization. These systems exist to ensure that your company has complete control of its purchasing, along with the ability to make quick adjustments in the event of an emergency.

Once generated, these purchase orders are considered a binding contract

  • Company A agrees to pay the stated price for the listed items upon delivery from Company B.
  • Company B agrees to provide the goods on time, and at the agreed-upon price, terms and conditions.

If any mistakes are realized, a modern PO management system provides a streamlined way to quickly resolve any discrepancies.

Properly managed POs:

  • Eliminate overpayments
  • Reduce damaged goods
  • Save time
  • Eliminate inefficiencies

Modern PO management systems start by examining a company’s current methods to identify bottlenecks and ways to improve efficiency. These systems are able to strictly adhere to existing procurement policies and procedures using simple guidelines. This enables shop floor workers to make requests that are converted into accurate POs.

PO management systems also help to organize existing information. For example, they can create a real-time vendor management database showing which companies are approved. This helps buyers know exactly who they can deal with to get what they need, and when.

Another tangible benefit is the ability for workers to directly track the status of any current POs. Instead of having someone else take time away from their duties to provide an update, workers can quickly log into the system and find out themselves.

The best PO management systems not only make it easy to create and track POs, they can also share the information seamlessly with other departments when included as part of an overall Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution.

Procurement and Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management

One of our favorite ERP solutions is Microsofts Dynamics 365, a modular ERP system that includes asset management and procurement functions in its Supply Chain Management module.

Located in the Asset Management > Common > Procurement > Work order purchase requisition section, this software shows a list of purchase orders related to work orders. It also shows how the purchased goods are used in relation to assets, maintenance jobs, spare parts and work orders.

This module can be configured to indicate any potential delays. The system can generate notifications giving management teams different options to resolve the issue

  • Wait out the delay or
  • Find an alternate supplier.

As well, work orders, job orders and purchase orders can all be tied to each other through the Supply Chain Management module. The end result is visibility:

  • Purchasing knows what items are in the pipeline,
  • The warehouse knows what is coming,
  • Production knows when the materials it needs will arrive, and
  • Sales knows when customers can expect delivery of their finished goods.

Note: Click here to see how to create a purchase order in Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management.

Dynamics 365’s Supply Chain Management module also lets you control other aspects of the purchase order process. It provides a number of critical business functions, including creating purchasing policies, product receipts and invoices, and more. More than just a PO management program, Supply Chain Management also has direct ties to rebates, production controls, service management, transportation, warehousing plus sales and marketing.

By providing everything from an overhead view of your entire supply chain to the status of an individual PO, Supply Chain management provides companies of any size with the information they need to control their inventory.

The Bottom Line

Purchase orders continue to be an integral part of all businesses. Continuing to manually enter this data—and trying to keep track of it all on paper—makes the process cumbersome, and prone to mistakes and expensive errors.

An automated PO management system, like that included in Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 solutions, helps reduce the amount of manual inputs, ensures only permitted vendors are used and simplifies the approval process, even automatically approving smaller purchases, debiting them to a department’s budget, or forwarding them to the right department for approval.

Connecting this PO management system to your overall inventory control system is one of the best ways to ensure you always have the right amount of materials on hand to meet your production and sales goals.

About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company and delivers transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com

Managing Production Resources With MRP and ERP

Managing Production Resources With MRP and ERP

Managing Production Resources With MRP and ERP 2400 900 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

Materials requirements planning requires:

  • Inventory control
  • Master production schedules
  • Sales forecasts

The most accurate MRP also includes communications with departments outside of production, keeping everyone aware of what’s going on

Introduction

An ERP (enterprise resource planning software) with an integrated MRP (materials requirement planning component) is a great way to boost production by ensuring materials arrive when the machines and manpower are available to use them.

Today’s top enterprise resource planning (ERP) software packages all include some form of MRP. These solutions helps the entire company, not just production, find ways to improve performance and boost profits.

Advantages of MRPs

Where MRPs shine is their ability to plan, schedule and control materials and their requirements, especially when managing inventory.

“The primary function of an MRP system is maintaining the right quantities of inventory. Inventory management includes what material is required, when it is needed and in what numbers,” one post states.

MRP’s are also great at helping production plants reduce human errors and working times by proactively planning ahead of schedule. For example, understanding what materials are needed and when, manufacturers are much less likely to run out of important ingredients.

Other materials requirement planning benefits of MRP software include:

  • Simplified work scheduling and distribution
  • Materials requirement forecasting, helping you determine what you will need and when
  • Typically lower complexity than an ERP that may include finance and marketing functions

Effective material requirements planning has three main components:

  • A master production schedule
  • Sales forecasting
  • Managing inventory

The first of these is the Master Production Schedule (MPS).

Master Production Schedules

“A Master Production Schedule (MPS) is the part of production planning that outlines which products need to be manufactured, in which quantity, and when,” a manufacturing blog states.

Figure: 1Key Benefits of Using an MPS

Key benefits of using an MPS

Key benefits of using an MPS includes gathering all information required for:

  • Building, improving and tracking sales forecasts
  • Determining desired inventory levels
  • Calculating required raw materials purchases to meet production requirements
  • Determining the labor mix of people and schedules
  • Balancing plant capacity with actual load

Book a free consultation to know more about managing production resources with MRP and ERP.

Learn More

Providing this information requires a certain amount of information. To work effectively, an MPS requires six essential inputs:

  1. 1.Starting inventory: What is available right now?
  2. 2.Sales forecast: What do you expect to sell this period?
  3. 3.Current orders: How many orders are in the production pipeline?
  4. 4.Required products: How many of which products need to be produced to balance supply and demand?
  5. 5.Safety stock: What quantity of raw materials and subassemblies must be on hand to deal with spikes in demand?
  6. 6.Production capacity: How many products can your equipment and staff produce when everything is running smoothly?

Having all of this information lets an MPS help you determine your rough-cut capacity. This involves knowing how much time it takes to produce each product and your total productive hours. (When used with a modular ERP, you can also learn what causes bottlenecks and find ways to boost the time machines and people are manufacturing products.) Another MPS function is considering batch sizes in production runs. The total production run should be a multiplier of your batches.

With all of your data in place, an MPS lets you simulate planned purchasing and production. Working with other MRP components, you can create an inventory plan for each selected MPS. You’ll know exactly what you need to build the products.

Like every business though, it’s impossible for an MPS to function in a vacuum. A key part of the MPS is also required for your MRP: your sales demand forecast.

Sales Forecasting in MRP

Sales forecasting, also known as demand forecasting,works to anticipate customer behavior using historical data and other information. Accurate sales forecasts are important to production because they help in multiple ways:

  • Planning budgets and negotiate supplier contracts
  • Planning and track inventory, reducing the time between raw materials coming in and finished products going out (i.e., the turn rate)
  • Identifying production bottlenecks while letting managers make crucial decisions on tradeoffs

Demand forecasting works with MRP to determine material availability for potential sales. The BOM in turn determines the quantities of each raw material required to produce the final products. Using demand forecasting, an MRP can ensure that supply chain, production plan and expected demand match. You have what you need to keep your customers happy without overspending on inventory or missing crucial parts.

Demand forecasting also helps in supply chain management by planning production activities around expected delivery dates for each component. Instead of tying up all production resources to make everything at once, components can be produced when the raw materials arrive. The result is fewer bottlenecks caused by multiple processes requiring the same machines or people at the same time.

“Demand forecasting is a useful tool that can help businesses attain optimal inventory levels, efficient purchasing practices, and overall better supply chain management capabilities.

“When used in conjunction with MRP software, it can improve the efficiency and cash flow of your business by providing the necessary functions to utilize the data and use it to plan production better,” as mentioned in a previous post.

Effective materials resource planning requires access to sales demand forecasts, current and anticipated inventories plus a thorough knowledge of the production environment. The question is: Do you want to have different programs from several companies providing this information?

In this case, an ERP with MRP functions has some advantages over a less expensive stand-alone product.

Advantages of Using an ERP system for Production Planning

Previously mentioned, “An ERP in production planning keeps updating the status of materials in real-time and reorders them automatically when the stock needs replenishment. These systems also use a Just-In-Time scheduling strategy to further reduce the need for holding large quantities of work-in-process items.”

The inventory control system in a modular ERP also has the ability to automate inventory tracking by creating barcode and QR code labels. These can be attached to everything from individual items to pallet loads, and then scanned electronically. The result is an accurate inventory of raw materials. Knowing what you need in advance improves your ability to meet customer orders on time, which boosts customer satisfaction.

A modular ERP such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 has the ability to provide managers with a top-down view of a manufacturer’s entire operation. Unlike an MRP that focuses solely on production, enterprise resource planning software can monitor more than just production status in real time.

Key benefits of using an ERP with an MRP module include:

  • Improved customer service by ensuring timely product delivery without sacrificing quality.
  • Smoother workflows by automating repetitive tasks in areas beyond the production floor such as the warehouse and order management.
  • Enhanced inventory control based on real-time access to information such as shipping schedules, sales orders, machine availability, staffing and key raw materials.
  • Equipment maintenance scheduling to ensure key machines are kept in good working order during planned downtimes, not crashing in the middle of a production run.
  • Better morale by reducing stress through enhanced coordination. One group is not left idle while waiting for another to finish.
  • Enhanced use of your workforce, maximizing people, not just machines.
  • Improved quality control by passing tests at production checkpoints.

The most important reason for using a modular ERP over a stand-alone MRP is communication: Data flows throughout the company. It’s not siloed in production, sales or inventory. Every department knows what is going on throughout the company.

For example, if a conflict or pandemic is identified near a key supplier, your supply chain management module can help locate a safer, more consistent supply. Knowing what products might be affected by materials shortages lets sales know what to push and what to back away from.

The Bottom Line

Effective resource planning in manufacturing is much more important than just assembling products. It means having plans that look at everything from the availability of the smallest components to ensuring key machines and staff are available at the right times. It also means having the money to stock up on materials when a shortage is expected. Balancing everything lets your company provide capital improvements without sacrificing quality or customer service.

Buying into MRP is no easy task, before diving in make sure you take a close look at every ERP to ensure your company ends up with a system that can support your goals, now and in the future. What you need is a system like Microsoft’s Dynamics 365.

About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company and delivers transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com

erp for chemical industry

Digitization of the Chemical Industry-Role of an ERP system

Digitization of the Chemical Industry-Role of an ERP system 1920 1080 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • Chemical companies are more frequently moving towards full adoption of newer, digitized technologies and away from legacy systems and processes that historically operated in silos.
  • A well functioning Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system helps chemical companies in all parts of their operations- procurement, manufacturing, supply chain, vendor management, aftermarket, and more.
  • Implementing an ERP system doesn’t need to be a costly or daunting affair, provided companies go for the right system and take the help of experts where need be.
  • The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for chemical companies, with the sector providing most of the raw materials used in sanitizers and personal hygiene products.

While digital transformations have been a big help for the advancement of every industry; many sectors are still looking for new ways to utilize these technologies to their fullest. The chemical industry is on the cusp of legacy and advanced software and systems. Many companies have departments working in silos, manual documentations, slow change management mechanisms, data discrepancy issues, and an overall fall behind when it comes to digitization and automation. Chemical companies can address these issues and many others by investing in a high-end ERP system.

According to PwC’s 23rd Global Annual Survey, 42% of chemical company CEOs prioritized and invested in digital operations and related technologies.

This statistic indicates that now’s the time for chemical companies to systematically restructure their IT base and look at ERP as an option and a way forward to sustainable growth. After all, every sector is looking to leverage digitization to their benefit, including the chemical industry.

Here are five benefits of an ERP software system for chemical companies:

1.Digitization of Processes Leading to Accelerated TimelinesAn intricately designed yet easy to implement ERP system such as the Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP comes equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) based features that can automate many processes such as documentation, reporting, log entries, etc. This will reduce manual intervention (providing personnel with time to invest in more innovative aspects) and mitigate errors. Digitization in the chemical industry also helps expedite processes as the data can be accessed, altered, and verified in real-time. With Microsoft Dynamics ERP, chemical companies can realize the vision of going agile.

2.Fortifying Supply Chain Management (SCM)A comprehensive ERP for the chemical industry can facilitate better management of your supply chain by interlinking the departments and creating a data pool between finance, sales, and delivery. This way, you will digitize and monitor the procurement of raw goods, oversee warehouses, manage inventory more efficiently, channelize communication between different stakeholders, and streamline the workflow.

Figure 1: A Multi Pronged ERP System to Integrate Different Departments in a Chemical Company

A Multi Pronged ERP System to Integrate Different Departments in a Chemical Company

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3.Better Response Time and Quicker Time to MarketAn ERP for the chemical industry provides companies with a competitive advantage by giving better process and resource visibility, interconnecting departments, and avoiding bottlenecks. ERP is also integral in enabling chemical companies to identify their slow to move inventories and find quicker delivery options. This considerably reduced time to market. The overall product development process in chemical manufacturing companies is also expedited, thanks to the automation and optimization features of ERP systems, and this also results in quicker time to market.

4.Dynamic Change ManagementThe chemical manufacturing processes are subject to changes at different levels, from pre-formulation to production and packaging. These changes take time to get recorded and notified in a legacy system-backed environment, leading to delays. With an ERP, chemical companies can be more flexible and dynamic in their change management approach. As data becomes centralized and systems become integrated, more collaboration can occur, expediting the communication network in a change management ecosystem. Even at the supply chain and aftermarket levels, ERP allows better visibility across several stakeholders, enabling manufacturers to respond quickly to any changes.

5.Better Customer Service and Enhanced Customer SatisfactionLike any other industry, the chemical industry also strives to satisfy its customers- be it other industries or retailers or the end-user. With an ERP system for chemical manufacturing, companies gain insights into customer preferences, and they can anticipate market needs. Companies are choosing ERP systems designed to respond quicker and better to customer demands. With the ever-changing customer expectations scenario, chemical companies need to invest in a system that provides them with better customer visibility and agility to respond.

ERP is a solution of possibilities, and the chemical companies can turn these possibilities into opportunities. To survive, sustain, and thrive in this era of digitization, the chemical industry can make use of this software to integrate and collaborate better than ever before. It can also help to work with experience consultants in order to maximize performance and reduce costs. While every company has a different set of problems and requirements, well-designed chemical ERP software can efficiently address a number of issues.

Key Takeaways

  • The chemical companies must conduct a complete analysis of their as-is IT infrastructure and identify the right ERP system for their requirements.
  • ERP is a dynamic, flexible software, and thus chemical companies can evaluate comprehensively better many aspects of their operations with the help of a single system.
  • With learned ERP experts, chemical companies can go places in terms of operating smoothly and delivering consistently.

About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company delivering transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com

Key Features and Benefits of ERP Systems

Key Features and Benefits of ERP Systems

Key Features and Benefits of ERP Systems 1200 450 shahid.anis

At a Glance

  1. 1.Poor software fit /inaccurate requirements
  2. 2.Business leadership is not committed to the implementation
  3. 3.Insufficient team resources
  4. 4.Lack of accountability to make timely, high quality decisions
  5. 5.Lack of investment in change management
  6. 6.Insufficient training/support
  7. 7.Insufficient funding
  8. 8.Insufficient data cleansing
  9. 9.Insistence on making ERP look like legacy
  10. 10.Lack of testing

Sources: ERPFocus.com

Introduction

Overall cost reduction, improved security, and interoperability are some of the reasons why small businesses invest in newer and agile enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.

The biggest question companies have at the start is: Do we go with an on-premise solution or a cloud based ERP?

On-premise solutions require more up-front costs for:

  • Purchasing servers
  • Creating databases
  • The initial implementation
  • Consultants

Ongoing costs involve:

  • Information technology (IT) staffing
  • On-line security
  • Data back-up
  • Duplicating this set-up for every site

Keeping everything local also requires ongoing maintenance, specialized in-house or on-call consultants, upgrades and updates. You’ll likely need more hardware as your company grows. As you add additional facilities, your computer infrastructure will continue to grow as well.

Moving to the cloud can help reduce most of these costs by about 30 percent. Depending on the age of a company’s existing equipment, there may be some hardware costs in the form of upgrading existing equipment to ensure compatibility. These costs will pale compared to expense of having to add or outright replace servers.

Among the features of a successful cloud-based ERP implementation are:

  • The vendor is responsible for the cloud servers since it hosts and manages the software
  • No additional IT costs for staffing, maintaining the hardware and software, software updates and upgrades
  • The host (vendor) is responsible for your data security

This is just a small example of features and benefits of an ERP that pay off over time, especially when a company grows.

Other Cloud-Based ERP Advantages

Purchasing a cloud-based system has several other advantages beyond hardware and maintenance costs, including:

Scalability: A key reason why growing companies move to the cloud is the ability to grow with it. Adding another 100 users might require expanding your server. As your company grows, adding new users to your ERP is just an internet connection away.

Agility: Does one part of your company require extra help with Supply Chain Management? An open-source based ERP likely has a module designed just for that. Assuming you start with financial management, adding a sales component is a logical complement.

Disaster Recovery: Natural disasters such as fires, floods or earthquakes are common nearly everywhere. So are man-made disasters in the form of riots and even wars. Cloud-based systems keep your data on multiple servers in different regions. When one server goes down, your data is safe on another. How safe are they? One ERP provider estimates that cloud systems are so secure and redundant, its customers experience less than eight minutes of unplanned downtime a year.

Storage and access: This same geographical dispersal that means your data is safe from disasters also means that when you need more space, it’s easy to get. When your server farms occupy large warehouses, adding a few more terabytes—Western Digital has 18-20TB drives available for home computers with those in the 100TB territory made for commercial firms—is a power and data connection away.

Automatic updates: Cloud service providers provide around the clock monitoring. They are constantly finding ways to improve performance and data security. Microsoft, for example, employs 3,500 security engineers. They protect customer data in part by ensuring the Azure cloud computing platform is safe from all attackers.

Get started to learn more about key features and benefits of ERP systems

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Plan Your Implementation

No matter what software your company has, and how robust your network may be, it’s still possible for your ERP implementation to fail. In fact, the average estimate of all ERP installations that fail is between 40% – 60%

Successful implementations often require focus on seven critical aspects.

Figure 1:Plan Your Implementation

Pharmaceutical Analysis using Power BI

  1. 1. Choosing the right team. Your implementation team must have a good mix of talent. It should include people with experience in your particular business segment. Include business analysts, developers, software architects and project managers. The team must also include a strong-willed and senior management Champion from your company whose goal is ensuring the highest priority tasks are accomplished first.
  2. 2. Planning a phased approach. Install the implementation in logical sections. This reduces disruption, especially when moving data from the old system to the new.
  3. 3. Moving useful data only. Client data that is no longer relevant is not worth keeping. Bring over material that helps now and in the future. Reformat your data as it’s brought from the old system to the new while you perform the build. Separate that data into static, one-time entry data like customer lists, and dynamic information such as transactions.
  4. 4. Setting achievable goals and expectations. A great way to accomplish long-term goals is by breaking each into a series of smaller steps, each with their own payoff. Build on the previous step to accomplish the next and keep going.
  5. 5. Using the implementation to fine-tune your business. Many companies purchase an ERP system to reduce costs. Use the implementation as a way of taking a critical look at each business process. Where are the bottlenecks? Where is effort duplicated? How can each process be streamlined to be more efficient and effective?
  6. 6. A sixth key critical part in an effective ERP implementation is time. Don’t be in a hurry to turn the key, fire it up and race off. Successful implementations take six months to two years. Effective, thorough planning and a thoughtful, well-researched approach before you purchase will help ensure your ERP implementation is a success.
  7. 7. Another important task is understanding that a new ERP is not going to look like the old one. While having a familiar look and feel is nice, your staff will embrace an optimized newer version once they understand just how well it performs. Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 line of products may look different than your old ERP but it will retain some familiarity for Office 365 and Azure users.

Final Thoughts

Online ERPs are designed for flexibility and expansion. No matter where your company has its production plant, warehouse or offices, a cloud-based ERP is less expensive to maintain over time. Small businesses considering ways to improve efficiency and encourage growth will want to examine the many top ERP solutions available to them.

Before you buy, though, make sure you have:

  • A plan with short-term, medium and long-range achievable goals
  • An upper-level management champion
  • A budget based on hard facts
  • A willingness to change
  • The strength and stubbornness to know that growth requires pain, the pain of change.

Taking the right approach will help your company prosper and grow.

About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company delivering transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com

How Azure secures your data against cyber attacks

How Azure secures your data against cyber attacks

How Azure secures your data against cyber attacks 2400 900 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

Members of your U.S. sales team schedule an online meeting with their European counterparts, the video and audio conferencing is run through Microsoft Teams. All of your employees, from the chairman of the board to the people in the mailroom, have an email account they access through Microsoft Outlook. Your accounting department ensures everything it does is backed up on the cloud using Microsoft OneDrive. Nearly everyone in the office uses Microsoft Office 365 for everything from writing memos to generating invoices and keeping track of inventory.

What do all of these actions involving distributed computing have in common? Teams, Outlook and OneDrive and the corporate versions of Office are just a few of Microsoft’s many office programs that run on top of Microsoft Azure.

“Azure is the cloud platform that underpins all of Microsoft’s cloud services, including Microsoft Teams. Our workloads run in Azure virtual machines (VMs), with our older services being deployed through Azure Cloud Services and our newer ones on Azure Service Fabric,” ZDNet quoted Microsoft as reporting on its own blog in early 2021.

Whether you know it or not, the odds are your small to medium-sized business is using Azure, even if you have no idea what it does.

What is Microsoft Azure?

“The Azure cloud platform is more than 200 products and cloud services designed to help you bring new solutions to life—to solve today’s challenges and create the future. Build, run and manage applications across multiple clouds, on-premises and at the edge with the tools and frameworks of your choice,” according to Microsoft.

Azure is the foundational program Microsoft uses for all of its cloud computing offerings. To put Azure in perspective, consider a table. It has four legs and a top. You could not put anything on the table without the four legs, which are the core hardware components of computer processor, memory, motherboard and power supply. Just having four legs alone would be worthless without a top, which in this case is Azure’s function: it serves as the underpinning of your other programs. The tools you use, like Microsoft Dynamics 365, Teams and Microsoft Office don’t run in a vacuum: they’re all supported by Azure.

Azure provides three primary services:

  • Software as a service (SaaS), which is subscription based
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS), which lets customers run, develop and manage applications
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), which are online services

Considered a hybrid cloud product, “Azure is the only consistent hybrid cloud, delivers unparalleled developer productivity, provides comprehensive, multi-layer security, including the largest compliance coverage of any cloud provider,” while also being less expensive than Amazon Web Services, Microsoft states. AWS is Azure’s main cloud computing competitor.

One report showed 234,731 companies using Azure from 2015 to July 11, 2018. It was ranked third out of 81 competing cloud platform and service products used by nearly 2 million companies. Two offerings from Amazon lead the list. Products from Google and Rackspace complete the top five.

What Is Azure’s Best Feature?

The reason why 95 percent of Fortune 500 companies rely on Microsoft Azure is security.

“Everything sent within the Azure environment is automatically encrypted. The Azure network has automatic detection to prevent distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, similar to some of the largest services on the Internet, such as Xbox and Microsoft’s Office 365,” Cloud Business states.

Figure: 1Organizations compromised by cyber attacks

Organizations compromised by cyber attacks

In fact, according to Cloud Business; Microsoft invests $1 billion every year into security, which includes protecting Azure. In terms of security features that Azure uses to protect Microsoft’s many clients, including:

  • Automatic encryption, hiding everything that goes through it from prying eyes.
  • Automatic smart traffic monitoring and profiling that detect and deflect threats that look out of the ordinary. This approach helps reduce risks caused security threats that broke through external systems.
  • Smart access control, which routes management (i.e., administrator) accounts over separate networks from most employees. Azure lets managers control and restrict down to the individual document level, further protecting your secrets.
  • Regular hardware and firmware code revisions, which helps protect against threats before software is loaded and active.
  • Providing access to Azure through an encrypted virtual private network (VPN) regardless of where a customer is located. People in Milwaukee and Mumbai access Azure through a VPN.
  • Special computing environments known as Trusted Execution Environments or TEEs, which ensure that no matter where encrypted is—stored, in transit or inactive—is safe.

Microsoft also has 3,500+ cyber security experts on staff. Of that, 200 focus on finding weaknesses in Azure. The resulting information then becomes part of Azure’s operational security procedures.

Book your free Azure demo and secure your data from cyber assaults.

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Is Azure’s Infrastructure Secure?

If Microsoft trusts Azure’ security, your company should, also. In a series of four blog posts by Azure Security’s Director of Program Management, Avi Ben-Menahem, he provides three reasons why Azure’s infrastructure is able to securely keep their customers data safe.

  1. 1.A secure network infrastructure. “Management (Microsoft-managed) networks and customer networks are isolated in Azure to improve performance and ensure the traffic moving through the platform is secure,” Ben-Menahem wrote. The system is designed to help keep unauthorized people off a customer’s network. An important part of this that network cabling, the equipment to support and secure the network and the integration of systems used to monitor the network are managed by Microsoft.
  2. 2.Integrated security controls in Azure’s hardware and firmware. This ensures Azure is secure by default throughout its lifetime. Hardware security is enhanced by Project Cerberus, which is a chip containing a CPU, memory and programmable input/out that protects against unauthorized access and malicious updates.
  3. 3.Regular competition between Red an Blue teams of cybersecurity experts. Red team members try to compromise Azure’s infrastructure while the Blue team attempts to stop it. “At the end of each red and blue team exercise, the overall team codifies what they’ve learned into the Azure operational security process, so the team becomes more effective at continuous detection and response,” Ben-Menahem explained.

“Microsoft’s scale of investments across infrastructure, hardware and experts are unparalleled. Microsoft provides a secure infrastructure for our datacenters, composed of segregated networks, well-maintained hardware and firmware, and industry-leading operational security processes so that you can have more resources available to deliver business value,” he concluded.

What it comes down to is that data on an Azure network is encrypted even when it might be open on a customer network. Encryption works in the background. Data is seamlessly altered into a stream meaningless numbers when it is encrypted and then decoded into everything from words and numbers to videos, all without human interaction.

Final Thoughts

Today, businesses of any size need to give serious thought to adopting Azure as their cloud computing platform of choice if they haven’t already.

Azure’s focus on security means you don’t have to worry that some external group is going to use a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack to damage or steal your intellectual property.

Constant, ongoing efforts by over 3,000 cyber security professionals as well as Microsoft’s ongoing effort to improve their products means your data is safe, not just today, but well into the future.

About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company delivering transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com

Best Practices for Managing your ERP Data

ERP Data Management Best Practices

ERP Data Management Best Practices 2400 900 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • 53%: The percentage of IT decision makers saying ERP is an investment priority in addition to customer relationship management (CRM) products
  • 50%: The number of companies that are acquiring, upgrading or planning to update ERP systems soon
  • 9%: The amount the enterprise resource planning (ERP) software market grew in 2019
  • 8%: The combined annual growth rate (CAGR) for ERP software worldwide in the next five years
  • $49.5 billion: The total ERP market size is expected to exceed this figure by 2025
  • $10 billion: The size of the North American ERP market alone

Introduction

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is one of the top priorities—if not the top priority for many manufacturing companies. Depending on the specific product or package, ERPs can do everything from help track inventory to providing insights into new markets.

One area where ERPs excel is in handling large volumes of data. Before adding Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and devices, some chief executive officers may have thought they were dealing a lot of byte and bits. Until IOT was introduced, this group had only seen the tip of the iceberg.

  • 79.4 Zettabytes (one zettabyte equals 1 trillion gigabytes or approximately 30 billion 4K resolution movies): the amount of data that will be created in part by the IoT by 2025
  • 75 billion: The number of IoT devices reaching consumers by 2025
  • $11 trillion ($11,000,000,000,000): The economic impact of the Internet of Things by 2025 as predicted in 2016
  • $1.1 trillion ($1,000,000,000,000): The global spending on (IoT) by 2023

How big is all this data though? Picture a child at the beach with a small shovel and pail compared to a convoy of large dump trucks: the sheer volume of data created by a production plant is enough to bury many people.

That’s where a good ERP data management plan becomes a necessity so your company can turn the numbers into an action.

ERP Data Management Best Practices

According to Predictive Analytics Today, the best practices for managing today’s huge volume of data include:

Figure: 1ERP Data Management Best Practices

  • Consolidating master data objects from different systems
  • Harmonizing master data records focusing on global attributes
  • Using business context groupings to determine which objects belong together
  • Having a complete object definition, including dependencies on other objects, on the master data server
  • Using client-specific data control at the local (machine) level so individual systems only deal with the data they need when they need it
  • Using content consolidation to locate master data objects across linked systems, identify similar or identical objects and cleanse objects as needed
  • Constantly checking for duplicate information during master data maintenance while safeguarding data quality and not interrupting time-sensitive work
  • Using workflows to check master data for accuracy and duplication while enriching objects based on individual requirements before releasing it

What these practices do is ensure your data accurately represents your production facility. If three separate systems each count the same product and say you have three of them when you really have one, your numbers will be wildly off.

Using an ERP For Data Management

“Because an ERP solution puts all of your data in one location, and there’s no longer the administrative burden of manual data entry, workers can finally focus on the responsibilities they were hired to complete,” according to Aptean.

ERP data integration is critical, especially with companies modernizing their systems. Older products create data unique to its specific task. Sharing data with systems from other companies is not easy. For example, having an inventory package producing barcodes for easy product identification from individual items to bulk lots is great. So is an integrated quality management platform. What’s not good is when the two don’t communicate, you won’t know how much product you have.

Using a modular ERP that can integrate each of these programs, share data and from a user perspective, have a similar look and feel, makes managing your data much easier. Using an integrated data model becomes essential when working with massive amounts of data.

Schedule a free consultation to learn more about ERP data management best practices.

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The Integrated Data Model

The integrated data model uses concepts from three information disciplines: database systems, artificial intelligence, and programming languages.

The Integrated Data Model (IDM) provides a more general and flexible foundation for the manipulation of information than models underlying traditional database management systems. “The facilities provided by the model can be employed not only for database queries, updates, and report generation but also for managing the arbitrary data structures used by systems programs and application programs,” according to a research paper by David Beech and J. Samuel Feldman.

“One issue is that most systems support their own datatypes,” the authors state. Using the integrated model and programming language ideas, new datatypes can be defined as needed. The data types are stored as abstract objects, letting permanent and temporary data share the same kinds of data structures.

From a business perspective, having the ability to support and extend datatypes beyond one program’s limited range lets analysts examine information from more sources.

Effective ERP solutions not only process this information using AI, they also focus on keeping the data secure.

An Integrated ERP Solution

Running on top of software designed to protect your data as it moves from one location to another through the cloud—Microsoft Azure—an integrated data solution such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 is ideal for companies of any size.

It has the power to harness information from IoT sources such as Siemens controllers, organize it and then use artificial intelligence (AI) to make sense of the numbers, giving users access to contextual cues and actionable insights.

For example, “Dynamics 365 AI for Market Insights is able to interpret web and social media based data streams to deliver insights regarding an organization’s customers as well as its competitors and industry at large,” according to Into Cloud News.

“AI has the ability to tirelessly process intricate data streams and convey the information to human beings in ways that they can intuitively interact with, through the use of dashboards, user interfaces, templates and visualizations. AI can present highly complex and inter-dependent data sets to human decision makers, either as simplified depictions they can easily grasp or actionable insights driven by pre-engineered responses to parameters,” Into Cloud explains.

Included in the benefits of using AI with Microsoft Dynamics 365 modules are:

  • Real-time insights for sales professionals
  • Enhanced internal communications
  • Better customer engagement
  • Taking actions that are more likely to produce optimal outcomes

The Bottom Line

Having accurate information about when your raw materials are going to be delivered is worthless if that information doesn’t match what your production department needs. A lack of accurate communication occurs when different software packages don’t interact effectively, leading to a siloing of information.

Taking advantage of an integrated approach, especially one that takes advantage of artificial intelligence, provides your company with accurate, real-time data you can use to generate real-time forecasts and adjust schedules, boosting your companies overall efficiency.

An integrated ERP, like the Microsoft Dynamics line of products, lets you share information across departments and continents. The result is far-flung enterprises being able to work as a unified whole.

About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company delivering transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com

Five Steps to Transforming Manufacturing Operations

Five Steps to Transforming Manufacturing Operations

Five Steps to Transforming Manufacturing Operations 2400 900 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

Lasting effects from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic continue to disrupt numerous manufacturing operations as the year draws to a close. Companies not only surviving, but thriving were those already undergoing a digital transformation to their manufacturing operations.

“Digital transformation is the transformation of business, industrial products, operations, value chains and services that are enabled through the augmentation of people, knowledge and workplaces through the expanded use of digital technologies. It’s about the people in the workplaces, the processes, the technologies and services,” Janice Abel wrote in an ARC Advisory Group blog post.

Today, digital transformation is all about rethinking the way your company functions. Is it a series of departments that act like independent nations, each competing for scarce resources and seldom sharing information? Or is your company a unified operation, one where department names are merely labels and the data created by one is open and accessible to all?

At the end of the day, digital transformation in manufacturing is all about enhancing customer service. Taking good care of your customers leads to more sales, better growth opportunities and higher profits. Achieving that goal requires breaking down barriers and ensuring free-flowing information between all employees, period.

Sharing this data in a timely, relevant fashion most often requires a manufacturing execution system (MES) and a manufacturing operations management (MOM) process. MES is computer software while MOM may be software or an overarching process. A material resource planning (MRP) package helps you ready your inventory for production. An MES helps track raw material consumption during production.

According to an ARC survey, most manufacturers are deploying MES solutions to connect information in different silos and plants. While there is some visibility, data silos still remain even though artificial intelligence, (AI), machine intelligence (MI) and other digital methods were being used to varying degrees.

Driving Digital Transformation

Ongoing supply chain disruptions are having a huge impact on manufacturing companies. When questioned about the resilience of their manufacturing and supply chains, the overwhelming response was “not very,” according to a recent blog by Forbes.

Forbes posted some response numbers from the Fictiv 2021 State of Manufacturing Report about existing supply chains:

  • 94% of respondents had some concerns
  • 55% worry that increasing digital operations increases security risks
  • 47% state that supply chain management overhead costs are too high
  • 42% believe that working with global markets creates intellectual property risks
  • 31% think that lack of visibility into operations creates risks and uncertainty

The Fictiv report quoted by Forbes came to one simple conclusion: “The way we manage supply chains and manufacture goods has been forever altered.”

Cost overruns were a key concern for 81 percent of recipients while 55 percent were worried about information technology security with their current supply chain.

“Whatever the issue, it’s clear the old way of operating is no longer optimal,” Forbes states. Using digital methods to manage manufacturing has essentially replaced the older methods, at least according to this survey.

  • 95% of respondents believe digitally transforming their manufacturing operations is essential to their company’s future
  • 91% of respondents reported an increase in digital transformation spending
  • 77% defined their digital spending boost as “dramatic” or “significant.”

A Different Perspective

Digital technology enhances productivity, reduces costs and boosts innovation. Manufacturing companies that pay careful attention to their data are able to use it more efficiently to help find and develop new revenue streams.

Figure: 1 How the Internet of Things (IoT) is integrated with Operating Technology (OT)

How the Internet of Things (IoT) is integrated with Operating Technology

At its core, the currency of automation, optimization and profound transformation at its core can help turn new business models to an “as a service” economy, I-scoop suggests.

One way many companies transform their manufacturing operations is by using the internet of things (IoT) coupled with operational technology (OT) and automation on the production floor. IoT sensors in many devices let computer programs track data as each potential product makes its way through the production process.

Mechanical engineers are able to maintain equipment to finer levels of precision. Software engineers are using the data provided to reduce waste and find new ways of boosting efficiency. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is using the data to ensure machines are scheduled efficiently. The ERP software helps ensure a near continuous flow of material, even when humans aren’t present.

Learn more about the impact of digital transformation on manufacturing operations.

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Roadmap to Your Digital Transformation

The first step for companies yet to embark on their digital transformation is creating a roadmap. Without understanding what direction you want your business to go and how to get there, any results are likely to be far less than desired.

At a bare minimum, formulating a plan ahead of time helps:

  • Set priorities
  • Manage change
  • Identify and allocate resources

A well thought-out roadmap can help plan your entire journey, or identify problems and new opportunities as you work towards your goal.

Major steps in creating a digital manufacturing roadmap include:

1.Clearly defining your company’s current position and its digital strategy. Stating concrete, achievable goals and then communicating them with partners, employees and clients helps everyone understand what they need to do so that everyone benefits.

2.Defining your financial baseline. Making demands of whatever system you choose to go with, only to balk at the resulting price is no benefit to anyone. Having a plan to only move to the next digital manufacturing transformation phase when you reach certain financial goals makes financial sense, and provides motivation to reach those incremental goals.

3.Ensuring internal Agile processes are ready to go. Breaking your production process into smaller chunks lets you create products and services faster by having processes run concurrently instead of sequentially.

4.Assessing your technology and talent. Understanding what equipment you need, and what skills are required to operate it, lets you start training existing staff or adding new employees ahead of time. Having people who know what they are doing as you implement each phase ensures your digital transformation proceeds smoothly.

5.Choosing the right digital transformation partner. Having a partner experienced in your industry means they’re likely familiar with any problems you may face. Having seen them before, they already know what solutions work and what are a waste of your money. The right partner can also help you set short- and medium-term goals, making sure your transformation is progressing according to plan.

Final Thoughts

Embarking on a new digital transformation pays numerous benefits in the long run. One of the biggest benefits is the ability to rapidly respond to customer requests for new or unique products, resulting in more efficient MAAS (manufacturing as a service).

The most important things to remember when looking to complete your transformation is the need for a detailed roadmap and ensuring you have a digital transformation partner who understands your industry and can help you overcome any hurdles along the way.

About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company delivering transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com

How a Cloud-Based ERP Helps Chemical Manufacturers

How a cloud-based ERP helps in Chemical Manufacturing?

How a cloud-based ERP helps in Chemical Manufacturing? 1920 1080 Xcelpros Team

Introduction to Modern Manufacturing

We’re seeing a radical change in production methods overtaking the chemical industry. Technology is gaining more attention in almost every sector, including manufacturing and distribution. The introduction of this new technology is forcing business leaders to upgrade their stack and replace outdated processes to meet the changing demands of the market. Today’s market requires a rapid transformation of the chemical manufacturing value chain to improve customer service, efficiency, productivity, quality, precision and pricing.

Complexity serves no purpose for business, yet it’s been part of the chemical industry for decades. Many companies still suffer from siloed department structures, disparate systems, inefficient data management and a lack of streamlined processes. Each of these complexities creates roadblocks that can affect a business’s bottom line. Most companies don’t realize how their complex independent system affects them until the lack of integration between the floor and functional areas becomes an issue. The lack of system integrations can lead to lost orders, or lower quality products because of suboptimal production runs or poor capacity planning.

Many of these companies are suffering these effects for one reason: lack of an agile enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. Chemical manufacturing companies must take action by redefining their business models and re-evaluating their IT roadmaps. The most successful chemical companies invest in transformation projects such as integrating a cloud-based ERP solution with operations to streamline processes, drive collaboration and efficiency and offer informed decision-making.

Figure 1Agile ERP Solutions in Various Phases of Chemical Manufacturing

Agile ERP Solutions in Various Phases of Chemical Manufacturing

Unforeseen Circumstances: COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is still having an effect on every industry. Production and shipping departments are still facing challenges nearly two years after Covid-19 first appeared. Hundreds of companies have been forced to scale down their manufacturing operations by as much as 40%-60% in part because shipping containers are not where they’re needed. A lack of adequate containers, coupled with the loss of port workers and truck drivers means fewer raw materials are arriving at production plants. By February 2021, the global production of chemicals fell by 2.4%.

The inability to make products is still severely impacting the revenue of chemical companies. Rising transportation costs along with a lack of raw materials means priority has shifted to essential functions. This financial pressure is forcing companies to downsize their workforce while continuing operations. The result is added pressure on leadership to implement a rapid technology transformation.

An Agile Manufacturing ERP

Unlike other sectors, chemical industry businesses can’t simply stop production and send workers home, though some are pivoting operations to meet the demand of the market.

The chemical industry is facing a unique set of challenges including:

  • Fluctuating raw materials prices and their impact on margins
  • The need for constant product innovation
  • Increasing risks in supply chain and manufacturing
  • Tightening regulations
  • Market uncertainty, budget and controlling costs
  • Difficulty in resource management

To overcome these complexities, companies need to possess a detailed overview of the market. Having accurate information lets them identify shifting customer dynamics and plan their production runs appropriately. Cloud-based ERP systems for manufacturing can help identify market needs, shape the manufacturing processes, and inform a chemical company’s financial business processes.

Maximum your ROI with our cloud based ERP system tailored for chemical manufacturing companies.

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6 Ways Implementing an ERP Improves Chemical Manufacturing Operations

01.Improved Visibility

An agile ERP unifies data across departments, increasing the visibility of information. Organizations can share information, eliminating unnecessary infrastructure costs while providing higher data security. In a chemical company, process automation add-ons to a cloud ERP can ease resource overload by optimizing workforce utilization on the shop floor. All departments across the company—including inventory management, purchasing, accounting, human resource management, production and finance—function together with a minimum breakdown and maximum operational clarity. Versatile cloud-based ERP systems for manufacturing help companies access real-time data on a uniform platform, boosting throughput and reducing downtime.

02.Enhanced Flexibility

As market conditions fluctuate, the manufacturing supply chain needs to be highly adaptable. Using the right ERP solutions provides this needed flexibility. For example, a chemical company can share important updates plus revised manufacturing plans and schedules using an ERP’s supply chain planning system to plan stock availability.

An effective agile ERP system for chemical manufacturing should follow a tiered approach that includes:

  • A Secure database
  • A Simple user interface with easy access to key functions
  • Easy integration with external tools

Along with basic business requirements, the chemical industry needs to accommodate health and safety regulations aimed at protecting workers and the environment. Cloud-based ERPs give these companies the flexibility to customize solutions to suit their needs without moving data or altering the entire piece of software.

03.Better Collaboration and Transparency

Having the right computer software designed for your industry leads to better collaboration across a company. Complex business procedures are simplified, making them understandable to more people. These procedures can then be modified to meet changing government regulations. All modern systems have enough access controls to enable a disciplined method of functionality. A process and rule-based system improves transparency, helping organizations operate more efficiently.

04.Better Supply Chain Efficiency

Companies investing in newer, more robust and flexible ERP systems find that managing their supply chain becomes easier. They have access to more accurate, real-time data letting them plan shipments based on accurate demand forecasts. Data insights collected from an ERP system designed for chemical manufacturing can reduce inventory costs, enhance supply chain efficiency and optimize production processes. These improvements help build a robust, efficient supply chain, with the added benefit of reduced raw materials spending, increasing profit and capital growth.

05.Improved Production

Chemical companies often pay a hefty price when the system they use lacks functionality. The typical end-to-end chemical production process contains many steps with data moving between multiple hands and devices. Every time your data moves from one silo to another, it increases the chance of errors. A poorly designed manufacturing execution system can drain resources and add unplanned costs to the company. An agile, cloud-based ERP system for chemical manufacturing eliminates many of these unplanned costs.

06.Enhanced Customer Service

With the right ERP and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions in place, companies can more easily meet customer-centric objectives, including understanding the customers’ needs, improving service levels and enhancing their experiences. An agile ERP that helps companies meet the needs of their customers makes a huge difference in customer retention.

Final Thoughts

Every day, chemical manufacturing companies face challenges. What matters the most is how these challenges are handled. Whether you produce specialty chemicals, bulk chemicals, private-label, co-pack or you’re a contract manufacturer, having the right cloud-based ERP systems for manufacturing helps to build operational efficiency. Having software helps you bring products to market faster and reduce your operational costs while adding flexibility and responsiveness to any future market changes.

About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company delivering transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com

How to Choose the Right ERP Platform

How to Choose the Right ERP System for your Business Growth

How to Choose the Right ERP System for your Business Growth 2400 900 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

Imagine your company’s software vendor has just announced it’s no longer supporting a program your staff uses, one that over the years has helped you grow your business. Processes continue to get more complicated with data continuing to expand at astronomical rates leaving older systems behind. Your company is left with no choice: It’s time to pick a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system for your organization.

There are two major questions that need to be answered: Which solution best suits your company right now? Is there a different solution that will help your pharmaceutical or chemical company grow from a small or medium business (SMB) to a level able to challenge the industry giants?

Choosing the Right ERP System

Before your company can evaluate products on the market, you need to understand what will work best for you. ERP News suggests that if you do nothing else, it’s important to understand the needs of your business.

Before starting the ERP selection process, it is a good idea to analyze the business processes correctly and reveal the areas that you find incomplete or that need to be improved. Source: ERP News

Figue: 1 ERP selection process

ERP selection process

There are 10 critical steps to selecting the right ERP software package:

1.Ensuring it fits your company’s business needs. It’s important to understand what the needs of your organization are now, and in the future; short, medium and long term.

2.Planning an effective budget. You want to get the most effective business ERP system for your organization. What’s the total cost of ownership? What kind of return on investment (ROI) can you expect? Which is most likely to help your company profit and grow?

3.Verifying flexibility and scalability. Just because a package is a top-rated ERP solution today doesn’t mean it can keep up as your needs grow or as market conditions change.

4.Ensuring it can adapt to new technologies. Can your solution of choice support internet of things (IoT) data? Is it compatible with cloud computing? Does it allow work from any location? Is it usable with tablets, laptops and even mobile phones?

5.Is it compatible with your existing business software? Can the new system communicate with your legacy software and devices? Will your users be able to easily access old data alongside new orders and processes?

6.What do similar-sized competitors use? Is there a standard ERP used in your industry? What do your clients, suppliers and business partners use? What do they like and what would they change if given the chance to start from scratch?

7.Research your implementation partner. How much experience do they have in your industry? How flexible is the software and how capable is your partner? Can your implementation partner customize the software to meet your specific, demanding needs?

8.Will it grow with your business? Can the enterprise resource planning application expand, not only in terms of users but into other areas you don’t need today, but might in the future?

9.Does this project have support from upper management? If not, going through all of the other steps is an exercise in futility. Effective research will make it impossible for top management to say no.

10.Does it have a familiar look and feel? Don’t underestimate the effect changing ERP systems will have on your worker. If you don’t have user support, making it work will be tough. One way to achieve that goal is by using software similar to other programs they already use.

One last question to continuously ask along the way might be “What do we have that works well right now? What do we need to function better?”

Top ERP Systems in the US

All of the software giants have ERP systems. Depending on who you read, different companies will be on top. The dominant players are well-known software companies: Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Salesforce and others. In no particular order, the most frequently mentioned top ERP systems are:

  • Epicor ERP
  • IFS
  • Infor
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365
  • Oracle JD Edwards
  • Oracle NetSuite
  • Sage X3
  • Salesforce CRM
  • SAP Business One
  • SAP ERP
  • Syspro
  • Workday Financial Management

Researching offerings from each one of these major companies will take time and manpower. At this point, you’ve moved on to the next stage: evaluation.

Get a free assessment to find the right ERP for your organization.

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Evaluating ERP Software

According to SelectHub, choosing the right ERP system includes evaluating criteria based on your company’s needs. Typically, evaluation criteria includes:

  • Customer Relationship Management / Account Management
  • Accounts Payable Reporting
  • Bank Reconciliation
  • Benefits Administration
  • Capacity Requirements Planning
  • Material Requirement Planning
  • Bill/Build of Materials
  • Logistics Management
  • Inventory Management
  • Module Integration
  • Installation Type
  • Network Flexibility
  • Employee Training

Companies in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries should add:

  • U.S. Regulatory Compliance
  • International Regulatory Compliance

Not included in this list is one other critical criteria that can help determine if your company would be vulnerable to attacks: data security.

Where to Start

A great place to start your search for a flexible, versatile, secure and ultimately valuable ERP software package solution is by connecting with an experienced consulting service with a thorough understanding of highly-regulated industries. This should include upgrades and migration, which are commonly ignored.

There are many partners that can suggest a modern upgrade path including an in-depth migration assessment that is risk-free and cost-effective. Whoever you team with, you’ll want to make certain they have extensive experience in your industry with respect to project planning, risk management and strategy.

Our Recommendation: Microsoft Dynamics 365

Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP solutions are easily expandable, extremely secure, and backed by Microsoft’s Azure platform. Microsoft Dynamics 365 (D365) modules include Finance, Supply Chain Management, Business Central and other related—and integrated—products. D365 can be customized and enhanced with other functionality, including products specifically designed for chemical and pharmaceutical companies. Integrated Chemical Management is a perfect example as one of Microsoft’s preferred solutions for these industries.

As a Microsoft product, Dynamics 365 has an advantage over every other competing product: a familiar look and feel. Office 365 and its many predecessors are used by millions of people worldwide. This familiarity helps your staff learn new software without having to learn an entirely new method of working.

Final Thoughts

For every business, selecting the right ERP system starts with an honest evaluation of your company and its needs. Determining where you are and where you want to go are the first steps towards ensuring your investment ultimately turns a profit and helps your organization grow.

It’s a big job, selecting the right partner along with the right software package. Thorough research and proper planning will be key to a smooth transition, but the result will be a much better implementation of a much better product. Are you ready to get started?

About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company delivering transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com