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“In embracing change, entrepreneurs ensure social and economic stability.” – George Gilder

It is no secret that businesses are becoming more social. Today’s customers have more choices and access to more product information, placing greater demands on companies to remain competitive. Social media marketing offers a way to gain better visibility into these changing demands. In the journey towards increased social capabilities, Microsoft is helping companies become more socially-oriented through its acquisition of companies like Yammer, Netbreeze, and MarketingPilot. Microsoft Dynamics CRM improved social capabilities can help your company:

Listen. Uncover trends by listening in on what your customers are saying.
Engage. Directly participate in important conversations with shareholders.
Collaborate. Work with people quickly and easily to create desired outcomes.
Amplify. Spread your message and create awareness.
Solve. Connect with customers and the community to harness collective knowledge.
Innovate. Benefit from ideas and opportunities that can be learned from your audience.
Analyze. Get real-time feedback and monitor buzz to emphasize effective practices.

Yammer allows greater connectivity throughout an organization and its people. By fully integrating Yammer’s social feeds into Microsoft Dynamics CRM, users can easily connect with people both inside and outside of the organization to produce better results through collaboration, all from the comfort of their CRM dashboard. Yammer allows CRM users to access documents, stay up-to-date on records, or connect with any area of the organization quickly and easily to make information more accessible.

Microsoft’s enhanced social media capabilities can help your company drive sales and optimize marketing campaigns with its recent integration with Netbreeze. Netbreeze allows users to monitor and analyze social marketing efforts. Point out the most effective topics to discuss and strategies for your company. Netbreeze will be directly embedded into Microsoft Dynamics CRM at no additional charge to organizations.

Microsoft’s recent acquisition of MarketingPilot brings a whole new level of marketing functionality to the CRM marketing module. MarketingPilot is an Integrated Marketing Management Tool with four main components:
• marketing resource management
• campaign management
• budgeting
• media buying and planning

MarketingPilot allows marketers to generate more revenue and monitor the results of their marketing efforts by offering greater insight into managing resources, improving team effectiveness and sales alignment, reducing spending errors, forecasting more accurately, and choosing the best method to deliver your message. MarketingPilot seamlessly connects to Dynamics CRM to offer an integrated, familiar look and feel.

If you have additional questions or would like to learn more about what Microsoft Dynamics CRM can do for your organization, please contact us today to setup a “Free Discovery Call”. Call 636-237-2280 or email me at mramatowski@turnkeytec.com .

For a high level estimate of your investment in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, please use our “FREE” Microsoft Dynamics CRM Quick Quote Tool”. This tool gives you a great starting point for assessing your potential investment in a World Class CRM Business Solution.

By Michael Ramatowski & Brad Vorbeck at Turnkey Technologies, Inc. – Missouri Microsoft Dynamics CRM & Microsoft Gold Certified Dynamics GP Partner

One of the most powerful features of the GP Manufacturing Suite, is MRP – Materials Requirements Planning. Paradoxically, it may also be one of the least understood functionalities in the GP world! While MRP can work wonders for a manufacturing organization in helping control inventory, there is a certain level of hesitation, in the user *and* the consulting community, about implementing MRP. Some of the hesitation may stem from the users’ experiences with MRP in a legacy ERP system, or sometimes it is simply due to a lack of understanding of the mechanics and the functioning of MRP. And then some folks might just feel intimidated by the plethora of new terminology that gets introduced in relation to MRP.

What is MRP?
Very simply put, MRP encompasses “a set of techniques that uses bill of material data, inventory data, and the master production schedule to calculate requirements for materials.” (APICS definition of MRP) The primary objective of MRP is to balance out the supply and demand for purchased as well as manufactured items, in a “time phased” manner. It thus strives to ensure the supply (availability) of items (products), to the demand for those items (products), over a defined time span (‘horizon’). The outcome of a “well-oiled MRP machine” is a well-coordinated production and purchasing plan.

Very loosely put, MRP has at its core, the objective of ensuring the equality in the very simplistic equation Supply = Demand, for all inventoried products, across the entire planning time-span (horizon):

Demand for a product is derived from the sales orders placed by the customers and sales forecasts (independent demand, for finished products), as well as the manufacturing pick lists (dependent demand, for raw materials and components). It also includes the safety stock levels that must be maintained. Supply of a product includes purchasing and manufacturing receipts, and the inventory on hand. MRP tries to establish a balance in the Supply Demand equation. Where an imbalance exists (i.e. a shortage or an overage / excess) MRP will recommend a corrective action, based on the nature of the imbalance and the replenishment method of the part. For example, where the supply is less than demand (shortage), MRP will recommend a purchase order for buy parts, and a manufacturing order for make parts, to meet the shortage. It may also recommend moving-in an existing purchase order or a manufacturing order. Where supply is in excess of demand (overage), it would recommend the cancellation or moving-out of a purchase order or a manufacturing order as the case may be.

As mentioned above, there are three basic outputs of an MRP run: recommended purchase orders, recommended manufacturing orders, and warnings / notifications (called ‘exceptions’ in GP).

In recommending the corrective action thus identified, MRP will further reinforce this very simple and intuitive math with rules (‘order policies’) and quantity modifiers: minimums, maximums, and multiples, batch sizes. For example, a shortage of 527 units of a part may result in a recommended purchase order for 550 units, if the order multiple is set to 50 (let’s say that the vendor sells this part in multiples of 50 only).To make the planning sensitive to time, MRP will incorporate purchasing lead times as well as manufacturing lead times. Thus MRP can be modeled to perform a comprehensive math, based on real-life situational rules. This significantly adds to the power of MRP.

In spite of the power of MRP and its usefulness in the production and materials planning, apprehensions and misconceptions about MRP abound in the un-initiated user space. “Will MRP force me to create and schedule manufacturing orders according to its plan?” “Will it cause me to build up inventory based on unmet forecasts?” “The MRP recommendations do not make sense.” “MRP is not working right.” These are some of the commonly expressed / mis-conceptions. In fact, MRP is not the be-all and end-all of manufacturing. It is only a tool, which only makes recommendations, it does not perform any self-initiated actions. It is a deterministic mathematical model that is sensitive to the settings and data parameters. The age-old adage of “Garbage in Equals Garbage Out” holds especially true about MRP.

To remove the apprehensions and misconceptions, what is needed is a clear understanding of MRP, its objective, it’s functioning. A detailed knowledge of the data elements that MRP is dependent upon, and how they are treated, and where they are stored in the labyrinth of GP screens. This will enable the user to correctly interpret the results of MRP, take appropriate actions, and overall boost their confidence in MRP.

The “MRP Workshop”. Our approach to de-mystifying MRP involves conducting an “MRP Workshop.” This workshop is conducted either as part of a GP Manufacturing implementation, or as a stand-alone session. It thus addresses the needs of new users (new implementation) as well as GP users who may actually be using MRP, but who still need to get a sense of confidence in the MRP results (stand-alone session). The objective of the workshop is to gain such a deep understanding of MRP, that the workshop participants can predict the outcome of MRP. To facilitate this, we create a simple “control environment”. We go over the setup requirements, and the data that provides the inputs to MRP. We go over, for example, the impact of checking an in-obtrusive check-box, and how that would affect the MRP suggestions. We do various “what-if” scenarios. We make changes to the data, and based on the changes made, try to predict the quantitative output of MRP. If the MRP returns results are not in line with the expectation, we analyze and substantiate the results of MRP, and reconcile the prediction with the actual results. When the MRP results are exactly per expectation / prediction, we move on to the next scenario.

By the end of the workshop, the participants have a thorough understanding of MRP and its functioning. We have eliminated their apprehensions and misconceptions about MRP, strengthened their ability to predict MRP results and increased their confidence in the results. We have demystified MRP.

For a high level estimate of your investment in Microsoft Dynamics GP, please use our “FREE” Microsoft Dynamics GP Quick Quote Tool. It will give you a great starting point for assessing your potential investment in a project like this.

If you have additional questions or would like to learn more about our “MRP Workshop” or what Microsoft Dynamics GP can do for your organization, please contact us today to setup a “Free Discovery Call” at 636-237-2280 or email at mramatowski@turnkeytec.com .

By Ajit Tulpule & Michael Ramatowski at Turnkey Technologies, Inc. – Missouri Microsoft Gold Certified Dynamics GP and CRM Partner