Erp System

Customizations and Configurations in the Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP

Customizations and Configurations in the Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP

Customizations and Configurations in the Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP 2400 900 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

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.

Here are some common customizations to consider when implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance or Supply Chain Management Enterprise Resource Planning solutions. What are common customizations? Why do companies customize their ERP implementation?

Should you customize your ERP?

While customization is technically possible with any enterprise software, it’s best to only customize what you need to. That’s because each customization is an additional layer of work that can cause things to go awry down the road. This doesn’t mean your new ERP will run without a hitch—but it should mean fewer and less problematic hiccups in implementation and usage over time.

If you are considering customizing, consider some important questions first: Will your customizations be well-supported by your vendor? What kinds of training do they offer? Are there customizable modules available for what you want to do? Should you customize you ERP?

If one of your goals is streamlining business processes or integrating disparate data sources, for example, then you may have good reason to customize. It all depends on what it is you’re trying to accomplish and how far along you are in your overall project lifecycle.

In general, though, you don’t rush into customization just yet, plan out how exactly it’ll fit into your end goals before diving into development or taking on a project manager.

How to start exploring customization options

Microsoft recommends that the best approach to understanding what customizations exist for Microsoft Dynamics 365 is to begin by creating a customization request on the Dynamics Marketplace. The Dynamics Marketplace offers organizations pre-built or partially built business solutions, known as applications for Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations. Microsoft applications on the marketplace allow organizations to quickly get started with an out-of-the-box solution that can be customized to meet their specific business needs. They also offer organizations a way to familiarize themselves with how other customers have customized and extended Microsoft’s standard applications.

These samples can provide a good starting point, making it easier for new customers to identify opportunities to extend the capabilities of their own implementations. For example, if you want to know about ways your customer could extend Microsoft’s standard application functionality, start with their existing sample apps. If you want to learn about ways they could leverage PowerApps or Flow in order to create more dynamic forms in real time using line of business data then check out sample apps developed by partners. When exploring these samples keep in mind that they may not fit your specific requirements but are valuable sources of information about additional functionality available from third parties that can augment your implementation project.

Microsoft D365 customization and configurability examples

A good example of ERP customization is the configuring of Microsoft D365 Finance or Supply Chain Management (SCM) so that only very specific users have access to everything in your system, whereas other users only see their specific parts. You can even create a separate security model for internal versus external use. This sort of granular configuration means you’re not dealing with dozens of different user interfaces—you just have one, but depending on your level of access you see only certain tabs and pages and menus. Since everyone sees what they need to see, it’s easier for everyone to work together.

Let’s Know more about the Customizations and Configurations in the Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP.

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Some of the more common examples of D365 customization include:

Adding more functional modules

Dynamics 365 is made up of numerous modules, each with their own specific function. Organizations can easily offer their users significantly increased functionality by allowing them access to different modules simultaneously.

Adding additional Fields

Many times, based on the specific data your organization needs to collect, standard forms within D365 may not be enough. For this reason Microsoft added the ability for Sysadmins and Power Users to include custom fields through the workspace personalization options. These supported field types are the easiest way to allow users to track additional data and can include, Text, Numbers, Decimals, Date/ Time, Date, Picklist, and Checkboxes.

Customizing workspaces

Users also have the ability to create their own workspace with different functionality than out-of-the-box modules. Users can add things like, Live tiles, Lists, Power BI tiles, and Links. This can result in a very focused workspace that lets users complete their job more efficiently.

Adding custom reports

Being able to create custom reports saves companies a significant amount of money during an implementation project. Microsoft’s D365 gives users a number of different ways to create custom reports.This includes simple Filtered views that can be exported to Microsoft Excel, the Report Wizard that asks the users simple questions before generating a report, and SSRS for creating more complex reports.

Microsoft’s AppSource

Microsoft’s AppSource allows you to explore and try approved D365 extensions designed to add certain functionality or seamlessly tie in other third-party software solutions that your business requires.

Custom solutions

Even in the same industry, business models can vary wildly from one company to another – For requirements that can’t be met by existing solutions available in Microsoft’s AppSource, customers can work directly with partners that have experience developing complex business solutions.

Self-service functionality

Companies can take advantage of increasingly valuable tools like Microsoft Flow, and the Microsoft Power Platform to help develop one-of-a-kind processes and integrations for whatever solution needs it most. These tools are some of the best ways to make your solution fit your specific requirements.

Final Thoughts on D365 Customization

Should you customize ERP? Yes. Of course, you should. Because the real question is, what customizations do you need to make your solution work best for your organization? Organizations that choose to implement Microsoft Dynamics 365 often know they will need to customize the software, but don’t always have a clear idea of how to approach it—they want to maintain standard functionality and ensure their data remains accurate as possible. The best way to go about customization is simply to understand why organizations are customizing in the first place.

While ERP comes with a lot of built-in functionality, that’s not to say you shouldn’t consider customizing it to fit your organization. ERP implementations are rarely perfect out of the box and require a variety of modifications from your organization in order to function properly and integrate seamlessly. You might customize for a variety of reasons—for example, if you’re using multiple ERP solutions or have different business units with unique needs—but one thing is for sure: customizing your implementation can save you time and money.

Whether you’re dealing with manufacturing companies, retailers, wholesalers or logistics companies there are sure to be some common things to consider when customizing your new software implementation.

About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

Reasons to choose Microsoft Dynamics 365 for your business in 2022

Reasons to choose Microsoft Dynamics 365 for your business

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

Introduction

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

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

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

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

Sales and Marketing

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

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

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

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Operations and Customer Support

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

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

Financial Management and Regulations

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

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

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

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

Business Intelligence

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

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

Project Management

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

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

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

Final Thoughts – Dynamics 365 in 2022

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

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

About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

Handling Different Types of Purchase Orders in Microsoft Dynamics 365

Handling Different Types of Purchase Orders in Microsoft Dynamics 365

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

By the Numbers

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

POs and the departments that approve them

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

Introduction

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

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

Types of Purchase Orders

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

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

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

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

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

The Disadvantage of Manual Purchase Order Systems

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

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

Figure: 1Disadvantages of an Manual PO System

Disadvantages of an Manual PO System

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

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

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

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

Most importantly:

  • Improved process efficiency

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

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

And

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

Want to learn more about handling purchase orders in Microsoft Dynamics 365?

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Benefits of a Modern PO Management System

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

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

Once generated, these purchase orders are considered a binding contract

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

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

Properly managed POs:

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

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

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

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

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

Procurement and Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Bottom Line

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

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

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

About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

Managing Production Resources With MRP and ERP

Managing Production Resources With MRP and ERP

Managing Production Resources With MRP and ERP 2400 900 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

Materials requirements planning requires:

  • Inventory control
  • Master production schedules
  • Sales forecasts

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

Introduction

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

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

Advantages of MRPs

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

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

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

Other materials requirement planning benefits of MRP software include:

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

Effective material requirements planning has three main components:

  • A master production schedule
  • Sales forecasting
  • Managing inventory

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

Master Production Schedules

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

Figure: 1Key Benefits of Using an MPS

Key benefits of using an MPS

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

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

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

Learn More

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

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

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

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

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

Sales Forecasting in MRP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advantages of Using an ERP system for Production Planning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Bottom Line

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

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

About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

Best techniques for tracking and managing raw materials

Best techniques for tracking and managing raw materials

Best techniques for tracking and managing raw materials 2400 900 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • 18% – The hike in the Raw Material Price Index from 2020-2021 with at least another 10% hike expected.
  • 60% – The increased amount of raw materials extracted, harvested and consumed since 1980.
  • 117% – The increase in raw materials costs for non-food agricultural materials since 2000.
  • 359% – The cost increase in rubber since 2000.
  • 62 billion metric tons – The amount of raw materials used per year in 2008, an 8-fold increase since the early 1900s.

Introduction

Today, manufacturing relies heavily on the ability to acquire raw materials, both directly and indirectly. Examples of direct raw materials are the chemicals, textiles, minerals and other components that become finished products. Indirect raw materials are components added to other parts that together make a finished product. Accurate tracking of these materials is a good way to determine if a company flourishes or fails. Both of these material types are listed as current assets.

Tracking raw materials typically starts when they enter a warehouse. Their value is calculated from the start of a given time and adding costs such as storage, shipping, processing and labor to determine total value. Before you can build, mix or blend your products though, you have be sure to acquire them. Obtaining the essential materials you need to create your products is the end result of an involved process.

Obtaining Raw Materials

One of the first things to do before you start acquiring raw materials for your products is sufficient planning. Raw material planning can be used to determine how quickly you use each item, but only once you understand your inventory turnover rate – the number of times you use your raw materials.

In a previous post, we stated that “Materials planning is the method used to determine the requirements and quantities of raw materials to implement production.” If you don’t have enough raw materials on hand, you can add delays to your production schedule, or even lose orders altogether. If you keep too many materials on hand, there may not be enough budget available for other projects, like capital improvements.

A critical part of materials planning is understanding lead time: how far in advance do you need to place orders with your suppliers to get what you need in order to satisfy your customers?

Being sure you can order what you need requires a procurement management plan that, “defines requirements for a particular project and lays down the steps required to get into the final contract,” including raw materials.

This plan sets and defines everything you need to manufacture your products: what to buy, who to buy it from and how much you’ll pay. This includes determining purchase costs plus delivery and storage costs, also referred to as inventory costs. Placing an order, or receiving one from a customer, often uses an order management plan.

If your departments are unable to report how much of a given product, or the raw materials required in the process, are on hand, entire orders can be lost. When production tells sales one thing, but inventory says something else, the end result can be chaos. This is where accurate, frequent, communication that tracks the flow of raw materials through the entire acquisition process becomes critical.

Inventory Management

“Inventory management is important to small businesses because it helps them prevent stockouts, manage multiple locations and ensure accurate recordkeeping. An inventory solution makes these processes easier than trying to do them all manually.”

A chef can make a large salad using a full head of lettuce but only a teaspoon of spices. Managing inventory is often similar: A manufacturer is likely to have some items they use in large quantities, such as active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). Equally important are the catalysts and other chemicals bought in much smaller lots. Like a chef making a salad, without their ingredients, they don’t have a product.

Inventory management not only tracks what you have on hand, it also looks at your supply chain: making sure you have options for getting what you need when you need it. Getting your basic supplies is one part of inventory management: making sure your customers receive their finished products when they need them is another. Having viable shipping options to ensure your merchandise arrives on time means gathering even more information and constantly updating your options. A common option used by a large number of companies, especially retailers, is vendor managed inventory.

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Vendor Managed Inventory

Commonly referred to as VMI, vendor managed inventory is when a company lets its suppliers determine the amount of product a company has in stock. If you walk into a grocery store you might see people who are not market employees stocking shelves. These are vendors – these employees track inventories, place orders, monitor shipments and stock shelves.

According to American Express, benefits of a VMI include:

Figure: 1Benefits of Vendor Management Inventory

Example of a Barcode

  • Improved efficiency You have the right quantities on hand to meet your needs without going overboard and having too much or too little.
  • Cost reduction Having accurate inventories means few if any disruptions to sales, thereby providing better customer service.
  • Reduced complexity Depending on your products, you may be able to reduce the number of vendors. The result is a predictable and reliable inventory schedule.
  • Data insights Your supplier can anticipate demand, helping you prepare for seasonal and market-driven trends.

Working with a single VMI has some negatives as well as positives. Three of the biggest challenges, according to AmEx, include:

  • Loss of control Someone else determines what products you have and therefore what you’re able to sell. Using a VMI also means an outside company has access to your private data. Data security can be a major issue, especially when you first start working with a vendor.
  • Limited options It’s tough to make a fruit salad when the only fruit available is an orange. Your product choices may be limited and you might become dissatisfied if your vendor fails to deliver at the best price.
  • Market agility Working with a single vendor reduces your ability to pivot when markets change. For example, some whiskey manufacturers were having problems selling their goods when the Covid-19 pandemic took hold. A few of the more enterprising companies were able to switch from making whiskey to producing alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Using a VMI might eliminate this flexibility to quickly change in response to market conditions.

Looking at your options and picking the best ones often comes down to software. Managing your raw materials and inventory accurately, especially when your company is growing and has distant suppliers, generates a lot of data. Managing this vast amount of data requires capable software.

Software Options

Depending on your needs, two types of software can help with your raw materials management, inventory management, order management, procurement management, stock management and resource planning needs:

  1. 1.Customized products designed to perform a specific function for a single industry with a company at a particular size. If your company is unlikely to grow, one or more of these products might be perfect for your needs. Using this type of software, you will likely need one product for each requirement. This is likely to mean using several different providers, potentially creating data exchange roadblocks. A second option offers greater flexibility, the option to handle many of these needs in a single package while also growing with you.
  2. 2. A modular Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) product such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management is a large, versatile product capable of helping you track inventories from far-flung suppliers into, through and out of your warehouse. Based in the cloud, Microsoft Dynamics products also offer added data security since they’re built on Microsoft’s Azure platform. Modular systems let you add sections when needed while maintaining constant communication between the modules. Using a system from the same company also ensures constant data flows, reducing inventory data errors.

The Bottom Line

Especially today, managing raw materials accurately requires a lot of work and attention to detail. Errors at any stage of the process – from ordering to shipping, storing or using – can result in expensive repercussions.

Finding the right software solution means evaluating your current and future inventory needs. What do you need now? Will solving today’s problem also work in 1-5 years or will it require an expensive overhaul?

The bottom line is that you should consider an investment in a modular product that can grow with your company over time, and not one that becomes obsolete the minute you expand.

About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

Managing Chemical Compliance With an ERP

Managing Chemical Compliance With an ERP

Managing Chemical Compliance With an ERP 2400 900 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • $700,000: A proposed increase to the maximum Occupational Health and Safety (OSHA) penalty for willful or repeat safety code violations.
  • $50,000: OSHA’s proposed hike in minimum penalties for these same willful acts.
  • $25,000: California’s additional safety violation penalties that are added to the federal fees.
  • $15,000: California’s maximum daily penalties for failing to fix these same issues.

Introduction

When used effectively, modern enterprise resource planning software (ERP) can help companies in several ways when it comes to chemical regulations:

  • Financial components of a chemical firm’s regulatory compliance solution.
  • Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) regulations.
  • Gathering, storing and managing material safety data sheets.
  • Gathering information from far-flung sources to create effective reports able to meet government criteria.

One study cited a multi-national corporation’s subsidiary using an ERP to comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX).

“The findings demonstrate how managers can use an ERP to develop effective internal controls for the most common material weaknesses reported under SOX, thus providing insights into the crucial role of IT as a facilitator of control and reporting processes, and, more specifically, into the role, use and purpose of ERPs in relation to regulatory compliance,” according to the University of Greenwich.

Key points related to the chemical industry noted in this study include firms often failing to customize their ERPs for the specific requirements of the business, this applies specifically to chemical companies. Working with an ERP vendor experienced in the chemical industry helps ensure software works exactly as the company needs it rather than just installing an out of the box solution.

Unified systems like ERPs can help identify and evaluate hazardous substances. Manufacturers are then informed of the risk levels regarding the use and distribution of their chemical products. Identifying these hazardous substances early also allows manufacturers to act proactively, resulting in better safety.

Identifying Hazardous Materials With an ERP

Today, U.S. government regulations require the identification and labeling of hazardous materials. Modern ERP solutions can help create and manage safety data sheets (SDSs) along with any Globally Harmonized System (GHS) labels as required by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA).

Each safety data sheet has 16 sections, 12 of which OSHA requires. These include:

  1. 1.Identification such as common names for the substance, recommended use of the chemical and restrictions on its use
  2. 2.Hazard(s) Identification such as signal words, pictograms and hazard statements
  3. 3.Composition and Information on Ingredients such as each substance’s Chemical Abstracts Service number
  4. 4.First-Aid Measures such as the most important symptoms
  5. 5.Fire-Fighting Measures such as the type of fire-fighting
  6. 6.Accidental Release Measures including emergency procedure and methods of containment
  7. 7.Handling and Storage including safe handling precautions
  8. 8.Exposure Controls/Personal Protection including OSHA Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs)
  9. 9.Physical and Chemical Properties such as the chemical’s odor, flash point and flammability
  10. 10.Stability and Reactivity including if the chemical is stable under normal temperatures
  11. 11.Toxicological Information including how the toxins are brought into a human body such as through inhalation or eye and skin contact
  12. 12.Other information including when the SDS was prepared or last updated

OSHA also suggests-but does not require-data on ecological impact, including:

  • The disposal of hazardous materials
  • The transporting of hazardous materials
  • Any other regulatory requirements, as needed

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An ERP manages regulatory compliance by comparing your existing SDSs to OSHA’s requirements. Once your safety sheets are updated to meet federal requirements, they are stored in a central repository for reuse. When the same ingredient is used in several products, a single update ensures all SDS are accurate.

That information can then be “chunked” and converted into the GHS labels. One method where ERPs excel is their ability to automatically generate QR codes for labels. Simply scanning the label with a cellphone can provide internet links to complete safety sheets.

When every second counts, such as in exposure to potentially hazardous chemical, workers don’t have hours to pour through filing cabinets looking for the right SDS. They might have a few seconds to scan a label, tap a link and then know what type of first aid to administer.

Other Safety Features in ERPs

Because ERPs access information from multiple sources, one way they help promote safety is by limiting access. When data access cards or passwords are linked to an ERP, they can help prevent unauthorized—and untrained—workers from accessing dangerous or harmful chemicals.

Your ERP can be used to restrict access to based on the individual’s role. This helps protect their help while also ensuring your data remains safe from prying eyes.

Using your ERP to monitor safety also lets you identify areas where more training is required. It can be tied to a learning management system (LMS). This in turn reduces the risk of workers with expired certifications or lack of skills.

Your SDS chemical management can help pinpoint at-risk employee groups, document recurring injuries, map frequent injury locations and then help you create a plan to correct them.

For example, many production employees are required to earn OSHA 10 certification. This ensures they have at least 10 hours of safety instruction.

OSHA 30 certification goes into greater depth when it comes to safety. Among its enhanced requirements are the following:

  • Hazard communication, which is useful in preparing and updating safety sheets
  • Materials handling, such as hazardous chemicals
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Your ERP can identify which employees have active OSHA 30 certification, which have expired certificates and who lacks it. By denying access to unqualified workers, you reduce their risk of injury while also dropping your chances of being tagged for an OSHA violation.

Under a current proposal, OSHA provisions for willful and repeat violations could increase from a minimum of $5,000 to $50,000 per violation. The maximum fines would also go up ten fold to $700,000 per violation, Cal-OSHA states. These fines can change based on your location. If the violation occurs in California, for example, you can expect to pay as much as $25,000 for serious violations. These infractions can accrue daily penalties up to $15,000 for failing to solve the hazard issue.

ERPs and HazCom

OSHA’s Hazard Communication standard known as HazCom includes a checklist of 10 requirements.

These include the need to perform the following:

  • Train employees on the hazardous chemicals in the workplace
  • Instruct workers on how to recognize exposure to hazardous chemicals
  • Provide training on container label elements
  • Offer instruction on Safety Data Sheet (SDS) format and content
  • Explain to employees how to access SDSs
  • Update SDSs when new versions become available
  • Update the written HazCom program as needed
  • Explain to employees how to obtain a copy of the written HazCom program
  • Train employees on any in-house labeling system used
  • Make sure all container labels in the workplace are compliant

An ERP can ensure that data on any single chemical or hazardous material is thoroughly covered in your documentation. For example, each SDS can be linked to related labels and training materials. An update to the SDS ensures everything that flows from it is also current. That means your employees are safer as is anyone else who handles your products.

The Bottom Line

While some executives think of ERP’s, they consider ways to improve efficiency. The reality, however, is that ERPs can also be used to make workplaces safer for everyone. This is primarily achieved with constantly updated processes, and the careful labeling and management of any goods and raw materials.

Creating and updating an SDS in your ERP, for example, allows you to link all critical information about a product including labels, handling guidelines, storage requirements, training materials, and more. Increasing the safety and handling for everything you store and work with not only reduces the costs of injuries and by ensuring OSHA compliance, but you also minimize the potential for fines and infractions, which further helps to increase profits.

About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

erp for chemical industry

Digitization of the Chemical Industry-Role of an ERP system

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

At a Glance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Key Takeaways

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

About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

Key Features and Benefits of ERP Systems

Key Features and Benefits of ERP Systems

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

At a Glance

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

Sources: ERPFocus.com

Introduction

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

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

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

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

Ongoing costs involve:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Cloud-Based ERP Advantages

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m Interested

Plan Your Implementation

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

Successful implementations often require focus on seven critical aspects.

Figure 1:Plan Your Implementation

Pharmaceutical Analysis using Power BI

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

Final Thoughts

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

Before you buy, though, make sure you have:

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

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

About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

Pharmaceutical Analytics and Business Intelligence using Power BI

Pharmaceutical Analytics and Business Intelligence using Power BI

Pharmaceutical Analytics and Business Intelligence using Power BI 2400 900 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

Modern pharmaceutical companies are undergoing a significant transformation with new opportunities from digitization, big data, and analytics. In response to COVID-19, businesses are seeing an increased need for an agile enterprise Business Intelligence (BI) architecture to leverage these opportunities in order to grow. Successful Pharmaceutical companies are looking beyond standard operational and statutory reports to implement more powerful Analytics and AI-driven solutions. These new solutions provide actionable insights and useful KPIs to help make better decisions. This leads to more empowered teams and new engagement that drives additional revenue.

Pharmaceutical companies generate massive information every day through their day to day operations. But the data is not always being put to the right use. Some companies tend to look at reports with a traditional eye that doesn’t drive a ‘call to action’ to grow the business.

The strength of any analytics software lies in its ability to help users easily create quick insights, especially for an agile business like pharmaceutical manufacturing. Creating reports in days instead of months frees up hundreds of hours in unnecessary spend to gather these hidden insights. This allows business leaders to repurpose cost savings towards other operational improvements and growth.

There is a right and wrong way of reporting – one provides overwhelming numbers, while the other means to understand those numbers and make them actionable.

As the pharmaceutical industry continues to undergo significant adjustments to new opportunities presented by digitization, big data, and analytics, more enterprises continue to see the need for an agile enterprise Business Intelligence (BI) architecture to leverage these opportunities & seamlessly deliver business-critical insights to executives.

The Strength of PowerBI

Power BI, Microsoft’s business analytics solution, lets you visualize your data and make it accessible to your Organization. Insights can be easily shared through various platforms of your Organization by embedding them in your app, portals, or website, collaborating on Teams, and integrating them into your ERP or CRM applications. Microsoft’s Power BI makes it easy to combine these numbers from different sources, streamline analytics onto a single dashboard, act on newfound insights, and enhance visibility to other teams in your organization.

Leveraging PowerBI interactive reports in a few quick and easy steps

  • Onboard
    • Access PowerBI either from powerbi.com or any of the Microsoft ERP/ CRM applications.
    • Connect to your data wherever it lives.
    • Explore your data with interactive visuals.
  • Collaborate & Share
    • Publish reports and dashboards.
    • Collaborate with your team.
    • Share insights inside and outside of your Organization.
  • Access insights from anywhere
    • Act with seamless access to data insights from your desk or home.
    • Access on the go with Power BI visual reports built rapidly.

Book a free demo to learn how Power BI can boost your pharmaceutical analytics.

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Turning Industry Data into Smart Decisions

Leading Pharmaceutical companies who are transforming into agile organizations need 360-degree insights for business-critical functions such as manufacturing execution, sales productivity, financial management, purchasing raw materials from approved suppliers, quality assurance & quality control.

Today’s pharmaceutical organizations collaborate, monitor, and communicate on available live data to achieve operational excellence. Pharmaceutical business intelligence enables these organizations to monitor real-time data from multiple sources and combine them into one pharmaceutical dashboard with the ability to drill-down into the report to identify issues, as necessary.

Figure 1: Pharmaceutical Analysis using Power BI

Pharmaceutical Analysis using Power BI

Usage in the Pharmaceutical Industry

01.Interactive Reports

Power BI is an analytics software that brings to the table a strong background in delivering end-to-end BI analytics to modern Pharmaceutical companies such as

  • Efficiency Reports On Lot Production
  • Trending And Analysis Of Quality Control Data
  • Recommendations Based Clinical Trial Reporting
  • And Financials Per Batch Produced For Each Product
  • Product Go to market assessments (how much spend and types of activity is involved, expected and actual results)

02. KPI Reporting

Accurate decision making occurs when reporting provides clarity on both good and bad data points on prime KPIs. With business analytics in the pharmaceutical industry, companies can acquire intelligence in real time and can track key performance indicators like:

  • Machine utilization
  • Process efficiency
  • Cost of Sales
  • Inventory levels
  • Batch Losses and cycle times
  • Quality standards of a product line
  • Customer engagement and customer experience

03.Real-Time Analytics

One of the essential requirements for agile Pharmaceutical companies is to have real-time analytics of overall operations, and to be able to make quick corrections and proactively handle situations before they turn into risks. Especially for manufacturing execution and pharmaceutical inventory management, knowing the work is progressing and inventory is turning around helps production supervisors to manage batch production processes much faster and make on the fly corrections. This real-time reporting on screens throughout a production plant gives needed visibility to both the managers and operators who can be alerted and fully aware of any issues.

Figure 2:Real-Time Data Tracking with Power BI

Real-Time Data Tracking with Power BI

Benefits of PowerBI enabling business improvements

  1. 1. This information gives the ability to make changes to processes based on how well resources are functioning to increase productivity, and how each product lot produced is performing in the market.
  2. 2. Getting real-time alerts with Power BI mobile apps makes your operations more efficient, allowing you to achieve a higher level of organizational agility and minimize response times.
  3. 3. Power BI enables monitoring of your supply chain end-to-end, letting you identify problems and potential bottlenecks before they can affect critical processes.
  4. 4. Monitoring quality inputs and outputs from all sources, including your customers, allows you to make quick and meaningful decisions that will improve the quality of batches that are manufactured.
  5. 5. The ability to share your dashboards with suppliers and partners is a plus and accommodates adjustments to the latest information available to work towards making your processes leaner and smarter.
  6. 6. Microsoft’s Power BI is a full-featured BI solution that offers a number of benefits to many different organizations on their path to success such as –
    • Global Scale – Local Speed
    • Agile Business Processes
    • Predictive Analytics
    • Machine-to-Machine
    • Employee Onboarding

Basic analytics used by the Pharmaceutical Industry

  • Products & Inventory
    • Full Track & Trace Functionality
    • Enhanced Global Marketability
    • Customer Requirements
    • Product Quality
    • Product Recalls
  • Sales
    • Quotes & Order analysis
    • Pricing and Cost reporting
    • Available-to-Promise reporting
    • Order Profitability
  • Supply Chain Management
    • Match demand and supply
    • Improved Supply Chain Responsiveness
    • Updated and efficient Logistic analysis
  • Financial
    • Product Profitability reports
    • Batch costs
    • A full audit of transactions
  • Manufacturing
    • Safety and sustainability analysis
    • Realtime production data reports
    • Equipment failure predictions
    • Production rescheduling

Final Thoughts

A big step towards change today comes from enhancing visibility across all operations including manufacturing execution, sales force productivity, procurement, and financials. Power BI brings to the table a strong background in end-to-end BI services for modern pharmaceutical companies – covering BI strategy, managed services, implementation & support, and even more. From the moment you start considering a BI solution for your growing Pharmaceutical company, the benefits of Microsoft’s Power BI become evident very quickly. Microsoft’s Power BI will continue to be a must-have product for leading Pharmaceutical companies by delivering a 360-degree insight of operations.

About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

Effectively-Tracking-and-Controlling-Inventory

Effectively Tracking and Controlling Inventory

Effectively Tracking and Controlling Inventory 2400 900 Xcelpros Team

Introduction to effective inventory management

Especially today, manufacturers, wholesalers and retail businesses from a number of different industries share several common business practices, with inventory management at the top of the list.

An efficient, capable inventory management system can be the difference between struggle and success, and any boost to the efficiency managing your inventory can result in a significant return on investment. To drive the effectivity of your inventory management, especially when if you’re just getting started, it helps to pay attention to 10 popular techniques:

1.Fine-tune your forecasting Accurate forecasting is a must unless you want to either tie up precious capital in product stuck on warehouse shelves or be unable to meet your customers’ orders.

2.Identify low-turn stock Have a flexible ordering approach that, combined with accurate forecasting, lets to adjust inventory based on customer priorities.

3.Regularly audit your inventory Knowing—not guessing—what you have at any given moment lets you adjust ordering to ensure a balanced inventory.

4.Track stock levels You want to be able to track all inventory from the moment you purchase raw materials or components to the time you deliver finished goods to your customer’s door.

5.Keep track of your equipment Especially in a production plant – Knowing what you have, how quickly it wears and when to schedule repairs for optimal life ensures uninterrupted production runs.

6.Verify Quality Ensure all items in your inventory meet your quality control standards, ideally from the moment they arrive.

7.Categorize inventory based on customers needs Ensure you have the most sought-after products in stock at all times, working your way down the line to the least popular products.

8.Consider drop shipping This is much quicker especially for any items you don’t make yourself, especially when it becomes part of your product. An example is a Siemens ® controller for industrial machinery.

9.Rotate your stockTurn your stock so the oldest items are sold first This is especially true for pharmaceutical products with comparatively short shelf lives.

10. Use good inventory management software A viable program that meshes with your financial and sales software helps keep everyone informed, making for happier customers.

Get a free consultation on how to track and control inventory in the warehouse.

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Figure 1:Common inventory management challenges

Common inventory management challenges

Common Inventory Management Challenges

Among the most common inventory management challenges that can have an effect on a number of different business are the following:

  • Inconsistent tracking Working with older software that relies on manual data entry opens a company to data entry errors. When different departments use different spreadsheets to input the same information, errors are bound to happen.
  • Inaccurate data Companies need to know how much of everything they have on hand and in the pipeline. Without accurate information you won’t be able to track your production. This can be a huge problem if you’re still manually entering data.
  • Order management Manufacturers often live on the edge when it comes to logistics, struggling to make sure deliveries are going out just in time – right before their customers need them.
  • Juggling a complex supply chain Manufacturers need to have alternate ways of obtaining raw materials and shipping finished products. For example, your primary port is running way behind because dock workers are sick. How do you get what you need when you need it?
  • Communications and planning Intercompany communication is critical, especially in a world where companies often have business units in different countries, keeping everyone focused on the same task can be difficult.
  • Robust competitionIn every industry, competition is ready and willing to grab your customers the moment you make a mistake or find yourself unable to deliver on time and within budget.

These are a few examples of the challenges faced by modern manufacturers. Thankfully, the good news is that modern ERP solutions can be a huge help when it comes to addressing these issues.

Inventory Management Software As a Solution

There are several inventory management programs available on the market today that focus not only on addressing these challenges, but also by identifying potential issues before they can impact your operations. Some of the best solutions available, like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, are able to seamlessly integrate with your existing software, reducing data silos, allowing different departments to share more information. Instead of requiring three departments to input the same information into a database, each group is able to provide material unique to their specialty.

Effective inventory management programs like Microsoft’s have the ability to print barcodes and QR labels. When these codes are scanned with a hand-held reader or cellphone, users can be rewarded with a wealth of information. Some of the most important data to keep track of is exactly how much of any given product you have, where it’s being stored, and what it’s going to be used for.

For example, you need to produce 20,000 doses of a Covid-19 treatment. Your customer needs them yesterday but will settle for next week. Do you have enough raw materials on hand to meet your customer’s deadline? If not, what can you do to obtain what you need?

Using this information wisely lets management develop complex plans, like the ability to track everything from small lots to pallet loads. By checking an item’s progress at different points—its arrival at the warehouse, use in production, loading onto a truck or ship and delivery to the customer—a company can learn. By examining reports, you can identify potential delays or roadblocks, finding ways to speed up delivery.

Supply chain management software that runs on a secure cloud computing platform like Microsoft’s Azure lets you communicate securely and safely with other researchers, sales people and vendors. With Azure you’ll know that your intellectual property and contracts are safe from your competitors.

Boost Decision Accuracy with Power BI

With the state of today’s supply chains – seemingly constantly in a state of upheaval – effective inventory management that goes beyond tracking stock on hand is critical to operations. Effectively managing your inventory and raw materials ensures you’ll have the materials you need when you need them. It means having more than one source of supplies and materials. It also means constantly checking with vendors to ensure you have the goods to meet your own delivery deadlines. This is where an integrated business intelligence solution comes into play.

Microsoft Power BI lets you connect to hundreds of data sources, preparing reports that you can share with ease. Using information from inside and outside your company, you can confidently deliver interactive reports to customers. Inventory planners can be warned of potential shortages in time to find alternate supplies. Sales people can be told of potential delivery delays caused by outside forces, giving them time to ask the customer if they want to use a different shipping method.

Having accurate business intelligence at your fingertips puts you ahead of competitors stuck using their “tried and true” methods that are becoming more and more worthless every day.

Final Thoughts

Effective inventory management comes down to data: knowing what you have and where it is at all times.

A modern inventory control system that supports labels and barcodes lets you track raw materials, work-in-progress and finished goods at the same time, with a high level of accuracy.

An inventory system with business intelligence helps you find faster and alternate ways of obtaining raw materials and pre-made products, especially when shipping delays occur. That same information can help you get your products to your customers when they need, balancing everyone’s inventory.

About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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