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Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft Dynamics NAV’

A good post by a west coast NAV blogger provides steps for integrating your Dynamics NAV (in this case, 2018, though it should work basically the same for other versions) with Microsoft’s Excel spreadsheet.  The end result is a new, separate “Dynamics NAV” tab in the ribbon of your Excel application that links directly to NAV.

[Disclaimer: While some users may be able to handle this one on their own, feel free to contact us or your authorized NAV partner to installation assistance if it will make you feel safer.  Also note that this is specifically for NAV (in particular, though not exclusively, the 2018 version), and presumably not for the new Business Central.]

Step 1: Locate your installation file (that’s your NAV ‘setup’ file). The file location may vary depending on how and where your NAV is installed (you might be able to get help from your IT folks, or call us).

Step2:  Double-click the file name (setup.exe) and when asked “Do you want to allow this app to make changes to your device?” click the “Yes” box.

Step 3: From the Maintenance setup wizard, click “Add or remove components” which will open a box listing a lot of application parts under the heading “Customize the Installation.”

Step 4: From the listing, click the down arrow in the little box associated with “Microsoft Excel Add-In.”

Step 5: When the little down-arrow box opens, click “Run from my computer” and then click “Next.”

Step 6: You will see a screen of specified parameters and, assuming these are correct, click “Apply.”

Step 7: NAV will then run the function to enable the add-in and you should see a Microsoft Dynamics NAV information screen that says: “The modification of Microsoft Dynamics NAV has completed successfully.”

 

Again, while it’s pretty simple, we always suggest you have a knowledgeable NAV/tech support person available to you whenever making changes to your system.  Assuming all goes well, you’ll end up with a Dynamics NAV tab in the ribbon of your Excel for fast NAV access!

Our thanks to Encore Business blogger Eunice Gan who posted this tip/article, with screen shots here, originally.

 

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In a recent article on MSDynamicsWorld entitled “What free access to the Dynamics Learning Portal means for Microsoft customers and partners,” we’ve learned of a significant change regarding the availability of the Dynamics Learning Portal: it’s now free!  That’s big news for NAV users (the fine print: yes, you must have a current support contract for your Dynamics product).

Formerly priced at $1,000 per year and available to resellers, it was still a most valuable and worthwhile resource for the money.  As Microsoft Dynamics NAV blogger and “MVP” Gus Gonzalez describes in a recent post:

A few years ago, Microsoft launched the Dynamics Learning Portal. The portal was an answer to all the requests from Microsoft Dynamics partners out there pleading for better training content and a better platform to consume that content. Up until then, partners were consuming content via PartnerSource, but the content was difficult to find and required organizations to give regular consultants access to lots of unrelated (and sometimes sensitive) information. So most partners were asking for a solution that would focus mainly on the readiness and training side of things.

The Partner Readiness team at Microsoft made a few decisions with the creation of the Dynamics Learning Portal. …the portal will focus on readiness, which means not just providing on-demand courses, but serving as central resource for accessing in-person training and other readiness related events.

Much of the content you’ll find at the Dynamics NAV portal was created by people outside of Microsoft, many of them members of the reseller and user communities, so much of it is focused on real-world application of the broad expanse of NAV functionality.

While the portal was never created as a money-maker, its value was significant, as is the fact that Microsoft is now making available for free.  The only catch is that users must be in good standing with a premier support contract.  (It’s also free for Microsoft certified partners.)

If you’re interested in more information (because, yes, there’s a little paperwork involved)… we ask that you contact your reseller directly.  We at PSSI will be happy to help.  Best bet is to email: Larry@pssiusa.com.  We’ll take it from there.

 

 

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Our friends at PrintVis posted a quick overview a few weeks back covering some of the new changes inherent in the latest (2018) version of Microsoft Dynamics NAV, which we thought our users would appreciate – especially those thinking about upgrading.

While the list if far from complete, it does provide a few highlights of some changes introduced just in the last year.  (Users more outdated than that will enjoy a much longer list of added enhancements, as they have just been multiplying over the versions and years.)

In their own PrintVis product (a print and label industry-specific solution built on top of NAV), they note that in PrintVis 2018 it is now possible to change or update the cost for an Item in the Calculation Details (Cost Price Field) or on the Purchase Guide (Direct Cost PrintVis Field) – and this cost will be automatically transferred to the “PV Unit Cost (LCY)” on the purchase line.

This keeps your pricing accurate all the way from quote to invoice – and saves you from redundant manual data entry.

They also note the following features new to 2018 that regular users will probably appreciate:

  • Payroll import from QuickBooks
  • Print descriptions from related posted document lines using show details in the Print G/L Register report
  • New standard reports, including received – not invoiced purchase orders and shipped – not invoiced sales orders.
  • Check printing improved to 3 checks per page
  • Distribute Item Charges based on volume and weight
  • Direct Transfer orders – no requirement for in-transit location
  • Use EU VAT numbers to update contact name
  • Master data from customers and vendors can now be updated from sales and purchase documents
  • When searching, help results will show alongside in-product results
  • New automation of Intercompany inbox and outbox
  • Bulk Invoicing improvements
  • Suggestion of accounts for posting groups

Again, it’s very partial listing – but then it’s a very comprehensive piece of software.

 

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Our headline is a tad misleading because, while the specifics concern Microsoft Dynamics NAV, one of the world’s leading ERP and business management software systems, the principles of the article could be applied to virtually any software system implementation.  This one just happened to be NAV, because that’s what the consultant, a London-based freelancer by the name of Hannes Holst, implemented when he wrote the article.  (it’s our firm’s specialty as well, by way of full disclosure.)

In that project, Holst was tasked with replacing an existing ERP system with Dynamics NAV, and the plan was to do it on time and on budget – or under.  And they succeeded.  The three critical factors, in Holst’s retrospective were…

  1. Know what the business wants. In our own process at our firm, we label this the business process analysis, but call it what you will, you have to scope the requirements.  It’s the roadmap for all that follows.  It’s a serious (and yes, billable) engagement requiring both parties’ key staff to engage deeply in thinking about the client’s company, processes and goals.  Then, a roadmap is constructed that involves what, where, when, how and who, and guides the entire project team so they understand the goals, benchmarks and processes of that implementation

 

  1. Utilize the Dynamics NAV standard. NAV has been developed continuously for well over twenty years now, and covers all the functionality most any business could need today.  Standardized functionality has been applied all up and down the accounting workflow in NAV, and it works across many industries.  (While we specialize here in manufacturing and distribution, it’s equally adept at retail, service and many others.)  So wherever possible, Holst advises, align the business processes with the software.  This makes projects simpler, quicker and more agile.  Users can start working in some areas very quickly, as other pieces get added later.  (There are some caveats in this regard, but the advice is generally true.)  Finally, assess customizations in terms of impact to the company, which includes an overarching need, the budget, the need to continually maintain those modifications into the future, and the value of their overall ROI.  And when you do customize, wait a while, and then prioritize those “mods” from high to low when you determine which are truly needed.

 

  1. Hire an internal NAV expert. You can’t always do this of course, but you can have your most knowledgeable expert on the company’s inner-workings coordinating the project on the client side with the project leader from the consultant’s side.  A lot of issues can be resolved quickly when you have process- and software-knowledgeable participants on both sides of that support call.  That internal resource at the client side has a lot to do with landing your project on-time and/or on-budget.  They can recognize problems early on, unsnag project logjams, warn of impending potential pitfalls, and keep client-side implementers on-task and moving forward.  Your whole implementation benefits from the insights an internal expert can bring to bear, and having voices on both sides of the project management spectrum helps ensure that projects are kept honest, flowing, cooperative and, ultimately, successful.

 

Holst’s full, brief article can be found here (you have to join the forum, but it’s free):

 

 

 

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Our friends at our partner PrintVis, specialists in print & label industry-specific solutions recently posted a timely article on some of the new features to be found in Microsoft’s leading ERP solution, Dynamics NAV 2018 (later this year to be rebranded as “Dynamics 365 Business Central”).  The D365/BC product is basically NAV in new packaging, note the folks at PrintVis.  At it’s core, it’s NAV, in the cloud, hosted directly by Microsoft.  (Note: there will also be an on-premise (i.e., locally hosted at your server) version available.

Dynamics NAV now boasts over two million users (at over 130,000 companies) worldwide, and has established itself “as the choice for midsize organizations looking for a complete enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that is fast to implement, easy to configure, and simple to use,” as PrintVis’ Michael  Bradley notes.  And he should know, since PrintVis’ industry-specific solution now has over 350 companies running its application, which is deeply and richly embedded with the core NAV.

Customers who upgrade now can work with their reseller-partners to create a more seamless upgrade path to D365 now, and for future releases.  As PrintVis noted in their article:

“If your partner invests a bit more time in the upgrade today, they can move any/all of your code customizations to “events” and “extensions.”  This will dramatically reduce the amount of effort required for later upgrades – and this is the clear direction Microsoft has been heading for some years now. We have arrived at this pivotal time in the evolution of ERP.”

New features included in the latest 2018 release will extend the functionality of NAV, including…

  • Greater Integration with Business Applications
  • Improved Customization using Extensions
  • Automation and AI
  • Interaction with Microsoft Flow
  • Improved Workspace Personalization
  • Data Sharing with CRM systems
  • Pre-configured Excel Reports
  • REST API extended
  • Report Preview
  • Improved Check Printing
  • Pre-configured Excel Reports
  • Larger EC Sales Lists reports

The ERP world is experiencing a time of disruption and like any paradigm shift, change needs a while to be appreciated and absorbed – but it’s inevitable.  At least with today’s NAV, you’ll be ready for what is perhaps the largest paradigm shift ever in the business software marketplace by positioning yourself today with a product that’s already ready for the cloud tomorrow.

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We’re glad you asked!  And with the help of our friends at Insight Works, a leading provider of 3rd party and added-functionality software solutions for Microsoft Dynamics (NAV), we’ll share a few ideas with you today… just to get the folks who aren’t so automated out there on the shop floor… thinking!

 

Following are a few activities you might not think of initially when you think about production, but each of these represents a streamlining of your production flow, speedier order output, and all the corresponding effects upon efficiency, throughput and the bottom line.

Production Order Assignment – Enable users to assign production orders to Shop Floor employees. Dispatch lists can then be filtered in a number of different ways to show specific production orders, like assigned or unassigned.

Shift Scheduling – Gives users the ability to schedule recurring shift patterns. Recurring patterns are quickly and easily configured with the shift schedule configuration list and can be applied to groups of employees and individual employees.  Applying a schedule will commit the pattern to ‘Alternate Shifts,’ allowing easy overrides and manual configuration of exceptions.  You can even view a visual shift calendar to make things simpler.

Production Dispatch Lists – Used as a primary means of clocking into production orders or viewing outstanding work. When there are hundreds of rows displayed it can be difficult to identify specific items, so Shop Floor Insight streamlines processes by only displaying the list of production orders that are relevant.  Effective dispatch means scannability (a small, focused list), focused on the task at hand (by restricting which work centers are shown), and process-focused (i.e., utilizing global filters so that only orders ready to be released are released, and only finished when actually finished).

Cleaning up barcodes – Barcode entries are used to hold mapping for people, production orders, jobs, and more. Over time these entries can grow in volume, especially on installs that have a very high throughput of barcodes, and generally need cleanup to keep scanning speed fast.  Cleaning barcodes provides options to decide how to clean, whether you’d like to just remove finished production orders, or people that have been removed from the system.

Color code your visual cues – Color-coded visual cues are a great way to help identify which time card lines are open (not yet clocked out), as well as whether the setup time or runtime has been clocked-in – all of which help to make time card management easier.

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There is understandable confusion in the marketplace today, whether among resellers or users of the product known as Microsoft Dynamics NAV (and formerly, so long ago… Navision).  Let’s see if we can clear things up just a bit.

For starters, the NAV to BC transition is one more of form than function, which is to say, the product features and robust capabilities that have long made NAV one of the world’s best-selling accounting and ERP software systems, are largely the same in Business Central.  What’s changing, at the forced behest of Microsoft, and quite rapidly at that, is the delivery system.  NAV is largely moving from what’s commonly known as an “on-premise” solution to one served up “in the cloud,” which is to say, over the Internet, using a web browser.  (Though current on-prem users will continue to be able upgrade those on-prem versions into the foreseeable future, we’ve been told.)

This is nothing more than the ongoing evolution of the product, and its underpinnings have been in the works for years.  But Microsoft’s all-in approach to the World Wide Web means that it’s intent on moving virtually everything to the cloud.  That’s why you see their recent de-emphasizing of Windows… the recent migration of the Office products (Word, Excel, etc.) into the O365 web-based products… and the more recent decision to make NAV its foundational product in the cloud, via the new moniker of Dynamics 365 Business Central.

Business Central has two specific modules — Essentials and Premium – that include all NAV’s ERP features:

  • Financial Management
  • Project Management
  • Sales and Service
  • Reporting and Analytics
  • Supply Chain Management

It’s then sold essentially in three price configurations:

For $8 per user per month you get the Team Member version, which includes Employee Self-Serve, the ability to run (but not create) all reports, and the ability to read and approve information.  As you can imagine from the price, it’s a very low functionality piece, but it’s ideal for serving the needs of folks like shop floor workers and very occasional “viewer” type users.

The next level up is the Essentials version.  This runs $70 per user per month, and includes a range of functionality including invoicing, purchasing, opportunity management, budgets, finance, fixed assets, P.O. management, resource management, workflow, contract management, simple inventory, advanced sales, advanced inventory and distribution.  That’s a very complete offering, ideal for many companies other than manufacturers or companies with extensive service management requirements.

Finally, there’s the Premium version which incorporates all the functionality noted above plus service management and manufacturing.  The Premium level pricing is still only $100 per user per month.

It’s all part of the inevitable crush to the crowd, and what Microsoft is really doing here is providing its users – both current and future – with a clear path to getting there that will satisfy the demands of even the most sophisticated business now, and for many years to come.

Or, as Martha Stewart used to say… “It’s a good thing.”

 

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