You need an ERP system for process manufacturing

processing manufacturing

Blog Written By | ERPFocus

ERP in Process Manufacturing: Business Benefits

You may call it an accidental benefit, but one thing that an ERP implementation forces on an organization is a thorough examination of its business models and practices, and process manufacturing benefits disproportionately from this examination. By its very nature, process manufacturing tends to be more flexible and dynamic over time. As a result, many business practices are the result of evolution, instead of a thoughtful and well-executed strategy. In a process manufacturing, you can almost always accommodate one more special customer need, until, after a while, your business model hardly resembles what your manufacturing, service, or systems were designed for. The misalignment between how the business was designed to run and how it actually does run will be highlighted in a number of ERP design issues.

Turning Over the Rock

A typical example might be defining a business model as either make-to-order (a specific manufacturing plan for each customer order) or make-to-stock (sell orders from inventory). ERP generally rewards a clear-cut choice between these two with rich functionality, but process manufacturers often have difficulty committing to only one strategy. They want to describe a hybrid strategy and decide, order by order which strategy applies. While this sounds very customer-focused, it is an administrative nightmare. As you begin asking who has the authority to decide, and what the decision criteria are, you grasp that there is no overarching logic to the choices being made, and therefore it is not a business model that is easily programmable within an ERP environment. The conversation which emerges as a result of this ERP question is a vitally important one to the leaders of the business. If the leadership team is collaborative and synergistic, it is possible that ERP will serve as the framework for re-establishing a set of logical business rules. If the leadership team is dysfunctional and does not work together well, at least everyone explicitly understands that the business model does behave according to any predictable rules. This is not an observation in sarcasm; it is an important reference point for helping people understand why things do not go as expected.

Other examples might include how planning and manufacturing scheduling occurs, how a product that does not strictly meet quality specifications is handled, or how much lot traceability is truly required. The benefit in all of these, just like the one in the preceding paragraph, is to hold up the evolutionary decisions that a single functional area has turned into business policy, and examine them in the clear light of the total business process. The results can vary from exhilarating to frightening, depending on your organization.

If your workgroup can agree to operate your process manufacturing business logically, ERP will be a stair-step improvement. allonline365 can help guide you during your implementation of Dynamics 365 Business Central ERP, offering advice on the best modules and customizations need for your business. Call us on +27 (21) 205 3650 or email us on  info@allonline365.com. 

What is CRM and why do you need it?

crm

Written By | allonline365

If you don’t understand CRM and why you need it – this is for you

Whether your business is in the industry of food distribution, retail, construction, NPO, or you have multiple sales agents making their way through a long list of calls each day – Customer Relationship Management (CRM) should be one of your focus areas.

What is CRM?

Customer relationship management is a data-driven software solution that improves how you interact and do business with your customers. CRM systems help you manage and maintain customer relationships, track leads, marketing, pipeline, and deliver actionable data.

Why Implement a CRM Solution?

CRM solutions increase your profitability by streamlining administrative processes in your sales, marketing, and service divisions, and letting you focus on building and maintaining the customer relationships that matter. A strong CRM solution is a multifaceted platform where everything crucial to developing, improving, and retaining your customer relationships is stored. Without the support of an integrated CRM solution, you may miss growth opportunities and lose revenue because you’re not optimizing your operating processes or making the most of your customer relationships or sales leads.

Imagine misplacing customer contact information, only to learn that your delay resulted in losing a client to a competitor. Or, picture your top two salespeople pursuing the same prospect, resulting in an annoyed potential customer and some unfriendly, in-house competition. Without a centralized and automated CRM system, your people can lose track of customer interactions and miss business opportunities.

Why use Dynamics 365 for CRM?

With Dynamics 365 Sales you get a flexible solution that’s customizable to suit your business requirements. Choose a stand-alone application to meet the needs of a specific line of business, or use multiple CRM tools that work together as a powerful integrated solution. Here are some of the integrated tools you can expect to enjoy.

1.  Marketing: Improve your customers’ journey

Generate multichannel marketing campaigns, nurture sales-ready leads, and align your sales and marketing teams with planning and tracking tools that integrate with your existing apps and services.

Foster leads

  • Run multichannel campaigns featuring email marketing, web content, and events.
  • Target matched audiences based on LinkedIn interactions using Dynamics 365 Connector for LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms.
  • Personalize the buyer experience by customizing customer journeys on user engagement.

Make better decisions

  • Gain Insights into your brand reputation and market through real-time data analysis.
  • Prioritize leads using multiple scoring models.
  • Build custom dashboards to analyze the data that matters the most to your business.

Adapt quickly

  • Automate processes for better service engagement experiences.
  • Use artificial intelligence (AI) to guide your business decisions and drive innovation.
  • Rely on the Microsoft cloud platform to reduce operating costs and simplify deployment across your infrastructure.

2.  Sales: Empower sellers to drive personal engagement with customers

Go beyond sales force automation to better understand customer needs, engage more effectively, and win more deals. Sell smarter with embedded insights, foster relationships, boost productivity, accelerate sales performance, and innovate with a modern and adaptable platform. Use AI capabilities to track customer relationships and automate sales execution with contextual prompts that drive sales strategy.

Grow business

  • Improve win rate with a dynamic, event-driven sales process.
  • Build pipeline with high-quality leads and prospects from a variety of sources.
  • Measure the past and identify leading indicators for the future.

Stay focused

  • Find the right prospects and customers.
  • Always know the next best action to move relationships forward.
  • Build a high-performing sales team.

Win faster

  • Engage and collaborate around strategic deals.
  • Align with the buyer’s journey to deliver personalized engagement.
  • Work anytime, anywhere.

Customer Service: Effortless service through any channel

Deliver guided, intelligent service and support on any channel with a unique ability to work with your existing systems. Empower customers and agents with the tools they need to ensure quick and accurate resolution, every time.

Improve engagement

  • Let customers connect quickly and easily through multi-channel service options.
  • Use the AI of service bots to increase service availability and free your agents for more high-value interactions.
  • Resolve issues quickly using data analysis and predictive care.

Personalize your service 

  • Deliver value with every interaction with a complete customer view.
  • Guide agents’ actions toward optimal outcomes using intelligent automation.
  • Create upsell or cross-sell opportunities using contextual customer data.

Streamline your customer service

  • Improve service based on survey feedback, discussion forums, and social listening.
  • Onboard new agents quickly and with in-app learning options.
  • Optimize your service staff by allocating resources based on service trends that you can monitor in real-time.

Field Service: Empower your agents to create a better customer experience

Streamline scheduling, inventory management, and on-site efficiency. Offer quick and transparent communications and tracking functionalities to keep customers connected to your field agents.

Improve operational efficiency

  • Use the Internet of Things (IoT) to detect and solve problems faster.
  • Reduce costs using predictive maintenance.
  • Automate work orders, scheduling, and dispatching.

Empower field agents

  • Boost on-site efficiency by providing technicians with mobile access to home office data.
  • Understand customer preferences and history to deliver more personalized service.
  • Enable technicians to work hands-free by using innovative technology like mixed reality headsets.

Build trust

  • Provide customers with real-time technician location tracking and appointment reminders.
  • Share quotes, contracts, and scheduling information quickly and easily.
  • Let customers self-schedule appointments and monitor service with a customer portal.

Project Service Automation: Improve project profitability with integrated planning tools and analytics

Empower your employees to anticipate resource demand and work together with collaborative tools that are easy to tailor to your business.

Improve project management

  • Visualize costs and revenue using robust project planning capabilities and intuitive dashboards.
  • Anticipate resource demands and forecast project profitability.
  • Build customer trust using a customer-centric service delivery model.

Optimize resources

  • Make the most out of billable resources using real-time dashboards to measure utilization.
  • Improve skill-based assignments with a unified scheduling engine.
  • Empower service professionals to apply directly to relevant projects.

Increase productivity 

  • Foster collaboration across teams by integrating with Office 365 applications.
  • Simplify the contracts process and collaborate seamlessly with customers through a secure portal.
  • Submit, process, and approve time and expenses anytime, anywhere for faster customer billing.

CRM can cater to all industries and can be tailored to suit your business needs. Contact allonline365 today and let us guide you on the correct tools to use for your business. Customers are the heart of your business, make sure you are doing everything to make your business grow. Call  +27 (21) 205 3650 or email  info@allonline365.com.

Resources: Microsoft

A multi-channel inventory module in Retail ERP

retail erp

Blog Written By | ERPFocus

Why your retail ERP needs a good multi-channel inventory module

Merchandise management is what sets retail ERP systems apart from ERP designed for any other environment. Merchandise is the inventory a business has right now for sale to customers desiring those items. To have exactly the color and size a customer wants immediately available is the goal for any retail business. Further, it just arrived in minutes ahead of that customer and can be priced at an amount that begs that customer to buy immediately and yield a profit at the same time. Is this possible? Yes, most of the time, the right retail ERP system can help make it a reality.

Retail today goes beyond the physical storefront. ECommerce is a major part of retail now. Merchandise management is largely the same, you need the right item on hand and available for sale when the customer is online or present in the store. If your retail business trades online then it is essential that your centralized inventory module is fully integrated with your ECommerce system.

Cost and price management

COst of an SKU is closely related to the supply chain component of retail ERP. A successful retailer works closely with current suppliers to stock merchandise that a customer wants at the lowest possible total cost. Supply chain systems also connect to new suppliers who might have products even more desirable at even lower prices. The low initial cost is the first target. Total cost includes the ability to easily and quickly make returns to the supplier at little or no penalty. The cost can also include financial terms such as payment due after the sale. If the supplier can monitor sales and inventory levels using an inventory module, they can replenish fast-selling items without the need for a purchase order.

In addition, price management might mean a supplier can provide special, lower prices for seasonal or promotional merchandise. These cost and price management tools should be sought after in any retail ERP.

Retail stock ledger

An accurate count of each SKU on hand with separation by every size, color, and other distinctions is an important part of retail ERP. As customers pay for their purchases and leave the store, that stock ledger should be automatically updated. Return merchandise that cab still sold should be added to the ledger right away. Shrinkage or other unexplained loss of inventory is an unfortunate reality in retail and each SKU should have a reasonable rate used to adjust the ledger.

An accurate ledger helps determine when to replace replenishment orders. An accurate ledger also is a tool to monitor those items that do not sell so that they can be returned or moved to a store where a sale is more likely. An accurate ledger is a critical component in determining expenses and profit or loss over time.

Forecasting and planning

Retail has a strong seasonal element to it, so accurate forecasting activities are essential. ERP is a valuable tool to ensure an optimal profit in any season. How many soccer balls were sold last year in the weeks before the start of the season? What was the weather like last year and what is the weather forecast for this year? ERP doesn’t maintain all this data, but in retail, an ERP can match data it has with external data to predict how much to order and when to accept delivery. A supplier might make those soccer balls over months and make several deliveries to a warehouse to match your requirements against their ability to produce. Those early delivered soccer balls are a part of the stock ledger but also a liability as payment will not be made until the season begins.

These are key features of any good centralized inventory module. Know which ones are important in your particular business and be sure the ERP you select has the ones you need. LS Retail is a top-performing solution that can manage all inventory merchandise, forecasting, and omnichannel aspects of your business.

www.allonline365.com

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