Last week I talked about how selecting an ERP, MRP, or CRM software solution is not a one person job. Which got me to thinking more about the time that gets put into that decision and the team buy-in process. Fact is that planning well in advance of your desired implementation date makes the whole process much more efficient, effective, productive and fruitful.
While 2015 seems a long way off, if you are considering integrating ERP, MRP, CRM, E-Commerce, Sales Tax and easy to use Dashboards at the beginning of the year, or in time for the start of the year, now is the best time to get the evaluation, selection and buy-in process started. Keeping well ahead of the software implementation date gives you time to have substantive discussions and allows team members to really digest the information and think through how it will work in their respective areas of the company.
Compressed timelines lead to stress and apprehension. If you are not allowing enough time to fully understand what your ERP, MRP, CRM, E-Commerce, Sales Tax and Dashboard software can provide and what needs to happen for successful implementation it is a recipe for disaster. Compressed time lines mean you may risk making sub-optimal decisions, which may lead to bumpy or botched implementation, lower user acceptance, and longer more costly implementations with lower than expected results and value.
Taking a long-view to integrating ERP, MRP, CRM, E-Commerce, Sales Tax and Dashboards in 2015 does not mean a languid approach. Working backwards from your ideal go live date, set a timeline with clear definition of steps that need to be completed before that date. Here are some to consider:
Identify a small core team to lead the selection and schedule time together to discuss requirements of the software and what needs to happen internally for success.
Explore a broad base of options with your core selection team.
Define a few key requirements with the selection team.
Allow time for everyone to reflect on what they have seen and think through how the options will fit in their areas.
Meet to discuss opportunities, challenges and other thoughts from the group that will help ensure the software selection you make is a good one.
Schedule time for vetting potential implementation partners, and for the selection and contracting processes.
Make time for development, transition and implementation – keeping in mind your schedule constraints and those of your implementation partner.
Advanced planning and scheduling makes sure everyone has time to feel comfortable with the process, and will payoff in the end with a more positive implementation and transition process as well as higher/faster user acceptance.
Solution Dynamics has the people with the experience and expertise to help you manage every step of the process. We can help you analyze and document your current situation and desired outcomes – we can create a report that will be meaningful and valuable to your organization that can be used by any software implementation company you select. Less stress is better for everyone, so don’t delay – call Solution Dynamics today and start the process now.
Selecting an ERP, MRP, or CRM software solution is not a one person job. Because this is a decision that touches every part of your company, most companies try to collaborate and get buy-in from all the end-users. But interestingly enough, studies show that the key to successful implementations and higher ROIs is the participation of senior management in the selection and implementation processes.
Simply put – senior management leadership is essential to ensure proper adoption and long term use, and results in faster, better and more valuable outcomes.
Select a small core group of executives and key users to collaborate on the initial scope and final decisions and broaden participation to include that core group and more end-users in the demonstration phase. This will ensure that you gain input from the appropriate areas and understand what is important to all of them while keeping the final decision process efficient.
Here are the operational areas that should be included along the way:
- Executive Management
- Distribution & Supply Chain Management
- Service Management
- Sales & Marketing
- Account Management & Customer Service
Your business may have some or all of these departments and maybe more. The key is to make sure that somewhere along the line, when you are choosing ERP, MRP, CRM software, getting what management and the business needs won’t take a back seat to end-user buy-in.
Software should help you run your business more effectively, more efficiently, and increase revenue/profits while lowering costs. Management understands these issues better than anyone else in the organization – it is how they are measured.
Executive involvement in software selection and implementation will ensure that the new system is aligned with your organization’s short and long term goals and initiatives as well as daily processes and activities. When your executives participate in software selection and implementation, the software delivers what the end-users need and what the management team needs. Management participation and oversight sets your organization up for implementation success, broader adoption, and greater value realization.
Bringing in an outside implementation partner early in the process can help objectively bring end-user and management priorities together for faster agreement and smoother transition to your selected solution.
Microsoft NAV is a fully-integrated, enterprise-wide software solution that can be used in every department of your company. Deciding if it is the right solution for your company is an important decision, here are some of the factors to consider.
Distribution & Supply Chain Management
If distribution and supply chain management are important to your business, Microsoft NAV can help you save money and improve efficiency. With an easy to use interface, Microsoft NAV can be used by all of your employees who can interact with the system through personalized web portals. Click for a complete list of distribution & supply chain management functionality.
If you are a manufacturer, you need software that has broad feature functionality and is flexible and able to adapt to change quickly. Microsoft NAV is a great fit for manufacturers because it covers their production management requirements and much more with a quick return on investment. Click for a complete list of manufacturing functionality.
Microsoft NAV includes fully integrated CRM. This is important because it means that your entire team has access to real-time customer information. From basic contact management, to scheduling and tracking activity and service, NAV CRM can be tailored to your unique needs. Click to learn more about Microsoft NAV CRM functionality.
With service management functionality built into Microsoft NAV, you bring the full-circle customer experience under a single solution. This means that your team is able to provide faster, better service because they aren’t wasting time jumping between systems and using out of date information. Click here for more information on NAV service management functionality.
Solid financial management is critical to the success of your business. Microsoft NAV streamlines all of your financial processes and improves your ability to see what is happening with your business. Linking all of the previously discussed functions along with the financials means no re-keying of data and eliminates re-entry errors. Click for additional detail on Microsoft NAV financial functionality.
Microsoft NAV’s e-Commerce solutions is robust and ties in with all of the above elements of the NAV system. So, if eCommerce is important to you – now or in the future – NAV is your best choice. Click here to learn more about NAV E-commerce.
It happens… Bad software implementation partners sneak through the cracks… Formerly good software implementation partners fall apart… Whatever the situation, there is no reason to stay with a software consulting partner who doesn’t understand you and can’t deliver.
No matter how bleak the situation may seem, rest assured there is hope! When you’ve got a great software platform like Microsoft Dynamics NAV to work with, switching to a new consulting, implementation and support partner that better fits your needs is far less painful than you might think.
Case in point, we recently worked with a new client who had already worked with a different software implementation partner with high hopes of taking their business to a whole new level. Unfortunately, their initial implementation was far from spectacular. The client’s installation was done poorly with many unnecessary, customized modules were expensive, and in the end, weren’t necessary.
The client’s team was ready to give up by the time they got in touch with us. After talking through their business and their current situation, we were able to formulate a corrective implementation plan that would get them back on track. The client decided it would be better change implementation partners and fix their software, than get new software. The client selected Solution Dynamics and we went to fix their problems and get them back on track.
The client’s decision paid off. In just a matter of weeks we got them to a place where the software truly fit their business needs and made sense for them. Once they were back on track they were able to start moving forward and gaining the advantage they had been looking for with the software.
Their story isn’t unique; unfortunately, this happens to more companies than it should. The key is that they recognized they had an implementation vendor who couldn’t deliver to their standards and it was time to change. Suffering with the headache and hassle of a struggling ERP, MRP, CRM implementation vendor isn’t worth it and it isn’t saving any money. Making a change to a partner like Solution Dynamics who has the experience and expertise to help you achieve your goals is the smart thing to do.
Ban bad software consultants/implementation and support vendors from your organization and invest in partnerships that make you successful. The time and agony you’ll save are worth their weight in gold – and so are the business improvements you’ll see when the software you chose is set up to deliver what you need and want.
The numbers are growing every year: from 94,000 in 2012, up to 102,000 in 2013 - companies by the thousands are choosing Microsoft Dynamics NAV to run their businesses.
Microsoft NAV is a full function ERP/MRP/CRM software solution that comes at a fraction of the cost of comparable “tier-one” products. With this many companies on board and the solid backing of Microsoft, you know this product is getting the development support it takes to serve your needs now and well into the future.
NAV has the features that leave its competitors in the dust. That means robust options that allow you to tailor the software to meet the needs of your specific business. Think of that, more than 100,000 companies and each one can have a system that is unique to them.
Solution Dynamics installs, implements and supports NAV systems. For 35 years we’ve been streamlining business processes and helping our clients reduce costs, increase sales, and grow revenue. More than 95% of Solution Dynamics’ NAV clients renew annually – because they know with Solution Dynamics they have great software and an outstanding technology partner committed to our clients’ success.
If you feel like you are on your own, or that you are part of a shrinking group of users, or if it’s just time to upgrade/replace your current software, we invite you to get in touch with us to learn more about how Solution Dynamics and Microsoft NAV fit your business. There is no reason to feel like you are on your own when it comes to your software platform – join Solution Dynamics and the 102,000+ companies on NAV and enjoy the safety and peace of mind that comes from going with the most widely used software in the industry.
When it’s time to upgrade your ERP software, it’s time to make some smart choices about both software and partners. That’s right, Software = Relationship. When you buy software, you are really buying a company and a relationship with that company. Some relationships work, they thrive, grow and produce results; great software and a great implementation partner can mean a long-term, high value relationship. Some relationships go horribly wrong; great software and a bad implementation partner can mean years of pain and suffering.
How do you know what is right for you?
You want someone that can meet your needs today, and will grow and change with you as your business grows and changes. An implementation and support partner should support your vision and make sure that your software continues to serve your business effectively year after year. Tweaking the system and additional training over the years can mean longer life for the software and greater continuity and success for your business overall.
You want a partner that “gets” you, the business you’re in, and what’s important to you. Anyone can tell you the features and functions of an ERP software program, and many can perform a standard installation. That would be fine if your business is the same as all other “generic” businesses, but we’re guessing it isn’t. You’ve built your business carefully over the years and learned some lessons along the way. You also know where you are headed and what you want to achieve. For a successful outcome and lasting relationship, your implementation partner has to be on the same page as you, and they should design and execute a software implementation plan that is uniquely tailored to your business.
Nothing is more painful than starting over. You want a partner that is going to be around for the long term. You don’t want to have to build a new system and a new relationship, every 3 to 5 years. Finding a partner who will be around to support you for the long haul means you can focus your attention on building your core business.
Solution Dynamics gets you and we get your business. We want to be your trusted, valued technology partner. Solution Dynamics delivers technology solutions designed for your industry that we will tailor to the way you do business. We offer the lowest risk/highest value solutions, with the greatest likelihood for success today, and the soundest growth path for years and even decades to come.
Business is booming, production and deliveries are on the rise. So why are you feeling more frustrated than ever? Chances are the rise in business also means that you’ve outgrown your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software along the way. Here are 5 more cues that it’s time to look for a new system:
1. You are using spreadsheets to do the reporting your system should do
Managing a deluge of daily, weekly and monthly spreadsheets to understand what is happening in your business is not only time consuming, it creates way too much room for error. If your enterprise resource management software can’t produce the reports you need, it is no longer a fit and it is putting your business at risk of making costly mistakes.
2. You are tripping over multiple versions of the “truth”
If you and your leadership team are looking in different places for information, and getting conflicting answers, how do you know what is accurate and what is out of date - which source prevails when there is conflicting data? Your business can’t grow unless your team is all on the same page and working from the same data. If your current ERP system can’t get you there, it is time to upgrade.
3. It is mostly a financial system
Your financial system is critical, but it isn’t the only system that matters. If your enterprise resource management software is really only handling finance, it’s not giving you the big picture. You can’t gain efficiency and improve profitability without a full view of your business. Pull inventory, warehouse, manufacturing, distribution and finance together with a comprehensive ERP solution and you’ll gain a whole new perspective on where your business is and what you need to do to achieve your goals.
4. It doesn’t have ecommerce capabilities
In today’s online world, if your ERP system can’t handle ecommerce, it’s time for it to hit the road. Keep your company moving forward with a system that ties everything together.
5. It doesn’t have customer relationship management built in
CRM is just one more example of a critical system that needs to be kept close. Modern marketing requires you to know your customers in-depth and an ERP system with an embedded CRM capability will keep your customer data tied neatly together without the hassle of trying to make different systems talk to each other through integrations or manual data transfer. If your software doesn’t have and embedded CRM, then it is time to get a new system.
Your business is booming, production and deliveries are on the rise. So why are you feeling more frustrated than ever? Chances are the increase in business also means that you’ve outgrown your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software along the way. Here are 5 cues that it’s time to look for a new system:
1. Data is re-keyed multiple times
If you find yourself and your team entering and re-entering the same data points in multiple places and systems, it might be time to upgrade. Repeated manual entries of data not only waste valuable time, they also increase the risk of data entry errors that can cause more headaches down the road. If this re-keying is your situation, it’s time to upgrade.
2. Doesn’t automate your manufacturing and/or distribution processes
You’ve built detailed processes for your production and/or distribution activities to make sure products get to the right place at the right time. But, if you are still executing manually, your personnel are probably stretched thin and at risk of burning out and holding you back from achieving greater growth and profits. If your ERP system isn’t automating your manufacturing and distribution processes for you, it’s time to upgrade.
3. Doesn’t manage the warehouse operations
Is your team wasting time waiting for materials for the production process, or product to ship? If you need to increase efficiency in your warehouse operations, it’s time to look for an ERP solution that can manage these processes for you.
4. Doesn’t do inventory
The orders are flying in but you are unsure of your raw material availability and allocation. Worse yet, now that you’ve built the product, are you struggling to keep track of what you have on hand, what has been promised out and what orders are in the pipeline. If these scenarios sound familiar, it is definitely time to change your ERP system.
5. Doesn’t handle shipping
If your ERP system isn’t taking you all the way to the end of the process and tying directly into the shipping process, your team is doing double work. Save time and improve accuracy by working in a system that handles your business from beginning to end.
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It may come as a surprise amidst the stagnating American economy, but the U.S. manufacturing sector has been doing quite well for itself as of late: the sector has steadily added jobs since the beginning of 2010 at a rate of almost 3 percent — faster than the manufacturing growth in any other developed economy during that span. In fact, the U.S. has added more manufacturing jobs over the past two years than have the rest of the G7 countries combined. While the numbers aren’t staggering, and although employment numbers still fall below pre-recession levels, all signs indicate that the American manufacturing base is on its way up.
Several recent studies have called into question the decades-old maxim that outsourcing production to a developing country (ie to China and India) is cheaper for the American manufacturer. According to a report published by the Boston Consulting Group, American manufacturers will be only saving 10 percent when they outsource to China in three years and, from that point forward, the difference will only continue to plummet.
On what basis did the report make its prediction? Here are a few of the main areas it noted:
Wage Equilibrium: As critics and proponents of globalization have been predicting for over a century, wages in the developed and developing world have finally begun to move towards an equilibrium, according to the BCG study. In China, hourly rates that once stood under a dollar have jumped substantially and are expected to reach $4.50 by 2015 due to an increasingly crowded Western manufacturing presence in coastal cities. Meanwhile, the global recession has caused wage deflation in Europe and the United States and forced industries to cut back on pension plans and health funds, the aggregate effect of which makes the American worker a better deal than ever before.
Transportation and Shipping Costs: While the cost of shipping a product across the Pacific Ocean has risen alongside the spike in oil, the real brunt of rising energy rates can be felt in other places of the production cycle. It can be felt, for example, in the exorbitant costs of sending company executives back and forth between the U.S. and Southeast Asia. It can also be felt in energy bills at coal-powered Chinese factories — bills that have passed surplus charges onto overseas contractors.
Worker Productivity: According to the report, the average Chinese worker is only one-fourth as productive as the average American. Although productivity rates have been rising among workers in China — and although they can only be expected to further increase — we have also seen a gradual increase over time among Americans, thereby suggesting that China has a lot of catch-up to do on the productivity front. Meanwhile, other developing countries in China’s league either have similar productivity issues or a scarcity of workers in the first place.
Ultimately, then, with financial issues plaguing Europe and the developing world losing much of its manufacturing advantage, the United States has been able to close the gap and realize a small-scale revitalization in the sector. Although it is difficult to predict what the post-recession world may hold, an narrowing of the international playing field should spur continued growth in domestic manufacturing jobs. For the sake of the industry and of the American worker at large, let’s hope that BCG’s prediction is right and that this is the case.
Read Manufacturing.net Article Here
What are your predictions for the next 3-5 years related to manufacturing outsourcing?
What has your experience been with outsourced manufacturing?
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