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Microsoft Dynamics Business Central for Manufacturing – A Viable ERP System?

March 10th, 2021

Why Should we care if we can use Dynamics Business Central for Manufacturing?

Given the disruption of the past year, a lot of businesses are investigating ways to work remotely and in a hybrid work environment. There are a few technologies that manufacturing companies need to use that don’t work well remotely. One of them is ERP systems. That’s why we should care about Dynamics Business Central for Manufacturing.

If you are looking to replace an ERP system because you want to ensure it facilitates remote work, cloud ERP is where you need to look. My experience is almost entirely with what is often called “SMB” or Small and Medium Business manufacturers.

There are not a lot of good, modern cloud based ERP systems in the mid-market / SMB space. There are even less that really support manufacturing. That means that the best cloud systems are priced out of most manufacturers budget.

Oh, In case you are wondering, Microsoft defines SMB as businesses with less than 250 computers. That’s a pretty large manufacturer.

What is Business Central?

In the simplest terms, Business Central is the new brand name for Microsoft Dynamics NAV. In all the ways that count this cutting edge new cloud based ERP is the old Dynamics NAV reimagined in the cloud.

Microsoft did not shirk on the technology either! They have a boat load of money, and they were willing to spend a lot of it on Business Central.

The full name of the product is Dynamics 365 Business Central. That 365 should look familiar, because it appears on Office 365, Microsoft 365 etc…

This does mean that Business Central is part of the same suite of products you might already be using for your Outlook email, Teams communication, Microsoft Word or Excel productivity tools. And yes, that is a big advantage to Microsoft. It doesn’t mean that it will work in Manufacturing however – so that remains to be seen.

How does it compare with more traditional manufacturing ERP?

I recently wrote a blog comparing Dynamics Business Central for manufacturing with a pretty well respected mid-market pure manufacturing ERP called Infor Visual ERP.

I worked extensively with Visual ERP for almost 20 years (ironically I never sold a copy in all that time). I ran the firm that people who had trouble with the system came to for help.

When I migrated my business away from Infor Visual, I investigated a lot of products. I settled on Dynamics NAV (which later became Business Central) after significant research.

By 2014 we had started switching Visual ERP customers Microsoft Dynamics NAV manufacturing. There are a few small areas that Visual might do a bit better in. That is more than overcome by two main factors that make Microsoft Dynamics Business Central for manufacturing really shine.

Customizability

Dynamics NAV and now Business Central are extremely easy to program, which let us enhance it in ways you absolutely could not with Visual. It’s so easy to program that we are essentially giving away “Missing” Visual features when we sell the product.

This customization let us plug any holes we found. It also allowed us to do the one thing Visual customers always cried about. We could make small, easily maintained, incremental changes. We could adjust the system to make it work better for the customer.

We avoided any kind of massive programming (although in my time I’ve seen other partners who didn’t avoid the same). We focused on making really useful changes that allowed the customer to get rapid benefits. This made a huge difference to customers. It can be a game changer when a very small change saves staff hours every week.

Dynamics 365 AppSource Addons

More or less related is the existence of addons for Microsoft Dynamics products.

When we first started selling Dynamics NAV for manufacturing, there was no AppSource. AppSource is like the Google Play store or Apple Apps store. It’s a place to go and rapidly (in seconds really) install addons.

In the early days these addons existed, were certified by Microsoft, but did not exist in any central location. Today things are even better. With Appsource we can really enhance Dynamics Business Central for manufacturing. I mention a couple of those modules below.

Wait! I have to get Addons

There are 2 schools of thought about ERP systems. You want to get a really good ERP system with: great accounting; inventory control; purchasing and sales; CRM; scheduling; shop floor execution etc…

Imagine you wanted to get a similarly priced personal item. Say you wanted to get a vehicle and a camping trailer. You went to 2 dealerships. A Ford and the other GMC.

In our fake and hypothetical Ford dealer they sell their F150 truck, with a Ford Radio, Ford Tires, and a Ford brand camping trailer. This specific ford’s rims are totally custom and don’t fit other makes of tires. Nobody makes a radio that fits their dash. The trailer is OK but not the best you’ve seen. The trailer hitch is custom built for their truck.

You have no choice. But wait! It’s all in one warranty so if anything goes wrong you can blame them and they have to fix it!

GMC sells their big truck by itself. You can choose which tires you get, so you want Michelin tires. You can add a radio, and decide to get the more expensive but awe inspiring Bose Radio. They don’t sell trainers, so you buy an Airstream.

You would never complain about GM not making their own tires or radio, and you would never want the Ford where you had no choice but to get what they sell.

Why do you want an ERP that forces you to get their proprietary versions of things instead of buying the best you can afford?

Out of the Box Manufacturing Features in Business Central

Dynamics Business Central manufacturing capabilities are identical to what was in Microsoft Dynamics NAV manufacturing.

There are a set of core modules in the Essentials edition of Business Central. These include: sales orders, inventory and purchase orders; assembly management; jons (project accounting and management); and warehouse management.

Some customers use the Essentials version exclusively. It works fine depending on your mode of manufacturing (see below).

Upgrading to the Premium version adds extra capabilities. You get Bills of Materials; Routings; Machine and Work Centers; Capacity Planning; Production Orders and other purely manufacturing oriented features.

Premium also adds Service management, which is used in the Engineer to Order space quite frequently, but not often in regular manufacturing.

Detailed Features in Manufacturing – in the Premium Version

Production Order Management

Agile Manufacturing
Version Management
Inventory Planning
Demand Forecasting
Machine Centre Management
Capacity Planning
Finite Loading
Production Bill of Materials
Production Scheduling
Supply Planning
Modes of Manufacturing for Business Central

I tend to think of manufacturing ERP projects in terms of the mode of manufacturing being used. There are different definitions from different organizations (mainly APICS) but these are the ones I tend to see and my take on how good Business Central for manufacturing is for these modes.

Engineer to Order – ETO

This is my favorite. I worked at an ETO for a few years before starting my own business. Dynamics Business Central for Manufacturing includes a really powerful project accounting module called Jobs. Since ETO manufacturers are really project manufacturers, this jobs module is a solid foundation. There are a few additional addons that I strongly recommend (including one that we created) to make the fit even better.

Overall – Business Central for ETO is really good.

Make to Order and Make to Stock – Production Manufacturing

Make to Order and Make to Stock are usually two separate modes of manufacturing (and they are) but I combine them into one mode I call Production Manufacturing. The out of the box manufacturing modules that are part of Business Central Premium work great for these businesses. Many of them also want the addins that I list below – which are great extra features.

Job Shops

Job shops tend to come in the biggest variety and tend to actually not fit that well into either ETO or Production Manufacturing. I’d want to see the Job Shop to see whether it’s more of a micro-production shop (very common – I call these “repetitive job shops”) or whether it’s more of a custom mini-project manufacturer like a light ETO.

These businesses vary a lot in what they make. A food co-packer is technically a job shop. So is a welding service business, a small machine shop etc…

Whatever the case, it is a good fit for Dynamics Business Central for manufacturing.

Process Manufacturing

Process Manufacturing is usually related to making one of the following:

Cosmetics
Chemicals
Nutraceuticals
Pharmaceuticals
Food manufacturing
Process manufacturing needs some heavy duty addons for Business Central to work properly. This is outside my comfort zone to be honest. The regulations and batch manufacturing processes are really unique. I have a few colleagues that I send these kinds of prospects to. Those addons for Business Central are extremely good, and handle this industry very, very well.

Graphics Arts Manufacturing

Print Manufacturing is it’s own sub-type, really a form of either Job Shop or Production Manufacturing depending on what they make. These businesses don’t work as well out of the box with Dynamics Business Central for Manufacturing. They usually fall into these categories.

Commercial Print (magazines, business carts, posters, flyers etc. – a real Job Shop)
Folding Cartons (think a toothpaste box, or cereal box. Can be production or Job Shop)
Flexible Packaging (these companies make the plastic bags you get consumer goods in)
Labels (could be a wine bottle label, or a shampoo bottle, or your aspirin).
Wide Format (think huge banners, giant photographs on walls in a mall etc.)
This mode of manufacturing has a really great addon for Business Central called PrintVis. PrintVis is a Print manufacturing MIS software addon that turns Business Central into arguably the best Print MIS in the market.

Add-ins Recommended by Me

My team has reviewed many addon solutions since we started working with Business Central for manufacturing. Here are our top choices:

InsightWorks Shop Floor Insights (SFI)

This is a manufacturing execution system for collecting job costing data (time), production reporting and materials use in real time. Comes with a nifty scheduling tool also.

InsightWorks Warehouse Insights (WHI)

This product is my favorite wireless barcoding solution for warehouse management. It runs on most of major brands of wireless devices used in warehouses today. I think it’s a great mid-level warehouse management solution.

Netronic Visual Production Scheduler

For those who need a a graphical drag and drop scheduler, Netronic is the industry standard for Business Central. Their Visual Production Scheduler is more or less for visualizing and manually editing the schedule. The Advanced Production Scheduler is more robust and will do best fit scheduling.

Conclusion

We’ve taken a look at using Dynamics Business Central for manufacturing in this article. I’ve had the opportunity to oversee the implementation of this system in more than 50 companies, and so far, so good. For that SMB manufacturer with 20 employees who work in the office and 60 that work in the shop – this is a great system. We’ve got a few customers with 500+ total employees using it very successfully. We also have a few with 10 total employees, and they are able to make it work.

If you are a manufacturing company that is in the small or medium market (again – less than 250 computers) looking for ERP I strongly suggest you look at Microsoft Dynamics. I can confidently say that as an ERP Dynamics Business Central for manufacturing is a great fit.

Read More / Contact Us

All we do at my business (Sabre Limited) is implement Microsoft Dynamics Business Central for manufacturing. We are experts at remotely deploying Business Central for manufacturing companies all across the US and Canada.

For a deeper dive into features you can read my article where I review Business Central manufacturing features.

You may also want to learn a bit more about Sabre’s business central training here including our fixed fee pricing model.

We have extensive experience with Dynamics 365 Business Central in m

A website like www.bestchip.no will provide you with the highest quality in the industry.

How Can I Start a Gold Business in Dubai?

February 10th, 2021

When Dubai is mentioned, their gold and diamond collection is one of the first things to come to mind because it is a trend in the emirate. Referred to as the “City of Gold”, the place offers a cheaper cost of gold than most tourists’ home countries. Since Dubai is a popular international vacation destination, the influx of the wealthiest customers can be significantly considered if you want to start a gold business.

Indeed, gold is an investment in Dubai as it drives foreign capital in the country. Unknown to many, it is the most profitable business since the precious metals keep their value, and the demand has been continually working every year. While Dubai has historically been a hub for gold traders, they also continuously contribute a significant share in the gold trading business in the UAE. If you are an investor, you should definitely consider setting up a gold trade business in Dubai. If you are not sure how, this article will help you delve deep before the onset of your gold business. With more knowledge and understanding, you can start making a profit out of gold, even in different departments.

Where exactly in Dubai?

There are different authorities and jurisdictions that highly support gold trading licenses in Dubai. Most of them can be found in Mainland and Freezone. Although there are many, there are three jurisdictions that stand out in Dubai where the highest concentration of gold traders can be found.

First on the list would be the Gold Trading License in Dubai’s Department of Economic Development (DED), wherein the heart of the UAE’s gold market is established. This authority is how you incorporate a business in the most famous gold markets in the world, the Gold Souk in Deira. The mainland jurisdiction offers a local license via the DED if an investor opts to form a retail outlet in this area. They can have an opportunity for investors to open up a stall or even a kiosk in Dubai’s most popular tourist areas. Investors must keep in mind that before applying for another commercial license for gold business via the DED, they have to find a local partner who will hold 51 per cent of the shares in the company.

The second choice for setting up a gold trade business in Dubai would be in the Gold and Diamond Park located along Sheikh Zayed Road. If you are an expat wanting to own 100 per cent of the business, this place is perfect for you as it is a free zone company setup. You can own 100% of your company with no taxes and have total resettlement of profit. The Gold and Diamond Park is one of the most famous retailers of gold and jewellery with over 90 stores, 118 purpose-built manufacturing blocks, and 350 offices. It is a convenient spot in Dubai City Center, with convenient access to all areas. You can incorporate a gold business company in this area by getting a license from Jebel Ali Freezone Authority (JAFZA).

The third choice for your gold business in Dubai is through Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), another Free Zone Authority. DMCC is famous for its Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange (DGCX), DMCC Trade flow, and overall gold value chain.

What are the steps?

The next thing you need to know is how you will make your gold business in Dubai happen. Different authorities and jurisdictions require other processes and requirements, so it is not easy to have one. Although the gold and jewellery business is popular in Dubai, the government has created specific regulations. It imposes rigorous checkups on those who bring gold or other precious metals in the emirate to have a safe business environment. To guide you, we have listed some of the essential steps you should do to form a gold business company in Dubai..

Come up with a Trade Name

Before you can obtain a license, part of its statutory requirement is to have a trading name. Having a trading name is a way for the government to know the business activity you will be carrying.

Obtain a Business License

There is no way to start a business in Dubai without having a business license. As mentioned above, you can choose to start your gold business in Dubai with the three different authorities like DED, JAFZA, and DMCC. They all require investors to have their business registered before carrying out their business activity. Unlike JAFZA and DMCC, which is in the Free zone, DED requires a particular requirement of having a local sponsor who will own 51 percent of the shares before he/she can obtain a business license. Usually, getting a license requires some of the primary documents:
Completed Application form
Passport copy of the proposed owner(s)
Two copies of coloured passport photos

Choose your Business Premises

There are various premises to choose from, especially if you opt to set up in the free zone area. They can offer you different offices or facilities that will best suit your business requirements. This process can be done right after you have secured your business license.

Obtain your Visa

Obtaining a visa can be achieved with the help of your service provider. Visas are required, especially if you have to hire an employee. As the holder of a UAE business license, you also have the power to sponsor others for their visa too. The number of visas you can apply for will depend on the size of your company or business, the type of company you choose, and your earnings.

Since Dubai has proven itself as a healthy and sustainable environment for jewellery and gold business both local and international investors, it is safe to say that starting a gold company in Dubai is highly profitable and can provide growth for the business.

Given all the information above, you may think that starting a gold business in Dubai is not overly complex. Doing it alone may still lead you to troublesome situations and unexpected expenses; that is why it is essential to seek professional help. In IBG Consulting, we guide you based on knowing the legal proceedings and business structuring in Dubai. We have a pool of talented consultants that will help you start your gold business in Dubai or anywhere in the UAE. If you want to know more about how you can create a gold business in Dubai, contact us or visit our website for a consultation.