Supply Chain

Improve your inventory visibility with Microsoft Dynamics 365

Improve your Inventory Visibility with Microsoft Dynamics 365

Improve your Inventory Visibility with Microsoft Dynamics 365 700 500 Xcelpros Team

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

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

The importance of inventory visibility

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

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

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

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

Achieving Inventory Visibility

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

Common practices to increase inventory visibility can include things like:

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

Benefits of good inventory visibility

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

Some additional benefits of good inventory visibility include:

Figure 1:Benefits of Good Inventory Visibility

Benefits of Good Inventory Visibility

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

Inventory visibility challenges

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

Some common challenges with achieving inventory visibility include:

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

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

Improving inventory visibility with Microsoft Dynamics 365

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

Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers many features that can help you improve visibility into your inventory, including the ability to create multiple levels of item locations and reconcile inventory automatically and manually.

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

Figure 2:Improve Inventory Visibility with Microsoft Dynamics 365

Improve Inventory Visibility with Microsoft Dynamics 365

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

Final thoughts

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

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

Contact us today to discover how we can help optimize your inventory visibility.

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

Benefits Of Batch Traceability in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

Benefits Of Batch Traceability in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

Benefits Of Batch Traceability in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing 700 500 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

In a previous article: Batch traceability in pharmaceutical manufacturing, we talked about GS1 traceability standards, the DSCSA, and why the pharmaceutical industry has to be prepared for item-level traceability by the end of 2023. Now let’s go over the benefits of traceability that the industry should not ignore.

Benefits of Pharmaceutical Track and Trace

The pharmaceutical industry relies on several workflows and the ability to track and trace batches is one of the most important. With traceability slated to be mandatory by the end of 2023, it will help to understand the benefits that will come along with this change.

  • Reduced counterfeits Counterfeits are still a major challenge for the industry, accounting for nearly 7% of all medicines in the world. These fakes can take the place of high-quality medicine anywhere in the supply chain.

    With real-time lot tracking and tracing, it’s easy to fully track the journey of a batch to ensure it hasn’t been misplaced or replaced at any point in the supply chain. This is a key step to reducing the number of counterfeit medicines.

  • Streamlined recall processes Despite paying mandatory diligence, certain errors are bound to happen. There are as many as 1200 recalls on medicine every year. But, when the manufacturer isn’t aware of the exact position of finished goods and raw materials in their supply chain, recalls can be difficult.

    After implementing a traceability solution, manufacturers end up with much more control of finished goods and raw materials as they move through their supply chain. This means more opportunities to recall or even stop defective medicines from reaching the public.

  • Increased quality throughout production To ensure continual production, having an adequate supply of raw materials is important. By adopting the practice of advanced track and trace for pharmaceuticals, these companies can maintain quality tracking at every production stage.

    The right pharmaceutical tracking system can record critical data like quantities in pounds or gallons, products consumed, remaining stock, quality throughout production, finished goods quality, and more. This data is crucial to ensuring only the best products are produced and quality requirements are upheld.

  • Maintaining supply chain integrity Another benefit of a system offering traceability is maintaining a higher level of supply chain integrity.

    Traceability solutions like D365 let manufacturers closely track the quality and pedigree of every batch from raw materials to finished goods.

  • Increased compliances As a pharma industry player, adherence to certain compliances and regulations is fully necessary. Achieving full compliance is one of the most important benefits of having item-level traceability.

    Full traceability helps you track the journey of a lot from manufacturing units to the pharmacies which is crucial for things like the Automation of Reports and Consolidated Orders System (ARCOS), GS1 traceability standards, and more.

Figure 1:Benefits of Pharmaceutical Track and Trace

Benefits of Pharmaceutical Track and Trace

  • Easy lot number tracking Traceability solutions like Microsoft D365 help departments assign specifics like package, serial, and lot numbers to any outbound or inbound finished medicines. This makes tracking whole batches quick, easy, and accurate.

    Traceability solutions also help when it comes to posting tracking details as ledger entries – where there is a dedicated page for managing the workflow. This dedicated page even shows the total sums of traced items throughout production.

  • Item availability Lot traceability with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations helps calculate and report an item availability in real-time.

    It’s not just about tracking though, D365 also helps by providing a wide range of accurate item information on the tracking page so that it’s easy to find out how much of the product is consumed and remaining.

    You can check the lot availability as per the lot number and the serial number. It also prevents the double allocation of items in a lot or batch.

    Some of the key metrics D365 offers visibility on includes things like:

    • Total Quantity
    • Current Requested Quantity
    • Total Requested Quantity
    • Current Pending Quantity and
    • Total Available Quantity
  • Lot or serial number allocation for inbound transactions Not likely to change anytime soon, seamless purchase order management is essential for inbound transactions and D365 F&O makes it possible. D365 helps manufacturers process real-time lot code tracking from the very moment they are part of the organization.

    This tool can also automatically transfer the lot/serial number in the transaction documents and keep the warehouse team updated.

  • Lot/batch sales Whether you want to block a lot in the sales lines or control its entire journey, D365 F&O makes it possible.

    This solution enables manufacturers to freeze or partially dispatch specific lots before they’re sold. This plays a crucial role when it comes to managing recalls, especially important when you’re dealing with expired or defective lots.

    Just simply click on the Items and select the Sales Blocked options and the job is done.

  • Full control of track and trace items The real-time lot control and traceability abilities of Microsoft D365 Finance and Operations enable manufacturers to find out where a tracked item is used and how. This makes it easy to track the present instances of a specific lot/batch.

    When it comes to quality control, these features are significant as they help you to understand which customer received which item. In case of defective product delivery, immediate actions can be taken to minimize damages.

Final thoughts

When it comes to the pharmaceutical industry, we know accurate items and batch-level tracking will soon be a requirement – not just a nice to have. With advanced lot control and traceability capabilities, Microsoft D365 F&O is here to make all these things easier than ever.

With that in mind, it’s the effective implementation of solutions like D365 F&O that will deliver the promised outcomes. Often though, the task itself is a huge challenge as this is a comprehensive tool with multiple modules and features.

A seasoned Dynamics expert that understands your industry is the best way to keep the hassles to a minimum while extracting the maximum potential of a system like Microsoft Dynamics.

For more information or to find out how we can help, contact us 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

Batch traceability in pharmaceutical manufacturing

Batch Traceability in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

Batch Traceability in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing 700 500 Xcelpros Team

One of the oldest in the world, the pharmaceutical industry has had to face many challenges over the years. One of the biggest challenges that still presents itself today is how to address batch traceability when it comes to pharmaceutical manufacturing.

The importance of Pharma batch traceability

For a multitude of reasons, pharmaceutical manufacturers need the ability to maintain traceability throughout their entire batch process. This means being able to identify every single ingredient and process step that was involved in creating a production batch. When an issue arises, this information can help determine which step caused the problem and where it may have originated.

Batch traceability will not only help identify what went wrong, but also provide critical data for addressing any resulting challenges. A manufacturer should be able to provide an audit trail for every batch manufactured, as well as being able to easily retrieve this information when needed.

When combined with other quality systems such as an SOP manual or cGMP guidelines, batch traceability becomes more powerful than ever before.

DSCSA (Drug Supply Chain Security Act)

Brought to life by the FDA and Congress in 2013, the DSCSA was designed to change the way pharmaceutical products and raw materials are treated throughout the supply chain, including prescribed ways to trace the movement of products when packaged and distributed. The goal of the DSCSA was to increase security pharmaceutical products and safety for patients using pharmaceutical finished goods. This then new law offered:

  • 1 Single federally supported solution to replace requirements that might have been different for every state
  • A simplified, consolidated view of supply chain regulations that focus on enhanced patient safety and security
  • Higher standards for distributors in the U.S.
  • Streamlined processes for identifying suspect or counterfeit goods in the supply chain

As we approach the 10-year deadline set by the DSCSA, where partners in the supply chain will need to provide item-level traceability when products move from one party to another, it’s critical for stakeholders to make sure they’re in full compliance.

The longer you go without implementing a track and trace solution, the more at risk you are to face things like heavy fines, loss of licensure and even imprisonment.

For more information about the act – see https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-supply-chain-integrity/drug-supply-chain-security-act-dscsa

GS1 traceability standards

With so much more data getting captured every second, GS1 standards are a way to focus on what’s important – with a set way to manage your supply chain data to make sure important data is always available, understandable and 100% accurate.

GS1 traceability standards are part of a larger global framework used in over 100 countries to make sure the systems they use for traceability are designed for interoperable collaboration and sharing information for the entire supply chain using the following.

  • Critical Tracking Events (CTEs) Actual events that occur throughout the lifecycle of a traceable product or raw material. This includes things like packing, shipping, and receiving.
  • Key Data Elements (KDEs) Important information and data regarding the specific pieces of Critical Tracking Events.
  • Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) and Global Location Numbers (GLNs) Unique identifiers for finished goods and raw materials as they move through the supply chain.

According to GS1, there are four key events that should be given the most attention as finished goods and raw materials move through the supply chain:

  1. 1.What product(s) were impacted?
  2. 2.When did the event occur?
  3. 3.Where did the product(s) come from? Where are they now?
  4. 4.Why was this process observed?

For more information about GS1 traceability standards – see https://www.gs1us.org/industries-and-insights/by-industry/healthcare/standards-in-use/pharmaceutical

Pillars of batch traceability

Figure 1:Pillars of Batch Traceability

Pillars of Batch Traceability

With the law already written, it’s up to partners to figure out how they’ll meet the requirements. In order to make sure this compliance can be met there are four underlying pillars of batch traceability that should be implemented one way or another.

  1. 1.Serialization – The ability to create unique identifiers for a product that might have multiple packaging options. This typically includes things like serial numbers, lot numbers and expiration dates.
  2. 2.Track and trace – Like Serialization, track and trace is all about where a product has been and where it is now. This helps highlight any changes of ownership, determining the original manufacturer, or tracking all movement throughout the supply chain, even if it hasn’t changed ownership.
  3. 3.Verification – The ability to verify the details about where a product is or has been in the supply chain. This includes requirements to confirm specifics like serial and lot number, movement and transaction history, and more.
  4. 4.Reporting – The ability to report accurate information about serialization, track and trace, and verification to regulatory bodies as needed and required.

The ability to report accurate information about serialization, track and trace, and verification to regulatory bodies as needed and required.

These pillars are designed to work together to give you a more detailed view of the products in your supply chain, and lets you share that data with your partners, customers and more.

Final thoughts

Batch and item traceability doesn’t just help protect consumers from harm – it also keeps your company in compliance with regulatory bodies like the FDA. Batch traceability software lets manufacturers and distributors alike easily track every batch of product manufactured during a certain timeframe.

All said and done, a properly implemented track and trace solution will allow you to fully trace finished goods and raw materials as they move through your supply chain from start to finish. Being able to track your products helps to prevent theft and counterfeit copies and makes sure your products remain safe for use. Being able to trace your products lets you closely follow and monitor every product in your supply chain leading to fast, efficient returns and recalls, confidence in your products, protection of your brand, and more. A solution like Microsoft Dynamics 365 makes this all possible by providing a customizable system that can be tailored to your specific business needs.

After 2023, track and trace won’t even be an option – this will be a requirement if you want to keep doing business in the pharmaceutical industry. The sooner you have a system in place the better.

Not sure where to begin? Contact us today to see how we can help.

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

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

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

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

Introduction

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

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

Transportation Management in D365 F&O

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

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

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

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

Who Should Use it?

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

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

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

Scenario #1

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

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

Scenario #2

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

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

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

Scenario #3

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

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

D365 Transportation Management Benefits

Figure 1:Benefits of D365 Transportation Management

Benefits of D365 Transportation Management

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

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

Planning, Logistics and D365 Transportation Management

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

Inbound transportation in D365

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

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

Outbound transportation in D365

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

Load Building as Needed

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

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

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

Support For a Wide Range of Transportation Engines

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

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

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

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

Better Integrations

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

Transportation management in D365 offers several powerful integration capabilities.

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

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

A Powerful Tool for Managing Global Operations

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

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

Scalability And D365 In the Cloud

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

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

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

Final Thoughts

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

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

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

About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

Staying ahead of the curve Warehouse Management Trends in 2022

Staying ahead of the curve: Warehouse Management Trends

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

Introduction

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

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

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

Automation

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

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

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

Sustainable Warehouse Solutions

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

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

Supply chain management solutions like Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 will play a vital role in not only managing inventory, assets and faults but also improving compliance efforts with regulatory bodies like the FDA, EPA, REACH and more.

Internet of Things (IoT)

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

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

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

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

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

Wearable Technology

Technology is changing how work is done everywhere, and warehouse management is no exception. We’re already seeing hints that in the not-so-distant-future, there’ll be less people working in warehouses, due to the rise of wearable technology. Examples of this includes Exo-suits, Smart Glasses and audio devices – powered devices designed to reduce physical requirements and give workers hands-free access to their data and instructions.

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

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

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

Augmented Reality (AR)

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

There are many benefits like training and easy visualization, but one of the most important is that AR can be used by warehouse managers and personnel on a day-to-day basis, without having an expensive changeover cost when they start using it.

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

Digital Transformations

Warehouse management is going digital, everywhere. E-commerce and omni-channel retailing has become a lot more popular, and it’s led businesses to invest more in warehouse management software and automation. The ability to deliver products from their warehouse on time with less employee involvement is what many businesses have been aiming for.

Companies want their warehouses to be not only fast but also flexible, moving with the needs of changing business conditions. Warehouses are now being designed with reconfigurable storage systems, which can be changed based on current storage needs without any downtime or significant disruption.

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

What comes next

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

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

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

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

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

Improve Your Supply Chain with Microsoft D365 Transportation Management

Improve Your Supply Chain with Microsoft D365 Transportation Management

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

Introduction

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

The importance of transportation management in any business

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

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

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

Transportation management in Microsoft D365

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

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

Use of Dynamics 365 with Respective Departments in Transport Management

When it comes to planning, Dynamics helps you:

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

For inventory control, Dynamics gives you:

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

For customer service, Dynamics offers:

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

Who is it for?

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

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

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

Next Steps

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

Contact us today to find out how we can help your business grow.

About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

The Importance of Supply Chain Visibility for Pharmaceutical Companies

The Importance of Supply Chain Visibility for Pharmaceutical Companies

The Importance of Supply Chain Visibility for Pharmaceutical Companies 1449 1036 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

Today, many businesses rely on the supply chain to fill their shelves with products ready to sell, and pharmaceutical companies are no exception. In fact, to provide the fastest response time possible, it is important that pharmaceutical companies have full visibility of the products in their supply chain, from the moment they are manufactured until they reach the store shelf. This can be a challenge, especially as many products come from outside sources and even other countries. How can supply chain visibility help your business? Read on to find out!

The Modern Supply Chain

With pharmaceuticals being regulated, the supply chain has become more complicated and sophisticated. Using an efficient, reliable supply chain has a direct impact on customer satisfaction, cost containment, and competitive differentiation. This is because customers want consistent quality drugs that work every time they are administered to patients and pharmacists want to give their customers the cheapest possible medication while still meeting their needs.

Pharmaceutical supply chains have changed in recent times to make this happen. For example, products go through various phases of manufacturing including research and development before becoming end products. There are also numerous checkpoints along the way that include inspections by regulators.

Manufacturers need an accurate grasp on current production costs so they can predict new drug pricing accurately and minimize any additional expenses associated with these phases. The supply chain needs to be flexible enough to accommodate sudden changes in demand, raw material prices, and regulatory requirements. They also need to monitor operational metrics such as fill rates and inventory turnover rates so that all stakeholders know what is always going on.

3 of the key features that define the modern supply chain are proximity, visibility, and sustainability.

  1. 1.Proximity – Proximity means cutting out middlemen who add cost and complexity to transactions.
  2. 2.Visibility – Visibility means being able to know where every product is at any given time.
  3. 3.Sustainability – Sustainability means paying attention not only to the natural environment but also how our supply chains interact with other industries (e.g., manufacturing) as well as social issues (e.g., food security).

One of the most important aspects of a modern pharmaceutical supply chain is visibility. If it was difficult or impossible to see where products were and how fast they were moving, there would be too much room for error. That is why good tracking systems are necessary for companies in this industry. One common solution includes scanning barcodes to keep track of items, but there are other ways as well depending on each company’s needs. Some solutions allow for locating materials anywhere in a warehouse using a radio frequency identification system (RFID). An RFID reader sends out radio waves from its antennae which causes tags attached to objects within range to reflect certain frequencies, causing them to stand out against other objects not tagged with an RFID tag.

Benefits of Supply Chain Visibility

Pharmaceutical organizations have found that supply chain visibility provides several important benefits including greater data accuracy, lower inventory costs, reduced compliance risk, and increased business agility. With the help of insights that come from better visibility, they can identify potential problems before they happen. With this information pharmaceutical industries can proactively solve problems before they begin to cause severe damage to their organization. It has even been shown that well-managed supply chains lead to higher customer satisfaction scores as well as product reliability.

Increasing supply chain visibility offers a wide range of benefits for organizations today, including:

  • Increased data accuracy.
  • Improved process efficiency.
  • Lower inventory costs.
  • Reduced risks associated with compliance.
  • Enhanced agility to meet the needs of changing markets quickly.

That last point may be especially critical for pharmaceutical companies given the fact they stand to incur substantial penalties if violations occur during the supply chain process. All these factors make visibility an essential component not only to reducing risks but also to success overall.

With so many benefits, improving supply chain visibility should be a top priority for any company, regardless of its size or industry. The initial investment in implementing these changes will pay off handsomely in terms of financial benefits, brand protection, and positive impacts on both customers and employees.

Improving Visibility

Companies that maintain a high level of visibility throughout their supply chain will benefit from increased safety, lower risk of errors, reduced cost, and improved customer satisfaction.

In today’s digital world, there are many ways to implement visibility measures into your business practices. This can be done through computerized systems that track inventory and orders, barcodes, or radio frequency identification (RFID) tags on products, or other innovative modern technologies. These types of systems can not only keep you always informed on the location of your products but also allow you to detect theft, tampering or defects in packaging before they get shipped out.

A proactive approach such as this is necessary to reduce the risk of having issues with faulty goods or health and safety hazards that could affect customers. It is crucial for businesses in the pharmaceutical industry where an error may result in death, injury, or permanent disability because it is so important to make sure every step has been taken to provide quality assurance along the way.

Figure 1:Steps to be taken to ensure quality in the supply chain

Steps to be taken to ensure quality in the supply chain

  1. 1.Identify customer supply chain activities – Track customer shipments as soon as they are picked up and shipped in real-time. Always have visibility on what has been delivered, where it is currently located, and any time delays.
  2. 2.Utilize location-based technologies – Utilize the latest in GPS technology to monitor transportation so you can track deliveries from start to finish with ease. This will give you full control of your supply chain and alert you to any discrepancies immediately instead of having to search through multiple records manually later.
  3. 3.Use big data analytics tools – Leverage automated big data analytics tools that provide a complete view of all activity across every part of your supply chain.
  4. 4.Share accountability with everyone involved – Make sure that everyone who handles or touches the product throughout its life cycle knows their responsibility at every step and is held accountable if there’s a problem somewhere along the way.
  5. 5.Understand global dynamics – Achieving visibility means understanding not only what is happening locally but also globally, and how global events may affect local ones (and vice versa).
  6. 6.Keep customers informed – Be transparent about what is happening throughout the entire process by keeping customers informed about shipping schedules and any issues that arise during shipment.

Finding the Right Solution

One of the biggest challenges in managing supply chain visibility is the coordination of all parties involved. Creating and executing a plan can often be complicated with multiple stakeholders, especially when that involves crossing borders or distributing products from different geographic locations.

Various software solutions and cloud-based platforms are available to help with these challenges, but companies need to choose the right technology for their needs.

The following benefits should be considered before choosing a solution:

  1. 1.A single solution that integrates data across the entire supply chain.
  2. 2.An accurate view of each vendor’s location and inventory levels.
  3. 3.Being able to work seamlessly with one another regardless of location or platform.

When considering which solution is best for you, it is important to evaluate your company’s goals and make sure that your decision will support those goals.

Your business may have specific needs related to planning and forecasting, inventory management, asset tracking or other capabilities. By determining what you want to achieve through supply chain visibility, you will be better equipped to decide about which product or service fits your company’s unique situation best. In some cases, implementing an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system is ideal for connecting diverse systems, tracking assets on a global scale, and organizing all activities from sales orders to invoices.

Microsoft Dynamics 365, through its a combination of big data and analytics that are continuously updated, can provide valuable insights to help pharmaceutical companies achieve more supply chain visibility by assisting with inventory tracking, forecasting, customer insights and trade spend. By having these features readily available, a business can get the real-time visibility they need to gain insight into market fluctuations and improve their order fulfillment rate.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers benefits in automating complex processes such as invoicing, accounting, and sales analysis.

Some of the software’s inventory management capabilities make it an efficient way to manage many aspects of supply chain visibility. It is also good for tracking inventory distribution across multiple warehouses or stores in order to gain greater supply chain visibility. Plus, Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers deep insights into customer behavior which helps track competitive offerings and measure performance success by channel. Finally, Dynamic’s manufacturing features provide details critical to maintaining safe working conditions while reducing manufacturing costs.

In addition to providing information on order fulfillment rates and logistics processes, this type of system also improves control over manufacturing process timescales and provides alerts if any disruptions occur in any part of the system.

What’s Next?

Next steps for most companies should be getting together with your partner to discuss supply chain visibility. At this point it is vital that there is an organized and ongoing audit process in place, so you know what needs improving and where to go next. Once a plan has been created, it should be revisited at least once a year or when processes change, or the latest information becomes available.

A third party can play a role in this continuous improvement process by bringing impartiality and objectivity. Continuous improvement will keep your company ahead of evolving regulations such as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) which means not only maintaining compliance but staying ahead of potential requirements by gaining valuable insights through accurate supply chain visibility.

Better supply chain visibility will also help you identify trends that lead to additional revenue opportunities such as inventory obsolescence or potential overproduction. For example, if your sales team were telling you about reduced demand for certain products and giving feedback on how to address the problem, these insights could come from supply chain visibility. Ultimately, working with the right partner to achieve greater supply chain visibility will enable your company to thrive despite external pressures or any changes to industry standards. For more information, Contact us today to see how we can help your business grow.

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

Pharma smart operations and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations: A perfect pair

Pharma smart operations and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations: A perfect pair

Pharma smart operations and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations: A perfect pair 700 500 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

We’re seeing more pharmaceutical companies struggle when it comes to reorganizing the technology they have available in an effort to maximize the efficiency of their operations.

Unfortunately, many companies fall behind when it comes to their ability to use technology effectively and efficiently, especially with disparate systems in place. This can be especially dangerous considering how fast-paced these highly regulated industries can be, making it even more important to find a system that works well with your company’s specific goals and needs.

Smart operations and the role of technology

The pharmaceutical industry today is a fast-paced, ever-changing environment that emphasizes compliance and accountability. Incorporating smart operations into your business model will save you time, money, and resources and help lower costs through increased efficiency. One of the ways this can be done is by implementing a lean manufacturing process within your company.

With the help of robotics automation, QR and barcode scanning, production data management systems, and more, companies in this highly-regulated industry can enhance and optimize their processes for maximum productivity in everything from order processing to shipping.

The Medicine Development Lifecycle is especially conducive to modern smart operations strategies – from development through commercialization, because so many aspects of each step in the process involve repetitive tasks that are susceptible to automation or streamlined with advanced technology.

One example of smart operations strategies to increase efficiency, lower costs, and increase profitability is GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). GSK has been implementing lean manufacturing techniques for several years as part of its smart factory initiative. The goal was to make every aspect of production more efficient by reducing waste and optimizing processes throughout their facilities.

Smart operations are not just confined to pharmaceutical companies, though.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 can be used in a number of different industries, but it’s especially useful in sectors that require complex business processes and procedures.

Industry Challenges

Today, the battle for market share continues to be fierce. The constant challenges that large pharmaceutical companies face include managing their complex supply chains, avoiding product recalls due to quality failures, keeping safety in check at all stages of the manufacturing process, reducing production time for new products, ensuring compliance with a multitude of regulatory authorities throughout the globe…the list goes on.

Because of these challenges—and many more—it has become increasingly difficult for these highly-regulated companies to successfully identify the need for new medicines early in development while keeping a firm grip on costs and timelines. This is exactly where smart operations come into play.

So what can these businesses do to improve their efficiency? One key element of successful smart operations implementation is integration between systems.

To properly track medicines and other products throughout their lifecycle, each system involved must be able to talk with all other systems involved at every step. These companies can use advanced IT solutions like a Cloud ERP to address many of these challenges.

How Microsoft Dynamics 365 fits in

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for operations helps your business run smarter by integrating critical business systems. Here are some of the ways describing how Microsoft Dynamics 365 can be a natural fit with your company:

The model of smart operations is now an integral part of every enterprise as they look to innovate across all aspects of their businesses to maximize efficiency, maximize profitability, and accelerate growth; however, due to complex processes, there are often multiple systems used to complete a smart operation.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for finance and operations helps you easily manage your finances, keep track of inventory levels, streamline your supply chain, manage projects more effectively, and much more. You can even use it to help you run clinical trials—helping you stay on top of data collection from start to finish.

As mentioned earlier, the entire industry is often under immense pressure to improve efficiency and cut costs in order to maximize profitability while maintaining a high level of patient care. However, these companies also need an easy way to make changes that will affect every aspect of their business – especially when undergoing rapid growth, a trend we see growing among companies of all sizes.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers you all these tools to easily streamline operations across all departments in your company, making sure each department is communicating effectively and working together towards one goal – success in business.

At its core, Microsoft Dynamics 365 for finance and operations is an accounting system, so it tracks how much money comes into your business and how much goes out of it daily. This data will help you determine what areas of your business are most profitable and where there might be room for improvement when it comes to efficiency or cutting costs.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 also offers several features specifically geared toward companies with complex supply chains, such as inventory management, order tracking, contract management, demand forecasting, production planning, etc., helping you keep everything organized from start to finish—no matter where any part of your supply chain happens to be located.

Next steps

Suppose your company is looking to implement smart operations and partner with a tech firm with expertise in MSD operations management. The right partner can help you tailor your processes for success, guide implementation efforts to keep costs under control, and provide support throughout the implementation of your new infrastructure.

In some cases, technology implementation can be accelerated through early identification of internal resources that have demonstrated leadership abilities and a strong track record in operations-related roles. Partnering with an experienced operational systems partner will bring additional value to your investment by ensuring that you choose functionalities beyond what is available out of the box from your ERP provider.

Partnering with the right systems integrator who understands your industry can be valuable to your business. They can not only help make your processes smoother but also navigate obstacles in your path that would typically slow you down. The result is streamlined processes that experienced, qualified professionals streamline.

Being fast matters as much as accuracy and quality does—especially when it comes to getting new medicines approved for market. Any delays in production or shipping could cause setbacks for clinical trials or delays in marketing approvals.

Contact us today to learn more

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

Level up your supply chain

Level up your supply chain

Level up your supply chain 700 500 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the global supply chain. While eCommerce and online retail is uniquely positioned for rapid growth in today’s business climate, companies with traditional or linear supply chain models are finding it harder to adapt.

Thankfully, this change has led to the emergence of advanced technologies which provide a unique opportunity for organizations to leverage the digital supply chain network to reach new levels of operational effectiveness. This guide to digital supply chain transformation is full of useful information for businesses looking to adapt to the new paradigm in an effort to develop their supply chain into a more collaborative model.

Understanding Digital Supply Chain Management and Supply Chain 4.0

Today, Supply Chain 4.0 refers to the introduction of advanced technologies, like Internet of Things (IoT), big data analytics, blockchain, AI / ML, autonomous mobile robotics (AMR), and more. These new technologies enable the reorganization of traditional supply chains into the interconnected, open system of supply chain operations we know as the Digital Supply Network (DSN).

This shift from sequential supply chain operations to his new digital model sets the foundation for how companies will compete in the future by integrating information from different sources and locations in an effort to:

  • Better respond to changing market conditions
  • Drive production and distribution,
  • Create a digital record of the supply chain,
  • Enable advanced analytics of real-time data, and
  • Translate actions from digital inputs into physical outcomes.

Whether you consider this new supply chain model as a set of supply chain management best practices, or simply a cluster of technologies to be deployed, Supply Chain 4.0 provides substantial opportunities for companies to enhance the productivity, profitability, and performance of their unique supply chain.

Supply Chain Digitization is no longer an option

According to a McKinsey Global Survey of executives, digitization of the supply chain is the largest trend affecting companies in the post-Covid environment.

“Companies have accelerated the digitization of their customer and supply-chain interactions and of their internal operations by three to four years. And the share of digital or digitally enabled products in their portfolios has accelerated by a shocking seven years.”

Figure: 1Digitalization of customer interactions

Digitalization of customer interactions

When asked why their organizations did not implement changes to their supply chain before the pandemic, more than fifty percent of respondents said that supply chain digitization was not a top business priority. The Covid-19 crisis has eliminated this barrier and highlighted the need for modernization.

Executive leadership teams are now highly motivated to implement new supply chain risk mitigation strategies designed to alleviate the impact of current supply chain disruptions, as well as ant future global crises.

Consumer expectations are also on the rise: the online trend of the last several years has led to higher service expectations, and a much stronger granularization of orders. If supply chain operations want to keep up with customer service, order fulfillment, delivery, and other “value-added” tasks, more comprehensive, enterprise-wide overhauls will be required.

Want to learn more about digital supply chain management?

Let’s get started

Benefits of Modern Supply Chain Management

Modernization of supply chains enables companies to not only address changing requirements and overcome things like global supply challenges, it can also improve the overall speed, efficiency and performance of their entire operation.

Improve Proactive Decision-Making

Traditional supply chains utilize top-down management and communication for merchants and vendors alike. Distributors looking to grow their product lines tend to focus on the reconciliation, monitoring, and reporting of defects, delays, or other types of disruptions early on in the supply chain cycle.

Monitoring tools, modern ERPs, and other digital solutions help companies make better proactive decisions that increase efficiency, remove waste, and keep operations running smoothly.

Increase Agility and Avoid Disruption

The Covid-19 pandemic proved that even flexible supply chains are susceptible to unpredictable economic changes, natural disasters, and political pressure. Digitizing your supply chains provides for greater diversification of suppliers, and makes it easier to enact sourcing changes, especially during hard times.

Create a More Resilient Supply Chain

The most resilient supply chains are built on a solid foundation of transparency and efficiency that enables them to scale and adjust as circumstances change. This flexibility provides greater freedom for businesses when onboarding new suppliers, particularly in new industries or geographies. Resilient supply chains also help organizations better respond to changing demand, launch new product lines or roll out support to additional regions.

Digital Supply Chain Tips: How to Build a Digital Supply Chain

Creating a modern supply chain is an enormous undertaking, but this article will help prepare you for your digital transformation, and make the integration of advanced technology easier for everyone involved in the process.

Define Your Vision

Start with a clear vision that aligns with your enterprise goals. These goals should be related to specific business objectives, and include things like:

  • Improved supply chain visibility,
  • Better and faster decision-making,
  • Automated operations, and
  • Integrated customer engagement.

Assess Existing Resources

The next step in digital transformation is to identify the things you need to achieve your goals. The best way to identify those capabilities is to scrutinize your existing resources, alongside the new technologies that might replace them. Ask yourself the following questions.

  • Data collection and analysis – Can data be accessed easily and used to draw actionable insights?
  • Legacy systems – Will existing systems support your new goals? Is the technology aligned with business objectives? Are these digital solutions best suited to achieve the desired outcomes?
  • Workforce skills – Does your workforce have the necessary skills to work with and adapt to the new business model?

Utilize Data and Analytics

In a modern, digital network, supply chain professionals are able to rely on real-time data to make informed decisions, and collaborate effectively with suppliers, partners, and more. Access to real-time data also enhances visibility across the supply chain and helps supply chain managers identify potential disruptions before they happen.

Final Thoughts

Making the move towards a more modern supply chain will become more and more critical to capturing new markets going forward. Developing your supply chain into a flexible, open, agile and collaborative digital model requires an enterprise-wide approach, careful planning, and close collaboration with internal teams and partners.

Stop struggling with legacy solutions and aging customizations. Implementing modern enterprise resource planning software like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management can help you achieve a 360-degree view of your supply chain and better anticipate potential disruption to your operation and adjust before it becomes a problem. Book a free consultation with XcelPros to begin your digital supply chain transformation 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

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 700 500 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.

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