Microsoft Dynamics 365

Master Planning and Microsoft Dynamics 365

Master Planning and Microsoft Dynamics 365

Master Planning and Microsoft Dynamics 365 2400 900 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

You have your eyes set on an Enterprise Resource Planning solution and want to jump into the implementation phase without delay, but are you sure you know what will be necessary to make that happen? Dynamics 365 customizations can help make sure your ERP solution meets your needs exactly and helps you get the most value out of your investment in the software.

While each business’s plan will vary based on its products and services, it’s safe to say that all businesses have at least some level of plan in place. Microsoft Dynamics 365 takes this concept of planning and expands it into something called Master Planning where you can see your whole company – not just your current financial year, but your future goals as well!

What is master planning?

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

Master planning gives organizations a mechanism for achieving corporate goals and missions, through development of strategies that facilitate the use of available resources to accomplish those objectives.

It provides a framework for improving decision-making based on long-term priorities, as well as helping make decisions about immediate actions that should be taken by the enterprise. There are two basic ideas behind master planning: first, it helps you organize your thoughts so you can create a plan or develop policies; second, it helps you identify problems before they occur.

When most people think of master planning, they may think of only one part: developing plans. While it’s true that most master plans include some sort of strategy, there’s more to it than just making plans. The purpose of a master plan is to help you identify areas where change might need to take place and then help you come up with ways to make those changes happen.

Let’s discuss more about the Master Planning in Microsoft Dynamics 365 and how it can help your organization.

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Benefits of master planning

Master planning helps businesses do a better job of meeting their customers’ needs, as well as helping to maximize profit along the way. Customers will always have changing needs, but having them captured as master data can make things easier for your business.

Master planning works by identifying and implementing core business processes. As such, they will help to improve any customer-facing project by giving you a foundation that is solid and reliable. It also provides an efficient way to capture key information that can be used throughout your company so that everyone has all of the necessary details, no matter what division they work in.

Because of these benefits, you may want to implement a master plan even if your business is already running smoothly, especially if there are new product lines or services that you’re expanding into. In some cases, customers who have been around for years may ask you to develop something new.

A good master plan can serve as a tool for helping you decide whether or not it makes sense to take on that kind of project. It allows you to examine how well each potential change aligns with your long-term goals and how much time and money each one would require.

Master planning and Microsoft Dynamics 365

Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 is a customizable enterprise resource planning solution that can fit the needs of any organization. The product’s functionality can be broken down into three components: sales, service, and field service.

Within each one of these components are key business processes that can be further broken down into sub-processes, which help facilitate both operational as well as strategic management within your company.

Companies looking to streamline their planning process and reduce manual work order requests can take advantage of the master planning module included in Microsoft Dynamics 365.

It’s a tool that allows you to handle complex tasks such as managing long-term orders, tasks, operational plans, multilevel hierarchy plans, event planning, and dealing with multiple resources assigned to the same task.

Moreover Microsoft Dynamics 365 master planning gives customers the opportunity to utilize predefined sets of calculations for material requirements in order to calculate actual material requirements on any given date. Customers can also make purchase requisitions from scratch as well as from existing purchase requisitions and create review orders from scratch as well as from existing sales orders.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 master planning gives users full control of their operations at every level. Whether you need manufacturing, financial management, retail or wholesale businesses; Microsoft Dynamics 365 provides customized business solutions.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 master planning module can be used by organizations with any number of employees as it allows multiple roles within organization to manage planning processes. For example: planner, analyst, approver etc.

The Planner role has a capability to create work orders and tasks, update plan data for specified plans and add planning events such as vacation requests etc.

Analysts have a capability to analyze historical plans for different time periods based on planned order quantities (POQ), actual quantity per work order or quantity variance from planned quantity on specific date etc.

Common risks involved in master planning

There are various risks involved in master planning, especially for chemical and pharmaceutical companies, with the initial setup and implementation of the system being one of the primary risks. This is due to the large number of stakeholders involved in the initial phases, who are all likely to have differing opinions on how to implement a system.

It’s important that all parties are engaged early on, and provide realistic requirements for their particular areas. The other major risk involves using incomplete or inaccurate data for master planning. If you don’t have accurate costs for your raw materials, it can impact your budgeting process and budget variances (costs outside your budget) may not be caught in time by management.

Once risks have been identified, they should be analyzed and quantified to determine which ones need addressing first. Another common risk involved in master planning is not being able to accurately predict demand. This can happen if you are new to a market or product line, and do not have sufficient historical data on how sales change over time or between seasons.

Master Planning helps with forecasting and provides accurate data for better decision making. If your organization doesn’t use Master Planning, the bottom line is that you’ll most likely end up spending more money in the long run.

Without master planning, companies place themselves at risk of under- or over-production, which can lead to additional lost revenue, higher costs and product returns due to lack of demand.

For example, if a company does not have adequate forecast information for its sales team, then it may end up selling products outside of season or to customers who don’t want them. This results in lost revenue as well as extra storage costs when stock is held over from one season to another.

When you use master planning correctly you get better production rates which means less stock has to be kept on hand, so there are less overall storage costs involved.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully the concept of master planning is a little more clear.

With master planning you can save hours of work each week by streamlining your processes. Master planning is especially useful for Sales and Operations Planning, but even if you’re not using that functionality, master plans are still extremely helpful to ensure consistency and compliance with existing policies and procedures.

Master planning can be customized to fit any business and provide benefits that are relevant to your specific business. The best part is that you don’t need complicated software for master planning. Many of our partners use standard programs such as Word or Excel to create their master plans.

As long as everyone knows how it works, you can use any process management method you want! There’s no excuse not to make your company more efficient with master planning.

About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

Customizations and Configurations in the Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP

Customizations and Configurations in the Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP

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

Introduction

You have your eyes set on an Enterprise Resource Planning solution and want to jump into the implementation phase without delay, but are you sure you know what will be necessary to make that happen? Dynamics 365 customizations can help make sure your ERP solution meets your needs exactly and helps you get the most value out of your investment in the software.

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

Should you customize your ERP?

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

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

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

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

How to start exploring customization options

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

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

Microsoft D365 customization and configurability examples

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

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

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Some of the more common examples of D365 customization include:

Adding more functional modules

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

Adding additional Fields

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

Customizing workspaces

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

Adding custom reports

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

Microsoft’s AppSource

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

Custom solutions

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

Self-service functionality

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

Final Thoughts on D365 Customization

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

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

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

About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

Reasons to choose Microsoft Dynamics 365 for your business in 2022

Reasons to choose Microsoft Dynamics 365 for your business

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

Introduction

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

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

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

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

Sales and Marketing

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

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

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

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Operations and Customer Support

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

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

Financial Management and Regulations

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

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

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

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

Business Intelligence

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

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

Project Management

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

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

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

Final Thoughts – Dynamics 365 in 2022

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

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

About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

Handling Different Types of Purchase Orders in Microsoft Dynamics 365

Handling Different Types of Purchase Orders in Microsoft Dynamics 365

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

By the Numbers

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

POs and the departments that approve them

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

Introduction

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

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

Types of Purchase Orders

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

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

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

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

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

The Disadvantage of Manual Purchase Order Systems

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

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

Figure: 1Disadvantages of an Manual PO System

Disadvantages of an Manual PO System

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

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

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

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

Most importantly:

  • Improved process efficiency

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

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

And

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

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

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Benefits of a Modern PO Management System

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

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

Once generated, these purchase orders are considered a binding contract

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

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

Properly managed POs:

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

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

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

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

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

Procurement and Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Bottom Line

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

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

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

About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

Streamlining the Label Management Process

Streamlining the Label Management Process

Streamlining the Label Management Process 1200 450 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.

Introduction

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 parts of a label are could be considered one component in an effective marketing campaign. From a business perspective though, labels need to do a lot more than tell consumers what is inside. Efficiently labeling and tracking is the best way to monitor the performance of a product, along with making sure 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 a number of key points to note when it comes to packaging and labeling, including the following:

Definition:

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.

Objective:

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

Focus:

While exterior packaging is about appearance, labeling focuses on what’s inside. When it comes to food for example, products are required to accurately list the primary ingredients along with their nutritional value. 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 include requiring 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 however, companies should make sure 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 their industry and how the product will be used. For example, the Postnet format uses a series of long and short lines to encode destination information. 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, relabelers, and private label distributors of human prescription drug products, biological products, and over-the-counter (OTC) drug products in an effort 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 a number of powerful inventory management features helping these businesses thrive today. For example, Supply Chain Management is able to automatically assign serial numbers based on any manually-entered (or scanned) batch numbers.

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

According to Microsoft, “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 come to pharmaceuticals and medicine, will continue to be of utmost importance, including efficiently dealing with government regulations. Today’s businesses need to make sure 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 things like a list of ingredients, allergy information, serial and batch numbers, hazardous warnings, safety data sheets more. Solutions like these lets 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?

About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

Key Features and Benefits of ERP Systems

Key Features and Benefits of ERP Systems

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

At a Glance

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

Sources: ERPFocus.com

Introduction

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

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

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

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

Ongoing costs involve:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Cloud-Based ERP Advantages

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Plan Your Implementation

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

Successful implementations often require focus on seven critical aspects.

Figure 1:Plan Your Implementation

Pharmaceutical Analysis using Power BI

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

Final Thoughts

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

Before you buy, though, make sure you have:

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

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

About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

Effectively-Tracking-and-Controlling-Inventory

Effectively Tracking and Controlling Inventory

Effectively Tracking and Controlling Inventory 2400 900 Xcelpros Team

Introduction to effective inventory management

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Figure 1:Common inventory management challenges

Common inventory management challenges

Common Inventory Management Challenges

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

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

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

Inventory Management Software As a Solution

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

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

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

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

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

Boost Decision Accuracy with Power BI

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

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

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

Final Thoughts

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

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

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

About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

How To Enhance Your Chemical Supply Chain

How To Enhance Your Chemical Supply Chain

How To Enhance Your Chemical Supply Chain 1440 810 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • Today’s chemical industry is all about enhanced visibility and accountability.
  • Dealing with varying laws and regulations for different regions, fluctuating and lack of visibility across the board requires advanced solutions.
  • Integrating advanced technologies can reduce waste, unearth new products, find new markets and enhance a company’s status.

Change in Operations

Chemical companies, especially those in the pharmaceutical industry, are seeing an increase in the need for global reach. The still ongoing Covid-19 pandemic means the demand for medications to prevent and treat this deadly disease continues to increase and evolve as new variants are identified.

Since its first discovery, the effect Covid-19 has had on supply chains has been severe, regardless of product. As with many problems though, this disease has also created numerous opportunities, especially for the chemical industry. Major companies continue to expand operations, delivering their products all over the world including former “third world” countries with a growing thirst for everything from antiviral medications and cleaning products, to beauty supplies.

“The chemical industry touches nearly every good-producing sector, making an estimated $5.7 trillion contribution to world Gross Domestic Product (GDP) through direct, indirect and induced impacts, equivalent to seven percent of the world’s GDP, and supporting 120 million jobs worldwide.” Source: The Global Chemical Industry

This data from the ICCA shows a considerable market share, making it safe to say that the chemical industry is looking at a secure future. Globalization, however, requires dealing with unique challenges and roadblocks, especially when it comes to the movement of chemicals from supplier to producer and then to consumer. Today’s supply chain management won’t work in silos. That idea is no longer sustainable or feasible. Today’s global marketplace requires expanded thinking, and that means going digital.

Planning a chemical supply chain today means using effective, profitable methods where customers, suppliers, parts vendors, shippers, sales and production facilities are connected, regardless of their physical locations. Modern software like Microsoft Dynamics 365’s suite of modular programs can help chemical companies make use of modern digital methods and enhance the operational efficiency of their supply chain.

In this article, we will look at some of the key supply chain challenges in the chemical industry today and how technology is playing a key role in enabling forward-thinking companies prosper.

Top Challenges in Chemical Supply Chain

Every company has its own set of challenges such as the size of the company, locations of their manufacturing units and the structure of its supply chain. Regardless of an individual firm’s situation, there are common supply chain issues faced by all chemical manufacturing companies.

Typical chemical industry supply chain challenges include:

  • Distributing chemicals and related raw material in different countries. Companies struggle to keep up with the laws and regulations of varying regions. What’s safe and acceptable in one country may violate worker safety laws in another. This is especially true when it comes to hazardous chemicals.
  • Existing chemical supply chain management can fall prey to manual errors and miscommunications, causing potential safety hazards and monetary loss.
  • The bottom line often depends on a company’s ability to source raw materials. When prices for essential materials fluctuate, the entire supply chain can be affected.
  • Tracking material pricing and delivery details creates a lot of data. This includes information regarding the chemicals, their compositions, material pricing, safety precautions, distribution lists, and more. Managing this information is a top concern for chemical supply chain managers.

Looking to Improve Your Chemical Supply Chain? Book To learn more, request a free consultation.

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Figure: 1 Supply Chain Challenges in Chemical Industry

Supply Chain Challenges in Chemical Industry

3 Ways Technology is Reshaping the Chemical Supply Chain

01.Technology Enables Creating a Connected System

Today’s world is much more connected than it used to be. Systems are linked with smart devices, modern sensors and powerful software running it all. With these sophisticated enterprise resource planning systems in place, it becomes much easier to organize your chemical company’s supply chain. Modern systems can generate an alert when a violation occurs. These automatic alerts reduce manual errors or oversights.

A connected ecosystem provides top-to-bottom visibility in the supply chain, giving top-level decision-makers a clear picture and greater transparency across the board. This enables better accountability and the ability to find solutions to common problems and bottlenecks.

Figure: 2 New Technologies in Supply Chain

New Technologies in Supply Chain

02.AI Helps Create a Failsafe Supply Chain

Chemical supply chain management is highly susceptible to changes in prices of raw materials. To stay ahead of the curve, companies need to stay up to date on global, as well as regional changes to predict how these changes will impact their supply chains.

Artificial intelligence(AI) enabled solutions can analyze data in real-time, letting decision makers know what is likely to happen, how it will affect them and most importantly, what they can do to avoid or reduce any impact. This software can help these companies make necessary modifications to their supply chain strategy on the fly.

03.Using Cloud Computing to Manage Supply Chain Data

Data collation, cataloging and analysis are intricate tasks. When performed by people, they can be prone to manual errors. However, with progressive technological tools like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, companies can store unlimited data and analyze it much more efficiently. This categorized and analyzed data can be leveraged to generate insights that helps fortify the company’s supply chain for smooth transitions and better efficiency.

Supply chains are the backbone of many industries. The chemical industry needs to adapt to changing times, and make use of the right technologies to harness maximum benefits.

Key Takeaways

Like any industry, the chemical industry is witnessing the need for change in its supply chain model. With the help of cutting-edge technological tools and applications, chemical supply chain management can be overhauled and optimized for enhanced efficiency. Is your supply chain ready for change?

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

How to Choose the Right ERP Platform

How to Choose the Right ERP System for your Business Growth

How to Choose the Right ERP System for your Business Growth 2400 900 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

Imagine your company’s software vendor has just announced it’s no longer supporting a program your staff uses, one that over the years has helped you grow your business. Processes continue to get more complicated with data continuing to expand at astronomical rates leaving older systems behind. Your company is left with no choice: It’s time to pick a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system for your organization.

There are two major questions that need to be answered: Which solution best suits your company right now? Is there a different solution that will help your pharmaceutical or chemical company grow from a small or medium business (SMB) to a level able to challenge the industry giants?

Choosing the Right ERP System

Before your company can evaluate products on the market, you need to understand what will work best for you. ERP News suggests that if you do nothing else, it’s important to understand the needs of your business.

Before starting the ERP selection process, it is a good idea to analyze the business processes correctly and reveal the areas that you find incomplete or that need to be improved. Source: ERP News

Figue: 1 ERP selection process

ERP selection process

There are 10 critical steps to selecting the right ERP software package:

1.Ensuring it fits your company’s business needs. It’s important to understand what the needs of your organization are now, and in the future; short, medium and long term.

2.Planning an effective budget. You want to get the most effective business ERP system for your organization. What’s the total cost of ownership? What kind of return on investment (ROI) can you expect? Which is most likely to help your company profit and grow?

3.Verifying flexibility and scalability. Just because a package is a top-rated ERP solution today doesn’t mean it can keep up as your needs grow or as market conditions change.

4.Ensuring it can adapt to new technologies. Can your solution of choice support internet of things (IoT) data? Is it compatible with cloud computing? Does it allow work from any location? Is it usable with tablets, laptops and even mobile phones?

5.Is it compatible with your existing business software? Can the new system communicate with your legacy software and devices? Will your users be able to easily access old data alongside new orders and processes?

6.What do similar-sized competitors use? Is there a standard ERP used in your industry? What do your clients, suppliers and business partners use? What do they like and what would they change if given the chance to start from scratch?

7.Research your implementation partner. How much experience do they have in your industry? How flexible is the software and how capable is your partner? Can your implementation partner customize the software to meet your specific, demanding needs?

8.Will it grow with your business? Can the enterprise resource planning application expand, not only in terms of users but into other areas you don’t need today, but might in the future?

9.Does this project have support from upper management? If not, going through all of the other steps is an exercise in futility. Effective research will make it impossible for top management to say no.

10.Does it have a familiar look and feel? Don’t underestimate the effect changing ERP systems will have on your worker. If you don’t have user support, making it work will be tough. One way to achieve that goal is by using software similar to other programs they already use.

One last question to continuously ask along the way might be “What do we have that works well right now? What do we need to function better?”

Top ERP Systems in the US

All of the software giants have ERP systems. Depending on who you read, different companies will be on top. The dominant players are well-known software companies: Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Salesforce and others. In no particular order, the most frequently mentioned top ERP systems are:

  • Epicor ERP
  • IFS
  • Infor
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365
  • Oracle JD Edwards
  • Oracle NetSuite
  • Sage X3
  • Salesforce CRM
  • SAP Business One
  • SAP ERP
  • Syspro
  • Workday Financial Management

Researching offerings from each one of these major companies will take time and manpower. At this point, you’ve moved on to the next stage: evaluation.

Get a free assessment to find the right ERP for your organization.

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Evaluating ERP Software

According to SelectHub, choosing the right ERP system includes evaluating criteria based on your company’s needs. Typically, evaluation criteria includes:

  • Customer Relationship Management / Account Management
  • Accounts Payable Reporting
  • Bank Reconciliation
  • Benefits Administration
  • Capacity Requirements Planning
  • Material Requirement Planning
  • Bill/Build of Materials
  • Logistics Management
  • Inventory Management
  • Module Integration
  • Installation Type
  • Network Flexibility
  • Employee Training

Companies in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries should add:

  • U.S. Regulatory Compliance
  • International Regulatory Compliance

Not included in this list is one other critical criteria that can help determine if your company would be vulnerable to attacks: data security.

Where to Start

A great place to start your search for a flexible, versatile, secure and ultimately valuable ERP software package solution is by connecting with an experienced consulting service with a thorough understanding of highly-regulated industries. This should include upgrades and migration, which are commonly ignored.

There are many partners that can suggest a modern upgrade path including an in-depth migration assessment that is risk-free and cost-effective. Whoever you team with, you’ll want to make certain they have extensive experience in your industry with respect to project planning, risk management and strategy.

Our Recommendation: Microsoft Dynamics 365

Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP solutions are easily expandable, extremely secure, and backed by Microsoft’s Azure platform. Microsoft Dynamics 365 (D365) modules include Finance, Supply Chain Management, Business Central and other related—and integrated—products. D365 can be customized and enhanced with other functionality, including products specifically designed for chemical and pharmaceutical companies. Integrated Chemical Management is a perfect example as one of Microsoft’s preferred solutions for these industries.

As a Microsoft product, Dynamics 365 has an advantage over every other competing product: a familiar look and feel. Office 365 and its many predecessors are used by millions of people worldwide. This familiarity helps your staff learn new software without having to learn an entirely new method of working.

Final Thoughts

For every business, selecting the right ERP system starts with an honest evaluation of your company and its needs. Determining where you are and where you want to go are the first steps towards ensuring your investment ultimately turns a profit and helps your organization grow.

It’s a big job, selecting the right partner along with the right software package. Thorough research and proper planning will be key to a smooth transition, but the result will be a much better implementation of a much better product. Are you ready to get started?

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.

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Time to Explore Pharmerging markets

It’s Time to Explore Pharmerging Markets

It’s Time to Explore Pharmerging Markets 2400 900 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

A relatively new term making waves in business is “pharmerging markets.” What does the term mean and why should pharmaceutical manufacturers care? The short version is these markets are expected to grow at a faster rate than the rest of the world.

Add in potentially catastrophic supply chain issues and it’s now a great time to invest in markets closer to where active pharmaceutical ingredients are produced. This includes China, India and those in Southeast Asia.

One definition is, “a group of countries having a low position on the pharmaceutical market, but having a fast pace of growth. Those are China and India and to a lesser extent, Brazil, South Africa and other countries,” IGI Global states.

Imarc adds Russia, Mexico, Indonesia, Turkey and others, placing them into three tiers. China is the lone Tier 1 entry.

Tier II contains:

  • India
  • Brazil
  • Russia
  • South Africa

Tier III pharmerging countries include:

  • Argentina
  • Mexico
  • Poland
  • Ukraine
  • Turkey
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Egypt
  • Algeria
  • Nigeria
  • Thailand
  • Indonesia
  • Pakistan

All of these countries share two important characteristics:

  • They have a per capita gross domestic product (GDP) threshold of $25,000.
  • They saw a spending increase of at least $1 billion from 2012 – 2016, though only part of that was in medicines.

Growth Rates

Figure: 1 Expected Growth Rate of Pharmerging Markets by 2025

Integrating the Purchase Order Process

Key Changes in the Outlook

  1. 1.2020: -1.8% (-$23Billion)
  2. 2.2021: +0.6% above pre-COVID-19 growth; +2.3% above 2020 growth
  3. 3.Current outlook including vaccines +4% over outlook that excludes vaccines due to ~$50-55billion vaccine spending in both 2021 and 2022, later reduced as volume shifts to biennial boosters and price drops over time
  4. 4.Expected budget pressures will emerge from longer-term pressures of sustained pandemic
  5. 5.Vaccine spending declines as biennial boosters and costs decline in endemic phase, followed by overall growth returning to expected levels

The 6-year cumulative delta on 2020-2025 spending excluding Covid-19 vaccines is -$4 billion globally.

Sources: IQVIA Market Prognosis, Sep 2020; IQVIA Institute, Mar 2021

Pharmerging markets are expected to have a combined annual growth rate (CAGR) from 6% -9% through 2025, reaching $1.4 billion by 2024. By comparison:

  • Developed nations will grow at no more than 3%
  • The rest of the world will grow 2% to 5%
  • The overall global growth rate is anticipated to be 3% – 6%
  • The U.S. market will grow no more than 3%, possibly less

Pushing the need for prescription drugs and targeted medical therapies in these countries are aging populations, more public hospitals and a heavier burden caused by chronic disease, Pharmaceutical Processing World states. The result is increased pharmaceutical spending since 2016.

A key note, industry research firm IQVIA states, is this growth excludes spending on Covid-19 vaccines. The cumulative spending on Covid-related vaccines, treatments and related products should hit $154 billion.

Get a free consultation to learn more about the essential factors to consider when exploring pharmerging markets.

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Fueling Pharmerging Growth

Access to healthcare has historically been a driving force in the use of medicines within the Tier II and Tier III countries. However, IQVIA sees a slowing trend with volume decline across many markets.

However, China’s use of non-Covid pharmaceuticals is expected to accelerate, especially once the pandemic dies down. Changes in the use of medicines, with demands for new vaccines plus shifts in demand for existing therapies and patient behaviors, will also have an impact on the global pharmaceutical market.

These same countries with lower incomes also have dramatically lower access to medicines. The result is an increased demand, especially in those countries where access to quality healthcare is improving.

Highlights of IQVIA’s report include:

  • The largest aggregate contributors to growth in the next five years are immunology, oncology and neurology.
  • Oncology and immunology are forecast to grow at 9-12% CAGR through 2025.
  • Oncology is expected to add 100 new therapies for migraines and possibly Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s along with other, rare neurological diseases.

Selling in pharmerging markets may sound like a “no brainer” to some corporations but it comes with a critical catch right now: Covid-related issues have the world’s supply chains on the brink of collapse.

Supply Chain Failure?

In areas that pre-Covid rarely saw more than one or two ships waiting to dock, the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach had 72 ships at sea on Oct. 4, 2021, an Oct. 6, 2021 story on CNN.com states.

Before Covid, most ships went straight to a berth. Now? There’s an average 10-day wait to get in, unload and reload.

“It’s like taking 10 lanes of freeway traffic and moving them into five when the cargo gets here to the port,” Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, told CNN International on Oct. 5. “We’re having difficulty absorbing all of that cargo into the American supply chain,” CNN states.

Adding to port woes are a lack of truck drivers to move containers along the supply chain into warehouses. Delays in unloading also cause problems with getting empty containers where they are needed. Manufacturer’s can’t send large volumes of goods overseas when they don’t have containers to ship them. It’s either not enough empties or having empties in one port when they are desperately needed in another.

The effects of these supply chain issues are quickly reverberating back to consumers.

“Say hello to your pandemic price increase,” the headline of an Aug. 12, 201 column in SupplyChainDive states.

Gaps in the supply chain cause buyers to look at smaller suppliers to meet raw and unfinished materials demands. The result is procurement professionals are finding new suppliers, sometimes at a better price than their old standbys, the article states.

Now comes the question many pharmaceutical companies need to ask: Can they keep production on schedule even with a uncertain supply chain?

Technology is Part of the Solution

Enterprise Resource Planning products like Microsoft Dynamics 365 and its Supply Chain Management module can help. It makes tracking essential precursor materials pharmaceutical companies much easier. It can track APIs from the time they leave a factory in India to the moment they land in a production warehouse. From there, accurate labeling using barcodes and QR codes lets these companies know where every item, batch, lot and pallet goes.

Other software equipped with artificial intelligence can quickly produce usable supply chain information. When did we order this? Was it delivered in time to meet our needs? Is there someone else closer, either to our production facilities or our customers, that can ensure we meet our contractual obligations?

ERP software can also help forecast not only supply but demand and where that demand might be the greatest. If demand is in a pharmerging market close to where a company gets its raw materials, there might be a justification to build a new facility. Not having to cross oceans will reduce shipping costs and extensive delays.

Final Thoughts

Businesses don’t run in a vacuum. Supply chains that affect cars and consumer goods also impact pharmaceutical companies. Keeping very close track of where raw materials are produced, how long it takes for them to arrive are just as important as the time spent producing finished goods and then shipping them to the customers.

Implementing a solution like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management goes a long way to removing the guesswork.

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