Inventory Management

Maximizing Manufacturing Efficiency with D365 Finance and Operations

Maximizing Manufacturing Efficiency with Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations

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


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

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

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

What is Microsoft Dynamics 365

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

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

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

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

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

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

Benefits of Dynamics 365 for Manufacturing Companies

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

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

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

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

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

Beneficial Features of Dynamics 365 Finance

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

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

Beneficial Features of Dynamics 365 Finance for Manufacturing Companies

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

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

Manufacturing Companies Already Using Dynamics 365

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

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

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

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

Dynamics 365 Finance- Final Thoughts

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

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

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

So why wait?

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

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How Dynamics 365 Helps Transform Chemical Companies

How Dynamics 365 Helps Transform Chemical Companies

How Dynamics 365 Helps Transform Chemical Companies 700 500 Xcelpros Team

The chemical industry is a complex and rapidly evolving landscape that requires businesses to stay agile and responsive to market demands. With increasing competition and constantly changing regulations, chemical companies must streamline their operations and optimize their business processes to stay ahead.

Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 gives businesses in the chemical industry a chance to drastically transform their operations and drive growth. In this article, we will explore how Microsoft D365 impacts the business operations of small and large chemical companies.

Improved Inventory Management

Managing inventory effectively can be a big challenge, especially for companies with a wide range of raw materials, finished products, and by-products.

One of inventory management’s biggest challenges is keeping inventory levels accurate and in real time. Without real-time visibility into inventory levels, making informed decisions about when to reorder materials or products can be difficult, resulting in stock-outs or overstocking.

Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 solutions offer robust inventory management capabilities that let chemical companies optimize inventory levels, reduce waste, and improve customer satisfaction. With the ability to track inventory levels in real-time, chemical companies can make more informed decisions about when to reorder materials or products, ensuring they always have the right inventory levels to meet their customers’ needs.

In addition to real-time inventory tracking, D365 offers tools for demand planning and forecasting. By optimizing inventory levels, chemical companies can reduce waste and minimize the need for costly storage facilities, leading to cost savings and increased profitability.

D365 also provides chemical companies with advanced analytics and reporting capabilities, allowing them access to valuable insights into their inventory management practices. With these insights, companies can identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions that can help optimize their inventory levels and reduce costs.

Streamlined Supply Chain

The chemical industry is a complex web of suppliers, distributors, and logistics providers. Businesses need to consider the movement of materials and products globally, with multiple stakeholders involved in the process. Managing this complex network can be challenging for chemical companies, particularly in ensuring timely delivery to customers and optimizing supply chain operations.

D365 provides a powerful solution to address these challenges. With its supply chain management capabilities, chemical companies can streamline their operations and gain visibility into their entire supply chain. This enables them to make more informed decisions, reduce lead times, and improve on-time delivery to customers.

One of the key benefits of Dynamics is its ability to provide real-time data and analytics about your supply chain. This helps chemical companies identify potential bottlenecks and delays in the supply chain and take proactive steps to address them. For example, they can quickly identify when a supplier is running low on raw materials and take steps to ensure timely replenishment of those materials.

By streamlining their supply chain operations, chemical companies can reduce costs and improve efficiency. They can eliminate manual processes and reduce the risk of errors and delays in the supply chain. This can lead to improved customer satisfaction and increased revenue for the business.

Figure 1:How Microsoft Dynamics 365 helps Chemical Companies

How Microsoft Dynamics 365 helps Chemical Companies

Enhanced Financial Management

A crucial aspect of any business, financial management is particularly important for chemical companies looking to manage their finances effectively. These companies try their hardest to maintain profitability while complying with various regulations related to the production, storage, and transportation of hazardous chemicals. In this regard, D365 provides a comprehensive financial management solution that enables chemical companies to manage their financial processes more efficiently.

With Dynamics, chemical companies can gain better visibility and control over their finances. They can easily manage budgets, track expenses, and forecast revenue and expenses for more accurate financial planning. The platform provides various financial reporting tools that allow chemical companies to generate detailed financial statements, balance sheets, and cash flow reports.

It also enables chemical companies to manage their accounts payable and receivable more efficiently. Companies can easily create purchase orders, track invoices, and manage supplier payments. They can also manage customer invoices and receive payments online, making tracking outstanding payments easier and improving cash flow.

Improved Compliance and Regulatory Management

The entire chemical industry is under constant pressure to maintain compliance with regulatory bodies at both the national and international levels. Failure to comply with these regulations can lead to significant fines, legal liabilities, and damage to the company’s reputation, making it critical for chemical companies to implement a comprehensive compliance management solution to help them stay compliant with all regulatory requirements.

Microsoft’s solutions provide chemical companies with powerful compliance and regulatory management capabilities. These capabilities enable chemical companies to track and report on regulatory compliance, manage hazardous materials, and maintain compliance with international trade regulations.

One of the biggest benefits of D365 is its ability to track and report on regulatory compliance. With robust compliance management tools, chemical companies can keep track of all relevant regulations and ensure that their operations are fully compliant. This includes tracking regulatory changes, identifying areas of non-compliance, and implementing corrective actions.

Another important aspect of compliance management in the chemical industry is managing hazardous materials. D365 provides chemical companies with tools to effectively manage hazardous materials, including tracking the location of hazardous materials, ensuring proper labeling and packaging, and managing hazardous waste disposal. By managing hazardous materials more effectively, chemical companies can reduce the risk of accidents and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.

Finally, all chemical companies must maintain compliance with international trade regulations, which can be complex and constantly changing. Microsoft’s solutions allow chemical companies to maintain compliance with these regulations, including managing trade licenses, tracking trade agreements, and managing customs processes. Maintaining compliance with international trade regulations means chemical companies can ensure their operations remain undisrupted so they can continue to serve their customers worldwide.

One Example

A global chemical manufacturing company with several manufacturing sites worldwide faced numerous challenges in managing their complex supply chain and manufacturing operations, including a lack of visibility into production schedules and inventory levels, manual data entry, and inefficient manufacturing processes.

By implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365, the company was able to streamline their business processes and gain real-time visibility into their manufacturing operations. They also used the advanced analytics capabilities of D365 to gain insights into their operations and identify additional areas for improvement.

With D365, the Chemical Company was able to optimize its production planning, reducing lead times by up to 50%. They also reduced inventory levels by up to 20%, resulting in significant cost savings. Additionally, Dynamics enabled the organization to automate several manual processes, saving time and reducing errors.

Overall, the implementation of D365 has significantly impacted the business operations within Chemical Companies, including increased efficiency, reduced costs, and improved customer satisfaction.

One chemical company that implemented Microsoft Dynamics 365 was able to increase its inventory accuracy by 20%, reduce its order processing time by 40%, and improve its on-time delivery rate by 25%.


Implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365 has significantly impacted the business operations of chemical companies. D365 has been helping to revolutionize business operations for chemical industry businesses by providing powerful tools for managing the supply chain, production, inventory, quality control, and financials. With Dynamics, chemical companies can streamline their operations, gain real-time visibility into their business performance, and make data-driven decisions that drive growth and profitability.

At XcelPros, Microsoft Partner. We have a team of experts that can help chemical businesses successfully implement D365 to realize its full potential. We understand the unique needs of the chemical industry and can provide customized solutions tailored to your business requirements. Our team can work with you to define your business requirements, develop a project plan, and provide ongoing support to ensure that your software continues to meet your evolving needs.

Our expertise with D365 lets us help chemical businesses optimize their operations, improve product quality, reduce costs, and increase customer satisfaction. For more information,

Contact us to learn how we can help you leverage the power of D365 to achieve your goals.

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Achieving Cost Savings and ROI with Dynamics 365 Finance in Manufacturing

Achieving Cost Savings and ROI with Dynamics 365 Finance in Manufacturing

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

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

Improved Supply Chain Management

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

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

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

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

Cost Savings and ROI with Dynamics 365 Finance in Manufacturing

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

Enhanced Financial Management

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

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

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

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

Better Production Planning

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

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

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

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

Improved Quality Control

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

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

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

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

Increased Collaboration

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

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

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

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

Improvement in Quality Control Processes with Dynamics 365 Finance in Manufacturing

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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Building a More Resilient Supply Chain in Uncertain Times

Building a More Resilient Supply Chain in Uncertain Times

Building a More Resilient Supply Chain in Uncertain Times 700 500 Xcelpros Team

In today’s rapidly changing economy, having a resilient supply chain has become more important than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic and the threat of a major recession have led to uncertainty and the disruption of supply chains worldwide, leaving businesses struggling to stay afloat.

Companies need to ensure they have strategies to respond to unpredictable events to protect their bottom line. In this blog, we will discuss the importance of having a resilient supply chain focusing on remaining agile and competitive.

Defining supply chain resilience

When it comes to supply chain resilience, a lot of it comes down to a business’s ability to manage changes in the market and keep up with customer demands while still providing goods and services on time and efficiently – especially important critical periods of economic downturn when businesses from every industry are being forced to make tough decisions about their operations and cost-saving measures.

For most businesses, a stronger supply chain means having systems in place that let them detect and react quickly to environmental changes.

  • Products like Microsoft Dynamics and Power BI offer integrated inventory management and analytics capabilities businesses can use to identify supply chain risks and provide real-time alerts.
  • Investments in continuous training to ensure their teams have the skills and knowledge needed to react and adjust quickly to shifting customer demands.
  • Having contingency plans to mitigate risks from unexpected events can help businesses remain resilient in tough times.

Working to create a stronger supply chain means businesses can reduce the risk of being affected by market volatility and be better equipped to cope with any disruptions that could affect customer satisfaction, productivity, profitability, and more.

Assessing your current situation

The first step to preparing your supply chain for tough times is assessing your current operations. Taking a close look at your supply chain lets you identify any weaknesses and gives you a clear view of where you need to make changes or investments.

Figure 1:Steps to Assess Your Current Supply Chain

Steps to Assess Your Current Supply Chain

Full visibility makes it easy to track evolving customer needs, behavior, and trends. This information makes it possible to optimize warehouse operations according to what the end customer is seeking. While not always easy, it’s quickly becoming non-negotiable.

The main reason D365 is used by so many businesses for supply chain and warehouse management is the wide range of modern features it offers in one solution, including –

1.Evaluate Your Risk Management Strategy: Your risk management strategy should be tailored to the specific challenges and risks in your supply chain. A good risk management plan should include potential risks and strategies for addressing them.

2.Consider Potential Supply Chain Disruptions:Analyzing potential disruptions helps you better prepare for them. Think about potential challenges or risks that could affect your supply chain. It’s important to know how these disruptions could affect your operations and what steps you need to take to prepare for them.

3.Review Your Processes:Look at your current processes and assess if they are efficient and effective. Are the right systems in place to manage inventory, track shipments, and handle customer inquiries? Are there any areas that can be improved? Making changes to existing processes can help streamline operations and create a more efficient supply chain.

4.Assess Your Resources:Assessing your resources helps you determine if you have the capacity to meet customer demands. Consider if you have enough staff, resources, and technology to handle any potential increase in volume. You should also consider using alternate suppliers if one of your main vendors cannot fill your order.

Assessing your current supply chain gives you a better understanding of its strengths and weaknesses, and lets you identify areas that need improvement to prepare for whatever may come.

Identifying areas of improvement

When it comes to improving your supply chain, it’s important to get a complete view of your systems and any areas you may have identified needing improvement. Your assessment should cover the entire value chain, including suppliers, manufacturing processes, inventory management, planning, customer service, and more.

Once you identify areas that need improvement, it’s time to develop an action plan. This plan might focus on reducing risk, increasing efficiency, or improving customer satisfaction. You can use several strategies to achieve these goals, like more robust supplier contracts, streamlining your operations with automation, or improving communication with your stakeholders, all of which are available in a solution like Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform.

The goal is to create a more resilient supply chain that can withstand economic downturns and other unexpected events. With the right plan in place, you can ensure your business is prepared for whatever challenges.

Strategies to enhance your supply chain

As the world faces challenging economic times, a resilient supply chain can mean the difference between success and failure and how quickly you can adapt to changes in the market. A business’s success in trying times often comes down to the technology and strategies they use to support its supply chain:

Figure 2:Increasing Supply Chain Resilience

Increasing Supply Chain Resilience

  1. 1.Diversify your suppliers : Managing multiple suppliers for key products or services protects you if any single supplier fails to deliver or goes out of business.
  2. 2.Improve data-sharing between departments : Effective collaboration helps create better visibility throughout the supply chain to make everyone aware of potential issues ahead of time.
  3. 3.Develop contingency plans : Having backup plans for different circumstances before they happen helps ensure day-to-day operations continue without interruption.
  4. 4.Automated workflows : Automating things like inventory management, order fulfillment, and shipping reduces manual labor costs and increases efficiency and accuracy in production.
  5. 5.Invest in risk assessment and management: Risk assessment allows companies to understand where they are most vulnerable proactively. Risk management includes developing strategies to minimize and recover from any unexpected risks.

With the right technology and proactive steps to improve the resiliency of the supply chain, companies can weather economic downturns with greater success. It’s important to remember that strengthening your supply chain requires an ongoing effort, not just a one-time response to market changes. With consistent monitoring and strategic action, businesses can strengthen their supply chains and better prepare for future challenges.

Evaluate and adjust as needed

Building a more resilient supply chain is critical for things like reducing costs and increasing the efficiency of operations. Once you have strategies to enhance your supply chain, it’s important to evaluate the results and make any necessary adjustments.

  • The first step in evaluating the results of your efforts is analyzing the data from your supply chain operations. This means looking at cost savings, customer service levels, delivery times, and quality assurance. These metrics let you know if your supply chain is performing as expected and if any changes need to be made.
  • After you assess your current performance, you can make necessary adjustments. This might be altering existing processes or adding new components to your supply chain. Keeping up with changing needs in the market is key to staying competitive and being prepared for any unexpected events that may arise.
  • It’s important to re-evaluate your supply chain strategies periodically. Analyzing the data from your operations helps identify the latest trends and reduce costs. Especially helpful in uncertain times.

Schedule a Call today for more information and to discover how we can help.

References: Successful Strategies to Improve Your Supply Chain

Improve your inventory visibility with Microsoft Dynamics 365

Improve your inventory visibility with the Microsoft Dynamics 365

Improve your inventory visibility with the Microsoft Dynamics 365 700 500 Xcelpros Team

Inventory can be your best friend or worst enemy, depending on how well it’s managed. If your business is experiencing issues managing its inventory, it’s time to take charge of your inventory management process. And prevent it from becoming an ongoing headache.

In this post, we look at the importance and benefits of inventory visibility and how to make inventory more accessible.

The importance of inventory visibility

Inventory visibility – One of the most frustrating aspects of running any business is tracking inventory levels so you know when it’s time to restock. Or, when products need to be sold off before they go bad.

This applies to finished goods and the raw materials used to make them, work-in-progress items (WIP). And anything used in maintenance, and repairs or operations (MRO).

Good inventory visibility means your inventory can be managed with as little hassle. When you can monitor what products are available and what quantity is in stock, you’re better equipped to make decisions that will help you manage your finances effectively.

It also goes a long way to reducing costs and offering a better customer experience. Proper inventory visibility makes it easy to track products and raw materials anywhere in the supply chain. Better visibility of your inventory leads to better visibility of your orders. From production to shipping and delivery.

Achieving Inventory Visibility

For most companies, inventory management is best left to dedicated solutions, like Microsoft Dynamics 365. Inventory systems like D365 help manage critical items like location, availability, status, cost, and stock levels.

Common practices to increase inventory visibility can include things like:

  • Increasing the accuracy of data captured for all products in your system.
  • Taking advantage of mobile devices and handheld scanners in fulfilment areas to track products in the supply chain.
  • Conduct regular audits and cycle counts against current inventory levels.
  • Investing in a modern inventory management solution that offers visibility of all raw materials and finished goods for multiple locations or channels.

Benefits of good inventory visibility

With enhanced inventory visibility, businesses can pinpoint any issues’ root cause faster than ever. Full visibility of your inventory means you’re in a perfect position to solve any problems. Without proper inventory visibility, it can be exceedingly difficult to generate accurate reports about your stock levels and costs or be able to manage orders. Or track items across different sites.

Some additional benefits of good inventory visibility include:

Figure 1:Benefits of Good Inventory Visibility

Benefits of Good Inventory Visibility

  • More efficient operations – Inventory visibility means you’ll reduce the amount of time you spend managing delays, complaints, or missing items.
  • More control of inventory and stock levels – Inventory visibility lets you reduce overstock as well as ensure you don’t run out of any must-have products.
  • Better security – Especially for highly regulated industries, inventory visibility is critical for tracking the movement of finished goods, raw materials, and specific batches.
  • Better response to customer demands – Improved inventory visibility means you’re always better equipped to meet changes in demand – This is one of the best ways to create a better customer experience.
  • Better resource allocation – Inventory visibility help you understand how much stock needs to go to different locations like warehouses, retail outlets, and more.
  • Increased forecasting accuracy – The data captured from good inventory visibility gives a better view of products you need to keep on hand. And improving distribution and purchasing at the same time.
  • Better responsiveness – Real-time inventory data lets you quickly respond to any changes in demand based on trends or other disruptions.
  • Better ROI – Better visibility means you can reduce your stock levels across the board, without disrupting the needs of your customers.

Inventory visibility challenges

Inventory visibility can indeed be challenging, especially without a dedicated system. Today, omnichannel marketplaces offering a growing list of new fulfillment options like Buy online pickup-in-store (BOPIS), drop shipments. And more means there is an increasing list of issues that can arise.

Some common challenges with achieving inventory visibility include:

  • Manual processes – Manual processes are notoriously inefficient, especially when we have access to barcoding solutions and automation.
  • Poor visibility – Not being able to track your finished goods or raw materials means you can create several unplanned delays, resulting in a less-than-stellar customer experience.
  • Unknown demand – Lack of visibility makes it easy not to understand the demand for your products; this quickly leads to overstock or understock conditions.
  • Re-stock issues, loss of business – Lack of visibility can lead to several missed restocking opportunities and more business for your competition.

These are all issues that can be harmful to a business. And leading to loss of revenue, damage to your reputation, a poor customer experience, or worse.

Improving inventory visibility with Microsoft Dynamics 365

Many retailers struggle with visibility into their inventory – not only can it be time-consuming and costly. But, it can also lead to out-of-stock items or delayed shipments.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers many features that can help you improve inventory visibility, including creating multiple levels of item locations and reconciling inventory automatically and manually.

Some of the ways D365 helps improve the visibility of your inventory can include the following:

Figure 2:Improve Inventory Visibility with Microsoft Dynamics 365

Improve Inventory Visibility with Microsoft Dynamics 365

  • Support for mobile and handheld devices – Microsoft Dynamics fully supports shop-floor devices designed to minimize redundant manual processes.
  • Process and route optimization – Microsoft Dynamics let you customize and streamline your processes, resulting in highly optimized routing throughout your supply chain.
  • Process automation – Microsoft Dynamics gives you more control of the automation of your processes, which not only increases compliance. But also significantly reduces time spent on repetitive tasks.
  • Actionable insights – Microsoft Dynamics allows businesses to extract more data from everything they do. Forecasting, scheduling, routing, and more all become much more efficient.
  • Electronic signatures and approvals – Electronic signatures in D365 are quicker, more compliant, and much easier to track.

Final thoughts

While challenging, inventory visibility has become more important than ever before, continuing to prove itself as one of the best ways to streamline your company’s operations.

However Improving inventory management doesn’t have to be difficult, especially in today’s rapidly changing marketplace. Once you understand your specific requirements, the best way to start on the right path is to work with a partner who understands your industry’s ins and outs. And can help implement a solution that’s perfect for you.

Schedule a call today to discover how we can help optimize your inventory visibility.

References: Inventory Visibility Add-in overview

Staying ahead of the curve Warehouse Management Trends in 2022

Staying ahead of the curve: Warehouse Management Trends

Staying ahead of the curve: Warehouse Management Trends 700 500 Xcelpros Team


Remaining competitive in today’s global marketplace has become more important than ever. Consumer habits continue to change, and businesses are finding themselves stocking more and more items. An efficient warehouse management solution is the best way to ensure customer satisfaction at a time when everyone expects things like next-day delivery, BOPIS (Buy Online Pickup in Store), and more.

Thankfully, managing a growing SKU count is getting easier and the technology already exists to help improve your supply chain and bottom line.

Keeping an eye on the changing technology landscape is a good way to get started – here are some of the advanced warehouse management trends we’ve seen in 2022.


More warehouses are striving to be fully automated than ever before, from self-driving forklifts and automated inventory systems to sophisticated barcode scanning and sorting. Many companies see full automation as a cost-saving measure as they shift their budgets from human workers to technology – becoming more important as SKU counts continue to grow to meet consumer demand.

According to Capterra, 54% of warehouses plan to expand the number of inventory SKUs carried over the next five years.

Manufacturing plants have seen similar trends, with equipment automation replacing traditional manufacturing processes such as machining and assembly. You’ll need to think creatively about how automation can change your processes and make your jobs easier. Some innovations include adding robotics or autonomous vehicles into your delivery process; building more efficient ways to collect data; or developing mobile apps that make data easily accessible to your employees, wherever they are.

Sustainable Warehouse Solutions

Supply chains and warehouses have always been a driving force of the economy, and as we move into the future, warehouse management trends will continue to affect global supply chains. One of the most significant changes driving growth in sustainable warehouse solutions is increased consumer pressure for sustainable goods and services. Consumers want more transparency and accountability with their products, which improved tracking technologies can only achieve.

Another factor influencing this change is an increase in regulations governing environmental impact. For example, several European countries banned single-use plastic packaging earlier this year due to the damage it causes, leaving companies scrambling for viable alternatives, like bio-based plastics or renewable materials like bamboo.

Supply chain management solutions like Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 will play a vital role in managing inventory, assets and faults and improving compliance with regulatory bodies like the FDA, EPA, REACH and more.

Internet of Things (IoT)

Internet of Things (IoT) technology in warehouse management continues to grow and offers new benefits like reduced costs, better forecasting, and easier scalability.

Sensors and cameras continue to improve, and newer RFID (radio frequency identification) tags or beacons tell you exactly where an item is at any given time.

The data collected from these sensors leads to a better customer experience because you know exactly how long it takes for a package to be delivered or whether there are any delays with your orders. This makes your warehouse inventory management easier.

When managing people, IoT technology will allow you to reduce overtime hours and increase efficiency. Using drones and autonomous vehicles lets you confidently adjust your business strategy by setting prices based on demand or supply chain availability.

Some experts predict that we’re nearing the point where IoT technology will be doing a lot more tedious work like stock picking and placing items into cartons—saving companies money and freeing up valuable labor hours for other things like customer service or development projects.

Wearable Technology

Technology is changing how work is done everywhere, and warehouse management is no exception. We already see hints that in the not-so-distant future, fewer people will work in warehouses due to the rise of wearable technology. Examples include Exo-suits, Smart Glasses and audio devices – powered devices designed to reduce physical requirements and give workers hands-free access to their data and instructions.

These devices could replace warehouse management equipment like head-up displays or tablets. Amazon, for example, has already patented a system allowing its employees to use wearable devices while at work. These devices focus on 100% accuracy thanks to the ability to fully validate your inventory.

Some analysts believe this trend would lead to higher costs for shipping companies and consumers because it would require new training programs, and many warehouses wouldn’t need human labor. Others feel these technologies might reduce costs because they increase productivity and reduce errors.

The fact remains that wearable technology holds exciting potential and could change the way we manage our warehousing processes. However, it’s still unclear exactly what effects it will have on business owners and consumers.

Augmented Reality (AR)

Even now, fulfillment centers are beginning to use augmented reality (AR) technology to help with logistics and planning. This trend is expected to grow and expand over the next few years.

There are many benefits, like training and easy visualization. Still, one of the most important is that warehouse managers and personnel can use AR daily without having an expensive changeover cost when they start using it.

This technology provides instant feedback with data from multiple locations, so managers know exactly if their supply chain is performing as expected or if any issues need to be addressed. The wireless nature of these devices means AR is perfectly suited for work in and around warehouses.

Digital Transformations

Warehouse management is going digital everywhere. E-commerce and omnichannel retailing have become much more popular, leading businesses to invest more in warehouse management software and automation. The ability to deliver products from their warehouse on time with less employee involvement is what many businesses have been aiming for.

Companies want their warehouses to be fast and flexible, moving with the needs of changing business conditions. Warehouses are now being designed with reconfigurable storage systems, which can be changed based on current storage needs without downtime or significant disruption.

For this level of automation and digitization to happen, these enterprises need a great deal of up-to-date data about their inventory and how quickly they can process orders. Fortunately, warehouse management solutions like Microsoft’s D365 provide real-time updates on inventory levels and shipping rates. These are just a few reasons we’re seeing more businesses finally replace their aging legacy systems – and when all is said and done, they’re much better off for it.

What comes next

Staying up to date on changes in technology can be a full-time job. One of the best ways to understand what comes next is by working with a partner that understands your business.

As your company grows and your warehousing needs change, your partner can ensure you’re using the perfect solution.

Whether you’re looking for a whole new warehouse management solution or just adding on newer functionality, your partner should be there to set you up for greater success.

Be prepared for what comes next, contact us today to find out how we can help.

Improve Your Supply Chain with Microsoft D365 Transportation Management

Improve Your Supply Chain with Microsoft D365 Transportation Management

Improve Your Supply Chain with Microsoft D365 Transportation Management 700 500 Xcelpros Team


Today, most businesses are starting to realize that managing their supply chain effectively improves customer service, reduces costs and increases profit margins. But with increased workforce challenges and constantly changing data, the logistics involved can still be complicated. For most companies, the answer is Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations, designed to improve your business’s supply chain, transportation management and overall efficiency. With Microsoft D365, you can streamline operations, consolidate data and gain greater visibility into crucial business details that matter most, giving you more time to focus on your customers.

The importance of transportation management in any business

Transportation management is proving increasingly important for businesses of all sizes. Supply chain planning is increasingly focusing its local perspective on global strategy, so companies must keep up. For this, businesses will need access to modern tools and resources, which means looking beyond traditional processes, excel sheets and email notifications. Next-generation transportation management solutions offer the flexibility and – more importantly – scalability that businesses today need to help them grow without being hampered by outdated systems. Suppose you’re genuinely interested in moving away from an older legacy system. In that case, you want something that can go beyond your everyday operational needs, offering increased visibility of sales, distribution, and customer service departments, giving you a full-scope view of all your company’s operations.

How your business can benefit from using Microsoft D365 for transportation management

Microsoft Dynamics 365 helps businesses improve their transportation management by offering access to inventory management, customer service, and more – all in real-time. Microsoft Dynamics 365 is flexible and scalable enough for day-to-day operations to meet the demands of any size business. The transportation planning solution helps you understand where products are going and how to manage your supply chainbetter. This solution also helps you better meet customer service needs and increase sales with greater visibility on distribution, service, marketing, and more. With Dynamics 365 and the right partner, you can get up and running quickly, letting you take advantage of these features right away.

Transportation management in Microsoft D365

Microsoft has included several transportation features in Dynamics 365 that make it easy to see your fleet and track important metrics like fuel usage, mileage, driver hours, and total miles. Plus, you can always keep an eye on things like vendors and routes, as well as the status of your fleet, by tracking maintenance updates and scheduling jobs like oil changes. Information is available from any device at the click of a button, giving you the flexibility to look at things whenever and wherever you want. And because Dynamics 365 has been built to be flexible and scalable, you get full access to the benefits without worrying about limitations or overspending. When you decide on Microsoft Dynamics 365 as your transportation management system, data will be stored in one place so everything stays organized.

Figure 1: Use of Dynamics 365 with Respective Departments in Transport Management

Use of Dynamics 365 with Respective Departments in Transport Management

When it comes to planning, Dynamics helps you:

  1. 1.Plan inbound and outbound shipments more effectively with the help of D365, which provides visibility into pending orders for easier scheduling.
  2. 2.Manage costs better with detailed shipment cost reports and freight quotes for each shipment to help you find the best rates and save money.
  3. 3.Get accurate, up-to-the minute information on trucks with mobile access to the latest truck location, letting you know exactly where it is, how much gas is left, who is driving, etc., enabling you to give immediate feedback as needed to streamline business processes.

For inventory control, Dynamics gives you:

  1. 1.Real-time visibility into your inventory, with on-screen alerts if something needs attention.
  2. 2.Better forecasting thanks to more precise insights gained through analyzing historical demand patterns, weather forecasts, and other data sets.
  3. 3.More automation across sales channels including eCommerce sites so you have fewer manual transactions to manage and less risk of human error.
  4. 4.The ability to sell online without worrying about whether your back-end systems can accommodate new customers and orders coming in constantly. You’ll also get notifications via email and text message every time there’s a new order or product alert, eliminating the need for constant phone calls with vendors.

For customer service, Dynamics offers:

  1. 1.A single view of customer history so you don’t have to search between different systems trying to find what you’re looking for; saving time and making it simpler than ever before.
  2. 2.Improved customer satisfaction with proactive and reactive strategies to reach out to your customers before they reach out to you.
  3. 3.Improved billing and collections, with the ability to charge interest if payment is not received within a specified period, plus the option of adding late fees and penalty charges.

Who is it for?

Dynamics 365 is an excellent product for companies whose supply chains are critical to their business. Really, any company that manages their inventory in bulk or has a fleet of trucks and drivers on the road will benefit from using Dynamics 365.

For a company that wants to improve its transportation management, Dynamics 365 is flexible and scalable enough for day-to-day operations with greater visibility of your entire supply chain.

Dynamics 365 can be used for any business that uses transportation management in their daily operations. The flexibility of Dynamics 365 means it can grow alongside your business, so you don’t need to worry about change as your company grows. Microsoft D365 allows you to use data analytics to help make better decisions when operating your business, tracking all aspects of your supply chain by integrating with other applications like Office 365, Power BI or SharePoint Online. This lets you automate workflows and easily create reports, which helps your entire supply chain run much more efficiently.

Next Steps

The first step is to understand the basic features included in D365’s Transportation Management. This is where you need to identify your specific transportation management needs and how Microsoft D365 can help you meet them, including which modules available will work best for you – from distribution and customer service to sales and marketing. This is the perfect time to speak to your Dynamics 365 partner, who can help walk through what it will take to integrate these into your business and ensure all bases are covered.

Schedule a call today to find out how we can help your business grow.

References: Transportation management overview

Handling Different Types of Purchase Orders in Microsoft Dynamics 365

Handling Different Types of Purchase Orders in the Microsoft Dynamics 365

Handling Different Types of Purchase Orders in the Microsoft Dynamics 365 700 500 Xcelpros Team

By the Numbers

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

POs and the departments that approve them

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


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

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

Types of Purchase Orders

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

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

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

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

4.Contract purchase ordersThey are used to set the terms and conditions for future purchase orders. Their primary function is ensuring a smooth ordering process.

The Disadvantage of Manual Purchase Order Systems

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

Modern automated systems often counter significant issues associated with older manual PO processes.

Figure: 1Disadvantages of an Manual PO System

Disadvantages of an Manual PO System

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

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

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

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

Most importantly:

  • Improved process efficiency

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

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


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

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Benefits of a Modern PO Management System

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

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

Once generated, these purchase orders are considered a binding contract

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

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

Properly managed POs:

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

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

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

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

The best PO management systems make it easy to create and track POs and share the information seamlessly with other departments when included as part of an overall Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution.

Procurement and Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Bottom Line

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

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

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

Best techniques for tracking and managing raw materials

Best techniques for tracking and managing raw materials

Best techniques for tracking and managing raw materials 700 500 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

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


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

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

Obtaining Raw Materials

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inventory Management

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

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

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

Start tracking and managing raw materials efficiently, schedule a consultation with Xcelpros.

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Vendor Managed Inventory

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

According to American Express, benefits of a VMI include:

Figure: 1Benefits of Vendor Management Inventory

Example of a Barcode

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

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

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

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

Software Options

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

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

The Bottom Line

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

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

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


Streamlining the Label Management Process

Streamlining the Label Management Process 700 500 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • $10 million: The average cost of recalls to food companies that can are caused in part by inaccurate labels.
  • $65,000: The average cost of incorrect labeling based on a 2020 survey. Of that group, 61 percent said mislabeling costs exceeded $50,000.
  • 10-26%: The number of products mislabeled every year according to a survey of 300 IT directors in the U.S., UK, France and Germany.


Labels serve three primary purposes in a consumer’s eyes. Labels help to:

  1. 1.Identify the contents of a product
  2. 2.Identify the product name
  3. 3.Promote the brand image

In combination with well-designed packaging, certain label parts could be considered one component of an effective marketing campaign. From a business perspective, though, labels need to do much more than tell consumers what is inside. Efficiently labeling and tracking is the best way to monitor a product’s performance, along with ensuring customer safety is the best it can be. This is especially true when it comes to certain industries like pharmaceuticals.

Packaging and Labeling

There are many key points to note when it comes to packaging and labeling, including the following:


Labeling refers to the text, design, symbol, logo, instructions and use suggestions printed on the product package. Labels are designed to inform and attract customers by providing information.


Labeling provides all information required by the governments in the geographical location where the product is marketed, sold and used.


While exterior packaging is about appearance, labeling focuses on what’s inside. For example, products are required to accurately list the primary ingredients and their nutritional value when it comes to food. Labels on medicines must include active and inactive ingredients, allergic reactions, and harmful side effects.

Label designs are usually simple and formal. They may follow a government or company template. These can require a set list of data fields such as country of manufacture and expiration or “use by” date. Hazard information is typically posted where a customer can see it before making a purchase.

Effective label designs also include inventory tracking options while also meeting government requirements.

Inventory Tag Controls

“When paired with a competent asset or warehouse management system, inventory tags can be scanned to inform your supply chain of changes in your current inventory. This practice helps build end-to-end visibility among all parties, from supplier to customer, as your inventory moves through your warehouse,” according to a blog post by CamCode.

Inventory tags can be integrated into a product’s label design. The most common inventory labels we see doing this are bar codes. Barcode are a series of vertical lines—generally black—of varying widths interspersed with white gaps. QR (i.e., quick response) codes are a form of bar code generally in a square or rectangular format with black blocks and white spaces.

Speed is the main advantage of using a barcode or QR code label. Handheld and machine scanners can read the barcode information, sending it to inventory tracking software. That software can then automatically update inventory counts, eliminating the need for manual checks. The result is a fast, more accurate inventory update. A critical part of inventory tagging with barcodes is using the right type. Before creating any labels, companies should ensure they understand any regulatory or equipment-based requirements for the barcode type, label size, and label material type.

Figure: 1Components of a Barcode

Example of a Barcode

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Different Types of Barcodes

Barcodes primarily come in three different types:

  • Numeric only with a row of numbers beneath the bars
  • Alpha-numeric with a row of letters and numbers
  • Two-dimensional (QR is one example) using a series of small dots arranged in a unique pattern

The type of barcode a company chooses often depends on its industry and how the product will be used. For example, the Postnet format encodes destination information using long and short lines. Retail items often use the Universal Product Code (UPC).

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has several requirements for barcodes. While the FDA does not require a specific code format, it mandates the barcode include the drug’s national drug code (NDC) number. Machine-readable information on blood and blood components must be on those labels.

“This new system is intended to help reduce the number of medication errors that occur in hospitals and health care settings,” according to the FDA.

These FDA rules apply to manufacturers, repackers, labelers, and private label distributors of human prescription drug products, biological products, and over-the-counter (OTC) drug products to protect consumers from dangerous side effects or worse.

Labels alone are not enough. However, companies need to be able to accurately track their inventory as well as safely manage any recalls or other issues with products. This only works when you have the right software in place.

Inventory Tracking Software

Software like Microsoft Dynamics 365’s Supply Chain Management includes several powerful inventory management features helping these businesses thrive today. For example, Supply Chain Management can automatically assign serial numbers based on manually entered (or scanned) batch numbers.

Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management also makes creating and tracking barcodes for released products easy. This modern inventory management software also works with the GS1 bar code and QR formats for use on shipping labels.

Microsoft says, “Unlike older bar codes, GS1 bar codes can have multiple data elements. Therefore, a single bar code scan can capture several types of product information, such as the batch and the expiration date.”

With a system like Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, you can use a predefined list of application identifiers to define the meaning of your data and connect it with GS1 codes. Microsoft suggests, “The setup of the application identifiers defines how the system should interpret a bar code and save it as a value in the system.”

The Bottom Line

With today’s focus on consumer safety, proper labeling and tracking of products, especially when it comes to pharmaceuticals and medicine, will continue to be of utmost importance, including efficiently dealing with government regulations. Today’s businesses need to ensure they’re taking advantage of inventory tracking software that lets them easily create labels that help track the flow of raw materials, from work in progress to finished goods.

Programs like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management can create unique QR codes that contain a list of ingredients, allergy information, serial and batch numbers, hazardous warnings, and safety data sheets. Solutions like these let your warehouse staff scan products and send information wirelessly to any device on the network more efficiently than ever before. Is your labeling solution up to speed?

Resources: Packaging vd Labeling