Don’t be left guessing when it comes to your important business decisions

Microsoft Excel is fantastic, and has been the most popular software program to be adopted across the globe, ever. However, running your business from a series of spreadsheets might not be the best thing for growing your Consumer Goods business…

If you are running from disconnected, soiled systems, how can you make informed decisions? How do you know if data you look at is correct? And if it is correct, for how long?

To be able to quickly see trends and identify where things need changing, you need visibility across the length and breadth of your company and supply chain.

Ideally, you need to be able to spot opportunities from your retailers/supply chain as and when they appear, and take the reliance off the shoulders of your more experienced staff, far away from gut feel.

Follow the numbers.

Use Dynamics Consumer Goods to track and monitor if sales are up or down on particular stock or in specific regions, spot trends and clearly identity “one-off” occurrences so you can grow your business with every opportunity presented.

Having clear visibility also allows you to free up room in your warehouse, and not have the usual backlog of excess stock at the end of the season, as you will have the power to actively adjust your offers to retailers or even update your merchandising to suit and sell more…

To see more on how Dynamics Consumer Goods could help you sell more, watch here.

Reasons to change your business systems in the Consumer Goods sector. If you would like to view the first posts in this series, click here.

Inaccurate landed costs calculations eating into your margins?

Swings in currency fluctuation, most recently in the UK from the Brexit vote and general election, can have a huge impact on sterling value and equally on your profit margins.

For Consumer Goods manufacturers who export and import both materials and products, being able to estimate the final costs to your business enables accurate forecasting and helps to maintain projects.

However, for most businesses landed costs is something managed by a series of disconnected spreadsheets – which don’t hold up to date information on currencies, duties and shipping. This can leave you vulnerable when sudden changes in the market cause your overall predicted profitability to be skewed thanks to changing inflation or costs.

True visibility of all costs means less risk for your business. No matter what the currency, on any given day you might be managing product costs, transport, duty and even testing costs. Balancing the books to reflect these charges and the impact on your margins is vital to keep your business ticking over and to support growth.

One solution = fewer headaches + higher margin

Did you know you can easily improve product profitability with complete visibility of landed cost and shipping progress?

Use Dynamics Consumer Goods to record as many expected costs per item, per country of origin, shipment method, currency and date as needed and if it should be included for duty calculations. It also allows you to recalculate expected costs and automatically accrue them during the goods journey, correctly reflecting your cash flow projections.

Dynamics Consumer Goods also gives you container planning to maximise what you can fit in each container, as well as the ability to track your containers, so you never lose track of product no matter where in the world it is.

For more information on getting landed costs under control, watch our video.

Reasons to change your business systems in the Consumer Goods sector. If you would like to view the first posts in this series, click here.

Keep your staff happy – by letting your systems take operational control

We all know that good systems never replace good people, but good people are in short supply these days and you need to hang on to them!

The best people come to work and want to feel they have achieved something, they want job satisfaction every day and to feel as if they have contributed. For your key individuals who come to work and feel they do nothing but spin plates just to keep day to day operations going and are working longer and longer days to compensate for the lack of coordination, it’s not far into the future that they become fed up and want to move on…

To hang on to them, you need to provide a good tool to work with and take the constant pressure off. That’s where Microsoft Dynamics Consumer Goods comes in. A single, integrated system can hugely benefit your entire organisation including your key employees, and we know this for a fact as we have seen it repeatedly in businesses just like yours.

Microsoft Dynamics can free your good people up to be more strategic, less operational and feel a lot less like they are firefighting. Dynamics can help your business organise new product areas to be more effective, fine tune your deliveries and collections schedules and reduce stock with a streamlined pick, pack and ship cycle and most important help to prevent the overloading of your teams.

Ensure you work with your staff, not against them

With Microsoft Dynamics Consumer Goods, there will be no need to stress about the threat of your key people leaving over poor job satisfaction. Your systems will work for you instead of against you, which means your people can get the job satisfaction they crave and you can maximise efficiency in the working day whilst minimising the overheads.

Discover more about the issues in your warehousing and watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQ94wjlID_k

5 Reasons to move to integrated EDI with Dynamics Food

As in other manufacturing supply chains, food manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and retailers are increasingly collaborating to enhance supply chain efficiency, reduce costs and strengthen the bottom line.

Many retailers see a direct improvement in profitability when they engage integrated EDI with their suppliers. This is why they increasingly request their suppliers communicate with them using EDI, and why they may financially penalise non-compliance with “chargebacks”.

Food suppliers, on the other hand, might view EDI as one more of the many hoops they need to jump through to work with a new client. But in reality, integrated EDI adds value to suppliers too.

Dynamics Food combines the power of Microsoft Dynamics with proven functionality specifically for the food industry (including EDI) to provide a complete end-to-end business software solution.

Here’s 5 reasons why integrated EDI with Dynamics Food puts you back in control of your food & beverage supply business:

  • Be more responsive

    Automatically import EDI orders into Dynamics Food and pass them straight through to the warehouse for picking with system directed movements. Be ready for shipping in less time than it took to print the original EDI order and assess the changes.

    And being able to be more responsive to changing retailers’ demands could just put you one step ahead of your competition.

  • An accelerated “order to cash” process

    A streamlined, electronic interchange of all your invoices and delivery notifications also means less errors, fewer lost orders and deliveries. Secure business processes and audit trails also mean faster dispute resolution when things do occasionally go awry.

  • Free up time to focus on the strategic

    Reliable, repeatable processes not only improves customer service levels with your retailers but also drives up staff productivity and means less time spent fire-fighting – so you and your team can focus on the things that matter most to your business.

  • Cost savings – working with the major retailers

    Integrated EDI with Dynamics Food drives paperless automation which means no more printing and re-keying so you save on labour, paper, forms, postage, paper disposal and more.

    By the end of this year our integrated EDI will have helped our customers process over 450,000 documents electronically.

  • Cost savings – working with your own suppliers

    According to research done by Aberdeen Group1, the average “paper requisition to order” costs a company £28.60 in EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa). With EDI, on average, this is reduced by 30% to just £20.02.

    How many purchase orders and/or purchase invoices do you raise on your suppliers per month/per year? What savings could you achieve with as a result. Or what other tasks could your staff undertake with this administrative burden removed?

Dynamics Food’s integrated EDI capabilities are already proven with all the major retailers – as well as many major food brands and third-party logistics (3PL) companies. Rest assured our EDI team will have seen it all before. They will have already worked with all the document types (from purchase orders, invoices, credit notes and ASN’s to order acknowledgements and remittance advices), all the EDI message “standards” and all your likely trading partners.

We already support our customers to trade via EDI with all these companies; 3663, Blakemore, Aldi, Amazon, Asda, Batleys, Booker, Brakes, Cold Move, Co-op, Costco, Costcutter, Culina, Iceland, Kerry Foods, Kerry Logistics, Laita, Lidl, Mace, Makro, M&S, Morrisons, Musgarve, Nisa, NFT, Ocado, Petco, Pets at Home, Sainsburys, Spar, Tesco, Tesco Ireland, Unilever, Vestey Foods, VioVet, Waitrose and Wilko.

Let us take responsibility for the initial set up of your specific combination of EDI trading partners, documents and products – and see the orders (and automation benefits) start streaming in.

Discover how integrated EDI is just one of the many benefits of Dynamics Food – a complete business software solution for your food & beverage supply business.

1Aberdeen Group 2008

Finding it hard to cope with last minute retailer orders?

  CPG intro slide

 

Retailers are notorious for waiting until the last moment to place stock orders with manufacturers and distributors, meaning the pressure is on to get items to them as fast and safely as you can.

Trouble is these types of demands can, for those without the appropriate systems, mean extra work and cost.

To best optimise your resources, you will need to fully understand what the customers’ requirements are and drive this information directly through your warehouse. Having clear processes in place for pick, pack, and dispatch, including delivery schedules, is critical and will help you to keep an efficient and effective supply chain.

Get the right information into you warehouse…

The first step in the process is to get the right information into your warehouse process, but giving your warehouse team a pile of papers and expecting them to sort through and get them in the correct order ready to deal with is not best practice!

Ideally, what you want to achieve is less work, with more time to process orders and get them successfully out of the door.

For this to happen, using warehouse devices which are linked directly into your ERP business application would give you time back and guide your team through the pick, pack, dispatch process within minutes of receiving the order. Helping to ensure orders are processed on an “urgent” to “normal” scale.

Get the delivery out the door…

Whether you use in-house delivery trucks or outsource to a third-party logistics company, there are lots of things to consider in the delivery process.

The main piece of the puzzle is integration – whoever is taking your products to their destination will need to know quantities, weights, tracking numbers and information, as well as printed labels. If you use third party logistics, you will need a manifest ready at the same time as the products leave, or for in-house transport, collection and delivery notes.

Another vital point to consider is the physical loading of vehicles, to make the lives of your delivery teams easier a first loaded last off system is best.

Loading and route planning can be done by truck or by end-retailer through an integrated system such as Dynamics Consumer Goods, saving time and wastage, and giving you the visibility to optimise timings and increase productivity.

Keep track of the finer details…

ASN’s, an Advanced Shipping Notice. This is a type of shipping notice often demanded by retailers really throws a spanner in the works for a paper-based warehouse.

The criteria for ASN’s is strict, meaning you will need be able to show what is in each container, on each pallet, and give each of these a unique UPC (universal product code) in order to give the end retailer a precise run down of what they are receiving.

This process can be easily managed however, by recording that information as you are picking and packing the stock. By using an electronic device/terminal in the warehouse it’s easy to specify which pallet is for which dispatch, and see where you can pick onto that pallet and close it when full; regardless of where about in the warehouse product needs to be picked from.

Getting visibility for your whole organisation…

At whatever skill, level or responsibility your warehouse staff work, they each need to know what needs to be done and when, and your managers need to be able to accurately monitor and manage these processes. That’s where ERP, EDI and warehouse management come into one.

An integrated software solution can make the manufacturing to goods-out process easy and effective, giving optimal visibility at every stage of the process, providing details for every link in the chain and allowing you to understand your warehouse traffic to better optimise for increased future performance.

 

Watch our series on Reasons to change your business software in the Consumer Goods sector https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoS7gV-LINmkEjanb8HXAXE9RR66f3cx4 to discover more…

New alliance allows Technology Management to expand its borders & deliver Microsoft business software across the globe

  Pipol

As the world becomes a smaller place, many of our customers are expanding. And for those customers who set up operations abroad, Technology Management are now able to offer a premier multi-national, ERP implementation service.

Through joining the thriving Pipol Alliance, Technology Management can now offer support for UK clients looking to implement Microsoft business software internationally as well as support those companies from overseas wanting to implement Microsoft Dynamics software here in the UK.

An internationally renowned provider of consulting and implemention services, Pipol offers a range of perks for SME’s including, and often most importantly for any organisation’s IT implementation project, a single point of contact for project management. The projects are then always delivered by the most professional and experienced local Microsoft Dynamics partners in each country.

James Crowter, Managing Director of Technology Management explains, “Whilst we already support quite a number of clients with their operations overseas, this collaboration takes our offering to the next level. Local expertise from the most professional and experienced Dynamics partners means successful projects that deliver the right balance of meeting local requirements with the drive for business process standardisation”.

8 top tips for successful international ERP implementation

Blog post

Even small and medium sized are now operating overseas. To support these expanded operations, many companies are now implementing one single business management system to harmonise/standardise common business processes, improve cross border collaboration and ultimately improve overall efficiency.

Working as part of the Pipol Alliance, Technology Management can now better support international deployments of Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 – with one single point of contact for project management and the assistance of the most professional and most experienced Dynamics partners in each country.

Based on our joint experiences, here’s our 8 top tips for implementation Dynamics ERP internationally:

  1. Plan for early success & visible improvements: The shorter the phases of any project, the higher the chance of success. Focus early phases on both what is most important for the business but also delivers highly visible success. And always have a future phase planned, where you can park unresolved tasks or change requests. This way you will be able to keep every onboard and supporting the project without losing momentum.
  2. Understand and simplify: If you automate a process that you do understand or is overly complicated, you will get a complex system that you don’t understand. That is why you need to work in this order: 1) create understanding, 2) simplify, 3) automate. You cannot build systems before your business processes are defined and optimised.
  3. Think quality and ownership together: Quality assurance outside a process is overhead. Quality assurance incorporated in a process is proactivity. Processes that have built-in quality assurance provide the best basis for innovation and consistency in implementation.
  4. Do not underestimate local differences: Most assumptions about ERP systems across international boundaries are wrong. And the unexpected is always hidden in the detail, not in the main processes. So always make sure to involve your local teams.
  5. It takes time for people to get to grips with change: Whilst we all recognise that there will always be change, it takes time for people to translate the need for change into what it means for them. Therefore, when thinking of the transformation an ERP solution will deliver, invest the time into understanding and communicating the changes into language the various stakeholders will understand. And you will gain greater organisational support for the project as a result.
  6.  International implementations have greater potential for ROI: Whilst some companies can run on principles and values alone, when it comes to international ERP implementations formalised processes are necessary to guarantee results. And because many processes are common across geographies, you can achieve enormous synergy by having repeatable, reliable business processes that can be reused across the organization.
  7. Expected change to the plan: In real life, no project plan ever fits 100%. Plans are only worth something if they can be adapted and fine tuned to the changing conditions – both internal or external. Just make sure there is a formalised process for managing change requests, so you can deliver a realistic process and functional definition of the project.
  8.  It’s a team effort: You cannot enter into a fixed-price contract with your ERP supplier and then transfer all the project responsibility to them. Legal agreements cannot guard the company against mistake – and they often turn out to have the opposite effect. Like any major project or change to a business, ongoing and professional communication is key – both with your suppliers and across the organization.

A new approach to business applications with Dynamics 365 for accountancy practices

Accountex

Now more than ever, your clients need today’s accountants to become tomorrow’s business advisors. Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a totally new approach to business applications, giving you the opportunity to work, retain and grow with your clients.

The annual Accountex Exhibition & Conference is just around the corner; being held at the Excel in London from 10th – 11th May 2017. Accountex is the leading exhibition and conference dedicated to the UK Accounting Industry and is the place to get up to speed with the latest business application offerings and best practice tips.

Visit us at Accountex on Stand 143, where we will be in support of Microsoft, to help demonstrate why Microsoft Dynamics 365 will become the new revenue stream for your accountancy practice.

Accountex will be your first opportunity to preview Microsoft Dynamics 365 before its UK release, expected this summer.

Come and talk to us to discover how Dynamics 365 can help you retain clients throughout their business lifecycles, regardless of size and functionality requirements with business applications to support everything from Financials to Operations.

You can find more information on how Microsoft Dynamics 365 will benefit your accountancy practice, at http://www.d365foraccountants.co.uk/ 

And if you haven’t already registered for Accountex, you can click the link below for your FREE pass https://registration.n200.com/survey/01tyd1rdcvlg1

We look forward to meeting you at the show!

NEW: Dynamics Super-User Training Course

Are you an experienced Dynamics user? Would you like to become a Dynamics Super-User?

If your answer is yes then take a look at our brand new Dynamics Super-User training course, that can give you the skills you're looking for.

This course is specifically aimed at providing the more experienced user with an appreciation of how to perform presentation and configuration of the Dynamics NAV user interface.

This allows you to control what other users can see and do, as well as how you can track those changes.

Interested? How about coming along to one of our training days?

The next upcoming training days are:

  • 24th May
  • 12th July

For more information take a look at our Dynamics Learning page, where you can book with us today, as well and see what other training courses we have to boost your work life.

Supplying to the retail sector? Poor communication between field sales, merchandisers and your team in the office holding you back?

CPG intro slide

Get a joined-up way of working for every member of your team – from field sales through to customer service.

There isn’t a Consumer Goods company out there that doesn’t want to grow their sales and a big part of that is getting the most from your sales team.

But it’s sometimes harder than it sounds to make sure that your internal people and external sales people are working in a cohesive, joined-up fashion in dealing with both the independents and the major retailers, but that’s where Dynamics Consumer Goods can step in.

Give your team the right tools to be effective – work smarter, not harder

There are many aspects that Dynamics Consumer Goods can help with to make sure there is a smooth transition from customer site to back in the office.

Having Dynamics Consumer Goods at the center of your sales operations means that field sales, before every visit, can get contextual information against each account that shows exactly the performance of that account, what merchandising has been agreed or what promotions are in place. They also get to see any issues against that customer, so that they understand what’s been happening and what questions they might face during that face-to-face conversation with the client.

Get instantaneous updates for your 24/7 customer view – pair your field sales team with internal resource

Then when your account manager leaves the customer site, they can quickly and easily fill in a visit report on their device of choice, and that logs the information back into Dynamics Consumer Goods. This initiates the actions that are required to be done by the people following up back in the office.

You can’t underestimate the impression that it gives the customer – that you are an organisation that’s on the ball.

So instead of your external account manager sitting in laybys trying to make calls, trying to follow up queries that have come up in the meantime, pair them up with an internal resource that’s much more cost effective. This means that person can not only make appointments but also follow up on actions and can ensure that agreed objectives have been achieved – from both the customer’s side and for your people internally.

Dynamics Consumer Goods allows you to assign and keep track of any of the actions that normally would tie up your external account manager for a considerable period. It also means that when an existing account needs a visit, the internal person can try and open up several new accounts in that same area and make appointments for that same period of time.

Smoothing the way for modern technology – making the most effective use of your resources

Here’s a question, how do you get those members of staff who have been with you for years and are stuck in their ways to transfer to the new technology? Well it could be just one quick easy solution!

Dynamics Consumer Goods can be used on an iPad (and other tablet devices) – a tool even the most traditional of sales staff are used to using. By giving your sales people a tablet, it allows them to use Dynamics Consumer Goods while they are with the customer, in a way that’s not confrontational as if they were using a laptop. A tablet device also allows them to scribble notes in the same way as they would with a paper notebook as they would have done in the past.

What this now means is that the information can be captured and shared instantly, even with photographs embedded into the visit report for reporting on merchandising for example, and makes it available to either management or their colleagues who need that information to follow up correctly.

For more information on how Dynamics Consumer Goods can support your internal sales, external sales and merchandiser teams, watch our video.