Dealing with Duplicate Orders in Your ERP Solution?

This week I was contacted by a company with major issues and concerns over duplicate order entries.

Like most distributors, they receive orders via EDI, telephone, fax and e-mail. In some cases, they receive orders from various departments within the same customer.  Unfortunately, it was often the case that the same order would be submitted through multiple channels and each would be captured as a distinct, new order.  When this issue was discussed with the affected customers, their response was as expected:

“Can’t your system identify them as duplicate orders? Should it not be part of the service that you provide us?“.

There was a point in my career when I would have disagreed, but, times have changed and expectations for systems intelligence has evolved. As the vendor, I should be aware of the orders I am receiving and at the very least raise a flag for orders that I identify as potential duplicate orders.  We’re partners, right?  Collaboration and customer service is a fundamental requirement of being a successful distribution partner.  When you get right down to it, these duplicate orders are MY problem, not the customer’s.  They are not going to purchase the order twice just because our system was unable to differentiate between duplicate orders.

duplicate orders through multi-channel processing

This company admitted that the situation has escalated to the point that they are checking every order manually for possible duplicates. Of course, this causes serious delays in the order entry process. Confirmation back to the customer takes longer and even with the extra effort, they are still missing too many.

Is this just a customer service faux pas, or is it even more than that?  The fact is that margins will drop for every duplicate order!  Let’s begin by understanding the harmful effects of duplicate orders.

Consider the effects of each duplicate order received:

False demand

  • Effects on forecasting
  • Procurement
  • Vendors

Potential shortages of inventory

  • Unplanned shipments/requirements
  • Customer shortages for real requirements
  • Expediting
  • Increased costs

Return merchandise

  • Inventory overage
  • Costs of returning and restocking
  • Labor requirements
  • Transportation costs

Discounted sales to avoid returned merchandise

Cost of Goods sold

  • Two sales, one order invoiced

Confused planning requirements

  • Nervous planning system

Loss of revenue!

  • Return process
  • Inspection (Scrap/Re-stock)
  • Return to stocking location

Discard original packaging

Multiple handling

It adds up, right?  One duplicate order sets off a chain of unnecessary processing and a loss of customer confidence.  Hundreds or thousands of duplicate orders can make a serious dent in margins.

So why continue living with duplicate orders?

The right software solution can eliminate the duplicate order entry fiasco with little or no human interaction. Manually checking every order by hand or even using a search function in a software solution during the order entry process is not an acceptable answer.

The order entry process needs to be fast, accurate and reliable. This does not apply strictly to availability and price.  The system needs to be able to identify potential duplicate orders based on established rules and provide that information during the order entry process at the line item level.

AXIO Distribution for Dynamics 365 Operations

AXIO Distribution for Dynamics 365 Operations addresses the points I listed above.   Implementation templates allow customers to easily incorporate best practices and proven business process rules that deliver:

  • Workflows for fast and accurate decision making and approvals
  • Automated alerts built on your rules and applied across the business
  • A System that is totally traceable and auditable as you identify issues and apply solutions
  • Pricing that is always correct based on the agreements in place and the expected and planned margins
  • Duplicate order rules based solution to avoid duplicate orders
  • Return Merchandise Authorization process connected to inventory, quality process and finance
  • Rules based workflow and alerts during order entry process
  • Forecasting solution for MRP or DRP

AXIO Distribution for Dynamics 365 Operations is built by industry experts that recognize the real needs that arise from managing operations where “on the spot” decisions can make or break success.  In this case, success is defined as maintaining highest levels of customer service while meeting planned margins for profitability.

Dominic Telaro CFPIM, CIRM
Vice President Industry Solutions, SBS Group

Dominic Telaro brings over 35 years of Manufacturing, Distribution, Software and Dominic Telaro 001 IBIS DT 110113Consulting experience. Half of his professional career has been in Manufacturing and Distribution from shop floor and warehousing positions to management. During this time he implemented ERP, DRP and Logistics solutions as internal Project Leader. The second half of his career has been in consulting, product management, product development and both consulting and software sales. He has held positions as VP Of Industry Solutions, VP of Product Development, VP of Sales and Marketing and Global Practice Leader for companies like IBIS Inc., IBM, Janis Group, Metamor, Marcam Corp. and more. Presently he is responsible for Industry Product Vision for multiple ERP solutions at SBS Group USA.

APICS Fellow and Certified in Integrated Resource Management, Instructor at Universite de Montreal, Vanier College and Granby CEGEP for APICS certification; Lead instructor for internal APICS training at Bell Helicopter, Avon, Le Groupe Hamelin


Watch how you can use color coding in advanced order management to better track orders and provide customers with real-time status updates!

Why The Microsoft Cloud (and Dynamics 365) is the Right Platform for Professional Services Firms

cloud-mobile-devices

For professional services organizations (PSOs) around the globe, the service landscape is changing. Localization and personalization are mandatory for success. So much so, that in many cases “corporate headquarters” is little more than a mailing address. More and more PSOs are relying on functionally rich mobile technologies, virtual operations, work-from-home staffing models, and remote outsourcing of work.

This revolution is powered by cloud computing, which allows for a collaborative platform that unifies disparate teams and decentralized information under a single umbrella. There are varying definitions of cloud computing and an array of acronyms (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS), but cloud computing in its most basic form is a means to leverage the Internet as a standardized technology platform linking and sharing Web-based solutions, platforms, and infrastructures across multiple environments.

Because of the short-term impact and minimal support requirements, Software as a Service, or SaaS, is the most popular model for all but the largest professional services firms.  In a recent survey by ITSMA, 74% of respondents indicate they are using SaaS offerings today for office/productivity applications, 66% for email/communications, 50% for financials, and 45% for customer relationship management

Because of the highly decentralized and mobile nature of the industry, when assessing cloud solutions there are a number of areas that PSO’s need to focus on.

  • Easy Connectivity – Whether booting up a work station in the home office or logging onto the company portal from a coffee shop, staff need to be able to securely connect to the applications and information that are stored in the cloud.
  • Accessibility – Round-the-clock access and support. Accessibility needs to be a given, in order to allow PSOs to make real-time decisions regardless of their dispersed teams’ locations or time zones.
  • Continuity – Ensuring customers have continuous access to information.
  • Collaboration Capabilities – As staff becomes further and further removed from a centralized location, effective feedback and collaboration become more important. Cloud-based collaboration tools delivered by centralized wikis, dashboards, and portals are as necessary as access to a laptop.
  • Regulatory and Industry Compliance – Most professional services firms deal with confidential customer information that requires infrastructure and capabilities (like email archiving and legal hold) that meet these requirements.
  • Security – The combination of sensitive customer data and valuable company data, and the need for extra company collaboration drives requirements for a highly secure infrastructure and a flexible security model.

The Microsoft Cloud provides the mobile capabilities that professional services need.

Office 365 provides familiar Office tools enabling staff to create, edit, and share from traditional laptops or any iOS, Android™, or Windows device with anyone in real time.  Online services like Skype for Business, SharePoint Online, and the new “Teams” app, further support collaboration and communication.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is Microsoft’s new approach to end-to-end intelligent business applications in the cloud. Dynamics 365 unifies ERP and CRM into one cloud service with new purpose-built apps to manage all your core business functions, including Sales, Customer Service, Finance, Field Service, Operations, Marketing and Project Service Automation.  With native integration to Office 365, universal browser access, and mobile apps for iOS, Android™, or Windows devices, employees can have secure access to all the information, services, and resources they need wherever work takes them.

Services are hosted at Microsoft data centers, offering the most comprehensive set of certifications and attestations of any cloud service provider to ensure organizations comply with national, regional, and industry-specific requirements governing the collection and use of individuals’ data.

With over 800 professional services customers across the US and Canada, SBS Group is the leader in Microsoft solutions for professional services and project-based businesses.  If you are interested in learning more about the Microsoft Cloud for Professional Services, please email us info@sbsgroupusa.com or call 888.725.2555.


Register for our upcoming Professional Services Webcast!

The Microsoft Cloud for Professional Services Firms
Wednesday, January 11th
12 – 1 PM ET

register for webcast

Systems Integration: The Key to Improving Productivity and Accuracy for Airports

Previously, I wrote about the benefits of using a multi-dimensional accounting system such as Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2017 to improve the reporting and analysis capabilities of your accounting system without creating thousands of accounts. This post will discuss the benefits of integrating your accounting system with other airport systems.

At a typical airport, there may be several disparate information systems managing and tracking areas like accounting, billing, leasing, concessions, maintenance, etc. Each has a profound impact on efficiency, profitability, safety and decision-making. Often, a single weak link in operations can trickle down to other operations without anyone realizing it. This lack of integration means that data must be manually entered into the accounting system from these other systems in order to create a complete picture. Small accounting packages simply do not have the capability to design import routines to bring in complex and dynamic data from other systems. State-of-the-art systems like Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2017 have the tools built into the standard package to integrate with other systems and import data without the need to re-key this data.

What Type of Data Should You Import?

The short answer is it depends on what information you need to bring into your accounting system. This may include billing data, maintenance data, payroll data or non-financial data that is needed to create key performance metrics when combined with financial information.

Revenue Example

Revenue is one type of data that may be generated in other systems like aeronautical billing systems or a system that manages your leases and concessions. If sales invoices are generated in another system, you are required to import this data since it needs to reside in the accounting system and should be posted into the Accounts Receivable module. The ability to import this data at the sales invoice level will streamline your accounting function by reducing the time taken to re-key this data while at the same time eliminating key punch errors. This data can be imported every day or whenever it is available.

visio-diagram

This diagram shows how a billing system can be interfaced with the accounting system. The billing system will create sales invoices which will be sent to customers. A file will be exported periodically and this file can be imported into an accounting system like Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2017. The export/import process can be a manual process or it can be an automated scheduled process. For example, it can be run every hour or once a day at a pre-determined time. Once the data has been imported it will create an unposted sales invoice that can be reviewed, if necessary, and then posted.  The benefit of having a separate posting process is that the data can be checked first before it is posted.  Alternatively, the data can simply be posted automatically as well, if you wish.

Once the sales data is in the accounting system, it will be backed up in the same way as any other data, so it will be secure. This is an important point for cases where data may reside in an operations system that may have been developed in-house or may be old software that is not backed-up on a routine basis. In addition, if the customer loses an invoice you can easily reprint an invoice from the accounting system and mail it to the customer or more likely email a copy to the customer. Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2017 has deep integration with Microsoft Outlook, so it is easy to email a document to a customer from within the system.

Other data can be imported in exactly the same way – like data from an equipment maintenance system or a payroll system.

Integration Toolset

Your accounting system needs the ability to import data in the format required by your system. This may require the data to be transformed since it typically will be exported in a format that is different to the format you need for your accounting system. Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2017 has powerful capabilities for transforming and importing many different types of files including XML files, text files, CSV files and others, using standard functions to transform the data and import it into NAV. If your accounting system does not have this capability, it will be very difficult if not impossible to import data from other systems.

In Short…

This blog discussed the benefits of integrating your accounting system with other airport systems. Doing so can improve the productivity of your staff by eliminating the need to re-key data from other systems into the accounting system while at the same time eliminating key punch errors and making the data available immediately. In order to integrate your accounting system with other airport systems, you will need a system that has the capabilities and toolsets to allow you to do this. State-of-the-art systems like Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2017 have these tools built right into the standard package to allow integration with any external or third-party system. If you would like to learn more about Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2017, feel free to contact me at pfernandez@sbsgroup.ca.

Paul Fernandez B.Sc., ACMA, CMA
SBS Group Pacific Canada

About Paul
paul-fernandezPaul Fernandez is the general manager of SBS Pacific Canada, which is part of the SBS Group. He has worked as a professional accountant in industry for 25 years in various senior financial positions. He founded his consulting practise 15 years ago and has worked as a consultant implementing accounting systems at many companies, drawing on his own experience to advise clients on the design of their chart of accounts and multi-dimensional reporting structures. Contact Paul at pfernandez@sbsgroup.ca.

 


Looking for a modern financial management solution for your airport?

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Vendor Self-service portal and Vendor collaboration in Dynamics 365 For Operations

Having a fully functional vendor self service portal in an enterprise class cloud ERP solution is a huge advantage and allows your organization to streamline the collaboration with vendors, thereby helping you reduce back office efforts and improves accuracy of business transactions with vendors and procurement. Dynamics 365 For Operations provides this right out of the box !

In today’s quick post, we will take a look at some of the key capabilities of the Vendor Collaboration/Self-service portal in Microsoft Dynamics 365 For Operations. Let us first look at some of the key setups involved.

Activate a vendor for Self -service/Collaboration:

  • On the vendor master record > General fast Tab, select Active (PO is auto-confirmed) or Active (PO is not auto-confirmed).

vendor-master

  • Setup the Primary contact for the vendor. I have setup Erin in this demonstration.

Prim Contact.jpg

  • Setup the user account for the vendor contact/vendor user. You will need to setup a Azure AD account for this for the vendor user and assign the Vendor(external) or Vendor admin(external) or both of these roles to this user. Then link the vendor primary contact to this user. Important Note: Note that you would not want to give the System user default role to this user, as this is purely an external user.

vendor-role

Additional Note: Since the vendor is an external user, you would definitely want them to personalize Dynamics 365 screens to add new data fields on their views. To block this, you can Block personalization for the vendor user in Dynamics 365 for Operations.

With the understanding of the some of these basic setups, let us now see , what are some of the key features of the self-service portal.

Shared View of Purchase Order Communications and Responses with Vendor:

  • Let us say Contoso Entertainment Systems USA wants to order some Wiring Harness and Speaker Units from their vendor Fabrikam Suppliers. The purchasing clerk at Contoso USA creates the PO. The purchase order is shown below.

po

  • He then sends the PO to the vendor portal for obtaining confirmation response from vendor.

send-for-conf

  • Notice at this stage, the PO status is “In External Review”.

po-status

  • Now, Erin the contact Fabrikam Suppliers logs in to Vendor portal and can see that the PO that Contoso just sent is right there on the portal. He  logs in and navigates to Purchase Order confirmation workspace.

vendor-portal-po-conf

po-for-review

  • He sees that the PO sent by Contoso appears there and then he goes into the PO details.
  • At this point, as a vendor Erin from Fabrikam can review the PO header and line details and do the following.
    • Print a copy or original PO if he needs to send it to anyone else.
  • printpo
    • Review the PO Header and Line information and Accept or Reject the PO Confirmation request. If he accepts the PO confirmation request, then the PO will be automatically confirmed.
  • accept-reject
    • Additionally, Erin can suggest changes on the PO, such as Mode of delivery, Delivery date and Quantity. Erin can also view or attach Notes and documents both at the PO header and line levels at this stage. Let us say he changes the Quantity of the Wiring Harness to 170, as Fabrikam does not see to have enough stock at the moment to fulfill the order.
  • suggest-change-1
  • suggest-change-2
    • Eric can substitute a specific PO line if needed. He can also split the delivery of the PO into multiple deliveries for each PO line. Let us say, he splits the delivery of Wiring harness into 2 deliveries as shown below. He also adds appropriate note saying that they can deliver only 170 Qty. of the Harness ordered and they will need to delivery them in 2 schedules.
  • split-delivery
  • split-delivery2
  • notes
    • Erin can now go ahead and Accept all the changes he suggested and proceed further Accepting the PO with changes. He clicks on Accept with changes on the PO. At this point, Contoso will review the suggested changes on the PO on their side and confirm the changes, after which Eric has to do the final acceptance without making any further changes.
  • accept-with-changes-1
    • The purchasing clerk at Contoso can now view the suggested changed and accept the changes followed by final acceptance from the vendor.
  • vendor-accepts-changes

 

Vendors can manage their Contacts and New Collaboration Users easily:

  • The primary contact/user at the vendor can view and manage the contacts and users for the vendor portal.
  • They can create new contacts and request to provision new vendor users for collaboration portal.
  • Can update contact information of the vendor users any time, anywhere.

vendor-users

provision-user

vendor-user-requests

Vendors can view and inquire on invoices and payments using the portal workspace:

  • Vendor can review the status of the their invoices and payments online.
  • Create purchase order invoices and upload invoice documents on the portal.
  • Inquire status of payment for the invoices.

vendor-invoice-workspace

vendor-creates-invoice

vendor-invoice-attachments

Vendor can view and inquire information about consignment inventory:

consignment-inventory

Vendor portal and Vendor collaboration feature  continues to be one of the major investment areas for Microsoft in Dynamics 365 For Operations, which means we will only continue to see more and more new features in the upcoming platform updates in next few months. Stay tuned !!

Sandeep

Sandeep ChaudhurySandeep Chaudhury is a Dynamics AX enthusiast with over 10 years of experience in functional consulting, Solutions architecture and systems integration, with expertise in the areas of Professional services automation(Project Management and accounting), Financials Management, Services Management, Sales and Marketing, Human resource management, Travel and Expenses Management and Procurement & Sourcing modules of Microsoft dynamics AX ERP. He has experience working with the Dynamics 365, AX 7, AX 2012 R3, AX 2012 R2 and more.

New Video Release: Vendor Managed Inventory (2 min 50 sec)

This brief video demonstration is for current and prospective Microsoft Dynamics AX & Microsoft Dynamics 365 customers seeking an enterprise solution to assist vendor managed inventory.

For any warehouse or distribution business dealing with rotating inventory, supply chain management is critical. Being able to properly manage inventory can help your business increase margins and maximize warehouse space – which, you guessed it, boosts profits. This is easier said than done. Vendor managed inventory can be tricky because it isn’t always easy to transfer new inventory to a vendor managed inventory warehouse for future sale. In order to do this, you need a powerful and capable business solution.

AXIO for Distribution powered by Microsoft Dynamics 365/Dynamics AX is that solution. The Advanced Order Management module of AXIO for Distribution makes it easy for your employees to fulfill orders and transfer inventory for future sale and distribution. Warehouse workers can check on the exact product stock and assign a percentage/number of that stock to be moved to a vendor managed warehouse.

Watch as a Distribution expert guides you through the process of vendor managed inventory on AXIO for Distribution.

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