Wholesale distribution companies need to control already tight margins by increasing efficiency and eliminating waste. Many distributors find themselves hindered by manual or disconnected processes, information delays, excess inventory, and purchasing information that’s held in the minds of just one or very few employees.

Technology can help by integrating processes and providing easy access to the information required operational improvement.  Microsoft Dynamics NAV offers distributors to automate manual procedures, improve replenishment, process orders quickly,  and improve fill rates and customer satisfaction. Dynamics NAV also provides access to quick feedback on business performance, and get strong returns on inventory investment

1.  Process Orders Faster:

Microsoft Dynamics NAV has a great approach to a user interface; it’s called the Role Tailored Client interface. What is a Role Tailored Client (RTC) interface? It is an interface designed to display only the information and access points for a user in a specific role in your company needs. It also has all the tools readily available that they need to perform their job efficiently each and every day.

In Microsoft Dynamics NAV there are 21 predefined role centers, for the specific users (purchase manager, sales manager, president, warehouse manager etc.). Also a user can have more than one role center. With each you have quick access, fast results, and high productivity.

Each employee only sees what's relevant to his or her job. Their Role Center pushes the tasks they needs to focus on to fulfill their role in the company. Not only does it help them focus on their activities, but it also lets them:

● Get an overview of the work ahead so they can prioritize tasks
● Receive notifications from colleagues about urgent issues
● Monitor their performance over time to see how their work affects each order as it moves through the company
● Feel connected to her colleagues and to their company. All this helps them feel comfortable and confident at work – a recipe for high productivity. They really can say, 'This looks as if it's been designed for me.'

The great news is that you can easily personalize Role Centers, lists and task pages very quickly to reflect changes in staff, shifts in employee responsibilities or an expansion in your company's activities – without having to use a member of your IT department, or pay for an external programmer.

2. Reduce Inventory

With Microsoft Dynamics NAV, you can take control of item inventories to maximize your inventory investments. Multidimensional inventory records mean you can identify items with as many variations and cross-references as you need. Dynamics NAV has fully integrated inventory management functionality to leverage to help save you money.

As a distributor your largest and most costly asset is inventory. Reducing inventory carrying cost and increasing margins can have a greater effect on the bottom line than increased sales. By doing both you will significantly increase profitability.

Advanced Forecasting and Procurement-The advanced forecasting and procurement functionality can significantly aid in this process. We have had clients reduce their inventory by millions of dollars with this one tool alone. Any forecasting tool is only as good as the accuracy of the historical data used to derive its forecast of course.

The following methods are used to improve the accuracy of historical data:

● Filtered Usage – Only sales that are expected to recur should be considered as historical input for the forecast.
● One-time sales can be flagged by the customer service person and excluded from usage.
● Unusual usage is flagged by the system to provide the user a means of adjusting abnormalities.
● Smoothed Usage – Irregular usage can be automatically smoothed to improve usage patterns.
● Redirected Usage – Usage history from discontinued items can be reassigned to new items.
● Cloning – A percentage of Historical Usage can be cloned from an existing item to a new item. This allows you to forecast new items without waiting for historical usage to accumulate.
● Collaborative Input – Input

Warehouse Management-You can easily manage your warehouse with Microsoft Dynamics NAV. Microsoft Dynamics NAV has a full featured warehouse management system (WMS) all built in.

A poorly run warehouse drains away your money. When your warehouse management system (WMS) is fully implemented with Dynamics NAV, processes are streamlined with access to real-time information, improved communication, and detailed reporting, to help you determine staff
requirements, and estimate productivity levels.  A warehouse management system (WMS) provides wireless support for receiving inbound documents, managing warehouse documents, production output and consumption.

Today's warehouse managers are consistently finding that 2% to 5% improvement across various performance metrics can mean hundreds of thousands of dollars in bottom-line returns to the business. A WMS provides you with the tools to maintain better inventory accuracy as well as minimize write downs and write offs.

3. Analyze Your Business Better

Dynamics NAV has so many ways to analyze and look at your business that you will always be able to find what you are looking for.

Step One: Back to the Role Tailored glance view charts and reports of information pertinent to your role in the company. For example, you can see charts of sales, gross profit, top clients, and many Key Performance Indicators
(KPI's), etc. This valuable information is all available at a glance. You can also drill down on each chart to see much more detail.

Step Two: Since NAV has such an open architecture and leverages of tools available are many. NAV has a full blown reporting system and tools. You can use these tools to change existing reports and design your own reports. These reports are then available out of the box to export to MS Excel, MS Word, PDF and more. You can also use your favorite tools such as excel to attach to your data and either 1) extract it, 2) view it or 3) extract it, update it and then push it back into NAV.

Also, Dynamics NAV is a Microsoft solution it gets along other Microsoft solution better than any other solution does. You can publish reports with
MS SQL reporting services to web sites OR right to SharePoint so that they can be shared with others.

4. Go Mobile:

One of the most exciting things about Microsoft Dynamics NAV is that it is easily accessible from almost any browser. What does this mean? Well, if you have access to your NAV system from wherever you are, you can run Dynamics NAV on almost any device you have. No need to  download and install any apps, software, or client side software. Also, no need to configure software on your device. Just point and go! This means that you can access most everything you need from almost any place in the world.

Mobile Sales-Dynamics NAV also offers a way to install a sales app on your device and take it with you. This will allow your remote sales team to do business when out of the office and they do not have access to an internet connection always.  They simple take the information for their customers only with them and can look up customer specific information as well as take orders.  The great part about this is that once they have an internet connection, they simply synchronize with the office and they have current data and the sales orders they entered are sent to NAV for fulfillment. This keeps your customers as well as your sales teams happy. This also saves time for your sales team and will free up office staff. This is a great solution for everyone.

Mobile Service-This same solution can be used if you have value added services such as a service team that services the equipment that you sell. Your technicians can be scheduled for jobs that appear on their device, they perform the necessary services and then enter the pertinent information about what they did and what they used. This information is then synchronized to NAV where the service manager can then see what was done and make sure that everything is invoiced.  From service time to parts, nothing gets misses or goes unnoticed. During the sync process the technician is sent additional jobs if there are any also.

5. Collaborate and Share Information:

One of the greatest things about Dynamics NAV is the technology behind the system. Microsoft has really done some great things with this system. One of the things it is great at is sharing. Sharing information with your employees, sharing information with your customers, and sharing information with with your vendors. We have noticed that the distributors that have been growing the most and becoming the most profitable have been leveraging these capabilities.

Trading Partners Collaboration-Dynamics NAV has full EDI functionality but it has so much more. Dynamics NAV allows you to share information easily with
trading partners, customers, and vendors.  For example, share inventory feeds out to Amazon, Volusion, Google, Channel Advisor, Ebay, any third party shopping carts or services. This opens your sales channel up immensely.

While you are doing this, why not accept orders from them in the same manner? This way you don't have a need for someone at your office manually entering orders from these services. Simply deploy web services once again to bring in orders, process them and then send an update back to these services. This can be close to real time access for both you and these services. What a great way to add new customers and grow your business. Just be careful, we have had customers do this and grow their business greatly.

These are just a few ways that Microsoft Dynamics NAV can help your distribution business make money and grow. NAV is a full blown enterprise system for distributors that has functionality from accounting and payroll to inventory to complete warehousing functionality. There are over one million
users worldwide using Dynamics NAV. Maybe you should be one of them?

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