Tackling Inventory Dimensionality and Variability with Microsoft Dynamics 365

By Stephen Sanderson, Edgewater Fullscope

Building Products Dimensionality Picture

In the building materials industry, variation of materials is inevitable and unavoidable. In fact, it is essential to understand that many materials are inherently variable.

For example:

  • Steel properties vary depending on chemical composition and method of manufacture.
  • Concrete properties change depending on type and amount of cement, type of aggregate, air content, slump, method of curing, etc.
  • Windows and doors have multiple dimensions, colors, UV characteristics to name a few.
  • Wood and manufactured trim, flooring and siding have varying properties such as dimension, species, grain, color and so forth.

Some materials are more homogeneous than others, depending on the nature of the material and the method of manufacturing.

You don’t want to take a hit on your profitability because you’re having a hard time tracking inventory dimensionality and variability. The cost of not knowing this critical data has never been greater.

But how do you handle variability?

  • Do you create SKUs for every possible variability? Not possible, as this would be an unmanageable number of SKUs.
  • Do you assign a general SKU to everything and then guess the variability? Not going to work.
  • Do you let your guys on the floor figure it all out? Never going to be accurate.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations (formerly Microsoft Dynamics AX), can effectively manage materials (raw materials, in process, and finished goods) with variable dimensionality or attributes to improve production planning and reduce waste, as well as plan and track inventory at the dimension and/or attribute level. In fact, it runs over any browser and is device independent.

Break down the silos between your business processes and applications with Microsoft Dynamics 365—intelligent cloud applications that connect data across sources, drive intelligent decisions and outcomes, and transform your building materials or industrial equipment manufacturing company from end to end.

Learn more about tackling inventory dimensionality and variability, improve profitability, and enhance customer service in our on-demand webcast: Building Materials Industry: Solving the Dilemma of Tracking Inventory Dimensionality and Variability

Introducing Microsoft Dynamics 365

By Marielena Zajac, Marketing Specialist

It is all anyone in the Microsoft Dynamics community has been discussing. Since Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella’s announcement back in July, Microsoft Dynamics 365 has caused quite the stir among partners and customers alike. Dynamics 365 unifies CRM and ERP cloud solutions together into one unified, cloud-based application platform. Nadella’s main takeaways to eager customers were that Microsoft Dynamics 365:

  • Helps organizations move from monolithic application suites to purpose-built, SaaS applications with intelligence built in
  • Integrates Microsoft Office 365
  • Introduces a customer centric business model to build what you want and buy just the capabilities you need, while ensuring all roles have access to all the data they need to be successful in their jobs

All this buzz has consumers asking, “what is Dynamics 365?” and “what does this integration mean for my business?” More importantly, what sets Dynamics 365 apart from the competition?

It’s Purpose-Built

According to Microsoft, Dynamics 365 provides customers a modern and familiar experience with built-in insights, intelligence, and workflow. It allows customers to choose the exact functionality that they need, which can be selected from a huge catalog that include sales, marketing, customer service, field service, project management, accounting, and much more. Dynamics 365 merges current CRM and ERP functionality into one comprehensive, cloud-based collection of apps and services for business.

Dynamics 365 apps are independently deployed and bring together the full power of Microsoft’s enterprise offerings. With these business apps, customers can start small and only pay for what is needed, and from there expand their arsenal.  The app catalog includes built-in insights, predictive intelligence, and workflow optimization, among many other selections. All of these will be delivered through simple, easy-to-use mobile experiences with offline capabilities.

It’s Productive

Dynamics 365 will provide an immersive user experience with Office 365. Microsoft states that there will be a deep integration between Dynamics 365 and Office 365 that will connect the structured workflow of business apps with the unstructured work of collaboration and productivity. With Dynamics 365, all information you have can easily be uploaded and shared on Office 365, and it is offered across web, mobile devices, and the PC.

It’s Intelligent

Power BI and Cortana Intelligence will be natively embedded into Dynamics 365 to attain actionable next steps and predictive insights for customers everywhere, making this the AI product that everyone will be eager to demo. Cortana will enable cross-sell recommendations to help sales reps predict which products and services a customer will need, and uses tools like sentiment analysis to check on the likelihood of closing a deal. Meanwhile, the Power BI components of Dynamics 365 align big data and analytics to enable every user to gain their own analytical insights. With Dynamics 365, comprehensible data is always at the user’s fingertips.

It’s Adaptable

In an industry that is constantly evolving, you need a system that can be easily adapted. Dynamics 365 supports existing capabilities that any Dynamics CRM or Dynamics AX user is running today, and has introduced Microsoft PowerApps and Microsoft Flow, which are powerful new extension capabilities that work across all the data that’s been stored in Dynamics 365. Specifically, Microsoft Flow automates workflows across applications, while Microsoft AppSource offers SaaS applications that cover a huge range of requirements. To view Edgewater Fullscope’s  AppSource apps for the manufacturing industry, click here.

The new Common Data Model surfaces all the data stored within Dynamics 365 across a set of custom entities that model data across all the different business apps. This feature allows you to seamlessly extend and accelerate all of your business apps as well as all your productivity solutions.

With Dynamics 365, customers can get the job done quickly and effortlessly while adjusting to a changing environment at a moment’s notice. As Satya Nadella said during the reveal of Dynamics 365, “The motivating force behind everything we do and everything we build is to empower our customers to make things and make things happen. Together with our customers and partners, we are reinventing business processes for a world where devices, data, intelligence and connectivity can be everywhere.”

An award-winning Microsoft manufacturing partner with nearly two decades of experience, Edgewater Fullscope can guide you into a move to Microsoft Dynamics 365. Our team has deep manufacturing experience that can help you combat your toughest operational business challenges.

For more information or to request a demo of Microsoft Dynamics 365, call at 770-772-3121 or visit www.fullscope.com

Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP for Building Product Manufacturers

 ​​January Blog Series: New & Best Practices

Insights from: The Top Challenges Facing Manufacturers in Construction-driven Market​s: How to Meet Them Head On   ​

Building product manufacturers produce a wide range of materials including architectural and structural metals, plastic resin and synthetic fibers, cement and concrete, wood products, HVAC equipment, switch, connector and other wiring devices, paint and coatings and lighting equipment. With such a broad span of manufacturing industries, each one can face an array of very different operational challenges. Continue reading

Building Product Manufacturers See Potential in Technology for Better Communication

August’s Blog Series Theme: Ideas That Inspire

The ample availability of ambient backscatter technology and the possibilities it offers for radio-frequency identification (RFID) ​​communication is inspiring the imaginations of building product manufacturers.

This technology is being researched by a team at the University of Washington for its application in the manufacturing world. It is a highly untapped resource for battery-free communication that can be implemented within things like roofs and walls to detect current and future issues. Continue reading

Commodity Pricing Pressures: THE New Biggest Risk for Building Products Manufacturers

This is the fifth blog in our series: The Top Challenges Facing Manufacturers in Construction-driven Markets & How to Meet Them Head On.
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How Low Must You Go to Combat Emerging Competition?

Here’s the fourth blog in this series that explores the top challenges facing manufacturers in construction-driven markets, and how to meet them head on. Manufacturers in this space include producers of:

  • Architectural and structural metals
  • Cement and concrete
  • Glass
  • HVAC equipment
  • Lighting equipment
    Paint and coatings
  • Plastic resin and synthetic fibers
    Switch, connector and other wiring devices
  • Windows and doors
  • Wood products

Continue reading

Are Regulatory and Environmental Issues Stealing Your Capital Investment Dollars?

​Welcome to the third post in this new blog series that explores the top challenges facing manufacturers in construction-driven markets, and how to meet them head on. As a reminder, we’re talking manufacturers of:

  • Architectural and structural metals
  • Cement and concrete
  • Glass
  • HVAC equipment
  • Lighting equipment
  • Paint and coatings
  • Plastic resin and synthetic fibers
  • Switch, connector and other wiring devices
  • Windows and doors
  • Wood products

Continue reading

Volatile Raw Materials Pricing: A Never Ending Pain for Building Products Manufacturers

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Volatile Raw Materials Pricing: A Never Ending Pain for Building Products Manufacturers

 

Welcome to the second post in this new blog series that explores the top challenges facing manufacturers in construction-driven markets, and how to meet them head on. As a reminder, we’re talking manufacturers of:

  • Architectural and structural metals
  • Cement and concrete
  • Glass
  • HVAC equipment
  • Lighting equipment
  • Paint and coatings
  • Plastic resin and synthetic fibers
  • Switch, connector and other wiring devices
  • Windows and doors
  • Wood products

Continue reading

Helping Building Products Manufacturers Manage Seasonal Demand

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Helping Building Products Manufacturers Manage Seasonal Demand

 

Welcome to this new blog series that explores the top challenges facing manufacturers in construction-driven markets, and how to meet them head on. Continue reading