Why Buy Microsoft – a customer’s perspective:

A customer’s view on why you should choose Microsoft as your IT platform/business systems provider and the 3 attributes that give Microsoft Dynamics the advantage over its competition.

Click here to hear their story: http://searchcrm.techtarget.com/opinion/Why-buy-Microsoft

liftFind out how Microsoft Dynamics can lift your organisation.

Bounce Foods, UK FMCG: The Journey to Dynamics NAV 2015

 

Bounce Foods is an #FMCG manufacturer and retailer in the UK, providing energy balls aimed at health conscious active people.

As a part of the Technology Adoption Programme (TAP) with Microsoft, Bounce Foods were the first UK implementation and pre-release adopters of #MicrosoftDynamics NAV 2015.

By having #DynamicsNAV fully integrated with Dynamics CRM and Office 365, Bounce Foods are taking advantage of being at the very forefront of technology and giving their customers the best experience possible. Thanks to the seamless integration between the different packages, the end-user is now more effective and more productive, with all the tools that they need under one unified umbrella.

Upgrading from hosted Dynamics NAV 2013 to hosted Dynamics NAV 2015, took Bounce Foods less than a full day – with only 6 to 7 hours of internal resources and half a day for the transition. It was smooth, painless and they're already in line ready for the next release.

Delivered by Technology Management, learn how Bounce Foods make the most of Dynamics NAV.

Learn more about Technology Management here:

http://www.tecman.co.uk

iPad & Android client for Dynamics NAV 2015

So one of the most exciting new features for Dynamics NAV 2015 are the new clients for the Apple iPad , Google Android and of course Windows 8 tablets. So now either internally over Wi-Fi or better still from anywhere with a 3G connection you can access your Dynamics NAV system both to find information and to input new transactions.

Letting you use Microsoft Dynamics NAV on the move they expose all the functionality  another ERP available in the standard client in a new touch friendly interface, wow – tell system that does this. You don’t need a finger as sharp as a pencil on this one. Designed to be used on devices down to 7 inches in size (so not phones yet) it provides an intuitive experience that anyone used to a tablet will get straight away. 

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Better still it connects and used standard pages from your core system so any customisations to for instance role centres or order entry will be reflected immediately on the tablet interface.

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It supports any of the reports that you can produce via the windows client and you can even download  then to a local PDF reader for into the tablets email calendar to send on.

One other thing I really like (and would like in the standard client please Microsoft) is that the search is active on every column on the page so that you don’t have to select the column to search on – much easier.  In the example below for instance its found ‘CAN’ in both the company names and the contact.

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As you would expect it when you rotate the tablet it adapts its layout to the portrait format which is often the most convenient to hold it on the move with its similarity to a writing pad.

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So what do you need to setup NAV 2015 for the tablet? Well you have to publish the middle tier service with a security certificate (even if only using internally) and while you can use a free self signed versions its so much hassle that we suggest you buy one at about £120 a year. This makes your system as secure as possible being the same technology that gives you that little padlock when you connect to your online banking.

Other than that you have to connect to the appropriate app store for your tablet, download the app and sign in with the address of your middle tier (which has to be in the format of for instance https://nav2015.tecman.co.uk) and then enter the same security credentials as you would for running it in a browser or signing into windows.

And talking of browsers if you like the interface better than the standard one you can use it in the browser of your choice – its shown below working in Google Chrome and yes, all the touch functions are still working so that nice new touch screen laptop is finally justifiable. In fact to use the touch interface you have to just add ‘/tablet.aspx’ to the end of the URL you’d normally use for the standard client.

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Now I’ve started let me finish the technical bit by saying that Microsoft have built the clients using Apache Cordova so similar to the Dynamics CRM client its very light and actually very little is held or happens on the tablet. This means as new standards or formats appear they should be really quickly supported. As you might expect client side controls need to be JavaScript based to work on the tablet, .net assembles are the one thing not supported. The other things currently is that due to the differences on each OS client side devices such as camera’s or barcode readers are not supported, partners can add support via JavaScript though.

So who will use this, we a lot of company managers have iPad’s for note taking now so that’s one group. Obviously sales staff on the road will find it an absolute gift but I also think that with more rugged versions that are starting to appear now it will prove a great shop floor data capture device.

Devices like the MioWork tablet shown below have a larger display area than handhelds and with their touch screens, ability to survive drops and water, exchangeable batteries, easy communication over Wi-Fi  combined with a reasonable cost, they could make printed production orders a thing of the past with a few simplified screens delivered via the Android app.

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Having used the client for a while now I have to congratulate Microsoft for the quality of this interface, it is truly as useable and complete as version 3 is not version 1. For sure its a great addition to the Dynamics NAV. Just for once I don’t have actually anything I’d like to see in 2016!

Dynamics NAV for iPad & Android announced

At the Convergence conference in the US a couple of weeks ago, Microsoft showed a couple of screenshots of how NAV might look designed for a touch (i.e. tablet) interface. Going vertical rather than CRM 2013’s horizontal with the large button menu I think it look easier to use but what do you think?

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What was formally announced is that the 2014 release of  Dynamics NAV will have a iPad and Windows tablet client for the first time with Android following shortly after. Able to represent the customised pages from your core NAV system, its the next stage in the ‘device independent’ client strategy that has seen first the new windows client, then the SharePoint and Web clients able to use the same core logic.

Makes the move from Forms to Pages worth it after all doesn’t it!

Public Perception will drive major food industry change

With our specialism in software for food manufacturers and distributors, in particular meat and dairy processors, I’ve watched the un-folding of the horse meat scandal over the last couple of months with more than a little interest. Whilst none of our clients have been implicated, our understanding of standard food industry practice means we are only too aware of how this could happen to some pretty reputable names.

food traceability with DynamicsFood

Put simply… while traceability is total within each organisation (from the time it arrives at goods inwards to the time it departs to the customer), you cannot track on a single system the entire supply chain from farm to fork. Unless, of course, you are the first and only processor in that supply chain. That does happen but frequently it does not.

So the fraud here was easier because the meat involved passed through multiple different traders and processors in multiple countries. If a major retailer wants to understand which animals are in a lasagne then, in the instance publicised, that would have meant queries into at least eight different company systems and more if any element of subcontracting was involved. Spread that across six countries and it’s no surprise that it took some time to unravel.

All of this is despite the big six UK food retailers insisting on 30 minute response times to traceability enquiries in their supply contracts. Sure you can do it for your organisation but about before the product or ingredients got to you?

So how can technology help tackle complete traceability not just for the industry but for the consumer? Having visited many food companies in the last few years I know that most in the UK are beyond question in this area but that’s no longer good enough. Food companies need to be able to prove total transparency to the consumer – and on demand!

How can this be achieved especially at a time when there is pressure on margins? Well electronic communication of information via systems like Dynamics Food (Microsoft Dynamics NAV plus SI Foodware) has to fill the gap here. Tier one food suppliers have to send electronic delivery notes called Advanced Shipping Notices (or ASN’s for short) which state not just what’s being delivered but what’s on which specific pallet or container. If you attempt to deliver to Sainsbury’s or Tesco, without having first sent your ASN, your delivery gets turned away.

ASN’s have got to be improved so that they also include traceability information that tracks the product(s) involved through every processing step, the farm it came from and the date it was slaughtered or picked. That’s going to mean those tier one manufacturers need ASN’s complete with batch trace information from all their suppliers as well. This is huge amounts of data that cannot be exchanged manually so extensions to the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) standards such as EDIFACT have to be the way to go.

I guess the ultimate is that consumers can use a smartphone to read a QR code on a pack of meat in the supermarket that takes them to a website with the dates and time that every supplier touched the product right back to when and where the animal was born. Technology is capable of delivering this at little, if any, extra cost (after the initial investment). It will need industry-wide change but we believe the market will drive it.

And Dynamics Food from Technology Management will be ready when it does!

Christmas Support Hours

As we approach the Christmas holidays many organisations
will be closing until the New Year. However we know that some of our customers
will continue to work across the festive period. Technology Management will
continue to offer office based support across all our products except for bank
holidays (December 25th,26th & January 1st )
For customer’s with 24/7 business critical support the lines will be manned
throughout the entire holiday period.

We would all like to wish all our customers a very Merry
Christmas and look forward to working with you again in 2013.

24/7 Business Critical Support

From April 2nd Technology Management will be offering 24/7 support throughout the year for business critical support.

Most importantly it is our internal support team that will be picking up the call, rather than it being pushed through to an external agency or to an off shore company, who would have limited ability to resolve the issue.

With our growth into organisations that work around the clock, the need to respond to critical issues at any time has resulted in us offering this service for our Dynamics ERP (NAV/AX)  customers.

Many companies are reliant on processes such as EDI to kick off their working day and although these systems work 99% of the time, the comfort to know there is assistance should they require it. This is now becoming essential to meeting deadlines and SLA’s that our clients have in place with suppliers and customers.

If this is something that is of interest to you, contact jason.tromans@tecman.co.uk or via phone on  01902 578300

TecMan (5 of 8)

Dynamics NAV via a Browser & Sharepoint

Last year Microsoft announced that the next version of NAV (codenamed NAV 7 but likely to be called NAV 2012) would allow you to access NAV not only via the full RTC windows client but also via a standard web browser and also through SharePoint. Now we have the first screenshot examples of how it will look that are not covered under the non disclosure agreements that we normally see previews under. As you can see it is completely recognisable and pretty cool.

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And the SharePoint alternative looks good to, web parts from NAV can be mixed on pages with any other SharePoint web parts such as document library’s.

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Scheduled release seems to be September/October of 2012. You could be using this before the year is out!

QR Codes now available in Microsoft Dynamics NAV

If you have Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 SP1 or R2, or Microsoft Dynamics NAV 5.0 SP1, then QR Codes open up all sorts of opportunities for improving efficiency and marketing your business.

clip_image001Quick Reason Codes are barcodes for the 21st Century (well ok they were devised in 1994).  Because they work in 2D where data is stored horizontally and vertically like a crossword, they contain a lot more information than a standard barcode and as a result have a greater range of application.

Because QR codes can be read with a camera this makes them more accessible than the standard barcode.  Many people now have phones and tablets with a built-in camera and web connection.  All you need on top of that is a barcode reader app.  These are free, can read both QR codes and standard barcodes, and are easy to use.  Simply placing the QR code in the frame will activate the QR code’s function. This can be anything from opening a website to picking an item out of stock.

So why all this talk of QR codes?  The clue is in the title.  Microsoft have released an add-in for Dynamics NAV that allows it to create and use QR codes.  A quick update to your NAV implementation will enable QR codes to be placed almost anywhere in the NAV environment – pages, forms, reports, you name it.  So once you’ve got the ability to show and print QR codes, how are you going to use them in a way that improves your business?  Here are four ideas we’ve come up with:

 

1. Warehouse Stock Tracking

– Items can be scanned in and out of locations around the warehouse as usual.  The twist is QR codes carry more information enabling additional traceability.

2. Point of Sale

– Customers with a loyalty card printed with their own QR code, can wave the card under a webcam at the point of sale.  From this action a discount could be applied to their purchase, trading details brought up on the screen, loyalty points added to their account etc.

3. Track and Measure Trends

– By allowing your customers to vote for products you can track and measure what they’re thinking and plan for the future.  This can also work internally to see which systems your colleagues are using the most.

 

4. Promotion

– So you send out an invoice to a customer.  Payment is made.  End of transaction.  Well what if you put a QR code on the invoice that will take your customer to your company website?  As an example, scan the QR code at the top of this blog post and see where it takes you.

– Notice that the code has our company logo on it?  Another exciting feature of QR codes is that they can be customised.  As long as 70% of the black/white pattern remains visible the code will scan accurately.

 

If you have Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 SP1 or R2, or Microsoft Dynamics NAV 5.0 SP1, then this is a simple update that opens up all sorts of opportunities for improving efficiency in your business.  If you’ve been holding back from upgrading then this may just be a good enough reason for you to make the jump.  The ideas above aren’t the only way to use QR codes.  Take a little time and think how QR Codes can improve your business.

DynamicsFood Events

With the latest release of our DynamicsFood software (combining Dynamics NAV and Microsoft Certified for Dynamics add on, SI Foodware) due at the end of February, we have been busy updating our website and arranging some events to coincide with this.

We will be demonstrating the total food journey right through from the initial entry of the sales order using various different methods,via purchasing,production and quality control and ending with the final delivery of the goods to the end customer showing you where your business can save time as well as improve accuracy and traceability.

 

Events will be held at our offices in Wolverhampton, Microsoft’s offices in Reading and the home of Yorkshire County Cricket, Headingley during February and we look forward to welcoming everyone to these. To book a place, please register at www.tecman.co.uk/events or spend some time browsing our new website at www.dynamicsfood.co.uk and register from there!

If you can’t make these dates but would like to know more, please contact Claire Evans at claire.evans@tecman.co.uk