When it comes to the leading supply-chain focused ERPs, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is one of the more popular and comprehensive choices available on the market today. This business management solution is designed for small to mid-sized organizations, and it has advanced capabilities which can help inventory-based businesses connect their operations, and has features which facilitate sales, service, projects, and operations.
While this ERP is an excellent choice for many inventory-based businesses, it’s not without its shortfalls, because the truth is that all ERPs have downsides. But when Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is paired with an advanced supply chain planning suite such as StockIQ, its deficiencies can be easily overcome.
In this article, we’re going to walk through some of the most notable Microsoft BC deficiencies and how they can be corrected by implementing StockIQ.
Microsoft Dynamic 365 Business Central (also simply called Microsoft BC) is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that has many sophisticated manufacturing and distribution capabilities. It’s mobile-friendly, can be deployed in the cloud or on premises and allows businesses to store and transmit data across systems.
Additionally, D365BC gives you insights into certain aspects of your inventory-based business with dashboards, has tools to automate workflows and has inventory-specific features (for example, it has features for predicting stock replenishment needs and inventory tracking features).
D365 BC also has tools which can help improve organization within your facility (including bin and zone features) and is designed to optimize your manufacturing processes.
BC is one of the top ERP options on the market today for inventory-based businesses, because it has tools for financial and business insights, supply chain optimization, efficient warehouse management and manufacturing outputs. If you’re part of the 75% of supply chain management professionals who want to improve their inventory management practices, then Microsoft BC might be an excellent choice for you.
If an ERP is supposed to be an inventory-based business’ one-stop-shop solution, how come they never do it all? The truth of the matter is that most ERP manufacturers in the $39 billion ERP software market would like to be a comprehensive solution, and do it all when it comes to features and capabilities, but none of them can actually do everything an inventory-based business needs.
For example, Microsoft AX lacks the tools needed for advanced forecasting, replenishment, ABC classification and inventory optimization. And of course, they’re not the only ERP that falls short. All the other top contenders (Oracle Cloud, Oracle NetSuite, Sage Intacct, and SAP) have their own strengths and weaknesses in different areas.
Also, there are also many different options when it comes to pricing. Microsoft BC ranges from $70 to $100 per user per month, Oracle NetSuite is by quote, and Sage Intacct starts at $400 a month for small businesses.
What are some general examples of some of the gaps that might be present within an ERP? Depending on what your business’ needs are, an ERP might struggle to handle the level of customization and complexity you need, it might fail to offer real-time tracking necessary for fast-paced warehouse environments, might not support today’s advanced warehouse automation tools and it might not be suitable for scaling. Also, it might lack some of the specialized functions necessary for inventory-based businesses (such as advanced forecasting), might struggle to integrate with third-party providers and might be inflexible in its workflows and processes.
Instead of languishing in the deficiencies of these ERPs, inventory-based businesses can choose the one that best suits their business, and deploy it alongside StockIQ, a supply chain planning suite targeted at manufacturers and distributors.
Before we dive into the Microsoft BC deficiencies (and how to overcome them with StockIQ), we’re going to touch on some of the strengths for this ERP. As our friends at ArcherPoint have discussed, Microsoft BC has many of the essential supply chain management features, such as demand forecasting and planning, inventory and warehouse management and inventory replenishment. It also offers analytics, reporting, automation and has a fairly straightforward ERP implementation. Microsoft BC is also customizable and offers good levels of maintenance and support.
It’s also notable that Microsoft BC has competitive manufacturing and distribution capabilities, and that these features can be augmented. Microsoft BC is also offered at a lower price point when compared to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management), and it has a shorter implementation time (between 9 and 12 months). It has tools for facilitating project success (such as features designed to help improve project costs) and has both sales and customer service features.
While Microsoft BC is an excellent choice for many inventory-based businesses, all companies with complex supply chain operations will need to supplement their ERP choice with additional products, to get the full scope of capabilities they need. For example, Microsoft BC lacks depth in some areas, and can fall short when it comes to advanced forecasting, inventory planning, ABC classifications, warehouse management and transportation management.
Here are some of the most significant ways Microsoft BC might fall short for your inventory-based business, and how StockIQ can fill in the gaps.
There are also some specific features that Microsoft BC does not offer, including:
Whether you choose Microsoft BC as your ERP integration or another one of the leading ERP solutions, StockIQ can make your ERP choice more powerful. Specifically, StockIQ allows inventory-based business to automate demand forecasting, inventory optimization, ABC classification, inventory replenishment and supplier performance management.
Some of the main strengths of StockIQ include:
StockIQ has advanced forecasting algorithms which can manage seasonality, short life cycle products, events, promotions, new product introductions and forecasting at all levels of your product hierarchies.
StockIQ allows your business to order with optimized quantities and timing to ensure you have the right inventory, in the right place, at the right time. The features include container loading, special pricing, inventory balancing/allocation, advanced hub/spoke and Bill-Of-Material explosion, and more.
StockIQ has advanced inventory planning dashboards that provide actionable data on stock outs, dead stock, service level, turns, safety stock, economic order quantity calculations, and more.
StockIQ allows you to track supplier reliability and lead times over time so that you can operate to the most up-to-date and accurate lead times, letting you optimize your safety stock levels for the real-world performance of your suppliers.
StockIQ has features for tracking the historical performance of promotions, and predicting the uplift of new promotions as they occur. You can also analyze promotions for trends and behavior, and plan markdowns.
StockIQ’s hierarchy supports all the top-down and bottom-up data you need to be able to do your SIOP and reach consensus within your team.
StockIQ’s strengths lay in the fact that it provides you with answers, rather than just features. It’s designed to give you instant insights into your most pressing issues, so you always know what you’re going to sell, what you need to buy, what hasn’t shipped/sold and what you’re out of. In a glance, you can know what your most important items are, if you’re meeting service level targets, and if your inventory is turning.
Microsoft BC is a powerful ERP solution that’s an excellent choice for many inventory-based businesses. But if your organization chooses to deploy Microsoft BC, it’s important to know where its deficiencies are, and what type of supplemental tools are available to give you 360-coverage of the features your inventory-based business needs.
That’s where StockIQ comes into play. StockIQ is an intelligent supply chain planning suite that has features designed to perfectly supplement the Microsoft BC deficiencies. With over 15 years in the industry, StockIQ knows that you need to run efficiently, improve forecast accuracy, and reduce inventory levels, while providing unmatched service to your customers and shippers.
To learn more about filling the gaps in your ERP choice with StockIQ, contact us today.