You have your eyes set on an Enterprise Resource Planning solution and want to jump into the implementation phase without delay, but are you sure you know what will be necessary to make that happen? Dynamics 365 customizations can help make sure your ERP solution meets your needs exactly and helps you get the most value out of your investment in the software.

While each business’s plan will vary based on its products and services, it’s safe to say that all businesses have at least some level of plan in place. Microsoft Dynamics 365 takes this concept of planning and expands it into something called Master Planning where you can see your whole company – not just your current financial year, but your future goals as well!

What is master planning?

Master planning, or master scheduling, is the formal process of creating goals and strategies for an organization to achieve its vision. Master Planning is an essential business management practice many companies use to maintain control and strategic direction.

Master planning gives organizations a mechanism for achieving corporate goals and missions, through development of strategies that facilitate the use of available resources to accomplish those objectives.

It provides a framework for improving decision-making based on long-term priorities and helping make decisions about immediate actions that the enterprise should take. There are two basic ideas behind master planning: first, it enables you to organize your thoughts to create a plan or develop policies; second, it helps you identify problems before they occur.

When most people think of master planning, they may think of only one part: developing plans. While it’s true that most master plans include some strategy, there’s more to it than just making plans. The purpose of a master plan is to help you identify areas where change might need to occur and then help you devise ways to make those changes happen.

Benefits of master planning

Master planning helps businesses do a better job of meeting their customers’ needs, as well as helping to maximize profit along the way. Customers will always have to change conditions but having them captured as master data can make things easier for your business.

Master planning works by identifying and implementing core business processes. As such, they will help improve any customer-facing project by giving you a solid and reliable foundation. It also provides an efficient way to capture critical information that can be used throughout your company so that everyone has all the necessary details, no matter their division.

Because of these benefits, you may want to implement a master plan even if your business is already running smoothly, especially if there are new product lines or services you’re expanding into. Sometimes, customers who have been around for years may ask you to develop something new.

A good master plan can serve as a tool for helping you decide whether or not it makes sense to take on that kind of project. It allows you to examine how well each potential change aligns with your long-term goals and how much time and money each one would require.

Master planning and Microsoft Dynamics 365

Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 is a customizable enterprise resource planning solution that can fit the needs of any organization. The product’s functionality can be divided into three components: sales, service, and field service.

Within each of these components are critical business processes that can be further broken down into sub-processes, which help facilitate operational and strategic management within your company.

Companies looking to streamline their planning process and reduce manual work order requests can utilise the master planning module in Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Its tool allows you to handle complex tasks such as managing long-term orders, commissions, operational plans, multilevel hierarchy plans, event planning, and multiple resources assigned to the same job.

Moreover, Microsoft Dynamics 365 master planning allows customers to utilize predefined sets of calculations for material requirements to calculate actual material requirements on any given date. Customers can also make purchase requisitions from scratch and from existing purchase requisitions and create review orders from scratch and from existing sales orders.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 master planning gives users complete control of their operations at every level. Whether you need manufacturing, financial management, retail or wholesale businesses; Microsoft Dynamics 365 provides customized business solutions.

Organizations with any number of employees can use Microsoft Dynamics 365 master planning module, as it allows multiple roles within the organization to manage planning processes. For example, planner, analyst, approver etc.

The Planner role can create work orders and tasks, update plan data for specified plans and add planning events such as vacation requests.

Analysts can analyze historical plans for different periods based on planned order quantities (POQ), actual quantity per work order or quantity variance from planned quantity on a specific date etc.

Common risks involved in master planning

There are various risks involved in master planning, especially for chemical and pharmaceutical companies, with the initial setup and implementation of the system being one of the primary risks. This is due to the large number of stakeholders involved in the initial phases, who are all likely to have differing opinions on how to implement a system.

It’s important that all parties are engaged early on, and provide realistic requirements for their particular areas. The other major risk involves using incomplete or inaccurate data for master planning. If you don’t have accurate costs for your raw materials, it can impact your budgeting process and budget variances (costs outside your budget) may not be caught in time by management.

Once identified risks, they should be analyzed and quantified to determine which ones need addressing first. Another common risk involved in master planning is an inability to predict demand accurately. This can happen if you are new to a market or product line and need more historical data on how sales change over time or between seasons.

Master Planning helps with forecasting and provides accurate data for better decision-making. If your organization doesn’t use Master Planning, the bottom line is that you’ll most likely spend more money in the long run.

Without master planning, companies place themselves at risk of under- or over-production, which can lead to additional lost revenue, higher costs and product returns due to lack of demand.

For example, if a company does not have adequate forecast information for its sales team, it may sell products outside of the season or to customers who don’t want them. This results in lost revenue and extra storage costs when stock is held over from one season to another.

When you use master planning correctly, you get better production rates, meaning less stock has to be kept on hand, so there are fewer overall storage costs.

Let’s discuss more about the Master Planning in Microsoft Dynamics 365 and how it can help your organization.

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Final Thoughts

Hopefully the concept of master planning is a little more clear.

With master planning you can save hours of work each week by streamlining your processes. Master planning is especially useful for Sales and Operations Planning, but even if you’re not using that functionality, master plans are still extremely helpful to ensure consistency and compliance with existing policies and procedures.

Master planning can be customized to fit any business and provide benefits that are relevant to your specific business. The best part is that you don’t need complicated software for master planning. Many of our partners use standard programs such as Word or Excel to create their master plans.

As long as everyone knows how it works, you can use any process management method you want! There’s no excuse not to make your company more efficient with master planning.

References: Get Started with Master Planning