When it comes to managing a business there are many moving parts to consider. Often the right system can be the major difference between a barely functioning part of your business and a well-oiled machine that takes a company to the next level. Depending on the complexity and the nature of a business the requirements from a system always vary. The fingerprint of a business is always unique and therefore the solution chosen should always mirror these specific needs.
The need for ERP
A fundamental solution for any SME is their choice of ERP software and implementation. For product focused companies that rely heavily on their distribution and relationship management aspect this can be a tricky thing to get right.
With the help of ERP software companies can automate elements such as:
- staff management
- Warehouse management
- data and resource distribution
Users of the software are also able to access all this information centrally. This overview gives businesses an opportunity to have a complete overview of their operations and make key strategic decisions.
Fresh out of the box?
Sounds great right…? Of course! However, although Microsoft Dynamics NAV is an intuitive solution the real brilliance of the system is unlocked when changed specifically to your business needs. When done correctly by a partner this is used as a springboard to further increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your processes and eradicate fundamental issues.
Unfortunately, many businesses do not take the time to implement their ERP solution properly or simply work with partners that do not the level of expertise needed to implement such a crucial change.
In this case study we look at how the help of Advantage took Fish4Dogs barely functioning Microsoft Dynamics NAV implementation through to several phases of bespoke changes to increase, upgrade their system and improve their processes.
Man's best friend
Fish4Dogs is a premium fish-based dog food and treats company catering to the health of dogs. Their award-winning wide variety of products help dogs skin condition, joint mobility, digestion, energy, coat condition as well as eye and brain development. There are a variety of different offerings Fish4Dogs provide, including direct to your door delivery, web exclusive deals and wholesale distribution.
Of course, effective management of inventory is extremely important for a food company dealing with man's best friend and therefore Fish4Dog’s require their technical software to complement and improve their processes.
A bone to pick
Fish4Dog’s were using Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 when they began their journey with us at Advantage in July 2015 with an initial scoping to see how we could help their business across the board. Initially, Fish4Dog’s were struggling with their current Microsoft Partner and the level of support they were receiving. The original implementation of Dynamics NAV was taken on by an individual that went on to leave their current partner which left Fish 4 Dog’s between a rock and a hard place. As Fish4Dog’s were not heavily involved in the original implementation of Dynamics NAV, they were left with a system that they did not fully know how to operate and the link between them and the crucial training and upskilling they needed lost and unavailable to help.
Fish4Dogs were keen to redesign their approach to managing inventory and brought in a new warehouse manager in conjunction with the implementation of Dynamics NAV with Advantage. Working collaboratively with us at Advantage we set goals to change:
- The Rx Coding
- The way in which the team internally picked orders
- The receiving of orders processes
- Allow the deliver team to do movements (letting the warehouse team see where to put the items physically).
- Implement and issue tracker that allows users to see completion times of deliveries.
The first phase of the work Advantage did with Fish4Dogs was concerning an initial scoping task to implement a new phase of the Warehouse and Inventory Solution they were currently operating with the Dynamics NAV system.
This would require a fine-tuned approach to some of the most important aspects of the Fish4Dogs business model which included the analysis of:
- Outbound Strategy: Item picking, packing and shipping.
- Inventory Management: Stock Control, Stock Counting & Inventory Order Planning
With the nature of Fish4Dog’s business these are extremely important aspects to business, efficiency and productivity. Consumers placing an order on their web site prior to 4pm one day would expect delivery of goods the following day. Fish4Dog’s were using a paper-based solution for the outbound processes. This was not linked to any handheld devices or other software meaning that they needed to add more steps to their process dramatically increasing time wasted, and inefficiencies across the department.
We at Advantage wanted to ensure that the consultation was done in stages. Phase 1 largely covered all Inbound processes and functions utilising hand-held devices and scanners in order to make the role for the internal warehouse team more streamlined.
A step beyond
Following the initial Phase 1 scoping we looked to use Phase 2 to build on the Outbound processes This included looking at the way in which the deliveries were managed both operationally and housed within NAV. In addition to this the scoping Advantage looked at the overall business processes of Fish4Dogs. Within this process Advantage looked at ways to improve customer service and the handling of inventory.
From this scoping, we found that there was a need for a solution to improve reporting capability across the business, so Jet Enterprise was utilised to do this. The deployment of fully operational hand-held devices, dynamically linked to Dynamics NAV allowed for easier and more efficient tracking of the order through to distribution process.
This led to the volume of business going up and warehouse efficiency rising by at least 25% across the board. With the addition of more dispatch lanes within the Fish4Dogs warehouse, and hand –held, devices the internal team were able to ticket items straight away giving a more accurate timing of inventory. There was also further integration with the website allowing Fish4Dogs staff and crucially customers to be able to track orders and parcel deliveries.
The positive developments for Fish4Dog’s have been so profound that their Managing Director Grham Smith has even gone on to comment that they began to operate at “Amazon like delivery” with their new level of efficiency and the reconfigured systems. Royce goes on to mention that he was particularly impressed by the way “Advantage had the ability to develop the product”. We at Advantage look forward to continuing a successful relationship with Fish4Dog’s.