Manufacturers: Winners don't take it all, but balance information

Posted by Martin Karlowitsch on May 25, 2020 11:43:35 AM

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.

The Business Central Manufacturing Show - Christophe Billard


When implementing an ERP system such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, manufacturers often make a common mistake. They want too much too early. They rush into MRP (material requirements planning) and create too complex routings. Complex routings create a lot of overhead especially on the shop-floor, but only little value (in the beginning).

Instead of this, manufacturing should focus on balancing the information to what is essentially needed. They should start simple, with simple processes, and then make the processes more complex.

Covering the basics when introducing an ERP into a manufacturing company takes around two months. This is the foundation for starting with MRP. But again, manufacturers should not try to get MRP right for the first time. Successful MRP is an iterative process of fine-tuning, and more fine-tuning, and even more fine-tuning. This may take up to 6 months.

If ERP and MRP work hand-in-hand, a system such as Dynamics 365 Business Central delivers transparency by bringing together information and processes. Once this is achieved, the next step is to add "live data" from the shop-floor. This is important to avoid running the shop on outdated data. The typical instrument to achieve this, is an MES - a manufacturing execution system.

However, only a fraction of the typical manufacturers working with Microsoft Dynamics 365 can afford an MES system. The advice for those who cannot afford it is: make compromises, balance the information, and capture only those "live data" (for not too complex routings) that you truly need.

In order to achieve this, manufacturers can actually learn a lot from successful wrestlers: constantly practice and repeat the basic processes until they become an automatism. Then continue with the bit more sophisticated processes and practice, repeat, automate.


You can tune in below 👇 on Apple PodcastSpotifyStitcherTuneIn, or anywhere you get your podcasts.




On this episode, you'll learn:

  • That one of the core strengths of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is that it helps the manufacturing users to run the system simple. 
  • Many manufacturers make a common mistake when starting with Dynamics 365 Business Central. This is to implement MRP (material requirements planning) too early.
  • The true first steps that manufacturers should make when starting with Dynamics 365 Business Central.
  • That it takes 2 months to cover the basics, and then another 6 months to fine-tune MRP so that it is fully working to meet the manufacturers' needs. 
  • Signs that tell a manufacturing company that it is time to look for an ERP system such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.
  • The importance of bringing live data from the shop-floor to the ERP system, and what customers can do instead if they cannot afford a manufacturing execution system (MES).
  • What manufacturing companies can learn from wrestling: practice, practice, and practice ... especially the basics.

What to listen for:

  • [01.07] Why Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is a great choice for every manufacturing company. 
  • [02.19] Why manufacturing companies implementing Dynamics 365 Business Central should start simple.
  • [03.39] Benefits of starting with the key processes, and starting with the key processes simple.
  • [05.41] The golden rule for implementing MRP: do not try to get it right the first time; start with a simple model and fine-tune, fine-tune, and fine-tune
  • [10.19] The core role of the ERP for manufacturing clients (that move away from homegrown solutions) is to bring together all business-related data and processes in one source.
  • [13.00] Criteria that differentiate which customers really would require a manufacturing execution system (MES) and which type of manufacturers wouldn't necessarily need this.
  • [15.56] Best practices for manufacturing companies that cannot afford an MES system: tips & tricks on how they can bring live data from the shop-floor into Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.
  • [18.30] What manufacturers can learn from successful wrestlers.


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Topics: Business Central Production Scheduling, Visual Scheduling Fundamentals, Business Central Visual Scheduling Extensions, Podcast