ERP

The Role of ERP in Improving Manufacturing Performance and ROI

Improve Manufacturing performance The Role of an ERP

Improve Manufacturing performance The Role of an ERP 1920 1080 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • Installation and modernization of ERP software comes at a high cost for manufacturing companies, and they are rightfully looking for ways to maximize their ROI from these software investments.
  • Manufacturers must embrace the comprehensive ERP model and let their production line and their vendors work in tandem with the software to streamline processes.
  • ERP systems are no longer a part of the business backend- newer tools and applications like Cloud, Internet of Things (IoT), and Machine Learning are changing ERP systems’ face, affecting the overall ROI of technology spend.

The implications and benefits of using a comprehensive tool like ERP are well measured in advance by large and small/ medium scale manufacturing organizations. However, there are still ways with which ERP systems can be used to better the overall operational efficiency in manufacturing, streamline existing processes, and improve the production line. These ways with which a solution like ERP can become the catalyst in generating ROI are usually the difference-makers for the manufacturing sector.

Mid-size businesses’ adoption of ERP software will grow at a CAGR of 7.9% from 2014 to 2020.– alliedmarketresearch.com

As the investments in ERP keep pouring in, manufacturers find themselves looking to adapt and manipulate their current practices to reap the maximum benefits from these investments above. Let us look at these practices that will improve ROI with ERP in the manufacturing industry. But first, let us learn how the ROI is calculated when it comes to manufacturing ERP.

Figure 1:Factors that Decide the ROI of Manufacturing ERP

Calculating the ROI for ERP Manufacturing- A Comprehensive Look at the Benefits of Installing the ERP System

Every organization has specific short and long term goals in mind while installing an ERP system. So, while the ROI might be a relative concept for every manufacturer, certain common areas can help you decide as to exactly how beneficial can your ERP system be for your company:

  • Does the ERP system help you in streamlining the processes and improving overall production line efficiency?
  • Does it minimize human intervention and the cost spent on intensive labor for data management and analytics?
  • Does it help you in managing your purchases, procurements, and inventory better?
  • Does it help you get real-time visibility across the production line for improved communication and faster response time?
  • What other tangible benefits mainly in terms of cost savings and profit gains can you see after installing the ERP system?

Once you get answers to these questions, you can calculate the ROI for your ERP.

The Road to Better Manufacturing ROI: Improving Manufacturing Performance with ERP

01.Efficient Machine-to-Machine and Machine-to-Human Interaction

In the times of Cloud dominated software practices, everything is virtually connected. Manufacturers have a chance of enhancing their ecosystem where real-time connectivity between the workforce and machines is established efficiently. This will add transparency to the entire production line from the top floor to the shop floor; it will also help the skill base use smart manufacturing techniques to save both time and effort. Application of ERP software to adopt smart manufacturing techniques will help manufacturers avoid production delays, track material and equipment with better efficiency, and move faster. All of this will result in more significant revenue generation.

Figure 2:ERP in the Manufacturing Industry

02.Better Management of Inventory

Large-scale manufacturers can afford to hire a larger workforce to manage their inventories. Small and mid-scale businesses often suffer a loss due to glitches in inventory management and its usage. Even larger companies are looking for a centralized network that can keep track of all the raw material, incomings, outgoings, and maintenance schedules for their inventories. This is where a modernized, sturdy ERP system succeeds where older, legacy platforms fail. It allows companies to get real-time data on their personnel and material in the inventory, allowing them to better plan their management well ahead in time. Any manufacturing company- large or small- will vouch that a well-managed inventory is a must to avoid stock-outs and other related production delays. So a robust ERP system will help in improving ROI by assisting manufacturers to improve their inventory management.

03.Forming a Competent Skill Base

No advanced software or tool could provide a manufacturer with better ROI if their workforce is not fully acquainted and expert in using the said software or tool. Well, the ERP system is no exception to this rule. Especially with the modernization of many of the ERP systems and its integration with cutting-edge applications like Internet of Things (IoT), Machine Learning, Advanced Analytics, and Artificial Intelligence, it has become highly imperative for manufacturing companies to train their skill base in expertly using the ERP system to its fullest capability. This will not only ensure lesser glitches but also prove to be beneficial in long term profit gains.

These positive changes in your manufacturing ecosystem will not only help you gain maximum benefit from your ERP system, but it will also solidify your work standards and technical competencies in the long run.

Key Takeaways:

  • Modernization of ERP systems need not necessarily mean a costly affair for manufacturers if they utilize smart manufacturing techniques to improve their ERP ROI.
  • Large and small and medium-scale manufacturers need to look at ERP software as an integral part of their production line and get their workforce well-acquainted with all the details for a better profit model.

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 Role of ERP Systems in Pharmaceutical Industry

Key Role of ERP Systems in the Pharmaceutical Industry

Key Role of ERP Systems in the Pharmaceutical Industry 1440 810 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • Disruptions brought by Industry 4.0 and digitization in the pharmaceutical sector is undeniable, and thus pharma companies need to arm themselves with state-of-the-art software solutions and tools to stay ahead in the game.
  • Tracking, tracing, and serialization needs the support of automated tools that can not only reduce manual efforts but can also mitigate the errors leading to stock-outs, delivery issues, and callbacks.
  • Pharma companies need to be compliant with managerial and quality regulations. 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, and the same goes for the pharmaceutical industry. Pharma companies worldwide face various challenges, such as increasing process complexities, changing consumer dynamics, healthcare reforms, an abundance of data without an 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 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 us 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). Here is a deep-dive into some of the key reasons for pharma companies to go the ERP way:

1.Manufacturing formulation and preformulation management:The drug manufacturing process comprises strict formulation and monitoring of raw material ingredients and finished product yields to produce a batch. The pre-formulation stage includes defining drug production procedures, stages, quantities, so forth. 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 without the worry of manual errors.

2.Effective product costing:The costing of drugs involves various factors such as raw material master management, procurement cost, supply chain tracking, vendor cost management, so forth. In a legacy system, these departments work in silos, and the changes made in data or any variable takes time to get communicated to other branches. There is 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 made can reflect in the system, enabling finance to accommodate those changes appropriately.

Figure 1:Benefits of ERP for Pharmaceutical Companies

3.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 wherein it is a statutory requirement to record (or document- either in print form or electronically) the steps and procedures that comprised the production of a medicinal product. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations is compliant with this FDA regulated electronic signature and electronic record.

4.Systematic and Efficient Inventory Management with Real-time Tracking:Effective inventory management for a smooth supply chain and avoiding stock-outs or bottle-necks is always a concern for pharmaceutical companies. This concern has now reached the global level as governments across the world are looking to not only manufacture or procure enough potential Covid vaccines but to manage inventories so that the doses reach their population smoothly. An ERP system can help with real-time track and trace and serialization to manage the inventory and avoid plausible glitches. An ERP system can also effectively help in accelerating product recall with its high-end traceability solutions.

5.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.

In summation, it is crystal clear that pharmaceutical companies can benefit a great deal from an effective ERP implementation. This will not only accelerate production but also help in streamlining operations and managing costs.

Key Takeaways:

  • A cost-effective and flexible ERP system such as the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations is proven to enable pharmaceutical companies to take the right steps in the realms of digitization, automation, and artificial intelligence.
  • ERP system is the need of the hour, and getting expert consultants onboard can help pharma companies in meeting their customized financial, operational, and regulatory requirements completed without complications.
  • The industrial dynamics are changing at lightning speed, and the pharmaceutical industry needs to keep up with these changes to stand the test of times.

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

The Role of an agile & cloud-based ERP in Chemical Manufacturing

The Role of an agile & cloud-based ERP in Chemical Manufacturing

The Role of an agile & cloud-based ERP in Chemical Manufacturing 1920 1080 shahid.anis

Modern Manufacturing

In recent years the chemical industry has witnessed a radical change in production methods. With technology gaining more attention in almost every sector, including manufacturing and distribution, business leaders need to upgrade their technology stack and outdated processes to meet the changing demands of the market. A rapid transformation of the Chemical manufacturing value chain is required to improve efficiency, productivity, quality, precision, pricing, and more.

While “Complexity” serves no good for business, it has been part and parcel of the chemical industry for decades. Many companies suffer from siloed department structures, disparate systems, inefficient data management, and a lack of streamlined processes due to lack of an agile ERP solution. These have all helped create roadblocks that hurt the bottom line of the business. Most companies don’t realize the gravity of the issue until the lack of integration between the floor and functional areas rears its head. As a result, it’s been easy for orders to get lost and product quality to suffer thanks to suboptimal production runs or poor capacity planning.

Chemical manufacturing companies need to take action by redefining their business models and re-evaluating their IT roadmaps. Chemical companies invest in transformation projects such as integrating a cloud-based ERP solution with operations to streamline processes, drive collaboration and efficiency, and offer much more informed decision-making.

Figure 1Agile ERP Solutions in Various Phases of Chemical Manufacturing

Unforeseen Circumstances: COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic caused havoc, severely impacting every industry. The functioning of departments such as production and shipping became increasingly challenging. As a result, hundreds of companies had to scale down their manufacturing operations by as much as 40-60%. With such fewer raw materials being supplied, by February, the global production of chemicals had dropped by 2.4%.

The drop in business severely impacted revenue in Chemical companies. On top of that, transportation costs have gone up, and priority has shifted to essentials. This sort of financial pressure has forced companies to downsize the workforce, yet having to continue the business, which now is enforcing rapid technology transformations at an optimal cost.

An Agile ERP in Manufacturing

Unlike many other sectors, businesses in the chemical industry may not be able to stop production and send workers home. On the flip side, many chemical companies are pivoting operations to meet the demand of the market.

Add to this, a unique share of challenges that already exist for the chemical industry, including issues like

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

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

6 Ways Implementing ERP will Improve Operations in Chemical Manufacturing

01.Improved Visibility

An agile ERP unifies data across departments, increasing the visibility of information across an organization, and eliminates unnecessary infrastructure costs while providing higher data security. Within a chemical company, process automation add-ons to the cloud ERP eases resource overload by optimizing workforce utilization on the shop floor. All departments across the company, including inventory management, purchasing, accounting, human resource management, production, and finance function together with a minimum breakdown and maximum clarity in operations. Agile cloud-based ERP systems for manufacturing can help a chemical company access real-time data on a uniform platform and boost throughput to reduce downtime.

02.Enhanced Flexibility

As market demand fluctuates, there is a growing need for increased adaptability in the manufacturing and supply chain, enabled using the right ERP solutions. A Chemical company can share important updates and revised manufacturing plans/ schedules utilizing the supply chain planning system to plan stock availability. An agile ERP system for chemical manufacturing should follow a tiered approach comprising

  • secure database
  • simple user interface and higher accessibility
  • easy integration with external tools

The Chemical industry has a unique set of functional requirements to accommodate Environment health and safety and OSHA regulations. Cloud ERPs give Chemical companies the flexibility to customize the solution to suit their needs without migrating data or altering the entire piece of software.

03.Better Collaboration and Transparency

Data associated with the right ERP leads to better collaboration across the enterprise. Complex business procedures often are simplified, and simpler processes with no controls are made more stringent due to an ERP implementation project. All modern systems have enough restrictions to enable a disciplined method of functioning, that companies may have missing. A process and rule-based system improves transparency and sets the organization for growth.

04.Better Supply Chain Efficiency

A successful ERP software implementation eases the complexity of supply chain management with better-informed demand and supply management. Data insights collected from a well-designed ERP system for chemical manufacturing can reduce inventory cost, enhance supply chain efficiency, and optimize production processes that, in turn, build a robust supply chain. Building supply chain efficiency has further benefits such as decreasing expenditure on raw materials, increasing profit leading to capital growth for any company.

05.Improved Production

Chemical companies often pay a hefty price if the system they use is lacking functionality. The typical end-to-end chemical production process comprises – scheduling lot production, estimating the cost of the lot produced, recording consumption of raw materials, recording route operations, quality control check on lots, and accurately recording yields. This process exchanges multiple hands and devices. A poorly designed manufacturing execution system can hinder the batches produced, draining resources, and add unplanned costs to the company. All you need is an agile, cloud-based ERP system for chemical manufacturing.

06.Enhanced Customer Service

With the right suite of ERP and CRM solutions, it is possible to fulfill the customer-centric objectives such as understanding the customers’ needs, improving service levels, and enhancing customer experience. An agile ERP that supports companies to attend to their customers’ needs and resolve issues faster ultimately drives customer retention.

Final Thoughts

A Chemical manufacturing company holds its share of challenges. Be it specialty chemicals, bulk chemicals, private-label, co-pack, or a contract manufacturer, having the right cloud-based ERP systems for manufacturing helps to build operational efficiency, bring products to market faster, reduce the cost of operations, be more agile, and responsive to market changes.

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 hazardous chemicals

The role of an ERP System in Handling Hazardous Chemicals

The role of an ERP System in Handling Hazardous Chemicals 1920 1080 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • The chemical manufacturing industry is under severe scrutiny for ecological and environmental reasons. Chemical companies are required to maintain various documents such as safety data sheets and hazard labels with pictograms.
  • The hazardous chemicals produced or used by the industry need to be tracked and managed to meet the rules and regulations set forth by OSHA.
  • The right ERP systems can help companies in collating and systemizing the records of these hazardous chemicals for proper usage and disposal in a responsible manner.

Chemical Manufacturers – Managing Compliance

The chemical manufacturing industry has an expectation and in many cases even a mandate to work with added responsibility when it comes to the usage, transport, and disposal of hazardous chemicals.

Out of the more than 80,000 chemicals currently used in the United States, most haven’t been adequately tested for their effects on human health. Contract Research Organizations Global Market Report

Chemical manufacturers are an integral part of the overall chemical value chain, and the overall supply chain from ‘raw materials to finished products’ needs to be maintained with additional hazard visibility. How would these manufacturers manage compliance and adhere to proper documentation of hazardous chemicals? The answer lies in an ERP software system that can facilitate record maintenance, compliance, and visibility. A reliable ERP system has become the need of the hour for chemical companies – to act proactively and to avoid environmental or human mishaps.

The ‘One Microsoft Ecosystem’ with the embedded ‘Integrated Chemical Management’ solution will provide a comprehensive solution to aid all the needs of a chemical company – Supply Chain, Finance, Manufacturing, Quality, Document Management, or Chemical Data and Documents.

Figure 1Digital Business Transformation with One-Microsoft Ecosystem

Let us look at some of the ways compliance is achievable through the Microsoft ecosystem:

01.Being proactive instead of reactive:

Business processes would be simplified for bulk chemical or toll manufacturers if they could regulate hazardous substances from the point of inventory receipt through a purchase order or a manufacturing production order. Better management of dangerous materials is possible by an integrated chemical management system within ERP software. This unified system can automatically overlook the formulations, spot the hazardous substances, and evaluate them for their further use. This way, manufacturers will get to know the risk levels involved regarding the usage and distribution of chemicals. Identifying these hazardous substances at the beginning stage also allows manufacturers to act proactively rather than working reactively, leading to better safety.

02.Developing a Prototype/ Standard Operating Procedure for Worker Safety

It is important to note that manufacturers have found that even if they have implemented safety procedures in place for the wide range of chemicals used, mishandling and mismanaging the chemicals will jeopardize workers’ safety. Working with hazardous chemicals is inevitable for chemical companies making it business challenge to handle production and distribution of finished products. Microsoft Dynamics 365 integrates natively into Sharepoint and One drive, which are Microsoft’s document management systems. These integrated tools in the Microsoft ecosystem provide the ability to develop a standard operating procedure or prototype process to handle chemicals – avoiding chemical hazard accidents and enhancing workers’ safety on the shop floor. 

03.Facilitating Better Equipment Maintenance

Record maintenance for the equipment used in chemical plants is a tedious task. Microsoft Dynamics 365 helps in keeping a record of equipment maintenance and marking them for preventive/ proactive maintenance. These maintenance call-to-actions are system generated and can be automated, leaving minimal scope for manual errors. Chemical manufacturing companies can thus form a thorough strategy for equipment maintenance, repair, and operation.

Figure 2How an ERP System Helps in Managing Hazardous Chemicals

04.Systemizing Record Maintenance

The vast range of chemicals used by manufacturing companies need to be labeled for their chemical composition, risk factors, expiry dates, safety procedures, and other special instructions. There has to be a consolidated record of all these chemicals, their quantities, distribution, costs, etc. Such a humongous task is prone to different manual errors within legacy systems. Microsoft Dynamics 365 along with Integrated Chemical Management can maintain chemical data (for individual chemicals and on a consolidated level) through easy excel updates or interfaced updates.

Chemical companies can be assured of safely using,
distributing, and disposing of the hazardous chemicals through an automated workflow for adding and editing chemical data.

05.Meeting Compliance Standards

As mentioned earlier in the article, the world over, the laws are getting more stringent regarding compliance and regulations for hazardous chemicals. Chemical companies ideally look for an ERP solution that helps meet the local as well as international requirements, to function with least regulatory hassles.

 

70%of participants pointed compliance as the single largest priority for their company

80% of them cited monthly obligations to create, print, or affix workplace labels to containers in their inventory as a challenge

Per the 2017 Hazard Communication Survey

Microsoft Dynamics 365 with an embedded chemical management solution that can house chemical data, print GHS compliant labels, and Safety data sheets will be an ideal choice in order to reduce GHS related compliance issues.

To conclude, one could reasonably say that an advanced ERP system such as the Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERPs can become the backbone of record maintenance for hazardous chemicals. The chemical industry can benefit from this sophisticated software system and function seamlessly while also helping with environmental and personnel safety. Microsoft’s Chemical manufacturers Supply Chain solution provides a cutting-edge system to ease record maintenance, streamline the overall chemical supply chain, inventory, and warehouse management processes; and create a platform for productivity and growth.

Key Takeaways

  • An ERP system with chemical data is necessary for the chemical industry to manage OSHA and GHS compliance from within the system.
  • Microsoft’s integrated ERP software in conjunction with integrated chemical management solution is capable of smooth record-keeping of hazardous chemicals, print GHS labels, and safety data sheets.
  • Ultimately Chemical manufacturers need to ensure compliance along with environmental and worker safety with the help of the right ERP system.

Explore our Products page to learn about the different ERP Solutions available to jumpstart your evaluation process.

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

Maintaining an Integrated Supply Chain: Key Solutions

Maintaining an Integrated Supply Chain: Key Solutions 1280 720 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • Many organizations that fail to recognize supply chain as a strategic business function, tend to not move to a digital supply chain and lose out on the benefits that come with the transformation.
  • Traditionally, manufacturing companies have treated supply chain as a transactional function, a bargaining chip to reduce price and secure on-time delivery of raw materials. The modern supply chain is viewed as a strategic asset to the organization, integrated deeply with other business functions, aimed to increase customer satisfaction.
  • Companies unable to track hidden costs across the supply chain lose track of actual costs, damaging their bottom line. Proper supply chain monitoring can save anywhere from 20-30% of distribution costs.

The Supply Chain Challenge

Supply chain management is one of the most critical elements of success for any business in today’s global market. However, its application is undermined by many companies as business leaders face challenges to control the cost of a supply chain without compromising on its efficiency. Since COVID-19 we have witnessed drastic changes in methods and methodologies for streamlining supply chain operations. It, however, doesn’t take away some key fundamentals required for healthy functioning of a company’s supply chain and inventory management.

According to the Logistics Bureau, for companies running global operations, their supply chain cost could rise as high as 90% of their total expenditure.

The Supply Chain Slowdown

The problem lies in poor strategic management. Supply chain managers are focusing on cost minimization, most of them without having detailed field knowledge of how the system works, and the result is it is impacting other areas of the process such as inventory optimization, ‘on-time delivery in full (OTDIF)’ and customer satisfaction. Trying to improve one KPI is resulting in a cost spike in other areas of operations, which can have a long-term impact on revenue.

FIGURE 1 Where Business Leaders are Falling Short

A robust supply chain needs strategic alignment and planning in line with the overall business functioning. For example, in order to control cost, you need to first understand the key drivers of cost in the supply chain and most importantly how to measure the supply chain cost. While the strategy is important, establishing an integrated supply chain requires a synchronized approach to planning, execution, and application of technologies in order to create an end-to-end unified system across the entire organization.

FIGURE 2 Key Elements of an Integrated Supply Chain

In this article, we will touch upon some interesting facts that make an appealing case as to why the Supply Chain strategy needs to be digitally enhanced and properly integrated with other parts of the business.

Switching from Traditional to Next-Gen Digital Supply Chain

The rapidly evolving business landscape is disrupting the way companies function. Moreover, the advent of the latest technologies and growing competitive markets are driving companies to push their limits and redefine supply chain operations.

Is your business ready to embrace a digital supply chain as a key distinguishing factor for its competitive advantage?

Most SMBs are holding back the transformation due to the fear of possible risks that could surface. Per our industry experience, it’s due to the age-old perspective in which company leadership is analyzing their supply chain. In most of the cases, we found that they are way behind the entire purview and don’t realize the true potential of a well-integrated, technologically advanced supply chain.

Traditionally, business leaders focused on pricing and product quality, but priorities today have completely shifted. Major Objectives and Key results of organizations are geared towards optimized supply chain and operations to boost businesses forward. With Industry 4.0, advanced analytics, and robotic process automation rising, companies are realizing the need for an integrated supply chain. This has become even more true as the Covid-19 crisis continues. Demand planning and fulfillment, supplier-customer relationship, customer retention, on-time delivery are some of the major expenses of a company. An efficient supply chain not only helps with cost reduction in these segments but also ensures growth, profitability, and customer satisfaction.

Top Reasons to Upgrade Your Operations with a Next-Gen Digital Supply Chain:

Shifting from a plant-level production planning to a demand-driven focus with customer-centric mindset but not compromising with the product quality

Getting rid of outdated processes and technology to match the transforming global business landscape

Reducing cost to formulate a more efficient value chain to remain cost-competitive in the market

Ability to outsource parts of your supply chain process in order to reap economic benefits and superior supply chain network design

Achieving more efficient product lifecycle management

Collaboration with stakeholders to integrate business processes for increasing visibility throughout the value chain

The Impact of Supply Chains

An integrated supply chain influences the overall functioning and improves profitability of the business. Going digital and increasing interoperability across these functions sets a business up to accelerated growth. Let us discuss a couple of key areas that are impacted by a well designed supply chain.

FIGURE 3 Upgrading the supply chain will improve your bottom line

01. Supply Chain and its Impact on Customer-Centricity

When business leaders discuss improving their supply chain, their main focus is usually related to accelerating growth by cutting down costs, achieving better lead time, and ensuring on-time delivery; as all these factors contribute towards business development. What slips from their mind is what customers really care about. It all starts and ends with customer satisfaction. Delivering the right product at the right time improves your organization’s brand value and credibility to customers.

What the customer cares about is receiving quality products on the promised delivery date without having to spend too much time or effort. This can be seen in Amazon’s announcement of one-day delivery. Late and inaccurate deliveries bear a significant impact on customer loyalty.

70%

of industry professionals predict that their supply chain is going to be a key driver of improved customer satisfaction by the end of the year.

Source: Accenture

Your procurement division must understand the importance of cost-saving, but they need to be in line with the expectations of the customers and procure quality raw material for manufacturing the items. If expectations on raw material quality is not set, you could save money purchasing raw materials upfront, but end up spending more in the long run.

Let’s take a look at Kimberly-Clark’s journey to understand this better:

Kimberly-Clark is a manufacturing-focused organization that up to a few years ago did not have a supply chain division. Sandra MacQuillan, their first Supply Chain Officer, built a solid team to ensure the supply chain was focused on customer satisfaction. In the process, she integrated various functions such as procurement, quality (know more on quality management by clicking here), logistics, manufacturing, safety, etc. that are interconnected and delivered for one common goal – that is customer satisfaction.

Kimberly-Clark was able to achieve 25-30% cost savings by interconnecting various aspects of the Supply Chain, focused on better customer service, resulting in improved efficiency.

If you connect with the issues faced by Kimberly-Clark, or your supply chain is functioning in silos, it could be the best time to make a change. You can take this opportunity to update and integrate your supply chain with overall business functions and work towards a common goal like customer Satisfaction. A strongly integrated application will have the ability to incorporate holistic business functions including analytics, collaboration with notification, secure information sharing, control-based decision making using Artificial Intelligence, and more.

FIGURE 4 KPIs that are critical for supply chain monitoring

02. The Role of supply chain in sustaining business long term

According to the Logistics Bureau, nearly 50% of companies shut down within the first five years of operation. One critical factor contributing to these failures is an inefficient and poorly conceived supply chain. Supply chains in most organizations have evolved as a practice, rather than a well-designed process.

79%

of companies with robust and high-performing supply chains are able to outperform their average peers in terms of higher revenue growth. This fact signifies the positive implication of a connected supply chain for a business.

Source: Deloitte

5 Steps to Integrate your Supply Chain

Break down organizational silos

For an effective, integrated approach to Supply Chain Management (SCM) the organization must operate end-to-end as a unified entity.

01

Define organizational objectives

Move beyond basic business and functional unit design and metrics. Look at the organization holistically and define the objectives as a complete entity.

02

Align business processes

Take a cross-functional approach to business process design. Start at a high level and map out the supply-chain flow with the goal of creating an end-to-end mapping of the business process.

03

Design the IT architecture to support an integrated approach

Leverage a cross-functional approach to IT systems design. As much as possible, standardize the organization in terms of the applications that are used. Seek to eliminate as many disparate applications as possible in favor of a common set of applications across the business.

04

Reshape leadership and culture

For most organizations, the major roadblock in delivering an integrated approach to supply-chain management is culture change. Change of this magnitude must be driven by solid leadership. There should be strong collaboration to drive the effort to deliver an integrated supply-chain organization.

05

Final Thoughts

There is no way the importance of an integrated Supply Chain should be overstated or undermined. If you or your organization have not prioritized your supply chain efforts, it’s never too late to take the first step.

An intelligent ERP software comes with a holistic supply chain module along with advanced analytics to support the following functionality.

  • A manufacturing execution system
  • Financial and cost accounting
  • Inventory and warehouse management
  • Purchasing and planning of materials
  • Product information management
  • Sales and marketing of the products
  • Transportation and logistics management

In order to push a company forward especially post-COVID-19, a sound digital supply chain strategy would be needed.

Do not let operational inefficiencies limit
your business, long-term 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

ENTERPRISE PROCESS AUTOMATION TRENDS

Upcoming Process Automation Trends That Will Transform Your Enterprise

Upcoming Process Automation Trends That Will Transform Your Enterprise 1500 1167 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

The ultimate goal of any enterprise is that of speeding up processes, reducing errors, and increasing business output for better revenue generation. With the onset of the digitization era, companies have upgraded their technological prowess to adapt to process automation. It is important to understand that in the rapidly transforming world, process automation is not just a technological ability to speed up processes but a strategic movement towards better use of software to streamline workforce, introduce better work practices and mitigate cost inflations. Since COVID-19, process automation has turned into a need of the hour to improve operations that are built with adherence to process compliance and yield better outputs with a limited workforce. This means process automation will transform enterprises at a larger scale to increase agility and reduce dependency on manual work.

Manual Vs Automation

Is your business still operating through manual handoffs, excel macros, and cumbersome reporting? As businesses are integrating automation in more rapidly in different facets right from HR to Marketing, Production, Sales, and Information Technology; there is a considerable reduction in human intervention for mundane and simpler tasks. A component of efficiency will be introduced with the implementation of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in process automation. According to a leadership piece by Sogeti (1), enterprises will look into integrating robotics process automation (RPA) with AI to extract more business value. Read on to know why an enterprise should consider intelligent process automation for complete transformation and the latest trends that will help businesses along the path of said transformation.

Why Embracing the Latest Process Automation Trends and Techniques is a Necessity for an Enterprise?

As an enterprise, you need to ask yourself a key question: Where should the business’ attention be?

While at face-value this question may seem trivial, the entire enterprise architecture revolves around this key aspect. The more attention your skill base gives towards the latest trends like the Internet of Things (IoT), Machine Learning, Cloud, Advanced Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, and automated-integrated workflows, the better streamlined and agile your workforce would be. Hence it is highly significant for enterprises to explore deep into the latest process automation trends and make their employees acquainted with these trends for a competitive edge.

There is no doubt about the fact that legacy systems need upgrades and modernization to encompass latest trends of digitization, modern technologies and to become aligned with the fast-paced, changing business demands. Process automation plays a key role here. If not for process automation, the IT systems would face the brunt of not being able to keep up with business process improvements (carried out usually at a large-scale), leading to lesser productivity and overall loss of revenue. Automation helps you form ‘bundles’ of data and migrate them to platforms for systematic records management. Process automation can help your enterprise reduce the error rate, and increase productivity at a lower cost. But one point to remember is that the process automation described above would only make sense if your company has already transformed into a modern ERP system.

Figure 1 8 Reasons to Automate Your Business Processes

The Up and Coming Trends in Process Automation That Will Transform Your Enterprise

1.Handling the Unstructured Data Challenge: While data on systems has been very much taken care of by current process automation tools, enterprises and their related facets still struggle with unstructured forms of data such as hand-written notes, bills, invoices, images, etc. With the introduction of machine learning and artificial intelligence, businesses are digging up automation solutions that will not only recognize this type of data (with the help of Robotics), but also assimilate and use it in processes similar to structured data.

2.Low-Code Solutions for Faster Results: Robotic process automation when integrated with low code solutions forms a golden bridge of zero human intervention and faster application development. These low code solutions enhance efficiency as well as help in transforming core processes like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).

3.Integration of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) with Business Process Automation (BPA): Interdependent workflows have always been a part of large enterprises and the IT skill set in an organization has mostly been at the helm of managing these interconnecting processes in a complex workflow system. The latest automation tools will help in integrating RPA with BPA resulting in the formation of intricate workflows and implementation of all the related processes.

4.Real-Time Automated Decision Making: Enterprises will see more and more management of big data with the help of artificial intelligence and this will facilitate the way for flexible tools for IT operations that will preempt glitches and provide real-time solutions. This will help in better resource-allocation, lesser communication gaps, and fewer outages.

5.A Chance Towards Skill Set Upgrade: When computers were introduced as a tool to reduce human effort, they were met with a lot of apprehensions. In fact, many considered them as machines that would make a human contribution to technology obsolete. Similar apprehension and even cynicism can be seen in the case of process automation tools and software. After all, process automation eliminates the need for human intervention, making many technical jobs outworn.

However, enterprises are now looking up to this advancement in process automation as a chance to upgrade the skill set of their current employee base and make them adept in the latest technologies and tools. This will not only help the IT personnel move from labor-intensive, monotonous jobs to skill-based, dynamic ones, but it will also create a learning curve in the industry resulting in more innovations. When put in perspective, automation is not the cause for losing jobs, it is instead an opportunity for companies to fill the skill set gap and enhance the expertise of their IT personnel for innovation and better strategic output.

By 2023, AI-enabled automation in data management will reduce the need for IT specialists by 20%Source: Gartner report

The Changing Landscape

An enterprise cannot deny the fact that adapting to the need of the hour with the latest process automation trends is going to work in favor of its core business value. Numerous users across organizations will gain access to data, automated workflows that will be systematically prepared, and actionable insight that will aid towards building an agile enterprise. In the current market being agile as a company will be your strong suit. As they say, the cards are laid on the table; it is up to the businesses now to play their hand wisely!

Figure 2 Robotic process automation (RPA) market revenues worldwide from 2017 to 2023 (in billion U.S. dollars)

  

Source : Statista

Remote work is becoming more prevalent post-COVID-19. Companies are looking for more ways to streamline operations, engage the workforce, and yet meet the needs of customers. Process automation plays a major role in volatile market conditions during COVID-19. A combination of Microsoft’s Power Platform, AI – ML, Dynamics 365 for Sales and Dynamics 365 ERP, integrated with Teams allows users to streamline their processes and build needed visibility for management to effectively view the progress of operations remotely.

In fact, a successful use case off-late within various companies is to integrate Dynamics 365 with flow, teams, planner, and SharePoint to enhance compliance of process, coordination with team members remotely, track processes that are running in each department and provide task execution clarity for each employee within a department. More companies are adopting this suite of tools to improve productivity and simplify workforce engagement. All major functions of a company – be it Procurement, Sales, Manufacturing, Quality, Finance or HR, when unified together help a business stay afloat during challenging market conditions and support the over well-being of a business.

Key Takeaways

  • Introduction of Automated workflows, Artificial Intelligence, Cloud, Big Data, Machine Learning, and Advanced Electronics has changed the face of process automation for better and faster results.
  • Enterprises will need to invest more in advanced process automation tools to stay ahead in the competition and to gain critical business value.
  • Evaluate low-cost solutions for process automation that is easily customizable for your business and build enhanced visibility of how your company is performing in a challenging market.

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

How to Automate Your Corporate Purchase Order to Boost Efficiency?

How to Automate Your Corporate Purchase Order to Boost Efficiency? 1920 1280 shahid.anis

Introduction

The purchasing process of any organization has always focused on simplifying the procurement of materials as well as services, and boost supply chain efficiency. In today’s digital world, it has become more essential for companies to formulate a comprehensive strategy for running operations faster and smoother. Is your workforce still operating on manual and archaic systems to manage purchase orders? An antiquated process not only leads to mismanagement and user errors but also hurts your bottom line.

You need to take a technology-driven approach that focuses on automating the entire supply chain from cradle to grave instead of concentrating only on warehouse operations and inventory control. Automating and streamlining your purchase orders with real-time supplier collaboration saves time and cost while simultaneously increasing efficiency as well as profitability.

Figure 1 Integrating the Purchase Order Process

Your employees might be the only common link between your business systems and the suite of tools they use every day – be it for email, spreadsheet, or word processing . Using multiple tools that are disjointed very quickly leads to lack of visibility. Connected business solutions from Microsoft help streamline your internal processes and pull needed information together so that your people don’t have to.

43%

of companies agreed that there are loopholes in their PO practices.

64%

of organizations reported having plans for addressing purchase order management inefficiencies in the near future.

Source : A survey of Finance Personnel, 2017

Procurement and the Life Cycle of Purchase Order (POs)

The crux of Procurement involves negotiating terms, acquiring goods or services, from a list of approved vendors, and assessing supplier evaluation based on past transactions. The end-to-end activity starts from choosing the right vendors, establishing payment terms, then moving on to sending purchase orders, managing receipt of purchased goods, and processing invoices/ payments.

The Purchase order lifecycle, also referred to as the “Purchase to Pay” or “P2P” cycle, comprises of six core steps:

1.Vendor Selection: After receiving quotations from suppliers, the Buyer works towards shortlisting the best ones that meet the business requirement and budget. Simultaneously, the procurement team also conducts a detailed verification of the supplier taking input from all stakeholders to reach on a unified decision.

2.Negotiation & PO Dispatch: A contract negotiation takes place with the selected supplier in terms of the delivery timeline, set an On time in full (OTIF) KPI, establish a payment process, agree on quality standards, dispute resolutions, confidentiality, risks, change in requirements, and other miscellaneous details. The supplier and buyer sign contracts for a single or group of purchases, by locking in the price and other terms.

3.Purchase Order Creation: Once the procurement team receives approval on purchase requests, they create a single line or multiline purchase order containing product details, pricing, terms of the delivery, freight methods, and other relevant purchase details. For multiple line items, depending on if the system accommodates it or not, the buyer may create separate purchase orders for each item.

Figure 2 A Purchase Order Lifecycle

4.Receiving goods on a PO and Quality check: The vendor sends a ‘lot/ batch’ of material per the instructions and agreed upon terms on the PO. On receiving the product, the buyer conducts a standard quality check, validates the PO and packing slip. The receiving clerk verifies the items received through quantity counts, first-level quality check for damages, and accuracy. In case of a dispute, relevant parties are notified with details. Once done, the receiver records the receiving information accurately into the inventory management system.

5.Invoice processing on a PO for payment: The supplier sends the invoice to the buyer or the Accounts payable department. The AP clerk enters the invoice, verifies details via a 2-way or 3-way match against the PO, and posts the PO-invoice. The transaction creates an open invoice against the supplier in the system, which would now show up on an aging report.

6.Processing the payment for the purchase: As the due date approaches, the AP clerk prepares a payment proposal that goes through a workflow to be approved depending on the invoice amounts, prints checks or sends electronic payments, and finally, posts the payment to clear out the open invoice.

Due to all these elaborate steps, being detail oriented becomes one of the primary requirements; thus making automation plays a key role in reducing human error rate and improving the overall accuracy of the purchase-to-pay lifecycle.

Small retailers often don’t use purchase orders as they rely on strong relationships with only a limited number of vendors. But let’s not ignore the fact that verbal deals can at any time be breached from either side and without the knowledge of the other party leading to unnecessary legal battles for all parties involved. Automating the purchase process helps to keep everything documented and safeguards your company from potential losses.

Underlying Reasons for a Purchase Order Failure

There are plenty of reasons, including human error or process failure, why a purchase order system can fail. Some of the reasons are listed below:

  • Authorization limitation

    While only the authorized person should sign off the purchase order. Situations may arise when the person doesn’t receive the PO or even forgets to complete the sign-off. In such cases, the accounts the department may refuse to accept the invoice.

  • Wrong codes and supplier names

    The person-in-charge assigned to the role of completing the purchase may lack the details such as full supplier name, business code, and other details. Filling in the form with half details or wrong details leads to a breakdown, waste of time, and loss of money.

  • Non-completion of all essential columns and boxes

    In manual handling, no system reminds the user to fill in every mandatory piece of data. Missing data in one field can have a domino effect on other areas.

  • Failure to use the preferred suppliers’ list

    In an automated PO management system, a preferred supplier list is given preference and forces the Buyer to not deviate from the list. Choosing suppliers outside the approved list, could result in providing an explanation to the financial department/ management, even if the decision is for the benefit of the organization. Approvals should ideally trigger this step. With a manual process, it is challenging to monitor approved supplier checks.

  • Delay in delivering goods/services

    One of the apparent problems faced in manual Purchase order processing is enhanced visibility in delays of goods/ services delivery. Typically, a high volume of orders or errors will often result in the supply system slowing down, or worse completely loose track of shipments from the vendor.

Automation as the Solution

While digitizing purchase orders typically involves a more significant initial investment, it is truly a long-term solution that results in a tangible ROI. The sooner you upgrade to automated e-invoicing solutions, the faster your operations will see the benefits. Producing electronic POs in your ERP removes paper but doesn’t put an end to manual processes, as buyers still need to extract the PO from the ERP and email it to the supplier.

The simpler solution is an automated PO system that is easy enough to fit into your business requirements with features such as automatic purchase order creation, approval routing, and sending notifications to suppliers either via email or through an alert triggered via an online supplier portal. Suppliers can access an online supplier portal to receive purchase orders, make modifications, send order acknowledgments, and generate accurate invoices.

5 Steps to Creating an Automated PO System:

Integrating the purchase order system with ERP

Create an electronic PO requisition and approval process

Transmitting electronic purchase orders to suppliers

Providing suppliers with easy online access to view your POs, acknowledge orders, and send advance shipment notices (ASNs) instantly

Streamline supplier transactions, and manage your purchase-to-pay process

Key Benefits of Automating Purchase Order Process:

Suppliers get a 360-degree view of the status of orders, invoices, payments

The PO requisitions automatically route for approval

Increased invoice accuracy and reduces paperwork

Saves time + resources and make users more compliant

Minimizes inconsistencies and reduces opportunities for errors

Streamlines the entire PO process for speed and efficiency

Enhances productivity by managing multiple orders simultaneously

Reduces long-term expenses

Streamlines inventory management and improves decision-making capabilities

The Business User Story – Improving Supplier Interactions with Dynamics 365

You know how critical it is to keep your purchasing team connected in the office and on the go. Dynamics 365 and Office 365 simplifies and automates daily tasks to keep your procurement team focused on managing purchases. Your buyer receives an email from a supplier requesting additional details on a quote for some items. The system recognizes the sender, enabling him to easily pull up prospect cards within Outlook. From this dashboard, he reviews the account – including the supplier’s existing quotes, ongoing orders, and purchase history.

As he’s managing the quote, supplier and product information auto-populate, helping him get it done faster. While he was sending the purchase requisition, a note hit his inbox from a potential supplier he recently interacted at an event. The system recognizes that their email address is not in the supplier database, and prompts him to add it. Without leaving Outlook, he creates their profile in the Dynamics 365 app. This kind of automation reduces time spent on administrative tasks, allowing your purchasing team to quickly respond to received quotes and ultimately improve overall interactions.

Figure 3 Upgrading to an Automated PO System

As a business owner, imagine you receive an email from a high-priority customer who urgently needs an order delivered in a short timeframe, and fulfilling that order is heavily depentant on receiving material from your supplier. Microsoft unifies business processes and personal productivity, connecting your people, processes, and systems like never before. With Dynamics 365 Supply Chain, you can find the information you need and act on it without searching for disparate systems or coordinating with other departments. Dynamics 365 workflows help you secure processes and work on the go. Without leaving your inbox, you check inventory and discover that you don’t have enough stock on hand to fulfill the order. Your Sales team can quickly initiate a Purchase order directly that goes to the Buyer for ‘approval to proceed’.  In the same interface, you create and send both a purchase order to the vendor and a quote to your customer, moving on to your next task within minutes.

With Dynamics 365 and Office 365 working together, you can take quick action right from your email – allowing you to spend more time managing your business and connecting with customers.

Key Takeaways

  • Purchase Order Automation increases the point of revenue, makes the operational process easier, and reduces error rates.
  • The mature and robust functionality of an Automated purchase order system ensures better functioning of the Purchasing department.
  • A cloud-based procurement solution offers you greater transparency on purchase order management with ease of access.

CONTACT US and get started with your Purchase Order automation process using Power package with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain!

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

Why Do ERP implementations Fail? Key Points to remember for a Successful Transformation

Why Do ERP implementations Fail? Key Points to remember for a Successful Transformation 1550 750 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

In recent years there have been more stories of ERP implementation failures. With this in mind, it is understandable why organizations might be apprehensive about investing in a new ERP solution when the failure rate is high. The reality is that most of the ERP implementation projects often fail to meet the triple constraints – scope, budget, and timeline. These projects tend to start well with a Project Charter that lists out the objectives, and very quickly, deviations start hindering the project. Despite these hindrances, companies that do not shift to a new age ERP to optimize their business functions, especially post COVID-19, fall into the risk of losing business. How do companies then overcome a standstill situation? Read on to know more about how you, as a company, can progress forward and overcome this dilemma.

50%of SMBs will focus on the integration of on-premises and cloud resources by 2021 and it will be their top IT spending.

2/3 of SMBs will have digital transformation as a key part of their IT strategies by the end of 2023.

60%of SMBs will have mobile worker support in place by 2021.

Source: IDC, 2019

The Business Story

If you are a Small or Medium business owner, your workday often starts at home by triaging emails early in the morning. Having grown the business from the ground up, you know your customers / vendors, and you’re still involved in day-to-day operations. But the bigger the company gets, the more complex your business processes become. Each email adds something to your to-do list, which typically requires transitioning to a different application.

You use accounting software to prepare an invoice, a CRM system to manage your contacts and sales pipeline, and perhaps yet another manufacturing solution to track production or inventory. Switching back and forth between fragmented, stand-alone solutions takes time and often requires duplicate data entry. This diminished productivity stifles your ability to scale and cuts into the time you could spend developing new business. To keep up the pace of your growth, you’re likely considering the move to a more comprehensive business management solution. Read on to dive into how to make it happen.

Plan the Move, but Execute Rapidly

Companies cannot hide in the comfort zone of their existing antiquated applications forever. Disconnected systems cannot handle the complexity of a growing business. Post COVID-19, the impetus is towards operating rapidly with fewer resources, reduced cost, and still being able to build a system that will set companies to thrive in the market.

Technology objectives for business involve:

  • Deploying one solution to manage financials, sales, services, and operations.
  • Connecting apps like payroll, banking apps, CRM systems, e-commerce, or customer APIs.
  • Creating quotes, orders, and invoices right from Outlook and get tasks done on the go with mobile apps.

It would help if you had a champion within a company that understands the importance of staying agile in challenging market conditions. This champion should spearhead the rapid transformation project with the help of experts that excel in ERP implementations and have seen a variety of implementations across multiple applications.

ERP Assessments

Assessments are done during any phase of the project, to make sure the project is on the right path, especially when there is a high spend involved. In most cases, management’s perspective either will be that the software is too slow and complex to adapt to the company environment, or selection of “wrong” software packages led to the failure. The primary reason for an ERP project failure is due to the lack of proper user adaptability rather than any issues with the software as issues with software are easily fixed through update patches from the ISV.

The right time to do the assessment is before starting the implementation. It is essential to conduct a risk-free assessment, benefits analysis, performance objectives for operations, and budget analysis. Ideally, a Free Pilot that gives you a gist about the application and how it may fit in your company can be an ideal route. After all, an ERP is a critical investment that companies, especially SMBs, undertake towards upgrading their business capabilities. The evaluation of ROI is, therefore, essential and can be assessed based on how quickly the business can leverage a new ERP system in line with the objectives of the investment as a whole. A little bit of caution, careful planning, and looking below the surface can take you miles closer to a successful ERP implementation.

Nearly 75% of all ERP deployments fail to meet their expected business objectives in entirety.Source: Gartner

Why do ERP Implementations Fail?

Below are a few reasons why ERP implementations see significant deviations from the original scope that impacts the triple constraints:

1.Undefined Objectives – Once you decide to migrate to a new system, your first step should be to define the clear goals for the project, allowing you to refer back to them if and when deviations popup.

Few questions that would aid the transformation:

What are you trying to accomplish with the new system?

What improvements are you expecting in every department?

Is the goal automation and standardizing workflows, increasing collaboration across departments, or speeding up time to market or reducing throughput time?

Are all of your goals possible to achieve through this deployment?

What is the absolute must-have for the transformation?

And what protocol is in place to handle deviations when a wishlist pops up that steers the project out of control?

2.Limited Resources – Most companies underestimate the totality of the internal resources needed for the project. Companies often don’t plan the right kind of internal resources to help the transformation, play liaison, and make the tough decision on what requests are unreasonable for a successful go-live.

3.Change Management – A new ERP brings change to your entire organization, impacting the daily lives of employees across all functions. Each employee’s level of change tolerance differs, and being open to learning a new system becomes part of the change management process.

4.Unrealistic Timelines – Project schedules are no less important than planning the budget and resources. We often see unrealistic timelines that don’t align with the expectations of the project. Management may want to push functionality that may not be feasible in the first implementation rollout.

5.Hefty Customization – Customizing your ERP system can offer you an extra edge but also involves risks. Customizations often start small but can quickly grow in complexity, further extending timelines and adding hours and hours of additional development. A recent survey reveals that less than 20% of respondents implemented their ERP system with little or no customization. Most companies find it enormously challenging to control the project scope by turning down customizations.

The majority of ERP system failure attributes to hefty customizations.-SoftwareAdvice.com

FIGURE 1: Case Study: Hershey’s Story Is a Living Example of ERP Implementation Mistakes

Outcome: Harshey had to lose a huge percent of market share over competitors such as Nestle, Mars. Underestimating change management, having set unrealistic timeline and inadequate training resulted in implementation failure of the ERP system. Despite having warehouse filled with inventories, most of their products could not hit the market on time.

Safeguard the ERP Deployment and Minimize Post-Go-Live Issues

According to Gartner, 90% of organizations shift their preference from a single vendor ERP suite in favor of integrating multiple niche applications, which it recognizes as a postmodern ERP application.

To ensure a successful ERP implementation, your organization needs to follow a few practices including:

Define objectives and goals

Analyze key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to help track the critical purposes of ERP implementation, such as supporting organic expansion and transparency in operations.

01

Identify best-fit vendors

Examine vendors for their technological knowledge, industry experience, and prior success rate before signing contracts. You want trained professionals with in-depth knowledge that can help reach the expected output.

02

Agree on the methodology

Evaluate the right project methodology that can be converted into a set of executable tasks for the project, and agree to the process and protocols involved in it. You will want someone in-house with prior experience to be the liaison between the implementer and the end-users.

03

Finalize the features

Finalize essential ERP features for your implementation, remembering to take into account the budget, synchronizing it with core business requirements. Create a blueprint of the intended design.

04

Feed relevant data

Identify only the data essential to transfer and try to keep it to a minimum. Data migration can be a tough task, and burdening the software with irrelevant and unstructured data could slow the process.

05

Training and change management

Train end-users and employees to develop susceptibility in them to changes. As updates or developments take place within the ERP system for increasing efficiency within the organization, employees should be confident enough to absorb those changes.

06

Testing

Understand that testing is essential for an ERP implementation. You will want to formulate a plan and a method of testing to understand the issues that popup during builds and a process to resolve the problems. It’s also important to realize that if problems arise during testing, they will need to capture the necessary details of what needs to be corrected. These issues are not a reflection of what the system will be post-go-live, as long a timely resolution plan exists. If the same problem repeats, it is essential to highlight the issues which could be due to an underlying data or design defect.

07

Understanding an Enterprise Resource Planning System that Works for You

The ERP that is chosen should have the potential to meet all of the business objectives. Users should be trained to understand the system, to avoid issues with data integrity or process efficiency. Ultimately the primary aim is to minimize slowdown in operations due to limited workforce.

Accessibility of real-time data from any location helps the workforce to support agile business operations. Businesses need to integrate and streamline all activities of the organization and promote real-time visibility of operations such as:

  • Inventory Management
  • Accounting
  • Order Management
  • Supply Chain
  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Product Lifecycle

You need a solution that helps maintain compliance, secures data, and delivers a 99.9% uptime service level agreement.

Your ERP solution suite should provide with the possibility to

  • Handle, store, and transmit data securely across your systems
  • Protect information from unauthorized access with automatic Microsoft datacenter encryption
  • Control access to personal data and implement audit trails to ensure security and accountability

How does the Microsoft Ecosystem Help?

Most SMBs will outgrow basic accounting tools due to the lack of functionality and integration. Disjointed systems create incomplete data and tedious reporting resulting in blind spots and poor decisions. Lack of controls, workflows, and unsecure data causes further business risks. An agile application such as Dynamics 365 Business Central natively integrates with O365, PowerBi, and Microsoft Dynamics Sales apps – boosting the company’s ability to perform in challenging market conditions. It helps to run your business with a single solution that streamlines business processes and helps employees work faster and smarter. The heterogeneity of a suite of applications like Microsoft leverages the combined strength of the best apps for specific tasks, which is not possible through an individual ERP.

Together, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central and Office 365 help you:

  • Drive productivity by reducing time spent switching between stand-alone apps.
  • Foster collaboration and communication by breaking down internal silos and broadening visibility across the organization.
  • Accelerate user adoption and lower training time with a seamless user experience.

Key Takeaways

  • Before kicking off the implementation, the management and stakeholders involved need the right information on their role for Project success. Another essential element is to find the right internal champion who can manage user expectations without jeopardizing the objectives of the implementation.
  • A well-planned and coordinated ERP implementation where the implementer and client are on the same page can make the project a lot easier to bring to completion. In contrast, an unplanned ERP can disrupt your whole business process and cause huge losses.
  • It helps in setting the right expectations early, and understanding what to expect so that you can save time and effort and take your business to new heights with the proper ERP implementation.

Xcelpros has designed packages for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (recommended for SMB with simpler processes), Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance (recommended for SMB or Larger companies requiring more comprehensive Financial functionality), and Supply Chain (recommended for SMB or Larger companies requiring more comprehensive Supply Chain functionality). 

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

the cost of inaction for an erp implementation

The Cost of Inaction : Case in Point for an ERP Implementation

The Cost of Inaction : Case in Point for an ERP Implementation 1400 820 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • Companies are emotionally and monetarily invested in their business systems. You need a system that delivers Qualitative and Quantitative ROI.
  • The metamorphosis of ERPs from the typical back-office software to the current-day integrated platforms delivers simplicity and interoperability, helping companies make more informed data-driven decisions.
  • Top reasons that hinder a successful ERP implementation – resistance to change, inadequate sponsorship, unplanned upfront costs and unrealistic expectations regarding time and cost of implementation.
  • The actual cost of doing nothing can be calculated by understanding the potential benefits offered by a new-age ERP system versus the cost of maintaining a not so efficient legacy system (we call it TCO).
  • Organizations experience lost opportunities and a slow-down in growth by not moving to a modern day ERP solution.
  • An easy to use Tier 1 ERP system like Microsoft Dynamics 365 promotes enterprise-wide adoption, and in most cases, delivers a quantitative ROI in less than one year.

Introduction

Technology has come a long way with a growing recognition of the transformational benefits and efficiencies it is able to deliver to organizations. Figuring out what software you need, when you need it and how to implement it is what most companies ponder.

While numbers are important, the deciding factor for any new business system should not be driven by Return-on-Investment (ROI) and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) alone. Continued complacency in choosing a new ERP system impairs your growth and magnifies inefficiencies in the long run.

While most decision-makers understand the importance of upgrading their technology, year after year they end up doing nothing. As harsh as it sounds, it is a reality.

Today’s organizations already struggle to remain competitive. Lack of modern streamlined systems and operations can add undue stress to already-overworked resources, compounding the issue.

While it may be easier to just do nothing, putting off critical business decisions ends up costing more down the road. This is especially true in the case of companies needing operational efficiencies that can be achieved using integrated ERP systems.

Today’s ERP Systems have evolved from traditional back-office tools used only for record keeping, to sophisticated fully-automated systems embedded with Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and Internet of Things (IoT). A tangible benefit the user derives from this sophistication is “Simplicity”, which aids in decision-making, user adoption and operational efficiencies. Tier 1 ERPs such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 render intelligence to enterprises by leveraging synergies of powerful technologies for even faster and more efficient business processes.

This article shares our experiences as strategic technology consultants, commonly sighted patterns and the transformative journey companies experience as a result of their technology investments.

Shortsightedness & the Apprehension to Change

Across industries, business leaders often come clamping down with the urge to make a decision. However, apprehension to change, complexity of ERP implementations and short-sightedness regarding processes result in indefinite delays and lack of results.

There are still companies that rely on multiple standalone applications to handle their business functions. Per our experience, there are two primary reasons why this happens –

01.Piecemeal and Save $X

These organizations will often purchase these individual components piecemeal, as “lower cost items” with the thought that saving $X is the most important aspect. In reality, to get the functionality they’re after they now need to connect 2-3 extra pieces of software with additional costs tied to each.

02. Enterprises Choosing Best-of-Breed

In large enterprises, software built for specific purposes are pulled together as a cluster forming their own “greatest hits” collection. These softwares are connected together by complex interfaces, and often, poorly designed integrations resulting in unforeseen points of failure.

Neither of these options are sustainable in the long run, inevitably driving business leaders back to the drawing board, to now start all over. This is usually a case of business leaders overlooking the bigger picture of what lies ahead.

When organizations are built like this, it limits their ability to leverage connected ecosystems which are designed to provide transparency, ease of use, consistency, efficiency, and most importantly real-time information.

Often overlooked is the fact that while these smaller standalone software can be purchased for a lower price, the long-term ownership, integration, and opportunity costs drive that price much higher than anticipated.

Even worse, once these standalone softwares are integrated, it becomes harder and harder to replace them when they inevitably start to cost more in upkeep, resulting in a need for added maintenance. The growing costs for maintaining different software for different business functions are overwhelming, especially when you begin to consider the resources needed to correctly manage them.

In contrast, a modern, connected ERP helps organizations streamline business processes by synchronizing data across functions, giving way to an agile, transparent, efficient and affordable system. Adding the combined benefits of the factors mentioned above, and still delaying the adoption of an integrated ERP system highlights the actual cost of doing nothing.

Challenges

Companies are not conscious of the fact that by continuing to use a paper-based system and dated technology, they magnify compliance risks, impaired operations and human capital inefficiencies. While a well-integrated ERP system is designed to better manage operations as your organization grows, only a few companies choose to embrace the change.

Making the decision to move to a modern ERP is no easy task. A successful implementation will largely depend on the abilities and experience of your ERP partner, the degree of customization, and the engagement of your organization’s users and subject matter experts (SMEs). Success, therefore, is predicated not just on the investment of resources (people, time and technology), but also the selection of the right partner that suits your company, and culture, with a high level of expertise in your industry. This helps with a smooth implementation and ensures a faster ROI.

Organizations that are yet to upgrade to a modern ERP must continuously resort to short-term band-aid solutions rather than permanent fixes.

Here are some of the challenges that companies face on a daily basis:

  • Paper-based reporting leading to a lack of transparency and delays
  • Frequent outages resulting in a loss of productivity
  • Old and siloed systems dragging down efficiency
  • High costs in maintaining old, customized legacy systems
  • Legacy system unable to track inventory turnover rates
  • Reported productivity (%) is lower than industry standards
  • Projected sales figures are based on guesstimates rather than actual numbers
  • Customer satisfaction scores are dropping as a result of inability to accurately forecast order volumes
  • Financial and stock volume reconciliation takes longer to process quarterly and at the year-end
  • There is a lack of visibility of information across business functions
  • Current system lacks the ability to support collaboration
  • High dependency on third-party software and add-ons leads to significant budget creep annually

If even one of these pain points seems familiar, your organization is ready to invest in a modern, connected, integrated ERP system.

Patterns Plaguing the Industry

We talk to dozens of customers everyday, and realized there are a few common patterns across industries. This is what some of them say –

Roadblocks to Transformation

From Resistance to Change to the lack of a proper Change Management Plan – there’s an array of reasons that could be considered roadblocks to a successful ERP implementation.

Here are some of the most cited reasons we have seen that have resulted in the delay of an ERP implementation –

Figure 1 Roadblocks to transformation: Top reasons that hinder modern ERP adoption

Source: Deloitte

01. The Workforce Is Resisting Change

Resistance to change is the single most cited barrier (82%) for organizations considering migration to a modern ERP.

People are comfortable doing things they are familiar with; whether its existing practices like manually recording data or by using multiple pieces of software in their day-to-day operations. Unfortunately, time and costs associated with maintaining multiple systems wastes valuable resources which could be better utilized in other productive and profitable jobs.

One of our customers, a successful chemical distributor with multiple locations in the US and abroad is in this exact scenario. They are currently running a dated ERP system supported by a collection of point-to-point siloed solutions.

While they’re not shortsighted and have a great vision for their company, resistance to migrate to a newer, more comprehensive solution is holding them back from achieving their objectives within the expected timeframe.

If this sounds familiar, developing a comprehensive change management plan – taking into consideration your people, culture, industry, vision and organizational objectives on the whole has been proven to ease this transition.

Change management is a vital catalyst to help achieve your project objectives. Users need an emotional buy-in when migrating to a new ERP.

Key factors that need to be considered for user change management –

  • Including the end users in the decision-making & planning process in order to streamline change management: Organizations have traditionally focused a great deal on approval processes, while spending little or no time preparing their employees for change.
  • Articulating the benefits of an ERP to employees before beginning an ERP implementation: An uninformed implementation could derail the purpose and commitment of the project, requiring, at a minimum, extended training times, which leads to missed milestones and a delayed adoption.

02. Upfront Costs & Cost-Benefit Analysis

When researching new ERP solutions, organizations often pause to evaluate initial costs. This is especially true for small-to-mid sized organizations with less than 1,000 users as the costs for implementing an ERP can vary depending on the level of functionality, features and integrations required, customizations, mode of deployment (cloud vs on-premise) and brand of software.

While it’s necessary for the buying organization to determine the functionalities applicable to their needs, companies needing an ERP solution should always conduct a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis. The modules and functionality need to be factored to accurately determine total value when compared to a piecemealed add-on solution.

Unlike piecemeal systems, modern ERPs pay for themselves in the long run as they include a variety of integrated and interconnected modules driving a majority if not all of your business functions, including: inventory management, supply chain management, manufacturing, material resource planning, financials, embedded business intelligence, and more.

Figure 2 Based on the deployment type, ERP solutions can have varied upfront costs, time & complexity to implement, and maintainance.

03. ERP Implementations Take Too Long

While the right ERP system delivers enhanced efficiency, speed, and transparency to business processes, the timeframe to implement can only be determined by analyzing the following:

  • Organizational and Compliance requirements
  • Fit / Gap Analysis of the system you chose. In case of gaps, details of the customizations required.
  • Host of other equally sensitive factors such as change management

Extended implementation times are often created by a lack of involvement from senior staff and Subject Matter Experts (SME), as well as inconsistent levels of support from vendors and partners unfamiliar with the industry.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations is Microsoft’s flagship ERP. Due to its breadth of out-of-the-box functionality and simplicity, it has significantly minimized the implementation time in comparison to its competitors or even its prior version.

As the ERP landscape continues to evolve, here are some additional points that shouldn’t be overlooked

Full Disclosure: ERP Implementations could require considerable changes to the following:

  • Existing business processes,
  • The training of their workforce,
  • The depletion of allocated funds

Additionally, these implementations can introduce momentary disruptions to businesses operations. Keeping the users well informed and involved will go a long way towards minimizing these disruptions to an organization.

Open Collaboration: An open line of communication is a must, organizations and their chosen ERP implementation partners need to work together to

  • create a defined roadmap,
  • agree on the challenges that could arise,
  • and work together

Collaboration in this way helps minimize any possible disruptions to a business in order to ensure a smooth implementation of the program.

Partners that know your industry: Partnering with the right vendor that possesses demonstrated expertise and experience in your industry is key to a successful implementation. Within the Microsoft ecosystem, choosing a partner that builds solutions in your focus industry is a better choice. Building industry-specific products and keeping up with it in the current day requires a lot of depth in the industry in conjunction with the technology.

04. Unreasonable Expectations – Implementation Process

Organizations are often tempted to implement new ERP systems within a condensed, unrealistic time frame. In our experience, companies that enforce such timelines without consideration of users, change, transformation and company objectives, do not end up with favorable results.

Even after receiving clarity on the time and effort required to successfully complete an ERP implementation, an organization may be tempted to try and get their ERP system implemented in one quick step.

This is neither feasible nor recommended given the differences and complexity inherent to any ERP implementation – This understanding comes from user experience, having a defined methodology and through comprehensive user training.

Project Methodology: There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to project methodologies. With over 40 years of combined hands-on experience with major ERP systems, our founders have learned that “Agile” is the best way to go instead of a waterfall approach. This understanding has led to the development of a tried-and-tested, unified methodology to implement major business systems. This method can be leveraged for phased as well as big-bang approaches.

User Training & Agility: End users need a comprehensive training plan, agility in the pace of learning, acceptance of new, and be able to work with their partner to streamline their organization’s processes.

05. Perceived Risk to Data Security for Cloud-Based ERPs

Since the introduction of cloud-based systems, conventional on-premise ERP vendors have exaggerated the dangers associated with the cloud to promote their on-premise solutions. This negative propaganda has been going on for many years, despite the fact that today’s modern Cloud ERPs are every bit as secure as their on-premise counterparts, if not more.

Most companies still consider their in-house server to be more secure than even industry-leading cloud companies like Microsoft, Amazon, and Google. Most companies are unaware that an analog fax line is the weakest link today, exposing organizations to a major security breach

The cloud is here to stay, and current ERP solutions come with a host of powerful new security features such as: In-stream packet scanning, continuous application vulnerability scanning, and multi-layer firewall testing offering one of the most secure experiences yet.

For organizations with multiple physical locations, the challenges associated with maintaining more than one security software for each server can be daunting. Leveraging the power and security of the Cloud provides a seamless, uniform user experience across multiple locations.

Key factors influencing the implementation, buy and adoption of ERP Systems

01. “Buy” Decision & Implementation

There are two key factors that matter when you consider an implementation of a new business system –

Qualitative ROI: Characterized by ease-of-use, emotional buy-in of users, connection to their day-to-day lives and overall adoption. These are critical elements and more important than just numbers. Left unconsidered, these will result in a failed implementation.

Quantitative ROI: Return of Investment (ROI) and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) are the monetary drivers.

Qualitative and Quantitative factors are critical elements that will help you choose your ERP system wisely.

A healthy balance of the above two factors not only helped business leaders implement their ERP successfully but also resulted in a company-wide improvement in the key performance metrics, depicted below.

Figure 3 Company-wide improvement in KPIs

02. Factors That Drive Adoption of Modern ERP Systems

Beyond just TCO being within budget or ROI within an acceptable time-frame, there are more factors that drive companies to implement one business system over another. Here are the top reasons in 2018.

Figure 4 Top reasons for implementing ERP, 2018

Source: Panorama Consulting, 2018

Why choose Microsoft Dynamics 365 over other modern day ERP systems?

Other than its competitive cost, ease of operations and higher ROI, Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations (Microsoft’s flagship ERP) draws its strength from the Power of One Microsoft Ecosystem.

So, what is the Microsoft Ecosystem and why is this a differentiating factor?

Microsoft is the only company that provides a full-spectrum of industry-leading software, from Office 365 to enterprise grade, tier 1 ERP and CRM products. Competing software vendors end up building complex interfaces with Microsoft out of necessity resulting in redundancy and cost overruns.

The components within this ecosystem have come together over numerous revisions to form a comprehensive, connected solution that can be leveraged across industries, by any organization.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is designed for simplicity with a familiar look and feel experienced within other products across the Microsoft Ecosystem. Change is easy with Microsoft, making it an ideal software for small-to-mid-market companies.

For more information, refer to our article and a whitepaper on the One-Microsoft Ecosystem.

Now, can you really calculate the “Cost of doing Nothing?”

The cost of doing nothing is determined by calculating the difference between the Return on Investment (ROI) of a modern ERP implementation and the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of existing, legacy ERP software.

Cost of doing nothing = ROI* – TCO of current systems

Both ROI and TCO need to take into account the following –

  • Cost of software
  • Cost of infrastructure
  • Opportunity Costs (Due to the lack of a good system)
  • Cost of compliance
  • Cost of labor (manual work, paper etc.)

Return on Investment – ROI

Return on Investment (ROI) is a standard measure of performance used to evaluate the efficiency of any investment, such as an organization’s ERP. ROI can also be used when comparing multiple systems, directly measuring the possible return of one ERP against another in comparison to the cost.

ROI = (Value of Current ERP – Cost of Investment) / New ERP Cost

Total Cost of Ownership

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is a calculation organizations use to make informed financial decisions. For ERP systems, Instead of just looking at the purchase price, TCO looks at the complete cost from purchase to implementation, including expected costs to be incurred during the lifetime of the product, such as service, maintenance, and more.

Key Takeaways

  • While doing nothing today may seem like a safe move for any number of reasons, doing nothing will only get you further and further away from your organizational objectives.
  • You may easily justify the cost of acquiring an ERP system purely based on ROI, however, the decision should be based on more than just dollars and cents. ERP is the heart of an organization and has a profound impact on the day-to-day operations, change management and most importantly emotional buy-in of an organization’s employees.
  • Regardless of the software, the system you choose needs to support key business functions and objectives of your enterprise, today and at least 10 years in the future.
  • The right ERP partner can guide a buyer in their journey to objectively evaluate the potential of an ERP system based on business objectives and by implementing features relevant to the organization.

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 Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP), Microsoft Partner 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, AI, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our Mission –

  1. Provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses.
  2. Help companies create change and deliver efficiencies that matter.
  3. Care about outcomes and not just projects.

Our Belief – 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

XcelPros: Technology | Consulting | Industries | Delivering efficiencies that matter!

why choose microsoft dynamics 355 over sap

ERP Comparison : Why Choose Microsoft Dynamics 365 Over SAP

ERP Comparison : Why Choose Microsoft Dynamics 365 Over SAP 1400 820 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • ERP systems play a vital role in running the operations of an enterprise. They have a long-term impact on people and processes within a company.
  • Evaluation of ERP systems is overwhelming and requires thorough vetting of various factors that are important to your company.
  • This article evaluates at length, the key differentiating factors between Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations and SAP.
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers the lowest Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) among all tier 1 ERP vendors. Its payback period is 18 months lower than that of SAP.
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers the highest ROI of approximately $17 per one dollar spent within the first three years. This return is exponentially higher considering the ROI for competing ERP and CRM products is $7.23 and $8.71, respectively.
  • Microsoft Dynamics is best suited for progressive mid-market companies aiming to make it big to support growth to an exponential degree.

You have a lot to gain or lose from an ERP system. You have established a core team to evaluate ERP systems and spent the last few months evaluating a number of Tier 1 and Tier 2 ERP Vendors. Your team sat through hours of very boring and a few exciting demonstrations of the system and how they fit your organization.

Evaluating an ERP is overwhelming. Our series of articles focused on ERP comparison will help you make informed decisions. We examine various business applications and how they compare to Microsoft Dynamics 365. Our hands-on experience in ERP systems like SAP, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics, Infor etc. allows us to provide an objective comparison in the strengths, weaknesses and relevance of these applications.

This article provides everything you need to know while evaluating SAP and Microsoft Dynamics.

what matters?

An ERP system is at the heart of every company. It helps unify people, processes and technology across the organization so that business units function efficiently and work in unison towards a common objective.

When evaluating an ERP, here are a few key parameters that matter most –

  • Business process mapping and requirement analysis
  • Budget
  • ERP Vendor Comparison
    • Total cost of ownership
    • Return on Investment (ROI)
    • Out-of-the-box Features & Functions
    • Duration of Implementation
    • Types of Deployment
    • Operational Disruption
    • Competency of the partner, partner network and resources
    • Evaluation of not just the application but the Ecosystem
  • Technical evaluation including role of ERP in the company’s overall digital strategy

Requirements vary across organizations and so does budget – these are discussions that need deeper consultations and analysis. What stands out as a benchmark is the comparison of functionality, strengths, ease of use, pricing, and value proposition offered by vendors.

Do it once, do it right.

Microsoft has perfected it!

Microsoft has put in visible efforts towards tethering customers into a Microsoft-centric world that is themed around user-friendliness. The company’s continued investment in cloud, user experience, analytics and integration is aimed to increase productivity while reducing overall costs.

Windows from Microsoft is the most popular operating system owing to its ease of use; and per NetMarketShare, the OS is used in over 87% of desktop/laptop globally. Continuing its recipe for success, Microsoft has ensured that the Dynamics platform resonates similar minimalistic yet powerful productivity & design elements of Windows. Multiple acquisitions including Navision, Axapta and Great Plains have helped Microsoft build its flagship ERP product today – Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations has been built consistent with the intent of creating a simple, powerful and a common ecosystem. An ecosystem that is easy to use, secure and scalable.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 arguably enjoys a dominant position across small and medium enterprises. The scalability of the application has allowed successful deployments at large retail and manufacturing companies with thousands of users. Microsoft Dynamics has established itself as a viable alternative by voiding the complexities of larger applications such as SAP and Oracle.

Below are just a few well-known large enterprises that use Microsoft Dynamics 365:

Microsoft Dynamics 365 vs SAP – The Comparison

Factors such as implementation time, time to achieve stable state, disruption to business functions are amongst the top qualitative parameters.

  • Per Panorama Consulting, Microsoft Dynamics 365 users reported an average 12 months implementation time compared to its peer SAP with close to 15 months’ time.
  • Average timeline of 12 months is relevant to medium and high complexity implementations.
  • For smaller companies and low complexity implementations, the time to implement is less than 12 months. Get more information from XcelPros on rapid / accelerated implementations for Microsoft Dynamics.
  • Compared to SAP, Microsoft Dynamics 365 users took maximum of two months to achieve stable state as against six months in case of the former.
  • The above finding was also echoed by Forrester Research which reported that SAP users experience more material operational disruption during their implementations than the other Tier 1 providers and that Microsoft Dynamics 365 had the fewest (2017).

Microsoft made it simple, making it an ideal software for mid-market companies.

  • As evident from the above comparison, Microsoft Dynamics 365 scores over SAP in most categories including critical parameters such as time for installation, ease of customization, user experience, TCO, and customer support.
  • A business user needs simplicity. Unlike SAP, which has approx. 70,000 screens for a user to navigate and discover what is useful for his business, Microsoft provides ease of use resonating the very familiar daily used products such as Outlook, Word and Excel.
  • Dynamics 365 allows users to customize the aesthetics of the system for a personalized experience. This includes customization of themes, color, user dashboard both on desktop and hand-held devices including mobile.
  • With embedded business intelligence, the platform assimilates and analyzes customer data to understand patterns and suggest appropriate actions so that sales and marketing organizations are better equipped. Features such as relationship assistant, cortana intelligence, auto capture, and email engagement help gather better sales intelligence and actions thereafter.
  • With Microsoft’s vast ecosystem, Dynamics 365 users can access every module within the system, without the need for investing in other applications. Upgrades and security patches are seamlessly delivered automatically through cloud without causing any disruption to the business functions.

A user story highlighting the power of Microsoft Dynamics 365

Background: A multinational Jeweler needed to modernize its IT services to make use of data collected over time and move from predictive analytics to peerless point-of-sale customer experience.

Problem statement: The global Jewelry house wanted to empower its sales and marketing team with an unified and all-inclusive customer database to create a personalized experience for its customers across all channels (in-store, web, and mobile). They needed to overhaul their IT system to reflect modern age aspects of the business involving back-end IT to POS interactions and facilities management.

Solution: The Jeweler entrusted this responsibility on Microsoft Dynamics for Retail, Finance and Operations, and Customer Service. Integrating information across stores and online channels, staffers were equipped with behavior and purchase patterns of their customers. Using a mobile device, sales personnel were able to access the business relationship, personal information such as birthday, anniversaries, special occasions, to develop better personalized relationship. Marketing team was able to enhance the relation with curated messaging, new product launch and discount offers.

Result: With data consolidated and centralized within Microsoft’s ecosystem, pulling up customer data that otherwise took four minutes were available in few seconds. Using Power BI, the company was able to create actionable insights visualized over an interactive dashboard. With the assurance and reliability of Microsoft’s ecosystem, the Jeweler was able to streamline business processes that helped in further expansion of business.

Power of One-Microsoft Ecosystem

Microsoft ecosystem includes a comprehensive suite of applications ranging from analytics, visualization, artificial intelligence, IoT, PowerApps, CRM, Office 365, and a host of other third-party applications. The seamless integration and the communication of these applications is the key differentiator between Microsoft and any other applications in the market. A few benefits of the ecosystem –

  • Improved connectivity without the need for customizations
  • Improved productivity to enhance efficiencies
  • Improved visibility of information across business functions
  • Ability to download and implement additional functionality / apps from appsource.microsoft.com. This gives you the power to scale with industry and function specific apps on Microsoft Appsource.
    Ex. Integrated Chemical Management (iCM) – This provides extensive functionality in Label Management and SDS Management for Chemical, Pharmaceutical, Life Sciences and Food Industries. Anyone that works with chemicals – industrial, pharma or food grade will need this app. Every company in these industries needs SDSs and be able to print labels. Without this app, companies need to spend tens of thousands of dollars to customize Microsoft Dynamics 365 workflows, reports and many more elements.
  • Capabilities to support CRM, ERP, and human capital management modules
  • Higher accuracy to determine project costs and increased operational efficiency
  • Seamless integration with SharePoint / best document management system
  • Advanced analytics and scope of cross-selling/up-selling using Field services
  • Collaboration and visualization
  • Application development (with PowerApps)
  • Higher efficiency when onboarding vendors/customers due to familiarity with other Microsoft products

Higher Return on Investment (ROI) and Lower cost of ownership (TCO)

Cost is one of the key parameters that differentiates Microsoft Dynamics 365 from its competitors. Dynamics 365 is designed to be flexible to adapt to the changing needs of customers. Independent surveys conducted by research and consulting houses unanimously rate Microsoft Dynamics 365 to have the highest return on investment (ROI) and low overall cost of ownership platform.

  • Microsoft Dynamics is offered on-premise and in the cloud
  • Licensing has been designed to include all roles and responsibilities within an enterprise.
  • At a high-level, On-premise and Cloud have 3 tiers of user licenses and a device license.
  • Cloud is priced at per user per month
    • Full Access / Enterprise – $190
    • Functional User – $50
    • Task User – $8
  • On-premise is priced at a one-time license fee + 16% Annual Maintenance Fee
  • Per a study by Nucleus Research, Microsoft Dynamics 365 offered the highest return on investment, recovering approximately $17 per dollar spent. This number is exponentially higher considering the combined ROI for ERP and CRM at $7.23 and $8.71 respectively.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 can scale up/down with your changing business needs

Scalability is a key element of the ERP you choose. Only Microsoft allows use to scale up/down as per your business needs. In the case of on-premise, you have the ability to lock your maintenance to the price paid at the time of signing the contract. Customers like this flexibility to add / alter licenses as their resource & business needs change.

  • Benchmarked with efficient performance scaling up thousands of users, Microsoft is completely capable of handling your business requirements. It offers extensive functionalities across financials, supply chain management, and customer relationship management.
  • Ex. You can start with the ERP today and add Microsoft Dynamics CRM later. The scalability aids in adding functionality later as required.
  • Dynamics 365 offers enterprise-wide reporting, powerful business insights, tools that support decision making – all these at a relatively lower cost while scoring high on flexibility and ease of use.

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