Modern ERP

The Road to Success Implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365

The Road to Success: Implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365

The Road to Success: Implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365 700 500 Xcelpros Team

In chemical manufacturing, the efficacy of a corporate enterprise resource planning (ERP) framework is one of the most important things businesses focus on. Does your current ERP allow you to effectively manage your operations without needing complicated 3rd-party software? These types of integrations will always be seen as weak links.

This is an area where Microsoft Dynamics 365 shines. With a growing list of robust capacities and functions, D365 gives businesses a clear path to upgrade operational processes, elevate efficiency, and stimulate development.

The first step to ensuring successful implementation is developing an appropriate approach and plan.

In this article, we will detail key reflections and leading approaches to ensuring Microsoft Dynamics 365 works as intended.

Research done by TechValidate revealed that 86% of corporations that used Microsoft Dynamics 365 F&O saw an enhancement in accuracy and completeness of their data. (Source: TechValidate)

Figure 1:Implementing D365 – The Road to Success

Implementing D365 - The Road to Success

Set attainable goals

Establishing realistic business goals is a major step to successfully deploying D365. These goals serve as a fundamental basis to ensure the software’s implementation is specifically tailored to the company’s distinct requirements and needs, thereby enabling the accomplishment of desired results.

To start, any KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and essential processes for success need to be identified and ordered by priority. Once these objectives have been determined, the appropriate Microsoft Dynamics 365 modules and features that suit the business’s goals can be selected. This step calls for deciding which customizations and integrations are required.

A complete understanding of the company’s objectives and requirements ahead of time makes it easier to determine appropriate timeline expectations and allocate resources accordingly. This lowers the possibility of any unforeseen issues occurring during the deployment process.

Develop a Comprehensive Implementation Plan

Getting Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations software up and running can be a complex mission for the uninitiated, with several moving parts that must all come together simultaneously. This includes setting up the modules and features of the software, data migration requirements, system integration, personalization, training, and more. To guarantee a successful implementation, you will want a detailed implementation plan outlining all process stages, timelines, roles, responsibilities, and key milestones.

Producing a detailed implementation plan helps recognize potential issues and hazards that could arise after the process starts. A proper plan helps lessen or prevent untimely postponements, allowing the project to progress as expected.

A thoughtfully drafted plan should lay out all stages of the implementation, including data migration, customization, training, and system testing, setting timelines for every stage of the process, and marking out the essential milestones to permit progress tracking. Assigning roles and responsibilities at every step guarantees resource ownership and effective use.

Choosing the Right Implementation Partner

Ensuring you work with an experienced implementation partner is another essential puzzle piece for a successful deployment of D365.

You want to work with a team that understands your sector, business needs and functional requirements. Your best option is working with Microsoft Partners, with appropriate technical expertise, understanding, and background in implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365 for your unique business type.

A Solution Partner should be able to provide consistent support throughout the implementation. This can range from system configuration and data migration to training and various levels of post-implementation support. An experienced partner will provide important instructions and discernment, enabling you to make wise choices that match your corporate goals.

Develop a Strong Change Management Plan

The implementation of a new ERP system like Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a massive shift for any organization, with a resulting need a successful change management plan to guarantee a seamless transition.

A thorough change management strategy needs to focus on

  • Communication,
  • Education, and
  • Support needs.

A crucial part of handling the shift is communication; timely and open dialogue through the duration of the execution is essential. This can incorporate normal updates, feedback systems, and more opportunities to get input from personnel.

Proper instruction is another fundamental part of making sure employees are equipped with the required information and proficiency to work with the new system. Detailed instructions tailored to the demands of varied user groups – such as supervisors, end-users, and technical personnel – should be provided to each user as soon as possible.

Education should be addressed via several means, including classroom teaching, e-learning, and on-the-job aids.

Developing an effective change management plan that covers communication, education, and support requirements means there should be less resistance to change and helps guarantee your staff is prepared and capable of operating their new system.

Data Migration and Integration

The overall efficiency of D365 relies heavily on the accuracy and completeness of the data in the system. For this reason, some Partners consider it important to devise a separate plan just for data migration and integration tasks.

This plan should identify the necessary data to be migrated, focus on cleaning up any existing data issues, and map migrated data to the right fields of the new system.

This leads to better planning and execution of the integration processes, which includes specifying the systems to be connected, understanding the data flow and mapping, and putting protocols in place to handle data synchronization and transfer.

Performance Monitoring

Microsoft’s D365 Finance and Operations software is a long-term investment needing continuous maintenance to ensure ongoing success. As your business changes and grows, it’s good practice to monitor and assess your implementation to identify improvement areas diligently.

Keeping an eye on your data and KPIs lets you identify patterns, trends, and aberrations that signal regions that need enhancement. You can then address these matters and maximize your processes for more proficiency and success.

This can include frequent checks to guarantee that your new system operates in line with your goals and achieves your set KPIs. As the implementation progresses, you may want to modify your plan to incorporate new features, customizations, and integrations.

Monitoring your performance is just as important as ensuring your software has the most current updates and releases from Microsoft. Keeping your ERP up to date allows it to be validated and compliant.

Final Thoughts

Business success can be defined in several ways, such as achieving financial profitability, positively impacting society, establishing a strong brand reputation, or achieving personal fulfillment.

Regardless of the definition, success in any project can benefit things like job satisfaction, growth opportunities, increased revenue, and the ability to make a difference in the world.

A successful D365 implementation requires forethought, clear business objectives, and an action plan focusing on these objectives. This is where working with a knowledgeable implementation partner can make all the difference in the world, as their insight and knowledge become pivotal for achieving success. Just setting up an effective change management plan to manage data migration and integration and consistently reviewing and refining your implementation will guarantee success in the long term.

Not sure where to begin? Your partner can help you effectively plan and implement Dynamics to enhance your business operations to attain your goals—having trouble finding a partner that understands your needs? Our team can help you understand your options and ensure you are on the right path. Following the proper steps and being fully aware of the available features can help ensure a successful deployment of Microsoft Dynamics 365 and open the door to streamlined processes, boosted productivity, and high-octane growth.

Why wait? Schedule a demo call with our D365 experts today and get started on your own successful Dynamics 365 Implementation.

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Implement your ERP The Right Way to Boost your Company’s Efficiency

Implement Your ERP The Right Way to Boost your Company’s Efficiency

Implement Your ERP The Right Way to Boost your Company’s Efficiency 700 500 Xcelpros Team

Running a business isn’t always easy, especially when there’s a lack of communication and no system in place to monitor data from your operations – problems all too common with legacy systems. The sooner businesses address these issues the better, and that means making sure whatever Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution you choose can support your business now, and in the future. Having the right solution in place will be the best way to ensure you’re able to keep meeting your goals.

Across industries, modern Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementations have become increasingly common. According to Deloitte, nearly 53% of IT executives say that effective Cloud ERP implementation is their top priority. A recent report from Allied Market Research expects the global ERP market to reach $117.09 billion by the end of 2030.

In this post, we touch on the importance of implementing a modern ERP – like Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 products – correctly and what they bring to the table.

Properly Implementing a Modern ERP

It’s true that modern ERP solutions like Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management open businesses to more possibilities. Microsoft’s ERP solutions offer Direct integration to Office products, enhanced collaboration, advanced analytics designed to generate actionable insights and boost efficiency, and more.

Often forgotten, though, is making sure you can implement a chosen solution properly – and this means collaborating with a Partner that understands the needs of your industry.

Figure 1:Benefits of Working with an ERP Implementation Partner

Benefits of Working with an ERP Implementation Partner

Important benefits of working with an ERP implementation partner include:

Fully streamlined and automated processes

With older systems, manual task allocation, tracking, and monitoring are becoming tougher and tougher as the system generates more data for every transaction. As workflows become more complex, organizations have to make significant investments to keep them up to date.

Microsoft’s D365 can automate and standardize even the most complicated workflows for efficiency.

Reduced cost

According to Deloitte, as much as 22% of operational cost savings happen with Microsoft ERP implementations. This has both a direct and indirect impact on overheads.

With powerful automation features, you can streamline how you schedule your resources. Microsoft’s D365 can easily automate tasks like task allocation, traceability, and report creation. This automation results in fewer errors and a reduced need for human intervention. This reduces organisations’ need to invest in third-party monitoring and optimization solutions.

Centralized data

Older, legacy solutions with siloed applications greatly hinder modern performance. This leads to excessive back and forth to access the correct data. This can be tough for any team, with the lack of instantly accessible data hampering performance and the ability to make quick decisions.

Advanced ERPs like Microsoft Dynamics 365 give users immediate access to critical data without additional effort or wasted time. All critical data is available from one platform where your teams can access whatever they need.

Performance monitoring and Real-time collaboration

Continuously finding and resolving issues is a crucial part of organizational growth. Microsoft’s D365 provides an extensive 360-degree view of tasks and workflows, allowing organizations to generate reports with actionable insights easily.

Teams that stay connected remain result driven. A proper ERP implementation means everyone in your organization will have access to performance data in interactive reports that users can share with other stakeholders. Users can share data, discuss goals, plan strategies, and work more efficiently with other departments.

Improved flexibility

D365 allows businesses to adapt to any changes in market demand quickly. This includes updating workflows as needed, allowing them to scale as your business grows.

This highly depends on your partner’s understanding of your industry and how your software is set up.

Best practices, reducing failures

A report from Deloitte revealed that nearly 55-75% of all ERP implementation efforts fail, citing poor system selection, incompetent data migration, and lack of implementation best practices – all related to your implementation partner.

To reduce the chance of failure and increase the possibility for success in any ERP implementation means following best practices:

Identify your ERP implementation objectives

Before starting any ERP implementation project, it’s important to have a good understanding of the following:

  • Why do you need a new ERP? What is your proposed timeline?
  • Will your new ERP need additional customizations?
  • What functionality is critical to your business?
  • What kind of downtime can you afford?
  • What is the budget for your ERP implementation?

Selecting an ERP that aligns best with your goals

You wouldn’t wear dress shoes to a construction job, would you? The growing ERP market has different solutions, each with specific features. Make the wrong choice, and you could be stuck with that solution for years and years – this is where an experienced partner could guide you in the right direction.

For example, you may be leaning towards a lower-cost option, but is that solution scalable? Does it include access to everything you need, or will it require a significant customisation investment?

Microsoft has gone to lengths to ensure their Dynamics 365 ERP is a perfect fit for different enterprise types, combining CRM (Customer Relations Management), accounting, finances, marketing, planning, supply chain management, and more, unlike lesser ERPs.

Migrate data with utmost diligence

Lost, misplaced, or duplicated data is another major cause of failed ERP implementations. Even a single piece of critical data can lead to expensive fines, damage to a business’s reputation, or worse. This is why following best practices for migrating customer data is so important.

Data integrity should be at the top of the list in any ERP implementation.

Prioritize training

You may have worked with a certain ERP in the past, giving you a clear understanding of how it works – but not everyone has had the same experiences. This is precisely where Change Management comes in. Even if your chosen solution seems easy to use, your team must be comfortable with its capabilities. This means ensuring sufficient, ongoing training is part of the plan for any implementation.

If your users don’t receive the training necessary to complete their work in the new ERP system, you’ll never be able to achieve the results you’re after.

Final Thoughts

There’s a lot that goes into making sure your ERP implementation goes according to plan. Make the wrong choice, and your business will be stuck with inefficient or sub-par functionality that requires heavy customization or the added cost of third-party add-ons – an expensive decision.

The best way to ensure you make the best choice the first time around is teaming with a partner that’s been there before.

Experienced ERP partners will understand the best practices for your industry and which solutions make the most sense. They’ll work with you to optimize your ERP implementation according to your needs, giving you the best chance for success and long-term enjoyment of a scalable solution.

Schedule a Call today to see how we can help.

Key Features and Benefits of ERP Systems

Key Features and Benefits of ERP Systems

Key Features and Benefits of ERP Systems 700 500 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

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



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

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

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

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

Ongoing costs involve:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Cloud-Based ERP Advantages

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Plan Your Implementation

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

Successful implementations often require focus on seven critical aspects.

Figure 1:Plan Your Implementation

Pharmaceutical Analysis using Power BI

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

Final Thoughts

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

Before you buy, though, make sure you have:

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

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

Also read: Top 5 ERP System Trends in 2020 to help plan for 2021


Effectively Tracking and Controlling Inventory

Effectively Tracking and Controlling Inventory 700 500 Xcelpros Team

Introduction to effective inventory management

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Figure 1:Common inventory management challenges

Common inventory management challenges

Common Inventory Management Challenges

Among the most common inventory management challenges that can affect a number of different businesses are the following:

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

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

Inventory Management Software As a Solution

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

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

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

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

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

Boost Decision Accuracy with Power BI

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

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

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

Final Thoughts

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

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

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

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 700 500 Xcelpros Team


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 your organization’s needs 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 access old data alongside new orders and processes easily?

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 a 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
  • 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 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 for every business 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?

Time to Explore Pharmerging markets

It’s Time to Explore Pharmerging Markets

It’s Time to Explore Pharmerging Markets 700 500 Xcelpros Team


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.

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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 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.

How Sustainable Operations Helps Manufacturers Grow

How Sustainable Operations Helps Manufacturers Grow

How Sustainable Operations Helps Manufacturers Grow 700 500 Xcelpros Team


Every business leader has heard the term “sustainable manufacturing,” but not all know that practicing methods that help the environment can also grow their business.

“Sustainable manufacturing is the creation of manufactured products through economically-sound processes that minimize negative environmental impacts while conserving energy and natural resources,” the United States Environmental Protection Agency states. These same practices enhance employee, community and product safety in part by producing less waste that pollutes the air, water and soil.

According to the EPA, companies that use a methodical, planned approach to sustainable manufacturing processes:

  • Increase operational efficiency by reducing costs and waste
  • Respond to or reach new customers and increase competitive advantage
  • Protect and strengthen brand and reputation and build public trust
  • Build long-term business viability and success
  • Respond to regulatory constraints and opportunities

Fostering Growth

These environmentally friendly sustainable manufacturing practices help companies grow by reducing production costs long term. For example, instead of paying thousands of dollars each month to an electric company to light and cool a 300,000 square-foot manufacturing plant, consider covering a flat roof with efficient solar panels.

The average payback time for a home solar electric installation (industrial estimates were not available) is roughly 6-10 years, though it varies depending on the climate and other factors. Solar panels also tend to last 25-40 years meaning roughly three-quarters of their useful lives is spent generating free electricity. The most recent designs are much more efficient, producing more power in a smaller size, than those made 10 years ago. The result is greater efficiency, allowing manufacturing facilities to cover less of their roofs while producing as much or more power than the older models.

Production plants can also reduce their massive electrical bills with skylights. The waterproof domed coverings help illuminate work areas, reducing the need of electric lighting. Extended exterior shelves can reduce sunlight, cutting cooling costs.

Figure: 1 Sustainable Manufacturing – a Big Picture

Sustainable Manufacturing - a Big Picture

Turning Trash Into Treasure

Other sustainable methods look at ways to reduce waste, especially by converting some “trash” into new products or using it for new methods.

One website alone lists 35 artful ways homeowners can recycle wooden pallets. These new uses include making tables, bed frames, stairs, mounting frames for heavy electronic display monitors and a host of other uses. Many of these same methods work for industrial companies in terms of outfitting conference rooms and other non-work areas.

From an industrial perspective, worn pallets can be repaired, cleaned and reused. They can also be sold, recouping some of the cost. Other uses for worn pallets include chipping them, turning them into wood pellets. The pellets can then be burned, generating heat and electricity.

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Cascading Chemicals

Recycling is a large part of the sustainable “green” economy. Industrial chemicals can be recycled. They can also be reused through a process known as “industrial symbiosis,” states. One example cited uses ferric chloride, which is a byproduct of steel pickling in hydrochloric acid, to treat water.

“Frequently, recycled chemicals are not only cheaper than newly produced ones, but they also reduce resource consumption, waste generation and greenhouse gas emissions. The carbon emissions through solvent recycling are 46 percent – 92 percent lower than those of new solvent production,” the website states.

When the article was written in 2019, industrial giants Siemens and Evonik were conducting research to convert the most common greenhouse gas—carbon dioxide (CO2)—into common industrial chemicals such as ethylene.

Other methods used to reduce chemical and industrial waste cited by greenbiz include swapping what might be one manufacturer’s trash with a different nearby business. That business can use these materials in its products.

Another environmentally friendly industrial method is “leasing” chemicals. In this model, a manufacturer sells the functions performed by the chemical using functional units, not the chemicals themselves.

Large manufacturers with their own wastewater treatment plants can redesign those facilities in ways that help the company turn a profit and grow. Companies interested in practicing sustainable manufacturing practices can modify existing equipment to produce energy, clean water and chemicals because, “the future of sewage is power and profits.”

The article ends with a quote made in 1848 by the former president of the London Royal College of Chemistry, R.W. Hoffmann: “In an ideal chemical factory there is, strictly speaking, no waste but only products. The better a real factory makes use of its waste, the closer it gets to its ideal, the bigger is the profit.”

Technology Can Spot Opportunities

One way a company can practice sustainable operations management is by using its data wisely. Especially in forward-thinking firms that use internet of things (IoT)-enabled devices, they have access to mountains of information.

Combining a well-thought plan with the right software lets these firms look at everything coming into their warehouse—including packaging—as potential profit sources. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) products such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 and its Supply Chain Management Module let companies of any size keep accurate track of their inventories. Add in the Integrated Chemical Management component and chemical manufacturers have an accurate label management solution that also produces safety data sheets.

By understanding the chemicals involved and working with sustainability experts, plant managers can evaluate their current conditions.

Executives interested in sustainable production and consumption—and being more competitive—will want to ask questions similar to these: What current waste products and materials can we use for secondary purposes or repackage and sell to someone in a different industry? Can we reuse packing materials we receive to pad and protect outgoing shipments? Are we using our raw materials effectively or are there ways we can become more efficient? How much power do our plants use? Are there affordable ways of reducing that consumption while also generating some of our own power all while meeting our long-term business goals?

Asking questions like these, and then using powerful software to find the answers, help innovative firms generate more money. That in turn can use sustainable practices to fuel growth.

The Bottom Line

Sustainable manufacturing involves looking at everything a company has, from a different angle. More office employees are working from home, freeing up space. Can we use that space for a different purpose instead of looking at empty desks? Can we move items around and expand our production facilities or our warehouse without having to build or buy new facilities?

Operations managers wanting to fuel growth by reducing power consumption can use ERP software to find ways to save money and new ways to make money. All it takes is a little outside the box long-range thinking.

Helping your company fit into the-bio-economy banner

Helping Your Company Fit into the Bioeconomy

Helping Your Company Fit into the Bioeconomy 700 500 Xcelpros Team


The term “bioeconomy” has begun gaining steam but many executives don’t know what it means or how it might affect their business. defines bioeconomy as producing renewable biological resources and then converting them plus waste streams into valued-added products. These include food, animal feed, bio-based products and energy, including fuels.

A related but different concept is the circular economy, “where the value of products, materials and resources is maintained in the economy for as long as possible, and the generation of waste minimized,” the article states.

Both concepts share the goals of increasing resource efficiency and lowering demand for new petroleum resources while creating more jobs. Tying into both of these is “cascading,” which promotes recycling and remanufacturing. An example of cascading is using fresh wood to build furniture. When the main product’s life ends, part or all of the wood is used for something else such as a different piece of furniture or a planter.

“The circular economy includes all kinds of material streams with different utilization routes. Organic recycling, which equals biodegradation, and even the capture and utilization of carbon dioxide from industrial processes or the atmosphere are included,” the report states.

One way the bioeconomy affects industry is by producing renewable carbon compared to fossil carbon such as oil and other fossil fuels. The bioeconomy and circular economy have a common goal: creating a more sustainable world with a low carbon footprint. Both avoid using fossil carbon. Using sustainable resources helps achieve climate targets, brain-biotech states.

Among the stated goals of the bioeconomy and the circular economy are:

  • Reducing the use of fossil fuels
  • Wiser management of natural resources
  • Continually reusing minerals, metals, and biomass from agriculture, forests and the seas
  • Creating biodegradable and compostable products
  • Generating ways to capture and reuse carbon dioxide in the Carbon Capture and Utilization (CCU) process
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • Reducing waste, especially anything going into landfills
  • Promoting research across disciplines and borders
  • Creating more jobs in rural and urban environments

Impacts of the Bioeconomy on the Financial Economy

Features unique to the bioeconomy include creating new products and better utilization of agriculture and forestry, Brain-biotech states. Among its examples are using genome editing to create products with lower toxicity and new functions plus more nature-compatible (i.e., biodegradable) and healthier consumer goods.

So where can we see the bioeconomy? “The U.S. bioeconomy is all around us: new drugs and diagnostics for improved human health, higher-yielding food crops, emerging biofuels to reduce dependence on oil and biobased chemical intermediaries,” the 2012 White House’s National Bioeconomy Blueprint is quoted as saying in connects the bioeconomy and circular economy by referring to the circular economy as “the what” as in what are desired outcomes. The bioeconomy is “the how” as in how biophysical processes can be enhanced to achieve the expected result.

Transforming the U.S. economy from one based on hydrocarbons (i.e., fossil fuels) to a bioeconomy, will have the most dramatic effects. These effects will be felt most strongly in the energy, agricultural, chemical, industrial and consumer products and transportation industries, attorney Neil Belson wrote in 2016.

Among Belson’s conclusions are, “an economy that runs primarily on renewable, domestically produced bio based raw materials is inherently less vulnerable to disruption than one which relies on or is heavily influenced by the availability of foreign fossil fuel energy supplies.”

Among the biofuel resources are corn stalks and wheat straw, animal manure, household and industrial organic wastes containing carbon and dedicated fast-growing energy crops.

Belson also suggests a major target of opportunity is the $164 billion U.S. organic chemical industry.

By the Numbers

After several years of declining revenue caused by low fossil fuel prices, the Organic Chemical Industry is expected to resume growing in 2021, reports from IBISWorld state. Among the highlights are:

  • 13.2%: The 2021 increase in market size estimated by the Organic Chemical Manufacturing Industry (OCMI).
  • $106 billion: The 2021 market size measured by revenue of the OCMI
  • 1,107: Number of organic chemical businesses in the US
  • 75,441: Number of people employed in the organic chemical businesses in the US

Current top products and related manufacturing activities are producing:

  • Ethyl alcohol
  • Cyclic crudes, coal tar, wood chemical and intermediate products
  • Basic organic chemical products
  • Fatty acids
  • Synthetic organic alcohols
  • Synthetic flavor and perfume materials
  • Bulk pesticides

This list does not include forestry-related materials such as major wood products.

According to the Government

The US Department of Agriculture released the 128-page “An Economic Impact Analysis of the U.S. Biobased Products Industry” in 2015.

Using 2013 numbers, the US Biobased Products Industry:

  • Contributed 4 million jobs
  • Added $369 billion to the U.S. economy
  • Created 1.64 more jobs for every 1 biobased products job
  • 20,000 products in the BioPreferred program database not including traditional textile fabrics or forest products. The true number is closer to 40,000, the report states.
  • 300 million gallons of petroleum replaced by biochemicals and natural-based products replacing petroleum products such as Styrofoam.

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Areas of Opportunity

Figure: 1Number of Installed Ethanol Biorefineries in the US

Number of Installed Ethanol biorefineries in the US

Statista states that in 2019, the US had more than 200 ethanol biorefineries. In 2015, the USDA listed 213 such refineries. Audi, BMW, Porsche and Volkswagen make diesel vehicles that can use biodiesel blends, states. As of 2014, most biofuel came from soybean oil. The US Department of Energy states that the B20 biodiesel blend contains 2% – 6% biodiesel mixed with petroleum fuel.

Adding biodiesel improves fuel lubricity making vehicles easier to start and reduces ignition delay. It also reduces premature wear on moving parts even in concentrations as low as 1%, the Alternative Fuels Data Center states.

Chemical and pharmaceutical companies, take note: Modor Intelligence estimates the market for biochemical reagents will grow at a CAGR rate of 9.1% between 2020 – 2025. This market is defined by products such as cell and tissue reagents, electrophoresis and others plus geography. Asia Pacific is the fastest growing market while North America is the largest.

Chromatography reagents have the greatest demand with their use in many pharmaceutical processes such as separating chemicals and biomolecules, diagnostics and protein purification.

Market Research Future’s report on the Global Bio-Based Chemicals Market states the top products between 2019 – 2025 will be bioplastics, bio-lubricants, bio-solvents, bio-based acids, bio-surfactants, bio-alcohols and others.

Let Technology Help

What chemical wastes currently costing the company money to be shipped to a landfill can be reused to boost profits? Companies using technology like Microsoft PowerBi and Microsoft Dynamics 365 to organize their data can organize waste into its core components. Some of it might be easily converted into biofuels. Others might be broken apart with components becoming biodegradable solvents.

Another way tech can help is by looking at existing customers in growing markets and suppliers in areas where key crops are grown. Are they ways to piggyback shipments and reduce transportation costs while also cutting air pollution? Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management can combine and crunch data. While helping a business run much more efficiently, it can also offer insights into new ways to use existing products.

The Bottom Line

The bioeconomy is here to stay, as is global warming. Companies entering bioeconomy markets should look at new ways to use plant-based materials to replace petroleum products, like the chemical and pharmaceutical industries using plant-based solvents to develop new medicines because they are less toxic and better for everyone in the long run.

Alternate fuels, fibers, chemicals made from plants and other biological sources are just a few of the many potential products whose demand will continue to rise.

Using cutting-edge enterprise resource planning software can help a company more accurately evaluate its own products and resources. Who knows, there just might be the materials to build some bioeconomy products already sitting on a warehouse shelf. With the right tech, you will know what you have.

How Microsoft's ERP System works with the Retail Industry

How Microsoft’s ERP System works with the Retail Industry

How Microsoft’s ERP System works with the Retail Industry 700 500 Xcelpros Team

The Changing Retail Industry

With the rapid pace of changes in the retail industry, especially some of the more dramatic changes that have emerged over the past few years, it’s become increasingly important to have full control over your business. Now more than ever this means investing in software that supports the changes seen across the retail industry in recent times, and into the future.

Today’s retail consumers are much more informed, and looking for a safer, more streamlined experience regardless of purchases made online or in-person at brick and mortar locations, which are still very much in demand. The omnichannel shopping experience is quickly becoming a key point to longevity in the retail industry. This means offering a safe and consistent shopping experience, integrating your CRM, ERP and eCommerce systems for a more unified view of your customers, and being able to quickly scale and adapt to support new applications and services as they develop.


of emerging businesses that excel in their respective industry rely on some form of ERP solution.

Source: Aberdeen Group


of executives believe AI could fundamentally change which companies win and lose.

Source: UST SmartOps, 2020


Small businesses with ERP systems can make decisions with 36% less time than they did without the solution.

Source: Aberdeen Group

This has become a great opportunity for retailers to modernize and streamline their operations which can lead to greater long-term profitability as the industry continues to evolve. For this, businesses need a complete solution like Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 Commerce, the evolution of their Dynamics 365 Retail product line, able to offer a complete and unified solution across different channels with maximum scalability.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Commerce

One of the first words when it comes to enterprise planning, Microsoft has been developing their Dynamics 365 products for many years, and the latest version of Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 Commerce offers unparalleled access to a lot of cutting-edge technology for businesses in the retail industry.

Microsoft’s newest retail ERP solution helps streamline many different areas like merchandising, inventory and order management, warehousing, financials and more. In fact, the exact same technology powering Dynamics 365 Commerce has been driving Microsoft’s storefronts around the world for years to deliver a secure, scalable, compliant solution that offers a world-class shopping experience.

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These are just a few more ways Microsoft Dynamics 365 Commerce supports businesses in the retail industry.

Figure: 1Microsoft Dynamics 365 Retail ERP Solutions

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Retail ERP Solutions

Omni-channel shopping experience

With today’s consumers focused on quality, the right software helps ensure the experience is the same across different devices online and in-store with the ability to offer more increasingly popular options like Buy Online Pickup In-Store (BOPIS), curbside pickup and next or same-day shipping. These trends are becoming staples for many looking to avoid long lines and queues.

Powerful customer insights

Even now, customer data has become extremely valuable for driving AI and ML solutions to create personalized experiences designed to boost sales and increase customer retention. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Commerce is built with AI and ML in mind to further enhance customer engagement along with the ability to integrate to other Microsoft products like Dynamics 365 Customer Insights and Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection.

Warehouse and inventory management

Growing to be equally important is the ability to more accurately predict and manage product stock levels along with up-to-date pricing. Today’s customers don’t want to chase phantom stock counts from store to store when they can easily give their business to another retailer, right from the comfort of their home.

Powerful Integrations

Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 products have always been highly adaptable and configurable, able to integrate with numerous existing applications and services offering a unified experience across different platforms. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Commerce is no different, able to directly connect to a multitude of modern and legacy systems for reporting, compliance, and more to help protect your investment in previous systems.

What’s Next

As emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and Augmented Reality (AR) continue to advance, the retail industry will continue to be fraught with the challenge of trying to keep up – including providing modern, personalized shopping experiences to today’s savvy consumers to help retain loyalty across different channels. More and more businesses in the industry are looking for technology partners that understand their challenges and can offer support for modern solutions.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Commerce is a scalable solution that can be made to work for anything from SMBs to larger multi-brand or multi-company organizations helping Increase your revenue and brand loyalty with better engagement. Better focus your operations to reduce costs and boost efficiency over your entire supply chain.

The Power of Integrated Material Requirements Planning (MRP)

The Power of Integrated Material Requirements Planning (MRP)

The Power of Integrated Material Requirements Planning (MRP) 700 500 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

Today, growing companies need to keep tighter reins over their inventories. Having too much on hand means capital outlays will suffer. Too little could mean trouble meeting unexpected demands. Materials requirements planning (MRP) allows companies to better plan their production, ensuring needed supplies are available without hampering other business functions. The benefits of using MRP software, like that found in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, include:

  • Proper MRP and supply chain planning acts as a catalyst for growth
  • Ability to better manage customer expectations and reality behind the scenes
  • Addressing real-life pain points becomes easier
  • Ability to plan production campaigns in advance
  • Easier to overcome resistance to change while adapting to newer, more efficient planning methods

Supply Chain Planning Methods Benefit All Companies

Whether you’re a bakery or a pharmaceutical manufacturing company, planning your inventory is an essential part of daily operations. If a bakery does not order enough flour, yeast, or eggs, it can’t meet customer demands. Order too much and the company loses money from spoiled or wasted materials.

When it comes to chemical companies, managing waste is not as simple as throwing away a loaf of bread. The repercussions to unplanned operations in highly regulated industries can be significantly worse: Creating bad batches of hazardous or volatile chemicals, along with continuously yielding unplanned co-products or by-products will require additional storage or disposal based on quality tests.

For another example, consider a pharmaceutical company. The production of batches with a lower than planned potency can easily result in an over-extended campaign, the over-consumption of raw materials and lower production yields. If a batch is planned for a certain potency, the production process can’t be considered complete until the quality department confirms it meets the required specifications. Then, after reworking the batch a few times, it may even be reclassified to a lower potency when it does not yield the desired results.

While the concept of MRP was originally intended for manufacturing companies, it now extends itself into all industries, including those whose products are services.

MRP can be even more critical in small-to-medium manufacturing companies: the smaller a company is, the more precise the allocation materials and resources needs to be. These planners and buyers need clear and precise signals allowing them to make informed decisions on when to buy, and when to produce. The availability of materials and capacity of resources is everything in optimizing and streamlining a plant’s supply chain.

Especially today, MRP should be included as part of optimizing a company’s overall supply chain. This is one of the reasons were seeing MRP integrated into Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software more and more. Combined with other parts of supply chain management, MRP lets companies offer their customers a better experience along with the added benefit of lower inventory costs.

A Real-Life Example

Customer A requests a quote for a specific product they need quickly. This customer has already reached out to secondary vendors for quotes.

In order to please this customer, especially with added competition, may require a thorough inventory evaluation to know if you can meet their deadline.

Without a proper MRP system in place, it’s likely you’ve had to develop and manage dozens of complex spreadsheets with sales orders, supply and demand forecasts, production schedules and more. After that, you’ll probably have to superimpose inventory availability and resource capacities into the same spreadsheet. Does this sound familiar?

This method can take 2-3 days just to determine if you can meet their deadline. The work and precision required puts tremendous pressure on planners, alienates customers and impairs organizational growth. Competitors with an MRP system integrated into their ERP platform can provide a realistic promise date significantly quicker than companies still relying on manual methods.

Without the ability to provide reliable available-to-promise (ATP) dates, you can easily lose customers to suppliers able to commit and deliver on time.

Meeting customer demands by a certain date requires at least three inputs:

  1. 1.Planned supply
  2. 2.On-hand availability after all allocations and reservations are considered
  3. 3.Resource capacity

Meeting customer demands

What Happens on the Ground?

Preparing a production schedule can be a challenge if you don’t have a complete understanding of inventory levels, labor and resource availability. Even with a forecast in place, it’s hard to efficiently schedule production if you’re facing capacity issues. This Standard Costing in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing – Industry Challenges and Solutions offers an example of the batch manufacturing processes and the data inaccuracies that can occur while consuming inventory. Add these data inaccuracies on top of lack of resource capacity and the challenge should be clear.

These problems illustrate the need for accurate production planning and scheduling, which are critical in any manufacturing or distribution company, especially if youre trying to streamline operations.

Not only do customers often expect 99 percent-plus service levels within 24 to 48 hours, but supply reliability is also becoming more tenuous as once local supply chains now extend around the world. Source – McKinsey and Company

Being able to boost production efficiency with accurate inventory plans is becoming critical in today’s business environment. Companies face constant pressure to perform at a higher level, especially with growing competition and customer loyalty seen as directly connected to a company’s perceived value.

Meeting Customer Demands

It’s important to know your planner is able to meet the demand of your customers, along with being able to relay and provide important information, including things like:

  • Resource availability
  • Production capacity
  • Overall demand
  • Quality requirements
  • Batch potency requirements

Without even basic planning, a company operating reactively will lose inventory and suffocate resource availability, resulting in a considerable waste of time and money. Systems that can take advantage of modern technologies like AI an ML can generate needed results in minutes much more efficiently. That’s where a system like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management comes in.

Cost of inaccurate inventory

Not being able to track capacity means waiting for one machine operation to finish before the next job starts. Knowing how long each process takes is crucial in providing a reliable promise date. Companies who aren’t able to meet customer deadlines can easily lose any edge they may have over their peers. Continuing to operate without proper supply chain planning, companies stunt their own growth.

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Benefits of an Integrated MRP and Forecasting System

An integrated materials requirement planning and forecasting system offers much better control over production. These systems can take advantage of different coverage settings like lead times and time fences for upcoming projects, and creates production signals based on material availability plus resource capacity and capability.

The system’s built-in algorithms take into account all products that require planning while sharing the same raw materials and resources. It shows the planner schedules for all material requirements to meet supply and demand based on the calendar with working time.

The planner is able to access a similar visual schedule to what they would create manually on a spreadsheet but with much more functionality and the ability to make informed decisions. The planner can then decide how and where reprioritization needs to happen and then which lot production runs to schedule first.

A good MRP algorithm empowers users to be able to proactively plan, letting them keep better tabs on raw materials and resource allocations. On top of that, being able to add stringent production floor operating procedures with stop gaps can help reduce or eliminate uncontrolled activities that can alter inventory projections.

Role of People

Having a well-trained, experienced workforce is invaluable. It’s undoubtedly your biggest strength. But because some people are comfortable performing tasks a specific way, they may find it challenging to adapt to changes designed to streamline your supply chain. How do you convert workers who are unwilling to change?

Some proven ways are:

  • Educating your workforce on how adapting to newer methods and tools to increase supply chain optimization benefits them
  • Explaining and showing them how the modern tools are actually simpler to use and follow standard execution methods
  • Creating a change management process
  • Involving them in the overall transformation from no planning or manual planning to a systematized planning and scheduling tool
  • Teaming your workforce with newer team members who act as change agents during the software implementation process


More than 40% of financial services executives feel cultural or behavioral change is the biggest challenge they face in pursuing their technology transformation.

Source: Inference from McKinsey

Key Takeaways

There are several steps any company can take to proactively plan its supply chain. These include:

  • Looking at current cycle count procedures and then re-categorizing the top items for better visibility
  • Using better time and management procedures to better allocate resources to the right jobs
  • Providing proper handoffs for machines and operators from one step in the production process to the next
  • Proactively scheduling jobs and finding more efficient operating methods

Finally, ask yourself this question: Is your company on pace to beat your competition right now or are you lagging behind? Could MRP help you capture more sales and improve the customer experience by letting you deliver quotes faster and meet, or beat existing production deadlines?

If you aren’t getting ahead maybe it’s time to take a closer look at how Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management can help.