Manufacturer Capitalizes on Microsoft Power BI to Reduce Order Picking Time by 80%

December 23, 2019 Greg Williams

Many businesses discover an unexpected level of synergy when they combine Microsoft solutions. This is especially true when integrating Microsoft Power BI with one of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP solutions.

Managers and executives can generate key performance indicators (KPIs) faster; new information comes to light that previously was not available at all. The next thing you know, business processes begin functioning a whole lot more efficiently!


Integration Capabilities Increase ERP Platform Value

This was particularly true for one of our manufacturing customers in the health and wellness sector as business nearly doubled from one year to the next. While the manufacturer produced a lot more revenue, the company’s operations—and its employees—were strained to the breaking point.

When warehouse processes could no longer keep up with the amount of product orders, the company decided to deploy Microsoft Dynamics NAV. The ERP platform facilitated workflow automation and drove greater efficiencies in the warehouse. As inventory arrives from the company’s manufacturing plant and contract manufacturers, products can now be shipped faster to retail stores and individual customers.

One of the key reasons NAV appealed to this customer was its ability to integrate with add-on capabilities—such as the Microsoft Dynamics NAV WMS Advanced Warehousing module and Power BI. The combination of these technologies helps managers streamline warehouse workflows and KPI reporting to run the business more efficiently. Gaining this capability became particularly important as the manufacturer planned to ramp-up the amount of business conducted with large retailers.

Western Computer also helped the customer integrate NAV WMS with its e-commerce payment solution. Other key integrations included solutions for mobile scanning, forklift data collection, and shipping.


Power BI Produces the Biggest “Wow”

But the integration that produced the biggest “Wow” by far was Power BI. Warehouse managers can now run reports and analyze order fulfillment performance dashboards using the Power BI Bundle for Microsoft Dynamics NAV/Business Central—a custom offering developed by Western Computer.

The combination of automation and business intelligence reports enables the manufacturer to ship all orders in less than 48 hours. The customer achieved this capability in part by reducing the time to pick orders by 80%. That means customers receive products sooner, and the manufacturer can speed-up revenue generation.

We also showed the customer how to optimize other data that NAV generates and how to leverage the data through Power BI visual reports to make business decisions faster. In addition to assisting the warehouse team in managing inventory counts and costs more efficiently, the customer now has contractor manufacturing, financial, and sales information at its fingertips. Other key processes that benefit from the NAV-Power BI combination include backorder fill-and-kill, quality control secure transfers, expiration date management, forecasting for manufacturing output, and managed resource planning.


The Right Information at the Right Time

As this customer success story illustrates, the impact of combining a Microsoft ERP solution with Power BI is limitless. Every aspect of your business operations can improve—from marketing to sales to production and accounting. Armed with the right information at the right time, your managers and your front-line staff can make sure your workflows maximize your production capacity.

To learn more about our approach to delivering business intelligence that empowers our customers, contact us today.

About the Author

Greg Williams

As Western Computer's VP of Strategy, Greg Williams is responsible for aligning the company's product and service offerings with customers.

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