Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 enterprise resource planning software (ERP) was recently unveiled at the Microsoft Dynamics AX Technical Conference. Along with announcing the general availability of the release for December 1, 2012, Microsoft provided some detail as to what we should expect to see in this latest version.
The word is that Microsoft Dynamics AX development continues to focus on four key areas of application enhancement:
- adding new functionality for its core industries – including Manufacturing;
- improving business insight for users;
- increasing global reach and simplifying international operations; and
- simplifying the application life cycle.
As an ERP services firm focused on clients in Canadian manufacturing and fabricating industries, we are most excited about the new toys that have been developed to service this industry. Here is a short list of the functionality enhancements that will benefit our Canadian manufacturing customers:
- Master Planning Explanations and Event Logging to provide detailed explanation of MRP recommendations
- Intercompany Resource Scheduling
- Graphing of Action Messages to show relationships amongst action messages
- New Forecast Reduction Principle: All transactions
And more specific ERP improvements to help our process manufacturing customers,
- Potency Management to control concentration of an active ingredient throughout the entire manufacturing process.
- Enhanced traceability to capture important product attributes that can be transferred to subsequent lots.
- Product batch sequencing to help process manufacturing customers streamline their operations .
In addition, manufacturers can also benefit from significant ERP enhancements to Microsoft Dynamics AX’s business intelligence component:
- New and updated KPI content included with four additional data cubes. Data cubes now total 15.
- An increase of pre-defined role-specific account types – a total of 45 Role Centers are now available in Microsoft Dynamics AX.
- Intuitive ad-hoc reporting and data visualization capabilities using Microsoft SQL Power View. Allows users to create, interact and mash-up views of data from data models based on PowerPivot workbooks and SSAS.
- Extensibility on Business Overview web part for displaying measures or key performance indicators.
These new manufacturing based ERP capabilities are a great extension to an already comprehensive set of manufacturing tools. To learn more about the manufacturing capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2, please feel free to contact us.
It’s just around the corner. Microsoft will be releasing details on the latest version of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 at the Microsoft Technical Conference being held this week. Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 is expected to offer powerful industry solutions with the flexibility to adapt to the way your business and your people work around the world. Here is just a sample of what we expect to see in the new version as taken from the Microsoft Blog Post, Introducing the Next Act: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2:
- New functional capabilities for Microsoft Dynamics AX focus industries – we’re continuing to expand the functional capabilities to help customers address specific business issues and improve their operations
- Improve business insights for all users – a key priority for us over the past few releases, we believe that improving insight in context to the work being done will improve productivity
- Simplifying international operations – reduce complexity within companies spread across the globe and those organizations that increasingly operate their business throughout multiple countries
- Continued focus on simplifying the application lifecycle for IT operations
- Addition of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 into 11 new countries: Brazil, Czech Republic, China, Estonia, Hungary, India, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Russia.
Keep checking our blog for more details. We’ll provide a full AX 2012 R2 benefits for Manufacturers posting as soon as we get the complete list.
It’s not all about the ERP Software. How do you choose an effective ERP implementation services partner?Friday, October 19th, 2012
We have a consultant at AX-iom ERP who often states the following to prospective clients, “Average software implemented well is much better than good software that is implemented poorly.”
At AX-iom we take pride in giving our manufacturing clients the best of both worlds – great ERP software (Microsoft Dynamics AX is quickly becoming the most sought after solution for the manufacturing industry) along with product and industry focused services that are meticulously delivered using the Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step Implementation Methodology.
But, how do you know if your ERP services partner whether providing Microsoft, SAP, Oracle or any other software, is the right partner for your ERP software implementation? Our consulting team put their heads together to create a list of characteristics that they would look for in an ERP partner if they were to hire out an implementation. Here is what they came up with…
An effective ERP software services partner should:
Know Your Industry
Not only should an ERP software services partner know your industry, if given the opportunity you should select one that specializes in it. Specialists in your industry should be able to speak to the opportunities, challenges and competitive environment that you are facing; and be able to support their knowledge through the experience of client ERP implementations that will be similar to your own.
For example, AX-iom ERP maintains a much focused ERP services practice. Our manufacturing industry clients make up nearly 100% of our business. This focus allows us to offer our customers unparalleled manufacturing best practices knowledge delivered by a team of manufacturing expert resources. In addition, since our hiring practices are focused on this industry, every member of our consulting team has ERP implementation experiences in manufacturing industry environments to share and collaborate with our group. This amplifies the level of expertise that is provided to our clients and their implemented solutions.
Provide Local Support
For multiple reasons having local ERP software support is a benefit to your business operations;
- your ERP services partner will be familiar with your local environment including local regulatory compliance, taxation, and the local competitive market;
- it reduces the overall cost of your implementation;
- you are able to take advantage of synergies from your ERP software partner’s other local clients;
- it increases on-site ERP consulting time that is critical for training delivery and user adoption;
- it allows you to engage technical support quickly in case of a critical issue.
Local support although not critical to ERP implementation success is advantageous throughout your project.
Understand your Business
Knowing your industry is essential, but the project efficiencies that can be attained from an ERP partner that has more in-depth knowledge of your business is invaluable. For example, choosing an ERP partner that has experience with your specific type of business, that has engaged in similar business processes or even has experience with your existing business software can help to streamline and possibly shorten your overall ERP software implementation time. These ERP partners have a large advantage over others vying for your business – especially if they have great references to support their knowledge.
Have Deep ERP Software Knowledge
Confirm your ERP software partner’s application knowledge, don’t just trust what you have seen in demo’s and read on their website. There are many ways to verify the knowledge that your partner may have in their supported ERP product.
- Validate ERP software certifications both at the company partner level and for each of the consultants that may be working on your ERP implementation.
- Consult the ERP vendor directly. Learn about the working relationship between the vendor and the partner. Get their opinion on the level of product knowledge that they have in comparison to other partners and resellers.
- Speak and visit with references that meet your specific criteria – local area, similar size and business type.
Be Comprised of a Team of Experienced Professionals
It may sound obvious, but a team of experienced professionals is essential to your ERP implementation success. We have discussed the importance of experience both in your industry and in the ERP solution, but what we have not emphasized is the importance of being backed by an organization that has a full staff of consultants to assist in your ERP projects. Be certain that staff are not freelance, and are full-time employees of the organization.
Having an ERP team at your fingertips can provide the following benefits:
- Provides the opportunity to switch Project Managers or ERP consultants if any incompatibilities exist;
- Offers a variety of skillsets to draw from throughout your ERP implementation. For example, AX-iom employs manufacturing industry specialists in the areas of Technical Infrastructure, Financial, Manufacturing Operations, Programming & Development and Project Management;
- Ensures that post-implementation support personnel are available if ever required in an urgent or critical situation;
- Justifies the credibility and longevity of the organization.
Have a Focused Business Strategy
Many ERP services partners provide implementation and support services for multiple ERP products. Although it demonstrates a wide knowledge of ERP software product, this strategy also indicates a lack of depth in any particular product. Training and staff development dollars are watered down across multiple products rather than focused on gaining comprehensive knowledge on a single product.
Finding a partner, like AX-iom that focuses on a single ERP software product provides core product knowledge that translates to a smoother, quicker implementation. AX-iom is a reseller and services provider for Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP software, its only ERP offering and sole business focus.
Has a Similar Corporate Culture
Your ERP services partner will be working at your location, working with your management team and working with your staff. Finding an organization that fits with your own corporate culture will help to form a symbiotic relationship of collaborative thinking and partnership. Don’t take culture for granted – if your team trusts, respects and is compatible with your partner, your implementation success will increase. Common ERP implementation issues such as resistance to change and user adoption can be minimized simply by finding the right partner that can connect with your staff.
Reputation is everything. Make sure that you have verified your ERP partner’s references. Naturally, every reference they provide will be a good reference, it is up to you however to get the right reference. Ask them to provide references from companies that are similar to your own, that are running the same version of ERP software that you will be implementing and are local to your business. In addition, if you have any hesitation call upon their other business partners and as mentioned earlier, the ERP product vendor can provide a wealth of information in comparison to other resellers that may be available for the selected ERP software package.
The best advice that we can give is for you to remember our consultant’s saying, “Average software implemented well is much better than good software that is implemented poorly.” Don’t forget that your choice of ERP reseller is just as important as the software that you choose. If you review our eight points above, you are on the right track to finding a partner that can make your ERP implementation a success.
The Rotary Club of Cambridge Sunrise, together with Ernie’s Roadhouse, and presenting sponsor AX-iom ERP hosted the 34th Annual Ernie’s Charity Golf Tournament on Saturday, June 9, 2012 The tournament was successful in raising over $11,000 to help further the good works of Rotary. This year, Rotary’s fundraising efforts will be working to support the following agencies:
1. Alzheimer Society
2. Cambridge Memorial Hospital Foundation – MRI Campaign
3. Cambridge Shelter Corporation
4. Nutrition for Learning
5. Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council
Congratulations goes out to all at Rotary Club Cambridge Sunrise for their continued dedication to the community and for organization of this very successful event.
This year’s Microsoft Dynamics AX Technical Conference is an important event highlighting the new features of the upcoming release of Microsoft Dynamics AX which was officially named AX 2012 during the conference kickoff. Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 is expected to be released this spring and will offer many fundamental changes both on the technical and functional sides.
AX-iom is in attendance at the conference getting the latest information on Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 highlights. AX-iom staff is reporting that nearly 1000 delegates are in attendance at the conference, nearly doubling Microsoft’s initial expectations.
Here is a report of yesterday’s Conference findings regarding Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012:
- All development can now be done in Visual Studio using .NET tools, and deployed to AX AOT with a single click.
- Multiple development Projects/Versions can be deployed in the same layer.
- Enhanced MS Office integration:
- Full two way integration with MS Excel
- Use MS Excel PowerPivot to create mashups of AX and non-AX data
- MS Word templates for documents can be designed via drag-and-drop of AX data elements
- Graphical Workflow design
- All forms have been redesigned as Places with tabs and ribbons. No more buttons on the right!
- Any form can be deployed to the Enterprise Portal with a single click.
- Master data maintained by effective date.
Material Planning and Resource Scheduling
- Decoupling of Routes from Work Centers.
- Work Center Groups are now Resource Groups; Work Centers are now Resources.
- Resources are linked to Resource Groups by effective date.
- Resources are assigned capabilities – Resource Type, Skills, Courses, Certifications, Titles.
- Operations are assigned capability requirements.
- Scheduling engine selects resources based on capabilities.
- Master Scheduling engine rewritten and optimized in C#.
- Standard, Lean and Process Manufacturing all shipped in a single layer and can be used together.
- New planned order types ‘Kanban’ and ‘Intercompany order’.
- Forecasts can be entered at any level and be consumed by any type of demand (not just Sales Orders).
- Product cost calculation without routings.
- Fixed and variable kanban quantities.
- Event kanbans for use in MTO/CTO businesses.
- New delivery date control option on Sales orders. – Capable to Promise
- Graphical kanban schedule board with drag and drop scheduling.
- Kanban board for cells (similar to SFC registration screen).
- Cell Capacity can be defined in quantity or time.
- Ability to define different organizational hierarchies for legal and management structures by effective date.
- Simple reorganization of organization structures.
- Integration of organization types with financial dimensions.
- Security by organization structure.
- Data sharing by organization structure.
- Integration with new Global Address Book.
- Facilitate shared services across organization units. e.g. Purchasing
- Policy definition by organization structure.
Check out our blog for more highlights from the 2011 Microsoft Dynamics AX Technical Conference tomorrow!