Navision VS. NAV 2015 – Features Comparison

Businessman with tablet computer in office buildingQuick to implement and easy to use, Dynamics NAV is by far one of the best ERP solutions small and midsize businesses can opt for to gain greater control over financials and streamline sales, marketing, supply chain, manufacturing, and wholesale distribution operations.   And, this solution is used by 110,000 customers worldwide!

If you’re using an earlier version of NAV (formerly Navision) we recommend considering an upgrade to DynamicsNAV2015 in order to remain on a supported software version and benefit from enhanced capabilities that can help you increase productivity, improve performance, and reduce costs. Keep reading to find out more about the enhancements included in NAV 2015 and identify the features you’re currently missing. Read more

Clients First Business Solutions Acknowledged: 9 years on Bob Scott’s Insights: Top 100 VARs proves talent, and achievement.

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What adds success to an organization? More than anything visible, tangible passion: that sparkle in someone’s eyes when they speak about what they do, the excited lilt in someone’s speech when they explain a project.

This is the type of response I get when I speak to our managing director, Michael Conti, about Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions. When I asked him last week, “What’s your favorite part of Microsoft Dynamics NAV?” A big grin grew on his face saying, “I’ve never seen a software with stronger financial details. Not only that but it allows for different views of the company: home office versus satellite companies, and specific user views even in dealing with multi-country, multi-company implementations. The business accounting solution consolidates big data into very readable reports.” (By the way, come back in a few weeks for the case study). Read more

Dynamics AX ERP for Manufacturing

Dynamics AX Process, Formula, and Recipe Capabilities

When it comes to choosing formula, recipe, food, ERP software, Microsoft Dynamics AX is one of the most complex, powerful, agile yet simple business management solutions you can find. AX provides manufacturers with integrated functionality, allowing them to efficiently plan and control production and distribution, manage accounting, invoicing, and procurement operations, meet evolving customer demands, and comply with regulatory requirements.

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Dynamics NAV Helps Keep the Railroad Moving

Dynamics NAV ERP Software

RCL Services Group, LLC (“Services”) a longtime Dynamics NAV user provides railroad signal construction and signal material integration services to the freight and passenger rail industry.  Services’ primary subsidiaries, Railroad Controls, LP, RCL Wiring, LP and RCL Burco, LP are the leaders in railroad signal construction and signal integration in the United States.   RCL Services Group’s Class 1 railroad customers like Union Pacific, and BNSF Railway very satisfied with the product and service delivery provided by RCL Services Group and Dynamics NAV is a big part of why RCL has been able to grow from 60 to 800 employees. Read more

Free MRO Webinar: Used Serviceable Material Strategies – The Future of Cost Effectiveness

Free MRO Webinar: Used Serviceable Material Strategies – The Future of Cost Effectiveness

Thursday, May 28, 12pm CST

Why Attend our Webinar?

According to Oliver Wyman the used serviceable material strategies together with proprietary technologies are expected to revolutionize the entire MRO industry. Strategic sourcing combined with advanced technologies have already helped numerous airlines to increase the availability of used serviceable materials by 13 percent within one year. A recent survey of airlines indicated that 84 percent of the participants considered their approach to used serviceable materials as “active,” successfully embracing new serviceable material strategies to increase profit margins without additional costs. Read more

manufacturing erp

Is a Manufacturing ERP Right For Your Small Business?

“I don’t need a manufacturing ERP system to run my business.” Probably, this was the first thought that crossed your mind after reading the title above. But before making a final decision, you should read the rest of this post. Read more

3D Printing

3D Printing and The Future of The MRO Industry

Manufacturing products without a factory would have seemed impossible a few years ago. However, the “impossible” is slowly taking shape thanks to additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing. This relatively new technology is ready to deliver a small, “mobile” factory to every OEM, MRO, and repair shop. In fact, a number of businesses are embracing additive manufacturing as a temporary or permanent manufacturing solution, as you read these lines.

3D Printing: The Future Is Just Around the Corner  

Although 3D printing technology can be used by anyone, from regular people to industry giants, sustainable growth is expected to come from industrial applications, especially in the OEM and MRO sectors. That’s simply because only a large company has the financial power to design, craft, and test multiple prototypes to finally develop a product that customers will want to buy. But this is only half of the OEM-MRO equation. The other half relates to the impact additive manufacturing will have on the MRO industry.

Additive manufacturing technologies deliver incredible flexibility. To begin with, a MRO company will be able to develop “instant” spare parts and complete maintenance and repair tasks within hours. Imagine an airline looking for a MRO able to repair an airplane that has broken down unexpectedly. Instead of waiting days or even weeks for parts to arrive, the MRO can manufacture the parts needed outright and fix the airplane within several hours.

3D Printing

Manufacturing parts for scheduled maintenance and repairs or, more importantly, for unplanned events, with virtually no wasted materials, will help MROs reduce downtime and operating costs. Another major motivator for additive manufacturing technology adoption is the ability to produce hard-to-find spare parts or components that aren’t manufactured anymore.

The International Space Station’s 3D Print project is one edifying example of spare parts production using additive manufacturing. The first 3D printer was launched to the space station in September 2014. On November 24, 2014, the first “space” object was successfully manufactured using 3D printing technology. According to NASA officials, additive manufacturing is useful especially when spare parts aren’t available or when inventory is extremely expensive to ship. This technology brings several performance and efficiency advantages, regardless of whether a maintenance company or department is located on Mars or on Earth.

Additive manufacturing may seem too futuristic to become standard. However, the acceptance of this technology as a source of spare parts will change the course of MRO history. A maintenance company will be able not only to manufacture simple or complex parts and difficult-to-achieve geometries, as required; it can also develop prototypes to modify equipment and achieve quicker repair times.

Undoubtedly, the ability to manufacture parts on demand will affect inventory and logistics. MROs will no longer have to order spare parts from manufacturers and keep dozens of “just-in-case” replacement components on hand until the right clients come along. Whenever they need a product, they can just make it. This will probably cause a collapse of the entire supply chain, making part suppliers and even manufacturers vulnerable to extinction.

By eliminating the need for high-volume production, 3D printing shows its worth in terms of reducing production costs. Additionally, it increases part availability at the point of use and decreases shipping-, inventory-, and labor-related expenses. Although this brings bad news for a number of businesses, additive manufacturing will add new efficiencies to the operations of MROs and their clients. In conclusion, what additive manufacturing does is to dissolve the global supply chain, which costs MROs billions of dollars every year, re-assembling it as a local system, at a much lower cost.

In the following years, additive manufacturing will radically change the OEM and MRO environment. Analysts predict that the additive manufacturing market will grow to $16 billion by 2018. More and more companies, especially MROs, are expected to invest in 3D printers to produce parts as needed. But to achieve the forecasted outcomes, digital design software must evolve and more advanced and affordable scanners must be developed. On the other side, manufacturers must find a way to protect themselves against the negative consequences of this technology. For sure, 3D printing will tip the scales in someone’s favor. Who will be the winner? Only time will tell.

Applications for Profitable Projects



Food Manufacturing ERP

Process Manufacturing ERP: Recipes and Formulations

Process industries like food and beverage, cosmetics and specialty chemicals have had product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions for many years. These solutions rarely receive the same level of attention as those meant for discrete industries.

Things have however started changing in recent years as leading ERP manufacturers like Microsoft, through its Dynamics AX solution, focus on enabling organizations completely manage product definition, from concept to retirement.

Dynamics AX’s capabilities enable faster, more efficient and high quality manufacture of formulated products. A formulated product refers to a structure of items including the label, artwork, container or package, and the formula and recipe for a product. The product can be made in a continuous manner or in batches.

The recipe refers to the ingredients, equipment needed for production, procedures of combining the ingredients, and instructions on how to configure the equipment (e.g. a required mixing time and temperature).

The bill of materials of the process industry is the formula while the manufacturing route and related instructions is the recipe.

Process manufacturing organizations need a Process Manufacturing ERP at all stages. There are basic and specialist requirements at each stage. Microsoft Dynamics AX can be configured to manage process manufacturing requirements such as:

  • Rapid order processing for many customers and their options
  • Lot/Batch recall/traceability and management of FDA health and safety requirements
  • Own and Private label products
  • Business analytics and intelligence; from reporting to real-time events with alerting
  • Inventory planning, management and visibility
  • Product and process costing

Larger companies may require more sophisticated capabilities such as:

  • Transport and/or logistic optimization
  • Product serial number tracking
  • Advanced warehouse task management and Disaster Recovery Planning (DRP) capability
  • Automated production data collection
  • Multiple units of measure capability such as catch-weight management for pricing/costing
  • Lab systems linked to quality inspection

Benefits of Process Manufacturing ERP

Whether you are looking to replace your existing spreadsheets or are in the process of re-evaluating your existing ERP, it’s important to focus on a solution that has a strong process manufacturing foundation. The ERP should support your unique requirements with minimum customization.

Dynamics AX can help to streamline your process manufacturing through:

Production Planning

Production planning provides stability for the details capacity and material plans by ensuring access to timely information, minimizing downtime of production runs, and maximizing resource utilization. Dynamics AX can develop short-, medium- and long-term plans at the plant across multiple locations by answering key questions for planners such as what should be made, how much should be made and where it should be made.

Product Costing

Product costing enables organizations to determine standard or estimated cost rollups. Cost rollups can be determined for a single product or specification, group products or multiple specifications, or for all process specifications for a single or multiple plants.

Materials Planning

Material planning helps managers to develop production plans based on demand, current inventory levels and existing replenishment. Materials planning can determine the quantity and date when packaging supplies and ingredients will be needed after a workable production plan is produced. Planning jobs can also be created and confirmed for later transfer to manufacturing jobs.

Recipe and Formula Management

Organizations can use recipe and formula management to manage the resources required to produce a product in every stage of the manufacturing process. The formula or recipe is the basic building block for the entire manufacturing process. The two define all the resources and steps required to produce raw materials, intermediate products, and resource and labor requirements.

Other benefits of process manufacturing ERP include:

  • Automating your chargeback validation process and helping to keep tabs of regulatory compliance requirements, manage fees and rebates, non-standard pricing and high data volumes.
  • Protect your customers and brand with easy-to-use traceability solutions that can track ingredients and products from suppliers to manufacturing end-users.
  • Make informed manufacturing decisions in real-time to improve delivery performance, contain costs, increase plant throughput and enhance quality.
  • Streamline inventory management and get accurate data in real time to ensure low manufacturing costs, quicker inventory turns, faster time to market and higher quality product.
  • Maximize efficiency and utilization of organization resources to meet market demand and extend the life of significant capital assets.

The above is an overview of recipes and formulations requirements in a process manufacturing ERP.

Watch our Process Manufacturing Video in Dynamics 365 Enterprise:

Dynamics 365 Process Manufacturing Video

Dynamics 365 Process Manufacturing Video





Warehouse Management ERP

The Benefits of Warehouse Management ERP

Early inventory management systems were designed to provide basic stored item and storage location functionality. Today, modern warehouse management ERP systems can do much more, allowing companies to continuously improve their operational efficiency.

Some of the best solutions to manage warehouse operations are the warehouse management modules included in advanced ERP systems, such as Microsoft Dynamics AX. Unlike separate software applications, ERP systems employ innovative technologies that enable organizations to connect all sorts of areas to each other for better business management. Large organizations, in particular, could hardly function without this type of functionality.

Warehouse Management Goes Beyond Day-to-Day Warehouse Operations

With solutions like Dynamics AX, companies can easily centralize a series of tasks, such as tracking stock locations, checking inventory levels, and monitoring picking and packing activities. Here is what complex warehouse management modules, such as the one included in Dynamics AX, can do for your company:

Warehouse Management ERP

  • Efficient storage administration – New warehouse management functionality permits important indicators to be monitored within the ERP framework. As a result, complex warehouse operations can be easily managed and optimized. The latest modules include radio frequency technology, integrated shipping, work-in-progress tracking, batch and serial number management, returns management, and many other features, indicating a new standard for warehouse operational transparency and accuracy within a facility. Focusing on real-time stock control, special functionality has been added to allow manufacturers to identify exactly what is in a warehouse and balance the inventories of multiple storage facilities at any given time.
  • Increased productivity – A complex warehouse management ERP system with advanced warehouse management functionality can help you get more out of your activities. Operatives will complete more tasks during the same time frame, which means better availability, quicker turnarounds, and higher return on investment.
  • Lower costs – An ERP system not only simplifies warehouse operations (e.g. your workers will be able to verify inventory levels without doing any physical checks, managers can coordinate activities with just a few clicks, etc.); it also ensures greater accuracy. There is always a risk of data redundancy when multiple separate systems are used. This can lead to errors that will cost you money. With Dynamics AX, on the other side, information is updated in real time across the entire company, so there are no discrepancies that may cause errors. Eliminating errors and rework will lower your operational costs.
  • Customization – Another important strong point of Dynamics AX is the possibility to choose modules and customize them to better fit your operations. For instance, you can choose to integrate the warehouse management module with the quality control module to prevent storing the items that have not passed the quality test in the warehouse. Specific features can be enabled to use cross-docking functionality, set up company policies for sales and transfer orders to and from warehouses, allocate batch/lot numbers for better warehouse management, etc. More modules and features can be added later on, as needed.
  • Better customer service – Having a sophisticated warehouse management ERP solution in place can help ensure that you always have sufficient quantities of products in stock. As shown above, it can also help reduce redundancies, errors, and rework, which will result in better customer service.

One of the most important things for a manufacturer is customer satisfaction. One way to make your customers happy is to embark on process-improvement initiatives. In many cases, this means the implementation of a cutting-edge ERP solution that includes innovative technologies to help companies improve customer service without increasing operating costs.

Despite what many manufacturers think, using two or more systems cannot help a company streamline its processes and achieve better outcomes. Instead, a fully integrated, end-to-end ERP solution including warehouse management functionality can provide companies with tangible, repeatable results quickly, results that will translate into significant cost savings and more business over the long run.


MRO WEBINAR



MRO Manufacturing ERP

5 Ways Manufacturing ERP Can Improve Product Quality

Manufacturing ERP systems provide multiple quality management tools that discrete and process manufacturers can use to optimize their processes and deliver high-quality products at competitive price levels. The quality modules included in most ERP packages are fully configurable, allowing users to implement quality control functionality in flexible ways, by simply enabling or disabling a wide variety of features and parameters.

Do you wonder how an ERP system can help with product quality management? If yes, below are five ways you can use such a system to improve the quality of your products.

Manufacturing ERP

  1. Address variations: Manufacturing variations, ranging from ingredient, recipe, and formula to temperature, humidity, ventilation, and pressure variations, can greatly affect product quality. Not only ERP systems allow manufacturers to monitor and keep variations within definite limits, they also facilitate real-time equipment monitoring, machinery analysis, and remote data acquisition to ensure the best quality possible. By configuring ERP systems to track all variations, send alerts before deviations exceed preset values, and automatically take certain corrective actions, you can expect to manufacture higher quality products over time.
  2. Plan: Product quality starts with a plan. Using a manufacturing ERP solution to develop a quality plan will ensure that all of your employees will follow the same route, from raw material procurement throughout production to delivery. Additionally, new ERP features and functions have been developed to block inventory during and after the planning phase, allowing you to reserve the resources required (e.g. materials, documents, sampling, instruments, areas, etc.) and prevent the use of non-approved inventory. Manufacturers can also include in their plans various requirements, ranging from certificates of conformance, product specifications, employee IDs, and transaction IDs to other details essential to achieve a certain quality level.
  3. Ensure data accuracy: Manufacturing high-quality products consistently is impossible without timely, accurate, and complete ERP data. Since end products reflect any quality issues that may arise during the manufacturing process, capturing and synchronizing information as accurately as possible, while new data is added, is critical to ensure that you’re regularly meeting certain quality criteria and regulatory standards. Thanks to advanced ERP systems, collecting and accessing accurate, sufficient information is no longer a challenge for manufacturers.
  4. Manage documents: When it comes to product quality, document management is another important aspect. Manufacturing ERP packages allows users to attach files to projects and reports. For instance, a manager will be able to attach PDFs, Word documents, Excel reports, PowerPoint presentations, images, and other documents to projects and work orders to offer more insight into product specifications, bills of materials, recipes, formulas, inventory, etc. Since data accuracy has a significant influence on operating efficiency, having a system that allows you manage documents efficiently and maintains data integrity when transferring information between applications can help you improve the quality of your products.
  5. Test: ERP systems can also be used to define quality guidelines, predefine tests for materials and finished products, create quality orders that specify the tests that must be performed for particular products, record multiple test results and then compare them against predefined values. When managing nonconforming materials or products, manufacturers can create nonconformance reports and orders, include explanatory notes, link nonconformance orders to each other to identify and explore interconnections between quality issues, and estimate additional costs resulting from nonconformances. In addition, the top ERP solutions enable companies to track issues back to their origins, select the best solutions to problems, manage turnaround times for nonconforming products, connect test results to adequate preventive or corrective actions, and even schedule automated tasks to correct certain problems.

Identifying items with quality problems is essential for a company preoccupied with improving product quality. But more important than this is to determine and understand the underlying sources of quality issues. The fact that most manufacturing ERP systems give manufacturers access to critical information relating to the sources of quality problems, allowing them not only to determine whether a nonconformance was due to wrong work order number, poor-quality materials, defect codes, or wrong recipes or formulas but also to prevent future recurrences, is what makes these software solutions truly valuable.

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