What do you do when you've outgrown your business software or have been stifled by legacy systems? How can you benefit from new innovations or the associated value of any technology investment you have made? In the modern environment of collaborative, seamless and integrated operations, to stay ahead of the competition, distribution and manufacturing companies need software that will provide the necessary platform to drive growth.
This means implementing business systems that:
- Support an efficient mobile workforce by utilising various access points depending on job function and technology such as smartphones, tablets or laptops.
- Simplify day-to-day functions and processes, helping decrease operating expenses, while improving cash flow.
- Provide end-to-end visibility and control in your business, enabling your people to make smart, timely decisions.
- Provide the ability to get ahead of changing conditions, by streamlining your business processes enabling you to control expenses, improve your bottom line, and drive business growth.
- Optimise your IT investments and shorten the ROI with a flexible solution that's simple to learn and use.
- Work in the same way as other technologies such as Microsoft Office and SharePoint, and with other business software you may already use.
- Give you the ability to create and access reports faster with dynamic sorting and KPI visualisations
- Use rich analytical tools to create professional reports exactly how you want them, therefore speeding up your time to value
- Allow you to deploy the software either on premise or in the cloud.
No time like the present
Over the last 6-8 years many companies have not had the means or the desire to replace or upgrade their business software. The limited resources they may have available are often used to focus on other parts of the business such as developing new services and products, expanding marketing efforts or simply trying to remain ahead of the competition in a difficult market. Spending additional money on upgrading or buying new systems simply wasn't a top priority. In fact many companies have done nothing which has become the default position. This can be a dangerous and very costly mistake.
Buying new business software becomes more urgent every day, but you worry about complications. Along with the cost, you wonder about the potential for unforeseen costs. Factor in the risk of project delays and interruptions to critical business processes. All in all, it's tempting to delay buying new software until you gain more confidence that the result will be predictable - and positive.
What about the hidden costs of keeping a legacy system in place?
Employee Morale – Every day that passes with an old system, employees suffer the headaches caused by an inefficient and old software solution. Over time this has a corrosive effect on employee performance, efficiency, and morale. The best employees will realise that their talents and efforts might be better served, and better utilised, working for another company.
Competitive Position – In an ever changing economy It is likely that your competitors are investing in new systems, empowering their employees to be more effective and more efficient, taking full advantage of the enhanced capabilities of a new system and therefore gaining a competitive advantage over you.
Recruiting – most new employees want to be working with modern systems, as this will keep their own skills up to date. They have worked hard to develop their skills and want to be certain they can use them to the best advantage. Explaining to a new employee they will be working on a 10-year old system risks losing their desire for working with your company.
Software erosion – by not upgrading and falling behind the current version means losing software support. Calling a software supplier for support with a new problem, and being told that your version of the software is no longer supported, means that you are now in a very precarious position.
Legacy system pains - Far from being a cost effective and rational plan, the costs involved due to an aging and deteriorating IT system can actually expose companies to a great deal of wasted time and therefore hidden costs. As each day passes, the pains caused by an old system will slowly and inexorably increase. Reacting to change can stretch your current software and business applications. Every new tax, regulation, and business requirement seems to expose a new deficiency, forcing you to create patches and workarounds to bridge gaps and squeeze one more drop of productivity out of your systems. This approach cuts into margins, and a growing portion of an IT budget disappears into software maintenance instead of funding projects that add business value and drive growth.
A mobile workforce can help reduce costs
The value of mobility for remote workforces can be hard to quantify. Benefits include employees' improved work/life balance, increased productivity, and the ability to hire the right person and leverage their skills and expertise even if they are remote or mobile. Customer service type businesses benefit from mobile connectivity. For example, repair shops or builders merchants use mobile devices at their locations so that a customer service representative can work from their desk or in a garage or warehouse — wherever they can best resolve a customer's issue.
Many larger customer service organisations are even exposing data to customers in mobile formats so that they can self-serve while on the go, such as tracking package delivery status from a smartphone. Many companies benefit from mobile solutions that enable remote or traveling employees with a smartphone, tablet, or laptop to connect to a meeting via web conferencing or store, share, and edit documents via an online repository. The Smartphone is a popular consumer item that has made its way into the supply chain and is becoming an invaluable tool for a wide range of processes including Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). The number of applications where Smartphones can be used in the supply chain is growing and along with the introduction of the tablet, mobile technology will be an everyday tool for supply chain personnel very soon. In the sales and customer service operation Smartphones are being used by salespersons and technical service staff instead of laptops. Cloud applications allow users to access the application via their Smartphone when they are visiting customers, so they can review and update data in real-time.
Using the cloud is another way of reducing costs
Accessing data and applications stored on remote hardware by way of the Internet instead of keeping it all in your local workstation — still requires a leap of logic for many. But now that a workstation can go anywhere, for example a smartphone, a stripped-down netbook, or even an e-book reader, it's practically a virtual desktop operating in conjunction with a virtual server anyway. If the user can be anywhere, so can the source for data and applications.
The cloud equation adds in the flexibility to scale bandwidth up or down at will and the affordability of pay-as-you-go service. Cloud computing must remain at the centre of business strategies to combat the challenges associated with rising costs. Companies point to IT as a major capital expense in their businesses but it is possible to reduce the financial burden without cutting down on innovative technology. Investing in cloud computing technology – where software and hardware is pooled centrally and made available over the internet – will enable businesses across the UK to reduce costs and enhance efficiencies.
Business software that can deliver long-term value
Today more than ever, distribution and manufacturing businesses need solutions that drive success, delivering innovation and value. For example, Microsoft Dynamics business management solutions appear and operate with a similar look and feel to familiar Microsoft software, automating and streamlining financial, customer relationship and supply chain processes. The solution is simple to learn and easy to use and is designed to work with the technology systems you already have, delivering long-term value without a complex and costly implementation.
Check out the recently released version of Microsoft Dynamics because it delivers on-going value and innovation, making more users mobile and more productive. Consistent product releases, which are easy to implement, cost effective to deploy, (on premises or in the cloud) help you transform your business. This new solution offers three complementary user deployment options, which can be supplied with different budget prerequisites. It all depends on where you are, the technology you use and the job you do. It's your choice. This means you have a fantastic opportunity in terms of extending the reach of your business software, providing more value from your technology investment.
New features and functionality, ideal for Distribution & Manufacturing companies
Cost Accounting - Gain greater visibility and insight into how your business is performing by monitoring budgeted and actual operating costs, departments, products, and projects. Synchronise cost information with the general ledger and allocate costs to different cost centres and objects. Spot budget variances as soon as they occur and take appropriate action.
Cash Flow Forecast - Analyse cash flow and take action quickly. Understand your current cash position, forecast short-term cash flow, and monitor cash receipts and disbursements. Create multiple cash flow forecasts for different time periods. Deliver role-appropriate cash flow information via Role Centre screens.
Assembly Management – These capabilities help you optimise inventory levels while maintaining superior customer service in assemble-to order and assemble-to-stock processes. Assembly Management integrates with the complete supply chain suite, including Sales, Supply Planning, Warehousing, Inventory Management, and Item Tracking, to help streamline operations, reduce costs, and accelerate order fulfilment.
Item Availability by Timeline and Event - Use new business data visualisation capabilities, to view and analyse item availability. Availability Timelines offer an immediate graphical view of expected inventory for a specific item or SKU over time, or by demand or supply event.
Supply Planning Enhancements - These enhancements help control planning suggestions and optimise supply according to inventory and ordering cost. Specific enhancements include new reorder period fields for time bucket, rescheduling period, lot accumulation period, and overflow level.
Streamline Warehouse Operations - Strengthened integration between Manufacturing and Warehouse Management, Service Management, and Assembly Management helps to improve inventory accuracy and reduce stocks, freeing capital for other investments. Move items to and from internal departments more efficiently, and align the process of shipping service items with warehouse operations.
Job and Service Management - Enhancements deliver greater insight into and control of work-in-process calculations and service processes by allowing you to see all supply and demand associated with specific items.
Reporting Enhancements - Take advantage of new reporting enhancements made possible by the tight integration of Microsoft Dynamics, Microsoft Excel spreadsheet software, and other Microsoft technologies to help boost productivity for more users and drive decision-making processes for better control.
Microsoft OneNote Integration - OneNote is also supported, so you can use this flexible productivity tool on a role specific basis for tasks such as creating Help and Information messaging and for sharing information, including photos, videos and other unstructured information more efficiently.
End-User Charting - Take advantage of unique charting and visualisation capabilities to help users see and understand data from across your business, and then to take prompt, informed action. Flexible, configurable chart types and charting capabilities give users a simple way to drill down into details from a chart or visualisation, nurturing improved analysis and better control. With new configuration and data aggregation tools and more chart types available, it's possible to add a chart to individual Role Centers or other areas within the application, change the chart definition, show it in three dimensions, flip its axis, and print it. From any list place, you can change the view of the data to display it in a chart format. And you can add a FactBox that contains a chart, which can be customised.
All of this improves your margins and enhances the bottom line, generating cash to drive business growth—and helping you to shape your own future.
The ability to make smart business decisions can have a direct impact on your bottom line, turning higher margins into a better cash position, ultimately leading to growth and increased profit. Ensuring your systems remain at their peak and are not slowly eroding away can make a huge difference to smooth operations and optimum profitability. Your business doesn't stand still so why should your business systems!
Qurius provides technology answers: design, architecture, infrastructure, deployment and systems management of Microsoft-based business and IT solutions. Headquartered in Zaltbommel, the Netherlands, the company serves customers across Europe, including Belgium, Germany and Austria, the Netherlands, Spain, the UK and the Czech Republic. In 2010, Qurius openly declared a target of 100 per cent sustainability by 2014. A bold objective, designed to drive the company to European leadership in the field of sustainable ICT. The company aims to be the number one choice for customers with the same ambition and the same sustainability goals. Qurius has been publicly quoted on Euronext Amsterdam since 1998. For more information, visit: www.qurius.com
About Qurius UK
Qurius UK is based in the Manchester area, and is a specialist in delivering Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Microsoft Dynamics AX, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM based solutions. Qurius has over 15 years' experience in implementing Microsoft Dynamics ERP software, and as one of the few with integrated solutions using ERP in perfect cooperation with the CRM system within an optimal infrastructure, whether or not in a portal based on .NET and SharePoint technology. With approximately 350 experts, Qurius UK serves clients in the Care Industry, Industrial Services, Professional Services and Environment. In addition, Qurius offers distinctive Infrastructure and Hosting Solutions. For more information, visit: www.qurius.co.uk