Knowledge Base

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Lower Costs with an Integrated Manufacturing Application

Cost restructuring has been of primary importance to executives as they address the economic downturn of the 21st century. The result is a record number of plant closures, outsourcing contracts, inventory write offs, and layoffs totaling more than 2 million Americans. In past recovery periods, manufacturers have ramped back up their capacity, assets and resources. This time around, companies are more cautious and more strategic about how they expand operations to support growth. Furthermore, companies want to maintain their cost control efforts during the expansion and find better ways to improve costs, margins and profitability.

Going Lean with Microsoft Navision

This paper is an introduction to all in all 5 white papers on lean manufacturing and how to fit it into Navision. The first white paper is a general introduction on initiating a discussion of lean and understanding lean and the meaning of IT systems in general. The next upcoming white paper will cover how Navision can help a company go lean and figure out where the lean opportunities are.

How to Implement a Manufacturing System

No two organizations ever implement the same manufacturing system in the same way. Combine the vagaries of different companies, business processes, people, and systems, and “the directions” for how to implement a manufacturing system take on the wandering complexities of James Joyce’s Ulysses. Yet just as the Joyce epic has crib notes, so, too, does manufacturing system implementation. In simplest terms, a successful implementation boils down to managing a handful of key activities.

Six Ways to Make your Lean Operation More Lean

Do you want more out of your lean manufacturing investment? Does there seem to be something missing? Have the results fallen short of expectations? Are you searching for the path to realizing your initial expectations? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, there is an excellent chance that your company’s next significant task is to clearly understand the difference between “lean planning” and “lean execution” activities, and the roles of each in a high-performance manufacturing operation.

Maximizing the Impact:
A Strategic Approach to ERP Selection for SME Manufacturers

In today’s wired world, ERP is the very infrastructure of how your business operates. It is also the platform for future expansion into the global business environment. For this reason, a fresh approach to selecting ERP systems is warranted. This new approach must recognize that it’s not a high percentage match of features and functions to your existing business that will help your company succeed—it’s knowing what aligns your system to the true basis of competition in your industry. This Report provides insight to how leading companies evaluate business applications.

Manufacturing Software Evaluation and Planning Guide

Speed, quality and customer service are critical components to success in the manufacturing environment of today If the software that controls your manufacturing processes can’t provide all three, your company may find itself at a distinct disadvantage in an increasingly fast-paced economy.

How can you analyze the health of your manufacturing software? "The Manufacturing Software Evaluation and Planning Guide" can help. This easy-to-use tool is designed to help you analyze your current system’s capabilities and quantify its potential for improvement. With this guide, you can evaluate current system effectiveness in specific areas, such as inventory, production tracking and customer service, as well as general areas, such as system flexibility, interconnectivity and data flow.

The "Mainstreaming" of Supply Chain Management
Simpler, More Affordable Integration for Small and Mid-Sized Organizations.

This paper examines the need for a standardized or “mainstream” model that makes Supply Chain Management more approachable and cost-justified by small and medium-size organizations.

Manufacturing Beyond the Margin: Changing the Customer Conversation from Price to Value

Can manufacturers change the customer conversation from price to value? Yes — but doing so requires a fundamental reorganization of the customer relationship, by providing a customer-value package wrapped around the core product or service, and negotiating what the package offers.

An AMR Research Report: Six Critical Issues Midmarket Manufacturers Must Address

With the benefit of hindsight, we can now see the sweeping changes brought about by e-business. Leading companies have completely subsumed manufacturing into the supply chain, and much of the interaction between customers and suppliers is electronically enabled. Still, manufacturing is as important as it ever was.

Five Strategies for Lowering Inventory Costs

As a manufacturer, you need the right technology tools to help your company stay ahead of the competition. Your business demands a manufacturing system tightly integrated to financials, from job costing to materials handling to customer service. Equally important, your company-wide system must be easy-to-use and cost-effective to maintain. That’s why Microsoft Business Solutions developed this guide.Based on our work with many successful manufacturing companies like yours,we show you which factors directly and indirectly affect inventory costs and how you can control them. We’ve also included an example from one manufacturer who managed to turn some daunting challenges into exciting opportunities for improvement and growth.

Regardless of whether you’re a small business with fewer than 100 employees or an established mid-sized firm with hundreds or thousands of employees,we’re confident you’ll find an idea or two that will help you better manage and control inventory costs.

Finding the Strategic Power in Projects

Project software tools help streamline the business process by providing management with an efficient way to estimate costs, establish timelines, schedule resources, monitor project progress, and analyze actual results for each endeavor. In this Microsoft Business Solutions White Paper entitled, "Finding the Strategic Power in Projects", service and project orientated businesses are provided with insight to turn project management into profit management.

Creating a Competitive Advantage with Project Management and Accounting

Integrated Project Management and Accounting (PMA) technologies can be a catalyst for business transformation while delivering a powerful return on investment (ROI). Give your organization the tools it needs to track projects and make more effective decisions.

Optimizing Your Business Relationships:
How to get the most out of your vendors, customers and employees

The Super Efficient Company - You’ve cut the waste out of your own operations. Now, you face an even tougher challenge: streamlining the processes you share with other companies.

Demand Planning: Optimizing Operations Across the Supply Chain

How does BMW know how many Mini Coopers it will sell in North America? How many Priuses should Toyota build to meet demand in the U.S. this year? Worldwide? When is it time to tweak production—upward or downward—to reflect a change in the market? The short answer to all these questions is: No one knows for sure. The long answer is: Everyone needs and wants to know. That’s why demand planning exists.

"The ABC's of ERP: An Executive Primer" - An Aberdeen Group Report

Perhaps your company is evaluating the need for an enterprise resource management (ERP) system, or considering investing in a new solution. Either way, understanding "ERP" and what it offers in today's business world is critical to your software and vendor selection.

The Essential Guide for Selecting Today's Business Software

For as long as software vendors and resellers have existed, customers have wondered if the systems recommended to them will live up to all the promises, as well as whether the recommendation is truly the best fit for them, or simply the most profitable for the software vendor. Therefore, it is important to consider far more than what is initially presented to you when selecting software.The main question we are trying to answer with this booklet is: What do you need to know to go about selecting the right business software for your company?

This essential guide is intended to give you valuable information about the inner workings of software and implementation vendors and help you formulate an opinion about the best course of action to take for your business.

Distribution: Costs Down, Customer Loyalty Up

If you’re a distributor, you probably struggle with the same problems as every other distributor in the world. Never mind where you are or what industry you’re in; the questions remain the same. How do you keep costs down without compromising on the value of your offering? How do you run a tight inventory and warehouse and still respond to customer needs? It’s always a trade-off between cost management and customer service, isn’t it? Or is it?

A Distributor's Survival Kit: Maximizing ROI in the Mid-Market ERP Implementation

This white paper examines issues associated with how to maximize return on investment in ERP implementation for mid-market customers.

Fast Track to Lower Supply Chain Costs & Improved Customer Responsiveness:
New Requirements for a “Solution-In-A-Box” for Consumer Goods Suppliers

The consumer goods market is undergoing a fundamental change, because consumer purchases are increasingly driven by price instead of brand loyalty. This trend, fed by global competition, shorter product lifecycles and lean economic conditions, is creating intense price pressure at the retail level—and downward pressure on costs through the entire consumer goods channel. To push down costs, retailers are bidding suppliers against one another, and are even compelling suppliers to assume responsibility for end-customer sales with such initiatives as collaborative planning and vendor-managed inventories. To stay competitive, suppliers must adapt to these new demands—reducing their own costs and improving their ability to predict and respond to changes in end-customer demand. Supply chain planning and management (SCM) automation has gradually emerged and matured as a solution to this dilemma – at least among large, well-heeled suppliers. For many major players, SCM automation has been shown to reduce supply chain costs by as much as 65%—allowing them to gain a strong position as low-cost suppliers. It is the small and mid-size suppliers that now face the challenge.

The First Steps to Achieving Effective Inventory Control

Effective inventory management allows a distributor to meet or exceed customers’ expectations of product availability by maintaining the amount of each item that will also maximize their company’s net profit.

Microsoft Business Solutions goal is to help distributors reach their maximum business potential by delivering connected solutions designed to meet unique business processes through trusted partnerships and ongoing service.This best practices guide is designed to help forward-thinking distributors increase efficiency, customer service and profitability with smart inventory management strategies based on tried and proven methods and best practices.

Effective Replenishment Parameters

Many distributors rely on their computer software to help them decide when to replenish the inventory of stock products and how much of each product to reorder. They are relying on the system to alleviate customer service problems and improve profitability. Unfortunately, management and even buyers do not understand what the actual definition and purpose of each of the application’s parameters.

As a result, the system is often setup incorrectly or misused and the distributor does not receive all of the possible value from this very expensive tool. This document discusses some common replenishment parameters found in distribution application software packages.

Improving the Accuracy of Your Forecasts

Competition continues to increase as new distribution channels evolve and existing distribution channels expand.A number of developments including the Internet, dynamic data processing capabilities, and faster, more reliable transportation have drastically changed the distribution environment. Customers have more options to choose from when looking for sources of supply.Lower margins are not the only result of this increased competition. Customers are in a position to demand more value added services and greater product availability.

The result: Distributors have to provide better material availability and more services with fewer profit dollars. They have to do more with less. In order to accomplish this goal the estimates of future usage of stocked items must be as accurate as possible. In this document we will explore some ideas we have found to be effective in developing accurate demand forecasts for your stock products..

Effective Inventory Analysis

Inventory is the largest and probably the most important asset of many distributors. More money is probably tied up in inventory than in buildings or equipment. And inventory is usually less "liquid" than accounts receivable. That is, it is harder to turn inventory back into cash to pay employees and expenses. If distributors do not have this money invested in the right amount of the right products, they cannot provide the service to customers necessary to be successful.

It is crucial that every distributor develops and uses a comprehensive set of tools that allows them to closely monitor the performance of their investment in inventory. In this document we will discuss several simple measurements that will help ensure that you are maximizing the profitability and productivity of your investment in inventory.

Keeping Stock Balances Accurate

Many distributors spend thousands (and hundreds of thousands) of dollars implementing new computer software systems. Often these systems are purchased to help these companies gain control of what is probably their largest investment: their inventory. But sometimes these distributors find that they are no better off after the new software is implemented than they were with their old system.

Management is frustrated and feels that they’ve wasted a lot of time and money. We’ve discovered in 23 years of working with computerized inventory systems that often the problem causing this dissatisfaction has nothing to do with the software. The new system doesn’t perform up to its potential because the on-hand or available quantities of products in the new software do not agree with what is physically in the warehouse. This document we’ll look at some of the policies and procedures you can put in place to achieve effective inventory management by maintaining accurate stock balances.

Maintaining Stock in Branch Locations

Branch locations are expensive to operate. And to be successful, the service they provide must be equal to that provided by their organization’s home office. In this document, we will discuss policies and procedures for successfully maintaining stock inventory in branch locations.