Integrated DNA Technologies (IDT) is a leader in life sciences manufacturing and developing products for the research and diagnostic market. It serves the areas of academic research, biotechnology, clinical diagnostics and pharmaceutical development. IDT synthesizes and ships an average of 36,000 custom products per day and serves more than 86,000 customers worldwide.

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With the challenges of double-digit growth; expanding into several new product markets and fulfilling FDA traceability requirements, IDT knew it needed a new business system.  Ultimately IDT selected Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP 2012 and implementation partner Edgewater Fullscope.

According to Aaron Warner, CIO, “From an integration perspective, IDT has easily combined Dynamics AX ERP with existing custom software used in our complex manufacturing environment. The consistency of interface design and familiarity of other Microsoft products greatly simplified the training requirements. Ultimately, we found the total cost of ownership to be lower than our projections.”

Watch this short video and learn more …

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Growth and profitability — the ultimate combination of manufacturing goals. What will the second half of 2013 hold for discrete manufacturers? Just how big of a part can technology play?

Working with LNS Research and Microsoft Corporation, Fullscope is pleased to sponsor this informative webcast, one designed to highlight global manufacturing trends; how these trends can impact the US manufacturing sector; and the role technology can play in returning to growth mode sooner versus later.

Speakers for this event include: Matthew Littlefield, LNS Research, President and Principal Analyst; Melissa Cook, Microsoft, Senior Director and Global Manufacturing Industries Lead for Microsoft Dynamics; and Gil Garcia, Microsoft, Director Manufacturing Industries US Dynamics.

Planned topics:

•    What current global manufacturing trends indicate about the future of US manufacturing

•    How social media and mobile technologies influence demand and impact manufacturing production

•    Why manufacturers must focus on growth versus cost reductions, and ideas to get started using technology

•    How agility, innovation and empowerment of employees are the most important change agents within a manufacturing enterprise today

•    Why end-to-end process orchestration is key for achieving operational excellence efficiency

•    How discrete manufacturers can turn big data to actionable intelligence for improved growth

•   And much more …

For more information, speaker bios and to register, visit our website now

Manufacturers, by the pure nature of what they do, require very specific software applications to run their businesses.  When you drop to an industry level, the special requirements lists for both get even longer.

That’s why Fullscope has announced a new series of solutions designed to extend functionality in Microsoft Dynamics AX enterprise resource planning (ERP) and Microsoft Dynamics CRM to help solve specific manufacturing challenges.

Unveiled at Convergence 2013 in New Orleans, Fullscope EDGE Industry Solutions for Microsoft Dynamics AX will include software for chemical, life sciences, pharmaceutical, food and consumer product goods (CPG) manufacturers that build on and extend the industry functionality available in the core Microsoft system. The first solution, EDGE for Life Sciences & Pharma, will address core issues that life sciences and pharmaceutical manufacturers face, including Corrective Actions & Preventive Actions (CAPA); electronic device history records; enhanced eSignatures; flexible sampling plans; approved customer lists; vendor scorecards and validation requirements. Fullscope will continue to invest in and release new solutions for food, chemical, CPG and industrial manufacturers. For additional information, see http://www.fullscope.com/phpfn/View.php?ArticleID=349

The Fullscope EDGE Solutions for Microsoft Dynamics CRM help CPG and industrial manufacturers with complex sales channels (including inside sales, field sales, direct sales, reseller networks and partner sales) improve communication gaps and have better visibility to data. The solutions are EDGE for Partner Relationship Management (PRM); EDGE for Sales Force Automation (SFA); EDGE for Customer Service Assistance (CSA) and EDGE for Trade Promotion Management (TPM). The Fullscope EDGE Solutions for CRM can be deployed in the Cloud, on premise and, for select functionality, on mobile devices. For additional information, see http://www.fullscope.com/phpfn/View.php?ArticleID=347

When American industrial trash bag maker Heritage realized that its legacy systems couldn’t support its growth plans, including its line of commercial-grade compostable bags, the company turned to Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP. As a result of Heritage’s smooth Microsoft Dynamics AX and CRM implementation, the software platform has helped Heritage to reduce inventory, serve more customers, grow with fewer resources and consolidate data.

See the full video:  Heritage Bag: Making Things Possible with Dynamics AX

http://bit.ly/reilyaxvideo

Fullscope customer/food and beverage manufacturer Reily Foods Company uses Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP software, for usability, flexibility and support for unique food manufacturing needs. With Microsoft Dynamics AX, Reily is able to have real-time access to data, plus the information it needs to support food safety and sustainability practices, including traceability for product recalls. Watch this short video and learn more …

Businesses of all sizes, including more than 90 percent of Fortune 100 companies, rely on Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. ERP is an integrated computer-based system used to manage internal and external resources, including tangible assets, financial resources, materials, and human resources. Its purpose is to facilitate the flow of information between all business functions inside the boundaries of the organization and manage the connection to the supply chain. Built on a centralized database and normally using a common computing platform, ERP systems consolidate all business operations into a uniform and enterprise-wide system environment.

We are now more than 20 years into a business world driven, in good part, by ERP systems and the efficacies they enable. (The term “Enterprise Resource Planning” was first employed by the research and analysis firm Gartner Group in 1990 as an extension of MRP—first, Material Requirements Planning;  later, Manufacturing Resource Planning—and Computer Integrated Manufacturing. While not supplanting these terms, ERP has come to represent a larger whole.)

A recent survey of CIOs indicated that ERPs were “essential to the core of their businesses, and that they could not live without them.” They also acknowledge that many of these systems are out of date technologically, or, in the case of those that have newer systems, troublingly expensive with customization and maintenance costs. It is time to consider the questions: is your business running as well as it should be? If not, why not? Your current ERP system may be the dynamo it was intended to be, but if it has become outdated or outrageously expensive to operate—a dinosaur or a devil in the making—chances are it is doing more harm than good in today’s increasingly contested global competition. Regardless of your business or industry, the time has come to examine your ERP system dispassionately.

• Should you continue with your current system?
• Is it time to upgrade?
• Is it time to change?

These are not easy questions to answer. In part one of a multi-part post, this article is designed to give you an overview of what needs to be considered as you go through this interrogative—and potentially invigorating—process.

Why Consider Change?

To survive and thrive in today’s marketplace, companies must improve and streamline their operations and business processes to increase productivity, drive down costs, and foster innovation. These were principal motivating factors in the original implementation of ERP systems. Even as those systems have changed and evolved, ERP’s importance to business vitality has increased as competition has expanded. In a period of upheaval, such as the one we are living in, change is the norm and should not be postponed but rather embraced.

While ERP systems were designed to improve business processes, they sometimes impose bad ones. As you gauge the effectiveness of your current ERP system, do so in light of your core business processes. Is the system facilitating efficiencies and greater productivity, or is it forcing action based on its own structure?

Initial ERP systems were often inflexible, forcing organizations to bend their business processes to the needs of the software rather than the needs of the business. Or the software required significant, expensive, and time-consuming customization to gain a little flexibility. When business processes evolve and software remains static, a chasm emerges between the original implementation and the changing requirements of the business. This may continue over time to the point where the ERP system becomes an impediment rather than an enabler—in other words, dysfunctional.

Many companies with older ERP systems have augmented them with other software to gain functionality that was lacking in the initial ERP System implementation but subsequently deemed necessary. The data from these newer systems must integrate into the existing ERP System, and in numerous instances this has proved costly, problematic, or both.

Integrating data to ERP systems from these reactionary systems can be challenging, as even before their addition, data migration to ERP was often given inadequate atttention due to its typical position in the production phase of implementations.

As ERP systems evolved, the problem of integration has been addressed by the expansion of functionality. The idea is to replace standalone systems—and eliminate siloes of information—with the capabilities inherent in the new ERP System. Independent software vendors have also developed industry-specific modules that are tightly integrated to the core ERP application. As companies have persisted in their need for third-party applications outside of core ERP, ERP vendors have developed application interface tools (APIs) designed to ease integration challenges.

Access to both resources and support personnel is also an issue that demands consideration. As you assess the technology of your ERP system, consider where the vendor will be ten years from now, and what kind of support will be available at that time. Ongoing support must be a given if you are to stay with your current ERP system technology, just as your own organization’s ability to change must be considered if new technology is to be implemented.

Remember that when you purchase an ERP system, that purchase is not static but dynamic: the product, the vendor, and their relationship with your organization must develop and support your goals through the years to come.

Your ERP system’s ability to provide the reports and information is another important aspect to consider in evaluating current system status:

  • Are you getting the reports and information you need to run your business effectively?
  • Can users run their own reports queries or do they need to turn to IT for support?
  • If so, what are those costs in terms of time and labor to develop these custom reports and inquires?
  • How easily can you access reports and inquires?
  • How easily can you export them to desktop applications like MS Excel?
  • Is the information you’re getting real-time, actionable, and easy to understand?

Often a company will experience pain, or even failure, because during its planning, reporting tools and inquiries were not considered as important as other system components.

Many companies have no idea what the total costs are to operate their ERP system because only a handful of the costs are quantifiable. Hard costs (e.g., license fees, maintenance fees) can be easily expressed and are readily available, but soft costs are more difficult to grasp, and can be very costly in terms of labor, productivity, and time. In fact, if you were to just look at hard costs, a new ERP system will almost always appear to be a more expensive option than staying with the current one. But when total cost of ownership is evaluated, accounting for both hard and soft costs, a new system may be warranted because of the productivity gains, time savings, and increased revenue opportunities that a new system brings.

Weighing the costs and benefits of retaining an existing ERP system against the costs and benefits of changing to a new one is something that companies will do sooner or later. If your current business environment has you thinking sooner is the better of these options, then there is a methodology to follow that will inform the decision you must make—a decision that will have a shaping, and perhaps decisive, influence on the future course of your business.

Next Time/Part 2: The Process of Examination:  Detailed Steps To Determine if You Should Keep Or Replace Your Existing Solution

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Is Coming on September 8 … Be the First to See It.

The world is risky enough—if your company is considering a new ERP system, consider the safest bet on the market: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012.

Join us live on September 8 and see the new safe and powerful ERP system for discrete and process manufacturing and distribution companies in one of these cities:  Minneapolis, Dallas, Irvine, Portland, Charlotte, Grand Rapids or Cincinnati.  We’ll also hold launch events in Atlanta on September 29 and Boston on October 4.

Each launch event will be held at the local Microsoft office in each city, and will feature Dynamics AX 2012 highlights from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, insights from Gartner Group ERP Analyst Nigel Montgomery, plus the opportunity to see AX 2012 in action from both a high level and industry-specific perspective.

All attendees will be able to take advantage of special Dynamics AX 2012 offers from event sponsors Sunrise Consulting and Edgewater Fullscope. Each attendee will also be registered to win free Xbox Kinect system.

If you have any business manufacturing processes that are causing you enough pain to consider looking a new enterprise resource planning system within the next two years, come see what is in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 and how it may be able to help make your job easier and your company more profitable.

Visit http://bit.ly/axlaunch to learn more or register.