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

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

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

Exposing Bugs with Tests in Microsoft Dynamics NAV

This post is not an introduction to automated testing in Microsoft Dynamics NAV. If you don’t know what I’m talking about you should check out Luc van Vugt’s blog here first.

If you aren’t writing any automated tests for your code at the moment you should consider starting. You know that really, but it can difficult to get going. You need time to learn and become familiar with the testing framework in the first place. Then it takes time to write the tests. And then time to run them. Time you don’t have, time you’d rather spend doing something else…etc.

I Don’t Have Time

On that point, it really doesn’t take long to write tests after you’ve done your first few. There are tons of ‘library’ functions that help you create test data and documents with minimal fuss. You want to create a customer, create a sales order with an item line and then post it? That’s three lines of code.

Start with Bugs

A good place to start might be with bugs. Half the challenge with writing tests is defining exactly what you’re testing i.e. “given some initial scenario when X happens the expected result is Y.” Breaking a big codebase into snippets like that can seem daunting. With a bug you’ve got all the information you need. “Under these circumstances, when X happens we are getting Z when we were expecting Y.”

1. Write the Test First

Rather than diving into the code to find and fix the cause of the problem, take a minute to write a test for it. Recreate the steps that are leading to the bug in your test. Run the test and confirm that it fails.

Why write the test first? If you are going to use the test to confirm that the bug has been fixed (and doesn’t reappear sometime in the future) you want to be sure that the test itself works. If you write the test after the fix and it passes is that because you’ve fixed the problem or because the test is incorrect and will always pass?

Capture the bug while you’ve got the steps and the code to reproduce it. That way, you know that you’re looking at the right thing and that you’re actually fixing the issue.

2. Fix the Bug

Now you can go ahead and put the bug fix in.

3. (Re)Run the Test

Once you think you’ve fixed the problem you can run the test and confirm that it now passes. A test that passes having previously failed ought to give you a lot more confidence than one that has always passed.

Even better, you’ve added a test to your library that you can re-run when you make future changes to your code. You’re much like likely to reintroduce a bug that you’ve seen before if you’ve got a test that is specifically looking out for it.

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.

Technology Management named as one of UK’s Best Workplaces 2017

TM March 2017

We’ve been named by Great Place to Work® as one of the UK’s Best Workplaces™ in the medium business category for 2017, – and I couldn’t be prouder of our team!

This is the first time we’ve submitted an entry to Great Place to Work® and to have achieved a place in the Medium Business Category an honour, and reflects the great team we have in place at Tecman!

We originally entered this year as a benchmarking exercise, to see how we ranked against other like-sized companies and to better understand how our staff felt about working with us. I was thrilled with the positivity of our survey replies, but have also taken the feedback practically and since the results we have implemented three major changes:

  • purchasing a second car park so our staff no longer have to park on the road
  • a modified career development plan and skills matrix to reflect the many different internal departments
  • now offering soft skills training for those who are more technically orientated

The award, to us, recognises the strength of our leadership and the range of innovative and effective HR strategies we have in place, which has created our successful culture that our team thrives in.

We have always believed that the best way to ensure staff understand the values and ethics we live by is through the way we expect all staff, and especially management, to act. No politics and prima donnas welcome: we are one team and we all do what it takes to succeed on our client projects. Anyone will help anyone.

Employee recognition is high on our company list of priorities; we endeavour to make sure our whole company knows when any employee achieves results above and beyond their expected roles – this goes a long way to our employees feeling valued and safe in our organisation – and most importantly this keeps productivity high for our customers!

We couldn’t be happier at becoming a ‘great place to work’ and know that we owe this achievement to our dedicated and hardworking team.

Onwards and upwards!