7 Signs You’ve Outgrown Your Old Manufacturing ERP System

7 Signs You’ve Outgrown Your Old Manufacturing ERP System

How can you tell you’ve outgrown your old manufacturing ERP system? Chances are, if you’ve implemented ERP for your manufacturing business, you have a system that works relatively well. It gets the job done, more or less. The “or less” part can become increasingly problematic as older systems age, however. Here are seven signs that you’ve outgrown old the ERP.

1) Quality suffers

ERP in manufacturing should give you very fine-grained control over manufacturing processes and material inputs. If a customer returns an order, you should be able to go to your ERP and quickly gain a firm understanding of what went wrong. That way, you can recall any other orders that were shipped with the same same defect or intervene with a supplier that contributed to the problem. For example, if you manufacture a food item, and you discover that a particular lot contains a harmful chemical, your ERP needs to give you complete information on where the chemical came from and who got shipments of the tainted product. Older ERPs can struggle with this level of control and insight.

2) You’re spending a lot to keep it going

Legacy ERPs are like old cars. You love them, but they take a lot of care and feeding. If you notice your ERP management and admin budget climbing every year, even if you’re not adding new functionality, that’s a sign you need to replace it.

3) You need specialized people on staff just for ERP

If you have to keep people on staff because they are the only ones who can administer the ERP and get data out of it for reporting, you need a more modern solution.

4) Inventory is holding things up, tying up cash or both

Modern ERPs like Acumatica give you many nuanced controls over inventory management, including tracking of lot and serial numbers, expiration dates, transaction reason codes, inventory bin locations and item class hierarchy.

5) Integration is clunky or nonexistent

Is your old ERP linked to your accounting system, HR or CRM solutions? If it isn’t, that’s already a tip off that you can do better. Acumatica comes with simple, fast integration with related systems. These enable more efficient business management overall. Alternatively, if managing such integrations is a cumbersome, expensive proposition, it’s time to make a change.

6) Reporting is a chore

How hard is it to generate timely, in-depth reports with your legacy ERP? If reporting is time-consuming or incomplete, you should know that you’re missing out on insights that can make your manufacturing business more competitive and profitable.

7) Security is weak, costly or both

Is your data secure? Do you feel confident you can protect your digital assets from Denial of Service (DoS) attacks? If you’re not sure, or you are being told you will have to spend a lot of money to get secure, you might do better with a modern ERP. A cloud-based ERP like Acumatica is hosted in a secure cloud data center. This doesn’t make it 100% bulletproof—nothing is—but this architecture takes a huge security burden off of your plate.

We have worked with many manufacturing companies on ERP upgrades. If you are curious about how a new ERP could help your business run better, we should talk. Or, to arrange a demo of Acumatica, please visit our website.

Additional Manufacturing ERP Resources

Manufacturing Challenges—How Acumatica Can Help

The Advantage of True Cloud Manufacturing

What Is the Best Software for SMB Manufacturers?

Top New Features – Dynamics 365 Business Central

Top New Features – Dynamics 365 Business Central

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is being updated between October 2019 and March 2020. The already feature-rich, all-in-one business management solution is becoming more versatile so businesses can take advantage of application enhancements, customer lifecycle management functions and migrations to Business Central online among other new features and functionality.

The Latest Business Central Enhancements

Microsoft has made a number of performance-focused enhancements to Dynamics 365 Business Central. Some of these features are already generally available to end users. These include:

  • Non-sequential numbering: By setting up a custom number series, system performance can be improved, especially for records where numbers are not legally required to be assigned in a sequence.
  • Cancel reminders and finance charge memos: This allows for quick correction of mistakes during busy times, particularly for reminders/memos created in batches during close-of-period work.
  • Specify default purchasing method on item cards: The software automatically handles items sent using the Drop Shipment or Special Order features when items are shipped from vendors to customers.
  • Use receipt date when customizing a Purchase Order report: Expected, requested, and promised receipt dates can now be added to the Purchase Order report, for when different line items are available at different times.
  • Copy Document function on blocked lines: Notifications on blocked items/resources are provided when users are creating new source documents.

Business Central Customer Lifecycle Management Updates

Dynamics 365 Business Central provides the tools to manage support, testing and updates; partners with customers using the platform can now:

  • View detailed notifications for update events
  • Access multiple production environments
  • Use report filtering and keyboard shortcut tools
  • Report production outages in Business Central Administration Center
  • Download a database export file
  • …and much more

Learn more about Business Central Customer Management.

Business Central Modern Developer Tools

The legacy development tool, C/SIDE, has been retired, as has been the development language C/AL. These are being replaced with a system based on Visual Studio Code and Azure DevOps, which supports extension-based customization.

Business Central now lets users translate other extensions, including apps, and access modifiers from local or third-party code. Users can also convert tables from C/AL definitions to AL table definitions, filter XmlPort objects and view database insights in AL as well as implement hierarchal menus.

Additional New Features

For businesses migrating to Business Central, customer migration tools have been enhanced with additional tables to complete migration. They can support migrations from installed extensions by default. A variety of features enhance the desktop experience for new and expert users. These include adding links to the navigation menu, adding notes/links to data, full support for keyboard shortcuts, longer timeout periods and simplified column resizing.

Other new features focus on performance, reliability and security as well as accessibility. A Support Request option has been added to the Business Central Administration Center, while support contact details can be entered here as well. With surrogate keys added to all tables, AL developers can now find records based on the key.

Stay tuned to our blog for more details on what’s new and planned for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central 2019 release wave 2. Click here to schedule a Business Central demo.

Additional Business Central Resources

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central and Power BI

Dynamics 365 Business Central for Manufacturing

Microsoft Dynamics Business Central Features

The Top 5 Accounting Challenges and How ERP Software Can Help

The Top 5 Accounting Challenges and How ERP Software Can Help

A recent news story out of New York reveals how challenging accounting can be in a fast-moving business. A retailer had extended factory rebates to customers and charged them sales tax on the discounted price. That was a no-no, according to New York State tax authorities, which now wants to collect millions of dollars in sales taxes. It’s unknown whether this retailer was doing this deliberately, but any accounting could see this case and wonder if it weren’t the result of a simple tax configuration mistake in the accounting system.

Accounting is a more stressful occupation than most people would suspect. However much money your company has, it never seems to be quite enough. Taxes are a nightmare. Unexpected bills arrive in the mail. You have to manage a team that the CEO always seems to feel like cutting. Here are some of the most pressing challenges facing corporate accounting and ways that ERP software can help in addressing them. Today’s ERP solutions, such as Acumatica, combine accounting and financial management with deep operational management and data analysis tools.

1) Cash Flow

Virtually all businesses are chasing cash. Payables invariably outstrip receivables. The accounting department must be highly adept at juggling payments and knowing when cash is coming in and when it’s supposed to go out. Acumatica ERP helps with this need with extensive cash management features. These include control over day-to-day transactions and real time awareness of cash balances and funds transfer. It also incorporates petty cash management, remittance and payment instructions, multi-currency support and a cash audit trail into its functionality.

2) Taxes

As the retailer example above shows, taxes can be a big headache in corporate accounting. Tax problems can even expose the company to legal liability. Taxing authorities don’t mess around. Tax management in Acumatica supports centralized tax configuration, tax management and reporting. It streamlines and automates tax management processes in a centralized application. Features include tax transaction drill-down, flexible reporting, integration with sales tax rate and compliance automation and direct tax adjustments.

3) Payroll

Payroll is a well-known struggle for businesses, even large ones. Acumatica Payroll Management, which was developed by InfinityHR, integrates the ERP with employee data. This enables you to handle all your company’s payroll functions. It automates payroll and integrates payroll, where needed, with other platforms, such as HR management.

4) Unforeseen Expenses

Every accounting manager knows the dreaded feeling of discovering an unexpected invoice in the mail or email. What experienced accounting people will tell you, though, is that an unforeseen expense is almost always the result of a failure in process and controls. For example, if your accounting policy does not require an approved purchase order (PO) before spending company money, you’re going to get those little surprises pretty often. However, even if you have such a PO policy, you still need the systemic tools to enforce it. ERP addresses this need by establishing strong but flexible controls over purchasing and vendor setup.

5) Intercompany Accounting

Accounting managers frequently have to deal with managing the books and finances or multiple companies—which are often divisions of a single parent entity. Intercompany accounting is not particularly difficult, but it’s time-consuming without the right software. Acumatica speeds things up by simplifying the process of tracking intercompany transactions and transfers. Related corporate entities can share charts of accounts, currencies, calendars and so forth

We have worked with many clients on the implementation of ERP to improve accounting practices while making the accounting workload more efficient for the accounting team to manage. To learn more, or to see a demo of Acumatica’s accounting capabilities, contact us today!

Is it time to replace your current accounting software? Find out in our article Want to Replace Your Accounting Software?

Tips for Making Your Business More Productive

Tips for Making Your Business More Productive

Improving productivity, or having people do more in less time, is greatly boosted by a business application such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. Microsoft’s business solutions are geared toward productivity enhancement. From automating manual tasks to allowing more efficient use of data, this solution suite goes beyond standalone ERP and CRM systems to improve productivity in the following ways.

Increasing Availability of Data

Connecting all parts of your business enables people to do more. Real-time shared data provides insights into business processes, customers and sales performance. Equipped with the right data, people in your company can make better decisions. For example, your financial team can monitor sales and expenses in real-time while a close connection between back office processes and CRM can help anticipate demand.

Automating Business Processes

Sales, finance, supply chain and other processes can be automated and adapted using advanced business software. Role-based user experiences typically enhance productivity and support growth. A familiar interface across devices helps improve productivity, as can spending more time managing your business instead of maintaining on-site servers. Dynamics automates the vast majority of manual tasks through its cloud-based business management solution.

Deepening Customer Insights

The more data on customers, the deeper the analysis you can perform on the behaviors and preferences. Your teams can use interactive dashboards to see where to adapt sales activities and change what isn’t working. Information (e.g. buying history or previous communications) can be used to improve the customer experience. Team members can more productively:

  • Target leads
  • Reach out to existing customers with personalized special offers
  • Personalize customer interactions

Dashboards also help reveal new sales/service opportunities. They provide data and insights for sales presentations as well, enabling use of sales best practices to improve productivity.

Encouraging Mobility

Secure access to tools and data, and single sign-on across files, email, business processes and other applications enable greater productivity in and out of the office. Your team can be more productive if key business data and processes are available from anywhere. This lets any authorized user view and act on order status, customer details and product information. They can respond anytime, anywhere or track information, share insights and communicate with team members from wherever they are connected.

Keeping Your Data Centralized and Protected

With access control, authentication and encryption, all data are protected across all devices. Greater security prevents data integrity issues that can wreak havoc on productivity. In addition to structured access to sensitive information, Microsoft cloud solutions such as Dynamics 365 have 99.9% guaranteed uptime, so information can be accessed at virtually any time. Data are also continuously backed up in datacenters around the world, providing redundancy that avoids catastrophic losses and reduced productivity in the face of uncontrollable factors.

Upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Today

Dynamics 365 consolidates processes, so all parts of a business are connected. It provides real-time dashboards, automation and data security as well as mobility, all which contribute to improved productivity in and out of the office. If you’re considering migrating from your legacy CRM and ERP systems, learn more about Business Central software from Microsoft.

Learn more in Better Productivity with Dynamics 365 Business Central.

Additional Business Central Resources

Dynamics 365 Business Central for Manufacturing

Microsoft Dynamics Business Central Features

Improving Field Service Operations with Dynamics 365 Business Central

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central and Power BI

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central and Power BI

An all-in-one business management solution, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central helps manage financials, project budgeting/scheduling, supply chain automation and customer service. Microsoft Power BI complements Dynamics 365 with the ability to visualize data through real-time dashboards supports more thorough analytics and informed decision making. Power BI helps visualize and analyze data across a business.

The cloud-based BI solution integrates with Business Central via intuitive apps to retrieve data, build dashboards and deliver reports. Dynamics 365 Business Central now offers several Power BI apps for its cloud and on-premises solutions. These include CRM, finance and sales.

Business Central dashboards are conveniently available in Power BI by selecting any visual on a dashboard. Once an underlying report is chosen, it can be filtered or have fields added to it. A customized view can be added to the dashboard, so users can continue tracking the selected metrics. Drilling into a report enables users to refresh data manually or automatically by setting up a refresh schedule.

Dynamics 365 Business Central Essentials

Starting at $70 per user/month, this cloud solution is based on the user-friendly Microsoft Dynamics NAV ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning). It is customizable and includes:

  • Financial Management: Users can work with general ledgers, budgets, cash flows and payments along with many other finance-related functions.
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Business Central helps manage and support sales operations; the information available helps improve customer interactions.
  • Project Management: Configure jobs and schedule resources while leveraging information needed to manage budgets and track the progress of any project.
  • Supply Chain Management: Gain the visibility and control needed to optimize inventory and reduce shortages while maximizing profitability through automation.
  • Human Resources Management: Business Central lets users manage payroll and expenses, track time and absences and complete many other HR tasks.
  • Warehouse Management: Track goods from receipt through shipping with a solution that helps organize/maintain inventory and manage workflow and other internal warehouse activities.

Dynamics 365 Business Central Premium

Available from $100 per user/month, Business Central Premium offers all the basic features of Essentials, but adds integrated, customizable capabilities for:

  • Service Management: Includes tools for managing and tracking customer service including scheduling calls, setting up service orders and tracking supplies and the status of repairs.
  • Manufacturing: A range of functionality is available, from executing production orders to tracking finished production costs to managing subcontract manufacturing and post production.

Learn more in Dynamics 365 Business Central: Premium Vs. Essentials.

A Complete Overview with Power BI

With Power BI, Dynamics 365 Business Central users can access data, create reports and view dashboards using mobile applications. The tool helps visualize data from across a business to help managers make key decisions and develop strategies. Data from multiple departments can be combined for an integrated view. In addition, Power BI connects with Excel and Power View.

When combined with Dynamics 365, the BI solution delivers new insights via interactive data visualizations. The combination presents company data and critical statistics in real time, while reports can be published on Power BI. This provides availability across mobile devices to increase visibility and collaboration.

We have worked with many companies on the implementation of Dynamics 365 Business Central working in concert with Power BI as well. If you’re interested in learning how this simple, but data-rich management platform can help your business, let’s talk.

Additional Business Central Resources

Comparing QuickBooks to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central

Improving Field Service Operations with Dynamics 365 Business Central

Improving Your Business with Dynamics 365 Business Central