Introducing EDGE Academy AX, Summer 2013

Fullscope is pleased to announce on-line summer training classes for manufacturers who use Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP and are looking for an easy, cost effective way to enhance user skills. The training courses will be delivered completely via the Internet in a premier hosted environment.

Users can participate via a web browser, and the training will leverage certified Microsoft courseware. Each class will be led by a highly talented Microsoft Certified Trainer, and is conducted in four-hour segments (10am-2pm EST).

A summary of the courses is provided below.

For pricing and registration information, click here.

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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 …

The benefits from ERP do not come from simply having the software; they result from being able to leverage its integrated capabilities to deliver better information to key decision makers. This leads to improved decisions, effective execution of business strategy, and better-served, more satisfied customers.5

Below are four companies who have learned to leverage their ERP data, and in some cases CRM, to their advantage.

Reily Foods Company

New Orleans, La.-based Reily Foods Company is a 110-year-old food and beverage manufacturer. The company has manufacturing facilities in New Orleans and Knoxville, Tenn. It is the second-largest manufacturer of iced tea in the country with its Luzianne brand, and makes other consumables such as mayonnaise and coffee.

“When we decided to get in with an ERP system, we hired a third-party consultant to review all our business processes and technology,” says Chris Foucheaux, director of business analytics and development at Reily Foods. A key metric that showed up as needed in all departments was timeliness of data. That was a significant challenge, because without the proper data, they couldn’t make appropriate decisions. “So when we looked at an ERP solution, that was the overarching goal for us: to get timeliness of data across the organization for one true picture,” says Foucheaux.

The company also felt the need to implement newer technology, ultimately choosing Microsoft Dynamics AX. With the timely ERP data that the solution delivered, Reily improved inventory turns and the management of its inventory. Further, they were able to better supply customers and support them with the proper service levels.

Reily strategizes around five key initiatives on an annual basis. Two of these are improving the processes and technologies the company has in place, and food safety and sustainability, which is increasingly important as markets expand and global certifications are required. “Part of the rationale for the initiatives is to assure we can pull data from our systems for informed decision making,” says Foucheaux. “Dynamics AX has done a very good job of this.”

One of the goals that Reily is striving for with their process technology initiative is to be predictive with their business. “We need to make accurate forecasts, understand them, and be able to produce to meet them,” he says. “When key fires strike up and we’re reactive, we’re not as effective and efficient as we could be.”

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) certification has become essential in the food and beverage industry, and Reily leverages its ERP data to have full traceability of its product across the supply chain. A case in point occurred with the company’s last BRC re-certification, an annual requirement. “A mock recall is one of the requirements of certification,” he explains. “With our old systems, both IT and the warehouse would have been involved to produce this report—a time-consuming effort. With Dynamics AX, we created the report in less than an hour, without requiring IT support.”

When first implementing the ERP solution, Reily was able to continue to ship and receive on time, as well as execute billing without disruption. “The process turned out to be smooth and anti-climatic, and that was very enjoyable, indeed,” concludes Foucheaux.

Heritage Bag Company

Dallas, Texas-based Heritage Bag Company, the nation’s largest producer of industrial trash bags, has six manufacturing facilities across the United States and produces 350 million pounds of product annually. Heritage implemented Microsoft Dynamics AX as its ERP solution in 2006; according to Sheffield, not only Heritage, but also its customers have benefited from the company’s improved ability to leverage its ERP data. “We know our customers better now, so we can service them better,” he says. “We often are able to tell them about sales trends in advance. That information alone, really that data flow, has been the selling point of our customer service. It’s pretty interesting when we can go into a customer and tell them more about their business than they know themselves.”

For Heritage, the visibility provided by ERP data impacts virtually every aspect of the business. “We’re able to do more with less,” explains Sheffield. “We’re much more efficient, and it all goes back to that data stream. Besides AX, we can also serve up that stream through our whole Microsoft platform—whether Excel, SharePoint, Reporting Services, and so on—to get that information to the appropriate user at the appropriate time in the appropriate way for maximum benefit.”

Chobani, Inc.

New Berlin, N.Y.-based Chobani, Inc., is a manufacturer of Greek yogurt, the top-selling brand in the country. Since its inception in 2005, the company has grown from five employees to almost 2,000 strong. It started out with one truck of milk a day and now uses over 4 million pounds daily. Today Chobani products are available nationwide as well as in Australia, Canada, and the UK.

“Our customers benefit from how we use ERP data because it allows us to take raw materials in, right down to the finished good. But also because it helps us enhance the whole process,” says Maureen Hurley, vice president of IT at Chobani. “Our slogan is, ‘nothing but good.’ Our use of ERP allows us to deliver that ‘nothing but good’ quality through our processing facilities, through the distribution channel, and right to the shelf.”

The business challenge when Chobani was a start-up was to move from manual, paper processes to automated ones. “As we grew, we knew we needed a more robust ERP system for inventory control, supply chain management, warehouse management—all the way through our operations,” says Hurley. Chobani’s selection of Microsoft Dynamics AX was influenced by the familiarity of its personnel with other Microsoft technologies (e.g., Excel, Outlook). “Our users picked up the interface really quickly,” notes Hurley. This made for easy handling and understanding of ERP data, which facilitated the implementation of solutions as Chobani continued to grow at a rapid pace. “Change in the manufacturing facility was challenging enough,” says Hurley. “That our ERP information came in a format we were familiar with was an advantage.”

The benefits the company has experienced since coming online with the Dynamics AX ERP solution include:

  • Lower costs of products and processes
  • Better control of inventory
  • More efficient financials, including issue of payments and receipts
  • Faster time-to-market

“We’re big process people,” says Hurley. “We knew that we didn’t do anything differently than most ERP users from a general ledger, accounts receivable, accounts payable and supply chain perspective. What we did differently was process; so we engaged Fullscope to work with us in implementation because they wrote the processing module that was purchased by Microsoft. They had the most knowledge to help us integrate our core competencies with the software solution.”

A further advantage Hurley cites is the tight integration of Microsoft Dynamics AX and Microsoft Dynamics CRM. “The integration was already there, which meant we could get to market very fast while implementing the modules at our own pace,” she notes. “It was a logical choice to go this route.” It was cost effective—the total cost of ownership was compelling when compared to other solutions—and the power of the ERP/CRM data to efficiently run Chobani’s growing business was essential. “In the end, it was basically a no-brainer for us,” Hurley concludes.

Eureka Lighting

Montreal, Quebec-based Eureka Lighting is a North American leader in decorative lighting solutions manufacturing. The company provides a wide range of flexible products designed to meet the needs of architects and designers and to enhance contemporary working and living environments.

Founded in 1987, the company grew very rapidly, and a number of issues developed: inventory proved increasingly difficult to track effectively, and order fulfillment and customer satisfaction rates fell short of management expectations.

With millions of product possibilities, Eureka’s dependence on precise inventory figures is impossible to overstate. The company relied on staff to manually track inventory, patrolling the warehouse with pen and paper in search of needed parts. This made it difficult to estimate delivery times. Orders took longer to fulfill, and customer delivery times became less predictable. Business reporting was also nonexistent. Plant floor staff, managers, and partners lacked a clear, centralized view of the number and status of orders, and the means to easily adjust them on the fly.

To address these challenges, the company implemented an ERP solution (Microsoft Dynamics AX), and then leveraged ERP data to reduce inventory, cut delivery times, and dramatically improve customer satisfaction rates. The result: greater operational efficiency and a better bottom line. Now ERP data provides an exact picture of stock positions to help sales staff make correct delivery assessments for customers, give plant floor staff insight into what is needed, and smooth the processes of accounts payable and receivable.

“Using the data from Microsoft Dynamics AX, we can leverage the market experience we’ve accumulated to be more flexible and responsive,” says Patrick Foley, president of Eureka. The resulting business improvements include:

  • Lower inventory load and reduced customer service time
  • Real-time visibility of stock and order information
  • Better customer access to Eureka’s online quote configurator, driving up satisfaction rates
  • Reduced operating costs:
    • Dedicated staff for inventory cycle count, procurement, and distribution reduced by 50 percent; staff reallocated to more strategic areas.
    • Inventory costs reduced by $2M.
    • $800K in obsolete parts eliminated.
    • Administrative tasks reduced by 20 percent.
    • Faster turnaround times, extremely fast for a make-to-order business

RESOURCEFULNESS BY EXTENSION

It is ironic that many companies running ERP forget that the idea of resource is at the center of the application. Those who remember and therefore leverage ERP as a resource find themselves at a competitive advantage. “Intuition becomes increasingly valuable in the new information society precisely because there is so much data,” said the author and futurist John Nesbitt. Implicit in this idea is the fact that while data holds power for its users, the imagination and expertise of its users is what unleashes that power. This holds true for ERP data, and is one of the reasons that the ability to extend ERP by integrating other technologies with it is such a powerful tool: it provides more opportunities for individuals to leverage their own capabilities in using technology.

As the above cases show, Microsoft Dynamics AX is particularly well suited to unleash the power of data because of the ability to extend its value through other Microsoft technologies. This integration provides people with the information and tools necessary to work more productively, communicate more effectively, and find, share and make greater sense and use of information.

In the end, ERP (including its data) is an enabler of better business processes; it helps us move towards excellence by providing the basis for greater understanding. Of course, that understanding must involve the users’ intuition, leadership, intelligence, and culture to attain change and positive growth. Then our resources can attain their maximum value, including our Enterprise Resource Planning systems.

Download the Entire White Paper Now:  http://bit.ly/fs_erpdata

NOTES

5 Cutley, Sean, “Ensuring the ROI from ERP Has a Bigger ‘R’ than ‘I,’” The European Business Review, October 2012.

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

This post briefly describes what data partitions are and what they can be used for, but most importantly, when you should NOT use them.

In short:    Data partitioning allows for the complete isolation of your application data between organizational boundaries.

What does that mean to you:

You cannot share any data across these boundaries. As far as application data is concerned, these partitions might as well run on different systems. If there is a need for business data to cross these boundaries, you should not use partitions but instead use the capabilities of the organizational model.

Data required by the system is being shared across partitions. The most prominent example is the data for AIF and batch processing. Metadata is being shared across partitions, which means you will run the same codebase for all partitions. Any customization will be available in all partitions.

For a more detailed description of data partitions, refer to these Microsoft TechNet links:

http://technet.microsoft.com/EN-US/library/jj728665.aspx

http://technet.microsoft.com/EN-US/library/jj677285.aspx

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

For food and beverage manufacturers, by-products are the unfortunate leftovers of producing valuable products and co-products. By definition, by-products are the manufacturing outputs that can’t be resold, repurposed or reused. They’re refuse.  By-products don’t add anything to production except effort and cost. It’s tempting to just ignore them and simply write them off as the cost of doing business.

But we all know by-products don’t just go away, and in most cases food and beverage manufacturers understand they ignore by-products and their costs at their own peril. There’s a price to pay. In some cases, the costs of not dealing with by-products properly are regulatory, environmental or safety problems and penalties. In other cases, the costs are less onerous, usually not knowing the true costs of production or misstating your real margins on products and co-products. Most food and beverage manufacturers must deal with both the internal and external impacts of producing by-products.

Fortunately, Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 for the food and beverage industry makes identifying, tracking and accounting for by-products a straightforward, well — by-product, of planning and managing production. With a little preparation and forethought, Dynamics AX will help you capture critical by-products information during manufacturing and use that information to calculate the costs of by-products and handle any required regulatory reporting.

To effectively manage by-products in Microsoft Dynamics AX, you need to follow a three-stage process:

  1. Identify by-products resulting from the manufacture of a product, gather the data that describes them and define these by-products in Dynamics AX;
  2. Systematically capture production data as you manufacture products and co-products and produce the by-products; and
  3. Pass the collected data to the appropriate Dynamics AX functions, evaluate it and incorporate it into internal analyses and external reporting.

While these steps over-simplify things a bit, it’s basically the same process you follow in defining and using any set of data within Dynamics AX. Each of these steps includes a number of subsidiary tasks and involves decisions and potential mistakes that could affect the quality of the resulting information and external reports. Fortunately, none of the tasks or decisions is very difficult once you understand your data, your requirements and the steps you need to follow. Read the rest of this entry »