If your firm offers a range of manufacturing, distribution, and installation services, managing workflows can be quite complex—especially as you grow through acquisitions. In many cases, the acquisitions force you to juggle operations across business units that rely on disconnected ERP platforms. Managers must bounce back and forth between the systems, making it difficult to coordinate resources and shared supply chain relationships.
This was the case for a firm in the U.S. that provides decks, railings, fencing, and outdoor lighting products. The company initially relied on a Sage ERP platform. Shortly after acquiring another business that also utilized Sage, the company then purchased the division of a large manufacturer with an SAP ERP system.
Isolated Systems Create Operations and IT Challenges
The three isolated systems made it difficult for the operations team to manage manufacturing, distribution, and installations. The complexity of SAP also forced many managers to rely on spreadsheets to coordinate production and material requirements planning.
From a technical support perspective, IT faced challenges as well. SAP was new to the team and is much more difficult to maintain. Plus, the platform requires heavy customization that generates high software development costs.
Adding to these challenges, the company was under a tight deadline to move the acquired division off of SAP since the software license was held by the previous owner of the division. And although the other two business units were using Sage, that platform did not provide the advanced ERP capabilities the company required now that it had greatly expanded its operations.
Dynamics 365 and Western Computer Provide the Answer
To solve this challenge, the company decided it was time to look for an alternative single ERP platform on which to consolidate the operations of all three business units. The management team then partnered with Western Computer to configure and deploy Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management.
Dynamics 365 simplifies production, warehouse, and project management processes without overwhelming end-users—the perfect balance of functionality and ease-of-use. Another key factor in selecting Western Computer is our longtime partnership with Microsoft. We know how to fully leverage the complete functionality of Dynamics 365 for manufacturers and distributors and how to program Microsoft technologies to deliver the unique capabilities each customer requires.
Improved Operational Efficiencies Across All Business Units
The solution increased shop floor machine utilization by helping the customer make sure preventative maintenance and inspections are done on time. The three business units can also execute intercompany resource and inventory transactions, and all the information can be rolled up from each of the business units to view financial and production performance from a corporate standpoint.
After creating the initial solution design, we made adjustments according to each business unit’s feedback and finalized the implementation after only four modifications, which accelerated the deployment timeline. One of the capabilities the customer appreciates most from the new ERP platform is the embedded warehouse management system, which streamlines supply chain management and flows data automatically into the financials.
With the single, modern ERP platform to run all three business units, the customer has improved operational efficiencies for manufacturing, distribution, and installations. The customer can also manage the supply chain and production resources more effectively to respond to market demands.
A Boost for Morale
For installation projects, Dynamics 365 helps the customer manage budgets to make sure each project is profitable. Managers can also schedule resources (including subcontractors) and create work orders to detail the specific tasks for each job.
Perhaps even more important, Dynamics 365 is a boost to morale across all levels of the organization. Front-line employees can engage easily with user-friendly workflows, allowing them to increase their productivity. At the management level, the Power BI reporting capabilities built into Dynamics 365 make it easier to analyze company performance and forecast what’s coming to better meet customer needs.
To learn more about how Western Computer enabled this company to operate more efficiently by consolidating multiple ERP systems, check out the complete project success story. And to find out how we can deliver the same benefits to your company, contact us today.
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