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.
With air travel industry developing at a faster pace than ever before, the aircraft aftermarket has attracted the attention of original equipment manufacturers or OEMs, which found new ways to meet growing demand for aircraft spare parts and components. As leading providers of aftermarket services in the aviation industry, OEMs have generated billions of dollars in revenue per year, over the past several years. To remain competitive maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) providers cultivate new ways to generate more profit. Read more
Our world is changing. And we’re not just talking about global warming, shifting demographics, and advanced technologies; we’re also talking about a new workforce slowly replacing previous generations of workers. For some industries, such as MRO, getting a new, digitally skilled aviation workforce can only mean good news. But are millennials really tech savvy? Can a “tech whiz kid” become a capable professional, who can be trusted with the lives of hundreds of people? Read more
One of the questions that organizations looking to transition or upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics AX or NAV ask is how many organizations use the ERPs. Data released from the recent Convergence 2015 conference shows that Microsoft NAV is the most popular Dynamics product. In fact, Dynamics NAV has more than double the total customers of the next most popular ERP. Read more
Nowadays, a growing number of companies are facing the choice of whether to hire an ERP service provider or not. Some of them swing between ERP consultants and systems integrators, who could help them with the ERP implementation process. However, most business owners decide to launch an ERP initiative themselves, without considering the knowledge and skill set of a specialist.
What do you think? Do you really need a high-priced ERP consultant to help you plan a new ERP deployment or upgrade an existing solution? Probably, not. Then why should you hire him? Even more important, why should you choose an ERP consultant over a software integrator? Let’s take a quick look at some points you should consider.
- Knowledge and experience: The job of an ERP consultant revolves around implementing and customizing ERP solutions. Thus, he has greater expertise than a regular systems integrator or in-house IT personnel. Additionally, an experienced consultant has managed many ERP projects. As an expert on all the aspects of ERP project management, he will be able to guide you in the selection of the right software solution for your company along with the modules and features you need for industry-specific operations. Above all these, a good consultant can tailor any ERP environment according to your needs, without disrupting your business operations. In tune with both the ERP solution he provides and your organization’s needs, the consultant can also offer your employees the training they need to exploit the system beyond its apparent potential.
- Support: Frequently, ERP consultants develop proprietary code, hotfixes, work-arounds, and utilities that make ERP implementations go smoothly and quickly, while improving the entire IT infrastructure. Most of them also provide post-implementation support. Though you have to pay for support services, a reliable consultant will be there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, ready to help you avoid, address, and solve a series of issues that can “derail” your company. Compared to what you stand to lose in case of prolonged downtime, it’s worth spending money on support.
- Biased decisions: Since most ERP consultants provide specific products and services, many of them will try to steer you into a specific product line. However, a true professional will analyze your business and tell you whether or not the ERP product he provides matches your needs. Some ERP consultants looking to build trust go even further. Putting customers’ interests above their own, they recommend the most appropriate ERP system for each company, even if this means sending customers to the competition.
Since we’re talking about trust, an honest ERP consultant will always explain the implications of a sizeable ERP initiative so that the business owner or the manager in charge of the project can allocate enough resources to ensure a successful system implementation. In addition, he will provide detailed information about the modules and features you can benefit from, indicating clearly what the system can and cannot do. He will also help project initiators decide what’s best for the company. In a nutshell, an honest consultant can help you get the right ERP system for your business instead of a “parasite” that will deplete your resources.
Most business owners and managers running day-to-day operations think they know their businesses. But what they don’t know is that choosing an ERP solution requires much more than understanding business processes. An ERP consultant, on the other hand, can accelerate the deployment process, minimize ERP risks, and offer a fresh vision that recognizes the complexity of process-oriented environments. All these points are extremely important for a company planning to adopt fully integrated business software and increase the value of its ERP undertaking. Though any ERP project requires a consultant’s input at some stage, careful research and consideration will help minimize your company’s exposure to potential drawbacks.
Given the above, it all boils down to one question: do you want a systems integrator who can help you implement a piece of software, or an ERP consultant who can turn a simple ERP implementation into an on-going success and positive revenue experience? The choice is yours, but don’t forget that choosing one over the other will make the difference between success and failure.
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 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 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.
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:
Since 2010, Texas has continued to attract more manufacturing partnerships, multi-billion dollar investments, and skilled workforce than any other state. The success of the manufacturing sector in this state is thanks, in part, to the stable pro-business environment, low taxes, excellent transportation infrastructure, and competent labor force. The support received from MROs and advanced manufacturing facilities have also helped Texas to become a leading manufacturing state in the US.
Making available innovative technologies, complex MRO software solutions help MROs to improve processes, increase productivity, and cut costs. Unsurprisingly, technology innovation has become the centerpiece of economic development efforts, especially in the southern states.
Achieve Service Excellence with MRO Software
Carrying out a wide variety of maintenance and repair operations, MROs support the manufacturing sector by keeping manufacturing plants running at peak performance. But more important than this is that maintenance, repair, and overhaul efforts are dependent on advanced MRO software.
Set to make continuous investments in innovative MRO solutions, such as Microsoft Dynamics AX, a number of companies operating in Texas are ready to defeat their competitors across the US. With Dynamics AX, any organization can efficiently manage global operations, which translates into higher annual revenues. Specifically, Dynamics AX allows MROs to:
- integrate the top floor with the plant floor to gain more insight into operations, identify where improvements can be made, and streamline all maintenance and repair activities to increase operational stability;
- optimize supply chains by determining where exactly specific pieces of equipment, components, and parts must be relocated for the best results to be achieved;
- accurately gather, process, and manage a large amount of data from different sources;
- gain a competitive edge over business rivals by responding to complex challenges in real time;
- rapidly change any aspect of MRO operations, according to company-specific needs, customer demands, and market opportunities;
- achieve the kind of flexibility and responsiveness needed to improve service quality, boost productivity, reduce costs, and secure a strong position in the MRO sector;
- bring new, competitive service offerings (e.g. performing repair tasks at clients’ locations) to the market faster than the competition, which will give any MRO company the opportunity to create and capture more value in emerging markets;
- ensure optimal utilization of resources and reduce downtime by simply predicting and planning maintenance events ;
- streamline business operations by collaborating effectively with partners, suppliers, and customers;
- benefit from advanced MRO software applications, which enable companies to keep up with the rapid changes of the MRO sector and offer greater value to customers.
With Dynamics AX, a MRO company can make proactive decisions that maximize productivity and prevent breakdown scenarios. Tight integration with existing software solutions eliminates the need to run and maintain multiple separate systems, which enables superior control over teams, work orders, resource allocation, equipment, parts, and costs.
Once Dynamics AX is set up, information starts to flow seamlessly across all modules, in real time. As a result, any maintenance and repair activities can be scheduled accurately; work orders, equipment, parts, personnel, and downtime can be reserved based on up-to-date information; tasks are performed according to a predefined process so that no jobs will be skipped; available resources can be displayed by location, job type, capacity, etc.; and reports can be created at individual (project, equipment, parts, materials, etc.) levels.
Assessing the Impact
The number of southern states investing in advanced manufacturing, maintenance, repair, and overhaul technologies is growing continuously, bringing significant economic benefits to the entire region. As an example, South Carolina has received substantial foreign investments, Tennessee has become famous for its multiple auto-assembly plants, and Georgia has successfully reshored a variety of manufacturing operations back from overseas.
However, Texas is the only state winning gold in most economic categories. That’s because a high number of MROs currently operating in Texas have invested in advanced MRO software solutions. By placing innovation in maintenance, repair, and overhaul among their highest priorities, MRO companies support all manufacturing industry sectors, ranging from food processing to aerospace and defense.
Microsoft Dynamics AX, Dynamics SL, Dynamics GP and Dynamics NAV are leading enterprise solutions tailored for different industries. Many organizations depend on one or more of the four product lines in their daily operations.
When organizations need a new ERP system, the costs of installing or upgrading is something that must be carefully considered. However, did you know that if you already use one of the MS Dynamics products you qualify for full investment credit if you upgrade to a different Dynamics system? The credit is offered as part of Microsoft Dynamics enhancement plan and is referred to as the Product Line Transition.
Companies upgrading ERP from Dynamics SL or Dynamics GP to Dynamics AX or Dynamics NAV can taking advantage of this promotion from Microsoft and save on their new installations. The promotion applies for various transitions, including:
- Product Line Transition: Move from Dynamics SL or Dynamics GP to Dynamics NAV or Dynamics AX and get full investment credit for the cost of the original ERP purchase.
- Edition Transition: Changing your Dynamics AX (or other Dynamics ERP product) edition. For example, upgrading Dynamics AX R2 to Dynamics AX R3.
- License Model Transition: Changing from the Module Based Licensing model to the Business Ready Licensing model, within Dynamics AX (or other MS Dynamics ERP product).
There are a number of reasons why it may be necessary to transition to Dynamics NAV or Dynamics AX. One reason is functionality. While all Dynamics ERP products are solid financial systems, their capabilities are tailored for particular industries. For example, upgrades on Dynamics SL have in the recent years focused on project accounting features, which are best suited for companies in the service industry. If your core business is manufacturing or distribution, Dynamics AX will be a better system to use.
Dynamics AX may not only be a better fit for your organization in terms of functionality, but you can also save on cost by taking advantage of product transition credit. When you switch to Dynamics NAV or Dynamics AX from either Dynamics SL or Dynamics GP, you will receive a full investment credit for the value of your new system to use toward the license cost of the software you are transitioning from.
Benefits of Upgrading to Dynamics AX or Dynamics NAV
To ensure a successful transition, it’s important to worki with a Microsoft Certified partner that has experience with Dynamics AX or Dynamics NAV installation. The partner should also be able to help replace your CRM system to take advantage of Dynamics AX and NAV integration to Dynamics CRM.
Some benefits of upgrading to Dynamics AX include:
a) Increase growth without adding staff
Dynamics AX helps to improve efficiency and output in the organization without increasing costs. As a result, organizations can realize an increase in the volume of transactions and the bottom line.
b) More efficient processes
The order entry process in Dynamics AX is extremely efficient. You can document the time it takes to process orders and drill down on areas where wastage can be eliminated. By having accurate information, you can tell a customer exactly what’s available in store and when it can be shipped out.
c) Flexible for your organization
After Dynamics AX has been installed, you will not have to modify your workflow and procedures to fit the software. The software is made flexible to fit your organization’s present and changing needs. The ERP is also user friendly and does not have a steep learning curve.
d) Integration with Dynamics CRM
You can provide the sales team with the information they need by using Dynamics CRM integrated with Dynamics AX. For instance, the team can view customer information, including pricing directly in Dynamics AX.
e) Better reporting through Excel
Dynamics AX integrates with various Microsoft products, including Excel. The ERP implementation partner can configure AX to generate data directly into Excel in the format that the management wants. This will not only reduce time that employees would have spent on creating reports, but also save you money.
Working with a Microsoft Certified Partner when upgradig from Dynamics SL or GP to Dynamics AX or NAV is crucial to the long term success of your organization.
One of the basic features of the ProMRO module available for Microsoft Dynamics AX is the Project Quick Create. The Project Quick Create feature makes it easy for users to get started with projects in only a few clicks of the mouse. With this feature, users can create projects, contracts, work orders and invoices by only clicking a single button.
The Project Quick Create is based on a pre-configured template tailored for the needs of organizations in the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul industry. To get started, users have to enter the correct information of the task they want to accomplish on the ProMRO module.
Creating a Project in ProMRO
Follow these steps to get started with Project Quick Create:
- To create a new project, navigate to the ProMRO area and select Project Details. The Project Details window will be displayed.
- Navigate to the top menu of the Project details and under Quick Functions, click the New Project A new project pre-filled with name of business relation, description and customer PO will be created.
Next, set the customer due date on the date selection display pop up and click OK.
- The next step is to add the value on the Equipment ID. Click the drop down arrow to select the ID.
- You can also add the details of the customer to Equipment. Enter the details of the customer on the pop up dialog box after setting the Equipment ID. Make sure you check the Prompt for Engineering Value box.
When done, click OK to exit the dialog box.
- If you checked the Prompt for Engineering Value box, the Engineering Value screen will appear. On the screen, you can set the engineering test values for the equipment. Generally, you would have to work with another system or a spreadsheet to coordinate the test values of the equipment. The reference will be attached directly to the invoice, contract and quote throughout the project, allowing you to refer to it at any time without the need to look at a spreadsheet for additional assistance.
- Close the screen after setting all the Engineering values.
The next step is to set the values for the Estimate Center, Work Center and Person Responsible for the equipment.
- When done, click the Services tab on the bottom half of the Project MRO screen. To fill the values in the Service ID fields, enter the service or choose an available service from the drop down arrow. The only services you can choose are those already available at the Estimate center. However, you can use generic service names so that you can use them in other projects.
- Select the Service Profiles you want added to the project. The Service Profiles will be added with their existing line values. You can go through the values and customize them for your project. To edit a value, simply click on its column and enter the new value.
- After editing the Service Profile details to meet your requirements, click OK. A new project with the details you provided will have been created. Through the ProMRO Quick Create Process, the work order is created at the same time.
Your new project will be available on the Project Screen. You can see the details of the project by clicking on it. On the General tab, you can view the project contract and estimate project. Keep in mind that the project contract is automatically created with all the information you need by the ProMRO module when you create a Quick Project a project.
To view more details of the project, navigate through the Status, Address, Other and Dimension tabs. Click the close button to exit the screen.
You can also view the details of the Estimate project by clicking through the Overview, General, Status, Setup, Address, Dimension and ProMRO tabs. The ProMRO tab shows how all values are reference able from a single screen, including the equipment, service profile and quote. On the Equipment ID, you can drill down to specifics of the equipment, for example check whether there are customer specific details that you may have entered when creating the project.
Though Microsoft Dynamics AX has been designed specifically for manufacturing and Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) companies, advanced MRO softwaref functionality is sometimes needed to better support industry-specific operations. One of these solutions is the Work Order Quote Quick Create included in the ProMRO module, formerly referred to as Extended Project Manager (EPM). Built on top of Dynamics AX’s platform, the Work Order Quote Quick Create utilizes the technology already familiar to your staff, allowing them to develop work orders for small and large projects easily and quickly.
Improve Operational Performance with Project-Based Functionality
Managing complex work order data can be difficult, especially in a large MRO organization. To help MROs improve data accuracy, we came up with a simple yet ingenious MRO software solution that communicates with Dynamics AX in real time, facilitating accurate data flows throughout organizations. The Work Order Quote Quick Create allows MROs to:
- Eliminate errors – Fully integrated with Dynamics AX, the Work Order Quote Quick Create ensures data accuracy by requiring users to fill in detailed information about projects, including project IDs, specifications, quotes, estimates, and even customer information. This will prevent users from creating projects that lack the information needed to obtain the desired outcomes. Then, the application will automatically transfer data from the top floor to the shop floor, eliminating the errors usually found in manual input systems. By using a special form to add detailed, accurate information to each project, you will benefit from improved inventory management, precise maintenance/repair schedules that will result in less downtime and more productivity, extensive data analysis, and comprehensive reporting capabilities, which will increase the overall efficiency.
- Create new projects easily – The Work Order Quote Quick Create enables users to develop new projects by copying and pasting service profiles. This feature is extremely useful when creating large projects, which are either identical or similar to previous jobs. In addition, you can sort service profiles by service code and equipment type, which will allow you to streamline the process of finding certain work orders, projects, tasks, etc.
- Save time – Extending the functionality of Microsoft Dynamics AX, this MRO software solution automatically updates estimates, quotes, and timelines when new project data is entered. Since all the elements of a project are tightly linked and interrelated with each other, any authorized modification will affect the other components. For instance, when a project is modified, the system will automatically update work orders, recalculating costs, quotes, and invoices. This will help eliminate manual data entries later on, which not only saves time but also ensures greater data accuracy. With the Work Order Quote Quick Create, users can include new data or update existing information relating to equipment, parts, teams, budgets, work orders, etc.
- Increase productivity – Depending on your internal maintenance, repair, and overhaul operations, you can use the Work Order Quote to associate projects with specific work orders, equipment, parts, and contracts. Since your employees will be able to access all the data they need to do their jobs proficiently through a single application, they’ll be more productive than before.
Additional features include Reporting, which can be used to capture, edit, and handle reports relating to labor, time frames, estimates, costs, etc.; Quick Invoice, which allows users to create invoices “on the fly”, check payment details, outstanding balance, etc.; and Quick Credit, which provides advanced credit control functionality.
Delivering a multitude of capabilities at your fingertips, the Work Order Quote Quick Create integrated with Dynamics AX allows you to automate common or repetitive tasks and manage a wide variety of projects with just a few clicks.