5 Tips to Maximize Manufacturing Efficiency with D365 F&O

5 Tips to Maximize Manufacturing Efficiency with D365 Finance and Operations

5 Tips to Maximize Manufacturing Efficiency with D365 Finance and Operations 700 500 shahid.anis


Boosting efficiency is a crucial aspect for any business looking to become more competitive. When it comes to manufacturing efficiency, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management (D365) might be the perfect solution – simplifying production and supply chain processes to cut costs and increase efficiency.

This article looks at 5 things you can do with D365 to enable data-driven decision-making and take your operations to new heights. Streamline operations, cut costs, improve quality, gain a competitive edge, and more with these valuable insights.

1. Improving Production Planning and Scheduling

Production planning and scheduling is #1 when it comes to optimizing manufacturing efficiency. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations software simplifies these critical processes by enabling you to set up production plans, manage resource availability, and closely monitor your progress.

With advanced analytics and machine learning (ML), D365 can generate optimized production plans and schedules, automatically creating detailed instructions to ensure everything runs smoothly. Real-time insights into production and resource availability let you respond quickly to any changes in demand, helping to reduce delays. With everything running more smoothly, you can start to focus on improving your planning and scheduling processes, making changes on the fly to keep your operations running at peak efficiency.

A study by McKinsey & Company found that companies with strong production planning and scheduling processes achieved up to 20% higher throughput and up to 50% lower inventory levels.

2. Automating Data Collection

For most businesses, accurate, consistent data collection is key to maximizing manufacturing efficiency. D365 helps to streamline the data collection process by allowing manufacturers to capture information quickly and without error, improving accuracy, reducing costs, and increasing the speed of decision-making.

D365 Finance and Operations software offers several features that help automate data collection. For starters, there is included functionality for barcode scanning, inventory tracking, and asset management. D365 also offers a wide range of capabilities to automate tracking, from simple material tracking to complex production tracking – including batch and item level.

D365 helps improve data accuracy by providing access to powerful analytics and reporting tools out of the box. This lets manufacturers easily review and track data to ensure that it is up-to-date and accurate. By automating data collection, manufacturers can reduce the amount of time spent on manual data entry, allowing them to focus on more productive tasks, resulting in improved productivity and cost savings while increasing quality and accuracy.

3. Increasing Visibility Across the Supply Chain

According to a report by EY, companies that effectively manage their supply chain can see a 10-20% reduction in supply chain costs and a 50% increase in supply chain efficiency.

By connecting inventory, production, and order data, D365 can give manufacturers more visibility and insight into the status of their supply chain. This enhanced visibility results in better planning and decision-making. Manufacturers using D365 have a better way to anticipate future needs and adjust their supply chain accordingly. They can also identify issues and take corrective action before they become bigger problems.

With automated data collection and up-to-date analytics, manufacturers have a better way to monitor key metrics like product availability, order lead times, and delivery accuracy. This allows them to optimize their supply chain operations and ensure they meet customer demands.

Overall, leveraging D365 Finance and Operations software gives manufacturers more control of their supply chain. This leads to improved planning and decision-making, allowing manufacturers to reduce costs and improve quality, further increasing profitability.

4. Improving Quality Control

Quality control is another essential part of manufacturing efficiency, and making sure that your products meet the highest standards. With Microsoft D365, you get a better view of quality throughout your production processes. Features like automatic data collection and real-time reporting mentioned above let you quickly detect any problems and take corrective actions immediately.

The Quality Management module in D365 lets you create standard operating procedures and assign tasks to track and monitor quality at every step. Additionally, this module allows you to set up automatic notifications to alert your team whenever there is a quality issue.

D365 provides built-in tools to monitor the performance of each production line, giving you a detailed view into how your processes function. You can use this data to continuously improve production quality and minimize waste. With a comprehensive understanding of how your operations are performing, you can adjust processes to maximize efficiency and reduce costs.

D365 lets you significantly improve the quality control throughout your manufacturing operations. With better visibility into processes, automated data collection, and built-in analytics, your users will be able to quickly detect issues and take corrective action before they become an issue.

5. Implementing Predictive Maintenance

At the heart of predictive maintenance is the practice of using data to monitor the health and performance of manufacturing equipment to proactively diagnose potential failures or issues before they occur. Predictive maintenance can help manufacturers increase reliability, reduce downtime, and improve operational efficiency. Microsoft D365 provides a platform for enhanced predictive maintenance, with built-in tools that enable businesses to manage their operations more efficiently.

D365’s predictive maintenance capabilities come from two different modules:

  • the Analytics Suite and
  • the Internet of Things (IoT) Suite.

The Analytics Suite leverages machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze and optimize production data in real time. The Analytics suite works to detect patterns, trends, and outliers in processes, and provides early warnings of potential problems or areas that require improvement. The IoT Suite helps to monitor and track equipment performance, enabling users to quickly identify anomalies, diagnose issues, and take corrective action.

To maximize manufacturing efficiency with predictive maintenance, it’s important to understand the data and develop a system that can accurately detect, analyze, and act upon this data. By leveraging the power of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, manufacturers can develop an effective system for predictive maintenance, which can lead to improved quality, increased efficiency, and reduced costs.

Enhance your manufacturing efficiency with MS Dynamics 365 F&O today. Start now for a more efficient future!

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In conclusion, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations provides manufacturers with a comprehensive set of tools to maximize their efficiency. By streamlining production processes, managing the supply chain, and gaining real-time visibility, manufacturers can achieve significant cost savings, improve quality, and increase profitability.

Following the 5 insights presented in this article puts manufacturers in a better position when it comes to taking advantage of D365’s capabilities to improve production planning and scheduling, automate data collection, increase visibility across the supply chain, improve quality control, and implement predictive maintenance. All of these are surefire ways for any business to reduce costs, improve quality, and gain a competitive edge in the marketplace.

Achieve your goals and take your operations to the next level with the power of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations.

Maximizing Manufacturing Efficiency with D365 Finance and Operations

Maximizing Manufacturing Efficiency with Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations

Maximizing Manufacturing Efficiency with Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations 700 500 Xcelpros Team


Microsoft Dynamics 365 is frequently considered a solution for upgrading legacy Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems due to its simple integrations and compatibility with many companies.

If you want one system to help your manufacturing company optimize operations and increase efficiency, Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations software provides comprehensive, integrated, and cloud-based solutions that help streamline processes and make better business decisions. MS Dynamics 365 has powerful tools, features, and analytics to improve customer experiences and drive business growth.

In this post, we will discuss why Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations is an excellent choice for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems for manufacturing companies.

What is Microsoft Dynamics 365

At its core, Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. This powerful software solution enables organizations to streamline their operations and efficiently manage various aspects of their business from a unified platform. Microsoft Dynamics 365 (D365) is a modern, cloud-based ERP that builds upon the strengths of its predecessor, Dynamics AX.

Dynamics 365 is a comprehensive suite of business solutions for manufacturing companies, including accounting, supply chain management, and project management. By leveraging the power of D365, businesses can streamline their processes, increase visibility, and drive growth and profitability. This software is designed to help manage customer orders, inventory, financials, and supply chain operations. It is an ideal ERP implementation for companies with a single platform to coordinate their entire operation.

With a familiar, easy-to-use interface, Dynamics 365 allows manufacturers to analyze data, generate reports, and collaborate on projects from anywhere in the world. MSD365 helps streamline processes, improve customer service, and even reduce costs associated with managing operations via sophisticated analytics capabilities that give companies insights into their performance.

The software enables users to access the latest technological enhancements such as machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and Internet of Things (IoT). With these capabilities, manufacturers can make better-informed decisions quickly and accurately, increasing efficiency.

Ultimately, Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations offers innovative and efficient ways for manufacturing companies to effectively manage their resources and operations. Implementing this powerful ERP system enables companies to enhance their operations and better serve their customers.

Microsoft D365 F&O is one of the most popular enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems in the world. According to an article on Apps Run the World, by 2026, the market size for ERP applications is projected to reach a staggering $112.3 billion, witnessing a compound annual growth rate of 1.5%. This shows an increase from $104.1 billion in 2021.

Benefits of Dynamics 365 for Manufacturing Companies

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a well-known ERP system, specifically designed for the manufacturing industry. D365 continuously offers unique features and functionality tailored to the needs of this often-regulated sector. With MSD365, manufacturers have greater control over every aspect of their operations, from production to inventory management to Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

Implementing Dynamics 365 improves efficiency, boosts productivity, and reduces costs for manufacturers, with powerful tools for managing processes like sales, marketing, accounting, and operations. Manufacturers using Dynamics can easily access key data and information in real time to make more informed decisions about the way their processes work.

The elevated level of flexibility and customizations enables the product to scale with your business and is easily configured to meet specific requirements of any size manufacturing operation. There is also a wide range of integration options to ensure compatibility with new or existing business applications.

Implementation is one thing, configuration is another. When properly configured, Microsoft Dynamics 365 helps optimize the flow of information throughout the entire organization. This leads to faster decision making, improved customer service, and improved financial results. Microsoft’s manufacturing-focused ERP helps save money for businesses by reducing repetitive, labor-intensive tasks such as inventory tracking, billing, and more.

As a bonus, data gathered through these systems provides valuable insights into customer behavior, allowing companies to tailor their offerings to better meet customer needs, leading to higher revenue and overall customer satisfaction.

Beneficial Features of Dynamics 365 Finance

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a comprehensive business management solution that offers a range of features to support financial and operational needs of manufacturing businesses. Some benefits of D365 Finance for manufacturing businesses are:

Figure 1:Beneficial Features of Dynamics 365 Finance for Manufacturing Companies

Beneficial Features of Dynamics 365 Finance for Manufacturing Companies

  1. Production Control: Dynamics 365 Finance enables manufacturers to efficiently manage production processes via real-time visibility into production schedules, resource allocation, and inventory levels. It helps manufacturers optimize production processes, reduce lead times, and improve overall productivity.
  2. Inventory Management: Dynamics 365 Finance provides a robust inventory management system that helps manufacturers track inventory levels, manage to reorder points, and monitor real-time stock movements. It enables manufacturers to optimize inventory levels, reduce stockouts, and improve order fulfilment rates.
  3. Cost Management: Dynamics 365 Finance provides powerful cost management capabilities that enable manufacturers to accurately track costs associated with production, inventory, and other business processes. It helps manufacturers identify cost-saving opportunities, reduce wastage, and improve profitability.
  4. Supply Chain Management (SCM): Dynamics 365 Finance provides advanced Supply Chain Management (SCM) capabilities to manage a manufacturing company’s entire supply chain, from procurement to distribution. It enables manufacturers to optimize their supply chain processes, reduce lead times, and improve supplier performance.
  5. Financial Management: Dynamics 365 Finance provides comprehensive financial management capabilities that enable manufacturers to manage their finances efficiently. It helps manufacturers streamline financial processes, such as accounts receivable, accounts payable, and financial reporting, and provides real-time financial insights to support informed decision-making.

Overall, Dynamics 365 Finance provides comprehensive features that can benefit manufacturing businesses by improving production efficiency, optimizing inventory levels, reducing costs, and enhancing overall financial management.

Manufacturing Companies Already Using Dynamics 365

It’s always helpful to hear from other companies that have already experienced the benefits of using Microsoft Dynamics 365.

For example, one customer reported that they could streamline their production processes, which enabled them to increase their forecasting accuracy. They also saw a dramatic reduction in their inventory costs thanks to improved accuracy and automated system alerts.

Another customer reported a 50% increase in their productivity after implementing the software. With these results, it’s no wonder more manufacturing companies are turning to Microsoft Dynamics 365.

The platform also scored high ratings in user satisfaction surveys. According to Gartner, Microsoft Dynamics 365 has received 4.3 out of 5 stars based on customer reviews, with 89% of users saying they would recommend it to other businesses. Microsoft’s system also performs well when it comes to scalability and agility, with 87% of customers reporting that it can scale easily as their businesses grow.

Dynamics 365 Finance- Final Thoughts

In conclusion, Microsoft Dynamics 365 is the choice for manufacturers looking for a powerful, flexible, and user-friendly ERP system.

With its comprehensive suite of tools and seamless integration with other Microsoft applications, Dynamics 365 enables manufacturers to streamline their operations, optimize supply chain management, and gain deeper insights into business performance.

Our team of experts at XcelPros is committed to helping businesses like yours unlock the full potential of your project through customized implementation and ongoing support. By partnering with us, you can rest assured that your Dynamics 365 solution will be tailored to your specific needs and optimized for maximum performance.

So why wait?

Schedule a call today to learn more about how we can help you harness the power of Microsoft Dynamics 365 and take your manufacturing business to the next level.

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Achieving Cost Savings and ROI with Dynamics 365 Finance in Manufacturing

Achieving Cost Savings and ROI with Dynamics 365 Finance in Manufacturing

Achieving Cost Savings and ROI with Dynamics 365 Finance in Manufacturing 700 500 Xcelpros Team

Manufacturing companies constantly strive to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and increase profitability. With modern supply chains becoming more complex, it is crucial to have a robust system that can provide accurate, real-time information and support decision-making. Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations solutions (D365) are part of an excellent system designed to help manufacturers achieve cost savings and ROI. In this article, we will explore the benefits of Microsoft D365 in manufacturing and how it can help companies reach their goals.

Improved Supply Chain Management

Improved supply chain management is critical for manufacturers looking to reduce costs and improve profitability. Microsoft’s D365 helps manufacturers achieve this goal by providing real-time visibility into their supply chain. With accurate and up-to-date information, manufacturers can track inventory levels, monitor production schedules, and manage suppliers more effectively.

D365 helps manufacturers avoid overstocking or stockouts, reducing inventory costs by having real-time visibility into inventory levels. It can also help optimize production schedules by identifying bottlenecks and adjusting as needed, helping increase production efficiency, reducing downtime, and improving delivery times. All efforts lead to cost savings and improved ROI.

According to a report by Panorama Consulting Solutions, companies that implemented Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (D365) experienced an average of 20% reduction in inventory costs, 22% reduction in manufacturing lead times, and a 23% increase in on-time delivery. The report also found that D365 helped organizations reduce production costs by an average of 18%. These improvements in operational efficiency resulted in significant cost savings and improved ROI for the organizations.

Figure 1:Cost Savings and ROI with Dynamics 365 Finance in Manufacturing

Cost Savings and ROI with Dynamics 365 Finance in Manufacturing

Another benefit of D365 is more effective supplier management. Real-time information on supplier performance lets manufacturers manage their suppliers more effectively. Up-to-date information helps manufacturers identify issues and take corrective action, such as renegotiating contracts or switching suppliers.

Enhanced Financial Management

Proper financial management is another crucial aspect of business operations for any manufacturer and something that has a direct impact on profitability. With D365, manufacturers benefit from a wide range of tools that can help streamline financial processes, reduce errors, and improve financial reporting.

One of the critical benefits of D365 is its accounts payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR) functionality. These features allow manufacturers to manage their cash flow more effectively by letting them track payments and receipts, automate invoicing processes, and access real-time financial information. This helps manufacturers identify potential issues early on, take corrective action to ensure timely payments, and reduce the risk of past due payments or missed invoices, leading to improved cash flow and better financial performance overall.

Another essential feature of D365 is the powerful general ledger functionality that enables manufacturers to track all financial transactions in one place, making it easier to manage financial data, reconcile accounts, and produce financial reports. This helps manufacturers to streamline financial processes and reduce errors, resulting in better financial reporting and improved ROI.

D365 also provides powerful financial analysis tools for budgeting and forecasting that can help manufacturers make more informed financial decisions.

Better Production Planning

Microsoft’s D365 gives manufacturers robust production planning capabilities to optimize production schedules, minimize downtime, and reduce waste.

D365 offers real-time visibility into production processes, allowing manufacturers to track production status, find bottlenecks, and adjust production accordingly. This helps manufacturers to minimize downtime, increase production efficiency, and reduce costs.

An often-overlooked production planning feature of D365 is its ability to reduce waste. By supplying real-time data on production processes, the system can help manufacturers show areas where waste occurs and take corrective action. This can include adjusting production processes, reducing overproduction, or improving quality control. Reducing waste is a fantastic way for manufacturers to save costs and improve their bottom line, improving their ROI.

D365 gives users access to powerful analytics tools that can help find areas for improvement in their production processes. The system can generate custom reports on production efficiency, quality control, and other key performance indicators, enabling manufacturers to make data-driven decisions to optimize production processes.

Improved Quality Control

Quality control is another big part of manufacturing that directly impacts product quality and customer satisfaction. Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations is a powerful business management solution that offers advanced quality control features to help manufacturers improve their quality control processes.

D365 allows manufacturers to track their quality data in real-time and can even capture data on product quality to provide real-time feedback to manufacturers. This enables manufacturers to identify and resolve quality issues quickly, reducing the risk of defects and minimizing the need for rework. This helps improve product quality and reduce costs.

In addition to real-time quality data tracking, Microsoft’s D365 includes advanced quality control features. This lets manufacturers define quality control processes, establish quality standards, and track compliance with these standards. This helps improve quality control processes and ensure that products meet the highest quality standards, increasing customer satisfaction.

D365 also includes analytics tools that help manufacturers identify quality issues and take corrective action. Users can generate reports on product quality, defect rates, and other key performance indicators, enabling manufacturers to make data-driven decisions to improve their quality control processes.

Increased Collaboration

Collaboration is critical to success in any business, especially manufacturing, where different departments and teams need to work together seamlessly. D365 directly integrates with Microsoft’s Office365 products to offer advanced collaboration features to help manufacturers improve communication and collaboration across departments and with suppliers.

D365 provides a centralized platform for communication and collaboration, offering document management, email integration, and task assignments, enabling manufacturers to streamline workflows and reduce errors.

According to a study by Forrester Consulting, organizations that implemented Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (D365 F&O) experienced a 35% reduction in time spent on collaboration and document sharing, resulting in increased productivity and reduced errors. The study also found that D365 F&O helped organizations improve their quality control processes, with a 30% reduction in defects and a 20% reduction in rework. Additionally, the platform enabled organizations to improve their production planning capabilities, with a 25% reduction in planning cycle time and a 20% increase in schedule adherence. These improvements in collaboration, quality control, and production planning ultimately helped organizations achieve better business outcomes.

Figure 2:Improvement in Quality Control Processes with Dynamics 365 Finance in Manufacturing

Improvement in Quality Control Processes with Dynamics 365 Finance in Manufacturing

Microsoft’s D365 can help manufacturers manage suppliers more effectively, providing real-time visibility into supplier performance and enabling manufacturers to collaborate with suppliers more efficiently to optimize supply chain processes and reduce costs.

In addition to collaboration tools, Microsoft’s D365 also offers advanced analytics and customizable reporting features. The system can generate reports on collaboration metrics, such as task completion rates and communication efficiency, enabling manufacturers to identify areas for improvement and take corrective action. This is becoming a common way for manufacturers to further improve their collaboration.


Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations solutions are part of a robust system that addresses the unique challenges faced by manufacturers looking to achieve higher cost savings and ROI. By leveraging the benefits of this system, manufacturers can improve their financial performance and increase profitability.

Manufacturers who want to stay ahead of the competition in today’s fast-paced industries need powerful features, including improved supply chain management, enhanced financial management, better production planning, improved quality control, and increased collaboration, which are all great ways for manufacturers to optimize their operations and reduce costs.

While it’s difficult to provide specific figures for cost savings and ROI, studies have shown that organizations implementing Dynamics 365 can see a significant return on investment over time. According to a Forrester Total Economic Impact study commissioned by Microsoft, organizations can see a 466% ROI over three years with D365. However, it’s important to note that this figure will vary depending on the specific circumstances of each organization.

One thing that should always be noticed is how to get the most out of your chosen solution. The answer is simple: work with a partner that understands your business needs. Regarding Microsoft Dynamics 365, XcelPros is a Microsoft Partner with decades of experience implementing validated solutions. Our team will work with you directly to ensure you achieve your goals.

Learn more about Cost Savings and ROI in Manufacturing by Scheduling a call with One of our Dynamics 365 Finance Specialists.

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Designing a GMP System: Key Considerations and Benefits of Implementation

Designing a GMP System: Key Considerations and Benefits of Implementation

Designing a GMP System: Key Considerations and Benefits of Implementation 700 500 Xcelpros Team

Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) ensure that products meet quality standards and are safe for use or consumption. A GMP-compliant system is essential for companies that must adhere to regulatory requirements to produce safe and effective products. A GMP system involves guidelines and procedures regulating the manufacturing process, including product design, production, and testing. Regulatory bodies, such as the FDA, set these guidelines, and compliance is mandatory for companies operating in industries like pharmaceuticals, biotech, and food and beverage. Implementing a GMP system can be complex, but the right design can help companies streamline processes, minimize errors, and maintain compliance.

A study published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Innovation found that implementing an electronic GMP system resulted in a 15% reduction in product defects and a 20% reduction in manufacturing time.

Key Considerations for Designing a System to Handle GMP Processes

Understand the Regulatory Requirements

The first step in designing a GMP system is understanding the regulatory requirements for your industry. GMP guidelines are detailed and can be complex, so it is essential to have a clear understanding of the expectations and standards. FDA regulations, for example, require documentation of every step in the manufacturing process, from raw material selection to final product release. A GMP system must also ensure products are produced in a controlled environment that minimizes contamination risk. Once you clearly understand the regulations, you can design your GMP system to ensure compliance.

Identify Critical Control Points

Critical control points (CCPs) are points in the manufacturing process where control can be applied to prevent, eliminate, or reduce a significant hazard to product quality or safety. In a GMP system, CCPs are identified and monitored to ensure the process operates within acceptable limits. Designing a system that identifies CCPs and monitors them is critical to ensuring product quality and safety.

Implement a Document Management System

Document control is an essential part of any GMP system. The FDA requires companies to maintain accurate records of every step in the manufacturing process, including raw material and component receipt, manufacturing and packaging, and product testing. A document management system can help ensure that all documents are accurate, up-to-date, and easily accessible. The system should provide version control, document tracking, and secure storage to maintain the integrity of the records.

Choose the Right Equipment

Equipment selection is critical in designing a GMP system. All equipment used in the manufacturing process must meet certain standards, including being designed for easy cleaning and maintenance. Equipment must also be calibrated and validated to ensure it works correctly. Choosing the right equipment can help streamline the manufacturing process and minimize the risk of product contamination.

Train Employees

GMP compliance requires that all employees involved in the manufacturing process are adequately trained in GMP guidelines, procedures, and practices. A GMP system should include employee training and ongoing education to ensure employees know their responsibilities and can effectively execute the strategies. Employee training should also include instruction on identifying and reporting potential quality issues.

Conduct Regular Audits

Regular audits of the GMP system are essential to ensure that the system is functioning as intended and that compliance is maintained. Audits should include reviewing all documentation and records, verifying equipment calibration and validation, and observing employees performing their tasks. Audits should be conducted at regular intervals and documented to provide a record of compliance.

Designing a system to handle GMP processes requires careful planning and attention to detail. Understanding regulatory requirements, identifying CCPs, implementing a document management system, choosing the right equipment, training employees, and conducting regular audits are all essential components of a successful GMP system. By implementing a well-designed GMP system, companies can streamline processes, minimize errors, and maintain compliance, ultimately improving product quality and safety.

In a case study conducted by UL, a pharmaceutical company that implemented an electronic GMP system reported a 50% reduction in batch review time and a 70% reduction in product release time.

Book a consultation with our technology experts to learn more about considerations for maintaining GMP processes.

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What Features Should a Good GMP Software Have?

Here are some important features that good GMP software should have:

Figure 1:Essential Components of Effective GMP Software

Essential Components of Effective GMP Software

  • Electronic signatures: GMP regulations require documentation of all activities related to the manufacturing process, and electronic signatures provide a secure and traceable way to authenticate these records.
  • Audit trails: The software should have a comprehensive audit trail that tracks all changes made to the system, including who made the changes, when they were made and the reason for the change.
  • Role-based access control: The system should have a robust access control mechanism that ensures users access only the information they need to do their job.
  • Electronic batch records: The software should provide a centralized location to store all batch records electronically, allowing for real-time tracking and analysis.
  • Validation and compliance: The GMP software should be validated according to regulatory guidelines. The vendor should provide ongoing support to ensure the system complies with any regulation updates or changes.
  • Risk management: The system should have features to manage and mitigate risks associated with the manufacturing process. This includes the ability to perform risk assessments and track corrective actions and preventive actions (CAPA).
  • Integration with other systems: The software should integrate with other methods, such as ERP systems or LIMS systems, to provide a seamless end-to-end manufacturing process.
  • Reporting and analytics: The software should provide comprehensive reporting and analytics capabilities to enable companies to analyze and optimize their manufacturing processes.
  • Training and support: The vendor should provide comprehensive training and support to ensure that users can effectively use the software and comply with regulatory requirements.

Electronic GMP software can enhance the implementation of a GMP system, providing features such as electronic signatures, audit trails, role-based access control, electronic batch records, validation and compliance, risk management, integration with other systems, reporting and analytics, and training and support. By using good GMP software, companies can further optimize their manufacturing processes and ensure ongoing compliance with regulatory requirements.

Overall, companies prioritizing implementing GMP practices and investing in a well-designed GMP system and software can benefit from improved product quality and safety, increased efficiency, and reduced costs. By maintaining compliance with regulatory requirements and prioritizing quality and safety, companies can build a strong reputation and gain the trust of customers, regulators, and stakeholders.


In conclusion, the implementation of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) is crucial for companies operating in industries such as pharmaceuticals, biotech, and food and beverage to ensure product quality and safety. Designing and implementing a robust GMP system requires careful planning and attention to regulatory requirements, critical control points, document management, equipment selection, employee training, and regular audits.

XcelPros has decades of experience helping build and implement GMP practices as a Microsoft Gold Partner. Our team understands the importance of implementing the right system and can guide your business every step of the way.

With electronic GMP software, companies can further enhance their GMP system and optimize their manufacturing processes while ensuring ongoing compliance with regulations. By prioritizing GMP practices, companies can benefit from improved product quality and safety, increased efficiency, and reduced costs, building a solid reputation and gaining the trust of customers, regulators, and stakeholders.

Optimize Manufacturing Processes with Microsoft Dynamics

Optimize Manufacturing Processes with Microsoft Dynamics

Optimize Manufacturing Processes with Microsoft Dynamics 700 500 Xcelpros Team


Pressing on after the height of the pandemic, the manufacturing industry continues to struggle with workforce and supply chain challenges at every level, including increased costs for both physical goods and employee wages.

While we continue to be hopeful for significant growth in U.S. manufacturing, for many, optimizing their manufacturing processes has been vital to improving their bottom line and productivity and getting more out of their operations, helping them remain more profitable overall.

Working with the right partner can make manufacturing easier in many ways, whether it’s lower costs or increased productivity. A partner that understands manufacturing software and understands your business is most likely going to be able to deliver solutions that fit both your present needs and your future goals.

Technology and Modern Manufacturing

Technological advances have always been a boon to manufacturing businesses, helping them to increase efficiency and optimize even the most minor processes.

With rapid changes in consumer demand and the rise of globalization, companies need an integrated enterprise system that helps them manage their data more efficiently and productively. With a robust ERP solution and reliable hosting infrastructure, we’ve helped companies in industries like automotive, paper processing, consumer goods, textiles, distribution centers, and oil & gas manage global growth.

Today, most manufacturers choose Microsoft Dynamics to streamline their operations further.

Microsoft Dynamics is built on cloud architecture, which means you can access the same tools and resources on any device, no matter where you are or your company. And because Microsoft Dynamics is built on Azure – one of the world’s most significant clouds – customers get access to Azure’s security features, including comprehensive firewall protection, DDOS protection, and secure data transfers so critical information stays safe from cyber-attacks.

This flexibility is essential for manufacturing industries because it allows them to work anywhere in the world without worrying about backups or even localized power disruptions. That said, businesses should also consider offline capabilities when selecting a cloud ERP vendor, as they will help mitigate downtime while ensuring uninterrupted production flow during natural disasters or other emergencies.

Reasons For a Technology Partner

If you’ve been a manufacturer in business for even a few years, it’s fair to say that you know having a partner to help you optimize your processes can be the difference between success and failure.

By working with the right partner who understands your business needs and software like Microsoft Dynamics 365, you can ensure that you’re getting the most out of your technology.

Here are seven reasons why working with a partner who understands manufacturing and has experience with Dynamics 365 is so important.

  1. 1.Dynamic process optimization – It’s impossible for one person or team to optimize every process in their company. However, by collaborating with experts who understand how Dynamics 365 can integrate with other systems like transportation and compliance management, they can find ways to streamline business operations while cutting costs and increasing efficiency.
  2. 2.Better visibility – Some companies keep their inventory data in spreadsheets instead of a centralized system like Dynamics 365 which makes it difficult for managers to see where all the parts are coming from and going to. With the right kind of partners though, these manufacturers gain better visibility into their inventory levels which helps them avoid costly mistakes.
  3. 3.Outsourcing capabilities – Manufacturers often outsource work because there simply aren’t enough skilled workers available to do the job themselves. By outsourcing with a Microsoft certified partner, they can save money on labor expenses while ensuring quality control standards are met.
  4. 4.Streamlined processes – No matter what industry you work in, complex operations require expertise and knowledge outside of just one person or department. An expert will be able to map out an entire workflow more efficiently than someone without any experience at all.
  5. 5.Training & development opportunities – Manufacturers often have trouble finding time to invest in training because there always seems to be too much work on their plate already. A qualified partner will provide access to trainers who specialize in Dynamics 365, allowing employees to develop skills that benefit both the company and individual employees.
  6. 6.Saves time – Time is arguably one of the most valuable resources we have as humans. Working with a partner who knows what they’re doing saves everyone time and effort since it won’t take as long to figure out new software or new problems when they arise.
  7. 7.Builds relationships – The nature of manufacturing requires tight partnerships between manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, contractors, etc. One example is cross-training employees across multiple departments to create fewer bottlenecks and increase efficiency throughout the production process.

The Case for Microsoft Dynamics 365

If your main goal is optimizing your manufacturing processes, it’s important to utilize software that works for your business.

Figure 1:Technology of Industry 4.0

Technology of Industry 4.0

The world is changing and so is manufacturing. Industry 4.0, also known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, is transforming the way we live, work, and communicate. It’s characterized by several new technologies and trends, including big data and analytics, cloud computing, IoT, artificial intelligence (AI), and 3D printing. Microsoft Dynamics 365 can help prepare your company for Industry 4.0 by providing features that support these new technologies and trends.

For example, Dynamics 365 can help you collect and analyze data from your manufacturing processes using IoT sensors, use AI to automate tasks and make predictions, and take advantage of cloud computing to improve scalability and flexibility.

In our experience, the best way to Optimize manufacturing processes has always been with Microsoft Dynamics 365. The reasons why more manufacturers are turning to Microsoft ERP solutions are simple: They’re designed from the ground up to streamline production and minimize errors – saving time and money in the long run.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 helps streamline several manufacturing processes:

  1. 1.Workflows – These automated tasks make day-to-day operations more efficient. You don’t have to remember everything since our system takes care of it.
  2. 2.CRM – Customer relationship management helps sales reps stay on top of their customer data, contacts, leads and follow-ups. All customer info is stored securely in one place instead of scattered across emails or office documents, which makes customer interactions more manageable than ever before. And if they’re not contacted within 24 hours after submitting a lead form, an email reminder is automatically sent to them.
  3. 3.Inventory – Keeping track of inventory items has never been easier. Just upload your item list and watch as they move through each stage of the production process until they are ready for shipping to customers. And if an item runs low on stock, an automatic notification lets you know when its reorder point has been reached.
  4. 4.Automation – Microsoft Dynamics 365 allows you to take advantage of pre-built integrations that save you time and effort. You can export sales orders directly into your ERP, automatically triggering production or assembly lines or scheduling work on manufacturing machines. When products are finished, send them to the appropriate warehouse and receive notifications when they arrive. You can also set up alerts to notify key personnel whenever an order arrives at any point during production.

No matter what type of manufacturer you are, there’s a Microsoft Dynamics 365 solution available for you. At Xcelpros, we consider the types of manufacturing processes you use and the size of your company before recommending the best solution. We’ll work closely with you so that we can be sure to understand all your needs before implementing a solution.

Additional Considerations

When working with partners to optimize your manufacturing processes, there are a few things to keep in mind. In addition to software considerations, like licensing and security, you’ll also want to consider things like reporting, data governance, and compliance.

Here are a few tips to help you get started

  1. 1.Determine if you need more than just business process automation – this is where Microsoft Dynamics 365 can be used for other use cases such as supply chain optimization or digitizing field services.
  2. 2.Understand that any IT project takes time, so start planning early by partnering with a company that has experience working with manufacturers and knows how to consider your specific needs.
  3. 3.Consider if what is being offered will integrate well into the business processes you currently have in place or if it will require additional resources for training or customizations to make it work seamlessly within your existing systems.

Next Steps

There may seem like a lot of things to consider when you start optimizing your manufacturing processes but taking the time to understand the challenges can make all the difference to the future of your business. While Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a powerful tool that can help you streamline your operations – it’s often more about working with a partner who understands your industry and unique requirements.

Do research, ask peers for referrals, and know what you want. With the right partner, you can optimize your manufacturing processes and take your business to the next level.

Contact us today to learn more!

References: What are Industry 4.0, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and 4IR?

The need for data to transform industrial operations

How Data Management Helps in Optimizing the Manufacturing Process

How Data Management Helps in Optimizing the Manufacturing Process 700 500 Xcelpros Team


What side of the Covid-19 divide is your company on? Are you still trying to do business the same way you were before the pandemic? Or are you adapting to a more modern world, ready to use technology to help your business grow?

Either way, it’s clear the effects of the pandemic are still being felt throughout the business world and were likely to see the same results for much longer.

45% of respondents were dealing with sudden materials shortages

41% percent saw sharp drops in demand

30% percent were experiencing worker unavailability

Source: McKinsey

Each of these effects adds increased strain to supply chains worldwide. One such issue saw 111 cargo ships off Long Beach, California, on November 10, 2021. No matter what your company produces, odds are some of your products were stuck on those ships. Newly enacted—but not imposed—“container dwell” cargo container fees reduced the line of ships.

Four foundational technologies can be applied to the value chain, according to McKinsey:

  • Connectivity, data and computational power, which includes the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing and blockchain
  • Analytics and intelligence in the form of advanced analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence
  • Human-machine interactions using virtual and augmented reality plus robots and automation
  • Advanced engineering, which includes using renewable energy and additive manufacturing

Some companies are using these technologies to drive growth through process optimization.

Benefits of Process Optimization

Process optimization in manufacturing covers three vital areas:

  1. 1.Improved machine uptime. Using a data-based approach, companies can reduce downtime and increase the overall use of their equipment, Machine Metrics states. Using advanced analytics, companies can determine the causes of unplanned downtime. Clean, clear data lets manufacturers attack the worst offenders first.
  2. 2.Faster responses to issues at the machine level. Analytics looking at alarms and where workers are when they occur helps improve training, equipment layout, and other issues.
  3. 3.Improved maintenance. Using IoT sensors, the equipment can be used until it nears—but does not reach—the point of failure. Parts are replaced when needed instead of too early or only after a key machine is shut down.

Each of these steps involves digital manufacturing operations applied to the overall manufacturing process.

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Digital Equipment Is Critical

The only way to achieve these goals is by collecting and thoroughly analyzing data. Objectively analyzing data lets managers discover where bottlenecks are occurring and what’s causing them.

Downtime analysis lets managers analyze why some machines are down more often than others. Are they not operating because of unplanned maintenance, a lack of personnel, jobs, or machine setup, or is it something else?

Having computers perform predictive analysis, companies estimate when a tool will need replacing before it damages a machine or wipes out products.

Lean Manufacturing

Lean manufacturing is another way of looking at the production process. Lean manufacturing looks at a plant’s current process and asks: how can it be done more efficiently? How can the company’s goals be achieved while paying less for energy, such as by using energy from renewable sources, and also generating less waste? How can waste items be used to lower operating costs?

Examples include using “waste” to create new products, replace existing packaging, or fueling an on-site power plant.

Companies following a lean strategy seek to reduce and ideally eliminate waste, improve quality, cut costs and reduce time, according to TWI Global.

In an online article on Lean Manufacturing, TWI Global states there are now eight “wastes” in lean manufacturing:

  1. 1.Unnecessary transportation
  2. 2.Excess inventory
  3. 3.Unnecessary movement of people, equipment or machinery
  4. 4.Idle people or equipment
  5. 5.Over-production of a product
  6. 6.Making a product overly complex by adding unneeded features
  7. 7.Defects that are expensive to repair
  8. 8.Unused talent and ingenuity

While lean manufacturing has three benefits—saving time and money, being environmentally friendly, and improving customer satisfaction—it also has three disadvantages. These are:

  1. 1.Placing employee safety and wellbeing below achieving company goals
  2. 2.Focusing on the present and not on the future
  3. 3.Lacking a standardized method

Companies will want to balance the benefits and the costs to see if lean manufacturing works for them.

Recycling and Green Manufacturing

Green manufacturing seeks to reduce environmental impacts while still producing quality products. This includes source reduction to reduce the waste initially created. Recycling—using or reusing wastes as ingredients in a process or as a substitute for original feedstock—and green product design are key components.

In a report by two Carnegie Mellon researchers, the top waste minimization actions cited by large hazardous waste generators include:

  • Improved maintenance schedule, recordkeeping or procedures: 8.9%
  • Other changes in operating practices other than different equipment: 8.0%
  • Raw materials substitution: 7.1%
  • Unspecified source reduction activity: 6.5%
  • Stopped combining hazardous and non-hazardous waste: 5.1%
  • Ensuring materials were not in inventory past their shelf-life: 4.1%

Each of these green methods involves cost. They provide opportunities to expand a company’s supply chain in terms of raw materials sources while opening the door for new and different products.

Determining What Works Best

Ultimately, companies must find a combination of production process optimization methods that work best for them and their customers.

One common requirement shared by Industry 4.0, process optimization, lean manufacturing, and green manufacturing, is a requirement for data: the more accurate the data, the more accurate the forecasts and predictions.

Obtaining this information requires sensors that can measure flow and wear. On top of that, you need software that aligns the entire operation, from executive suites to the shop floor. It requires a digital network to help ensure consistent product quality, integrates with the shop floor, control waste, and spot opportunities.

Final Thoughts: Five Ideas to Spur Innovation and Growth

Competing in today’s technological world requires a willingness of top management to examine the production process and ask:

How can we do more with less? Consider these five ideas that may help your company achieve its goals.

  1. 1. Work with an innovation partner that can help your company gather the data it needs to grow.
  2. 2. Create a plan that covers your immediate needs while allowing room for growth, including in unexpected directions.
  3. 3. Include training existing employees and hiring new ones with the skills you need not only today but will require in one, two and five years. These people can help ensure you grow the way you want.
  4. 4. Invest in IoT sensors, especially at critical points in the production process. The sensors provide the data you need to make the hard decisions.
  5. 5. Spend the money now on modular software that provides the necessary control and data analysis. A modular system lets you start with one piece, such as Supply Chain Management, and then add others when the budget permits.

Grow Your Manufacturing Company With Microsoft Dynamics 365

Grow Your Manufacturing Company With the Microsoft Dynamics 365

Grow Your Manufacturing Company With the Microsoft Dynamics 365 700 500 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

The top enterprise application companies in terms of market share are:

  • SAP: 8.05%
  • Microsoft 7.18%
  • Oracle: 5.6%
  • Salesforce: 3.48%
  • IBM: 2.51%

Towards the end of 2020, Microsoft reported 258 million monthly active business users. Today, 1.2 billion people in 140 countries speaking 107 languages use a Microsoft product.


Very few businesses decide, “today is the day we shrink.” Instead, most small and medium businesses focus their attention and resources on growing their market share or expanding into new markets.

Successful companies use every available tool to get an edge on their competition. This is especially true in a world where the success of a supply chain can rest on a single freighter or a lack of manpower at a key port. All leaders need to do is look at what happened in the Suez Canal and the One part of the problem impacted goods going to Europe, while the other continued to affect products going in and out of the US.

One tool many companies use is enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. The top-tier versions of these products go beyond looking at spreadsheets and mountains of data. One of the world’s most used ERP platforms is Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 line of products, which is used on 73 percent of all computer systems.

Modular Design of Dynamics 365

Figure: 1Microsoft Dynamics 365 modules

Dynamics 365 module designs

Dynamics 365 has been designed as a modular solution with five main sections. Each module has its own unique functions and depending on your company’s needs, one module may be enough.

Dynamics 365 Finance

Dynamics 365 Finance is Microsoft’s flagship ERP that includes artificial intelligence designed to help assess the health of your business, improve financial controls, optimize cash flow, and make strategic decisions faster. The result is driving growth by using real-time, unified global financial reporting, embedded analytics, and predictive insights.

Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management

Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management is designed to accelerate inbound and outbound processes such as put-away and pick-pack-ship, and identify potential machine issues before they occur.

Dynamics 365 Business Central

Dynamics 365 Business Central can manage all core business functions and help deliver projects on time and under budget.

Dynamics 365 Sales

Dynamics 365 Sales is designed to improve responses, conversions and win rates, helping you provide more personalized, meaningful engagement. It also helps examine your sales data, delivering insights with the power of AI.

Dynamics 365 Marketing

Dynamics 365 Marketing creates seamless customer experiences through marketing automation, shared data and business processes connected to Dynamics 365 Sales. It increases lead generation.

Preferred solutions like Integrated Chemical Management (iCM) and Integrated Quality Management (iQM)—add insights to pharmaceutical and chemical manufacturing companies.

These programs work seamlessly with Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing platform. Azure provides a key link when manufacturing companies want to use the Internet of Things (IoT) and share information across far-flung enterprises.F

D365 Finance: The Heart of Microsoft’s Modern Solutions

Sitting at the core of Microsoft Dynamics 365 builds on the company’s history of creating multi-user accounting software, which began nearly 30 years ago. Dynamics Release 1.0 made its debut in February 1993.

Since its debut as 32-bit software, Dynamics 365 Finance—previously known as Finance and Operations—has grown significantly with the times. Artificial intelligence is now part of its ability to examine financial reporting, analyze data and provide meaningful insights.

For midsize to large companies, the finance module is designed to be used, especially by people who are already familiar with Office products like Outlook and Excel.

Accounting elements of D365 Finance are:

  • General ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable, and bank reconciliation
  • Asset management
  • Month and year-end closing
  • Budgeting and planning

The Finance module also includes management functions covering operations, sales and service, projects, and reporting and analytics.

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Automating Payment Processing is Part of D365 Finance

Many companies are adopting D365 Finance because of its ability to efficiently automate payment processing, allowing you to “create a predefined schedule with a combination of payment proposal criteria to create payment journals with less user intervention,” according to MSDynamicsWorld.

Process automation in D365 begins by setting a schedule under Accounts Payable > Setup > Payments > Process Automations.

The most interesting and advanced feature lets you schedule automation across companies (payment journals would be created in respective companies) without changing the company’s day to day activities of using Dynamics 365 Finance,Source: MSDynamicsWorld

Users can set up batch jobs, define alerts, set amount limits and include invoices from other companies using the included Centralized Payments option, where filters are easily set.

D365 Finance payment process automation lets you:

  • Schedule payment process using different requirements for each day or time of day
  • Reduce manual journal creation
  • Monitor activity with a dashboard view, which informs you of any errors so you can resolve them

Integrating Finance with Supply Chain Management

Keeping track of your products is critical, especially in today’s highly regulated world. Pharmaceutical and chemical companies are under a microscope in terms of regulations. When it comes to shipping medicines or chemicals, the word “complex” doesn’t come close to managing and meeting these requirements.

One important feature in Supply Chain Management (SCM) is its ability to store information related to hazardous materials. Information on these materials is stored in the Product Information section.

  • ADR: Covering the international shipment of dangerous goods by road
  • CFR 49: Regulating dangerous goods by road in the US
  • IMDG: The International Marine Dangerous Goods code
  • IATA: The International Air Transport Association dangerous goods regulations

Handling hazardous materials is a comparatively minor feature in D365 Supply Chain Management, though. Its primary functions relate to inventory management and automating inventory controls.

For example, SCM lets companies create barcode labels for individual products and license plates for pallets and larger shipments. These barcodes can be read by handheld scanners and cellphones letting workers know exactly what is in each container.

In terms of warehouse management, knowing precise quantities of each item allows management to order exactly what it needs. This information management ensures enough materials for production runs without running out of storage space. SCM helps companies walk that fine line between having too little inventory to meet customer needs and tying up funds on extra products. Built-in stock and inventory management functions provide a wealth of data for manufacturing companies.

When dealing with shipping finished goods to customers, SCM’s same labeling and tracking functions, combined with business intelligence, helps route shipments.

Imagine you need to get two pallets from a factory in China to Los Angeles. When shipping by sea, this would normally take about 16 days. That time frame normally works for the product’s 30-day shelf life. However, problems related to Covid-19 mean the delay at the San Pedro docks is now 36 days. When adding Power BI (business intelligence) to your software solution, you are warned about the delay in finding another route.

The Bottom Line

Today’s business world is much different than it used to be. It is running not on gears, widgets and gadgets but big data and mountains of information. Bytes and bits in the form of 0’s and 1s provide insight that today’s organizations rely on to grow. The Microsoft Dynamics 365 line of modular ERP products includes essential information on when it can do its best: before a situation becomes critical.

These robust, modern products offer different functions but share a common goal – helping your company stay competitive in today’s digital world.

Best Practices in Quality Management and Control

Quality Management and Control – Best Practices

Quality Management and Control – Best Practices 700 500 Xcelpros Team

Introduction to Quality Management and Control

Reducing the amount of defective products saves manufacturers money. Cutting raw materials waste, using labor and equipment more efficiently, and reducing returns from unhappy customers are all ways to save money when product defects are reduced. Boosting quality control in manufacturing can also lead to an enhanced customer experience, supercharging your brand while lowering the need for extra raw materials to replace anything wasted.

Three ways any industry can improve quality control include:

  1. 1. Reducing human mistakes by automating repetitive actions. Automation also improves accuracy and increases visibility. Combined with internet of things (IoT) sensors, automation creates data that can be analyzed for hidden incremental improvements.
  2. 2. Inspecting, testing, and comparing products to defined standards. Products that meet those standards are shipped. Those that don’t are recycled. Adding computerized sensors in the inspection and quality control phase also provides an opportunity for insights into ways to create and build quality control standard operating procedures (SOPs).
  3. 3. Tracking inventory from the material supplier through warehouses and production to the end customer’s door. Accurate labeling lets manufacturers trace everything from essential ingredients to sub-assemblies and completed products. Using barcodes combined with automated and hand-held scanners provides a third data entry point into your firm’s network, ensuring most of what goes in comes out as salable products.

Using these three quality control methods in production can help your company create an efficient production cycle that reduces machine downtime, defects, and waste rework. The result is better merchandise and less waste, benefiting customers and manufacturers alike.

Quality Control Starts with Quality Planning

For many, focusing on quality control, or QC, means creating an efficient, consistent manufacturing process that gives the same results every time the process is repeated. The only way to ensure this consistency is with a well-formulated quality plan.

As a manufacturer or company who uses contract manufacturers, you likely focus on two critical elements: quality and cost. The best way to deliver the highest quality at the lowest cost is to start with quality planning. The American Society for Quality defines quality plans as “a document or set of documents that describe the standards, quality practices, resources and processes pertinent to a specific product, service or project.”

A quality plan for manufacturing ensures:

  • Conformance to your customer’s requirements, which may include meeting government standards.
  • Verification of your own standards while confirming your internal procedures work as expected.
  • Tracking the motions of every product, from the moment raw materials or sub-assemblies enter your premises, to their delivery at your customer’s door.
  • Consistent results via ensuring the quality methods in production work as designed and as expected.
  • Deficiencies in worker training are identified, allowing them to be corrected.
  • Insights into ways to further enhance your quality control standard operating procedures (SOPs).

The major components of a quality plan which must be stated and defined:

  • Responsibility for distribution, in terms of which manager or department confirms each step in the process so the end result aligns with the company’s goals.
  • Process steps and individual procedures for each step in the overall production process.
  • Testing requirements and the amount of government oversight vary by industry. For example, medicines or chemicals have significantly more regulations to comply with than furniture, for example.
  • Methods for tracking changes and modifications, regardless of the cause.
  • Quality process measurement in terms of value provided by the quality plan.

The final and most essential components of a quality plan are standards: What practices and procedures must be followed in your quality plan so that manufacturing meets requirements, customer’s needs, and government compliance requirements?

The Value of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

A key part of quality control in manufacturing is having standard operating procedures (SOPs) that are easily replicated. Each step in each procedure making up the entire production process is checked, re-checked, and confirmed by those designated to follow that specific SOP. The final test is completed by having a new hire follow said procedure and reviewing their results. When the results from a new hire are able to meet set production quality control standards, the SOP can be considered a success. When the results do not meet set production quality control standards, the fault lies with the SOP document, not the worker.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine at the National Institute of Health, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) create a structured approach to work and guarantee consistent execution of tasks by all individuals involved. Well-crafted SOPs play a critical role in maintaining Good Clinical Practice (GCP), preventing errors, reducing waste, and avoiding unnecessary rework. On the other hand, poorly articulated SOPs can lead to misinformation and confusion.

These documents must be user-friendly and written in a way that is easy to follow and leaves little room for errors. Preventing errors via SOPs improves quality, reduces waste, and when written with input from people involved in the actual manufacturing process, boosts efficiency.

The Role of Quality Assurance

In manufacturing, quality assurance (QA) encompasses the practices that manufacturers employ within a quality management system to uphold expected levels of consistent quality for the items they create.

When paired with quality control, quality assurance works to ensure customers receive products that meet specific standards, in terms of defects and tolerances. QA is a proactive method that works via employee training, defining processes in written SOPs, and selecting the right tools for each job. QC looks at the results from QA and determines if a product passes or fails.

Effective quality control and quality assurance plans, combined with quality auditors ensuring standards are met, results in cost savings, boosted efficiency, and boosted customer satisfaction.

Figure 1: The Role of Quality Assurance

The Role of Quality Assurance is to boost customer satisfaction and efficiency and provide cost savings.

The Role of Quality Assurance

  • Cost savings in terms reduced waste
  • Using equipment more effectively boosts efficiency

Quality management standards vary by the industry, though one of the most common is ISO 9000. A set of international quality standards, ISO 9000 covers many different industries and approaches.

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Quality Management Systems

A Quality Management System (QMS) is a structured framework that captures the essence of how things get done right. It’s all about documenting processes, procedures, and responsibilities, with the ultimate goal of achieving quality policies and objectives. By coordinating and directing an organization’s activities, the QMS plays a vital role in meeting customer needs, fulfilling regulatory requirements, and always striving to be better, faster, and more efficient.

An effective QMS helps manufacturing companies:

  • Define production processes
  • Reduce waste
  • Prevent mistakes
  • Lower costs
  • Engage staff
  • Set an organization-wide direction
  • Communicate a readiness to customers that it wants to produce consistent results

In today’s digital world, QMS doesn’t stand alone in a silo: it’s part of a company’s overarching software linking QA and QC to inventory, sales and other departments. One example of a versatile QMS is called Integrated Chemical Management (iCM), which integrates fully with Microsoft’s flagship enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance, Supply Chain Management, and Business Central. When integrated with Dynamics 365, iCM  provides a scalable, easy to use overarching quality management tool that helps with on time delivery (OTD) for products, under budget.

When merged with internet of things (IoT) sensors on production machines, Integrated Chemical Management (iCM) and Dynamics 365 manage and massage data. Among the results are ways to make incremental quality improvements that boost long-term overall quality scores, resulting in more sales and customer satisfaction.

Summary – Quality Management

For any company, producing higher-quality products takes forethought, patience, and serious effort. This means having a documented quality management plans that include step-by-step directions for every procedure and every part of the production process.

When it comes to manufacturing, an effective quality management plan looks at quality assurance and quality control, examining and testing various stages of the production process to ensure everything meets your demanding standards, boost efficiency, and reduce wasteful practices.

Helping measure these results is a modern quality management system like Integrated Quality Management (iQM) from XcelPros, which integrates fully with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management. When used as part of an overall ERP software plan, iQM helps companies find ways to improve quality while reducing costs. This leads to an overall effect is a boost in profitability, helping power additional growth and granting ROI.

Taking the time to plan how to function in these uncertain times is essential. Using software tools such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance, Supply Chain Management, or Business Central will help companies continue to operate successfully in rapidly changing conditions.

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Challenge of Manufacturing Transformations

The Challenges of Manufacturing Transformations

The Challenges of Manufacturing Transformations 700 500 Xcelpros Team


“Cutthroat and quick.” Those two words sum up the state of the modern manufacturing industry. Customers want the lowest possible prices, abandoning long-term relationships to save money. They also want their products and they want them Now. It makes no difference to some companies that the containers that move their goods are stuck on a freightliner offshore: the client wants their goods this instant.

So how can an older company known for producing quality merchandise compete with the upstarts? The answer is by digitally transforming its operations.

Key parts of this transformation involve:

  • Automation
  • The Internet of Things
  • Using AI (artificial intelligence)
  • Upgraded equipment
  • Enhanced cybersecurity
  • An emphasis on “going green

The good news is each of these challenges can be overcome, leading to a company that is leaner, greener and in terms of the competition, meaner. The bad news is doing it requires planning, forethought and a willingness to disrupt the “we’ve always done it this way” mindset.

There are three key components for a successful digital transformation:

  1. 1.A change champion to push, prod, cajole, criticize and even complain to keep the project moving on track.
  2. 2.A trained consultant, one experienced in performing similar upheavals at other companies in the same or related industries.
  3. 3.A suite of products that can be customized to meet your specific needs.

1.Change Champions Drive Innovation

One of the reasons why some businesses fail when attempting to modernize is mindset: leadership is unwilling to abandon the old ways, not only of doing business, but of thinking. A change champion who has the authority to drive modernization is a key player in bringing any company from the 20th Century into the always-changing 21st.

Often described as “a mono-maniac with a mission,” change champions are the people who ensure new technology gets adopted. They work-hopefully with the support of top management-to drag their company forward.

“A good champion is passionate about their cause or change. They are staunch, zealous, and even fanatic. A great champion is emotional, irrational, irreverent, impatient and unreasonable. They want the change – no matter how big – to happen this week, this month, or certainly by the end of this quarter. To an impassioned change champion, the sky is often falling and the situation is desperately urgent,” Innovation Management states.

Overcoming management inertia is one challenge facing digital transformation in manufacturing. This is critical because AcqNotes looked at several studies and concluded that the failure rate of software projects range between 50 percent – 80 percent.

Causes of failure include:

  • Lack of user participation
  • Changing requirements
  • Unrealistic or unarticulated project goals
  • Poor communication among customers, developers, and users
  • Poor Project Management
  • Stakeholder politics
  • Lack of Stakeholder involvement

Some of the worst software acquisition practices include:

  • Using schedule compression to justify new technology on a time-critical project
  • Expecting to recover more than 10 percent schedule slip without a reduction in delivered functionality
  • Putting items out of project control on the critical path
  • Planning to achieve more than 10 percent improvement from observed past performance
  • Burying as much of the project complexity as possible in the software as opposed to the hardware
  • Conducting critical system engineering tasks without software expertise
  • Believing that formal reviews alone will provide an accurate picture of the project
  • Expecting that the productivity of a formal review is directly proportional to the number of attendees above five

Effective change champions working with top management backing-president, board level and/or owner-can overcome these hurdles.

Change Champions work with consultants experienced in helping manufacturers adopt a digital mindset. Knowledgeable consultants with a good track record for installing well-known, proven enterprise resource planning (ERP) products like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance can help change champions in their goal to convince naysayers to the project.

2.Digital Transformation Consultants

Before looking at the role of a consultant, examine one of many definitions for digital transformation.

Figure: 1Digital transformation for manufacturing

Digital transformation for manufacturing

“Digital Transformation is the profound transformation of business and organizational activities, processes, competencies and models to fully leverage the changes and opportunities of a mix of digital technologies and their accelerating impact across society in a strategic and prioritized way, with present and future shifts in mind,” several websites state.

Digital transformation for manufacturing has several important-and ultimately, profitable-benefits.

They include:

  • Greater efficiency through streamlined processes and decisions
  • Improved productivity as automation lets skilled workers spend their time and attention on critical, rather than mundane, tasks
  • Insights letting executives understand why projects failed and how they can succeed the next time
  • Enhanced customer service aimed at a global, 24/7/365 audience
  • Finding competitive advantages where they may not have existed before

Once Change Champions help executives understand what a digital transformation is and what it can do, the next key step is hiring a consultant to help them plot a course. A lack of any plan, or even deviating from the plan is a recipe for disaster.

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A digital transformation consultant’s role is helping an organization understand how it can achieve its medium and long-term goals, ultimately becoming more profitable by using technology to implement strategic changes. Common steps taken by consultants, such as the technology strategists and road mappers, begins with:

  1. 1.Assessing each customer’s current position and its needs.
  2. 2.Developing implementation strategies specific for each client company.
  3. 3.Convincing management and staff that while change is always hard, their lives will be easier and more productive in the long run.
  4. 4.Working with the firm to ensure the implementation meets the company’s goals, offering advice and potential fixes for any roadblocks that appear.
  5. 5.After the implementation is complete, they review what happened. What went right? What didn’t go as planned? How can we learn from any failures in this phase to make the next phase smoother?

3.The Software

Whichever software package suggested by consultants that the company accepts, must be:

  • An industry leader
  • Safe and secure from digital threats
  • Easy for employees to use
  • Expandable when growth occurs
  • Customizable to meet company-specific needs
  • Flexible to meet the needs of a changing world economy, one currently suffering major supply chain disruptions
  • Able to be implemented in stages that allow the company to keep operating during the installation

Microsoft Dynamics 365 checks all of these boxes. Built on Microsoft’s Azure platform, it offers flexibility by having individual modules such as Sales, Finance and Supply Chain Management that can be installed as needed. More than just easy to use, D365 offers a familiar look and feel with most administrative staffers using Office 365. Security is built-in both through extra layers in the Azure platform and in Microsoft’s cloud architecture. D365 is also easily expandable, letting the software expand as the company grows.

The Bottom Line

Overcoming the challenges of a digital transformation in manufacturing requires having a Change Champion with the power to keep the company on track. It requires trained, experienced consultants that help the company understand what it wants to do and how to achieve its medium and long-term goals. And it requires software that can meet a company’s needs today, tomorrow and in the foreseeable future.

How Sustainable Operations Helps Manufacturers Grow

How Sustainable Operations Helps Manufacturers Grow

How Sustainable Operations Helps Manufacturers Grow 700 500 Xcelpros Team


Every business leader has heard the term “sustainable manufacturing,” but not all know that practicing methods that help the environment can also grow their business.

“Sustainable manufacturing is the creation of manufactured products through economically-sound processes that minimize negative environmental impacts while conserving energy and natural resources,” the United States Environmental Protection Agency states. These same practices enhance employee, community and product safety in part by producing less waste that pollutes the air, water and soil.

According to the EPA, companies that use a methodical, planned approach to sustainable manufacturing processes:

  • Increase operational efficiency by reducing costs and waste
  • Respond to or reach new customers and increase competitive advantage
  • Protect and strengthen brand and reputation and build public trust
  • Build long-term business viability and success
  • Respond to regulatory constraints and opportunities

Fostering Growth

These environmentally friendly sustainable manufacturing practices help companies grow by reducing production costs long term. For example, instead of paying thousands of dollars each month to an electric company to light and cool a 300,000 square-foot manufacturing plant, consider covering a flat roof with efficient solar panels.

The average payback time for a home solar electric installation (industrial estimates were not available) is roughly 6-10 years, though it varies depending on the climate and other factors. Solar panels also tend to last 25-40 years meaning roughly three-quarters of their useful lives is spent generating free electricity. The most recent designs are much more efficient, producing more power in a smaller size, than those made 10 years ago. The result is greater efficiency, allowing manufacturing facilities to cover less of their roofs while producing as much or more power than the older models.

Production plants can also reduce their massive electrical bills with skylights. The waterproof domed coverings help illuminate work areas, reducing the need of electric lighting. Extended exterior shelves can reduce sunlight, cutting cooling costs.

Figure: 1 Sustainable Manufacturing – a Big Picture

Sustainable Manufacturing - a Big Picture

Turning Trash Into Treasure

Other sustainable methods look at ways to reduce waste, especially by converting some “trash” into new products or using it for new methods.

One website alone lists 35 artful ways homeowners can recycle wooden pallets. These new uses include making tables, bed frames, stairs, mounting frames for heavy electronic display monitors and a host of other uses. Many of these same methods work for industrial companies in terms of outfitting conference rooms and other non-work areas.

From an industrial perspective, worn pallets can be repaired, cleaned and reused. They can also be sold, recouping some of the cost. Other uses for worn pallets include chipping them, turning them into wood pellets. The pellets can then be burned, generating heat and electricity.

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Cascading Chemicals

Recycling is a large part of the sustainable “green” economy. Industrial chemicals can be recycled. They can also be reused through a process known as “industrial symbiosis,” states. One example cited uses ferric chloride, which is a byproduct of steel pickling in hydrochloric acid, to treat water.

“Frequently, recycled chemicals are not only cheaper than newly produced ones, but they also reduce resource consumption, waste generation and greenhouse gas emissions. The carbon emissions through solvent recycling are 46 percent – 92 percent lower than those of new solvent production,” the website states.

When the article was written in 2019, industrial giants Siemens and Evonik were conducting research to convert the most common greenhouse gas—carbon dioxide (CO2)—into common industrial chemicals such as ethylene.

Other methods used to reduce chemical and industrial waste cited by greenbiz include swapping what might be one manufacturer’s trash with a different nearby business. That business can use these materials in its products.

Another environmentally friendly industrial method is “leasing” chemicals. In this model, a manufacturer sells the functions performed by the chemical using functional units, not the chemicals themselves.

Large manufacturers with their own wastewater treatment plants can redesign those facilities in ways that help the company turn a profit and grow. Companies interested in practicing sustainable manufacturing practices can modify existing equipment to produce energy, clean water and chemicals because, “the future of sewage is power and profits.”

The article ends with a quote made in 1848 by the former president of the London Royal College of Chemistry, R.W. Hoffmann: “In an ideal chemical factory there is, strictly speaking, no waste but only products. The better a real factory makes use of its waste, the closer it gets to its ideal, the bigger is the profit.”

Technology Can Spot Opportunities

One way a company can practice sustainable operations management is by using its data wisely. Especially in forward-thinking firms that use internet of things (IoT)-enabled devices, they have access to mountains of information.

Combining a well-thought plan with the right software lets these firms look at everything coming into their warehouse—including packaging—as potential profit sources. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) products such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 and its Supply Chain Management Module let companies of any size keep accurate track of their inventories. Add in the Integrated Chemical Management component and chemical manufacturers have an accurate label management solution that also produces safety data sheets.

By understanding the chemicals involved and working with sustainability experts, plant managers can evaluate their current conditions.

Executives interested in sustainable production and consumption—and being more competitive—will want to ask questions similar to these: What current waste products and materials can we use for secondary purposes or repackage and sell to someone in a different industry? Can we reuse packing materials we receive to pad and protect outgoing shipments? Are we using our raw materials effectively or are there ways we can become more efficient? How much power do our plants use? Are there affordable ways of reducing that consumption while also generating some of our own power all while meeting our long-term business goals?

Asking questions like these, and then using powerful software to find the answers, help innovative firms generate more money. That in turn can use sustainable practices to fuel growth.

The Bottom Line

Sustainable manufacturing involves looking at everything a company has, from a different angle. More office employees are working from home, freeing up space. Can we use that space for a different purpose instead of looking at empty desks? Can we move items around and expand our production facilities or our warehouse without having to build or buy new facilities?

Operations managers wanting to fuel growth by reducing power consumption can use ERP software to find ways to save money and new ways to make money. All it takes is a little outside the box long-range thinking.