A leading high-end landscaping materials manufacturer and distributor based out of West Michigan. The company has been in business for approximately 35 years and provides products for retailers, contractors and architects in several different countries.
While this client is known for its world-class customer service and products, some of their processes were anything but world-class, creating more work for staff and too many redundancies. These stilted workflows were particularly apparent when it came to inventory control and data tracking. For several years, they had been using Quickbooks and other homegrown access databases for tracking and data input. The problem was that these methods were highly inefficient. Everything was kept in their own separate silos, which created visibility issues across the board. This lack of transparency into ongoing operations caused problems at the end of the month when they needed to review sales, inventory and profitability.
To end their business process frustration, they required a new fully integrated enterprise resource business system.
When The TM Group sat down with the company heard about some of their pain points, we recommended a two-part solution: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central and Insight Works. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is a leading cloud-based ERP solution that enables organizations to streamline business workflows, such as order processing, warehouse management, supply chain optimization, financial management and manufacturing. For this particular client, we recommended they use most of the solution, including accounting, order management, inventory control and manufacturing.
We also recommended Insight Works, which is an add-on solution for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central that is designed for distribution and manufacturing organizations specifically to optimize workflows related to shipping, receiving, material consumption, picking, packing and other warehouse and manufacturing operations. These apps are built to work with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central so users don’t have to hop between two different operating systems.
When we gave the client some basic details on how these tools would help them accomplish their objectives and streamline processes in their distribution and manufacturing areas, they realized that Insight Works was going to be critical to the success of their project.
Almost immediately, day-to-day operations smoothed out considerably, particularly related to shipping-related tasks, which represented a major component of this client’s business challenges. By leveraging Insight Works in tandem with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, they were able to not just identify what items had to be shipped — and when — but also get all the information they needed to relay to the transportation providers so they could efficiently process the shipments (e.g. weight, dimensions, contents, etc.). Using their handheld devices, they were able to quickly transfer all this information immediately into their systems.
Prior to using Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central and Insight Works, these tasks all had to be done manually and separately. The integration that the TM Group performed centralized these formerly disconnected processes so they could all be done in one fell swoop.
This solution also helped the client provide advanced shipment notices to their customers. One of the ways that the client was able to streamline many of their processes. Prior to the integration, going from order status to completion was cumbersome and monotonous. Through Insight Works, the steps were boiled down into a single button push. This capability wasn’t available out of the box, but we were able to develop some additional functionality that allowed the company to send off notifications automatically, both when orders were ready to ship as well as when that actually happened.
Finally, we also assisted this client with inventory lot tracking. They had been lot tracking before the implementation, but as with its other processes, it was highly inefficient and more confusing than useful. The TM Group customized Business Central to allow the company to make inventory management more transparent. By knowing what was on hand, what out of stock and what needed to be ordered by the manufacturer, we were able to enable inventory and manufacturing processes that made managing their inventory more methodical and structured.
No matter what business you’re in, Microsoft Dynamics Business Central 365 can help you operate better than ever. From manufacturers to NFP educational institutions, we have the experience and industry know-how to ensure your organization can grow by leveraging all that enterprise resource planning solutions has to offer. To learn more and do more, contact us at The TM Group today.