Blog: ERP

Microsoft ERP Manufacturing: How to Transform with Dynamics 365

February 19, 2021 - by Hasmukh Thacker

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Across industries, business leaders have come to realize that customer satisfaction is a top priority. Companies that are looking to build customer-centric strategies are focusing on revamping their customer value propositions and changing modus operandi to stay relevant. Businesses have always looked at new information and digital technology in terms of what it can do for them – enable greater profitability and expand customer reach through new business models.

With customers having a range of new choices, such as making decisions about what to focus on or buy through various channels, the digitization of manufacturing requires a shift in the way businesses operate – from a siloed approach to a more streamlined, connected one. Microsoft Dynamics 365 has helped manufacturing achieve this at each stage of the production lifecycle. Here’s how you can transform your organization with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Manufacturing.

 

How Microsoft Dynamics 365 Transforms Manufacturing

For manufacturers, Microsoft Dynamics 365 bridges the gap between siloed CRM and ERP systems and offers necessary capabilities with rich analytics, embedded intelligence, and the convenience people expect from consumer apps. Moreover, it unites every aspect of the manufacturing supply chain with a unified, end-to-end system that boosts the efficiency of a manufacturing business, at the pace and scale that fits the organization.

With Dynamics 365, manufacturers can optimize across all processes while laying the foundation for connecting advanced technology in the future. Listed below are 4 ways Dynamics 365 has transformed manufacturing processes:

Visibility and Collaboration

Dynamics 365 integrates the sales and purchasing processes with logistics, production, and warehouse management – providing visibility and simple management throughout the supply chain. The inter-company and multi-site capabilities help drive streamlined vendor collaboration and manage distributed organizations with ease. Using Dynamics 365, manufacturers can:

  • Optimize fulfillment and reduce costs by synchronizing logistics across sites, warehouses, and transportation modes, while modernizing their business logistics.
  • Collect, integrate, and visualize global supply chain data and gain better visibility into operations from production to sales.
  • Gain visibility and control across all sites and warehouses and proactively respond to issues using predictive analytics.
  • Automate procure-to-pay processes, streamline operations, reduce procurement costs, and gain greater control.

Employee Productivity and Efficiency

In the manufacturing space, empowering employees is important for improving production efficiency. Dynamics 365, with its intelligent machine learning, collaboration, and analytics capabilities, provides employees with everything they need to do their tasks quickly and efficiently. When employees are empowered, they can deliver personalized service and recommendations to customers, and turn relationships into revenue. With Dynamics 365, manufacturers can:

  • Collect and analyze data from connected products and equipment and empower employees to collaborate more efficiently.
  • Automate processes across the manufacturing lifecycle, accelerate production, and improve the cycle of innovation.
  • Provide employees with a 360-degree view of customer assets and work order history, while enabling them to better understand customers and their needs.
  • Enable instant feedback from machine learning algorithms for successful troubleshooting and maintenance.

Customer Service and Engagement

Not too long ago, optimizing manufacturing productivity and increasing customer satisfaction were viewed as two separate endeavors. Today, however, digitization helps eliminate the boundaries of space and time. Organizations looking to engage with always-connected customers through innovative means including social networks. Using Dynamics 365, manufacturers can:

  • Adopt a customer-centric approach while optimizing operations
  • Create and deliver personalized content that can be accessed anywhere and anytime by customers
  • Engage customers across the product lifecycle from production design to field service
  • Offer a range of value-added services that complement product sales, opening new revenue streams and strengthening customer relationships

Real-Time Insights

As visibility into business operations continues to be a crucial element for improved decision-making, Dynamics 365, through its built-in analytics, offers real-time information on almost any device, at any time. The unmatched, rapid, and scalable deployment options offer the best of both worlds (cloud and on-premises) to meet global business requirements of today and provide the flexibility and ease to change as business needs evolve over time. Using Dynamics 365, manufacturers can:

  • Simplify and accelerate business process changes by seamlessly integrating legacy systems and scaling globally at their own pace
  • Achieve a consolidated view to unify process oversight and institutionalize efficiency gains by monitoring and resolving issues remotely
  • Improve service quality and margins by carrying out remote monitoring and proactive maintenance services that supplement break-fix support
  • Enable intelligent coordination between technicians by equipping them with mobile and virtual reality tools that leverage existing expertise while minimizing costly engagements

The Future of Manufacturing

The latest technological advances are taking manufacturing to a level never seen, experienced, or expected before. With Artificial Intelligence (AI), blockchain, IoT, and several other technologies disrupting the manufacturing landscape, the industry will never be the same again. Let’s look at key technologies and progressions that will change the face of the manufacturing sector:

IoT

With investments in IoT expected to grow to a $1.52 billion market by 2021, the hyper-connected network of intelligent devices will offer manufacturers a new level of interoperability between core business processes, external data, connected devices, and third-party applications. The power of IoT-enabled manufacturing that syncs the back office with the shop floor, supported by robust APIs, will receive data from sensors along an assembly line and drive real-time production monitoring, improve overall equipment effectiveness, production yield rates, and production efficiency. IoT can issue real-time alerts – either issuing an order for a replacement part, or even requesting a service call and also power inventory control, tracking and measuring every piece of inventory, and updating the levels in real-time for optimum inventory control.

Artificial Intelligence

With the AI market predicted to grow to $72 billion in 2021, the future of manufacturing will no longer be about manual, time-consuming, and error-prone processes, but about cognitive technologies, collaborative robotics, automated workflows, and natural language processing– all with the aim of optimizing equipment and plant effectiveness. AI-powered systems will provide manufacturers with convenient and easy-to-use tools to make more informed and data-driven decisions. Integrated AI tools will help streamline production processes by automatically analyzing shop floor data and detecting operational anomalies. Such automated and timely operations to optimize manufacturing processes will save valuable time and costly resources.

Blockchain

As blockchain slowly grows to become a $2.3 billion market by 2021, the manufacturing industry particularly stands to benefit from the disruption. Blockchain can bring about much-needed transparency across the supply chain and drive better accuracy and cost-effectiveness of operations while delivering higher value to customers. By leveraging a shared ledger that’s updated and validated in real-time, manufacturers can not only improve the visibility of processes, but also optimize business transactions.

Instead of wasting time tracking down statuses and answering customer queries, manufacturers can spend time looking for new opportunities to serve existing customers or find new ones and dramatically improve efficiency. And since the data validated on the blockchain network is immutable, customers can see order flow of the products as is, and achieve higher satisfaction.

ERP Agility

In a hybrid, hyper-connected manufacturing ecosystem, fast, efficient production and correspondingly fast turnaround time are top priorities. The pace of change is so quick that manufacturers have to embrace technologies that can help them stay on the edge. ERP systems deployed for manufacturing will therefore need to support business agility in a constantly changing configuration of products, customers, partners, and suppliers.

Flexible ERP systems such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP for Manufacturing will enable users to create new product categories, names, and specifications, and support new business processes for different types of purchase orders. With the ability to define new business rules on the fly, agile ERP systems will be able to automatically send notifications to sales reps every time a new product comes off the assembly line and is ready to be shipped. Sales reps can then notify their customers in real-time and ensure a better customer experience.

Mobility

Mobility allows manufacturers to leverage a range of dedicated apps for mobile sales, proof of delivery, warehouse management, mobile service, among others. However, the future of mobility doesn’t just lie in enabling users to access data on the go; ity should also enable them to develop their own custom mobile apps quickly and easily. Such apps will soon become the ‘must-have’ tools to respond to real-time production changes.

Immediate mobile access on the shop floor, for example, will allow users to handle production line problems as they occur, reducing downtime and wasted materials. Line managers can ensure adherence to production schedules and issue maintenance orders, on-the-job instructions, and track material movement in real-time – even when off-site. Supervisors can easily access shared data while they’re walking the shop floor and receive alerts and notifications on altered work orders and the latest information about product availability, averting problems before they occur.

How Microsoft ERP Manufacturing is Driving the Industry Forward

In order to keep pace with today’s growing market trends and requirements, manufacturers need an ERP system that can connect devices, internal departments, suppliers, partners, and customers in a single, easily accessible database. Dynamics 365, through its latest collaboration, productivity, and intelligence features, allows the manufacturing industry to streamline all operations while simultaneously improving employee productivity and customer satisfaction.

Combining all operations across the manufacturing cycle into one comprehensive service, manufacturers can access the functions they need and enable greater productivity and profitability. And as AI, IoT, blockchain, flexible ERP systems, and mobility pave the way for the future of manufacturing, these technologies won’t simply complement business processes; they’ll actually make recommendations on how to improve them, while becoming the real driving force behind the shop floor of the future.

Learn more about leveraging Dynamics 365 to transform your manufacturing efforts.

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