How Microsoft Dynamics Partners Can Strengthen Customer Relationships by Recommending Vicinity Software
I would like all Microsoft Dynamics ERP Partners to know this simple truth.
If you are talking to a manufacturing company that uses a formula or recipe in their process, everyone will benefit if you bring Vicinity Software into the discussion.
This will strengthen your relationship with your customer by providing them better long-term value and it also gives you the opportunity to make more money by focusing on your core strengths.
Let me explain.
Not all Manufacturing is the Same
Because of the licensing model of Microsoft Dynamics GP and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, the Manufacturing modules are often included in the total price. So it is easy for a manufacturing company and a Dynamics Partner to assume they can save money by simply using this functionality or “tweaking” it to fit.
That will work well for discrete manufacturers, but process and batch manufacturing is an entirely different model with unique needs.
Oddly enough, I think the smaller process manufacturers don’t understand that there is a difference because they only know their world. What they do is simply “manufacturing” to them.
However, if you start to make a list of what needs to be customized to make Dynamics 365 Business Central or Dynamics GP fit process manufacturing, you will realize it is a long, expensive list. And even worse, there are just some features that simply can NOT be modified to fit.
As a Dynamics Partner, this is an uncomfortable conversation to have with a client, especially if you are already knee-deep into the project.
When We Focus on Manufacturing, You Can Do More
I will be the first to acknowledge that the Dynamics Partner (VAR) has a really important place at the table. You manage the entire customer relationship. And you certainly handle the financial and distribution side of things. We know that you are just bringing us in for industry content—that conversion of raw material to finished goods, the quality, scheduling, and related functions. Our team does not want to teach somebody how to cut a check. We don’t do Dynamics ERP implementations. We are not at all trying to be in competition with the channel.
As a VAR, you should bring us in because we make your job easier. When we handle the manufacturing side, your client will be happier because they have a better fit, and you can spend your time on business intelligence, Power BI, and other customizations on the financial side.
Simultaneous Implementations Mean Faster Results
Many Dynamics Partners have the misconception that financial, distribution and manufacturing implementations cannot go live at the same time.
Often the VAR will tell us, “I only have this resource; my project manager can’t handle financial and distribution and manage the manufacturing side too. That’s just too big a project.”
The reality is that on the client’s side, the people or teams who work with these modules are separate. The controller and accounting staff handle financials. Customer service and procurement handle the distribution side. Usually, the entire manufacturing part of the business is just sitting there, waiting for the others to be finished so they can get what they want.
We can handle this part of the implementation, which means the entire project is done faster, and the client starts to see value sooner.
Once a VAR starts to see the value in working with us, a few questions naturally come up:
- When should Vicinity Software be brought into a manufacturing project?
Of course, it is better if we are brought into the project early, during the planning phase. We are currently working with many companies that are doing an upgrade from Dynamics GP to Dynamics 365 Business Central. It really makes a lot of sense for us to be at the table at the start of implementation or the start of an upgrade because there is an inventory conversation that needs to happen.
- Is Vicinity Software more expensive than Dynamics ERP Manufacturing?
As I mentioned, adding the manufacturing modules to a Dynamics ERP sale is often not expensive or may even be included. However, if you add up the cost of all of the customizations needed to make a discrete product work for process manufacturing, I believe that we come in significantly cheaper. This is true because we work with process manufacturers every day. We have seen it all before.
The consultants at your organization need to know how to work with companies in multiple industries at any given time. It will naturally take them longer to come up to speed. Our goal is to do a streamlined yet effective implementation in the least amount of time required.
- Does Vicinity Software work with all ERP products?
We’ve always chosen to keep ourselves as nimble as possible. We focus on Microsoft Dynamics ERP, which means we work with multiple products: Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Dynamics SL, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. There have been some requests for us to work with Dynamics 365 Finance which may happen in the future.
We could work with other ERP products outside the Dynamics channel if there was a business case to do that.
- Is Vicinity Software embedded inside Microsoft Dynamics?
We do not embed our product inside Microsoft Dynamics ERP products, we choose to sit outside. Honestly, that’s where our name comes from – we are “in the vicinity of,” not embedded inside. We chose that model over 20 years ago, and it is still sound. When Microsoft makes a change to their product, we are not impacted.
Vicinity Software is basically writing inventory adjustments to the inventory module. There is one inventory of record, and it is Microsoft Dynamics. We don’t keep our own lots, costs, etc…that is all in Dynamics.
For example, when working with Microsoft Dynamics GP, the Vicinity Software system creates negative inventory adjustments and positive inventory adjustments to put something on hand. We are validating and reading the lots in real-time. So when that transaction goes over, it has already been validated, and it just posts.
- What if there is no Dynamics ERP Partner on record?
If a company doesn’t already have a Dynamics ERP VAR, we will ask them what type of Partner they are looking for and what “personality” has worked for them in the past. Then we will contact a Dynamics Partner to do the core implementation. We work with about a dozen Partners regularly and are happy to refer business to them, which is a win-win for everyone.
- Can Vicinity help me give existing manufacturing clients a second chance at success?
Over and over again, we have worked with manufacturing companies who were ready to replace Microsoft Dynamics completely because it simply could not meet their needs. When they finally were introduced to us, it was like a light bulb moment with the expression, “This is us; you do what we do.”
We want to let Microsoft Dynamics shine by letting it do what it does best – finance and distribution. Vicinity will handle the process manufacturing, and we believe the client will fall in love with Dynamics again.
If you are a Microsoft Dynamics Partner that is working with a manufacturing company that uses a formula or recipe in their process, Vicinity Software is here to help you be successful. Contact us online or call 770.421.2467.
By Randy Smith, CEO and Co-Founder, Vicinity Software, www.vicinitysoftware.com
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