ERP

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for SMBs Is it the right ERP for you?

Why SMBs should consider Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central?

Why SMBs should consider Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central? 700 500 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

Every business needs a reliable way to effectively manage their operations in order to remain profitable and grow over time, regardless of their industry. While large organizations have the resources to invest in dedicated solutions that help them keep track of their processes, small businesses often have to work with many different programs in order to get everything they need out of one platform.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central offers small businesses the flexibility and ease-of-use of an all-in-one solution that caters to many departments in their organization, including sales, finance, project management, human resources, service desk and more.

What is it? Why should SMBs consider using Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central?

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

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is a complete business management software solution that can replace traditional desktop applications, making MD365 Business Central an effective alternative to other enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions.

Dynamics 365 Business Central includes analytics and business intelligence tools to let small businesses better understand how their business is performing and what areas could use improvement. This Microsoft software offers every business owner everything they need to run their firm efficiently, such as sales force automation (SFA), financials, customer relationship management (CRM), project management and human capital management.

Essentially, MD365 Business Central is designed to be a comprehensive system that provides its users with real-time information from all aspects of their business. MD365 Business Central was built as an easy-to-use business management solution so that small businesses can make better decisions and improve how they operate on a daily basis.

The intuitive design of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central means anyone can quickly learn how to use it, which reduces training costs and improves productivity among employees.

One of the main reasons that small businesses should consider using MD365 Business Central is because it’s a complete business management solution that doesn’t require additional software. This makes MD365 Business Central an increasingly attractive option because its users don’t have to spend money on extra software licenses or pay hefty implementation fees.

Let’s take a look at why SMBs should use MD365 Business Central in more detail.

Let’s have a look

Key Features for Today’s Modern SMBs

Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 Business Central product is aimed squarely at mid-market businesses, or SMBs. Some of its key features include a user-friendly interface and customizable dashboards that allow business owners to easily track their progress toward goals and monitor metrics such as sales performance, inventory levels and more.

The solution also offers financial management tools that includes a budgeting feature that helps businesses manage their cash flow by forecasting future expenses against projected revenues. There are plenty of other benefits small businesses can take advantage of with Business Central, but they may be hard to see if you’re not familiar with how solutions like these work.

For example, using Business Central allows companies to quickly react to changing market conditions without having to make costly changes on an ongoing basis. This agility gives them a leg up over competitors who aren’t able to move as quickly. It’s no wonder why Business Central is one of Microsoft’s fastest growing business solutions.

This solution has been built with today’s businesses in mind, offering tools that make life easier and more productive than ever before. For example, small business owners can now complete tasks such as payroll and HR management through their mobile devices, allowing them to work when they want and where they want.

Microsoft Dynamics solutions have been built with today’s businesses in mind, offering tools that make life easier and more productive than ever before. When a business is just starting out, there’s no need to spend thousands of dollars on software they don’t need or have time to learn how to use. Business owners can now get all of their basic accounting needs covered with Business Central at a fraction of what similar solutions cost just a few years ago.

Business owners also have access to an online community where they can ask questions, share ideas and connect with others who are working in similar industries—all without leaving their desktops or mobile devices.

Is Business Central right for you

Business Central is designed to be customized for each industry. Some industries have pre-built templates that are offered out of box, but other industries will need a custom solution that is tailored specifically to their business needs. For example, a family-owned construction company will have very different requirements from an S corporation than a fully distributed software development firm working out of cubicles in 3 different countries. Business Central is extremely customizable for every industry.

Microsoft continues to partner with top industry leaders in every sector including retail, healthcare, government and more to provide a customized experience in every iteration.

Common Considerations

Business owners today need to be aware of the various business solutions available to them. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is a good ERP solution that businesses can consider, especially if they are a small business or startup.

There are several advantages with Dynamics 365 Business Central, including its many CRM options. SMBs need to consider these options and the other solutions available before choosing Dynamics 365 Business Central as their solution. In addition, they also need to ensure they choose the right level of customization to suit their company’s needs and make sure it is set up properly before using it.

If your business is considering moving to MD365 Business Central from another software, then you should think about what’s important to your business and how you want your business run. You should compare and contrast each option based on functionality, cost, time frame for implementation, integration possibilities (especially with other systems), etc.

SMBs can use an assessment tool like Microsoft Power Platform to find out which features are available in Dynamics 365 Business Central that might be beneficial to their business. They also need to look at their specific needs before choosing a solution because they will get exactly what they pay for in terms of customizations, number of users and more.

Final Thoughts

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is a good choice for SMBs because of its affordable pricing, ready-to-use business apps, and flexible deployment options. So much of small business success is about customization and Microsoft knows that.

Whether you want to add just a couple new business processes or implement a full digital transformation plan, Microsoft Dynamics 365 can help your business stay competitive with powerful functionalities designed for small businesses.

Microsoft has been an innovator in what’s now known as business process management—helping businesses succeed by streamlining their operations into repeatable workflows—for more than 25 years. Now, with MD365 Business Central, even small businesses can access technology that was previously reserved for Fortune 500 companies.

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

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 700 500 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

Reasons to choose Microsoft Dynamics 365 for your business 1400 1000 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

Managing Production Resources With MRP and ERP

Managing Production Resources With MRP and ERP

Managing Production Resources With MRP and ERP 700 500 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.

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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 improves your ability to meet customer orders on time, boosting customer satisfaction.

A modular ERP such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 can provide managers with a top-down view of a manufacturer’s operation. Unlike an MRP focusing 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, 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

Managing Chemical Compliance With an ERP

Managing Chemical Compliance With an ERP

Managing Chemical Compliance With an ERP 700 500 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

Book a free consultation on how to manage chemical compliance with an ERP system

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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. A single update ensures that all SDS are accurate when the same ingredient is used in several products.

That information can then be “chunked” and converted into the GHS labels. One method where ERPs excel is their ability to generate QR codes for labels automatically. 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. For example, if a violation occurs in California, 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 carefully labelling and managing 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

Key Features and Benefits of ERP Systems

Key Features and Benefits of ERP Systems

Key Features and Benefits of ERP Systems 700 500 Xcelpros Team

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 why small businesses invest in newer and agile enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.

The biggest question companies have at the start is: Do we use 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 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 also continue to grow.

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 the 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 growing companies move to the cloud is their 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 everywhere. So are unnatural 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 more terabytes—Western Digital has 18-20TB drives available for home computers with those in the 100TB territory made for commercial firms—is a power and data connection away.

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

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

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Plan Your Implementation

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

Successful implementations often require focus on seven critical aspects.

Figure 1:Plan Your Implementation

Pharmaceutical Analysis using Power BI

  1. 1. It is 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. We are 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. It was 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. It is 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 its 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 to take 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. Time is a sixth critical part of an effective ERP implementation. 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 purchasing will help ensure your ERP implementation is successful.
  7. 7. Another important task is understanding that a new ERP will look different from the old one. While having a familiar look and feel is nice, your staff will embrace an optimized newer version once they understand 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. A cloud-based ERP is less expensive to maintain over time, no matter where your company has its production plant, warehouse, or office. Small businesses considering ways to improve efficiency and encourage growth will want to examine the many top ERP solutions available.

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 700 500 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 700 500 Xcelpros Team

Introduction to effective inventory management

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

An efficient, capable inventory management system can distinguish between struggle and success. Any boost to the efficiency of managing your inventory can result in a significant return on investment. To drive the effectiveness 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 track all inventory from the moment you purchase raw materials or components to when 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 affect a number of different businesses are the following:

  • Inconsistent tracking Working with older software that relies on manual data entry opens a company to data entry errors. Mistakes are bound to happen when different departments use different spreadsheets to input the same information.
  • 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 massive problem if you’re still manually entering data.
  • Order management Manufacturers often live on the edge of 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 alternate ways of obtaining raw materials and shipping finished products. For example, your primary port is running 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 when 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

Several inventory managements 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, can 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 can 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. The most critical data to track are precisely how much of any product you have, where it’s being stored, and what it will 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. A company can learn 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. By examining reports, you can identify potential delays or roadblocks and find ways to speed up delivery.

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

Boost Decision Accuracy with Power BI

With 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 let’s you connect to hundreds of data sources, preparing reports you can easily share. You can confidently deliver interactive messages to customers using information from inside and outside your company. Inventory planners can be warned of potential shortages in time to find alternate supplies. Salespeople can be told of possible delivery delays caused by outside forces, giving them time to ask the customer if they want to use a different shipping method.

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

Final Thoughts

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

A modern inventory control system that supports labels and barcodes lets you track raw materials, work-in-progress and finished goods simultaneously, with high accuracy.

An inventory system with business intelligence helps you find faster and alternate ways of obtaining raw materials and pre-made products, mainly when shipping delays occur. That information can help you get your products to your customers when needed, 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

Key Role of ERP Systems in the Pharmaceutical Industry

Key Role of ERP Systems in the Pharmaceutical Industry 700 500 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • Disruptions brought by Industry 4.0 and digitization in the pharmaceutical sector are undeniable. Thus, pharma companies must arm themselves with state-of-the-art software solutions and tools to stay ahead in the game.
  • Tracking, tracing, and serialization need the support of automated tools that can reduce manual efforts and mitigate the errors leading to stock-outs, delivery issues, and callbacks.
  • Pharma companies need to be sure they comply at all times. An ERP with Pharmaceutical and Biotech centric solutions help companies meet all the regulatory requirements.

Technology has taken over our way of life and way of work. All major and minor sectors are undergoing massive changes to adapt to these changing times; the same goes for the pharmaceutical industry. Pharma companies worldwide face various challenges, such as increasing process complexities, changing consumer dynamics, healthcare reforms, a growing abundance of data without the infrastructure to leverage it, and more. These changing tides caused pharma companies to look at ERP as a panacea to solidify their IT framework and use the latest technologies (Cloud, Big Data, Automation, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data Analytics, etc.).

However, merely adapting an ERP system will not give pharma companies value for their money.

In fact, according to a report by Gartner, by 2021, ERP cloud enterprise application implementation labor rates will increase by 60 percent due to high demand and a lack of skilled resources.

This realization indicates that, like other sectors, the pharma industry would need to invest in skill upgrading of their employees and get expert ERP consultants on board for a smooth implementation.

Now, let’s talk about the need for an ERP software system in the pharmaceutical industry in today’s time (especially as it needs an ERP that is tailor-made for the industry’s regulations and norms). Below are some of the key reasons for pharma companies to move to ERP

Manufacturing formulation and preformulation management

The drug manufacturing process comprises strict formulation and monitoring raw material ingredients and finished product yields to produce a batch. The pre-formulation stage includes defining drug production procedures, steps, quantities, etc. With a robust ERP system, such as the Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP, pharma companies can ensure automated management of these formulations without constantly monitoring productions and worrying about manual errors.

Effective product costing

The costing of drugs involves various factors such as raw material master management, procurement cost, supply chain tracking, vendor cost management, and so forth. In a legacy system, these departments work in silos, and changes in data or any variable take time to communicate to other branches. There’s centralized access to data with an ERP system, and an interconnected network is established between various functions to develop concurrency. Well-captured data helps in efficiently defining product costs, and any changes can reflect in the system, enabling finance to accommodate those changes appropriately.

Figure 1:Benefits of ERP for Pharmaceutical Companies

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Meeting Regulatory Compliance

Regulatory compliance is a big one for all pharma companies. These regulations affect the brand name and consumer’s trust, but there is a factor of safety involved. Regulations and norms also differ regionally. It is essential to stay on top of safety and healthcare protocols to maintain global standards, and this is where a comprehensive system like Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP can serve as a game-changer. Its flexible interface, centralized networking features, and automation solutions allow pharma companies to keep up with the changing rules and regulations and helps drug manufacturers to track these measures and stay compliant.

Pharmaceutical companies are also mandated to maintain CFR 21 Part 11 where it’s a statutory requirement to record (or document- either in print form or electronically) the steps and procedures that comprise complies with this FDA-regulated electronic signature and the production of a medicinal product. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations is compliant with this FDA-regulated electronic signature and electronic record.

Systematic and Efficient Inventory Management with Real-time Tracking

Effective inventory management for a smooth supply chain and avoiding stock-outs or bottlenecks are always concerns for pharmaceutical companies. This concern has reached the global level as governments worldwide are looking to manufacture or procure enough potential Covid vaccines and manage inventories so that the doses go to their population smoothly. An ERP system can help with a real-time track, trace, and serialization to manage inventory and avoid plausible glitches. An ERP system can also help accelerate product recall with its high-end traceability solutions.

Managing Variability and Predicting Scalability

Manufacturing of drugs involves managing supply chain variability, understanding its sources, and gaining a hand over release failures. Another aspect is predicting the scalability of product demand to alter manufacturing capabilities/capacities effectively. Both these involve strong communication between different functions and the use of data to preempt change. With a robust ERP for the pharmaceutical industry, companies can achieve these goals through predictive analysis, data crunching, and supply chain visibility.

Final Thoughts

Pharmaceutical companies can benefit a great deal from an effective ERP implementation. This transition leads not just to accelerated production but is a massive plus in streamlining operations and managing costs.

  • A cost-effective and flexible ERP system such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations enables pharmaceutical companies to take the proper steps in digitization, automation, and artificial intelligence.
  • ERP system is the need of the hour, and getting expert consultants on board can help pharma companies meet their customized financial, operational, and regulatory requirements.
  • Industrial dynamics are changing at lightning speed, and the pharmaceutical industry needs to keep up with these changes to stand the test of time.

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

Protecting pharmaceutical data with Azure

Protecting pharmaceutical data with Azure 700 500 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • $985 million: The median cost of getting a new drug into the market
  • $1.3 billion: The newer, lower average cost of getting a new drug to market
  • $2.8 billion: The previous average cost of getting a new drug to market
  • $200 billion: The estimated size of the counterfeit drug market
  • 13: the number of new drugs not brought to market each year because of revenue losses from counterfeit drugs

Sources: Wikipedia and Statista.com

Introduction

On average, the cost of bringing a new medicine from idea to market – aka the drug development process – has dropped significantly, from $2.8 billion per drug to $1.3 billion each, according to an online encyclopedia. Counterfeits still have a measurable effect on the number of drugs being brought to market. Recent studies published on Wikipedia and Statista.com show that prescription drug makers continue to get hammered by counterfeit competition.

Statista’s 2022 study provided interesting data on different scenarios showing changes based on market size. The number of new medicines not brought to market ranged from six at $100 billion to 28 at $431 billion

So, what does all this mean? The short version is big pharma and even smaller companies have a considerable investment in intellectual property (IP) they must protect.

IP and Drug Manufacturers

“IP rights, if sufficiently limited, are typically justified as necessary to allow pharmaceutical manufacturers the ability to recoup substantial costs in research and development, including clinical trials and other tests necessary to obtain regulatory approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA),” the Congressional Research Service states (CRS).

Pharmaceutical companies are protected by two types of intellectual property (IP): patents, which give exclusive rights to the holder for 20 years, and regulatory exclusivities. According to CRS, these exclusivities range from six months to 12 years, depending on the specific type of drug or biologic.

These companies have a substantial financial investment in their research, development, and testing data. The only way to recover their vast assets is by making and selling products.

It can cost millions of dollars and over ten years of dedication to developing a single drug. With the money levels involved, thieves have a solid incentive to capture this research for themselves.

Protecting Your IP Investment

Take a look at another statistic: $590 million. That’s the amount the U.S. Treasury Department estimates was paid by victims of 450 ransomware attacks in the first half of 2021 alone.

Using that short time frame alone, the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) stated that “ransomware is an increasing threat to the U.S. financial sector, businesses, and the public.”

Ransomware is one of many cyber-attacks that share a common goal: stealing money. This attack works by infiltrating a company’s computer network and taking control of it. Companies face a difficult decision: pay the ransom, have their data destroyed, or worse, share it worldwide.

Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks is another standard weapon in a hacker’s arsenal. “In computing, a denial-of-service attack is a cyber-attack in which the perpetrator seeks to make a machine or network resource unavailable to its intended users by temporarily or indefinitely disrupting services of a host connected to a network,” a Wikipedia article states.

Many of these attacks start with simple phishing schemes. If they get one employee out of thousands to open an infected email, they have a doorway into your data. Microsoft does everything it can to block these attacks and protect its investment and yours.

As with ransomware and other attacks through stealth or brute force, the goal of DDoS attacks is money. The thinking is, “Hit a company badly often enough, and it will pay you to leave them alone.

Figure 1:Key Strategies to avoid cyber security attacks

Book a free consultation to discover more about Azure protection in the pharma industry.

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Protection in the Cloud

Every company has another option, though: investing in its security.

One method of stealing data involves capturing it as it moves from place to place. Microsoft has invested millions of dollars to continuously protect its customers’ data through its Azure cloud computing platform. The company stated in a recent blog post that they detect 1.5 million attempts per day to compromise its systems, spending about $1 billion a year on computer infrastructure security.

With the ongoing need to invest in protecting their on-premise equipment from attacks, more firms are migrating to the cloud, with platforms like Azure gaining importance with each thwarted attack. Moving data from on-premise network servers to widely spread cloud data centers means attackers have to hit moving targets if they want to control a company’s data.

“The cloud has some built-in advantages. Unlike the internet, it was built from the ground up with modern security and privacy in mind. It’s also a controlled ecosystem protected by people who spend all day thinking about data security and privacy,” according to a recent Microsoft online store.

Traditionally, internet and computer security safeguards were bolted onto a tool rather than built into it. “With cloud infrastructure, security considerations are part of the development process,” Microsoft states. “The cloud is an opportunity to do security better,” security analyst Doug Cahill added.

Azure’s status as a cloud platform means that all of the money, and the 3,500 security engineers Microsoft devotes to making it secure, also benefit the software running on top of it. For example, Microsoft Dynamics 365’s Supply Chain Management, which helps companies track raw materials and finished products from the warehouse to the customer, runs on top of Azure.

Companies using this software get the bonus of automatic protection for their cloud data. While these updates can’t directly help prevent thieves from making a physical attack on their buildings, it can make it harder for them to steal data on the move.

“If we detect a set of attacks on one tenant or a handful of tenants, we can synthesize that and start using the things we learn to protect all the other tenants out there,” Bharat Shah, Microsoft’s vice-president of Security for Azure platform, said. “That’s the cloud effect. We learn. We react. We turn something on, and we protect everybody else.”

Azure benefits from Microsoft’s investment in machine learning – a branch of artificial intelligence – to track attempted attacks. Microsoft takes what it learns and uses it to benefit not just Azure but all the companies who’s multi-million-dollar intellectual property investment rides on top of it.

The Bottom Line

Citing the NETSCOUT Threat Intelligence report, Forbes.com estimated 26,000 cyber-attacks per day, or 18 per minute, in 2020 alone. The report indicated that security threats against industrial control systems and operational technology tripled in 2020, while DDoS attacks will grow to 15.4 million by 2023.

These numbers should make any executive who doesn’t have a significant cyber security team on their staff nervous. Thankfully, companies who use Microsoft Azure’s cloud computing platform have the security of more than 3,500 security engineers devoted to protecting it and the data running through it.

With the livelihood of pharmaceutical companies depending on keeping their data safe, secure, and private, you don’t risk your company’s data with poor security. Investing in Azure services today can make a huge difference in your bottom line.

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