Logistics

Streamline your Supply Chain with Transportation Management in D365 F&O

Streamline your Supply Chain with Transportation Management in D365 F&O

Streamline your Supply Chain with Transportation Management in D365 F&O 700 500 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations is one of the most feature-rich and optimized ERP tools. Used for managing funds, accounts, processes and more. D365 has ushered in several benefits for different industries. This is one of the main reasons so many modern businesses choose to rely on it every day.

But does it make some sense for transportation management? Keep reading to find out.

Transportation Management in D365 F&O

When Microsoft developed AX into D365, transportation management functionality took center stage in its own module. This allowed businesses to automate all the key finance and operation-related operations like accounting, cost management, freight management, master planning, and more.

The resulting Transportation Management module offered users a chance to enjoy improved capabilities and features. This included things like:

  • The updated version permitted manual freight reconciliation.
  • The ability to generate USMCA certification of origin documents.
  • Management of transport management engines in D365 F&O.

This is just the tip of the iceberg; the latest version of transportation management in D365 F&O is packed with modern-day capabilities.

Who Should Use it?

D365 is for any organization that wants to streamline its supply chain, reduce costs and offer a better customer experience – something that’s become critical in the last few years. D365 can completely replace legacy systems with best-of-breed transportation management technology. It can automate vendor allocation, routing, and transportation allocation for all outbound and inbound orders with full support for AI-enabled devices.

This is one tool that can handle multiple logistics TMS aspects in different scenarios by granting better control over shipping, modifying the shipping rate according to distance & shipment weight, and so on.

Let’s have a look at some of the most common scenarios that can be handled efficiently with Transportation Management in D365 F&O.

Scenario #1

Due to changes in consumer habits your SKU count has increased. And you need to find a way to get more control of your growing fleet. Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a perfect choice for seamless delivery/pickup and full control over shipping cost by volume/ or distance.

With D365, you can decide on the delivery charges based on distance or shipment volume. And share the delivery receipt with the customers directly without getting involved in reconciliation.

Scenario #2

Your business chooses not to charge a separate delivery fee; you instead combine it as part of the total cost of the order.

D365 makes it easy to adjust your pricing seamlessly and easily, as needed. This means you can account for any changes due to shipping volume or availability.

On top of that, D365 lets you do things like automatically adjusting the order cost and providing insights into shipping cost breakage.

Scenario #3

Suppose you’re using logistic services of several different companies for your business processes. Transportation management in D365 gives you full control and the ability to manage all your service providers more effectively in one location.

There you can do things like set different transportation rates and delivery preferences, as needed.

D365 Transportation Management Benefits

Figure 1:Benefits of D365 Transportation Management

Benefits of D365 Transportation Management

Working with a partner to implement Transportation Management in D365 brings a lot to the table for the end-users.

Whether it’s having full control of your entire fleet, automatic transportation rate calculations, support for things like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and more, Transportation Management in Microsoft Dynamics 365 can change the way you do business.

Planning, Logistics and D365 Transportation Management

With access to real-time shipping information, the transportation management module in D365 makes inbound and outbound planning easier than ever. End-users can make plans according to the processed orders or their related shipments.

Inbound transportation in D365

The inbound transportation management in D365 is very business friendly. It ensures that you have a transportation solution ready for vendor orders and doorstep delivery.

With D365 it’s easy to plan a route, generate the receipt, and track the order from the vendor’s warehouse to yours.

Outbound transportation in D365

One of the key benefits of D365’s transportation management is having end-to-end control of the way you manage your shipments. Transportation Management in D365 makes it easy to create an outbound lead, assign rates, create processes, plan the load appointments. And everything else that goes into outbound transportation management.

Load Building as Needed

Volume-based load building in D365 is much more advanced than older, legacy solutions. It lets businesses set limits on things like highest permitted height & weight values.

If your load exceeds the pre-defined load template, you can override it and define new values.

The best part about customizing load templates is that you can make them highly informative by adding details like load template ID, equipment, dimensions, floor stack load, maximum allowed weight, etc.

Support For a Wide Range of Transportation Engines

Different transportation engines are used to define the logic needed to develop and administer transportation rates.

It takes a lot to ensure full control of your transportation management, which usually means you need access to more than one transportation management engine. To this end, Microsoft supports multiple different engines in its D365 software including:

  • Rate Engine that can calculate rates.
  • Generic Engine that supports other engines.
  • Mileage Engine that can keep an eye on distance traveled.

There are also things like Transit Time Engine, Zone Engine, and Freight Bill Type Engine. With all these engines, organizations have more functionalities to add to transportation management and achieve perfection.

Better Integrations

Successful transportation management is only possible when the system in place has full access to the required data.

Transportation management in D365 offers several powerful integration capabilities.

D365 pairs seamlessly with CDS or Common Data Services and makes assorted entities available. In addition, the Azure Data Lake is staged carefully in Entity Store, which ensures only updated data, with incremental syncs, is available.

When it comes to shipments, D365 helps businesses automatically report product damage for refunds – all of which can be automated to save invested time and effort.

A Powerful Tool for Managing Global Operations

D365 is designed to streamline global operations. Presently, it has localized versions for 37 countries in 42 languages. This lets enterprises with a global presence select a localized version for each region with a centralized view of data and operations.

D365 does an excellent job of keeping departments and branches around the world up to date and able to collaborate more efficiently.

Scalability And D365 In the Cloud

There are several benefits that come from D365 being a cloud-based ERP, including the fact it benefits from a scheduled number of annual and semi-annual updates, both minor and major.

There are several features that can be easily added or removed. With a familiar, browser-based interface, access from anywhere is possible – critical for a remote workforce, and licensing can be set for as few, or as many users as needed. D365 truly delivers when it comes to productivity and scalability opportunities.

One downside often tied to having so many features is the confusion that can exist when it comes to making sure you pick what works best for your business. Often, the best solution is working with a certified Microsoft partner that can optimize your configuration, help you decide on ideal features, and document update requirements.

Final Thoughts

D365 delivers features like cloud deployment, amazing integration, and inbound & outbound management, load balancing, financial supply chain assistance, and various other noteworthy capabilities. With D365, you eliminate the need to switch between apps or having to invest in different transportation management tools for different regions.

Hopefully, this article gives you a better view into how the Transportation Management in D365 can help your business grow and succeed. Taking advantage of the right features doesn’t have to be difficult though. The best option for most businesses is working with a trusted partner to make sure your implementation goes as smoothly as possible.

The right D365 F&O experts can assist you through-and-through with the modernization and automation of your transportation-related operations. Contact us today for more details.

About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

Handling Different Types of Purchase Orders in Microsoft Dynamics 365

Handling Different Types of Purchase Orders in Microsoft Dynamics 365

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

Introduction

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.

And

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

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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.

About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

Best techniques for tracking and managing raw materials

Best techniques for tracking and managing raw materials

Best techniques for tracking and managing raw materials 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.

Introduction

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

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

Obtaining Raw Materials

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inventory Management

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

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

Inventory management not only tracks what you have on hand, it also looks at your supply chain: making sure you have options for getting what you need when you need it. 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 free 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.

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

Major Challenges for Chemical Companies

Major Challenges for Chemical Companies

Major Challenges for Chemical Companies 700 500 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

Government regulations, trade wars, blocked shipping ports and more than 4.43 million dead worldwide as a result of Covid-19 are sure to make the rest of 2021 a difficult year. For organizations in the Chemical industry, these challenges include:

  • Ongoing global transportation disruptions
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and meeting climate change requirements
  • Refining the definition of per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) “forever” chemicals
  • Increasing commoditization of chemical products
  • Rising trade tensions caused by feedstock supply disruptions
  • Integrating acquisitions to release promised synergies and onboard new revenue sources
  • Reducing complexity and streamlining workflows across the globe
  • Rapidly entering and winning new markets

Sources: Deloitte, C&EN, CNN, McKinsey & Company

Ongoing Shipping Disruptions

Shipping ports, especially those in China, have been dealing with backlogs and delays since the start of the pandemic. Today, these problems still continue to display. For example, the Ningbo-Zhoushan Port near Shanghai was shut on Aug. 11, 2021 after a dock worker tested positive for Covid-19. This is the world’s third-busiest port and affects Yantian, which closed in June after coronavirus infections were found in dockworkers before gradually reopening. Also affecting the chemical and pharmaceutical supply chains are container shortages, factory closures in Vietnam and after-effects from the week-long Suez Canal blockage earlier this year, CNN reports.

“We currently expect the market situation only to ease in the first quarter of 2022 at the earliest,” Hapag-Lloyd shipping company chief executive Rolf Habben Jansen told CNN.

Delays and container shortages are contributing to much higher shipping prices. Drewry Shipping in London said the composite cost of shipping a 40-foot container on eight major East-West routes was up 360% ($9,613) the week of Aug. 19.

All of these issues impact deliveries to and shipments from US ports. In August, 36 container ships were anchored off Los Angeles and Long Beach alone. Normally there would be none or one, CNN stated.

Backlogs at these main ports often lead to delays at air terminals, overstocked warehouses and thinly stretched logistics networks.

Environmental Concerns are Taking Their Toll

Shipping delays aren’t the chemical industry’s only headache. Increased government regulations designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, particularly carbon dioxide (CO2), is another pain point. Add in the effects of chemical industries on the environment plus hazardous material control and it’s easy to see the industry is facing challenges on several fronts.

Among the environmental challenges facing chemical and pharmaceutical firms are setting and meeting public targets for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in-line with the 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

The report’s goal is persuading all industries—and all countries—to cut CO2 emissions by 45 percent from 2010 levels. According to a C&EN report, the largest number of 25 companies surveyed are looking at a 35% reduction from 2010 levels. The largest firms—Dow, DuPont, Eastman Chemical, Mitsubishi Chemical and others—are looking to become carbon neutral by 2050.

Figure: 1Annual carbon dioxide emissions

Annual carbon dioxide emissions

Carbon dioxide is the biggest issue but not the only chemical contributing to global effects of chemical industries on the environment. PFAS “forever chemicals” are also causing problems. They include the toxic perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and a chemical formed by hydrolysis from its replacement, hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid (HFPO-DA).

Figure: 2PFAS Chemicals findings in New Jersey

Image: PFAS Chemicals chain reaction

Both are dangerous and long-lasting. Chemical companies around the world are looking for ways to address the handling of both substances.

Business Effects of a Changing World

A McKinsey & Co. report noted that in 1970, about 10 percent of the world gross domestic product (GDP) was in India and China. The two countries alone represent about 36 percent of the world’s population. Fifty years later, China alone represents 30 percent of the chemical demand and supply right now. That number is rising and could top 40 percent, the report warns.

Combined with the continuing U.S. – China trade war and the effects of Covid-19, “regulation and geopolitical considerations may be much more relevant factors than what management teams have experienced in the past,” the report warns.

Many of these issues are forcing businesses to change how they work. Flexibility in terms of partnerships, cooperation, broadly designed research programs, and the design of smaller and more flexible production units will increase over time, McKinsey predicts.

One way of meeting these challenges, and countering the pitfalls is through technology.

Using Tech to Combat Challenges

Technology in the form of artificial intelligence, “can provide incremental and relevant benefits” in terms of asset and commercial productivity, the McKinsey report states. Four key areas where AI can help chemical companies include:

  • Dealing with large data sets, such as production, marketing and sales plus research and development.
  • Providing earlier access to real-time information to let decision makers respond more quickly than the competition.
  • Increasing performance transparency around equipment and employees, such as chemical specialties. The transparency will help educate shareholders on the companies’ performance.
  • Boosting process automation in terms of scale.

Labeling and Regulation Compliance

Today’s enterprise technology, specifically Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, has the ability to generate labels in accordance with current FDA requirements.

These labels allow organizations to track materials throughout every step of the supply chain. For example, barcodes scannable by cellphones and other handheld devices can ensure temperature-sensitive raw materials are properly stored. They also can keep track of expiration dates, letting warehouse managers know which items need to be shipped out first.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) products such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 (D365) let chemical and pharmaceutical companies avoid compliance mistakes. How? By creating and constantly updating a large database stored in the cloud. With real-time data access, one that can be modified to include alerts showing when a part needs replacing or the stock of a particular precursor chemical is running low, companies can ensure quality standards are met. Keeping accurate track of production processes also lets them provide regulators with required data.

One Xcelpros product specifically created for the chemical industry is Integrated Chemical Management (iCM). Working with D365, iCM includes integrated systems, infrastructure for the maintenance and distribution of Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and compliance with globally harmonized system (GHS) label requirements.

Integrating with D365 Finance and Operations iCM benefits include:

  • Removing the cost of integrating with third-party labeling and SDS systems
  • Providing consistent SDS and label data management
  • Reducing the total cost of ownership by removing the need to maintain product safety documentation and data in-house

In addition to Xcelpros’ iCM, some D365 programs also accept AI modules. Working with internet of things (IoT)-enabled production machines, they provide decision-makers with critical business insights that can help them overcome today’s many challenges.

Summary

AI is just one digital technology that can help chemical companies meet increasing environmental and safety regulations. This same tech lets companies diversify their supply chains, bypassing some of the worst shipping bottlenecks or finding closer suppliers.

Using AI to generate barcode labels for everything from individual products to license plates for pallet loads is one of the key features of D365. Labels produced in D365 can provide electronic readers with everything from the chemical composition of a product to its expiration date. This makes labeling one of the most important FDA compliance requirements. Being able to fully track materials, including finished products, is another.

Book a free consultation with our technology experts and learn how to strengthen your chemical company resilience.

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About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

supply chain challenges in chemical industry

Best solutions for Logistics and Transportation Challenges in the chemical industry

Best solutions for Logistics and Transportation Challenges in the chemical industry 700 500 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • Chemical companies are reeling under a two-edged crisis- unprecedented fall in the price of crude oil and the upheaval brought in the global supply chain because of Covid-19.
  • Chemical companies have also faced issues like increased freight costs, excessive demand for chemical sanitizers, and changing government regulations across different geographies.
  • Mitigating costs, managing inventories, avoiding bottlenecks and rising to the challenges would be some of the top-most priorities of the executives managing chemical transportation and logistics.

Global supply chains have seen direct and ripple effects of the coronavirus or Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic has caused operational upheavals and seen acute disturbances in logistics due to shortage of chemical raw material. Adapting to volatile market conditions in the face of a challenge shows the company’s ability to sustain growth. Determination, planning and willingness to adapt to changes are expected from the rapidly growing chemical companies.

To aid with their business continuity plans, chemical companies need to continue to reinvent their operational processes, inventory management strategies and transportation management. Supply chain challenges in the chemical industry are inevitable as every country responds differently to health and economic crises. A crisis changes the way you manage inventory, raw material procurement, monitor demand for certain chemicals, workforce procedures, freight costs, etc.

23%

of the USA’s chemical companies considered supply chain disruptions due to the coronavirus pandemic as their major concern for the coming future.

Source: PWC

Many comprehensive software applications have been developed to provide concrete solutions to mitigate the issues related to supply chain disruptions. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management has been cited as the best software for supply chain management and a complete solution for distribution and logistics. Here are four primary concerns that chemical companies are facing when it comes to managing transportation and logistics:

1.Moving to Road and Railways: Transportation and logistics in the chemical industry have been heavily dependent on airways and waterways in bigger countries and across international borders. However, increased safety concerns and inflated costs make chemical companies shift to the transportation of raw material, and final products through roads and railways. The change in mode of transportation directly impacts the landing cost of the product. Inability to track accurate landing costs, end-to-end transportation tracking and scheduling are some major pain points in a chemical company.

2.On-time Delivery of Raw Material: There is a sudden and unexpected disparity in the demand for different chemicals. Demand for chemical surface cleaners, sanitizers has increased several folds across the globe (and understandably so), however majority of challenges are related to on-time delivery of material. Unpredictable transportation lead times and inability to deliver these raw materials is a big pain point in providing accurate receipt dates.

Figure: 1 High-level Disruptions in Chemical Transportation due to Covid-19 Pandemic

Transportation Management Process Flow in Dynamics 365

3.Transportation Planning and Inventory Management: A supply chain can run smoothly only when the inventories are managed well. Given the current times, chemical companies need to align their requirements and logistical arrangements with the availability of products in their respective inventories. This requires top-to-bottom visibility and high-level decision making to approve faster changes in material requirements. A major roadblock is related inefficient transportation planning to minimize delays.

4.Increased Freight Cost and Changing Regulations: With change in modes of transportation, and disruption of demand and supply pattern of chemicals worldwide, freight cost shot up by several times. Chemical companies have to deal with higher freight costs along with issues in logistics and supply chain management.

Despite all these pain points, chemical companies can reinvent their transportation and logistics operations to rise to the occasion. Here are certain measures that chemical companies can take to streamline their distribution demands:

  • Assessing the requirement based on geographies and allocating warehouses to meet those demands.
  • Labeling, stocking and categorizing chemical stock based on order priority and making them easily available for transportation.
  • Making use of serialization and bulk containers with barcodes for optimal supply and efficient tracking.
  • Appointing a special task force to manage transportation and logistics changes to optimize the supply chain and provide the single-point contact/ visibility option to all the stakeholders involved.

How Can Your Chemical Company Optimize Transportation and Logistics Operations Using Microsoft Dynamics

Microsoft Dynamics 365 provides the right features for a chemical company to manage operations, inventory and transportation. Once you get the view of your company’s transportation and chemical supply chain management in Microsoft Dynamics 365, you will be able to plan and implement optimization strategies for chemical transportation and logistics.

The information about chemicals are required to be maintained and tracked under high-level categories. Also, labeling batches, mentioning hazardous substances, barcoding containers and mentioning chemical properties is part of any chemical company’s logistics plan in Microsoft Dynamics 365 in conjunction with integrated chemical management.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 allows for complete inventory visibility through its Distributed Order Management (DOM) indicator. This allows all the stakeholders to stay on top of things, avoid bottle-necks or stock-outs during these unprecedented times.

Chemical companies can benefit from comprehensive Transportation Management module in Dynamics 365. The module is loaded with features that can let you manage your transportation and logistics while also letting you identify vendor and routing solutions for inbound and outbound orders. In these times of extreme price inflations and changing market dynamics, this module helps your chemical company cut operational costs in logistics by effectively planning inbound and outbound transportation. Highly advanced business intelligence built in the Dynamics 365 Transportation Management module helps chemical companies identify best-priced and most efficient carriers. Through this module, you can get real-time visibility of the entire order at all times.

Here are some of the most impactful benefits of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Transportation Management module for chemical companies:

  • Warehouse Management Efficiency
  • Enhanced Delivery Capabilities
  • Inventory Reductions
  • Real-time Supply Chain Visibility
  • Effective Customer Service
  • Set up Ad-hoc Cycle Counting Thresholds and Cycle Count Locations
  • Pre-schedule Route Planning for Efficient Transportation
  • Availability of Multi-packing Slips in Load Planning
  • Skip Trivial Freight Reconciliation Process

Every chemical company has a different shop-floor operation and needs customized production operations plans for kits and packaging (for transportation). This option is easily accessible with Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Companies can manage lot tracking, tracing of chemicals, route mapping, resource availability, and freight cost management. The system provides the option of generating individual or batch invoices.

The Transportation Management module in Dynamics 365 follows a well-vetted process flow that is dynamic and customizable, based on your transportation requirements.

Figure: 2Transportation Management Process Flow in Dynamics 365

High-level Disruptions in Chemical Transportation due to Pandemic

While it is true that the world is witnessing changes in the chemical supply chain and transportation due to the Covid-19 pandemic, companies can rise to the occasion with resilience, optimal use of resources and a systematic approach towards change in processes. There is a need for continuous innovation to stay ahead of the chemical companies’ curve to continue operations during this ‘new normal’.

Key Takeaways

  • Transportation and logistics of chemical companies are facing the ripple effects of disruption in global supply chain caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • While there are many challenges, chemical companies will need to reinvent their transportation management with the help of intelligent applications like Microsoft Dynamics 365. Once operations and processes are efficient, chemical companies can improve their transportation planning to ensure on-time delivery.

Reach out to us for your company’s Digital transformation.

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About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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