Dynamics 365 Business Central -

We eagerly awaited the release of Dynamics 365 Business Central, having worked exclusively with NAV for over 13 years we were keen to launch ourselves at this new version and found that it did “exactly what it says on the tin”.  

Overview

In a nutshell, Dynamics 365 Business Central is the latest incarnation of NAV with some great new functionality. It’s a complete end-to-end solution allowing you to fully manage your entire business. Sales, Finance, Supply Chain, Manufacturing and Service. 

Dynamics 365 Business Central gives you all the functionality of Dynamics NAV 2018, plus the added benefits of a true cloud-based solution:   

  • Hosted in the cloud in secure data centres with built in resilience and back-ups, it delivers maximum access time for your users. 
  • 24/7 access anywhere, anytime from any device.  
  • Create Purchase orders, Quotes and Sales orders. The Outlook Client can read the body of an email and match the information within it to your item list.  Click the new button and 365 BC will populate the lines on an order or quote, as well as look up email addresses on a selected email and find the related customer or vendor account, then display an overview of their account in a pane to the right hand side of the screen. In addition, you can use Cortana AI to create Sales Forecasts based on your sales history. 
  • Add-on apps are available from Microsoft AppSource to enhance the functionality.  Custom applications can also be developed by your support partner. 
  • New web-orientated user interface which is very intuitive and easy to use. 
  • Designed for easy implementation into small businesses with the ability to expand functionality as the company grows. 
  • Seamless upgrades. 
  • Easy integration via web APIs  
  • No up-front costs for hardware and intended on a pay for what you need basis. 
  • Monthly user licence subscription/rental 

However, it must be noted that you can also run 365 BC on-premise. 

Should you deploy Dynamics 365 Business Central in the cloud, on premise or in a hosted environment?  This depends on a number of factors including the size of the deployment, budget, performance requirements and company policies We have years of experience of the various options so please contact us and pick our brains 

What are the different Business Central Licence Types?

What are the different Business Central Licence Types? 

Implementing 365 BC now offers you three licence types all available on a subscription, Saas or purchase model. 

Team member licenses are aimed at 'light users' who only require access to view data and reports across business processes, create documents for others to post and perform light tasks within the system:   

  • Reading & approving 
  • Reporting 
  • Users can enter data into customer/vendor/item records 
  • Creation of most sales and purchase documents 

Essentials licences are designed for users to cover most areas of the business: 

  • Financial Management 
  • Supply Chain Management (Sales & Purchasing) 
  • Jobs & Project Management 
  • Outlook integration 
  • Human Resources 

Premium licenses include all the functionality of Essentials as well as:   

  • Manufacturing 
  • Service Order Management 

Review of Dynamics 365 Business Central Functionality

Review of Dynamics 365 Business Central Functionality 

If you are familiar with Dynamics NAV, then this section will be very familiar to you.  However, if you are new to NAV or 365 Business Central then this section will illustrate why this software is the highly regarded world leading ERP system.   

So basically, 365 Business Central is a fully integrated ERP system, based on a “single set of numbers”, covering the following business areas: 

  • Financial Management 
  • Supply Chain Management 
  • Manufacturing 
  • Warehousing  
  • Service Management & Repair 
  • Jobs & Projects 
  • Human Resources 

Financial Management functionality

Financial Management functionality 

Basic General Ledger 

This module comprises all the standard functionality required for setting up a company and posting to the general ledger, including the: 

  • Chart of Accounts 
  • General journals 
  • Recurring journals 
  • VAT facilities 
  • Supports “Making Tax Digital” 
  • Multiple Currencies 
  • Posting and reporting in an additional currency 
  • Budgets 
  • Consolidation 
  • Export of data to Excel 

Fixed Assets 

This module manages a company’s Fixed Assets such as buildings, machinery, and equipment.  Against an Asset you can post a number of transactions: 

  • Acquisition 
  • Depreciation 
  • Write-Downs 
  • Appreciation 
  • Asset Disposal 

Cash Management 

This module allows the creation and day to day management of multiple Bank Accounts for your company in a number of currencies: 

  • Reconciliation of Bank transactions 
  • Cheque Writing 

Dimensions 

Dimensions allow the system to automatically assign characteristics to an accounting entry, or transaction.  365 BC can then group transactions/entries by these characteristics, allowing them to be analysed or reported on by a combination of measures. 

Using Dimensions, you can report for example on: 

  • Sales by Area 
  • Sales by Product 
  • Sales by Salesperson by Area 

From our experience, Dimensions are one of the most powerful and flexible pieces of functionality in 365 BC. An essential part of any implementation is to agree with the client how they would like to use their data to better understand their business. 

The successful application of Dimensions can have a dramatic effect on the day to day reporting in NAV. 

Posting Groups 

NAV uses the concept of a Posting Group to create the user defined rules required to direct postings into the necessary General Ledger Accounts when posting transactions. To facilitate the management of this data, NAV has a number of Posting Groups, the key ones are: 

  • General Business Posting Group 
  • General Product Posting Group 
  • Inventory Posting Group 
  • Customer Posting Group 
  • Vendor Posting Group 

Financial Reporting 

365 BC provides a comprehensive suite of financial reports. In addition, users can define their own reports using Accounts Schedules. This is a very flexible & powerful financial reporting tool that can be used to extract crucial business data from the Chart of Accounts, Cash Flow Accounts and Budgets into financial reports. 

Supply Chain Management Functionality

Supply Chain Management Functionality 

The core of many companies is the traditional Supply Chain functionality of: 

  • Inventory 
  • Purchase Management 
  • Warehousing 
  • Sales Management 
  • Material Requirements Planning (MRP) 

This essential element of any business is actively supported in 365 BC with a comprehensive suite of functionality. 

Inventory 

365 BC allows the following business data to be managed against an inventory item: 

  • Define multiple vendors for an Item, detailing lead times etc. 
  • Units of Measure including Base Unit of Measure & default Purchase and Sales Units of Measure 
  • Costing method – Standard, FIFO, LIFO and Specific 
  • Standard Cost Worksheet to manage the changing costs of Items 
  • Unit Cost, Overhead Rate, Indirect Cost and Unit Price 
  • Warehouse cycle counting parameters 
  • Posting Groups which define the G/L accounts that Items will post to 
  • MRP parameters to manage the stock levels within the business 
  • Item Cross References to manage your Customer or Vendors code for this Item 
  • Item Substitutions to define and manage alternative Items 
  • Item Tracking – Lot/Serial control with optional expiration date 
  • Assembly Management to define a “Kit of Parts” 
  • Define the Items Replenishment System of Purchase, Production Order, Assembly Order 
  • Customer and Vendor Price Lists and Discounts 
  • Inventory re-valuation 
  • Stock Take 

Purchase Management 

Purchasing - includes Purchase Quotes, Blanket Purchase Orders (Vendor Schedules), and Purchase Order Processes. 

  • Ability to select the alternative address against a Vendor 
  • Manage Purchase lines for Inventory, G/L Account & Fixed Asset 
  • Item Tracking – Lot/Serial Control 
  • Item Charges to log Freight, Duty etc. 
  • Purchase line pricing and discounts 
  • Purchase Invoice discounts 
  • Manage partial receipts 
  • Receive and Invoice separately 
  • Create prepayment invoices for the order 
  • Purchase Quotes 
  • Purchase Blanket orders 
  • Drop Shipments 
  • Purchase Order Approvals 
  • Purchase Return Order Management 
  • Purchasing is fully integrated with MRP & Supply Planning 

Sales Management 

Sales Management – includes Sales Quotes, Blanket Sales Orders (Customer schedules), and Sales Order processes. 

Use the Sales Order Management module to: 

  • Select the appropriate Alternative Ship-To address against a Customer 
  • Manage Sales lines for Inventory, G/L Accounts, Fixed Assets 
  • Item Tracking – Lot/Serial Control 
  • Item Charges to log freight, duty, restocking etc. 
  • Sales Line pricing and discounts 
  • Sales Invoice discounts 
  • Shipping Agents and Services to define shipping details (eg DHL – Overnight service) 
  • Manage partial shipments 
  • Ship and Invoice separately 
  • Create prepayment invoices for the sales order. 
  • Sales Quotes 
  • Sales Blanket Orders (Customer Schedule) 
  • Drop Shipments 
  • Order Promising - Available to Promise (ATP) & Capable to Promise (CTP) 
  • Sales Order Approvals 
  • Sales Return management 

Alternatively, sales can be managed directly from a Sales Invoice, negating the concept of shipping. Quantity available is not affected by a Sales Invoice until the invoice is posted. 

Many companies now receive their customers sales order detail via EDI. Probitas is very experienced at implementing EDI messaging across many industries. 

MRP 

Material Requirements Planning (MRP) – balances demand in the business (sales orders, forecasts etc.) with supply (inventory, purchase orders, production orders etc.). 

  • Multiple Reordering policies including Fixed Reorder Quantity, Maximum Reorder Quantity, Lot for Lot, Order 
  • Order Modifiers of: Minimum Order quantity, Maximum Order Quantity, Order Multiple 
  • Forecasts can be set on a Daily, Weekly or Monthly basis 
  • When MRP is run across multiple Warehouses/Locations, Transfer Orders are proposed to move the inventory from A to B 

Probitas has been working with MRP for many years now, and we have a variety of customers actively using the dramatic power of MRP. We sometimes get referrals from customers who are experiencing difficulties with their implementations, especially over several warehouses/locations. 

In our experience the key to a successful MRP implementation is setting up the planning parameters and understanding how the combination of these parameters affects the quantity and dates generated. 

Item Tracking and Traceability 

Many businesses have a legal requirement to maintain records to track items, in the form of LOT/Serial control. Typical market sectors are: 

  • Medical & medical supplies 
  • Food & beverages 
  • Pharmaceutical & chemical supplies 
  • Aviation and automotive 

Here at Probitas, we have several customers in the above market sectors who manage their stock with item tracking. It is important to remember that Item Tracked items generate a considerable amount of additional work within the business to transact them. With this in mind it is important to only implement Item Tracking on the items for which it is essential. 

The day to day management and control of Lot/Serial controlled items can be dramatically reduced by implementing barcodes and scanners. Additionally, NAV supports the concept of expiration date as a parameter on an item's Lot/Serial number. 

While Item Tracking puts an addition load on the business, when a problem occurs, the traceability functionality repays that effort. 

Using the Traceability function, you can easily trace the flow of that item through your company into: 

  • Stock in your Warehouse 
  • Items sold to Customers - which customer and when 
  • Items used in a production Order, creating a parent item 

What are the different Business Central Licence Types?

Manufacturing Functionality 

In recent years there has been a growth in the UK of manufacturing companies using NAV to manage their business. Currently over half of our customers are manufacturing orientated, and over the years Probitas has continued to grow its support of manufacturing companies and prides itself on its expertise. NAV provides a wide and comprehensive suite of functionality to support the manufacturing sector. Typical functionality includes: 

  • Production Bill of Materials to manage the components/ingredients required 
  • Subassemblies & Phantoms are also supported 
  • Production Routing to define the operations required to manufacture the parent item 
  • Each operation defines a work centre, defining the capacity used and its cost 
  • Machine Centres can be optionally used instead of Work centres to provide greater granularity 
  • Work & Machine Centres are linked to calendars defining daily capacity, percentage load can therefore be calculated 
  • Material consumption by Routing operation 
  • Engineering Change Control with Versions and Start/End dates for both BOMs & Routings 
  • Actual usage of Material and Capacity can be logged against the Production Order allowing production costs to be captured 
  • Manufacturing is fully integral with MRP & Supply Planning 
  • NAV manufacturing is tailored to Standard and FIFO costing 

NAV Manufacturing is a very powerful & flexible product. One of the key factors to the success of an implementation is the setup parameters. Our in-depth expertise in manufacturing has been gained over many years and allows us to quickly establish the best setup parameters for a manufacturing implementation. A popular initiative today is to flatten the BOM structure and NAV supports this with sub-assemblies and Phantom Items. We often find that our NAV implementation is the catalyst for this project. Another conundrum to consider for a fast changing BOM, is do we upgrade the BOM to the next version, or should a new item be created? Probitas has successfully implemented manufacturing in a wide range of market sectors: 

  • Food & Beverage 
  • Medical & Medical Supplies 
  • Automotive 
  • Electronics 
  • Construction 

If you are running NAV Manufacturing and feel that your implementation is not performing as you would like, then please feel free to contact us. 

Assembly vs Production Order 

Deciding whether to implement your production using Assembly Orders or Production Orders is a key aspect of any implementation. With our many years of experience implementing Manufacturing, Probitas is in a strong position to help you make the correct decision. 

Key aspects to consider are: 

  • The available Shop Floor paperwork is focused on Production Orders 
    - Job Card 
    - Material Requisition 
    - Component Shortage 
  • A detailed costing breakdown of the parent Item – the Detail Calculation report is only available with Production Orders 
  • Both functions are processed by MRP at parent and child level. 
  • Both show component shortages, but in completely different formats. 
  • Recording actual consumption of materials and labour is only available on Production Orders. 

Manufacturing costing 

One of the key business drivers when implementing NAV Manufacturing is its associated costing calculations and their impact on the G/L. NAV documentation mainly focuses the reader on Standard Costing, however it is important to note that NAV Manufacturing will also work with FIFO (First in First Out), LIFO, Specific and Average costing. NAV manufacturing costing is very powerful & flexible and a successful implementation requires all the NAV parameters to be filled in correctly and thoroughly tested by the business. Standard and FIFO are by far the most commonly used costing methods. Some of the considerations when reviewing manufacturing costing are: 

  • For the Standard Costing method, the actual recorded manufacturing costs are compared to the Item's pre-defined Standard Cost and the differences are recorded as material & capacity variances. 
  • For the FIFO Costing Method, the actual recorded material and labour costs are aggregated into the final cost of the Item. 
  • Is the setup time to be included in the cost of the Item or recovered as a factory overhead? 
  • A number of parameters affect when values are posted to the G/L including: 
  • Setup of Expected Cost posting 
  • Automatic Cost Posting 
  • Flushing method - Forwards, Back or Manual 
  • The timely completion of the Released Production Order to move costs out of WIP 

Warehousing

Warehousing 

365 BC offers a whole series of warehousing functionality to manage the day to day movement of items within your business. The efficient definition and implementation of the warehouse functionality in NAV can have a significant impact on the day to day running of your business. Warehouse functionality includes: 

  • Configurable to suit the business and order volume, from simple Locations to a full Warehouse Management system with comprehensive pick and put-away logic 
  • Support for multiple Warehouses/Locations 
  • Inventory can be held at Bin-level, with Purchase Orders Receipting into a Bin, and Sales Orders shipping from a Bin 
  • Warehouse Shipments & Receipts 
  • Single or multiple order picks 
  • Order Planning/MRP creates transfer orders to move stock from one Location to another 

Our philosophy at Probitas is always to “keep things simple” where appropriate, and this is a good example. It is often tempting to jump into the more complex warehousing features, but we strongly believe that time can be very well spent prototyping the business to use the appropriate level of functionality. 

Service Management & Repair

Service Management & Repair 

365 BC comes with comprehensive Service Management functionality. This includes: 

  • Unique Service Items which can be automatically created when an item is sold 
  • Service Orders to manage Installation, Movements, Repairs and Preventive Maintenance 
  • Service Contracts to manage scheduled maintenance and invoicing 
  • Service Tasks and a Despatch Board to allocate and monitor incidents 
  • Warranty management 
  • Multi-level fault reporting and analysis 
  • SLA Management 
  • Full integration with the warehouse 

Jobs & Projects

Jobs & Projects 

Dynamics 365 Business Central gives you an overview of your projects to help you: 

  • Plan a job from a budget and billable point of view, establishing profitability 
  • Job lines can be assigned dates, resource, Items etc 
  • Customer billings 
  • Plan capacity 
  • Predict availability 
  • Job Journal to book resource and Items to the job 
  • Timesheet information can be booked through to the jobs 

Human Resource Management Functionality

Human Resource Management Functionality 

365 Business Central allows your business to process and organise key information about your people: 

  • Create and maintain employee records, including attaching comments 
  • Employee expenses management 
  • Track absences 
  • Generate reports 

 

Streamline your business today.

Request a free demo today, or speak to one of our experts.

Streamline your business today.

Requst a free demo today, or speak to one of our experts.

Resources and support

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– Mark Barron, General Manager, Halo Medical