Process Manufacturing ERP

Points To Consider When Looking For A Process Manufacturing ERP

The Internet abounds with hundreds of blog posts trying to persuade manufacturers to invest in a process manufacturing ERP solution. Regardless of how hard ERP developers and vendors try to convince manufacturing companies that an ERP system could be the best investment for them, a manufacturer should never make a final decision before asking the right questions. What questions are we talking about?

To begin with, do you, as a process manufacturer, really need an ERP system? Can it help you improve productivity and quality, meet regulatory standards, and serve customers better? Are there any factors you should consider when choosing ERP software? By examining these questions, with a focus on the elements any process manufacturer should take into account when selecting an ERP solution, you’ll be able to develop a really shortlist of ERP alternatives.

Process Manufacturing ERP: Points to Consider

Since process manufacturing is very different from discrete manufacturing, opting for an ERP solution especially developed for process manufacturing environments, including engineer-to-order, make-to-order, make-to-stock, configure-to-order, and assemble-to-order, can help better control the areas that matter most for your company, such as recipes and formulas, bills of materials, production flow rates, product and process design, testing, traceability, scheduling, and cost allocation along with seamless integration, real-time visibility, and instant user access.

Process Manufacturing Worker

The comprehensiveness and configurability of the solution are two essential aspects for any process manufacturer. Though most process manufacturing ERP systems are developed to meet a wide range of business requirements, writing down what is absolutely necessary and what is optional for your company will help you choose an ERP solution that provides exactly the features you need to optimize and streamline your operations. Additionally, a highly configurable ERP system will allow you to efficiently manage unique practices, processes, and requirements, while tracking profits and losses.

To achieve the best outcomes, it’s imperative that the system meets the requirements of your industry vertical. Not only such a system will allow you to eliminate costly customizations later on; it will also reduce the likelihood of errors and unanticipated consequences.

The deployment model is another critical point for a process manufacturer. Most ERP vendors offer customers the flexibility to choose between two delivery options: on-premise and cloud-based ERP software. An on-premise ERP solution is perfect for companies that already have an in-house hosting environment and the technical capacity to support, control, and maintain a complex system. Cloud ERP solutions, on the other side, are ideal for organizations that lack the necessary IT infrastructure and staff to manage such systems. In this case, the software, updates, and applications are managed entirely by the vendor in exchange for a monthly fee. The choice between these two deployment models isn’t that difficult if specific factors, including workforce mobility, system scalability and integration, and pricing model, are taken into account.

When you’re choosing an ERP solution, it’s also important to consider the vendor. By working closely with an experienced ERP vendor, you’ll have all the support you need during and after system implementation. When unexpected errors occur or misunderstandings arise, having an expert by your side is critical. Stability, market presence in region, past successes, expertise, adaptability, and innovation are important considerations to ponder when selecting your vendor.

After a careful planning, prioritization, and in-depth analysis of process manufacturing ERP options, it’s time to select the right system for your company. Dynamics AX is one of the best ERP solutions you can find. For years, AX has been seen as one of most flexible systems that can be easily optimized for any process manufacturing company, regardless of whether it operates on a local or global scale. And that’s because the inner workings of Dynamics AX have been especially developed to match recipe- and formula-based manufacturing environments.

Whether manufacturing to order or to stock, Dynamics AX provides all the features you may need to plan, execute, control, and track the output, while maximizing resource utilization, streamlining business processes, and driving superior performance. Furthermore, as a complete process manufacturing ERP solution, AX focuses on operational efficiency and ensures visibility throughout the entire supply chain along with seamless integration in any process manufacturing environment, enabling process manufacturers to respond quickly to shifting market conditions.


Food and Beverage Distribution software



Food Processing Software

Food Processing Software: Changes & Challenges

Food processing software implementation can be a harrowing experience for any food manufacturer, the go-live phase being considered the most difficult part in the entire process. One reason for this is that most food processing companies opt for the “big bang” go-live method, which involves rolling out all the modules and moving all the departments to the new system at the same time.

Food Processing Softwaqre

Unlike “parallel” and “phased” go-live approaches, the “big bang” method allows manufacturers to avoid repetitive disruptions in the production process, helping them prevent significant financial loss. Though this approach makes sense for most food processing companies, it’s riskier than the other two alternatives. Since the go-live phase can be scheduled well in advance between two production cycles, potential risks don’t relate to recurring downtime, but to:

  • Inability to revert to the old system if something goes wrong – Within several hours after a new food processing software solution goes live, reverting to the original system is no longer a viable option. Additionally, since we’re talking about fully integrated software, there is a high risk of damaging the whole company, as specific failures in some parts of the system can affect other areas, paralyzing the entire business activity.
  • Loss of critical business data – Exactly what data is migrated to the new system along with the level of detail represents a critical aspect for a food manufacturer. Recipes along with formulations in which the type and amount of ingredients vary based on the desired output, bills of materials, customer and supplier information, pricing data, open transactions, beginning balances, routings, conversion factors, and historical data, including sales history, are vital elements not only for the success of an ERP implementation initiative, but also for business continuity. Since data migration can be done following a “phased” approach, the vendor implementing the software can opt for a multiple-stage migration process, each phase being tested separately to ensure data accuracy.
  • Difficulty to perform end-to-end testing – If the individual components of a food processing software solution don’t work well together, the system won’t operate satisfactorily. During the “phased” approach, the vendor can test the system after each phase of the implementation process and address errors gradually. Conversely, the “big bang” approach is more complex, requiring vendors to perform end-to-end testing and fix a large number of issues that may arise simultaneously, which may cause implementation failure.

The main problem with the “big bang” approach is that most issues are usually detected after the go-live date, when food manufacturers start to run new production batches. Since no go-live is perfect, this bold initiative may result in unplanned downtime, with perishable ingredients ending up in the dumpster and huge operating costs added to the production process.

Kellogg Had Three; Hershey Had One

What are we talking about? In short, food processing software implementation failures. Learning from failed implementations is one of the best things food manufacturing CIOs can do to identify potential problems and prevent their initiatives from falling short of expectations.

What did Kellogg and Hershey do wrong? While Kellogg opted for a heavily customized system, which not only demanded intense and costly maintenance but also prevented the company from taking advantage of full system functionality, Hershey’s execs decided to cut the implementation time-frame from 48 to 30 months. The result? Kellogg needed to create a new IT environment from scratch and choose another ERP software solution; Hershey lost multiple orders, totaling $100 million.

How can you ensure a successful food processing software implementation? Here are a few takeaways:

  • plan and schedule the entire implementation process, including the go-live phase;
  • never cut corners; though taking shortcuts may save you time in the short run, it could cost you a lot if unforeseen system errors occur;
  • get ready for testing and downtime associated;
  • choose the right vendor, who really understands your business and can walk you through each stage of the implementation process.





ETO Software

5 Points To Consider When Searching For ETO Software

In an earlier post, we discussed six points ETO manufacturers should consider when searching for ETO software. Although it may seem easy, finding the right software solution for an ETO environment is actually a time-consuming, difficult process.

Unlike traditional manufacturers, who are usually preoccupied with producing better products by fine tuning certain repetitive processes, ETO manufacturers face a variety of unique challenges, which put a lot of responsibility on operations managers. To manage ETO environments efficiently and reduce cost overruns, which are significantly higher in the ETO sector than in traditional manufacturing, manufacturers need native ETO software solutions, which can be integrated seamlessly into organizations. In continuation to our previous blog post, here are five more points to consider when choosing an ERP solution for ETO manufacturing.

ETO Software

  1. Flexibility: ETO companies are no longer required to implement massive, complex, and costly one-size-fits-all software solutions. Today, they can find dedicated, fully integrated yet flexible ERP systems, which provide all the tools an ETO manufacturer may need to meet industry-specific requirements for project visibility and control. As ETO manufacturers must synchronize a variety of processes, from the acquisition phase to production scheduling and shipping, in order to ensure compliance with customer specifications, work more efficiently, and reducing waste, a series of agile ETO software solutions have been developed to allow manufacturers add more functions and applications as new requirements arise.
  2. Visibility: An effective ETO system should provide real-time visibility into all operations to facilitate engineering and production tracking along with the pro-active management of various areas, including product and process design, scheduling, quality, etc. Since full process traceability is critical for competitive planning in high-precision manufacturing environments like ETO, you should look for an ETO solution with advanced tracking features, which can trace flow paths upstream and downstream from any point. These features can help minimize and even eliminate many issues, including inefficient order flows, missing inventory, late and inaccurate deliveries, and even non-recoverable expenses, which often translate into profit margin disappointments.
  3. Planning: ETO operations are inherently complex processes. This means that they cannot be managed with traditional production planning and scheduling systems. Since ETO processes require time-efficient planning and monitoring along with exception-handling tools, specialized software solutions focus especially on the pain points that most ETO manufacturers complain about, making available advanced alerts for execution deviations, planning alternatives, capacity or duration requirements, etc.
  4. Deployment model: Not only ETO software implementation and maintenance can be a nightmare for in-house IT teams; costs will also be higher for organizations. Therefore, anticipating and understanding the effects a specific deployment model can have on your entire business is critical to prevent various issues that may lead to costly disruptions. As you may already know, a cloud deployment model provides one of the best software alternatives for ETO manufacturers not only because it delivers a cost-effective, comprehensive suite of business applications, but also because it supports continuous adjustment and improvement. Additionally, cloud-based solutions can be customized and configured for each manufacturer.
  5. Performance: A very important aspect for an ETO manufacturer is that cloud-based solutions make integration with other applications faster and easier. With a cloud system, any engineer can accomplish more in less time, regardless of whether he’s closer to engineering design or to manufacturing processes. Thanks to the advanced features and interfaces included in the latest ETO software products, engineers can now steer projects across different departments, create custom designs without using complicated codes – now, this can be done by simply selecting, dragging, and dropping certain elements – and then adapt designs almost instantly to changing customer needs.

Any ETO manufacturer whose top priority is a high return on investment already knows that profit is partially realized from process enhancements resulting from effective ETO software. But choosing the right ETO solution for your organization can be a daunting task, even if you’ve learnt the aforementioned points by heart. If the wrong system is chosen, costly workarounds that need to be instituted to correct deficiencies may bury your business; conversely, if the right system is selected, chances are that you’ll be able to exceed expectations. This will help you conquer new markets and expand your business beyond geographic borders.





Food Processing ERP

Food Processing ERP: Formulas and Recipes

To remain competitive in the coming decades, food processing manufacturers must find new, more efficient ways to transform raw materials into sellable products, while meeting a wide range of requirements. For this, they need complex food processing ERP solutions, which combine planning and reporting capabilities with industry-specific formula, recipe, tracking, and control functionality. By using advanced capabilities, process manufacturers can easily and effectively manage all the variables required to control manufacturing life cycles, gain visibility into business activities, drive continuous improvements, optimize production, manufacture high-quality products, and comply with the latest regulations and standards.

Food Processing ERP

Formula and Recipe Functionality: Is It Important?    

The unique characteristics of the food processing industry have determined developers to create software products that can manage niche-specific requirements. Single software solutions, such as Microsoft Dynamics AX, can help process manufacturers handle a series of operations, formulas, recipes, extractions, chemical reactions, and many other factors necessary to successfully convert raw materials into final products. Since recipes and formulas include more variations than regular bills of materials, Dynamics AX has become an indispensable tool for food processing manufacturers. As a food processing ERP solution, AX can help you with:

  • Recipe and formulation management – Since recipes and formulations are unique to food processing, manufacturing process management used to pose significant challenges for food and beverage companies. But this is no longer the case. Dynamics AX includes features that manufacturers can use to manage standard, adjusted-as-planned, and adjusted-as-produced recipes, substitute ingredients, formulate products to individual specifications, break down recipes into interim production stages, calculate costs based on ingredients and recipes, view formulations as tables, graphics, or charts, track batch execution, verify and validate compliance requirements, and create and filter reports by ingredient, formula, recipe, batch, stock, and production yield.
  • Production control – Formula and recipe functions included in advanced food processing software can help manufacturers control inventory items and handle different units of measure to optimize production. Since raw materials are usually measured by weight or volume, including different ingredients in a recipe can cause variances in production. To eliminate variances, Dynamics AX has been complemented with conversion factors that convert quantities from one unit of measure to another. The system can also be set up to track ingredients and make them available exactly when they’re required. Using ingredients before their expiration dates can help reduce waste.
  • Batch optimization – Dynamics AX is one of the few food processing ERP solutions that allow you to plan and produce goods against preset batch sizes, which will increase manufacturing yields. Additionally, it enables users to reserve raw materials for specific dates and restrict certain processes. For instance, newly received inventory may be available for viewing, planning, and reservations but put on hold from shipping. New features also facilitate automatic quantity adjustments based on the active ingredients used in recipes. This way, manufacturers can ensure that the right concentrations of ingredients are used in all products.
  • Competitive advantage – Unlike other manufacturers, food processing companies gain a competitive advantage especially through their formulas and recipes. Having a reliable food processing ERP system to control production, reduce costs and lead times, minimize risks, increase profitability, bring products to market faster than before, and efficiently deal with economic pressures and their consequences can help you achieve a competitive position in your niche.

Finally, food and beverage companies have a complex ERP system that fits their unique requirements. Designed with industry-specific capabilities, including advanced recipe and formula functions,  Dynamics AX is one of the few food processing ERP solutions ready to help food processing manufacturers handle variability, adjust ingredients, quantities, and production phases according to the specifications of each product, manage inventory items based on expiration dates, speed up production processes, calculate costs and define yields, track batches and lots, and meet government regulations to produce consistently quality goods and remain competitive.





Texas Manufacturing

The Price of Oil And It’s Impact On Texas Manufacturing

A report issued by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas on Monday, 29 December 2014, showed that the overall manufacturing activity in Texas has slowed down. Though the general business activity index was expected to come in at 9, it only moved up to 4.1, losing more than 6 percent in one month. The decline in crude oil prices seems to be one of the factors contributing to decreased business activity. But according to the same report, the factory activity picked up from 6 to 15.8, with most manufacturers remaining optimistic despite oil price downturn.

Based on data collected between December 15 and 29, with the capacity utilization index climbing from 9.8 to 12.4, the shipments index rising to 19.6, the wage and benefit index rising from 23.9 to 25.1, and the future company outlook index edging up to 24.1, industry watchers have concluded that the fall in oil prices cannot drastically affect Texas manufacturing, at least for the moment.

Oil Price Will Continue to Drop: Is Texas a Winner or a Loser?

Oil prices decreasing continuously since June have raised fears among business executives and analysts. Falling oil prices after a financial crisis could lead to economic nightmares, especially in oil-producing states, such as Texas and North Dakota.

Texas Manufacturing

Considering the consequences, it’s understandable that people are worried. Although not all the jobs and money come directly from the oil industry, analysts affirm that any drop in the oil price could lead to an unbalanced local economy – a concern that has been felt more acutely in Texas. For the moment, the falling price of crude oil hasn’t impacted manufacturers. But the question is: Will the 40-percent drop affect Texas manufacturing in the long run?

Not necessarily. In fact, perceptions about economic conditions and future factory activity continue to improve. Furthermore, manufacturers operating in different sectors have already confirmed that the drop in oil price hasn’t impacted their production schedules. While falling oil prices will significantly affect certain areas of the economy (e.g. organizations that have financed speculative drilling), the problems will most likely be outweighed by lower energy prices and cheaper gas for consumers. Assuming oil prices will stay low, people will spend less on gasoline, which will give them more money to spend on other things. As stated by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) and Dallas Fed, increasing purchasing power will revive the economy, positively impacting all sectors, including Texas manufacturing.

While low oil prices are excellent news for consumers, they have a severe impact on areas highly reliant on oil sales. According to international reports, many countries around the globe, including Russia, Iran, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, and the US, could face serious problems if the price drop lasts a long time, regardless of how well prepared they are.

Additionally, if high gasoline prices have encouraged investments in smaller, more efficient cars, large gas-guzzling SUVs could make a comeback as a result of the drop-off in gasoline prices; this will negatively affect all the pro-environment measures we’ve implemented thus far.

If oil stays below $60 per barrel, most drillers will cancel or scale back drilling, or try to cut down costs and keep drilling. It’s impossible to predict where oil prices will bottom out, but the U.S. EIA expects oil production to rise by 700,000 barrels a day in 2015, which is quite low compared with more than 1 million barrels a day in 2014.

Despite oil price crash, oil production will continue everywhere in the world until it makes no sense to drill anymore. The lowest price oil can be produced in the US is $50 per barrel. With oil falling below $54 per barrel last week, we’re close to the critical threshold.

Analysts and manufacturers believe that lower oil prices won’t have a significant adverse impact on overall manufacturing operations; however, unanticipated consequences can generate new problems. Therefore, it’s no wonder that most businesspeople remain cautious over concerns about low oil prices. Since we’ve seen decreasing prices for several months now, it’s time for the companies operating within Texas manufacturing sector to find a way to adapt to this reality, regardless of how incredible and implausible it seems.






ERP Accounting Software

ERP Accounting Software: Preventing Fraud

A recent audit performed in response to allegations of embezzlement at the University of Louisville has revealed a steep rise in fraud and misuse of funds. Over the past few years, several personalities, including former dean of education Robert Felner, executive director Perry Vaughn, and equine program coordinator Alisha Ward, have been convicted of mail fraud, wire fraud, tax evasion, money laundering, theft, and bribery in a number of federal programs.

Hacker and virus concept

Since all these could have been easily prevented by strengthening disbursement controls, performing regular audits, standardizing policies, and keeping an eye on university bank accounts and vendor contracts, indifference combined with lack of action is actually the factor that has discredited the university.

ERP Accounting Software: Fraud Detection and Prevention

Organizations rarely comment on fraud-related topics, even though it’s well known that, on average, fraud costs companies millions of dollars annually. Some common tricks unscrupulous employees use to defraud organizations include manipulation of payment files sent to banks; modification of client names, addresses, and payment information; creation and approval of fictitious vendors, refunds, and purchase orders; overcharged hours or workloads; and selling sensitive information to third parties.

According to auditors and analysts, opting for an ERP accounting software system is one of the best ways to detect, diagnose, and investigate cases involving the abuse of the accounting system, while preventing fraudulent conversions of any sort. Over the years, a number of advanced ERP solutions have been developed to help organizations do all these and even avoid non-compliance relating to lack of regulatory knowledge. Here is how an ERP system can assist an organization in mitigating fraud and non-compliance issues.

  • Audit Tracking: Unlike manual systems, in which documentation can “get lost” or be replaced without a trace, an ERP system can be set up to issue comprehensive activity reports, grant users access to transaction history, verify external data sources, display time/date/user identification data, and integrate reporting with other features. With special functions, users can look up cash transactions and even drill back to source documents.
  • Alerts: Alerts on certain fields can also be set up so that you’ll be notified about any changes made. For instance, you can customize the system to send alerts whenever names, addresses, and banking details on client accounts are changed. Additional tools, such as the FIM (file integrity monitoring) and IDS (intrusion detection system) included in Dynamics AX, notify system administrators of any irregularities in file integrity and network access.
  • Access Restriction: Another useful function included in most ERP accounting software solutions is user access restriction. Enforcing segregation of duties along with strict authorization mechanisms throughout workflows, an ERP system will prohibit fraudsters from performing operations they aren’t authorized to do. Even if an employee has the authority to add a new vendor or change payment information, for example, someone in authority, such as the CFO, must review and approve all requests. ERP technology can be also be used to automate electronic fund transfers, which will eliminate the risks associated with using checks. Besides improving internal controls, an ERP system can help you follow industry-specific regulations, laws, and practices.

Advanced ERP solutions can make a huge difference in preventing incorrect and fraudulent activity. However, it’s critical to keep in mind that even the best software products have vulnerabilities that a cunning fraudster can take advantage of. Thus, besides using a reliable ERP system, specific preventive measures should be implemented, such as installing a CCTV system, advanced locking solutions, or authentication technology (e.g. ID badge, fingerprint, or retina recognition software).

Moreover, risk management should be considered a top priority during ERP implementations. Analyzing business risks and configuring the application to address and solve those risks will not only prevent accidental and deliberate losses down the road, but also help with management documentation and regulatory compliance.

Another thing you need to do is to make your employees more responsible for maintaining internal control. By combining advanced ERP accounting software technology with the professionalism of your employees and appropriate policies, you’ll create a strong control system that can help you detect, eliminate, and prevent fraudulent user activity at all levels.





Financial Management Solution

Microsoft Dynamics NAV: A Budget Planning and Financial Management Solution

In today’s competitive business world, organizations need flexible financial management solutions that can be integrated with other applications and data stores for improved functionality. Integration gives management an optimal platform for operating the business by providing insight through rich reports and analytics.

 

As competition in the global marketplaces continues to increase, so do the challenges and complexities of financial management. To thrive in today’s economic pressures, companies need to utilize every advantage, including using solutions that can enhance their budget planning and financial management.

Organizations need financial management solutions that can integrate processes and data, and in turn break down artificial barriers of information silos. One of such solutions is Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

Meet Financial Challenges with Dynamics NAV

Microsoft Dynamics NAV is a proven financial management solution that can enhance an organization’s budget planning. The ERP can provide deep insight that can guide operations and strategic initiatives. Its latest upgrade, the NAV 2013, has robust modules that make financial management easier for manufacturing and distribution companies.

Dynamics NAV offers a full general ledger solution that has the basic facilities required for setting up a company and posting to the general ledger: recurring journals, value-added tax (VAT) facilities, general journal, chart of accounts and source code.

Some of the tasks that can be accomplished with Dynamics NAV include:

  • Setting up accounts in the chart accounts.
  • Viewing net changes and balances as they are continually updated.
  • Checking how journal entries can affect liquid accounts before they are posted.
  • Entering figures in the general journal in any currency.
  • Developing budgets based on business unit, project or department.
  • Creating budges in a matrix window for any defined accounting period.
  • Defining the fiscal year as beginning on any date and dividing it into accounting periods.

Users can easily customize the design of Dynamics NAV by changing the appearance of forms, creating user-specific menus and adding additional tables and fields. The ERP can also be used to automate many of the financial procedures and practices of an organization.

User can define the level of control they want by setting up business rules in Dynamics NAV. For instance, discounts and payment terms for individual vendors or customers can be specified. Moreover, users can also handle the full range of currency issues and legal requirements inherent in international trade. This includes handling business transactions in euros and reporting to the management in the currencies of their choice.

Enhanced Modules in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013

Dynamics NAV 2013 is a complete financial management solution that makes it easy to connect financial information and transactions across partner companies and international deployments. The ERP has a number of enhanced modules including:

i) Inter-Company Posting

This module enables users to manage accounting for multiple companies in the same posting process. Users can also send documents to multiple partner companies.

ii) Responsibilities Center

Through this module, users can set up cost and/or profit centers. For example, a user can be connected to a responsibility center so that only purchase and sales documents related to the user are displayed.

iii) Cost Accounting

This module provides visibility and insight into budgeted and actual costs of operations, projects, products and departments. The result is better cost control. The module synchronizes cost information with the general ledger and allocates it to different cost objects and cost centers.

Through the Cost Accounting module, users can:

  • Transfer costs from the general ledger
  • Undo allocations
  • Pre-define recurring costs allocation rules
  • Enter and post internal allocations and charges in the Costs Journal
  • Cost budgets and transfer the entries to actual entries

It is also possible to get predictions of the company’s liquid cash through the Cash Flow Forecast. The module comprises of Cash Disbursements and Cash receipts, which when used together, can show a direct flow forecast.

Maximize Financial Management with Dynamics NAV 2013

NAV 2013 delivers integrated functionalities to support solutions for a wide range of organizational needs including distribution, manufacturing, supply chain management, customer relations management, financial management and e-business.

The ERP enables users to capture, share and leverage critical business information across the company as well as with partners. The solution can be customized and more functionality added as the needs of the organization change over time.






Barcode

RFID vs. Barcode: Which One Is Right for Your Organization?

When you are looking to implement a new supply chain solution for your warehouse, you will need to decide whether to use radio frequency identification (RFID) or barcodes. Knowing how each of these two solutions work, their capabilities and limitations can help you make a more informed decision.

RFID

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

RFID are chips that are placed on products to help identify them. The chips contain all the information about the product and how it is supposed to be used. Each chip is capable of holding a vast amount of data, which makes them ideal for everyday use. For example, the chips can provide information on where a particular item is within the system, its transit route and the contents or the item.

RFID chips are made from hardened plastic, are very durable, virtually indestructible and can be stamped on nearly all kinds of materials. The chips can withstand harsh weather conditions, including extremely high temperatures.

RFID chips do not have to be manually scanned through a line-of-site system. A scanning device can be at any place within a specified distance and will still get all the data from the chips. Most systems can read up to 800 chips per second.

RFID chips are embedded in a unique way, making it impossible to copy them. This is why the technology is used in security applications such as ID cards.

Below are important highlights about RFID chips:

i) RFIDs have a high read rate. More than 100 chips can be read simultaneously.

ii) RFIDs do not require a line of sight to be read. The items can be read regardless of the direction where they are oriented. The only condition is that the items should be within a specified distance.

iii) Human capital is not required to read RFID chips. When the system is set up, it is completely automated.

iv) RFIDs have read/write capability. The chips can be read, written or modified even after being placed on items.

v) RFIDs have higher security and are made from hardened plastic that can withstand harsh conditions. The chips can still be read even in harsh environments.

vi) RFIDs are difficult to replicate. Their data can be password-protected, encrypted or have a “kill” feature than can remove the data in case of tampering.

vii) RFIDs can be used to trigger various events (for example, starting alarms, opening doors, etc.).

Barcodes

Barcodes are popular in many organizations and were the standard identification for a long time. Barcodes contain information about the place of manufacture and ingredients of an item. The information is usually encoded in the barcode and can be read through a barcode reader. Barcodes are found in almost all products in grocery stores and retail shops.

Barcodes are usually printed on a sticker that is placed on each bin. If the sticker gets dirty, it can be difficult for the reader to interpret the code. However, barcodes are easy to replace. In case a barcode is damaged or too dirty to be read, you can easily print a new one and place it on the bin.

Barcodes require line-of-site readings. An item has to be passed through a barcode reader at every phase for its information to be read.

Below are some highlights of barcodes:

i) The read rate of barcodes is very low. The chips can only be read manually, one at a time.

ii) Barcodes require a line of sight to be read. The scanners must see each item directly in the scan. Moreover, the items have to be oriented in a specific manner.

iii) Human output is required to read barcodes. Employees are required to scan each barcode.

iv) Barcodes cannot be modified or edited when stamped on an item.

v) Barcodes are not as durable as RFIDs. They can easily get damaged, removed and will fail to be read if they are greasy or dirty.

vi) The security of barcodes is low. The barcodes can be easily reproduced and even counterfeited.

vii) Barcodes cannot be used to trigger events.

When it comes to price, barcodes are cheaper than RFIDs. However, their implementation, required system scanners and manpower makes them expensive especially if you manufacture thousands of products.






Microsoft Dynamics Comparison

Microsoft Dynamics Comparison: Dynamics NAV vs. Dynamics AX

Update February 16, 2018: Since this article was published there have been changes to the Dynamics AX platform.  It’s now written in HTML 5 which means you can access it on any Internet enabled device.  It can be deployed as a software as a service (SaaS) or purchased for an on premise deployment.  Dynamics AX is now called Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations Enterprise Edition. Dynamics NAV will also be available as a SaaS or on premise solution in the 2nd quarter of 2018.  It’s name is Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations Business Edition.   This article is still very helpful but it does not include the latest features for either product.  Contact us to find out which Edition is right for your business.

Dynamics NAV and Dynamics AX deliver two fully integrated, highly scalable ERP software solutions especially designed for companies planning to expand locally or globally. How could you find out which system best suits your organization? The answer is quite simple: by checking the differences that set these products apart from each other. Below is a comprehensive Microsoft Dynamics comparison. A Dynamics NAV versus Dynamics AX review that can help make your choice.

Microsoft Dynamics Comparison

NAV versus AX: Exploring Capabilities

The main difference between these two systems relates to the size of organizations. While NAV includes capabilities appropriate for small- and mid-sized companies, AX can handle extensive operations that usually characterize large organizations. Both solutions provide features capable to support operations in different industries, ranging from manufacturing, distribution and retail to finance and service. However, for a comprehensive Microsoft Dynamics comparison of these two systems to be truly possible, we’ll focus on the functions they provide for certain business areas.

Manufacturing Management

Both systems allow organizations to improve performance by streamlining and automating different operations, tracking costs, gaining better visibility into production and supply chain, and responding quickly to changing market conditions. While Dynamics NAV offers an additional discrete manufacturing management feature, AX provides all the functions an organization may need to manage discrete, process, job shop, mixed mode and lean manufacturing.

Project Management

Focusing on project management more than Dynamics NAV, AX delivers a rich assortment of tools that you can use to efficiently handle multiple projects, regardless of how small or large they are. Assessing production capacities, scheduling and prioritizing tasks, controlling expenses, streamlining project-related accounting processes, running analyses, drafting reports and calculating ROI for each project are easy tasks with AX. NAV includes a few extra functions for managing special jobs, calculating extra costs and planning the resources needed to complete each task.

Financial Management

A Microsoft Dynamics comparison of NAV and AX would be incomplete without talking about financial management. Both systems offer accounting and financial features to help you get up-do-date, comprehensive financial information, monitor financial performance, meet regulatory requirements, reduce the time your employees spend on accounting tasks, optimize cash flow, maximize cash resources and perform multi-currency, cross-border payments between international subsidiaries.

Supply Chain Management

Dynamics NAV and AX propose a series of common supply chain management features for demand planning, warehouse and inventory management, picking and putting away, shipment and cost management, item tracking, substitution and transfer, cycle counting, purchase return order management, requisition management, campaign pricing, analysis and discount, and sales and purchase order management. AX includes a few more features that can be used to manage trade agreements along with RFID, logistics, and product development and quality. Compared to NAV, the supply chain management features included in AX are more complex, thus more suitable for handling complicated supply chain processes.

Sales, Marketing and Service Management

Organizing campaigns based on target audience, recording interactions with customers, sorting contacts into categories according to your own criteria, keeping track of sales opportunities and setting up sales and marketing activities have never been easier. But with Dynamics NAV and AX, you can complete much more, including assigning employees to work orders, managing field personnel, set up notifications, registering and prioritizing service requests, and setting up agreements and prices. Since the main role of this Microsoft Dynamics NAV versus Microsoft Dynamics AX review is to indicate the differences between these two systems, it’s imperative to know that AX includes several auxiliary features for telemarketing management, and marketing and sales force automation.

Human Resources Management

Dynamics NAV makes available functions for basic human resources management, allowing you to handle employee information, sort personnel by skills, education, and union membership, keep track of benefits and record absences. With Dynamics AX, you can complete additional tasks, among which recruiting, performance and compensation management, employee development and training administration are the most essential ones.

Matching the functionality of a system to your organization’s needs and calculating the value it could deliver are not the only things you need to do in order to get the most out of a modern ERP solution. Equally as important is finding a vendor capable to fine-tune the system for optimal performance.

If you want more information on the software and our services, we invite you to get in touch with our friendly advisers at Clients First Business Solutions.  We are a Gold ERP and CSP (Cloud Service Provider).  We focus on manufacturing, supply chain and MRO industries and implement Dynamics 365, AX, NAV and Acumatica.

Email: Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas , or call at 800.331.8382.