Episode number 13 of the Business Central Manufacturing Show was with Matthew Woodhouse. Matt is the Microsoft Dynamics Team Director at Technology Management and runs its project delivery team. Originally coming from a manufacturing & distribution background, Matt first came into contact with Navision back in 1999. Since then he has been helping manufacturing companies. The interview evolved in a way that we looked at manufacturing and Dynamics 365 Business Central from various angles (e.g. from shop-floor data capture as well as from artificial intelligence). But, independent of how we looked at it: Matt always came up with very concrete tips that manufacturers should apply when it comes to an ERP system.
Paul Hogendoorn was my guest for the 12th episode of the Business Central Manufacturing Show. Paul is an incurable entrepreneur from Canada and has founded, co-founded, or helped launch numerous ventures over his 30+ year career, including most recently, FreePoint Technologies. FreePoint's unique technology captures and delivers real-time productivity information, connecting plant floor manufacturing processes directly to managers and operators in innovative, practical, and cost-effective ways. I picked up one of his recent likes on LinkedIn and started the conversation with a question on gamification. This let to a vital discussion on why gamification matters for manufacturing companies. (spoiler: among other benefits, it can yield a 25% uptick in productivity for high-mix low-volume manufacturers). The good news is: we didn't stop with the why, but also looked at a hands-on recipe how it can get implemented, and what metrics can help with gamification.
I met with Chris de Visser for the 11th episode of the Business Central Manufacturing Show. Chris is from the Netherlands, but lives in New York and works as CEO North America for Continia. Before taking that role, he successfully ran the American business of Sana Commerce in Northern America. As such, Chris does not represent a partner being specialized in manufacturing with deep vertical know-how. Instead, he brings a lot of experience with horizontal topics such as sales and process efficiencies that are crucial for any company, and hence also for manufacturers. Hence, I took the opportunity to fly a full circle on back-office process efficiency, which includes administrative processes as well as sales and even marketing efficiency and effectiveness.
This is the 10th episode of the Business Central Manufacturing Show. This week, I spoke with Christophe Billard, who is from France, but lives and works in Spain. After working as a business demand planner and in supply chain management for pharmaceutical and FMCG companies, Christophe became an ERP consultant 15 years ago. Since then has helped many manufacturing companies to fully embrace the power of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. In our conversation, we looked at best practices when implementing an ERP, getting started with MRP, and introducing an MES. Throughout this round-trip, Christophe's advice for manufacturing companies stayed consistent: do not try to take it all. Instead, start small with balanced information, before you then unleash the power of these systems by constant fine-tuning. He repeated this advice when we looked at the similarities of a successful wrestler and a successful manufacturing company.
For episode #9 of the Business Central Manufacturing Show, I met Mike Fontaine from Canada. He is a solutions expert at VOX ISM, and has 20+ years of experience with ERP software and manufacturing. Actually, Mike used to work with manufacturing companies as a buyer, a scheduler, and a production planner. After spending some minutes on the experiences that Mike gained working for manufacturers (quote: "I actually was the MRP system of the company"), we found ourselves chatting about scheduling. Interestingly enough, we did not speak scheduling software, but scheduling concepts. A major lesson learned is: we need to spend more time dealing with scheduling concepts. If we break down scheduling success, it is software PLUS concepts (neither just software nor just concepts). The scheduling concepts we discussed range from "applying how baseball works to scheduling" to the "frozen, slushy and wet schedule". Last, but not least Mike also shared some thoughts on why he is driving the Best Manufacturing Apps Conference (BMAC) 2020.
Michael Hering from Germany was my guest in episode #8 of the Business Central Manufacturing Show. As Industry Manager Concrete, Michael is responsible for COSMO CONSULT's products and solutions for discrete manufacturing. The conversation turned out to become a box of chocolate with manufacturing ERP best practices. We looked into a variety of aspects such as lean management and the IT required for it, artificial intelligence in manufacturing, concrete steps to make when implementing a manufacturing ERP system, and future data strategies if supply chains might become shorter again. Michael provided concrete tips & advice to not only each of these "pieces of chocolate", but to even more pieces.
The Visual Resource Viewer (VRV) was our guinea pig with which we learned how to build visual scheduling extensions for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. In terms of developing software, for us it was a landmark app. It followed our approach to start small, and learn focused. However, a development guinea pig not necessarily translates into a commercial success. In case of the VRV, the market resonance showed that a static (i.e. non-interactive) resource Gantt chart may be great for development (testing) purposes. However, it falls short in providing true customer value. Hence, we retire the Visual Resource Viewer (VRV) with immediate effect.
I met Guus Krabbenborg from The Netherlands for this episode of the Business Central Manufacturing Show. He was my first guest without a dedicated manufacturing background. However, he is a highly-experienced business trainer and consultant with a well-earned reputation in the international Microsoft Dynamics arena. He has managed and co-owned several software companies and was Sales Director for Navision Software in The Netherlands. Guus and I quickly came to the topic of digital transformation, and I learned that transformation is the hardest of the implied challenges. However, Guus didn't end up making this clear in a provocative way. Instead, he gave seven insanely concrete and practical tips of what companies can do to achieve that transformation journey. These tips are not only inspiring, but they are also hands-on and ready-to-go aka ready to get applied. Starting this Friday ;-)