One of the reasons clients (and we) prefer systems like Dynamics NAV over what are sometimes called “best-of-breed” systems (a financial system, linked to a warehouse and inventory management application, linked to a sales/contact application, etc.), or to a “bespoke” (i.e., custom-developed) solution is that all the data typically lies within a single database repository as part of a fully integrated system.
As a recent article from MS Dynamics World that makes this point also points out, distributors (including of course manufacturers who distribute their own products) face some common pressures. Analysis of global supply chain businesses indicate that key among those pressures are some of the following…
(We’ll quote Marty Kemp, a UK Dynamics salesperson in an article found here):
- Global supply chains generate longer lead times and therefore greater variability of supply
- Supply chain efficiencies and data accuracy need to be increased
- Knowledge of shipment data, both inbound and outbound, is more critical
- The pressure to lower supply chain costs that erode precious margin is constant
- There is pressure to efficiently manage inventory at various points along the supply chain
- They need the capability to work with a limited number of partners within the supply chain more effectively
As Kemp notes, with a single-database solution such as NAV, a user can track the demand from sales and sales forecasts, view stock replenishment and production demand, and utilize its MRP capabilities to create and review suggested purchase orders. With its intrinsic visibility of inventory over time (viewed graphically), orders can be manipulated to dynamically reflect any changes in order or delivery dates. Inventories can be managed at their leanest levels without needing to compromise customer satisfaction.
And with built-in BI (business intelligence) capabilities and analysis built into the core solution, managers can make timely decisions across a range of business requirements. Dashboards and KPI indicators allow nearly instant, on-demand views of key business criteria. This is above and beyond the various Excel and other reporting capabilities inherent in the solution.
Warehouse management is yet another daunting and expensive task best handled by an integrated solution. By taking advantage of precise inventory management, SKUs can generally be better managed, and reduced, thus optimizing overhead, space and costs. Real-time status capabilities make it possible to keep customers apprised of availability on the fly.
These are just a few of the key supply chain advantages accruing to users of today’s modern, integrated, unified data repository types of systems, like NAV. Taken together, they account for tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars (depending on company size) of annual cost reductions – not to mention real-time analysis and improved customer service that will help a company stand out from its peers.