Streamline your sales process by managing Cases in one system

You will be excited to learn that we have released a brand new Dynamics Addition – Sales Documents, which will help to streamline your sales process when managing Cases. The Addition will also enhance your customers experience, with faster response times due to more reliable data. 

If you're a user of Microsoft Dynamics software, you will be aware that there is a standard connector available which can integrate Dynamics 365 / CRM and Dynamics NAV. The connector is purely focused on the sales process, and works on the basis that you can create a Lead, Opportunity, Quote and Order in CRM and then submit that order directly into Dynamics NAV. However, we’ve found that there are some limitations with creating quotes and orders within Dynamics 365 / CRM, these include:

  • Dynamics 365 / CRM does not include stock availability or stock locations, so if you create an order and there’s no stock you don’t get any warnings. In turn, you risk disappointing the customer which can leave a very bad impression, especially if they are a brand new customer to the business
  • Dynamics 365 / CRM doesn’t handle the financials for a customer. For example, if a customer is over their credit limit there are no credit warnings, which places the business under a great level of risk 
  • Pricing in Dynamics 365 / CRM isn’t quite as sophisticated as Dynamics NAV. If you have complex pricing structures, promotions or customer specific pricing, it requires a considerable amount of effort to make these work within Dynamics 365 / CRM

Furthermore, the standard connector doesn’t particularly support the customer service process at all. The customer service function generally tends to be managed in Dynamics 365 / CRM using Cases. To summarise, Cases are there to log problems, questions and requests. A company can then analyse the Cases that have been raised, to look for trends or patterns and address the root causes to improve the overall customer experience.

Particular Cases may require a sales return order (SRO) or a replacement sales order (SO) to be created within Dynamics NAV. However, the standard integration between Dynamics 365 / CRM and Dynamics NAV doesn’t support the creation of SRO's/SO's directly from Cases. This can cause a degree of frustration for customer service staff because it means they have to log-in to a separate system, find the customer details, raise the SRO/SO, probably copy the SRO/SO number and maybe send some notes back across to Dynamics 365 / CRM. Because that process requires a lot of effort, certain steps may get missed or forgotten which could leave a negative impact on the overall customer experience.

Dynamics Additions Sales Documents

1. Streamline sales process – By going from Lead to Order within one system

  • The Sales Documents Addition allows you to create Dynamics NAV Quotes and Orders directly from an Account or Opportunity record in Dynamics 365 / CRM. This means you harness the strengths of Dynamics NAV in terms of item availability, stock out warnings, credit limit warnings and complex pricing structures. Additionally, it saves you from having to switch between systems to find bits of information and reduces the likelihood of errors being made or customers being disappointed
  • When the document is created in Dynamics NAV, it automatically writes some information back to Dynamics 365 / CRM, such as: date created, document number and amount which can then be used to trigger workflows in Dynamics 365 / CRM, when required to create Tasks for sales representative to follow up on quotes or first orders

2. Improve customer experience

  • The Sales Documents Addition allows you to create Dynamics NAV SROs and SOs directly from within a Case record and also writes some of the information automatically back to Dynamics 365 / CRM, such as: date created, document number and amount. Once that data is written back to Dynamics 365 / CRM, you can then take advantage of the workflow tool in Dynamics 365 / CRM which can send out automatic updates to customers or generate Tasks to remind customer service staff to follow up with customers in (x) number of days

Benefits

  • Increased employee satisfaction because they have better access to critical real-time information and can access this information at the touch of a button
  • Cost savings because productivity is enhanced through the streamlining and automation of processes
  • Improved customer satisfaction because it frees up employees time to focus on high value interactions with customers rather than carrying out administrative tasks
  • Consistency and reliability – leaves less room for error or things being forgotten about

See it in action

If you are interested in learning more about our Dynamics Additions Sales Documents solution for Dynamics NAV & Dynamics 365 / CRM, make sure that you get in touch with us today via Contact Us

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.

What effect are currency fluctuations having on your company profits, and what are you doing to protect yourself?

Most investors will be familiar with the concept of currency exposure, with constantly changing exchange rates affecting the cost of investing in international stocks. These same issues also affect companies that operate, import and export internationally.

If you have a business which prides itself on sourcing local products, foreign exchange is unlikely to have much of an impact on your profit margins. But if your business sources goods and services from overseas or exports products, fluctuations in the currency market can make a notable difference to your profitability. 

A double-edged sword, the foreign currency market is one of the most volatile trading platforms in the world. Exchange rates can move by as much as 10% in a matter of days; on the day the EU Referendum result was announced, the Pound dropped 12% against the US Dollar.

When even small fluctuations in an exchange rate can mean you get less of a return on your finished products, businesses with regular international money transfers to manage could find themselves seriously out of pocket if they fail to capitalise on positive foreign exchange rate fluctuations, or leave themselves exposed to negative ones.

If your business sends or receives international payments, currency moves can potentially have a serious impact on your bottom line. But there are ways you can look to protect your business from adverse moves…

The first step is to understand your exposure and the potential risks to your business.

Next time the exchange rate swings by 10%, you want to be able to quickly and easily quantify its impact on your bottom line. The best way for importers and exporters to compete is often through being competitive on price, but when things outside your control significantly undercut your margins, you need to be able to quickly establish by how much and where.

It's essential that you can easily drill down into what products, orders and/or contracts are

affected across your business so you can start making the necessary price changes. You need to know if there are items in transit that are affected that you need to address straight away or are you looking at only new orders?

With a single integrated system like Microsoft Dynamics NAV, you can analyse the impact of these tricky external factors on your business – on margins, cash flow or productivity – and make the right, corrective decisions based on reliable information.

With Dynamics NAV you can easily change your currency rates as they change, keep track of your potential exposure to currency fluctuations and also accurately record realised gains and losses.

You can register exchange rates for each foreign currency and specify from which dates the exchange rates are valid. For example, you can enter daily exchange rates, monthly exchange rates, or quarterly exchange rates for each foreign currency. You can even retain historical exchange rates for reference purposes.

Isolate, evaluate, and eliminate the impact of currency fluctuations on your business operations – and keep your margins stable with Dynamics NAV.

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.

Using Power BI Dashboards in Dynamics 365

In this video we talk you through how to use the Dashboards that are created as part of the free content packs available from AppSource (called Sales Analytics for Dynamics 365 and Customer Service Analytics for Dynamics 365) in Dynamics 365 as your own Dashboard or make this available for others.

This allows sales managers to get insights into their accounts, sales and opportunities. Details are given on sales performance, sales pipeline and activities. Sales performance can be tracked through metrics such as won revenue, average deal size, win rate, lead conversion rate and much more. Customer service managers can get valuable insights about the business in terms of customer service performance, activities and active cases. Metrics are provided out of the box to track service performance via resolved cases count, average handling times, % of escalated cases, CSAT scores and much more.

Even more excitingly a hybrid dashboard can be created, using the elements (Tiles) from each Dashboard that are most relevant to the person you are creating the dashboard for, you can mix and match tiles from different Power BI Dashboards along with Views from Dynamics 365 to give a truly bespoke dashboard with job role-specific information. This means that Power BI can be used by companies to manage the information views that managers in particular need, with possible cost reductions in licencing, as they may get everything they need from the Dashboard or Report in Power BI and so not actually need a Dynamics 365 licence or NAV licence.

Watch it now: https://youtu.be/0v1w6d-_jRQ 

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

Late payments are costing SME’s in the UK more than £2bn a year

Smaller businesses in the UK are facing a total bill of £2.16 billion to chase overdue payments, according to Bacs Payment Schemes Limited.

In spite of a dramatic drop in the overall late payment debt, with new figures showing that UK small to medium size enterprises are owed £14.2 billion in contrast with five years ago when the total was double that, at £30.2 billion, late payments are still costing SME’s a lot more than they should.

Out of the 1.7 million SMEs in the UK, almost 640,000 say they have to wait beyond agreed terms for payments. 39% of companies are spending up to four hours a week chasing late payers, while 12 per cent of SMEs employ someone specifically to pursue outstanding invoices.

Almost one in five SMEs affected by overdue settlement admit that being owed between £20,000 and £50,000 would be enough to drive them into bankruptcy, with seven per cent of businesses saying they are already in that danger zone.

Of those facing late payments, some 16 per cent struggle to pay their staff on time, while 28 per cent of company directors reduce their own salaries in order to keep essential working capital inside their businesses. And nearly a third say that overdue invoice settlement forces them to pay their own suppliers late. A quarter rely on bank overdrafts to make essential payments, and 15 per cent find it difficult to pay business bills like energy, rates, and rent when they’re due.

A significant issue for SMEs is the amount of time they are being kept waiting beyond their previously agreed payment terms. Almost a third of companies face delays of at least a month beyond their terms and nearly 20 per cent are having to wait more than 60 days before being paid.

This is why keeping a tight grip on your credit control is vital.

To thrive, your organisation needs better control of overdue balances and approaching credit limits. So it’s essential to arm your business with the necessary tools to effectively and efficiently perform credit management and avoid receiving late payments.

Our Credit Management Addition for Dynamics NAV helps to remove some of the manual tasks from your Credit Control team, by automatically putting sales orders on hold if a customer has overdue balances or a particular sales order would put them over their agreed credit limit.

Get great visibility of outstanding balances by account. Assign your customers to specific individuals in your team to measure and track the performance of these accounts. Individual dashboard help your credit controllers to keep on top of outstanding balances and daily tasks. Visibility by account means you can easily identify the biggest outstanding balances and also ensure you don’t miss the smallest balances either and Views of what’s due for payment in the next x days, means a proactive approach to credit and prevents customers regularly exceeding their payment terms.

We know ourselves that ensuring you get paid on time is getting harder, so our Dynamics Addition also helps your team keep on top of chasing debt. Follow up calls/to-do’s can be automatically diarised to remind your users when to chase payments that haven’t been paid when promised, aiding your busy team with better time management and more efficient processes.

Make life simpler with Credit Management and don’t let poor cash flow kill your business.

The Power of JET – Fast, Flexible, Custom Reporting Inside Excel

Our Dynamics Learning course – Using Jet Professional – is a one day, hands on course that will equip you to create your own tailored reports.

It’s a chance to explore all the options this great reporting tool has, from the four basic functions NL, NF, GL and NP, through to all the visual tools that are available to speed things up, all mixed in with plenty of tips and tricks for the software. We will guide you from starting up the software right the way through to the final stage of scheduling your reports for distribution via email.

Our course is the full package. A full day's learning supported by a 100-page training manual, (so you don’t need to worry about making notes on the day), a video playlist to watch back and over 50 example reports to take away. So you will be fully equipped to put things into practice as soon as you get back to your desk! 

All delivered in our dedicated training facility, in our demonstration environment, working with the latest versions of both Jet and Microsoft Dynamics NAV – with the support of our in-house professional trainer.

Find out if our course is for you at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoS7gV-LINmmYy8x_Ju00EiHlTjLD6T7p

Do you Excel?

Or are you just getting by with the world’s most popular Business Intelligence tool, Microsoft Excel, and maybe fancy enhancing your knowledge?

Did you know you can do this for free, using materials present by Microsoft’s own people?

Well EDX.org has just this, EDX is a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) but don’t left the daft label put you off, the content is serious. Basically, this is an online collection of courses from different sources, founded by Harvard and MIT, so it’s got some substance to it.

The courses are offered by a range of providers, one of which is Microsoft. This is not just any old trainer, these are often the product managers at Microsoft, so again, it’s the real deal. There is even a full program in Data Science (Microsoft Professional Program for Data Science) that can be followed that includes modules on Excel and Power BI which are relevant to most business users.

All of the courses are free to ‘audit’, you can use the learning resources and take the tests but if you wish to get a certificate for your efforts then you need to pay a fee. Of course, some people struggle to find the time to do this kind of self-paced on line study and many prefer working with someone face to face, if that’s the case then why not check out our Dynamics Learning courses for Excel or Power BI, and I’ll see you soon!

The Power of JET – Fast, Flexible, Custom Reporting Inside Excel

Our Dynamics Learning course – Using Jet Professional - is a one day, hands-on course that will equip you to create your own tailored reports.

It’s a chance to explore all the options this great reporting tool has, from the four basic functions, NL, NF, NP and GL, through to all the visual tools that are available to speed things up, all mixed in with plenty of tips and tricks for the software. We will guide you from starting up the software right the way through to the final stage of scheduling your reports for distribution via email, so you can ensure you get the most out of the data in your ERP system. 

Our course is the full package. A full days learning supported by a 100-page training manual, (so you don’t need to worry about making notes on the day), a video playlist to watch back and over 50 example reports to take away. You will be fully equipped to put things into practice as soon as you get back to your desk!  

All delivered in our dedicated training facility, in our demonstration environment, working with the latest versions of both Jet and Microsoft Dynamics NAV – with the support of our in-house professional trainer.

Find out if our course is for you at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoS7gV-LINmmYy8x_Ju00EiHlTjLD6T7p