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

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.

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.

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”.

Business intelligence – more than just financial reporting

Give everyone, not just those in your Finance team, a powerful new way to work with data.

User expectations are changing, and we know that most job roles now need self-service access to more types of data than ever before – to measure the success of every department.

To fully benefit from the power of data, organisations need to make it easy for all users to get access to the right data, at the right time, so they can make more informed decisions; whilst also giving IT the tools to manage data access, quality and compliance.

Whether you are on the go or in the office, you need to create rich, interactive reports and Microsoft Power BI offers you the tools you need. Stay connected to your data from anywhere, anytime. Watch our video for a quick run through.

Power BI gives a 360° view of your business data on the go – at the touch of your fingers and quickly connect, shape, visualise, and share data insights.

With Power BI, your dashboards help you keep a finger on the pulse of your business.  Your dashboards display tiles that you can click to explore further with reports. Connect to multiple datasets to bring all of the relevant data together in one place.

For a quick exploration of your data, you can even try asking a question in the Q&A box.  For example, try typing "what segment had the most revenue".

Power BI

If you have important data in an Excel spreadsheet on your computer, you can create a Power BI dashboard to stay informed anywhere and share with others. 

Microsoft Power BI is helping users spot risks & find opportunities at a glance so they can save the day, every single day.

Watch more at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWHnLeT-WXs

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.