Plastics manufacturer witnesses big benefits by upgrading ERP

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The Client

Headquartered in Germany but with affiliate satellite offices in Southwestern Michigan, this client specializes in plastics manufacturing.


The Challenge

Having heard great things about Microsoft Dynamics 365 and in a bid to simplify some of its current back-office processes, the plastics manufacturing firm settled on this enterprise resource planning solution as an alternative to what it had been using, which was Made2Manage. However, the client wasn't entirely clear about implementation and how it would help the company be more comprehensive in its capabilities rather than "one note". For instance, it wanted to expand on the shipping and receiving aspect of the business. Made2Manage was undoubtedly customized to manufacturers' jobs on the shop floor, but almost to the exclusion of other mission-critical functionalities.


The firm was also hoping to replace its locally stored documents and spreadsheets with something a program that was cloud-based, thereby enabling employees to access data remotely via centralized management tools.


Billing and accounting was yet another pain point that needed to be simplified and streamlined so they could flatten their bill of materials.


To make all of these efficiencies actionable, they turned to us at The TM Group.


The Solution
In order for our implementation and integration team to get an understanding of any client's needs, we have to meet with them to discuss their situation. That's what we did here and agreed with the client's initial assessment: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central made the most sense because its capabilities aligned with their goals. While Microsoft Dynamics can be leveraged as an all-in-one package, it's an ERP solution that enables users to pick and choose the applications that are job-specific. We recommended the following modules:



  • Purchase Order Management
  • Multi-currency
  • Inventory Control
  • Field Order Management
  • Bank Reconciliation
  • Assembly Management
  • Accounts Receivable
  • General Ledger
  • Accounts Payable


While Microsoft Dynamics is designed to be intuitive and follow a similar interface with predecessors to Dynamics, there is a learning curve for those who are new to this ERP software. However, after participating in several demonstrations facilitated by  The TM Group and aimed at helping the company familiarize themselves with functionality, the client agreed with our solutions package.


The client's ongoing engagement and buy-in to the process was beneficial because it helped to streamline and hasten implementation. The support throughout the company - from its homebase in Germany to its American divisions - worked directly with us to sort through key configuration variables and develop user training resources for incoming staff. Perhaps more importantly, given the project was underway at its Michigan satellite office, the onsite material and logistics manager was heavily involved and enthusiastic about the software transition because it enabled him to get more work done, from generating purchase orders to tracking inventory.


The Outcome
Aside from enhancing visibility into workflows, ERP solutions are described as such because they're meant to enhance productivity. Because of this, many of the ERP solutions on the market are mis-characterized, given that they can cause confusion and not align with a company's objectives.


This wasn't the case for the plastics manufacturer. To the contrary, the fully integrated Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central installation dramatically improved data access and eliminated the need for shadow IT tools. In just about every aspect, performance and management got better. For example, requisition worksheets boosted shipping and fulfillment operations. This enabled distribution stakeholders to more effectively ship and track components wherever they needed to be. Specific departmental activities were also optimized through multidimensional data capture, an analytical accounting feature available in the General Ledger module.


If that weren't enough, personnel also successfully leveraged Business Central to support CON-BOM reordering methodology. This technology was already in place, but Microsoft Dynamics supported it, something the company may have not realized had they opted to integrate on their own.


The direct and indirect benefits at the client's Michigan location were so significant that we're in the midst of a new project, one that will enable stakeholders to better communicate across the company. One of the programs we're working on is an XML-based purchase order pathway.


Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is truly a game changer in ERP solutions. If you're interested in learning more about it and how it can give your business the tools and technologies to gain greater efficiency, please contact us at The TM Group. You'll be glad you did.



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