Microsoft Dynamics Blog

Tip of the Week: Automate Inventory Reservation and Release of Sales Orders to Your Warehouse in Dynamics AX

The functionality described in this blog can help you achieve automatic reservation of inventory and automatic release of orders to the warehouse in Dynamics AX 2012 R3. You can even configure AX to automatically release sales orders to the warehouse for picking based on selected criteria. Outside of the Warehouse Management (or WMS) functionality itself, […]

Tip of the Week: Using Auto Report in Dynamics AX

I would like to share a really useful tool with you today. Reporting is always a concern for our clients and it can be challenging to provide them with the reports they need while trying to avoid extra expense and customization. The Auto report functionality described below is standard in Microsoft Dynamics® AX and can […]

Cloud ERP Redefined: Microsoft Dynamics® AX 7

Microsoft Dynamics® AX 7 (now simply called Microsoft Dynamics® AX) has much to offer, from its modern cloud-based design, to its robust functionality. The new AX boasts industry functionality including manufacturing and SCM features, as well as demand forecasting and procurement sourcing. The retail functionality is a product strength as are the core ERP capabilities […]

Transactions in Dynamics AX Tip – Manual Reservations and Updates

To conclude our series on configuring inventory reservations & allocations in Microsoft Dynamics AX we are going to take a quick look at manual reservations and updates. We’ve mainly focused on all the options that you have to automatically update reservations and when they need to be updated manually. Here are the steps to update […]

The Power of I.B.I.S. and Sonata Software

It is with great pleasure that I say that I.B.I.S., Inc. is officially a Sonata Software Company. By combining the IBIS experts with the over 3,000 people strong Global Sonata Software team, we now are in the position of serving you better with a plethora of IT services that as IBIS alone we only dreamed […]

Transactions in Dynamics AX Tip – Picking Workbench

As a part of our series on configuring inventory reservations & allocations in Microsoft Dynamics AX we are going to take a quick look at the picking workbench. When not using Dynamics AX 2012 R3 WMS functionality, the Picking Workbench in Inventory Management can be used for the controlling the picking process. This form can […]

Transactions in Dynamics AX – Warehouse Management

This warehouse management blog is a part of our series on configuring inventory reservations & allocations in Microsoft Dynamics AX. As a reference, the below shows the steps that will be followed in the R3 WMS functionality, and where the Reservation and Release to warehouse functions would fall within the shipping process. Within the WMS […]

Transactions in Dynamics AX Tip – Reservation Hierarchies

Continuing our series on configuring inventory reservations & allocations in Microsoft Dynamics AX, let’s take a look at reservation hierarchies. A Reservation hierarchy is an order of storage and tracking dimensions that are used for reserving inventory, but only when the Dynamics AX 2012 R3 warehouse management process is being used. The dimensions Site, Warehouse, […]

Transactions in Dynamics AX – Master Planning and Warehouses

As a part of our series on configuring inventory reservations & allocations in Microsoft Dynamics AX, let’s dive into details around master planning and warehouses. Now that we understand the difference in Marking and Reservations, we know master planning will create planned orders based on un-reserved demand. Master planning will create a pegging reference for […]

Best to You from I.B.I.S. this Holiday Season!

Using Inventory Reservations on Production BOM Lines, Master Planning Parameters and Marking vs. Reservation

As a part of our series on configuring inventory reservations & allocations in Microsoft Dynamics AX, let’s take a deeper look at reservations. Just like on sales order transactions, changing the value of the reservation field to “manual” does not remove reservations, this would have to be done manually against each production BOM line if […]

Transactions in Dynamics AX – Production Order Example

This post highlighting production orders is a part of our series on configuring inventory reservations & allocations in Microsoft Dynamics AX. The image below shows the associated process. When a production order is created, it uses the default reservation setting to determine when and if reservations for the components of the order will be created. […]

Transactions in Dynamics AX Tip – Production Control Parameters

As a part of our series on configuring inventory reservations & allocations in Microsoft Dynamics AX, let’s also look at how reservations work with production. We’ll again start with necessary setups to use reservations. In production control parameters, there is the default setup of how reservations are used on production orders. The values of this […]

Transactions in Dynamics AX – Sales Order Example

This post focused on sales orders is a part of our series on configuring inventory reservations & allocations in Microsoft Dynamics AX. When a sales order is created, it uses the default reservation setting to determine whether reservations for the order will be automatic or manual, this can be overridden on the header. The header […]

Transactions in Dynamics AX Tip – Setting up Accounts Receivable Parameters

Continuing our series on configuring inventory reservations & allocations in Microsoft Dynamics AX, let’s look at the sales side of reservations. We’ll start with necessary setup. In accounts receivable parameters, there is the default setup of whether or not reservations are used on sales orders. When this value is set to “Automatic”, all sales orders […]

Access Transactions in Dynamics AX

Now that we’ve looked at some of the base setup that affects reservations, let’s look at the transactions in Dynamics AX, which are where information about each specific reservation can be seen. Transactions will show the exact amount for each reservation and all the detail of the reserved dimensions. You just need to look for […]

Modifying Mapping Behavior in Dynamics CRM

A common requirement in any CRM system is to duplicate (or “map”) data between a parent record and its child records. Dynamics CRM 2015 already does this for many out-of-the-box fields, but anytime you add a custom field and require that its data should copy from parent to child record, this simple customization boils down […]

Inventory and Warehouse Management Parameters in Dynamics AX

In the inventory and warehouse management parameters form in Dynamics AX, there is one very key checkbox. In the General section, the field Reserve Ordered Items controls whether or not a reservation will occur against ordered transactions. For example, if this is checked and I create a sales order line and allow Dynamics AX to […]

Storage and Tracking Dimension Groups in Dynamics AX

Like Item Model Groups, each released product much have a Storage Dimension group in Dynamics AX specified for it before transactions can be created for it. Storage dimensions are very important in how reservations are created, the key column on this form is the “Physical Inventory” column. This checkbox will determine to what level reservations […]

Item Model Groups in Dynamics AX

The item model groups in Dynamics AX are setup and then on each released product, a single item model group is required to be specified. The field for Item Sales Reservation will determine if a reservation should occur automatically or manually for each item when it is added to a sales order line. The setting […]

Configure Reservations and On-hand Inventory in Dynamics AX

Reservations in Dynamics AX, will hold an exact quantity of inventory for the order. You can also reserve a quantity that is expected to be received, and this is referred to as “Ordered Reserved”. As a note, the use of reservations is required to use the R3 WMS functionality as the work for picking material […]

Basis of Competition

Business success is all about presenting the prospective customer with a compelling reason to buy your product or service. If there is competition, your offering has to be deemed superior in some way to entice the prospect to choose your product over all others. This sounds simple but it can be challenging. The most critical […]

Allocation of Inventory in Dynamics AX

The allocation of inventory in Dynamics AX occurs as soon as an order line is entered and the transaction is created for that item and quantity to be considered “on order”. Master planning will then use all of the information from all transactions (sales, production, transfers, and journals) to determine how much inventory is needed […]

Introduction to Configuring Inventory Reservations and Allocations in Dynamics AX

There are several benefits to using reservations in Dynamics AX. The primary benefit is to ensure that a customer’s order goes fulfilled by existing inventory or expected inventory, and that inventory does not get allocated or shipped against a different customer’s order. Using reservations also allows you to see the status of your current inventory […]

Your ERP System and “Big Data”

We started a strategic planning project with a new distributor client this week. One of the first things we ask for is lots of data about the business, such as results by customer for each sales territory over the last 3 years. The details we want to see include number of orders, number of line […]

Cycle Counting in Warehouse Management in Dynamics AX

Cycle counting in Dynamics AX is a warehouse process that you can use to audit on-hand inventory items. You can even define workers that will approve or reject cycle counting work before it is posted. Cycle count Thresholds and Cycle Count plans can be used to generate Cycle count work. Workers can also perform spot […]

A Modern Distributor is Responsive

We characterize Modern Distributors as an organizations that are: Growing Insightful Effective Responsive Collaborative Let’s explore “Responsive”: Responsive “It’s important to remember your competitor is only one mouse click away.” Doug Warner Opportunities and problems are a way of life, but distributors must go beyond merely reacting to actually orchestrating effective responses, regardless of what […]

Replenishment in Warehouse Management in Dynamics AX

There are 2 types of replenishment in Warehouse Management in Dynamics AX – Min/Max and Demand based. Min/Max replenishment is based on min/max stocking limits of a location. Demand based replenishment is created only when a picking location does not contain the inventory required to fulfill a pick. The Replenishment template form allows you to […]

Are You Responsive to Your Customer’s Needs?

What’s in it for you by being responsive to you customer’s needs? increased margins, improved customer satisfaction larger share of your customers’ spend and much more, but honestly speaking, increased margins says it all. All the points above apply to your customers as well as to you. If you are not responsive to their needs […]

Running a Depreciation Projection in Dynamics AX

Wish you could project depreciation for the coming year for budget purposes?  While Dynamics AX doesn’t have a formal depreciation projection function, with a little creativity, we can create one. Step 1 – Create a new Fixed Asset Proposal journal.  Give it a descriptive name and add ‘DO NOT POST’ to the description, just to […]

Increase Vendor Rebates By 15% With Audit Trails

According to the dictionary, one definition of rebate is “an amount of money returned to a buyer who has paid too much for something”. For many distributors, supplier rebates have been growing as a percentage of purchases. Reasons include the expansion of buying/marketing group rebate programs and a trend toward sheltered income strategies by suppliers. […]

Data Warehousing for Retail with Microsoft Dynamics AX

Considering how fast-paced the business culture is today, maybe particularly for retail companies, data is vital. Since data drives corporate decision-making, retail organizations plan and monitor performance to stay on course with their customers, vendors, staffing, store locations, and so on – and data warehousing can deliver the exact solution to support your Business Intelligence […]

Automated Containerization in Warehouse Management in Dynamics AX

Automated containerization in Warehouse Management in Dynamics AX creates containers and the picking work for shipments when a wave is processed. To set up containerization, you must create the following: Container type ─ Define the physical characteristics of the containers Container groups ─ specifies the sequence in which containers are packed, and the fill percentage […]

Cognitive Laziness: Avoiding the Tough Decisions Through Strategic Planning

I presented a strategic planning workshop for 90 distributors this past week at the annual University of Innovative Distribution ( Strategic planning isn’t as popular with distributors as it is with suppliers. One reason is that manufacturers must make long-term bets as they invest in plant and equipment dedicated to making certain products. We distributors […]

Packing in Warehouse Management in Dynamics AX

Now let’s talk about packing in Warehouse Management in Dynamics AX. Containers represent the physical structure in which products are packed during shipping, and you can keep track of the container information in the system. Container types can be used to create descriptions of containers, including maximum values for physical size dimensions and weight capacity. […]

I.B.I.S., Inc. Four Time Winner of the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Best Places to Work List

I.B.I.S., Inc., leading provider of Microsoft Dynamics® supply chain solutions to the wholesale distribution and manufacturing markets, is pleased to announce that they have again been named among The Best Places to Work in Atlanta by The Atlanta Business Chronicle. In a state where small businesses comprise 99 percent of companies, according to the Georgia […]

Extend the Reach of your eCommerce Website When you Connect to Online Marketplaces

It’s no secret the more ways you offer your products to customers, the better chance they have of seeing them and making a purchase. But if you’re promoting and marketing your website and not having much luck, connecting your eCommerce site to an online marketplace may be your best option. By having your products for […]

Using Info Codes in Dynamics AX 2012 R3 Retail POS

Info Codes (formerly Reason Codes in Dynamics AX 2012 R2 and prior) can be used in Retail POS as well as AX.  Here’s an example illustrating the use of Info Codes to categorize product returns. The client desired two codes for product returns to differentiate between normal customer returns and returns due to defective product.  […]

Reversing Depreciation in Dynamics AX 2012

Theoretically, you should never have to reverse depreciation on assets but unfortunately, not many of us live in a theoretical world.  Fortunately, for us empirical souls, reversing depreciation in Dynamics AX is not that difficult. The first method is appropriate for reversing depreciation on just a few assets, one at a time. Go Fixed assets>>Common>>Fixed […]

A Modern Distributor is Effective

We characterize Modern Distributors as an organizations that are: Growing Insightful Effective Responsive Collaborative Let’s explore “Effective”: “Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker Managing increased throughput with the same resource investment is a challenge for many distributors because of organizational constraints and limited information availability. But it is […]

Outbound Order Processing in Warehouse Management in Dynamics AX

Now let’s talk in more detail about Outbound order processing in Warehouse Management with Dynamics AX. This begins with Wave picking. Wave picking is used to assign orders into groupings (waves) and release them together so as to allow management to coordinate several parallel and sequential activities required to complete the work. For example, in […]

The “Dominant Player” Strategy for Distributors

I was in a distributor meeting recently when the management team revealed the company’s “Competitive Dominance” statement. The principles are based on a book, Competitive Dominance, by Tang and Bauer. Language is important. A definition of “dominant” is powerful or influential. That sounds good. But, consider the shock effect of the verb “dominate”: exercise control […]

I.B.I.S., Inc. Sells Dynamics GP business to Socius

I.B.I.S., Inc. announces today that it has sold its Microsoft Dynamics GP business to Socius, an ERP and CRM consultancy headquartered in Dublin, Ohio. With the acquisition of the Microsoft Dynamics GP business from I.B.I.S, Inc., Socius expands its Microsoft Dynamics GP market share and reach in the United States market further, now engaging more […]

How to use Dynamics CRM as a Sales Rep

Dynamics CRM is used at many levels, from C-level to a Supervising Manager down to a Sales Representative. It is important to make sure CRM is set up for each of these levels to increase productivity and get the most out of your CRM implementation. Today we will look at a few key areas as […]

What Is Your “Cost of Capital”?

The CFO a large distributor client asked this week about his company’s “cost of capital”. This is a sophisticated concept, so I ask why he wanted to know. His company is considering a multi-million dollar investment in a regional distribution center to supply product to a large number of branches. The CFO is preparing for […]

New Features in the MDM 2015 Update

Welcome to the final part of a series of blogs on Microsoft Dynamics Marketing. Be sure to check out Part 1: E-mail Marketing Message Hot Topics,  Part 2: The Basics of Campaign Creation, and Part 3: The Connector. Altogether I have demonstrated just a few of the many features that Dynamics Marketing has to offer. […]

Mobile Device Setup and Menus in Warehouse Management for Dynamics AX

Now let’s look at Mobile Device Setup and Menus in Warehouse Management for Dynamics AX. Mobile devices are a key part of any WMS. In AX, you should consider the following: Work classes are used to define the types of work orders that a mobile device can process.Device menus are used to outline which options […]

How does Item Sales Tax work in Dynamics AX?

Check out this step by step to guide to figuring out sales tax in Dynamics AX. There are Item Sales Tax Groups, Customer Sales Tax Groups, and POS Store Sales Tax Groups All items that may be taxable must have an Item Sales Tax Group associated with them The Item Sales Tax Group should include […]

Work Templates in Warehouse Management for Dynamics AX

Now let’s talk about Work templates in Warehouse Management in Dynamics AX. These are used to create & process warehouse work at various stages in the warehouse management process. A work template can be created for any of the activities listed on the screen.  You can specify which location directive to use. But if you […]

Manage Your Cash Flow Better This Year

I read an article by a lawyer on LinkedIn this week called “Managing Your Cash Better in 2015”. It reminded me that distributors have had it pretty easy with cash flow for the last couple of years. Some of us may be getting a little sloppy with our cash management. Let’s think about that for […]

Vendor Supported Sales Campaigns for Modern Distributors

Modern distributors have unique characteristics that set them apart from more traditional distribution companies. A modern distributor is characterized as an organization that is: Growing Insightful Effective Responsive Collaborative Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 with Advanced Supply Chain Software is designed with the modern distributor in mind. One vital business process for distributors is tracking manufacturer […]

A Modern Distributor is Insightful

We characterize Modern Distributors as organizations that are: Growing Insightful Effective Responsive Collaborative Let’s explore “Insightful”: “There is a great difference between knowing and understanding: you can know a lot about something and not really understand it.” Charles F. Kettering There is a wide gap between simply having data and being able to use information […]

3 Sales and Use Tax Concerns Facing Manufacturers and Distributors

The following three areas can pose sales and use tax challenges for manufacturers and distributors. Without aid of the right tools, even the most well-intentioned company can suffer from transactional tax errors. This blog discusses three areas of concerns and what can be done to address them. Input item taxability, use tax and Direct Pay […]

Digital Advantages for Distributors

Mark Dancer, author of the NAW book Becoming A Digital Distributor, moderated a panel discussion called Digital Advantage at NAW’s recent annual conference in Washington. The panelists were executives from two mega distributors, Motion Industries ($600 million digital sales annually) and Performance Food Group ($5.5 million digital sales per day). The digital buzzwords are confusing. […]

Location Directives in Warehouse Management for Dynamics AX

Location directives in Warehouse Management in Dynamics AX are user-defined rules that help identify pick and put locations for inventory movement. For example, in a sales order transaction, a location directive determines where the items will be picked and where those picked items will be put. To be more specific, an item could be picked […]

Quick Campaigns in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides functionality that allows you to create and utilize complex communication plans with your customers; the tool you use for this kind of work is a Campaign. You can build advanced workflows and triggers within Campaigns to make sure contacts are receiving the right information and appropriate amount of interaction based on […]

ERP Integration in Distributor Mergers and Acquisitions

One of our clients announced an acquisition very recently, the latest in a series of deals that is  jumpstarting the company’s growth toward its Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG). The company’s  “serial acquirer” program is working so well that that the date for reaching the BHAG milestone revenue target has been moved up twice in […]

Reservation Hierarchy in Warehouse Management in Dynamics AX

A Reservation Hierarchy is a Hierarchy of storage dimensions used for reserving inventory in Warehouse Management in Dynamics AX. The dimensions Site, Warehouse, Inventory status, Location, and License plate are all required. The Batch number and Serial number dimensions are optional and only need to be included if they are used in the associated tracking […]

Connecting Microsoft Dynamics Marketing and Dynamics CRM

Welcome to Part 3 of a series of blogs on Microsoft Dynamics Marketing. Be sure to check out Part 1: E-mail Marketing Message Hot Topics and Part 2: The Basics of Campaign Creation, and look for future blogs releases. Let’s take a step back and talk about a very important tool, the Dynamics Marketing and […]

Organizational and System Constraints for Distributors

Last month we discussed part one of our series of blogs on “Are you a Modern Distributor”. The concept is based on 5 pillars – growth, insightfulness, effectiveness, responsiveness and collaboration. I addressed the financial constraint and how it affects growth. In this blog I will address the organizational and system constraints as I feel […]

Product Setup in Warehouse Management in Dynamics AX

There is some additional Product setup that must take place in order to use Advanced Warehouse Management in AX. First, WHS MGMT must be enabled for all Storage & Tracking dimensions that will be used for products stored within a WMS-enabled warehouse. Once this happens, the Pallet ID dimension is no longer used and License […]

I.B.I.S., Inc. Recognized as the 2015 United States Microsoft Dynamics AX US Distribution FY15 Partner of the Year

Microsoft proudly announces I.B.I.S., Inc. as the US Microsoft Dynamics Distribution Partner of the Year Last month, Microsoft proudly announced the United States Microsoft Dynamics Partner Award winners during the US Microsoft Dynamics Annual Conference. “The US Partner Awards gives Microsoft Dynamics the opportunity to recognize its top partners at a global event. We are […]

Mobility equals Information equals Profit in Distribution

We’ve become a mobile society. Look around, everyone has a smart phone or a tablet. You expect your staff and salespeople to be available pretty much around the clock (we know senior managers who regularly email their staff late at night / early in the morning … partly to catch up, partly to see “who […]

Retail Reporting with Microsoft Dynamics AX

The cornerstone of Business Intelligence (BI) analytics is arguably financial reporting because the financial health of a company can be summarized in a straightforward set of financial and operational reports. The business culture is seemingly always at breakneck speed, and for Retail, the experience is no different. Accounting systems like Microsoft Dynamics AX usually come […]

Guaranteed to Lose Your Best Salesperson

As an old adage goes: “If you promote your best sales rep to sales manager, the only thing that’s guaranteed is that you will lose your best sales rep”.  Let’s think for a few minutes about why you might want to take this risk. The objective: gain an excellent sales manager while holding on to […]

The Basics of Leads in Dynamics CRM

Leads in Dynamics CRM are often considered the most important aspect to a growing business. These leads can lead to customers, which can lead to revenue for your business. These people are individuals or companies that are interested in receiving company specific information about the services and products that are offered. Although there are many […]

Location Setup Wizard in Warehouse Management in Dynamics AX

Now to attack the Location Setup Wizard in Warehouse Management in Dynamics AX. Since we have created a Location profile for our new bulk locations, we need to generate the location names. We could do this manually, but since this area of the warehouse contains hundreds of locations, we prefer to use the Wizard to […]

Got Company Performance Visibility?

Checking the health of your business has for many proved to be a challenge. If you have a home grown/written or an older ERP system, chances are pretty good you don’t have even basic reports that are in real time. Most older systems employed programs like Crystal Reports, but depended on computing time, usually over […]

Analytics in Distribution

There’s so much buzz about big data and analytics these days. I looked up definitions to help me explain why I believe that analytics are so important to you and your business: Analysis: Detailed examination of the elements or structure of something; separating something into its constituent elements. Analytics: Systematic computational analysis of data; information […]

The Miracle (Maybe) of CRM

I was in a client meeting this week with the top management group of a nationwide distributor. The VP Sales did a demonstration of the company’s new CRM system. The leaders have high expectations for the company’s return on investment for the time and capital committed to CRM. Most of us in distribution say “CRM” […]

Warehouse Management Setup and Layout in Dynamics AX

Let’s begin with warehouse setup and layout in Dynamics AX. We will first talk about Zones and Zone groups, Location type, Location format and the Locations themselves. Warehouse Zone Groups Zones are a breakdown of warehouse locations into logical groups. Perhaps you carry hazardous materials, such as paint or aerosols, and need to keep those […]

Are you a Modern Distributor? Part 2

In our last post, we characterized a Modern Distributor as an organization that is: Growing Insightful Effective Responsive Collaborative Let’s explore “Growing”: “Just like a plant, you’re either growing or dying.” T. Hard Eker The entire distribution industry faces numerous operational and growth inhibitors.  Distributors can strive for growth to topline revenue or bottom line […]

Benefits of Advanced Warehouse Management in Dynamics AX

Warehouse management in Dynamics AX is an important part of any logistics operations for a company. By using a system to help you manage your warehouse, you gain visibility and can work to streamline processes and inefficiencies. Advanced warehouse management provides a variety of business processes that are supported for both inbound and outbound processing. […]

Sales Literature in Dynamics CRM 2015

The business definition of “sales literature” in Dynamics CRM is the same as everywhere else: sales literature is collateral in your company that is ready for customer eyes, designed to help your sales team communicate a uniform message. The sales literature entity in CRM has a Type option set field that suggests some relevant examples […]

Living with “Dimensional Weight”

Freight carriers have long struggled with losing money on lightweight low density packages. Freight rates, historically computed based on weight, don’t pay for the space that low density parcels take up as related to their weight. FedEx and United Parcel Service have announced that, as of January, 2015, they will adopt the concept of “dimensional […]

Are You a Modern Distributor – Part 1

The distribution industry has changed a great deal over the past several years as more companies use the Internet to gather information about products or to buy directly from manufacturers. As a result, distributors have had to provide short lead times and more value-added services to attract and retain customers than ever before. This change […]

So How Did That Acquisition Work Out?

I was in a management meeting of a distributor client recently when the subject turned, as it often does these days, to mergers and acquisitions. This particular distributor made an acquisition a little over a year ago. An obvious question to ask was, “Now that it’s been a year, how do you guys feel the […]

MDM: The Basics of Campaign Creation

Welcome to Part 2 of a series of blogs on Microsoft Dynamics Marketing. Be sure to check out Part 1: E-mail Marketing Message Hot Topics, and look for future blogs release. In part one of this series we took a look at the basic functionality surrounding the e-mail marketing messages. These messages are just one […]

Destination vs. Origin sourcing: Why location matters in the online commerce debate

Location, location, location. The number one rule in real estate is now the tipping point in the debate on Internet sales tax. Battling legislation calls into play the fairness of destination versus origin sourcing when applying sales tax rules. While lawmakers continue to drag their feet on a formal decision, there’s no shortage of options […]

5 Strategies to Address Increased Competition and Shrinking Margins

The “Small Order” Problem

For wholesale distributors, small orders are like the weather: everyone talks about their small order problem but no one does anything about it. Let’s start by defining the distributor’s situation. A small order is a problem if it doesn’t generate enough gross margin dollars to cover the costs of processing the transaction. These costs include […]

Are you a Modern Distributor?

Although many distributors believe in their heart of hearts that they are truly Modern Distributors when it comes down to it they sadly discover they are nowhere near meeting the definition and requirements. So why the confusion? How come a distributor cannot be sure as to whether they are a Modern Distributor or not? I […]

Are you a Modern Distributor?

Although many distributors believe in their heart of hearts that they are truly Modern Distributors when it comes down to it they sadly discover they are nowhere near meeting the definition and requirements. So why the confusion? How come a distributor cannot be sure as to whether they are a Modern Distributor or not? I […]

Marketing Lists in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

When working in Dynamics CRM and wanting to interact with your known Contacts through some type of Campaign or Program, Marketing Lists are the way to go. Without a well-built Marketing List you may be reaching out to the wrong folks or missing crucial individuals who could lead to big business. Marketing Lists are designed […]

In Response to Big Data

In a recent posting by Allen Ray on Big Data, Allen summarized it this way “Progressive distributors that seek to accelerate growth and differentiate themselves will use decentralized data analytics throughout their business to create their competitive advantage. While the right personnel is needed, tools that integrate with software that individuals are familiar with (such […]

3 Sales and Use Tax Concerns Facing Manufacturers and Distributors

The following three areas can pose sales and use tax challenges for manufacturers and distributors. Without aid of the right tools, even the most well-intentioned company can suffer from transactional tax errors. This blog discusses three areas of concerns and what can be done to address them. Input item taxability, use tax and Direct Pay […]

Big Data

Data Intelligence Enables Growth Positioning Much is talked and written about data analytics and “big data”. In fact, data has been analyzed by executives for many years and, in most companies, some level of data is regularly analyzed. The field of data analytics, however, digs deeper to identify correlations and create an environment to prove, […]

Currency Fluctuations: A Risk in Importing and Exporting

The U.S. Dollar is often viewed as the world-wide standard for many kinds of international commerce. There is an active “exchange” market that continually monitors the relative value of currencies – which changes continuously. When buying and selling occurs between partners operating in different countries, with different currencies, the relative value of the buyer’s and […]

What’s New in Dynamics AX 2012 R3 CU8 Point of Sale

Dynamics AX 2012 R3 Point of Sale introduces a number of enhancements to create a modern shopping experience for your customers. In this writer’s opinion, the introduction of Modern POS (MPOS) was one of the most significant enhancements for the AX 2012 Retail solution. Sales staff can process sales transactions, customer orders, and perform daily […]

Deploying Dynamics AX Default Cubes

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 ships with a pre-build cube database which can quickly and easily deploy to an SQL Server Analysis Service (SSAS) server. Once this cube database is deployed, users will be able to easily consume aggregated business data through excel or other programs which can connect to SSAS servers. 1. Set up the […]

Distribution Industry- Plagued by Uncertainty?

My friend, colleague and client of many years Julia Klein owns and runs a wonderful third-generation distributor, C. H. Briggs Company, one of the largest independently-owned distributors of specialty building materials on the east coast. Julia has transitioned this legacy company from a hardware distributor into a solutions provider of a wide range of interior […]

Reconciling Subledgers in Dynamics AX

One of my favorite benefits of using Dynamics AX is the lack of system required processes to close out a month, period, or year. Yes, you still have to update currency exchange rates and run the revaluations, and yes, you still need to run an inventory close and adjust. But if configured correctly, subledger reconciliations […]

Modern Budgeting Options for Microsoft Dynamics AX

Perhaps budgeting, forecasting, and other planning processes are not anyone’s favorite tasks because of how tedious manual Excel or spreadsheet planning can be for budget managers.Excel might be globally popular and trustworthy, but the spreadsheet application is below par for companies of a healthy size. At I.B.I.S., Inc. we have helped Microsoft Dynamics AX users […]

Creating a Project Budget in Microsoft Dynamics AX

Project budgets in Dynamics AX are used to track the progress of a project / subproject versus actual costs posted. It provides an overview of the status of a project at a high level. Forecasts can also be used to provide ‘what if’ analysis but can also be used / imported into a project budget […]

Microsoft Dynamics Marketing: E-mail Marketing Message Hot Topics

Welcome to Part 1 of a series of blogs on Microsoft Dynamics Marketing! Recently, I took a deep dive into Microsoft Dynamics Marketing (MDM). I was able to work alongside our marketing team in order to determine the kinds of activities and tasks that a marketing team would need to be successful when using MDM. […]

The Allure of Matrix Compensation for Distributor Sales Rep

The best way to draw a big crowd at a wholesale distributor convention is to get a speaker to talk about sales compensation. Sales compensation consultants never run out of clients, they just keep going back to the old ones with new plans. It’s been said that distributors have one of two opinions about their […]

Considerations when using Safety Stock in Dynamics AX

Safety stock in Dynamics AX is used to create a minimum inventory level to help assist in reducing out-of-stock scenarios. A minimum level is setup on the item coverage for the specific site and warehouse. When master scheduling is run, the calculation considers the minimum level as a demand (referred to as safety stock in […]

Hide and Seek: Advanced Find in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Let’s get real for a moment: what good is the data in your Dynamics CRM system if you cannot access it quickly and format it properly for easy user consumption? Probably not much good, at least that’s how I would answer that question. As a repository for mounds and mounds of data, Microsoft Dynamics CRM […]

The Critical Important of Rebates

Once upon a time, not too many years ago, a multibillion dollar wholesale distributor decided to invest in a very large and powerful ERP (enterprise resources planning) system. I first heard about this massive project from a friend, a partner in an international consultancy. At the time his firm had 70 people assisting the client […]

A Little about Project Budgeting and Forecasting in Dynamics AX

The decision on whether to use Project Budgets or Forecasting is dependent on the requirements. Both are used for projecting and controlling project costs and revenues. Each is designed to be used independent of each other with some ability to use data from one to the other. First let’s explore the intent of each of […]

How to use Dynamics CRM as a Marketing User

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a powerful tool for the marketing professionals in today’s business. This software allows the user to nurture leads and opportunities, leverage marketing lists, and create campaigns to provide their business the ability to increase their customer base. CRM leverages core records such as accounts and contacts to create some of the […]

Adding a New Field to a Dynamics AX 2012 Cube

One of the benefits of Microsoft Dynamics AX is that it ships with nineteen pre-built cubes which can be deployed out of the box. There will be times however when your users will want to report on a measure or dimension which is not in these default cubes. Fortunately for you, the Microsoft Dynamics AX […]

Activities in Dynamics CRM

Use Activities! Activities have existed in Dynamics CRM for a long time, even though they aren’t essential to CRM’s core functionality. Their placement on the fringe of screens and menus has sometimes relegated activities into obscurity, left unused and ignored by ignorant CRM users. But these “little” activity records can transform CRM from a glorified […]

Reconciling Subledgers

One of my favorite benefits of using Dynamics AX is the lack of system required processes to close out a month, period, or year. Yes, you still have to update currency exchange rates and run the revaluations, and yes, you still need to run an inventory close and adjust. But if configured correctly, subledger reconciliations […]

ERP Software: Buy from a Distributor or Direct?

Once upon a time, many years ago, most distributors used computer service bureaus to process their data. The ubiquitous IBM billing machines simultaneously printed invoices and punched cards. Each month the distributors sent big decks of punched cards by courier to service bureaus who fed the decks through their card readers and processed the invoice […]

Accelerated Solutions for CRM

Relationships make the best cornerstones in any business. Any successful relationship continues to grow and evolve with contact. Your clients will feel valued when you know and understand them – and that takes work. Having a good CRM tool may be one of the best investments your business can make. It offers your people specific […]

The Basics of Customer Service within Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015

The Customer Service module within Dynamics CRM allows companies to organize and manage issues, questions, and requests from customers. Being default functionality within CRM, this module provides a way to view customer contracts and knowledge base articles, which are used to aid team members with valuable information for solving customer issues. It is important that […]

Making Dynamics CRM Visible from the Outside

An internet-facing deployment of Dynamics CRM opens up the application’s best capabilities and allows it to support 3rd party vendors that have their own components beyond the CRM application. As Microsoft has improved Dynamics CRM version-by-version, configuring an IFD for CRM has become both increasingly common and necessary, but also increasingly complex. This post provides […]

Problems Pricing for Profit

Distributor sales representatives have to make most pricing decisions on their own, under time pressure and with little or no market pricing information. Whatever competitive prices they have are provided by their customers. The reps’ pricing decisions usually depend on the product cost and hunches about competition. Depending on the situation the reps may need […]

Set the Number of Auto-Columns to Match Your Screen Real Estate in Dynamics AX

Just like people, the screens that everyone uses to access Dynamics AX comes in all shapes and sizes. Some are lean and petite with just a modest screen resolution, whilst others are a little bit more bulked up, with more DPI than should be legal. Luckily, when Dynamics AX builds it’s screens for you, it […]

Dynamics Learning Portal Review – Distribution and Trade in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3

With the redesign of E Learning by Microsoft now in the Dynamics Learning Portal, I wanted to take advantage of one the learning offerings from start to finish to see the changes or improvements that were made. I choose the Distribution and Trade class, but there are more than a dozen trainings available. Microsoft has […]

Inventory in the Supply Chain

The supply chain is made up of the connections and the infrastructure for moving goods from supplier to producer to customer. Consisting primarily of transportation and warehousing, supply chain goods are either moving (in-transit) or sitting still in a warehouse. It is necessary to stock goods in order to be able to ship them to […]

Making Sense of Nonsensical Info Log Errors in Dynamics AX

The Microsoft Dynamics AX that we all know and love is a very configurable product, which in turn, can make it extremely complex. Because of this, system generated errors during initial configuration, configuration updates, or parameter changes are a common experience for both consultants and users alike. However, there are several Info Log messages that […]

Collaborating with Customers

The previous blog discussed collaborating with suppliers. But every supplier has a customer at the other end of the transaction and the collaboration so it’s worthwhile to discuss collaboration from that supplier perspective; you are the supplier, after all, to your customers who may want to (or you may be able to convince them to) […]

Collaborating with Suppliers

The most common form of collaboration in the supply chain is collaboration with suppliers. Of course, it’s also collaboration with the customer when viewed from the supplier’s perspective, but we’ll discuss it from the buyer’s side in this blog and from the supplier’s side in the next. The buying organization has the power, in most […]

Security Tool Overview in Dynamics AX 2012

End users of Dynamics AX through the implementation cycle will inevitably face the problem of restricting their users to certain areas and data sets within the system. Receiving clerks don’t need access to HR documents and HR doesn’t need access to Return Orders. AX comes with prebuilt security roles out of the box, and Microsoft […]

Fostering a Collaborative Attitude

Collaboration is built on trust. And trust is something that has to be earned. The only way to earn that trust is by working cooperatively and fairly with your trading partners. Certainly, the level of collaboration will vary with the intensity and importance of the relationship. For important suppliers, customers and service providers (more about […]

ClickDimensions: Bridging the Gap between Marketing and CRM

There are many Marketing add-ons for Dynamics CRM, but there is one that truly stands out among the crowd. ClickDimensions is one of the powerhouses for CRM when it comes to marketing automation and is the only one that is fully embedded within CRM. You heard it right, fully embedded, not just integrated. This has […]

Distributor Acquisitions and ERP Systems

Just this past week I put the finishing touches on the manuscript of a new book expected to be published this coming September by the NAW (National Association of Wholesale Distributors) Institute for Distribution Excellence. The proposed title is the NAW Guide to Distributor Mergers & Acquisitions. This research study is a “deep dive” into […]

Supply Chain Collaboration

Modern supply chain management theory emphasizes collaboration – working together with partners for the benefit of the entire supply chain. This makes a lot of sense. Since the supply chain is intended to operate as a unified team aimed at providing customer value and profits for all participants, it requires that those participants work together. […]

Financial Measurements for Operations

Senior executives famously focus on financial measurements while operational management will often shun financial reports in favor of purely operational indicators like inventory levels and shortages, on-time completions, and efficiency. While this is understandable, operations people might be surprised at the value contained in financially-oriented reports. Both financial and operational reports are derived from the […]

What are the best Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)?

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are essential tools for managing a business – or any part of a business – because they provide a high-level snapshot of vital measurements of the company’s health and the effective functioning of major parts of the business. By definition, KPIs should be limited to things that are important, that is, […]

Financial Measurements and Lean Manufacturing

Lean manufacturing puts a focus on elimination of waste in its many forms – waiting; unnecessary handling, motion or transport; excess inventory; over processing; over production. In many cases, the savings show up clearly on the bottom line as a cost reduction; but not always. And some of the standard financial measures might actually look […]

The Power of Face-to-Face

In our obsession with social media, all things Internet, virtual meetings and web conferences, and the “always on” connectivity of today’s world, it’s easy to overlook the value of good old-fashioned live human interaction. User groups and conferences were a very important part of business fifteen years ago, before the Internet took hold and before […]

Travel and Expense SharePoint Receipt Attachment Errors in Dynamics AX

In Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 users have the option for a SharePoint library to be the file location where all of the attachments for travel and expense reports are saved to.  This functionality works very well and with minimal setup (simply create a new location for a folder in SharePoint). However, during a multiple legal […]

Using The Power BI To Build Dynamics AX Dashboards – Part 5 – WORKED EXAMPLE: Creating A Consolidated Financial Overview Dashboard

There is no better way to learn how to use the Power BI Designer than to actually get your hands dirty and set up a dashboard from scratch. In this worked example we will allow you to do that by walking you through all of the steps involved in creating a consolidated dashboard that combines […]

Using The Power BI To Build Dynamics AX Dashboards – Part 3 – Creating Dashboards using the Power BI Dashboard Designer

In the last post we showed you how to use the Power BI Dashboard Designer create local queries of data within Dynamics AX, and also from other data sources. Now it’s time to show you how you can start using these queries to create your own personal dashboards. Loading the Query Into The Dashboard Project […]

Using The Power BI To Build Dynamics AX Dashboards – Part 2 – An Introduction To the Power BI Dashboard Designer

In the last post we showed you how to use the Power BI Dashboard preview to create reports and dashboards, but you don’t have to just create dashboards through the web client though, hidden within the new Power BI Portal is a link that allows you to download a standalone Power BI Designer that you […]

An Introduction to Self Service Portals within Dynamics AX 2012

The self-service portals within Dynamics AX are great features to take advantage of in order to help you collaborate more with your Vendors, and also to allow Customers to take care of a lot of the administrative queries that they would usually have your customer service group answer.  They are made even more appealing because […]

How will re-shoring affect your supply chain and when does it make financial sense?

This topic is one of the major topics in our industry today – all firms have a supply chain and all firms are working on minimizing their costs, maximizing their profits and, very importantly, reducing the complexity and length of their supply chain. A few years back there was a rush to offshore that was […]

Modern Manufacturing Series: Managing Change

Nothing ever stays the same, and one key to long term success in manufacturing (or any other business, for that matter) is the ability to anticipate, recognize and manage change. Change can and does come in many forms, the most obvious of which are changes in markets (demand), changes in the supply chain (availability or […]

The Forecast and S&OP

The previous several blogs looked at forecasting process and how companies typically start with a bottom-up mathematical forecast, modify it to include consideration of factors not reflected in historical demand patterns like demographic shifts, emerging economic conditions and market dynamics, and finally modifications to reflect management desires. This entire process, especially the final piece, can […]

Bottom-Up Forecasting

Most forecasting is done from a bottom-up perspective. That is to say, start with forecasts for individual product by customer, territory, channel or sales rep, then add those individual forecasts together pyramid-like to get forecasts for a product across all territories, for a territory across all products, and eventually total by product, product line, etc. […]

Safety in Numbers – for Forecasting Success

There is a general rule in statistics: the larger the sample, the better (more stable, more accurate) the result. An average based on 1000 data points should be more accurate than one based on 100 readings. A forecast developed from three years of data, for example, is likely to be more accurate than one developed […]

Supply Chain Changes

The supply chain is constantly changing – and supply change managers must be prepared to detect change, recognize its potential impact, and take appropriate action to exploit the change for competitive advantage. Companies will dedicate considerable time and resources to setting up the supply chain to effectively support their needs and strategy – selecting the […]

Video Blog: Incredible Shrinking Margins Part Four

Industry expert Brent Grover, discusses tactical pricing options in Part Four of his latest video blog series, “Incredible Shrinking Margins”.

Video Blog: Incredible Shrinking Margins Part Three

Industry expert Brent Grover, discusses eliminating pricing outliers in Part Three of his latest video blog series, “Incredible Shrinking Margins”.

From Small Acorns, Do Tall Oaks Grow?

Distributors have been debating the virtues and pitfalls of small customers for decades. An anecdote from my younger days is an interchange about small customers with a senior executive at our company. I made a case about our smallest customers being unprofitable. He responded that our largest, best accounts were once small customers. He actually […]

The Cloud

There’s no question that the world has embraced the cloud as a viable and beneficial alternative to in-house (on-premise) systems. Cloud adoption rates continue to rise and surveys indicate that the majority of buyers actively consider the cloud option when selecting ERP and other business applications. The cloud and Software-as-a-Service licensing (SaaS) offer some distinct […]

SCM (Supply Chain Management) Software

ERP is a clearly defined category of software, with its roots in the 1960s and 1970s – Material Requirements Planning (MRP) came first, followed by Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP II), then becoming Enterprise Resource Planning in the mid-1990s. Not so with Supply Chain Management systems. The first systems to directly address the supply chain emerged […]

Supply Chain Visibility

One of the most significant advances in supply chain management is the dramatic increase in visibility offered by modern technology. Visibility enables the close management, collaborative planning and forecasting, reduced inventory, more responsive replenishment, and overall “lean” supply chain operation that we all strive for. In the past, before this visibility became a reality, goods […]

Supply Chain Control Tower

The increased visibility provided by the proliferation of sensors, smart devices, GPS, RFID and other technologies provides supply chain managers with a fantastic capability to see and manage a widespread and complex supply chain. But the masses of data flowing into the manager’s domain can quickly overwhelm existing systems and tools to the point where […]

There Is Nothing Better than PowerBI … except 40% off PowerBI Licenses

Over the past couple of years Microsoft has been working on their newest reporting and dashboarding tool and if you haven’t seen PowerBI yet then you are missing out on one of the best products to come out of Microsoft ever.  What is even more important about PowerBI is that you may already have some […]

What to Expect in Microsoft Dynamics® CRM 2015

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 update, which is slated for release before the end of the year (2014), will include useful enhancements to sales, marketing and customer service functionalities.  These enhancements will improve the product selling experience within CRM and help sales operations managers and salespeople manage and sell products more effectively.  While the user interface […]

Software is a Strategic or Tactical Decision?

I have been at a conference this week and was absolutely shocked by what I observed. Actually observed is a good term as I was there to meet with the industry consultants and was not on site to get sales leads. What I did observe was an eye opener and caught me by surprise. First, […]

Create Filtered Alerts To Sniff Out The Data You Really Want

Alerts are a great feature within Dynamics AX because they allow you to watch any information that you are interested in and then get alerts when the information is changed or updated. This is great for when you need status updates but are too busy (or lazy) to go into the list pages and look […]

If You Don’t Like The Way Your Data Looks Then Rename It

If you are as OCD about tidy data as I am, then you probably hate data that does not quite match up with everything else in the database. Maybe it’s because you made a mistake in adding some data, or maybe you just want the data to look a little cleaner, we don’t judge. Luckily […]

Choose Where To Go When You Click On Pop-Up Notifications

Pop-up notifications are great because it’s like Dynamics AX is sending you a personalized gift every time they show up. You could be getting a personalized alert that you have set up, or being invited to help with workflow task to streamline the business. You can tweak what happens when you click on the link […]

Declutter Customer Lists By Securing Them Through Address Books

  Sometimes giving everyone access to every contact within the global address book is not necessary. Maybe you want to show people only contacts within their region, or legal entity, maybe you want to hide away inactive contacts from the default lists, or maybe you are just paranoid and don’t want to give people access […]

Add Flair To Your Forms With Achievements

Achievements are everywhere you look. You can get them for checking into your favorite restaurant through Foursquare, you can get them for writing code within Visual Studio, and you can definitely get them on any game that you play on your phone. So why not add them to your Dynamics AX forms so that you […]

Make Users Feel Special By Creating New Role Centers For Their Unique Roles

  Dynamics AX comes pre-packaged with over 40 standard role centers for a lot of the normal user types that you would expect to see within an organization – CFO, Salesperson, AP Clerk, etc. Chances are though you probably have roles within your organization that don’t quite fit into those roles. You can either try […]

Split Your Number Sequences To Make Them Look Intelligent

  The Number Sequences within Dynamics AX are great because they allow you to add a lot of intelligence to your document and transaction numbering. You can add constants to them so that you can quickly see where they came from and sort though them. But it doesn’t stop there. If you have incorporated some […]

Use Auto-Numbering Unless You Don’t Feel Like It

  If you have implemented some sort if intelligence within your numbering or naming schemes within Dynamics AX, then having it automatically assign a sequential number through auto-numbering completely messes up all of your hard work, but having your numbering as just a manual process also has it’s disadvantages because you need to find the […]

Streamline Workflows By Automatically Performing Tasks Based On Conditions

Workflows are great because they enforce a uniform procedure to your business processes, and make sure people are not sidestepping the standard procedures through creative approval processes. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t build steps into your workflows that are sidestepped in certain situations. If you don’t want a certain task to be performed […]

Enable Change Management On Purchase Orders To Track Changes

  If you want to track your Purchase Orders a little more closely, then you may want to turn on the Change Management feature within the Procurement & Sourcing module of Dynamics AX. This gives you the added ability to have workflow approvals on your Purchase Orders, but will also give you the ability to […]

Use Workflows To Trap Transactions For Particular Accounts For Review

    Although you always want to keep an eye on the transactions that are flowing through Dynamics AX, sometimes there are transactions that you want to keep an even closer eye on. Workflow is a great way to do this, but maybe you don’t want to have to initiate a workflow for every transaction, […]

Panorama Consulting Features Microsoft Convergence 2014 Europe

Recently, at Convergence 2014 Europe Microsoft made several important and exciting announcements, including Microsoft’s cloud strategy, new technologies to help businesses increase productivity through mobile functionality and machine-learning capabilities, the upcoming launch of CRM 2015, and new features available in the recent release of Microsoft Dynamics AX. Microsoft Business Solutions executive vice president Kirill Tatarinov […]

Setting Up Future Aging Definition Buckets

If you have ever set up aging definitions within Dynamics AX, then you may have come across a problem (like me) where it seems as though you cannot create an aging bucket that is in the future. But that’s not the case – you just need to know the trick. The confusing part is that […]

Video Blog: Incredible Shrinking Margins Part Two

Industry expert Brent Grover, discusses a plan to rebuild your margins in your wholesale distribution business, in Part Two of his latest video blog series, “Incredible Shrinking Margins”.

Video Blog: Incredible Shrinking Margins Part One

Industry expert Brent Grover, discusses the pricing strategy and the margins distributors are able to obtain in his latest video blog series, “Incredible Shrinking Margins”.

Product Promotion

This blog finishes the discussion of the four Ps of marketing with the final “P” – promotion. Demand Planning and Demand Management start with a forecast which, at its most basic, is a mathematical analysis of past demand projected into the future. This assumes that future demand will be simply an extension of the past. […]

Placing Your Product

Marketing operates in the world of the four Ps – product, price, placement and promotion. Price was discussed in the previous blog so this post addresses place (or placement). It’s all about having the product where the prospective customer can find it. Place also contributes to the perceived value of the product. If the prospect […]

Create Appointments In Outlook Directly From The Discussions in Dynamics AX

The only thing worse that having a “Discussion” with Human Resources is to miss a “Discussion”, and have another “Discussion” created to discuss your poor time planning. To solve this, you may want to think about creating sending out meeting reminders when Discussions are created, which is just the click on the button within Dynamics […]

Pricing Your Product

As mentioned in the previous blog, price has to reflect value, as perceived by the customer. While that may be a difficult thing to determine, the market will tell you pretty quickly whether you got it right or not. That’s true even if the product is truly unique, with no direct competition. If the product […]

Using Advanced Revenue Management To Streamline Sales in Dynamics AX

If the GL is the heart and soul of the financials then pricing and commissions are the heart and soul of the sales organizations.  Being creative within your pricing structures so that you can satisfy your customers is vital, but being able to model them within Dynamics AX is even more important because having to […]

“Other” Supply Chain Risks

Physical risks of supply chain disruption – earthquake, storm, flood, fire, transportation failure, theft – are relatively easy to identify in order to develop avoidance and mitigation plans. There are other risks, however, that might not be so obvious but could be just as dangerous to the health of your supply chain. The suppliers themselves, […]

Supply Chain Risk- Natural Disasters

Natural disasters might be among the most difficult of supply chain risks to plan for. They are mostly unpredictable, often have devastating impact, and can be rare, which makes it difficult to justify costly mitigation strategies. Some dramatic recent examples clearly illustrate these points – Fukushima, the Thailand floods, hurricanes, any significant earthquake. All had […]

Supply Chain Risk Management – Mitigation

Generally speaking, there are four strategies for addressing supply chain risk – avoidance, mitigation, transference, and acceptance. Each of these is addressed in this four-part blog series. If a risk can’t be avoided (eliminated) altogether, perhaps actions can be taken either reduce the probability of its occurrence or reduce the severity of its impact. Let’s […]

Video Blog: Minimize Inventory & Maximize Service

Industry expert, Brent Grover, discusses inventory and service strategy in his video blog, “Minimize Inventory & Maximize Service”.

Supply Chain Risk Management – Avoidance

Generally speaking, there are four strategies for addressing supply chain risk – avoidance, mitigation, transference, and acceptance. Each of these will be addressed in this four-part blog series. Risk avoidance is changing something in order to eliminate the risk or protect the supply chain from its impact. Avoidance is a common and sensible strategy when […]

Join I.B.I.S., Inc. at the 2014 AXUG, GPUG, and CRMUG Summit

I.B.I.S., Inc. will be exhibiting at AXUG Summit 2014 on October 14-17 in St. Louis, MO. Hundreds of Microsoft Dynamics® AX users will be in attendance for a wealth of practical ideas, collaborative learning, in-depth knowledge and unsurpassed networking. The AXUG Summit is an excellent networking opportunity to increase your Dynamics AX knowledge. There will […]

How to Use Management Reporter’s Built-In Data Visualization Tools in Dynamics AX

Management Reporter is a popular tool utilized by many companies. While it is very useful for generating reports for standard financial statements, Management Reporter also boasts a range of other features including the following: directly emailing and printing reports, exporting reports to Excel, drilling down directly into the Dynamics ERP to see the transaction, and […]

ShuBee® Goes Live with Microsoft Dynamics® GP and CRM

I.B.I.S., Inc. is pleased to announce the successful completion of the Microsoft Dynamics® GP and CRM implementation for ShuBee®, a company known for their unique shoe covers, personal protective apparel and their commitment to providing exceptional customer service and experiences. ShuBee® had outgrown their current software and needed more robust reporting and tracking capabilities. After […]

Left to Qualify Functionality in Advanced Supply Chain Software™ for Microsoft Dynamics® AX

The idea of the baker’s dozen allegedly began when baker’s would give 13 units of some baked good instead of an ordered 12, to insure against the items being smaller than the intended size that they are supposed to be. In England, this was designed as a measure to both avoid fines in medieval times […]

Different Supply Chains

The last blog in this series commented on Apple’s supply chain prowess in their ability to produce and distribute 10 million iPhones in time for first release of the new model. Apple runs what’s known as a responsive supply chain, one that is built and operated for speed. While Apple’s supply chain does a really […]

Apple’s Core Competency

When you think of Apple, you most likely think of its industry-leading design, innovation and marketing. These areas are certainly a big part of what has made Apple an industry leader and much-admired consumer products company. But the recent release of the new iPhone should also remind you of the excellent logistics and supply chain […]

Video Blog: Process Streamlining Part Four

Supply chain expert, Brent Grover, discusses automating and streamlining back office functions in Part Four of his video blog series, “Process Streamlining”.

Video Blog: Process Streamlining Part Three

Supply chain expert, Brent Grover, discusses logistics, meaning the warehouse and distribution function, in Part Three of his video blog series, “Process Streamlining”.

Video Blog: Process Streamlining Part Two

Supply chain expert, Brent Grover, discusses the sales process of process streamlining and automation, in Part Two of his video blog series, “Process Streamlining”.

I.B.I.S., Inc. Named to Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Best Places to Work List for the Third Year in A Row

I.B.I.S., Inc. is pleased to announce that for the third year in a row they have been named among The Best Places to Work in Atlanta by The Atlanta Business Chronicle. In a state where small businesses comprise 99 percent of companies, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development, The Best Places to Work […]

Video Blog: Process Streamlining Part One

Supply chain expert, Brent Grover, discusses process streamlining and automation, the secrets of lean distribution in Part One of his video blog series, “Process Streamlining”.

I.B.I.S., Inc.’s iSight 2014

I.B.I.S, Inc.’s annual client conference, iSight, was held at our corporate headquarters September 16-17. We experienced great turn–out this year! We view this event as an important opportunity for us to engage with our clients, in a meaningful way, provide them with useful product information, tips, and tricks, and give them an opportunity to learn from each other, network, […]

Make Troubleshooting Easier with Windows Steps Recorder

It’s often difficult to explain your technical problems to your consultant (or tech-savvy children) but Microsoft includes a tool with Windows 7, 8, 8.1, and Server 2012. This tool will allow you to record the process you follow to achieve a certain result or error, then send the steps as a slideshow to your consultant. […]

Demand Management

Every company struggles with forecasting. It’s difficult to do well. It’s not a major job function for most folks so it’s viewed as an annoyance that detracts from what they are paid to do. And it’s always wrong – that is to say, a forecast is 100% accurate only by chance. No one can know […]

Sales & Operation Planning

In supply chain and operations theory, the focal point where a company sets out its overall strategy for producing products and meeting market demand is a process (or event) called Supply and Operations Planning (S&OP). S&OP is more than a theory, however, it’s the way many companies plan and manage their business. Most of those […]

Supply Chain Event Management (SCEM)

One of the main underlying features of supply chain software (most software, actually) is the ability to accumulate a lot of data and manage that data in such a way that users can gain information and insight from it. Operational software like ERP, MES and supply chain (warehouse management, transportation management) can often include a […]

Big Data and the Supply Chain

Big Data has been a hot topic of discussion in IT circles for a couple of years now. In fact, it’s right up there with “the cloud” in the public’s perception that it’s an important technology that is having (or soon will have) an impact on everything we do – but they really don’t know […]

Supply Chain Technology

This month’s blogs will focus on the technologies that support supply chain management (SCM). The supply chain is all about logistics – the movement and management of goods as they travel from supplier to plant to customer and all stops in between. The technologies that support that movement, storage and tracking are therefore focused on […]

Supply Chain Planning

In the previous blog, I said that the term “supply chain software” is not commonly used to describe broad-based systems that plan and optimize the supply chain. Nevertheless, there are such software products on the market. In brief, these systems compare various strategies for source, quantity and timing of supply and the transportation and storage […]

Let’s Talk About Amazon Supply, Again

Amazon’s  announcement of its second quarter earnings (loss, actually) in late July sparked articles in the New York Times and elsewhere. I was tempted to write something at the time but decided to wait and let the clamor die down before commenting on how the ups and downs of Amazon’s stock (AMZN) affects wholesale distributors […]

Supplier Scorecards

Just about every purchasing, procurement, or supplier relationship management (SRM) program includes some form of supplier performance measurement capability. Procurement departments must monitor supplier performance in order to be able to carry out their responsibilities in managing the supplier base. Typical factors monitored include on-time delivery, correct quantity, correct items and completeness of the order, […]

Trade Exchanges

When the Internet was evolving in the early days of this century, one of the business uses that showed tremendous potential was the emergence of virtual marketplaces for various commodities. These trade exchanges popped up for certain raw materials, different kinds of industrial parts and products, services of various types, supplies, surplus and scrap, and […]

Collaboration is Key

One of the prime tenets of supply chain management is to establish an atmosphere of communication and cooperation between supply chain participants so they can work together to achieve the chain’s overall objectives. Those objectives, of course, are centered on meeting customer demands while making the best use of all available resources and making a […]

CRM Software for Distributors

I was in a meeting recently at a client, a specialized distributor who has 50+ sales professionals in several regions across the country. The agenda included discussion of the Company’s newly-acquired CRM (customer relationship management) software, currently in the pilot testing stage with a handful of tech-savvy sales reps. Everyone in the executive group is […]

Appropriate Security Privileges to Override Pricing via JavaScript

This post springs out of a recent experience in which some JavaScript I’d written worked fine in testing, but then threw permissions-related errors in production. And to answer the first question in your head: No I did not test it thoroughly enough – I only tested my code with a System Administrator account (so of […]

Trouble at the Ports

Difficult labor negotiations at West Coast ports have retailers stocking up early with holiday merchandise in an attempt to insulate themselves from potential disruptions should the flow of goods be disrupted if the workers strike or slow down. This is a smart move by the retailers who would rather incur increased inventory now than lose […]

I.B.I.S., Inc. Employee Recognized in Microsoft eBook, 12 Amazing Tech Jobs and the Women Who Rock Them

Abby Moore Recognized As a Dynamic Female in the Tech Industry I.B.I.S., Inc., is pleased to announce that Abby Moore, Team Lead for I.B.I.S., Inc., was featured in Microsoft’s new eBook “12 Amazing Tech Jobs and the Women Who Rock Them: Imagine What You Can Do.” This free eBook, published by Microsoft, provides an inside […]

Video Blog: Expanding Your Footprint Part Three

Supply chain expert, Brent Grover, discusses expanding your adjacent market acquisitions in Part Three of his blog series, “Expanding Your Footprint”.

Plant Location

A company starts its business in the United States, and after doing well domestically decides to branch out into other geographies. It may start by exporting some product to the target country or countries to test the waters. When the potential is proven, they decide that more production capacity is needed to handle the projected […]


Unlike import restrictions and charges (see previous blog), exporting is usually free and unrestricted – countries like to encourage manufacturing (and jobs) and are happy to have producers market their goods in other geographies. There are restrictions, however, on certain kinds of exports, and keep in mind that the country on the other end of […]

I.B.I.S., Inc. Recognized as Finalist for the 2014 Microsoft Dynamics Partner of the Year for the United States

I.B.I.S., Inc., leading provider of Microsoft Dynamics supply chain solutions to the midmarket, was named as a finalist for the 2014 Microsoft Dynamics Regional Partner of Year award. The Microsoft Dynamics Partner of the Year awards demonstrate exceptional business success by optimizing the use of Microsoft Dynamics to deliver innovative solutions that exceed customer expectations […]

Management Reporter 2012 Troubleshooting: Dealing with the Data Mart

If you are utilizing or considering Management Reporter as a complement to your Dynamics installation, you have probably come across the term “Data Mart.” No, it’s not a new store with aisles of GL data you need to start clipping coupons for, but it is an efficient method of generating your financial reports. The traditional […]

I.B.I.S., Inc. Wins 2014 Microsoft Dynamics President’s Club Award

I.B.I.S., Inc. Wins 2014 Microsoft Dynamics President’s Club Award I.B.I.S., Inc. Honored by Microsoft for Delivering Outstanding Dynamics Solutions and Expert Consulting Services PEACHTREE CORNERS, GA — July 18, 2014 —I.B.I.S., Inc., leading provider of Microsoft Dynamics supply chain solutions to the midmarket, has become a member of the 2014 Microsoft Dynamics President’s Club. The […]

Import Restrictions

Countries like to protect their own industries (and jobs) and one of the ways they do that is through import duties and restrictions. Duties are essentially taxes, imposed on particular goods that cross the border into the country. This makes the goods more expensive and therefore less competitive to native producers. Import limits are another […]

I.B.I.S., Inc. Receives the 2014 Microsoft Dynamics InnerCircle Award

I.B.I.S., Inc. Receives the 2014 Microsoft Dynamics InnerCircle Award I.B.I.S., Inc. Honored by Microsoft for Achieving Outstanding Levels of Achievement and Innovation PEACHTREE CORNERS, GA — July 18, 2014 —I.B.I.S., Inc., was honored with the prestigious 2014 Microsoft Dynamics InnerCircle Award during this month’s Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference. This elite award is given to the […]

I.B.I.S., Inc. is Proud to Sponsor the 2014 U.S. Amateur Championship

I.B.I.S., Inc. is pleased to sponsor the U.S. Amateur Championship. The world’s best amateur golfers will gather August 11-17, at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, GA. We are looking forward to seeing all the young and talented players and are thrilled to be sponsoring such a prestigious event! For more information, please visit:

Video Blog: Expanding Your Footprint Part Two

Supply chain expert, Brent Grover, discusses expanding your footprint for decisions that go into geographic market expansion for wholesale distributors in Part Two of his blog series, “Expanding Your Footprint”.

The Corn is High!

It’s July in the northeast with lots of sunshine and gentle rain, and the corn is rising. The corn is especially tall in Cleveland (where I’m from) this week with the news of being named the GOP convention site for 2016 – not to mention the return of our favorite basketball son! But, I digress […]

Containers and the Revolutionized World of International Commerce

The standardized shipping container has absolutely revolutionized the world of international commerce. Prior to widespread use of containers, the cost of shipping goods across the ocean was too high for all but the highest value-density items. Now, those costs are very modest, to the point that it’s economical to ship virtually anything anywhere – and […]

Video Blog: Expanding Your Footprint Part One

Supply chain expert, Brent Grover, discusses expanding your footprint for decisions that go into geographic market expansion for wholesale distributors in Part One of his blog series, “Expanding Your Footprint”.


Many parts and products are made outside of the product owner’s home country, and a large share of that production takes place in China. Many U.S. based companies that opted to use Chinese suppliers are now reconsidering those decisions. Some have announced that they are “bringing back” production to the U.S. in what the press […]

Measuring People Productivity

I was chatting this week with a client, a large Canadian distributor, about Key Performance Indicators. When I stated that “PPR” (Personnel Productivity Ratio) may be the most important one she said “What does that ratio measure?”. Her question is a reminder that many high-level executives and other managers running wholesale distributors don’t understand what […]

Outsourcing: Off-Shoring Part Two

The previous blog post looked at some of the major aspects of sourcing (make-or-buy), and finished up with mention of international sourcing or off-shoring. China has established itself as the world’s factory, a reputation built on low wage rates, massive infrastructure investment by the Chinese government, and what some consider an artificially low currency value […]

Video Blog: Improve Your Product Availability Part Four

Supply chain expert, Brent Grover, discusses optimizing product availability and inventory management in Part Four of his blog series, “Improving Your Product Availability”.

Video Blog: Improve Product Availability Part Three

Supply chain expert, Brent Grover, discusses optimizing product availability and inventory management in Part Three of his blog series, “Improving Your Product Availability”.

Video Blog: Improve Your Product Availability Part Two

Supply chain expert, Brent Grover, discusses optimizing product availability and inventory management in Part Two of his blog series, “Improve Your Product Availability”.

Video Blog: Improve Your Product Availability

Supply chain expert, Brent Grover, discusses optimizing product availability and inventory management in his latest video blog post.

Outsourcing: Off-Shoring Part One

There is always a choice when sourcing a component or an entire product – the item can be made in-house or it can be sourced from a supplier. A lot more goes into that decision than just unit cost comparison. First, there’s the issue of whether making it in-house is even possible. If that’s a […]

Using Excel to Import Customers & Vendors in Dynamics AX

At this point in my GuygAX project (a.k.a. implementing Dungeons & Dragons within ERP), I have been configuring all of my merchants and customers. Doing this by hand would take forever, so I decided to use the Excel Add-In make the loading of the records a little easier. This process is not quite as simple […]

Who Was Gordon Graham?

Modern inventory control systems became commonplace in distribution about 30 years ago with the introduction of what was known as minicomputers. The enterprise software packages for those minicomputers are the grandparents of the programs distributors use today for billing, inventory control, accounts receivable, general ledger, payables, etc. Let’s focus on inventory control. The distributor’s new […]

Life Cycle Services Webcast

This past week I.B.I.S., Inc. and Microsoft teamed up to present a webcast on Microsoft Dynamics® Life Cycle Services. Satish Thomas, Group Program Manager and Murtaza Chowdhury, Program Manager, demonstrated how much better, faster, and easier it will be to manage your Dynamics® AX projects and resolve support issues when you do it with Life […]

The News is Good – What to Do?

The Washington Post reported this week that the economy shrank in the first quarter (for the first time in 3 years) but this didn’t come as news to wholesale distributors. We held our collective breath in January and February, blaming sluggish sales on the weather –– and hoping we were right. Seems that the optimism […]

Safety Stock

Every company has safety stock, whether they like to admit it or not. It’s just smart business sense to have a little extra stock around “just in case”. Just in case the supplier delivers late or some of the supplied items don’t pass the quality tests. Just in case there is lower than normal yield […]

Retail Store Inventory

Every retail store carries inventory – on the shelves and in their back room – sufficient to accommodate expected customer demand. Most often, the retailer manages its own inventory, placing orders for replenishment with their suppliers as they see fit. In some cases, however, the supplier determines how much inventory to ship to the store […]

What to Do with Excess Inventory

Excess inventory is a problem – it’s embarrassing, it takes up space and ties up company resources (money, among other things), and it tends to sit around seemingly forever. So what can you do about excess and obsolete inventory? First of all, there is a difference. Excess inventory is simply more than is needed at […]

Seasonal Inventory

Many manufacturers have products or product lines with seasonal demand such that, during the peak season, the demand exceeds their ability to produce the product(s). These manufacturers have little choice but to build up inventory ahead of the demand surge and sell it off to supplement peak production during the busy season. Truthfully, there are […]

Going Global

Sourcing parts and materials, and distributing products, on a global basis is no longer just for the biggest multi-nationals. Mid-sized and small companies are finding great success in the world of international business thanks to a number of developments that have occurred over the last several decades. • Shipping is readily available, to and from […]

Video Blog: Winning Sales Teams Part Two

In Part Two of Brent Grover’s blog series, “Winning Sales Teams”, Brent Grover discusses the first of the three methods of building a winning sales team, expanding the team.

How Many Warehouses?

Setting up and managing a distribution network is a monumental task, and a very important one. Every company with a physical product to distribute must decide how many warehouses and distribution centers they need, where they should be, how big they should be, and what inventory to store in them (as well as how to […]

Who’s Your Business Confidant?

I spoke recently at a Distributor Roundtable dinner hosted for clients of a large Cleveland law firm. The distributor CEOs are brought together twice a year to hear a short presentation about, and to discuss, a topic of mutual interest. The cocktail hour conversation quickly turned to what Amazon Supply is trying to accomplish and […]

Distribution Requirements Planning (DRP)

Material Requirements Planning (MRP) in manufacturing uses a master schedule (derived from the forecast) along with bill of materials and inventory information to develop a time-phased material acquisition plan to supply the components and materials needed, when needed, to be able to build the products according to the master schedule. Distribution Requirements Planning (DRP) is […]

Push and Pull

Distribution inventory replenishment can be managed using a number of different approaches. Two of those philosophies can be characterized as “push” and “pull”. In the push approach, the central supply (factory) determines what to ship, in what quantities, and when to ship it. Theoretically, the factory can develop the most efficient and effective production schedules […]

The Perils of Over-Modifying Software

Evergreen Consulting did a distributor survey not too long ago asking about why distributors don’t try harder to stay on (or close to) the current version of their ERP system software. The number one reason given is the high cost of software modifications. Ownership feels locked in to the old version of their software because […]

Why Have Inventory?

There are really only two reasons to have inventory: to accommodate the different cycles of supply and demand (decoupling) and as a hedge against variability (safety stock). This applies to the plant as well as every warehouse in the supply chain. The amount of inventory should be appropriate for the purpose. More inventory than is […]

Custom Master Page Theme in Sharepoint 2013 in Dynamics AX

This step-by-step guide provides a quick way to enable a custom master page theme in Sharepoint 2013 in six easy steps. Create a one Page HTML/CSS page Map master page file folder Upload the contents of the HTML Update Theme HTML Convert the HTML file to a Sharepoint master page Activate 1. Create a one […]

Measurements in the Supply Chain

We can’t finish up a blog series about supply chain tools and technologies without at least a mention of measurements and analytics. Every supply chain application – transportation management, warehouse management, demand planning, S&OP and its various supporting applications – all manage data and collect a history of what happened, what the conditions were when […]

Warehouse Management Systems

The supply chain is all about the movement of goods between one location and another – from supplier to plant, from plant to warehouse, and on through warehouses and distribution centers to the customer. Managing transportation resources and warehouses, therefore, are prime concerns of supply chain management. The previous blog looked at transportation management systems […]

Video Blog: Winning Sales Team Part Four

In Part Four of Brent Grover’s blog series, “Winning Sales Teams”, Brent Grover discusses the third of the three methods of building a winning sales team, upskilling the sales team.

Video Blog: Winning Sales Teams Part Three

In Part Three of Brent Grover’s blog series, “Winning Sales Teams”, Brent Grover discusses the second of the three methods of building a winning sales team, improving the quality of the players.

Managing in a Low-Inflation Environment

After learning how to manage in the “muddle-through economy” distributors are now forced to adapt to low-inflation. How low? As I mentioned in a recent blog, in a recent speech Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen stated that she is concerned that  U.S. inflation is hovering around 1%. She indicated that the Fed would like to […]

I.B.I.S., Inc. Named 2014 VAR Star by Bob Scott’s Insights

Contact: I.B.I.S., Inc. Angela Goldberg Chief Marketing Officer (770) 903-3182 I.B.I.S., Inc. Named 2014 VAR Star by Bob Scott’s Insights Credits Global Launch and Industry Focus on Distribution & Manufacturing PEACHTREE CORNERS, GA — May 19, 2014 —I.B.I.S., Inc., leading provider of Microsoft Dynamics supply chain solutions to the midmarket, has been named a 2014 […]

Deploying Dynamics AX R3 For Testing On Azure Through Lifecycle Services

Lifecycle Services is the one-stop-shop for you as a partner, a prospective customer, and also a fully-fledged Dynamics AX user because it is chock full of tools that you can use to make your life so much easier. One of these tools is the Cloud Hosted Environment feature that will create a Dynamics AX environment […]

Company Financial Data Doesn’t Appear in Management Reporter 2012

A multi-company client recently encountered a situation where a newly created company produced no data in their consolidated financials. The resolution lies in the way the Account Segments were named in the Account Format Setup window. In this particular company, the GL Account segment name was abbreviated: Note in the first image that ‘GL Account’ […]

New Social Media Platforms in CRM

I am sure that we can all agree that now more than ever, customers purchasing decisions are influenced by social media. Multiple studies conducted on this subject indicate that increasing number of adults are utilizing social networks as channels to find, receive, and communicate information about products and services that they use.  Further, social media […]

New Business Process Flows in Dynamics CRM 2013

A cool new feature, and selling point, of Dynamics CRM 2013 is the business process flow (BPF). If you find yourself in the elevator with your boss, and have to pitch to him why you need CRM 2013 and BPFs before you get off at floor 3 and he continues to floor 50, you could […]

Advanced Supply Chain Software™ for Microsoft Dynamics® : Related Products in Sales Order Entry

When customer service representatives are taking sales orders, whether that is over the phone, or at a conference or trade show, they need to have the most information about the customer, the products, and the sales opportunity as possible. Advanced Supply Chain Software™ for Microsoft Dynamics® AX makes a lot of changes to present information to the […]

Save Money and Improve Service at the Same Time with TMS

Transportation Management Systems (TMS) are really coming to the forefront as companies face ever increasing and unpredictable costs, increasing demand for faster delivery, and growing complexity in the options available from transportation providers. TMS offers a solution to this complexity and a real opportunity to save money and improve service at the same time. Typical […]

Inventory Optimization

Many functions of ERP – in fact, you could even say that ERP itself – are aimed at least in part on reducing inventory or finding the right level of inventory to minimize shortages while satisfying demand. So what is inventory optimization and how is it different from what we are trying to do in […]

Demand Management

Forecasting is considered by many to be a necessary evil. Forecasts are nearly always wrong, it is difficult to gather the needed data and apply statistics and other information and opinions to develop a reasonable guess about future demand, and on top of that an accurate forecast is essential to delivering good customer service so […]

The Heart of Effective Supply Chain Management: Collaboration

Collaboration – working together with partners through cooperative interaction – is at the heart of effective supply chain management. All supply chain participants are presumed to be working toward the same goals and the more information is shared and activities are coordinated, the more successful these efforts should be. In most supply chains, collaboration takes […]

Planning the Supply Network

Supply Chains (networks) can be quite complex, with many suppliers and distributors, warehouses, plants and service providers interacting in multiple ways with supplies and products moving in various quantities at different times. All of this must be planned and managed. Most supply networks grow bit-by-bit over an extended period of time as new products are […]

The Ongoing Battle of Delivery Time

Delivery time seems to be the headline issue in the battle between brick-and-mortar stores and online retailers. It’s the one obvious advantage of in-person retail that the e-marketers are finding hard to beat. In-store purchases provide instant gratification. Online stores often offer lower prices (which could be overtaken by shipping costs) and wider selection. Various […]

Sales & Operations Planning

The purpose of the supply chain is to deliver value, in the form of product and services, to the customer. The supply chain has resources – plants, warehouses, people, skills, inventory, etc. – that it employs to achieve this objective. Planning and coordination of the resources to meet the goal takes place in a process […]

Value is in the Eye of the Beholder: Optimize Pricing Based on Perceived Value

Some companies (and supply chains) compete on low price – think Wal-Mart, Dollar Tree – while others make high price a product characteristic (Rolex, Neiman-Marcus). How can one outlet sell a product for $10 and another sell essentially the same product for $20? It’s all about perceived value. Setting the appropriate price for the perceived […]

In a World Gone Mobile…

It wasn’t very long ago that an online strategy centered on the development of a web presence with product information and a shopping cart. Expectations grew from there as companies added more and more features and functions to their website or portal. As many companies finalized their web presence (not that something like this is […]

Video Blog: Winning Sales Teams Part One

In Part One of Brent Grover’s blog series, “Winning Sales Teams”, Brent Grover discusses the three main challenges faced when building a top-notch sales team.

What’s On Your “Sales Dashboard”?

I attended a board meeting at a large distributor this week. The VP Sales reported that a new “Dashboard Report” was being developed for the field sales team. The report will capture a variety of sales metrics about each customer. The Dashboard will be timely, detailed and accurate, and it will be distributed each week […]

How Much Return on Investment Is Enough?

I’m joining the throng of 20,000 shareholders at the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting in Omaha this weekend. This event has been on my bucket list for years. I probably won’t get too close to Warren Buffett, but what will I ask him if by chance we end up in the same elevator? Buffett invests in […]

Video Blog: Sales Channels Part Five

In Part Five of Brent Grover’s blog series, “Sales Channels”, Brent Grover discusses the three sales channel options that wholesale distributors have to choose from. He sums up his “Sales Channels” series by stating that it is a “three-legged stool” for wholesale distributors.

Return on Sales: How Much Is Enough?

Wholesale distributors use acronyms and code words to describe their company performance: “ROS” (return on sales), “ROI” (return on investment), “ROA” (return on assets), “ROTA” (return on total assets) and “RONA” (return on net assets), to name a few. These terms have precise meanings, but are they meaningful to our employees? Most of us pay […]

Inflation: Distributor’s Friend or Foe?

Last week, in her second public speech, new Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen indicated that low inflation is a greater threat to the American economy than rising prices.  Harvard professor Martin Feldstein, a former advisor to President Reagan, asked Yellen if she would give the economy some support by letting inflation rise above 2%. Her […]

Video Blog: Sales Channels Part Four

In Part Four of Brent Grover’s blog series, “Sales Channels”, Brent Grover discusses one of the sales channel options that wholesale distributors have to choose from, electronic sales channels.

Video Blog: Sales Channels Part Three

In Part Three of Brent Grover’s blog series, “Sales Channels”, Brent Grover discusses one of the sales channel options that wholesale distributors have to choose from, proactive inside sales reps.

Deploying Dynamics AX R3 For Testing On Azure Through Lifecycle Services

Lifecycle Services is the one-stop-shop for you as a partner, a prospective customer, and also a fully-fledged Dynamics AX user because it is chock full of tools that you can use to make your life so much easier. One of these tools is the Cloud Hosted Environment feature that will create a Dynamics AX environment […]

Sales Compensation Dilemma?

Two distributor CEOs were having lunch and talking about their businesses. One of the them said he was unhappy with his sales results and was going to switch his sales compensation plan from salaries to straight commission. The other CEO said the she too was unhappy with her sales performance and was planning to change […]

Demand Management

Forecasting is considered by many to be a necessary evil. Forecasts are nearly always wrong, it is difficult to gather the needed data and apply statistics and other information and opinions to develop a reasonable guess about future demand, and on top of that an accurate forecast is essential to delivering good customer service so […]

How Much Return on Investment Is Enough?

I’m joining the throng of 20,000 shareholders at the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting in Omaha this weekend. This event has been on my bucket list for years. I probably won’t get too close to Warren Buffett, but what will I ask him if by chance we end up in the same elevator? Buffett invests in […]

The Heart of Effective Supply Chain Management: Collaboration

Collaboration – working together with partners through cooperative interaction – is at the heart of effective supply chain management. All supply chain participants are presumed to be working toward the same goals and the more information is shared and activities are coordinated, the more successful these efforts should be. In most supply chains, collaboration takes […]

Sales & Operations Planning

The purpose of the supply chain is to deliver value, in the form of product and services, to the customer. The supply chain has resources – plants, warehouses, people, skills, inventory, etc. – that it employs to achieve this objective. Planning and coordination of the resources to meet the goal takes place in a process […]

Inflation: Distributor’s Friend or Foe?

Last week, in her second public speech, new Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen indicated that low inflation is a greater threat to the American economy than rising prices.  Harvard professor Martin Feldstein, a former advisor to President Reagan, asked Yellen if she would give the economy some support by letting inflation rise above 2%. Her […]

The Ongoing Battle of Delivery Time

Delivery time seems to be the headline issue in the battle between brick-and-mortar stores and online retailers. It’s the one obvious advantage of in-person retail that the e-marketers are finding hard to beat. In-store purchases provide instant gratification. Online stores often offer lower prices (which could be overtaken by shipping costs) and wider selection. Various […]

A Message From NAED National

As we reported last week, I.B.I.S., Inc. was a recent sponsor of the 2014 National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) National Meeting. NAED conferences are a tremendous way to learn about the latest products and technologies in electrical distribution and network with your colleagues in the industry. Regional conferences are terrific for local networking, but […]

I.B.I.S., Inc. Strategic Booth Session @ 2014 NAED National Conference

The 2014 National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) National Meeting will be held in San Francisco, California on April 26-29th. If you are an electrical distributor, it’s quite likely you’ve already registered. But for those of you who have not, it’s not too late. Register today. Stop by and visit I.B.I.S., Inc. at the Strategic Planning […]

Value is in the Eye of the Beholder: Optimize Pricing Based on Perceived Value

Some companies (and supply chains) compete on low price – think Wal-Mart, Dollar Tree – while others make high price a product characteristic (Rolex, Neiman-Marcus). How can one outlet sell a product for $10 and another sell essentially the same product for $20? It’s all about perceived value. Setting the appropriate price for the perceived […]

Omni-Channel Special Offers

Our local office supply store, which happens to be a branch of one of the big national chains, puts an insert in the newspaper every Sunday with coupons that are good in-store only. I also receive emails regularly from this same company that often include coupons and specials only good on on-line orders. Is this […]

Video Blog: Sales Channels Part Two

In Part Two of Brent Grover’s blog series, “Sales Channels”, Brent Grover discusses one of  the sales channel options that distributors have to choose from, outside sales reps, supported by reactive customer service staff.

Cost to Serve

Recently, a friend asked me to explain what is the “right” cost to serve ratio for distributors. Is a ratio of 1:1 correct? What did he mean by cost to serve ratio? I asked him what the cost to serve ratio he had in mind was intended to measure. If we’re comparing cost to serve […]

Can’t Get No… Customer Satisfaction Measurement

Customer service is (at least partially) defined as meeting expectations in terms of availability and lead time. When a customer places an order, at the stated or expected lead time, what is the track record of fulfilling that expectation? Service level, usually expressed as a percentage, can be measured a number of ways – percent […]

Sourcing Choices

Another article about re-shoring crossed my desk this morning – one of many that I’ve seen over the last few years. This one, in Foreign Policy magazine, proclaims that a number of factors are falling into place that will benefit American manufacturing. The article cited survey results showing a significant percentage of medium and large […]

Objectives of the Supply Chain

The purpose of the supply chain is to make product available to meet customer demand – and that includes delivery to the appropriate location, on time, in sufficient quantity. Supply chain management is focused on doing that in the most efficient and effective way. Everything else is of secondary importance. Given the above, it is […]

Video Blog: Sales Channels Part One

In Part One of Brent Grover’s blog series, “Sales Channels”, Brent Grover discusses the sales channel options that distributors have to choose from and how no distributor can really afford to utilize just one channel.

Multiple Supply Chains

Unless you sell only one particular product to only one defined set of customers, you probably have a range of sourcing and distribution alternatives to coordinate. You should think of these as multiple supply chains, each designed and operated to meet the needs of the particular product / market they support. That’s important because the […]

Dynamics AX R3 is Nigh and It Doesn’t Just Improve Warehousing and Transportation

We are only days away from the official launch of the R3 Release of Dynamics AX, and it is chock full of new functionality. Everyone has been talking about the new Warehouse and Transportation Management functions that are included in this new release, but that’s not the half of it. There is so much more […]

Invoice and Add-On Charges

Many years ago, a  distributor friend in Chicago let me in on a little secret. His company had started adding small handling charge – just a couple of dollars – to most invoices. To his surprise, most of the customers paid the add-on charge without questioning it. There was some pushback from the company’s sales […]

The Growing Importance of Omni-Channel Sales and Distribution Continued

The previous post addressed the inventory challenge in a multi-channel sales and distribution environment. This post comments a bit more on the broader subject of omni-channel sales. Wikipedia states, in part, that omni-channel is aimed at providing “…a seamless approach to the consumer experience through all available shopping channels…”. Brick-and-mortar retailers are engaged in a […]

Video Blog: Value Added Services Part 3

Supply chain expert, Brent Grover, continues to discuss how adding services that customers will pay for, is a long-time challenge for wholesale distributors but is essential in order to achieve exceptional customer service.

Video Blog: Investing in E-Commerce Part Three

In Part 3 of Brent Grover’s video blog series, “Investing in E-Commerce”, Brent Grover discusses the dramatic option that wholesale distributors have as they consider their strategic investment in electronic commerce, starting a new business.

The Supply Chain Makes Headlines

The Supply Chain was in the news again recently, mentioned in conjunction with shortages of propane that have afflicted the certain areas of the country. While it’s nice that Supply Chain is getting some acknowledgement in the popular press, it’s too bad that this notice only seems to happen when there’s a problem. Nevertheless, the […]

Private Label Branding & Distributors

“Back in the day”, our paper and packaging supplies business distributed 3M and Kimberly-Clark products such as Scotch™ Brand tapes and Kleenex™ Brand tissues. These brand names are household words, so familiar that customers typically use them to refer to any cellophane tape or facial tissue. The same is true of course with Jello™ and […]

Supplier Communications

One form of collaboration with suppliers is to provide more information sooner. Rather than just surprise suppliers with a Purchase Order (PO) – hopefully at the proper lead time for them to respond through normal processes and not have to expedite to meet your needs. There’s a lot in that sentence so let’s break it […]

B2B and B2C E-Commerce

E-commerce, buying and selling over the Internet, can take many forms. Perhaps the simplest breakdown is to distinguish between Business-to-Business (B2B) commerce and Business-to-Consumer (B2C). The names describe the situations pretty well. And it’s pretty clear that the requirements and expectations can be quite different when dealing with these two situations. Business-to-consumer e-commerce is mostly […]

I.B.I.S., Inc.’s New Book Helps Distributors Get the Most Out of Microsoft Dynamics AX

PEACHTREE CORNERS, GA — March 18, 2014—I.B.I.S., Inc., leading provider of Microsoft Dynamics supply chain solutions to distributors and manufacturers, announced today the launch of a new book written by I.B.I.S., Inc. AX Solution Architect and Microsoft MVP, Murray Fife. “A Distributor’s Guide to Microsoft Dynamics AX” was written to help distributors become comfortable with […]

IBM & I.B.I.S., Inc. Launch Wholesale Distribution Video

Does your ERP system offer the comprehensive features, scalability and global reach you need along with the simplicity your users demand? IBM Accelerated Distributor Solutions, enabled by I.B.I.S., Inc., on Microsoft Dynamics AX, offers the features and capabilities you need to address these challenges.

Video Blog: Investing in E-Commerce Part Two

In Part 2 of Brent Grover’s video blog series, “Investing in E-Commerce”, Brent Grover continues to discuss the options that wholesale distributors have as they consider their strategic investment in electronic commerce. )

I.B.I.S., Inc.’s New Book Helps Distributors Get the Most Out of Microsoft Dynamics AX

PEACHTREE CORNERS, GA — March 18, 2014—I.B.I.S., Inc., leading provider of Microsoft Dynamics supply chain solutions to distributors and manufacturers, announced today the launch of a new book written by I.B.I.S., Inc. AX Solution Architect and Microsoft MVP, Murray Fife. “A Distributor’s Guide to Microsoft Dynamics AX” was written to help distributors get comfortable with […]

Two Key Pieces to the Supply Chain Puzzle: Visibility and Collaboration

Current theory asserts that there are two keys to effective supply chain management: visibility and collaboration. With these two pieces in place, supply chains should be able to reduce lead times, improve responsiveness and agility, and reduce inventory while improving service levels. It’s really all about reducing lag time and eliminating surprises. The sooner you […]

I.B.I.S., Inc. at Microsoft Dynamics Convergence 2014

This year at Microsoft Dynamics Convergence 2014… I.B.I.S., Inc. made a big splash this year as a Silver Sponsor at Microsoft Dynamics Convergence 2014 where we debuted our bold, new tradeshow booth and announced our expanded partnership with IBM. IBM’s decision to resell Advanced Supply Chain Software™ for Microsoft Dynamics® AX is further validation of the software’s unique […]

The Ever-Changing Supply Chain and the Importance of Visibility

One universal characteristic of any supply chain is that it is always changing. New products, new customers, changing volume, new suppliers, volatile transportation costs… nothing about the supply chain can be considered permanent or even long term. No matter how good a job you do of structuring your supply chain, you can’t expect it to […]

Hot Off the Press! News from APIC (Advanced Profit Innovation Conference)

You should have been there!  On March 4-5, another sell-out crowd of industry innovators (100 people from 40 wholesaler-distributors) attended the Spring 2014 APIC (12th in a series) in Scottsdale. The semi-annual APIC has become known as the thought leader event for innovative distributors. The 12 presenter-facilitators included Bruce Merrifield, Al Bates, Steve Epner, Jonathan […]

IBM to Resell Advanced Supply Chain Software for Microsoft Dynamics® AX powered by I.B.I.S., Inc.

I.B.I.S., Inc. is pleased to announce that IBM will be reselling the company’s supply chain solution, Advanced Supply Chain Software™ for Microsoft Dynamics® AXIBM chose Advanced Supply Chain Software for Microsoft Dynamics® AX as the supply chain solution for their Dynamics AX wholesale distribution offering. According to IBM, this “expanded collaboration with Microsoft and I.B.I.S., Inc. […]

What Place Does Radio-Frequency Identification Hold in the World of Manufacturing and Distribution?

Radio-frequency Identification (RFID) technology has been around for a number of years, but it has not been as widely applied as some may have thought, based on the early excitement. When it was a new idea, it seemed so attractive that some pundits proclaimed that it would rapidly replace ordinary bar code in many applications. […]

Trading Information For Inventory

Inventory in the supply chain serves two specific purposes: it bridges the gap between the lead time the customer (the next level of the supply or distribution chain) expects and the lead time to replenish; and it compensates for variability and surprises. The bigger the difference between customer lead time and replenishment lead time, the […]

The “Art of the Deal” for Distributor M&A

The demand for wholesaler-distributors in the M&A marketplace remains high. Both financial and strategic buyers continue to pay historically high multiples (7X-8X)  for highly attractive distribution companies. As always the most sought-after targets are growing, profitable distributors with capable management, strong balance sheets and limited customer and vendor concentration. Larger distributors command higher multiples (1X-2X […]

JEGS Electrical Transforming Customer Service, Sales with Help of IBM and Microsoft

  ARMONK, N.Y. and Atlanta, G.A. – 04 March 2014: IBM and Microsoft (NYSE: MSFT) today announced that JEGS, a UK-based national distributor of electrical, house ware, DIY, and gardening products, has chosen a combination of innovation software and services from Microsoft and IBM to reach new customers and markets by automating key business processes. […]

The Key To Managing A Global Supply Chain: Visibility

I worked with a company a few years ago that had a vision of a “glass pipeline”, a supply chain that was completely visible. I like that image. Imagine being able to see every shipment, what it contains, and where it is; every item in every warehouse; customer orders, acknowledgements, production schedules, purchase order status; […]

John J. Buckley, Jr.

John Buckley, the quintessential trade association executive and chief professional of the Industrial Supply Association (ISA), died on February 12 at the age of 66. John was working at home that afternoon and suffered what appeared to be a heart attack just after hitting the send button on an e-mail to a colleague at ISA. […]

Enhance Customer Service, Gain A Competitive Edge, & Reduce Inventory All At The Same Time With Value-Adding Services

A warehouse can do more than store goods. Warehouses can also provide value-adding services that enhance customer service and add a competitive edge while reducing inventory at the same time. Many companies, particularly those in the consumer goods industry, offer unique packaging or labeling to different customers for the same items. These products can be […]

Video Blog: Value Added Services Part 2

Brent Grover, distribution author and expert, continues to discuss the problem wholesale distributors have with creating value for customers and then facing the problem that follows, which is trying to get paid for those services through fees or additional margins on the products sold.

Create A Rhythmic Flow In Your Warehouse With Warehouse Management Systems

How many of which items to put in a warehouse is one issue, addressed by ERP and distribution management systems. How to manage what’s in the warehouse and the warehouse resources themselves are quite another matter. Warehouse space and staff can be a significant expense and companies want to make the most of what they […]

Video Blog: Value Added Services Part 1

Supply chain expert, Brent Grover, discusses how adding services that customers will pay for, is a long-time challenge for wholesale distributors but is essential in order to achieve exceptional customer service.

Warehouse Inventory Management: The 3 Approaches To Replenishment

Most companies consider warehouse inventory as a necessary evil – an expense that they’d rather not have to pay but a requirement for delivering the necessary service level to customers. A distribution network can consist of any number of warehouses, some of which supply other warehouses in an expanding, pyramid-like arrangement. The plant or central […]

Providing Exceptional Customer Service Through Effective Warehouse Management

As goods move through the supply chain, they have to be someplace – either on a vehicle or in a holding place… a warehouse. Some goods travel point-to-point, moving from the plant to the buyer/consumer without stops in between. This inventory is considered to be “in transit” and may be tracked through the use of […]

Outsourcing Elements Of Your Supply Chain: A Cost Savings?

Manufacturers will often contract with outside companies that provide logistics services including transportation, warehousing, shipment consolidation and brokering, import/export assistance, and more. These service providers are considered ‘third parties’ that participate in the purchase, sale and delivery of goods in addition to the principles (buyer and seller are the first two ‘parties’). Any logistics service […]

The Secret to Superior Customer Service: An Integrated Supply Chain

Logistics and the supply chain are all about moving and storing goods and that involves transportation resources, often provided by partners. Many companies use package delivery services extensively – UPS, FedEx, and the like. These delivery providers have been quite aggressive in recent years in pursuing more of the logistics business, extending their offered services […]

Distributor Software Requirements For Specialized Inventory (such as VMI)

Inventory is one of the distributor’s two largest assets, usually comprising 40% or more of total assets. Smart utilization of inventory is essential to achieving a strong return on investment (ROI). Most of today’s ERP software systems enable well-managed distributors to do a good job turning inventory while providing acceptable fill rates for their customers. […]

Sustainability and Reverse Logistics

In today’s world, companies, their customers and stakeholders, and the community at large are increasingly concerned about environmental matters. For companies that make and distribute durable products, that often means making provision for the return of products at end-of-life for remanufacturing, recycling of materials, and/or recapture and re-use or proper disposal of toxic substances. Many […]

Taking Advantage of the Reverse Supply Chain

In today’s world, companies, their customers and stakeholders, and the community at large are increasingly concerned about environmental matters. For companies that make and distribute durable products, that often means making provision for the return of products at end-of-life for remanufacturing, recycling of materials, and/or recapture and re-use or proper disposal of toxic substances. Many […]

Supply Chain Visibility: A Game Changing Move

There’s more to the supply chain than just suppliers and customers. The supply chain is all about logistics, the movement and storage of goods, and that entails warehouses, transportation providers, and a host of supporting resources including brokers, agents, consolidators, customs and import/export facilitators, and more. There are also many links on the communications, information, […]

Excel Cube Functions: Exclude a Single Member from a Set

I’ve talked previously about how one can use MDX to create sophisticated cube sets in Excel, but I was recently stumped by a questions from one of my clients. The question seemed simple enough (“How do I create a cube set that includes all of my customers except one that I identify?”) but the best […]

The Links and Flows of the Supply Chain

There’s more to the supply chain than just suppliers and customers. The supply chain is all about logistics, the movement and storage of goods, and that entails warehouses, transportation providers, and a host of supporting resources including brokers, agents, consolidators, customs and import/export facilitators, and more. There are also many links on the communications, information, […]

What Does The Industrial Vending Machine Revolution Mean For Distributors?

Coin-operated dispensers were first used to sell gum balls in England in the late 19th century, and of course clunky vending machines have long been a fixture in company cafeterias. What’s surprising is that it took over 100 years (until the mid-90s) for distributors to experiment with placing “B2B” machines in customer facilities. Almost suddenly, […]

Rising Housing Starts A Positive Sign for the Economy and for Distributors and Manufacturers

The rise in new home construction is one of the most exciting growth catalysts on today’s economic scene for distributors and manufacturers (two other candidates: automobile and light truck production, and oil and gas drilling). The U.S. Census Bureau  publishes new residential construction data in three categories: single-family homes, townhouses and condos of up to […]

Video Blog: Love the One You’re With — Part 3

In Part 3 of Brent Grover’s video blog series, “Love the One You’re With”, Brent Grover continues to discuss the ways in which distributors and manufacturers can enrich their customer relationships to lower customer acquisition costs and increase customer lifetime value.

Is Your Supply Chain At Risk?

Within just a few weeks of the Fukushima earthquake and tsunami, automotive plants around North America (and elsewhere) were showing signs of slowing down, shutting down, and scrambling for parts all due to the disruption of the supply chain and missing critical components. But that’s a bit misleading… the term “critical” can be applied to […]

The Ultimate Challenge of Supply Chain Management: Eliminating Shortages While Minimizing Inventory

The main purpose of a supply chain is to get goods – whether raw materials, parts or end products – to where they are needed, when they are needed. The challenge is to do that in the most efficient (cost effective) way. Supply chain effectiveness is characterized by the lack of shortages. Success is in […]

Take a Peak Behind the Curtain: Quarterly Reports From MSC Industrial and Fastenal

One of the many advantages of being a privately owned business is that management doesn’t have to share its secrets with the outside world. Of course there are good reasons why major corporations go to the stock market to obtain funds – but that capital comes at a significant cost of privacy and freedom. If […]

Caution! Consumer Demand May Cause Whiplash: A small change in demand at the consumer level often results in big swings in demand at the plant

The last post that looked at distribution planning discussed the way to translate forecasted demand at the customer level into a projected distribution plan that leads to a plant schedule. I also mentioned that there are several approaches to the distribution planning process, each of which has benefits and challenges. One of those challenges is […]

If Steve Jobs Ran Your Distribution Business

These days the name “Steve Jobs” in the title of a book or article attracts lots of attention.   Apple’s loyal fans have long recognized that impeccable design is what makes the company unique, and that Jobs, remarkable in so many ways, had a very special genius for design. NAW’s SmartBrief  recently mentioned an article titled, […]

Love the One You’re With: Part 2

For many distributors and manufacturers, it’s hard to find new customers.  Why not love the customers you’ve got?  Customers become more profitable and more loyal the longer you have them.  Learn more in Part 2 of my video:

Timing (and Quantity) Is Everything: Managing Demand Across the Supply Chain

When discussing Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) and the matching of supply and demand, we often tend to think about demand in terms of the forecast. But, unless the factory is selling directly to the customers, the demand at the factory is actually what will (or should) be shipped to the first level of the […]

The Keys to Demand Shaping

In my previous 2 posts, I discussed matching supply and demand as carried out in Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) process, and some of the considerations on the supply side that have an effect on actual demand – specifically, strategically limiting or expanding the supply. This post looks at actions that directly change or influence […]

Physical Inventory Tracking in Dynamics AX 2012

Reservations in Dynamics AX is a powerful and important function of the inventory and sales process for any company when dealing with multiple warehouses and hundreds or orders coming in and out. This is why leveraging the Dynamics AX functionality for item reservation is pivotal for companies as a control, so that they don’t run […]

Love the One You’re With: What to do when it’s harder to find new customers?

For many distributors and manufacturers, it’s hard to find new customers.  Why not love the customers you’ve got?  Customers become more profitable and more loyal the longer you have them.  Learn more in my video:

Not All Customers / Products Are Equal

Expected demand, as stated in the forecast, is what the market – the customers – are expected to want. In a perfect world, a company could efficiently build those products and satisfy that demand, making a profit on every one of them. Usually, however, some customers are more profitable than others; some products are more […]

AX Anywhere offers Dynamics AX mobile logistics solutions for your business

Dynamics AX Anywhere offers mobile solutions for various business processes that are standard to the Dynamics AX experience, particularly in the areas of trade and logistics, production, sales and retail. In the trade and logistics realm, this product offers the mobile flexibility companies, especially those without a WMS, need while maintaining any level of security […]

Top Mobile Resellers List Includes a Distributor

According to Internet Retailer, the  “Top Ten Mobile Commerce e-tailers” list for 2013 includes a distributor, W.W. Grainger. This factoid was appears in a recent article published by Motley Fool (The Top Mobile Retailers of 2013… Are Pretty Surprising). Grainger (GWW) already receives a large proportion of its orders via e-commerce, and that percentage is […]

I.B.I.S., Inc.’s Frank Hamelly on

Our very own Frank Hamelly, Senior Consultant, recently wrote on increasing profitability for distributors on  Frank dissects Texas A&M’s survey of distribution companies and explains the findings.  Check out the full article here:

Optimizing Demand Management

Most companies have spent years and untold resources working on the supply side of the supply-demand equation. These efforts are aimed at moving goods through the chain more efficiently, increasing visibility, and improving agility. Many advancements have been achieved, with competitive supply chains operating more efficiently than ever before, allowing companies to source anywhere, affordably […]

I.B.I.S., Inc. Featured on WALB News

WALB News recently featured I.B.I.S., Inc. for their prestigious 2013 VAR Star recognition.  In Bob Scott’s article naming the 2013 VAR Stars, Bob Scott highlights I.B.I.S., Inc.’s remarkable growth in both revenue and number of employees, despite a challenging business environment.

I.B.I.S., Inc. Named 2013 VAR Star by Bob Scott’s Insights

Credits Supply Chain Expertise for Company’s Success PEACHTREE CORNERS, GA — January 2, 2014 —I.B.I.S., Inc., leading provider of Microsoft Dynamics supply chain solutions to the midmarket, has been named a 2013 VAR Star by the prestigious online magazine, Bob Scott’s Insights. This distinction honors midmarket accounting software resellers that demonstrate quality through growth, leadership […]

What Steps Must MSC Industrial Direct Take To Reach Its Ambitious 2014 Sales Forecast?

MSC Industrial Direct saw an increase in orders in September and October despite a poor economy. It also has an ambitious sales forecast for 2014 and beyond. According to a blog post on the Industrial Distribution website, MSC has been taking action to reach its goal of $4 billion in sales within three years — […]

Getting Started with Dynamics AX 2012: Getting Crafty with Formulas

Craft beers, also known as microbrews, have become a big hit over the last 5-10 years, and I have definitely jumped on the bandwagon.  In learning about formula management in AX, I couldn’t think of a better example to display my new found knowledge.  This post will show how to setup step consumption, so when […]

In Addition To Price, Which Factors Are Industrial Buyers Focusing On?

Price is always important, but industrial buyers are also focusing on other areas when making purchasing decisions. An article on the Modern Distribution Management website, citing a recent study from TriComB2B and the School of Business Administration at the University of Dayton, examines the tendencies of industrial buyers. Here are five takeaways from the study. […]

5 Shipping Inefficiencies And How Warehouse Distribution Software Can Help

Since shipping is a core competency for wholesale distributors, shipping is usually one of the most efficient functions in the organization, right? Think again. Most distributors lack an efficient shipping process. A streamlined shipping process is grounded in good warehouse distribution software. “We’ve moved out of the age of warehousing into the age of throughput […]

What Does Amazon’s Plans For Delivery By Drones Mean For Distributors? has plans to revolutionize its distribution strategy in the near future using unmanned drones to deliver products to customers. A blog post on reports that the distribution giant is hoping to have the drones in operation within five years. The drones would carry products weighing approximately 5 pounds or less, and those products […]

What’s The Key To Strengthening Relationships Across Distribution Channels?

Distributors shouldn’t just focus on relationships with customers. Building bonds up and down the supply chain is also highly beneficial. A recent blog post on uses electrical distributor Thomas & Betts to illustrate the importance of establishing relationships across distribution channels. The post explains how contractors aren’t the only other party involved in Thomas […]

4 Keys To Identifying The Best Candidates For Distribution Sales Management Positions

Looking for ways to identify the best candidates for jobs in distribution sales management? An article from the Inc. website discusses how to find these “superstar salespeople,” and the article rang a few bells for me as a consultant to wholesale distributors. Keep in mind that, for a typical branch-based distributor, as many as a […]

6 Ways Metrics Can Improve Supply Chain Management

Distributors, how are you managing your most important relationship? By improving the relationship with suppliers, you can gain even more from your most valuable supply chain partner. “In this current climate, with every expense and every decision requiring bottom-line justification, it sometimes can be difficult to determine exactly how effective these suppliers are to your […]

Why Is Diversification Key To A Successful Distribution Strategy?

Despite a shaky economy in 2013, Grainger experienced a significant increase in sales, thanks to its distribution strategy of diversifying customer markets. An article from the Modern Distribution Management website reports that Grainger enjoyed a 6.6 percent bump in yearly sales as of October. It’s a result of the company’s diverse customer markets, which allow […]

Does Your Distribution Strategy Focus Enough On Value-Added Services?

Value-added services should be a focal point of every distribution strategy, and customers need to start paying for these services. In a recent article on, Frank Hurtte, the founder of River Heights Consulting, explains that distributors are now doing more than simply providing the right product for the customer. They’re also including value-added services […]

6 Ways For Distributors To Improve Inventory Planning

Better inventory planning can lead to billions of dollars in profit and fix the issue of shrinking inventories in North America. A blog post on the Industrial Distribution website has six suggestions to improve inventory planning. 1) Replace outdated computer systems: Old software and bar code readers are prone to mistakes, so it’s a good […]

The Electrical Distributor Magazine Features Article from I.B.I.S., Inc. Director of Industry Solutions, Dominic Telaro

The Dec. 2013 issue of The Electrical Distributor Magazine features I.B.I.S., Inc. Director of Industry Solutions, Dominic Telaro’s article Improve Inventory Management with the Right Software on page 46!

Why Should You Embrace The Self-Service Distribution Channel?

Today’s customers are taking service and sales into their own hands. Self-service is the distribution channel of choice for most customers. They’re buying products without picking up the phone, comparing prices through mobile devices and finding answers to their problems via the web 24 hours a day. The growing self-service trend needs to be championed […]

Getting Started with Dynamics AX 2012: The Great and Powerful AX

In the classic movie The Wizard of Oz, the Great and Powerful Oz implores Dorothy and her band of merry creatures to “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”  Oz, as we come to find, is a fraud and is nothing without his loud noises and fire.  AX, on the other hand, could […]

4 Tips For Distribution Sales Managers To Ensure Successful Sales Kickoff

Distribution sales managers should incorporate four key practices into sales kickoff (SKO) meetings, which typically occur during the fourth quarter. A blog post from the Sales Benchmark Index website emphasizes the importance of SKO meetings, explaining that they’re often the only time that the entire organization is together. Additionally, research has shown that these meetings […]

How Are Demands For Integrated Supply Impacting Distribution Strategy?

Integrated supply has become a more sophisticated part of distribution strategy as customers demand a better supply chain and documented cost savings. In an article from the Modern Distribution Management website, Jay Drummond, the former president of Turtle & Hughes Integrated Supply, explains that customers are seeking improvements in areas such as freight management and […]

Which Distributors Are Ranked Among The Most Reputable Companies? tops a recent list of the 50 most reputable companies, which includes two distributors in the top 25 in Praxair and W.W. Grainger. Google, MasterCard, Intuitive Surgical and Chipotle Mexican Grill round out the top five in the October rankings, as highlighted in an article on The rankings were compiled by Consensiv LLC, […]

Setting Up A Retail Store With POS

Dynamics AX 2012 now has a retail module that includes store management, and also the ability to set up Retail Point of Sales (POS) terminals to take orders, manage store inventory and also track customers. It may seem a little bit daunting to set up, but it’s really not that hard.

Developing a Product Approval Workflow in Dynamics AX 2012

There are a lot of workflow templates that are delivered with Dynamics AX 2012, but that doesn’t mean that those are the only ones that you can use.  Developing new workflow templates and actions are pretty straight forward and you can easily extend out the system to incorporate other workflow scenarios that have not been […]

3 Ways Distribution Sales Managers Can Eliminate Concerns About Pricing Margins

Concerned about price margins? Follow this piece of age-old wisdom: Stop comparing yourself to others. Distributors need to stop being so concerned about pushing back against market pressures and price-cutting as a way to compete. A worldwide study by Simon-Kucher & Partners in 2011 found that nearly half of companies (46 percent) believe they are […]

Why Distribution Sales Managers Should Focus More On Lead Generation

Distribution sales managers should pay more attention to lead generation rather than simply focusing on the final stages of the sales process. An article from The Fordyce Letter website explains that lead generation is the first step in completing the sale, so it’s important to devote the right amount of resources to that part of […]

Why Aren’t Robots More Prevalent In Wholesale Distribution Operations?

Recent technological advances in distribution software have led to more robots performing work in warehouses, but they’re still not prevalent in most wholesale distribution operations. An article from the DC Velocity website explains that the biggest improvements have come in learning techniques and vision systems. Those advances, which help the robots better see what they’re […]

How Should Distributors Interpret Rising Stockpiles For U.S. Businesses?

U.S. business inventories have been creeping up in recent months, and there are two ways to interpret the data, one positive and the other negative. An article from the Industrial Distribution website reports that stockpiles jumped by 0.3 percent in August, after experiencing an increase of 0.4 percent in July. Sales also rose in August […]

5 Year-End Sales Tips For Distribution Sales Managers

As the year draws to a close, suppliers will push to end it on a strong note. Maybe there’s a goal to make, inventory to clear or a budget number to hit, but no one wants to flounder come December 31. However, distribution sales managers must avoid forcing an end-of-the-year sales push. Jamming the pipeline […]

Is Your Distribution Strategy Aligned With Your Customers’ Buying Needs?

Some business-to-business (B2B) companies need to rethink their distribution strategy because their messaging isn’t connecting with customers. An article from the Modern Distribution Management website references a recent McKinsey & Company survey that revealed a disconnect between the themes companies promote, like global reach and sustainability, and the themes customers value, like market knowledge and […]

Why Should Your Distribution Strategy Include ‘Dynamic Value Management’?

Using “dynamic value management” as part of a well-rounded distribution strategy can help distributors to better price and position products. An article from the McKinsey & Company website explains that the term “value” is used too often and is usually misunderstood. Actual value is based on how much customers benefit from a product in relation […]

I.B.I.S., Inc. is a Silver Sponsor of Convergence 2014

This year, I.B.I.S., Inc. is a Silver Sponsor of Convergence 2014! I.B.I.S. will be hosting a booth during the Sponsors & Exhibitors Expo at the conference. We will be showcasing DynamicsCare and Advanced Supply Chain Software™ for Microsoft Dynamics® AX, powered by I.B.I.S., Inc. Be sure to stop by and experience the wide variety of […]

Microsoft Convergence 2014 Registration Now Open!

Be the first to reserve your spot at Convergence 2014! When: March 4th – 7th, 2014 Where: Georgia World Congress Center 285 Andrew Young International Blvd Atlanta, GA 30313 Early Bird Registration: If you register before January 9, 2014, you will save $300 per full attendee pass!!

What’s The Reason For Fastenal’s Disappointing 3Q Results?

Fastenal took a hit during the third quarter, as the company fell short of financial projections, while uncertainty surrounds two of its major markets. An article from the Modern Distribution Management website explains that Fastenal had a 51.7 percent gross margin during the third quarter, a decrease from the second quarter. One problem, according to […]

4 Lessons Distributors Can Learn From Industry Leaders Like Grainger

Grainger is a well-respected, growing company in the distribution industry. What lessons can you learn from this industry titan? It would be nice if there was one secret to Grainger’s success. Becoming one of America’s most trusted businesses has taken a discipline of consistency. Grainger has achieved great productivity because it has managed to continue […]

How Can Distribution Sales Management Allocate Time Better?

It’s not the amount of time distribution sales management spends on prospect calls that matters. It’s more about where management spends that time. An article on the Sales Benchmark Index website reports that mediocre managers often step in at the end of the sales process, unwilling to let even a small business opportunity fall by […]

Why Is Fastenal Continuing To Invest Heavily In Its Vending Machine Distribution Channel?

Even though Fastenal has experienced a slowdown in business lately, the company is still setting ambitious goals for its vending machine distribution channel in 2014. An article from the Industrial Distribution website explains that Fastenal’s plan for next year is to place 2,000 vending machines per month, while reducing its number of store openings. So […]

How Can Distribution Sales Managers Collect Customer Feedback?

Understanding what customers truly want can be a major headache for any distribution sales manager, but with some work, it’s possible to collect customer feedback. An article from the Industrial Supply Magazine website suggests giving customers a customized, company-specific survey. Such surveys can offer an inside look at buying expectations. I love the idea of […]

Walking Through the Warehouse

I was walking through the warehouse area of a plant the other day and couldn’t help doing a quick analysis – it’s an occupational hazard; as a consultant and supply chain professional, it’s really in my DNA.  Anyhow, I was trying to do a quick assessment of whether this company had the ‘right’ amount of […]

Should You Invest In Robotics Or Warehouse Distribution Software?

The headlines are making the distribution industry look like something straight out of “The Jetsons.” Distribution giant Amazon buys a robotics company for $775 million (according to a Bloomberg article). A 114-year-old industrial manufacturer sees a 55 percent increase in productivity by implementing robots (the Reliable Plant website shares). Robots are cutting cost and improving […]

Consider Remanufacturing

The Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) group, has identified remanufacturing as an emerging technology in manufacturing that is likely to produce major industry changes in the coming months and years. But what exactly does that mean? One-way, non-circular processes that take products from manufacturers to landfills are no longer sustainable. The negative environmental and economic impacts […]

How Is Grainger’s Distribution Strategy Spurring Continued Growth?

Grainger’s distribution strategy is clear: Keep investing in the business and push forward aggressively. An article from the MarketWatch website reports that Grainger experienced a 36 percent increase in earnings during the third quarter this year. So how did the industrial-goods supplier accomplish this at a time when the economy is still struggling to recover? […]

What’s The Key To Using Supply Chain Analytics In Wholesale Distribution?

Supply chain analytics can lead to better performance, but many distributors aren’t even scratching the surface of what they can do. An article from the Data Informed website reports that nine out of 10 distributors are struggling to bolster their business. There are two main reasons for that trend: the inability to view the supply […]

BI Dashboard Mistakes

Business Intelligence (BI) dashboards should be easy – grab a few key metrics and scatter them across a screen in color and graphics. Unfortunately, a careless approach to BI dashboards has the potential to derail and devalue an entire analytics project. To avoid becoming a victim of careless BI dashboard design, avoid these design and […]

Creating an Excel template for Updating Product Costs and Prices

Everyone uses Excel to prepare information for updates within Dynamics AX because it gives you a little bit more freedom as you are massaging the data. If you have the Dynamics AX Add-In for Excel installed on your computer then you don’t even have to key in the data once you have created it because […]

How Can Supply Chain Management Turn Freight Cost Into A Profit Center?

Supply chain management is focusing more on transportation costs than ever before, as it is one area where distributors can directly control expenses. An article from the Supply Chain Digest website explains that there is little wiggle room when it comes to cutting production and commodity costs. Transportation, on the other hand, offers many opportunities […]

Innovate or Buy Innovation

Innovation efforts are subject to high risk of failure and often represent significant investment. In operations, most companies strive for 99 percent success (defect free), whereas 90 percent of innovation projects fail.. A recent Accenture survey found that only 18 percent of chief executives at 519 companies across more than 12 industry sectors in France, […]

Using Cube Functions in Excel to Create MTD Calculations

Cube Functions inside Excel are really powerful tools for cube reporting, especially when you realize that you can leverage MDX within the functions to make some very useful calculations. Today, I will describe how you can use the CUBESET function to calculate Month To Date values, even when there are no MTD defined measures.

5 Benchmarking Mistakes Distributors Must Avoid

Distributors should be using benchmarking as a launching point to improve operations. By comparing your organization to fellow distributors, you can learn from others’ mistakes and successes, adopting industry best practices into your own distribution strategy. The role of benchmarking cannot be overstated. Mistakes can have a crushing effect on your distribution strategy. Here are […]

Have Dynamics AX Tell You When There Are Document Attachments

Being able to attach documents to almost any record in Dynamics AX is a great tool to take advantage of because it allows you to move all of those files that you used to store on network shares or in local file folders, and puts them at everyone’s fingertips. You can make it even more […]

Mid-size Manufacturers Optimistic

According to a recent survey by Prime Advantage, a purchasing group for industrial manufacturers, the attitude of mid-sized manufacturers is positive about revenues and employment despite concerns about federal regulations and fiscal policy uncertainties. Among the findings of the survey: Forty-two percent of small and mid-sized manufacturers anticipate revenues will increase in the second half […]

Is Incomplete Data From Manufacturers Sinking Your Distribution Strategy?

Manufacturers don’t always submit complete data to distributors, and it’s not merely an inconvenience. It can sink any distribution strategy with lost sales, higher customer service costs and a strained partnership. According to an article from the Modern Distribution Management website, there are many reasons product data is often incomplete. Perhaps the biggest issue is […]

Squeezing Suppliers is Counterproductive

There’s an interesting trend developing within manufacturing organizations these days: finance departments are extending payment terms when they can – sometimes forcing suppliers to shift from 30 days to 120 days, while procurement departments are getting the lowest possible part price, shaving the margins of suppliers. At the same time, supply chain departments are developing […]

How Can Isolating ‘Nemesis’ Processes Improve Supply Chain Management?

There are always a handful of “nemesis” processes that plague supply chain management, and isolating them can help distributors find solutions. An article from the Industrial Distribution website defines the “nemesis” process as one that is highly inefficient, but necessarily used regularly. To gain some perspective on the nemesis process, the article encourages distributors to […]

3 Lessons To Help Improve Your Distribution Strategy

Planning for the future, working with innovative suppliers and addressing an aging workforce should be three areas of focus in any distribution strategy. An article from encourages distributors to think ahead and try to predict where the distribution industry is going. For example, are distributors still selling to the same customer base as they […]

Six Steps to Big Data Success

Gartner Group publishes a “hype cycle” for new technologies that takes innovations through a series of phases – innovation, peak of inflated expectations, trough of disillusionment, slope of enlightenment, and finally plateau of productivity. Earlier versions of the cycle for Big Data predicted a 2 to 5 year timeframe but the most recent revision predicts […]

Cost Cutting

Companies have been focused on cutting costs to get through the recent recession and, to be fair, pretty much since the beginning of manufacturing. How many of our improvement programs and initiatives like Lean manufacturing, just-in-time, and all the others are really focused on cutting or controlling cost? Just about all of them. And that’s […]

Why Distribution Sales Managers Should Stop Worrying About AmazonSupply

You get what you pay for, and customers who use mega companies like Google and Amazon may be attracted to the cheap prices, but they won’t be getting customer service. This leaves the distribution sales manager with a challenge: How can they protect their business from these industrial supply giants? What’s the best piece of […]

Sustainability For Cost Savings

Sustainability initiatives are catching on with top global supply chain executives, but for the economic rather than for the environmental benefits, according to a new survey  by business advisory firm Alix Partners LLC. The survey found that 72 percent of the roughly 150 respondents had sustainability policies or sets of sustainability objectives in place. Most […]

How Can Warehouse Distribution Software Change The Perception Of Distribution Centers?

Advances in technology such as warehouse distribution software can help distribution centers become more than just places to store products. An article from the Industrial Supply magazine website explains that warehouses are often referred to as the stepchild of distribution. But thinking of them as nothing more than dumping grounds for inventory isn’t productive. Distributors […]

Are You Ready For 4-D Printing?

Still thinking about 3D printing and how it can be introduced into your plant and supply chain? You’d better hurry because 4D printing is about to become the next breakthrough by adding transformation capabilities to 3D-printed objects on an industrial scale. The 4th dimension is, of course, time. 4D printed objects are capable of transformation […]

Is Your Distribution Strategy ‘Fanatical’ About Serving Customers And Suppliers?

Building and cultivating relationships with customers and suppliers should be a major point of emphasis in establishing a solid distribution strategy. That’s the approach taken by Univar, a chemicals distributor based in Redmond, Wash. According to an article from the Modern Distribution Management website, Univar CEO Erik Frywald thinks that distributors should have a “fanatical […]

Five Ways RFID Supports Manufacturing

Five major trends are driving the adoption of RFID in Manufacturing: 1: Multi-facility Assembly. Capital goods are often manufactured across multiple facilities with different capabilities. One factory may specialize in metal fabrication while another specializes in advanced composites. Final assembly often takes place at a larger facility suitable for warehousing subassemblies and whole goods.  RFID-enabled […]

Andy Vabulas Quoted in The Wall Street Journal

I.B.I.S., Inc. Chief Executive Officer, Andy Vabulas, was quoted in the The Wall Street Journal articles: Washington Budget Battles Felt by Small Business Sector and Federal Woes Faze Small-Business Owners. Andy said, “We’ve decided to keep our money until we have a better idea of what’s going on” in Washington.

4 Common Mistakes Distributors Should Avoid When Pricing Products

As distributors look ahead to the last quarter of 2013, now may not be the best time to update pricing for 2014. The U.S. is experiencing record low inflation and interest rates, the economy is sputtering and the economic outlook for 2014 is murky. In short, this is a difficult time to ask for price […]

Made in America

Wal-Mart recently announced accelerated efforts to include more American made products in their stores. Claiming that two-thirds of the goods they currently sell are American made, the effort is aimed at increasing that percentage over the next ten years. In a CBS interview, a company spokesperson said that we’ve reached a “tipping point” where U.S. […]

Mid-Continent Instruments and Avionics Chooses I.B.I.S., Inc. to Implement Microsoft Dynamics AX as their Business Management Software Solution

Company Says Lean Manufacturing Functionality, Supply Chain Expertise, and Good, Old-Fashioned Trust Were Their Top 3 Decision Criteria PEACHTREE CORNERS, GA — October 22, 2013 —I.B.I.S., Inc., leading provider of Microsoft Dynamics supply-chain solutions to the midmarket, is pleased to announce that Mid-Continent Instruments and Avionics, product manufacturer and service provider to the general aviation […]

Why Are More Distributors Incorporating Task Interleaving Into Their Supply Chain Strategy?

According to a recent study, nearly half of distributors are planning to more heavily incorporate “task interleaving” into their supply chain strategy. An article from the Supply Chain Digest website explains task interleaving using a transportation analogy. For example, in an ideal situation, a truck would drop off a load at a given site, then […]

Continuous Improvement Usually Isn’t Continuous

While continuous improvement is a key aspect of many programs like lean manufacturing and six sigma quality, the ‘continuous’ part is rarely such – few organizations achieve truly continuous improvement in spite of extensive training programs, language and cultural changes, and setting expectations of improvement results. In Lean, Kaizen is the ultimate manifestation of the […]

Challenges and Benefits of Mobile Technologies

Today’s workers are increasingly relying on mobile devices for ensuring effective communication, and also for tasks that were previously performed at the desk during business hours. Many ERP software providers are launching new and innovative mobile ERP applications that are capable of addressing an increasing number of operational functions. Sales teams can have all their […]

Why Do Distribution Sales Managers Need To Heed The Buying Traits Of Millennials?

Distribution sales managers should be aware that millennials (people born since 1980) are relying on the Internet to help with purchasing decisions more than previous generations. An article from the Modern Distribution Management website reports that 58 percent of millennials responsible for purchasing office products turn to the Internet before using a catalog or visiting […]

How Could Amazon Revolutionize Distribution Strategy With Same-Day Delivery?

Amazon is looking to further revolutionize distribution strategy by shipping products to customers on the same day they were ordered. An article on the Supply Chain Digest website states that Amazon can already serve almost 50 million people, or 15.5 percent of the U.S. population, with same-day delivery. The author speculates that with 12 additional […]

Increasing Exports Create Manufacturing Jobs

In a new report titled “Behind the American Export Surge” Boston Consulting Group (BCG) predicts that higher exports as well as re-shoring from China and elsewhere could add 2.5 million to 5 million manufacturing and related service jobs by the end of this decade. The report claims that the U.S. is one of the developed […]

Quick Fix: Unable to Activate SharePoint Solution

I just finished the configuration of the Document Management integration between MSCRM 2011 and SharePoint 2013 for a client.  This is an easy task, but today I hit a common snag in the process where, after uploading the Dynamics CRM List Component .wsp to the solution gallery, the “Activate” control was disabled in the dialog […]

3 Ways To Boost Your Distribution Strategy With Modern Warehouse Technology

Modern warehouses can provide a laundry list of benefits for a distributor that traditional facilities can’t offer, such as increased visibility, lower operating costs, reduced inventory, better return on investment, improved productivity and streamlined automation. By using technology to implement a strong distribution strategy, distributors can improve the workflow in their warehouse. “With the right […]

Do You Export?

The world’s largest companies deal on a global level – importing and exporting as suits their business needs. Smaller companies, however, often limit themselves to a relatively local business, because exporting seems daunting. Certainly there are hurdles to exporting, but a great deal of help also is available. There are market opportunities in other parts […]

Software Licensing Complications

Don’t use software that you didn’t pay for. Sounds simple, but IT insiders knows it’s not that easy. With new technology like virtualization and cloud computing adding to the complexity, organizations are struggling even more. Some organizations get in trouble because they knowingly use unlicensed software, many others get tripped up accidentally. According to a […]

Does Your Supply Chain Strategy Address These 3 Liability Concerns?

Addressing product liability needs to be a top priority in a strong supply chain strategy, and there are three issues that distributors should be ready to tackle. An article on the Modern Distribution Management website encourages all distributors to scrutinize contract details and consider buying insurance, whether the contract is with a customer or manufacturer. […]

Why Are CRM Systems Increasingly Popular In Distribution Sales Management?

CRM systems are becoming more popular in distribution sales management because they’re flexible, innovative and easy to use. An article on the Industrial Supply magazine website reports that 61 percent of distributors already have CRM systems incorporated in their business plan. One of the main strengths of a CRM system is that it allows salespeople […]

Shifting Economic Picture

Just as economists have begun lowering their forecasts for China and many other developing economies, the American economy is bouncing back. Japan appears to have turned a corner and is ending almost two decades of grinding deflation. Economic data out of Europe on Wednesday provided the first solid indication that many countries in the euro […]

Lean’s Contradictions

Some lean tools, when compared one to the other, appear to be contradictory or incompatible in nature. For example: How do we standardize processes and yet teach our people to be creative? Standardization involves rote repetition; creativity involves continual change. They appear to be an “either-or” or mutually exclusive proposition. This is one of the […]

Using Export To Excel in Dynamics AX to Create Reporting Data Sources

The Export to Excel button may not seem like the most impressive feature of Dynamics AX, but don’t be fooled. If you look closely, you will notice that the when the data is exported to Excel, the data is still linked to Dynamics AX through the Excel Add-In, which means that once it is in […]

Enabling a Custom Master Page Theme in Sharepoint 2013

This step-by-step guide provides a quick way to enable a custom master page theme in Sharepoint 2013 in six easy steps. Create a one Page HTML/CSS page Map master page file folder Upload the contents of the HTML Update Theme HTML Convert the HTML file to a Sharepoint master page Activate

4 Sales Management Skills To Bolster Growth In Today’s Marketplace

Customers want to know the answers to three questions: “Do you have it, where can I get it and how much is it?” In yesteryear, distribution salespeople had these answers. They were the go-to person for customers as the main source of product information and application knowledge. Plus, in many instances, they were the only […]

Demand Shaping

When developing a strategic plan – including sales and operation planning and master scheduling – we tend to think of demand as an input. Of course it really is an input to the process, and the primary task is to develop a supply plan (production plan, master schedule) that meets the demand. But we don’t […]

Do Gigantic Warehouses Represent The Distribution Strategy Of The Future?

In the future, there could be an increase in both the size and number of distribution centers, as organizations continue to adjust their distribution strategy. A report discussed in an article on the Supply Chain Digest website found that 35 percent of companies are looking to add more distribution centers over the next five years. […]

BYOD – Beware of These Concerns

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is a growing movement in manufacturing companies world-wide. With this approach, employees are allowed to use personally owned smart phones and tablets to access corporate networks and data. The benefit for the company is, of course, more widespread and intense use of corporate data with the employees bearing some of […]

Getting Started with AX 2012: Edit, Reverse, Split a Pick

Hello All. Last time I wrote an article about the Item Picking Registration of Serialized Inventory and how it can be highly useful to a company and its customer satisfaction by keeping track of its products through assigning batch and serial numbers for the products. Now I will demonstrate how to Edit, Reverse, and Split […]

Should IT or Business Leaders Own Big Data?

“Big Data” is an important new asset for a growing number of manufacturers but, as with most new technologies, there is some confusion and concern as to who should take the leadership role in deploying and managing. Big Data is an advanced technology that would be expected to fall within the IT scope of control. […]

4 Sales Management Tactics To Establish Strong Customer Relationships

Establishing strong relationships with customers is the cornerstone of sales management. An article on the Industrial Distribution website highlights four keys to developing great relationships and securing future business. 1) Give customers your full attention: Put away any distractions during meetings to make the customer feel like you’re really present. 2) Make sure to meet […]

Sustainability Linked to Risk Management

Companies are connecting the dots between risk management and sustainability by making sustainability issues more prominent on corporate agendas, according to a study by Ernst & Young LLP and GreenBiz. Driven by trends such as extreme weather events and risks to natural resources, among other factors, the shift is evidenced by the increasing involvement in […]

What Should Your Supply Chain Management Processes Include To Prepare For Risk?

Distributors are susceptible to major risks — like natural disasters — so a crucial component of supply chain management is having a built-in contingency plan. An article on the Modern Distribution Management website reports that approximately 60 percent of companies “only pay marginal attention to risk reduction.” That can be a major issue for distributors, […]

Getting Started with AX: Commission Calculations with ADS

In the classic film Jerry Maguire, Rod Tidwell and Jerry himself shouted the phrase “SHOW ME THE MONEY” eleven times in one conversation. It’s clear that money is a motivating factor both in driving the plot of the film, and in real life business. The creators of Dynamics AX must not have seen the film […]

Using PowerPivot to Analyze Dynamics AX Data

Perhaps you have heard about the new tool in Excel called PowerPivot, but wonder how it can enhance your use of Excel. In this series we will show how PowerPivot can assist you with advanced data analysis and reporting, making those extracts from Dynamics AX to Excel even more valuable.

What’s The Key To Optimizing Pricing Strategies In Distribution Sales Management?

How do you win in the price war in wholesale distribution? You sell value. The key to successful sales management is that salespeople cannot be quoting; they must be selling. Many buyers today have already decided what they intend to buy before a salesperson even approaches them and they have their list of acceptable suppliers. […]

Better Forecasts

All forecasts are wrong – some more than others, of course – and forecast error can cause a lot of extra cost and disruption in the manufacturing and distribution world, not to mention customer service problems. Everyone would like to have a more accurate forecast. Here are the main ‘secrets’ to more accurate forecasting. There’s […]

Creating Your Own Document Management System With SharePoint

With the R2 release of Dynamics AX 2012, a new feature was quietly snuck into the product that allows you to store document attachments from Dynamics AX within SharePoint rather than within an archive location, or within the database. This opens up a whole slew of possibilities when it comes to document management within SharePoint. […]

Could Increased Automation Boost Your Distribution Strategy?

Increased automation can positively impact your distribution strategy, but there must be major non-labor savings to justify most automation investments. According to an article on the Supply Chain Digest website, distributors trying to increase shipping capacity look for the “soft benefits” that accompany a greater level of automation. Those benefits include enhancing “communications between material […]

BI: What Not to Do

Business Intelligence (BI) is changing the way companies gather and use data to support decision-making and smarter operations. But many companies struggle with these advanced tools and end up not getting the benefits they seek. Here are four “worst practices” that can derail a BI initiative. Assume the Average User Has the Know-How or the […]

Getting in Control of Your Excel Dashboards: Combining Cube Functions and Form Controls

This is a story about control, form control. Control of what Excel says, control of what Excel does. And this time Excel is gonna do it my way. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do. Are we ready? Excel is, ’cause it’s all about control and Excel’s got lots of it. I […]

How Borrowing Ideas From Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos Could Boost Your Supply Chain Strategy

Why should industrial distributors pay close attention to Jeff Bezos? The answer is simple: the founder and CEO of Amazon, who recently bought The Washington Post, has redefined supply chain strategy. As an article on the Industrial Supply Magazine website explains, Bezos’ vision transformed Amazon from simply an online bookseller to a distributor of thousands […]

Users Struggle with Collaboration Tools

Collaboration and analysis tools are the biggest category for IT spending right now, but much of this value is being lost because employees lack the skills to use these resources effectively. A recent CEB survey of 25,000 employees globally found that about half of an employee’s contribution to business performance comes from their the ability […]

How Accurate Were Distribution Sales Forecasts For 2013?

U.S. business stockpiles were unchanged in June, although sales rose modestly, according to a recent report from the U.S. Department of Commerce highlighted in an article on the Industrial Distribution website. Business stockpiles in June held steady at a seasonally adjusted $1.66 trillion. That’s 3.5 percent higher compared to a year ago. Wholesale stockpiles dropped […]

Embedding PowerView Dashboards within Dynamics AX Forms

PowerView is a great tool for creating dashboards and analytics for Dynamics AX, and you can easily embed it into Role Centers to create summary dashboards, and you can use it to drill into offending statistics that you notice, and you can easily create new dashboards using the new Analyze button in Dynamics AX 2012 […]

A Slicer and a Macro Walk Into a Bar: Filtering Multiple Pivot Tables With a Click of a Button

It’s always great when a customer request turns into something really interesting (not to say that they all aren’t). And it’s even better when you can take that interesting diversion while you’re otherwise stuck watching a progress bar as part of the regularly scheduled task of the day. Then, you realize that you are probably […]

Finding A Way

Until a few years ago, nearly all rare earths like tungsten, molybdenum, and yttrium, needed for many of today’s high-tech electronics, were mined in China.  When the availability of these critical materials was restricted, companies that relied on the supply were in a very difficult position. Prices rose instantly and competition for the limited supply […]

Why Are Strong Partnerships Key To Supply Chain Management?

A distributor is only as good as its weakest supplier. The success or failure of your supply chain can weigh on a partner, so partner decisions should not be taken lightly. These relationships are vital to your supply chain management. Distributors that want to strengthen their supply chain need to ensure they have strong, resilient […]

Getting Started with Dynamics AX 2012: Manufacturing Execution Shortcuts

Another real world situation begets another blog post!  Last week was my first on-site with a client, and I was charged with testing certain processes in AX where we had done a modification.  The process I was testing involved pushing a production order through all the different processes using manufacturing execution (MES).

Could Control Tower Software Enhance Your Distribution Strategy?

Could control tower software enhance your distribution strategy by finding inefficiencies inside and outside distribution centers? It’s possible, according to a recent article on the DC Velocity website that explains how control towers can provide greater visibility into shipments, therefore boosting operating efficiency. “The scope of these control tower operations is the product flow from […]

Reducing Manufacturing Mistakes

Shigeo Shingo wrote, “humans are animals that make mistakes”. Automating the human out of the process is one solution, but not necessarily the right solution. Whatever the level of automation, look at ways to reduce the mistakes that the remaining human element is bound to make. The Lean movement, following Toyota’s example, offers effective solutions […]

Using the Dynamics AX Excel Add-In

The Excel Add-In is an incredibly useful tool because it doesn’t just allow you to download information from Dynamics AX, but it also allows you to publish information back to the system without compromising the data integrity. You can use this for the initial data setup within Dynamics AX, quick maintenance of multiple records, moving […]

2013 AXUG & GPUG Sessions Led by I.B.I.S., Inc. Experts

Check out all of the sessions that are being presented by I.B.I.S., Inc. experts at the 2013 AXUG and GPUG Summits in Tampa, FL! These valuable sessions will benefit your company and overall use of Microsoft Dynamics® products. Don’t miss this opportunity to pick up the latest tips, tricks and features!

Why Do More Distributors Plan To Invest In Distribution Software?

In an effort to better communicate with customers and suppliers, many distributors have plans to purchase or upgrade distribution software and other technologies this year. A recent post on the Modern Distribution Management website reports that more than 25 percent of distributors hope to enhance both their web and mobile applications in 2013, according to […]

Co-opetition With Frienemies?

The essence of supply chain management is to recognize a company’s strengths and weaknesses and find partners who complement those capabilities. Sometimes a company’s best choice for a partner is the least expected or desired – a competitor. Supply chain managers are recognizing the benefits of collaborating with supplier / competitors as a way to […]

How Does Inventory Forecasting Affect Working Capital?

Inventory forecasting can have a big influence on a company’s working capital, along with days sales outstanding and days payables outstanding. According to a recent article on the Supply Chain Digest website, days inventory outstanding (DIO) is a metric used to determine how long a company holds onto inventory. A higher number means inventory management […]

Build a Responsible Supply Chain

Shaken by the factory collapse and the fire in Bangladesh, suicides in China and other supply chain calamities, companies are becoming more aware and more concerned about corporate social responsibility. The behavior of even far flung links in the supply chain can say a lot about a company and the values its holds. Renowned clothing […]

How Can Modernizing Your Distribution Software Make You Leaner?

Want a leaner, meaner bottom line? Get a leaner, meaner business process. Distributors trying to keep up with a fast-paced business environment need to start by ensuring that their business technology is up to date. It seems there are always more efficient strategies available for distributors that regularly update their distribution software, but many distributors […]

Managing Parts

Equipment manufacturers have struggled with how to manage inventories that have two distinct sources of demand – as components for manufacturing and as replacement parts for sale to customers. Component inventory is effectively planned and managed with MRP/ERP based on the production schedule, economic replenishment quantities and suitable processes tied to tried and tested methodologies. […]

Getting Started with AX 2012: Item Picking Registration of Serialized Inventory

I would like to believe that every company’s first priority is Customer Satisfaction. A satisfied customer can give the company high ratings and great reviews online, or even abundant praise on the company survey. The best form of company branding, I believe, can come from one customer recommending the company’s products to another potential future […]

Lean and Innovation

Is Lean an innovation killer? Lean, Six Sigma, ISO, and TQM, are all good things. But if taken too far, the rigid focus on standardization and control can inhibit the openness that drives innovation. A large company in the mid-west, a paragon of measurement, training, and continuous improvement struggled to create and introduce new products […]

How Is Google Making A Big Splash With Its Latest Distribution Channel?

Google is challenging Amazon and other companies in the distribution space with its latest distribution channel in Google Shopping for Suppliers. A recent article on the Industrial Distribution website explains that Google has introduced a mechanical components category. It includes parts for power transmission, fluid power and hoses. “The expansion clearly indicates that Google intends […]

Getting Started with Dynamics AX 2012: Setting Standard Transit Times

One of the first questions most customers ask when placing an order is “When will I receive it?” Often times, a customer service associate will know how soon an order can ship, but they do not always know the transit time to the customer’s location. There are obviously many tools available to help him/her determine […]

How Can Distribution Sales Managers Use Sales Pipelines To Close Deals Faster?

Distribution sales managers are always looking for ways to increase revenue, which is why having the proper sales pipeline strategy is so important. According to a recent article on the Sales Benchmark Index website, the best sales pipeline strategy is made up of three critical pieces: assessing the possibility of a deal, reviewing the buyer’s […]

Industrial Machinery Will Drive Trade Growth

Over the next three years, manufacturers plan to use increase their use of service as a competitive differentiator and aim to grow business through product service innovation and value-added services for existing products, according to Business Strategy: Modernizing the Service Chain with Smart Technology, a report from IDC Manufacturing Insights. The use of smart technologies, […]

Getting Started with AX 2012: Creating & Approving a Return Order

As a guy who enjoys and prefers ordering items online instead of calling or going to the store to see if those certain items are available, it was great to see how Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 easily handles Return Orders. It’s as easy as finding the customer and their order and approving the return order […]

Should Your Distribution Strategy Give Preference To U.S. Sourcing?

It’s a budding trend in distribution strategy — buyers are seeking to diversify their supply bases. Often, they’re considering the U.S. for their manufacturing needs. As a recent article on the Modern Distribution Management website notes, there are pros and cons when it comes to sourcing American-made products. Among the benefits are faster delivery, demand […]

Megatrends and Manufacturing

Megatrends are large, long-term changes that spawn shorter-term business and societal trends. A few of these megatrends offer interesting possibilities for manufacturers. Understanding megatrends is important to help businesses maintain their competitive edge. Companies no longer have the luxury of waiting for a new market trend to develop before taking action else the competition will […]

Getting Started with AX: Creating Working Time Calendars

I took a few business classes back in my college days and I learned three things:           Textbooks make for expensive doorstops           My bed is much more appealing than an 8:00 AM lecture           Businesses need to be open in order to succeed Now sure, that does not seem like a lot, but I have the […]

Getting Started with Dynamics AX 2012: That’s a Fact Jack

This past week I led my first training session, and the topic was basic navigation.  I felt confident about the session overall, but my boss pointed out I did not spend enough time on a new feature in 2012.  That new feature is FactBoxes, and I couldn’t think of a better way to display my […]


It is an accepted “fact” that variability is bad for manufacturers and manufacturing. And it happens to be the truth – and not a myth or mere folklore. Variation is the source of quality issues and the main focus of quality improvement programs like Six Sigma (which is, in fact, named after a measurement of […]

How Can Trade Organization Membership Boost Your Supply Chain Strategy?

New government regulations and policies are making it harder for distributors to grow their business. How can distributors prepare for the impact of health care reform and tax laws? First things first: take a deep breath. Many of these hot-button government issues may be of personal interest to you, but they don’t even affect your […]

Social in the Supply Chain

Social networking is not about socializing, but about facilitating people-to-people communication and collaboration, which is at the heart of managing and executing supply chain processes. Social networking goes well beyond Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter—it includes virtually all of the leading software vendors that companies currently use to manage their business processes. We’re seeing the rise […]

Why Have Distribution Sales Forecasts Not Panned Out In 2013?

For many distribution executives, sales forecasts haven’t panned out this year. They’re still waiting for business to pick up after positive initial predictions. An article on the Industrial Distribution website reports that Timken, for example, experienced a 16 percent decrease in sales in the second quarter compared to last year’s numbers during the same period. […]

Inside Outsourcing Decisions

Companies struggle with outsourcing decisions. Too little outsourcing may lead to uncompetitive costs and pricing. Too much increases quality and control concerns along with supply chain and intellectual property risks. The cheapest solution is not always the best, and the architecture of supply chains can vary widely depending on the industry and products involved. Supply […]

What’s The Best Way To Incentivize In Distribution Sales Management?

Many distribution sales management executives are still looking for the optimal way to incorporate incentives into the sales process. A recent article on the Modern Distribution Management website explains that properly incentivizing sales reps has always been a challenge for sales managers and CFOs, but it should be getting easier with the advent of analytics […]

How Should Credit And Accounts Receivable Fit Into Your Distribution Strategy?

Credit and accounts receivable can be “the ugly stepchild of accounting,” as one CEO put it, but are they truly necessary pieces of a successful distribution strategy? An article on the Industrial Distribution website makes the case for the importance of credit, noting that “95 percent or more of B2B or commercial sales involve payment […]

Not Your Father’s Purchasing

High profile companies are in the spotlight, not only for their own actions and policies, but also for the activities of their suppliers. Labor practices at Chinese assembly plants, environmental practices, and sources of its conflict minerals come under close scrutiny. Business strategy and purchasing in particular have to change to incorporate corporate social responsibility. […]

HR in Microsoft Dynamics® AX 2012 R2 Webinar

Human Resource Management in Dynamics AX 2012 R2 has been enhanced with features that give HR Managers even more ability to perform the Hire to Retire business processes with ease. This webinar will highlight the new functionality brought to users in R2, as well as expand on existing functionality such as recruitment projects and skills […]

Walkthrough and Tutorial Summary

Over the past couple of years, I have made a number of walkthroughs and tutorials that are focused on or around Dynamics AX. All of these have been posted to my SlideShare account, but sometimes it’s hard to see the forest for the trees because there are quite a few of them out there. To […]

Configuring Cross Docking for Non-Retail Replenishment in Dynamics AX 2012

The Dynamics AX retail module has a Cross Docking feature that allows you to receive in products on a purchase order and then turn right around and transfer them out to other warehouses to replenish store inventories. This is great when you are receiving in products into a distribution center and then redistributing the stock. […]

A Surprising Re-shoring Trend

Clothing manufacture is a labor intensive business, and was one of the first to leave the U.S., headed for low wage areas. The economics are undeniable. With significant labor content, why wouldn’t companies opt for production where ages are one-sixth or less than they are in the U.S.? And even with the recent wage increases […]

Can Your Distribution Software Benefit From Added Technology?

From cellphones to voice-activated processes, more distributors today are investing in technology to improve business productivity and growth. However, you had better establish a strong technology foundation before even considering cutting-edge technology. With all the buzz around new developments such as voice, RFID and mobile technologies, how can distributors determine which technology is right for […]

Why Is Face-To-Face Time With Customers Critical In Distribution Sales Management?

There’s a new distribution sales management trend in recent years. As an article on reports, salespeople are spending less time with customers than in the past. Although it’s not easy, salespeople must find ways to spend more time face-to-face with their customers and realize they can’t handle everything themselves.

ERP Critical to Good Customer Experience

Do you view your ERP system as a key enabler of a great customer experience initiatives? When it comes to the customer experience, ERP is not the first application set that comes to mind. Yet, newly published research indicates ERP systems can be a powerful enabler of customer experience initiatives. A recent IDC Manufacturing Insights […]

Distribution Strategy: 3 Factors That Determine Success

A recent article on the Modern Distribution Management website cites a study that reports 32 percent of distributors are “thriving,” while 61 percent are “holding steady” and 7 percent are “declining.” Distribution strategy plays a big role in setting the thriving and declining distributors apart. Three factors in particular stand out.

Take a Tour of CustomerSource with Ms. IBIS

Happy Day to all my fabulous readers! We have been covering CustomerSource for several months now. I thought it would be helpful to provide you with a link to a wonderful demo recorded by Microsoft.  Use this to refresh your knowledge on what we have covered to this point and look forward to more tips […]

New Rules – Higher Costs for Trucking

New regulations in the trucking industry have made significant changes in the way trucks and drivers are scheduled – and will likely increase costs for shippers. The rules, that went into effect on July first, limit the work week to 70 hours from 82, require a 34-hour “re-start” period after working 70 hours that must […]

Why Should Employee Retention Be An Integral Part Of Your Distribution Strategy?

Retaining the best employees and laying out a career path for them is an important part of any successful distribution strategy. A recent article on explains that even though sales might be down and new business scarce, “ignoring the need for employee retention strategies can be highly unproductive.” However, you have to divide employee […]

Excel Might Be Your Biggest Problem

Excel is, without a doubt, the most widely used business tool in existence. It is often used for budgeting, forecasting and planning as well as analysis and record-keeping. Many organizations start with some kind of Excel-based approach for forecasting or budgeting. But the ease and simplicity of Excel can turn into a monster and expose […]

Dynamics AX Orientation

At the beginning of every presentation I do what is called a Cooking/Foundation/Orientation demonstration so that everyone is able to see some of the general features of Dynamics AX. This weekend I sat down and recorded it just in case others would like to see a high level overview of Dynamics AX 2012 as well.

A Few Tricks to Get the AX 2012 Task Recorder Update Working.

Microsoft recently released a hotfix for the AX 2012 task recorder so that you could create .axbpm files to upload to their new dynamics lifecycle services site. While this is a great tool once you get it to work, actually getting it to work is a little frustrating. This is made even more frustrating by […]

10 Critical Factors To A Cost-Effective Distribution Strategy

One large distribution center or numerous regional centers: What model is right for your distribution business? The most efficient and cost-effective distribution strategy requires data-driven decision-making. Today’s distribution software will maximize your operation, allowing for the highest fill rate with the least amount of inventory.

Global Inventory

A software executive, intrigued by the question “how much inventory is there out in the world?” did some math and made an estimate. His guess: about $12 trillion worth. Considering that the best guess for world-wide GDP is in the area of $70 to 72 trillion, this translates to an inventory turns ration of about […]

Getting Started with Dynamics AX 2012: Setting up Automatic Charges on Sales Orders

Let’s say hypothetically that Ticketmaster has adopted Dynamics AX 2012 as the ERP system that they will utilize. This is great for Ticketmaster; getting a masterful ERP solution will help them manage their business much more efficiently. We all know what Ticketmaster’s first order of business will be: setting up charges on the services that […]

Getting Started with Dynamics AX 2012: Using Templates for Item Setup

Correct item setup is key to a company’s ability to successfully utilize its ERP. But, if you have ever been tasked with item entry, you understand how tedious and daunting a task it can be. In Dynamics AX 2012, you have the ability to create item templates which can significantly improve the timeliness and accuracy […]

Is Voice-Based Distribution Software The Key To Boosting Efficiency?

New distribution software with bilingual voice capabilities is making business safer and more efficient for one Phoenix-based company. According to a recent article on the DC Velocity website, Ewing Irrigation Products, which operates 200 branches in addition to its headquarters in Phoenix, is using voice technology in its main warehouse. The decision came after both […]

I.B.I.S., Inc. Listed Among Accounting Today’s 2013 VAR 100

I.B.I.S., Inc. is pleased to be listed within the top 20 of Accounting Today magazine’s 2013 value-added resellers (VARs) 100 list. With over $20 million in revenue generated, I.B.I.S. ranked at #18, making this the 13th consecutive year I.B.I.S. has made the list.

How Can Diversifying Distribution Channels Help Drive More Business?

Bringing new services into the fold can help distributors to diversify their distribution channels and stand out from competitors that offer similar products. A recent article on the Modern Distribution Management website explains how a Colorado-based electronics distributor has added new services to boost sales.

CFOs Use BI For Risk Management

All executives are aware of, and spend their lives managing, risk. Most management decisions are based on an analysis of risk and reward. So it should come as no surprise to hear that chief financial officers (CFOs) are looking to Big Data to predict where things may go wrong and devise proactive strategies to get […]

Getting Started with Dynamics AX 2012: Calling Dibs

At some point in time, we’ve all done it.  If you’re the first one to see an attractive girl or guy at a bar, DIBS!  If you’re flying somewhere you call dibs on the aisle or window seat on the way to the airport.  You can stake your claim the same way in AX via item […]

Don’t Destroy Your AX Data: Automatcally Backing Up AX Databases in SQL

Towards the end of last week I was restoring and AX model database in SQL and accidently named the new database the same and an already existing one, which of course promptly overwrote the database and blew up AX. “No problem” I thought, “I’ll just restore a backup and everything will be fine” and that […]

Were Distribution Sales Forecasts For 2013 Too Optimistic?

Most distributors have experienced moderate growth so far in 2013, but initial sales forecasts for the year may have been a little too optimistic. An article on the Modern Distribution Management website reports that overall growth for the industry is at a modest 2.6 percent, according to the second-quarter 2013 MDM-Baird Distribution Survey.

Supply Chain Talent Shortage

Supply Chain Insights recently completed a survey asking for information about employment opportunities and candidates. Major findings include: • The greatest need is for middle managers, largely planning positions within global multinationals. Companies are seeking people with 5 to 7 years of experience in supply chain management. Retirements of baby boomers is a major contributor […]

Using Service Management to Track Service Orders

The Service Management area within Dynamics AX allows you to track all of your service order contracts and service orders for your customers, will track all of your time and expenses against the service orders, and will also pass along any chargeable items to the receivables department for automatic invoicing to the customer. Service Management […]

Getting Started with Dynamics AX 2012: From RFQ to Price Agreement with Ease

Do you find yourself or your organization routinely creating purchase orders (PO’s) after receiving a quote from a vendor? If so, this procedure was documented with you in mind. Here you will find a smooth transition between submitting a request for quote (RFQ) to multiple vendors and then turning the vendor’s quoted prices into a […]

Getting Started With Dynamics AX: Two Ways To Acquire Fixed Assets

When you buy cool new gadgets to have the latest technology available or for any other reason, you would first want to register the purchase of machine or office supply as a Fixed Asset.

Getting Started With AX: Utilizing Leads Funcionality in Dynamics AX

Great fishing stories are tales of valor, where courageous men battle the elements and the forces of nature to reel in the prized beast. Now I am no fisherman, but I know a trophy fish when I see one: the 70 pound marlin mounted in the seafood restaurant, the 400 pound shark you see in […]

Getting Started with Dynamics AX 2012: And 1 And 2 And 3…..

While it certainly doesn’t sound like an interesting topic, number sequences are applied to just about every piece of data in AX to give the data a unique identification.  Creating a number sequence is relatively simple, but there are a couple recommendations I’m going to offer so you can get more out of them once […]

iSight 2013 Registration Now Open!

You are now invited to register for iSight 2013, I.B.I.S.’ annual conference that offers the latest information in Microsoft Dynamics, including product tips, tricks, strategies, presentations, speakers, and more! 

Imports and Exports

Imports and exports can be important factors for any manufacturer, even if they don’t directly import or export. It’s hard to avoid all of the commentary and opinion about off-shoring and re-shoring. A lot of production was send to China over the last decade or so primarily because of the low wage rates there. While […]

Exports Are Up, But Is It Any Easier?

It’s been more than three years since the Obama Administration launched its National Export Initiative (NEI). The stated goal of the massive effort was to double U.S. exports within five years – from $1.57tr in 2009 to a projected $3.14tn in 2015. Last year, U.S. exports hit an all-time high of $2.2tr. For the first […]

Does Your Distribution Strategy Take Location Into Consideration?

Much like in real estate, distribution strategy is all about location, location, location. According to an article on the Industrial Supply Magazine website, Grainger is following that philosophy by opening a distribution facility in suburban Chicago just off Interstate 80, a major freeway that crosses the country from San Francisco to New Jersey.

AX 2012 Customer Order History

I had a request the other day for some reports or quick way to find some data related to customer sales. The client was specifically looking for the last time one of their customers ordered an item. This seems like a fairly common request that a Customer Service Rep might look into but a quick […]

What Role Does Big Data Play In Supply Chain Analytics?

If distributors find a way to extract value from Big Data, it can be an integral part of supply chain analytics. As an article on the DC Velocity article explains, “Big Data is pretty much pointless without Big Judgment.” Fortunately, consultants can help distributors with their transaction data and what to charge customers for their products.

U.S. May Reach Cost Parity With China in 2015

According to the latest survey by AlixPartners, LLP, the U.S. is already equal to Mexico in “attractiveness” as a place to make product that was previously sourced in China. In terms of hard numbers, it’s on track to achieve cost parity with imports from China by 2015. Companies readily outsourced many types of production to […]

How Can Sales Team Management Match Sales Reps With The Right Customers?

One of the main challenges for sales team management leaders is to match sales reps with the right customers. An article on the Industrial Supply Magazine website encourages distribution salespeople to change their way of thinking when it comes to approaching those customers so that both sides end up happy.

Do You Need a New ERP System?

There comes a time in every business when management must consider whether the current system is supporting business needs or should be replaced with a better solution. But how do you know that you are ready to invest in better business management software? Here are five signs that you are ready for ERP: 1. There […]

Getting Started with Dynamics AX 2012: Intercompany Accounting

When using the intercompany accounting daily journal in AX, transactions posted in one company cause the related transactions to post automatically in the other company.  How convenient!  The key, though, is in the set up, and that’s what I’m going to cover today. 

Using the default AX cubes with Excel pivot tables.

One of the great features about Dynamics AX 2012 R2 is that it, out of the box, contains 15 pre-built cubes that can be quickly utilized to deliver useful reports with no modifications or advanced training required. Also, because the cubes have relationships built in already, using the cubes is much faster than trying to […]

Getting Started with AX: AX Navigation Tricks

To quote the hit television series Arrested Development: George: “I don’t have time for your tricks Gob.” Gob: “ILLUSIONS, dad. You don’t have time for my ILLUSIONS” Hopefully my Dynamics AX navigation tricks illusions will be useful to you all. These little illusions have helped me navigate the scary world of ERP business solutions.

Fax Me That Part

I’m not convinced that 3D printing will completely revolutionize manufacturing and “save” the U.S. manufacturing industry. While it is a remarkable new technology that will have a significant impact on certain kinds of production – namely small quantity, custom parts and products, design and prototyping, and some others, I can’t see how it will have […]

6 Reasons E-commerce Is An Important Distribution Channel

E-commerce is the most popular distribution channel for distribution customers because it’s so easy to use. E-commerce is playing a big role in today’s distribution operations. It reduces a distributor’s cost of getting information to the customer and securing orders from them. Distributors should be maximizing their productivity in e-commerce.

Configuring Vendor Ratings & Scorecards in Dynamics AX

Dynamics AX allows you to configure your own Vendor Evaluation Criteria and then track the vendor performance against any or all of the criteria that you have defined. When you combine this with the Power BI tools, you get a great way to rate vendors, and also a nice way to present Vendor Scorecards. In […]

In-source? Out-source? How About Right-sourcing?

While many companies may argue over strategies for insourcing, outsourcing, near sourcing or keeping work in-house, a better approach is to focus on getting the best product for the lowest price regardless of where the supplier is located; a strategy called “right-sourcing.” There’s no doubt that a lot of companies in many product areas have […]

What’s The Best Way To Bring New Employees Into Distribution Sales Management?

With hiring freezes finally ending, it has become a challenge for those in distribution sales management to find new employees who are qualified and experienced. A recent article on explains that good distribution salespeople, managers and executives aren’t easy to come by anymore. As a result, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to hire people from […]

Getting Started with Dynamics AX 2012: Recurring Budget Register Entries

There are a lot of catch phrases out there, but the one that has best served me throughout my professional career is “work smarter, not harder.” At the end of the day, that is essentially what your ERP system should provide for your company. Faster, simpler and more concise processes. Here is one small example […]

What Impact Has AmazonSupply Had On Distribution Strategy?

In a recent survey, distributors reported that AmazonSupply “has had little impact overall” on their business, according to an article on the Modern Distribution Management website. That’s not to say that it hasn’t had an effect on distribution strategy. More distributors are ramping up efforts to stronger e-commerce platforms.

Five Steps to Supply Chain Excellence

There’s no denying that the manufacturing supply chain has become more complex and geographically disparate. Manufacturers have more channels available to reach their end customers and demand across these channels has become increasingly volatile as customers become more demanding and unpredictable. Manufacturers have been forced to introduce more new products to retain and grow market […]

How Can Sales Team Management Build A Fair Sales Compensation Strategy?

An article on explains that finding the right level of compensation for salespeople can be a difficult task for sales team management. For many distributors, splitting the profit 50-50 is a good place to start. It’s just as important to address the amount and type of sales reps within the company.

Getting Benefit From Big Data

Big Data, in itself, is just, well, data. Without a focus on business needs and business benefit, it is meaningless. Big data projects too often focus on the collection and parsing of data, and too little on how it can be used to make better decisions in specific areas of a business. Manufacturers are some […]

Configuring Lean Manufacturing in Dynamics AX 2012

The Lean Manufacturing capabilities are new with Dynamics AX 2012, and they give you a different way of managing your manufacturing processes as compared to the traditional discrete manufacturing models of BOM’s and Routes.  Don’t be scared away though by its new terminology and constructs that it uses to model the manufacturing processes.  It shares […]

Finding Which Table Your Data is Coming from in Dynamics AX 2012

Sometimes it may be helpful to see what table data in an AX form is being pulled from, and it is very easy to do with this little trick.

AX 2012 Alerts and Email Message Data

Alerts in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 are surprisingly powerful and seem to be surprisingly sparely used. In this blog I want to talk specifically about the data elements you can embed in the email message generated by an alert and how it can make your life much easier, but first lets take a quick overview […]

How Do Lean Concepts Apply To Sales Force Management?

Distributors should not fall into the trap of thinking lean concepts merely apply to the warehouse floor. Sales productivity has the greatest potential for improvement, but it often receives the least attention and investment. Sales force management needs to understand, appreciate and embrace waste reduction in work processes.

Power to the People

When all the hype and excitement, fear and trepidation, sweat and tears, not to mention money,  time and effort are all in the past and your new plant, new system, new machining center, or new (fill in the blank) is finally installed and running, the ultimate success or failure of the whole enterprise is dependent […]

4 Key Trends Impacting Distribution Strategy In 2013

Uncertainty plagued the distribution industry in 2012, but four trends have played a major role in positively influencing distribution strategy through the first half of this year. An article on the Modern Distribution Management website explains those trends include making human resources a focal point and paying more attention to data.

B2C E-commerce Features for B2B Business

As more manufacturers are developing ecommerce capabilities to provide customers with their channel of choice, they are faced with a challenge of providing the kind of online experiences visitors have come to expect from business-to-consumer (B2C) sites. Blindly adding features and capabilities is not an effective approach. Manufacturers run the risk of creating eCommerce platforms […]

Using Power BI to Visualize Customer Saturation

This week I was challenged to find a way for one of our customers to view how many customers they have by zip code, and compare it to the population within the area so that they can determine if they should accept new customer requests. Their customers are actually sales people, and they did not […]

Wireless Mobility is a Game Changer

There’s no question that mobile devices and the applications that are designed to work with them are changing the face of business. Therefore, manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, retailers, logistics providers and virtually every other link in the supply chain are taking a hard look at their current communications capabilities. Investing in the right mobile solutions now […]

How Should E-Commerce Be Used In Distribution Sales Management?

E-commerce has many benefits as a transaction tool, but it should not be considered a strategy in distribution sales management, according to an article on the Industrial Supply website. Transactional benefits of e-commerce include the separation of purchasing and selling, customer convenience and thorough product information.

How Is The Internet Influencing Changes In Distribution Strategy?

With the advent of websites like, distributors have shifted their sales focus to the Internet. It’s a wise distribution strategy, according to an article on the Industrial Supply magazine website, because many corporate buyers are opting for convenience over supplier loyalty and pricing.

Extending Lean Benefits to the Supplier Base

Material costs make up the majority of cost-of-goods in many industries. Lean efforts and achievements usually focus on factory operations – the labor and equipment aspects of manufacturing. The challenge, then, is to figure out how to extend lean concepts and practices into the procurement area and out to the supplier base. Extending lean principles […]

What Impact Will Reshoring Have On Your Distribution Strategy?

As more manufacturers move their operations to the U.S., options are opening up for customers who can receive products faster than ever before. Manufacturers are rethinking their distribution strategy, and regionalized supply chains are having an impact on distributors. However, don’t expect operation costs to drop dramatically.

Forecast and Prediction

Forecasting is a difficult process for most of us. We all know that nearly every forecast is wrong (I would say that every forecast is wrong but even a broken clock is right twice a day) and it’s no fun being wrong. One problem with forecasting, in addition to the variability issue and that ‘wrong’ […]

Does Continuous Improvement Really Improve?

Activities labeled as ‘continuous improvement’ are often just routine maintenance or problem solving actions that just restore the status-quo. There’s no real improvement and no bottom lime benefit. Often, these same problems will reappear at a later time. Incremental improvements can be mere feel good measures that say “see, there was a problem and we […]

How Should Distributors Plan For Supply Chain Management Crises?

Companies without an adequate crisis plan usually never reopen after experiencing a disaster, according to a blog post on That’s why it’s important for those in supply chain management to set aside sufficient time for planning and think collaboratively when it comes to disaster preparation.

Remember to Add Your Financial Dimensions to Your Cubes

I wanted to post a PSA about the Dynamics AX 2012 R2 cubes and step that I often overlook during the installation. The step is on adding financial dimensions to the cubes. It’s a very simple procedure and can be found here: In short, when you first deploy the cubes, you may not have […]

How Can Closing ‘Market Gaps’ Improve Your Distribution Strategy?

It’s crucial for supply chain managers to close “market gaps” if they hope to increase sales and improve distribution strategy. An article on the Modern Distribution Management explains what market gaps are. Four examples highlight market gaps that apply to many distributors and highlight how to address these customers’ varying needs.

Small Companies Can Do Big Business

Small companies can find opportunities to supply big businesses but often struggle with how to secure the business in the first place and how to succeed as a supplier in this environment. The major players may be wary of a smaller firm’s ability to deliver, or a minor shop may simply fly too low to […]

5 Ways To Make Proper Bar Coding Part Of Your Distribution Strategy

The distributor is caught in the middle between the supplier and the customer, meaning it’s going to be held accountable by the customer if there’s an issue with bar coding. An article on the DC Velocity website offers five suggestions to help distributors steer clear of bar code fines and improve their distribution strategy.

Lessons From the Top Supply Chains

Gartner/AMR Research publishes a list of the top supply chains every year. Are there lessons we can learn from the world’s top performers? These companies that are recognized for having very effective supply chains that no doubt play a role in their success. Of course, Apple is at the top of the list – they […]

Adding Twitter Account Information to Dynamics AX Contacts

Dynamics AX allows you to track the traditional contact details such as phone, fax, url, and email, but what if you want to also track social media accounts like Twitter. Although you could reuse one of the existing electronic contact types, it would be much better if you could have a dedicated contact type just […]

I.B.I.S., Inc. Solutions Architect, Murray Fife, Named Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for Microsoft Dynamics® AX

PEACHTREE CORNERS, GA — July 25, 2013 —I.B.I.S., Inc. is pleased to announce that Solutions Architect, Murray Fife, has been honored as a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for Microsoft Dynamics® AX.  With Fife as the latest addition, I.B.I.S. now has three Microsoft MVPs on its team.

Four Manufacturing Myths; Part 4

The Washington Post published an opinion piece on April 30, 2013, written by two Kinsey & Company directors, under the title “Dispelling myths about manufacturing”. The myths concern low cost / low skill labor, offshoring and re-shoring, and manufacturing employment levels – all things that are discussed frequently in the press.  This is the fourth […]

I.B.I.S., Inc. announced Global Independent Software Vendor at Worldwide Partner Conference

I.B.I.S., Inc. is excited to announce that at the 2013 Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Houston, Microsoft named Advanced Distribution Software powered by I.B.I.S., Inc. a Global Independent Software Vendor (ISV). “Advanced Distribution Software is the missing link in Dynamics AX distribution functionality,” I.B.I.S. CEO Andy Vabulas says. “We’ve got that last mile of functionality […]

Your Supply Chain Can Be Lean, Too

Lean Manufacturing has generated considerable improvements in plant operations, helping organizations improve material handling efficiency, product quality and customer satisfaction. A great extension of these improvements is to apply the benefits of Lean Manufacturing across the supply chain to see improvements in inventory, labor, and transportation. To start with, adopt the make-to-order concept in the […]

How Do U.S. Infrastructure Problems Impact Supply Chain Strategy And Logistics?

The U.S. infrastructure has problems that play a big role in supply chain strategy, but it’s in good shape when compared with countries like China. Still, that didn’t stop the American Society of Civil Engineers from handing the U.S. a D-plus on its latest infrastructure report card, according to an article on the Supply Chain Digest website.

Why Are Degree Programs In Supply Chain Management Increasingly Popular?

More colleges and universities are introducing degree programs in supply chain management to develop the next generation of distribution leaders. An article on The Wall Street Journal website explains that companies are having a hard time finding professionals with supply chain expertise, so these programs are good for the distribution industry.

It’s Not Just the Money

Companies around the world are cutting back their financial-incentive programs so business leaders may be looking for opportunities to reward talented employees by emphasizing nonfinancial motivators rather than bonuses. Numerous studies indicate that people with satisfactory salaries appreciate nonfinancial motivators. Managers find them more effective than extra cash in building long-term employee engagement. The challenging […]

Data Import/Export Framework: Steps for a simple file import

Importing A Simple File utilizing the Data Import/Export Framework. The Data Import/Export Framework for AX 2012 is a very powerful tool that allows for a more simplified way to import Master Data.  The Framework allows for imports of Files and ODBC connections, but for this post I will be focusing on a file import. 

AX 2012 and Windows Live ID: A relationship not meant to be

It sure seems like the direction of new technology is pointing to going wireless and towards the cloud. It seems you can’t read one article about any form of new technology and not see word “Cloud” somewhere in it. As a culture we want everything at our fingertips, all the time and no matter where […]

How Can Social Media Help Improve Your Distribution Strategy?

Social media is a powerful tool in a successful distribution strategy because it allows distributors to reach out to customers and address their needs. An article on the Modern Distribution Management website highlights a key component of industrial supplier Grainger’s customer service strategy — using social media to help customers track down hard-to-find products. The […]

Visit I.B.I.S. in Booth #219 at the 2013 Microsoft Dynamics® AX User Group (AXUG) Summit!

I.B.I.S., Inc. is a gold sponsor at the Microsoft Dynamics® AX User Group (AXUG) Summit 2013, taking place in Tampa from October 22nd to the 25th. I.B.I.S. will have team members in attendance in booth #219 at the Tampa Convention Center. Stop by booth #219 to check out Advanced Distribution Software, recently named Global Independent […]

Getting Value From ERP

According to an IDC survey, CIOs see implementing an ERP system as a key business transformation initiative. And the primary piece of advice from these CIOs is “Don’t customize. Change your business to match the solution.” Surveyed executives stated that the biggest challenges with ERP have centered on maintaining customizations. Many of the customizations are […]

Using Microsoft Power Query to Analyze Facebook

I was tipped off about a new add-on for Excel 2013 that Microsoft have just released called Power Query, so I had to take a look at it. As the name hints, this is the data query function on steroids, and it looks great. The following walkthrough is an example of what I did.

I.B.I.S., Inc. Named Global Independent Software Vendor for Advanced Distribution Software

PEACHTREE CORNERS, Ga. — July 18, 2013— Microsoft announced at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference an agreement with I.B.I.S., Inc. making I.B.I.S. a Global Independent Software Vendor (ISV) for their Advanced Distribution Software solution.  Microsoft’s GISV program offers select partners the opportunity to spotlight their deep industry knowledge and vertical-tailored solutions to the greater marketplace.  […]

What’s The Best Distribution Strategy For Pricing?

The perfect price point is a myth, but there are ways that you can optimize your profits through pricing. Rather than aiming for the lowest price, distributors should seek the best value. The best distribution strategy is embedded in value. Local distributors can offer customers options that others, like massive retailers, cannot.

Four Manufacturing Myths; Part 3

The Washington Post published an opinion piece on April 30, 2013, written by two Kinsey & Company directors, under the title “Dispelling myths about manufacturing”. The myths concern low cost / low skill labor, offshoring and re-shoring, and manufacturing employment levels – all things that are discussed frequently in the press.  In the next four […]

3 Ways Distribution Software Can Improve Forecasting And Collaboration

Nearly half of all distributors are still using manual processes to forecast, plan and collaborate, according to an article on the Supply & Demand Chain Executive website. But using distribution software, such as a customer relationship management system, can lead to more successful forecasting and collaboration for those supply chains.

Attracting Talent to Manufacturing

Everyone is aware of the exodus of experienced production workers (as they retire) and the dearth of bright young minds entering the manufacturing world. Want to know how to attract the next generation of manufacturing leaders? 1. Inexpensive Perks, BIG Impact. Get creative. How about a $50 gym membership allowance for your employees to promote […]

3D Printing is not a Panacea

3D printing is a breakthrough technology but it is not necessarily the cure for all manufacturing’s ills. Like any other technology or innovation, there are challenges as well as benefits. Ignore the hype and take a look at 3D printing in the context of manufacturing and the supply chain. Low cost 3D printing technology could […]

Is Batch Picking Still A Useful Tactic In Distribution Strategy?

While batch picking is an efficient distribution strategy, an article on the Supply Chain Digest website says distributors should be asking themselves, “What are the alternatives?” Inc., for example, has already invested in other options, as evidenced by its purchase of a company that makes robots that work in the warehouse.

Why Embracing New Threats Will Strengthen Any Distribution Strategy

A good distribution strategy encourages distributors to welcome new threats in the industry instead of running from them. According to an article on the Modern Distribution Management website, these threats include the same-day shipping business model, which has become a staple for retail giants such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Inc.

3 Elements Of A Fine-Tuned Distribution Strategy That Eliminates Waste

A distributor’s ultimate goal is to create the perfect order. By eliminating wasted steps and speeding up production time, a distributor can improve operations. Multichannel marketing is important to a distribution strategy. Your multichannel marketing needs to be error-proof, fast and easy to navigate.

Four Manufacturing Myths; Part 2

The Washington Post published an opinion piece on April 30, 2013, written by two McKinsey & Company directors, under the title “Dispelling myths about manufacturing”. The myths concern low cost / low skill labor, offshoring and re-shoring, and manufacturing employment levels – all things that are discussed frequently in the press.  In the next four […]

Inventory – Asset or Liability?

More than 30 supply chain managers from about 19 organizations discussed inventory at a recent MIT roundtable, focusing on changing entrenched views on how inventory should be allocated and dispensed. Finance sees inventory as a drain on working capital, sales wants as much as they can get to please customers, manufacturing is oblivious, and purchasing […]

Why Delaying Investments In New Distribution Channels Might Be A Wise Decision

Delaying investments in distribution channels can be very costly, according to a blog post on the Industrial Distribution website. However, sometimes, delaying the investment is the prudent choice. In wholesale distribution, customers come and go, and it’s dangerous to make a long-term investment in a short-term customer.

3 Sales Force Management Mistakes To Avoid When Documenting Value

Not all distributors have a system for documenting value. But those that do often commit three common sales force management errors, according to a post on the Modern Distribution Management website. They don’t document the right things, they document value too late and they fail to get managers involved.

Mobile Technology for Manufacturers

Mobile technologies – smart phones and tablets – can put access to company data literally in the hands of employees at any time and any place. One of the first widespread uses of mobile devices and company systems is in sales productivity applications that enable sales reps to access customer and product information in order […]

eCommerce Options

Manufacturers interested in launching an eCommerce initiative are faced with a dizzying array of terminology and options that may frustrate their efforts to get their program up and running as quickly as possible. Here are some of the components of eCommerce technology as well as some implementation strategies other firms have used to achieve success […]

How Grainger’s Distribution Strategy Seeks To Attract Top E-Commerce Talent

Distributors aren’t known to have first-class office space, but Grainger is reversing that trend as part of its distribution strategy. According to an article on the Industrial Distribution website, the company is hiring 300 new employees for its IT and e-commerce divisions, and it’s putting them in one of the most expensive buildings in Chicago.

What Should Your Distribution Strategy Be For The Rest Of 2013?

Distributors: how close are you to reaching your 2013 goals? Midway through the year, 2013 has been just OK for the distribution industry. Distributors need to review their expectations and revise their distribution strategy. Invest in your business through productivity enhancements to hardware and software.

Four Manufacturing Myths; Part 1

The Washington Post published an opinion piece on April 30, 2013, written by two Kinsey & Company directors, under the title “Dispelling myths about manufacturing”. The myths concern low cost / low skill labor, offshoring and re-shoring, and manufacturing employment levels – all things that are discussed frequently in the press.  In the next four […]

Which Companies Have The Best Supply Chain Strategy In 2013?

Apple’s outstanding supply chain strategy earned the company the top spot in Gartner’s annual ranking of supply chains. McDonald’s, Amazon, Unilever and Intel rounded out the top five, according to an article on the Supply Chain Digest website. The list was compiled based on objective measures, such as financial data, and subjective measures.

Weather Threatens the Supply Chain

Hurricane Katrina, the massive floods in Thailand and Pakistan, a prolonged drought in the Southwestern United States, and hurricanes Irene and Sandy have caused significant supply chain disruptions, exposing potentially risky supply chain practices predicated on cost-effectiveness. Lean manufacturing, just-in-time, and high levels of outsourcing to sole-source suppliers are increasingly colliding with Mother Nature, who […]

How To Boost Efficiency In Distribution Sales Management

Supply chain managers should consider a lean management system to become more efficient in distribution sales management. As an article on the DC Velocity website explains, lean isn’t just useful in the warehouse. It can also apply to sales, the biggest part of the workforce in the wholesale distribution business.

Sustainability Increasingly on the CEO and Board Agenda

Companies are increasingly making the connection between sustainability and supply chain risk, according to a new report from Ernst & Young. Sustainability issues are becoming more prominent on corporate agendas. Extreme weather events, natural disasters and other risks to natural resources has grabbed the attention of C-level executives and brought these issues to the attention […]

Why ‘Be The Order’ Is Critical To A Great Distribution Strategy

As part of their distribution strategy, most distributors are shooting for what they call “the perfect order,” which means an order where the right quantity goes to the right place at the right time. An article on the DC Velocity website says the best way to accomplish that goal is to “be the package” throughout the distribution process.

Machine Tool Orders Up Sharply

Industry week reported that the monthly U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders report, compiled by AMT – The Association for Manufacturing Technology, has very good news for the industrial equipment sector. U.S. manufacturers’ new orders of machine tools and related technology rose over 30% during March, the second month in a row showing rising demand. The results […]

Expense Management

Travel and Expense management in a growing enterprise can cause unnecessary overhead costs and expenses.  The need for efficient expense report entry and processing has pushed Microsoft to create a process through the enterprise portal with an accompanying workflow.  The workflow can be routed through a series of approvals based on predefined amounts, financial dimensions, […]

The Seven Wastes – Part 8: Talent

The “Seven Wastes” is a key concept in lean manufacturing. First identified by Toyota’s Taiichi Ohno, the seven wastes include most of what value stream mapping reveals as non-value-adding activities. Over seven weeks, I briefly discussed: Overproduction, Delay, Transporting, Over-Processing, Inventory, Motion, Defects in the context of what manufacturers are concerned about today. Sometime after […]

Why Must Distributors Invest In Distribution Sales Management Training?

It’s not what you sell, but rather but how you sell it. Improving sales performance requires investing in distribution sales management training. Reject the idea that untalented salespeople or a poorly staffed sales team is the problem. Sales training is the key to eliminating common barriers that impede sales performance.

You Are Invited to Save the Date for iSight 2013!

Want to continue to increase your knowledge in Microsoft Dynamics®? iSight is our annual conference that offers the latest information in Microsoft Dynamics, including product tips, tricks, strategies, presentations, speakers, and more!

Bob Scott’s Insights Names I.B.I.S., Inc. Among VAR Top 100

I.B.I.S., Inc. is proud to announce that we have been named within the 2013 BSI (Bob Scott’s Insights – Top 100 Value Added Resellers (VARs). The top 100 list is comprised of midmarket reselling firms which are ranked solely on annual revenue.

Product Attributes

AX 2012 offers a variety of ways to set up products, but in this blog I will focus on the use of product Attributes.  Product Attributes allow a company to add detailed information to products without having to use variants.  Attributes can be added to categories and then assigned to products.

Is Internal Benchmarking The Key To A Better Supply Chain Strategy?

Internal benchmarking provides useful data for distribution companies hoping to improve their supply chain strategy. An article on the Supply Chain Digest website says that distributors are sitting on a mountain of information that can be put to good use. That data should include things like total cost, number of workers and size of facilities.

10 Reasons Why Lean Projects Fail

Despite the enormous popularity of Lean, and the admirable gains in productivity and waste reduction that many companies have experienced with lean, the track record for successful implementations is spotty. Recent studies claim that more than half of all lean projects fail. The basic reason why the implementation of Lean fails at most companies boils […]

Should Distribution Sales Management Focus More On Technical Education?

Because of advances in technology, products are more complicated and harder to use than they used to be. That’s why technical education needs to be a bigger point of emphasis in distribution sales management, Grainger CEO James Ryan suggests in a recent article on the Industrial Distribution website.

Is the Reshoring Trend for Real?

If reshoring were taking place on a large scale, one would expect to see improvements in the U.S. balance of trade in manufactured goods. In actuality, little change is evident in this critical statistic. Yet, there appears to be an ongoing shift in the underlying competitive conditions that favor manufacturing production on U.S. soil. According […]

Where Should E-Commerce Fit Into Your Supply Chain Management Plan?

Only 25 to 35 percent of distribution companies have an e-commerce capability today, according to an article on the Industrial Supply magazine website. And while integrating e-commerce into supply chain management can be beneficial, it’s unwise for most distributors to rely too heavily on it as part of their business strategy.

Defining Warehouse Management Software

Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) started out as execution systems, supporting day-to-day transactions like receiving, put-away, pick and pack, shipping, and cycle counting. You can think of these as core WMS capabilities. Extended WMS is more predictive with analytics and visibility into the extended supply chain. Core WMS is a mature technology; any system that calls […]

Ms. IBIS on News & Events in CustomerSource

Summer is here and Ms. IBIS is ready for some quality pool time!  Today, let’s take a look at the News & Events component of CustomerSource.

The Seven Wastes – Part 7: Defects

The “Seven Wastes” is a key concept in lean manufacturing. First identified by Toyota’s Taiichi Ohno, the seven wastes include most of what value stream mapping reveals as non-value-adding activities. Over seven weeks, I’m briefly discussing: Overproduction, Delay, Transporting, Over-Processing, Inventory, Motion, Defects in the context of what manufacturers are concerned about today. There should […]

Why Should Your Distribution Strategy Include Changing The Perception Of Warehouse Jobs?

Changing the perception of warehouse jobs is an important piece of distribution strategy. In good companies, warehouse positions can offer an opportunity for people to grow professionally. But an article on the Industrial Supply magazine website highlights the challenges of successfully integrating a new generation of employees into warehousing.

Five Reasons to Adopt PLM

Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) has proven its value in companies large and small by simplifying and shortening each phase of the product development process. Smaller organizations, however, have a perception that PLM is difficult to implement, requires a great deal of resources to maintain and costs a lot both initially and over the long term. […]

What You Need to Know – Cutting “Big Data” Down to Size

What do you think about the “big data” that we keeping hearing and reading about? Big data is a hoax, just another way to get businesses to buy more computer power. Our company is looking for a software tool to help us get to the data we really need. I give up! There is so […]

Using Excel to Copy Data from One Company to Another

Setting up a new company within Dynamics AX is not hard, but it is time consuming because you have to configure a lot to base tables and codes such as payment terms, freight methods etc. that are not shared between the companies. Something that would make the process easier would be a mass load of […]

Does Lean Hurt Productivity?

General Electric management announced on April 9 that it plans to move a substantial amount of work out of its Lawrence Park Township plant (in Erie county in western New York) to a new plant in Fort Worth, Texas, eliminating 950 union jobs at its local facility. The company and the union are now engaged […]

How Can Using Multiple Distribution Channels Boost Business Growth?

It makes sense to have separate distribution channels within one business to better handle different types of customers. According to an article on the Industrial Supply website, that’s the model that Toledo, Ohio-based industrial distributor Bostwick-Braun Co. has adapted, and it is helping to increase growth for the business.

Using Excel to Import Products & Services in Dynamics AX

At this point in my GuygAX project (a.k.a. implementing Dungeons & Dragons within ERP), I am working on loading all of the reference products and services into my system so that I can start stocking my shelves and selling services to my NPC’s. This is no small feat, since the initial load has more than […]

Ms. IBIS on Training and Certification in CustomerSource

A very good day to you!  Today we’ll finish up our tour of the Training and Certification section of CustomerSource. CustomerSource certification help includes Certification Exam Preparation Guides and Learning Plans which will help you study and train for specific certification exams.

I.B.I.S., Inc. is a Gold Sponsor at AXUG Summit!

I.B.I.S., Inc. is excited to announce that we will be a gold sponsor at the Dynamics AX User Group (AXUG) Summit 2013, which is being held at the Tampa Convention Center from October 22nd to the 25th.  We will have I.B.I.S. team members in attendance at the summit, as well.  We look forward to seeing […]

Four I.B.I.S., Inc. Team Members Make “Microsoft Dynamics Top 100 Most Influential People” List

Peachtree Corners, GA – I.B.I.S., Inc. is proud to announce that Chief Executive Officer, Andy Vabulas, has been named 12th on the Microsoft Dynamics Top 100 Most Influential People List for 2013. is now celebrating its 5th year of publishing the Top 100 list.

Ms. IBIS on E-Learning Resources in CustomerSource

Well hello again my wonderful readers! Ms. IBIS has been enjoying this lovely spring weather.  Do April showers really bring May flowers?  We shall see! This week’s question comes from reader DS from Atlanta who writes:

I.B.I.S., Inc. Sponsors Annual Race Fever Event

I.B.I.S., Inc. is pleased to sponsor Race Fever, an annual fundraising event for the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind held at the SPEED Channel Dome within the International Motorsports Hall of Fame complex! I.B.I.S. has sponsored the event for many years – it is always a great event! We love working with AIDB, an […]

Ms. IBIS on Technical Support in CustomerSource

Hello again my wonderful readers and Happy Spring! Ms. IBIS had a fabulous time in New Orleans attending Microsoft Convergence 2013. Did you see me in the slide show at the I.B.I.S., Inc. booth? This week I wanted to share how easy it is to find technical support in CustomerSource. From the CustomerSource homepage, click […]

Ms. IBIS on Setting Up User Access in CustomerSource

Hello Readers! I hope you all successfully “sprang forward” and aren’t suffering too terribly from the loss of an hour! We’re getting lots of wonderful questions about CustomerSource.  Just last week we received the following via email: “Hi Ms. IBIS, We have 2 users who will need to take the eLearning class for MR.  I […]

Ms. IBIS on Windows Live ID

Greetings readers! Ms. IBIS has sure enjoyed reading your questions! This week’s question is from a friend in North Carolina who writes:

I.B.I.S., Inc. at Convergence 2013!

Attending Convergence 2013? I.B.I.S. cannot wait to see you! I.B.I.S., Inc. is a bronze sponsor of Convergence 2013, taking place in New Orleans, March 18th to the 21st. I.B.I.S. will be in booth 2522 in the Expo and Microsoft Solution Center. The I.B.I.S. expo event will showcase solutions powered by I.B.I.S. including Advanced Distribution Software and DynamicsCare. […]

Launch of Microsoft Office 365!

I.B.I.S., Inc. is excited to announce that we are now offering the new Microsoft Office 365 Small Business Premium and Midsize Business cloud services. The new Office provides anywhere access to your familiar Office applications optimized for use across PCs, smartphones, and tablets. Office 365 is designed for small and mid-sized businesses who want to […]

Introducing CustomerSource Expert: Ms. IBIS!

Welcome! In spirit of the New Year, we are kicking off a new feature to help you navigate a fabulous, but underused, customer benefit – CustomerSource. CustomerSource is included as a benefit of your company’s service plan which includes these great features: Unlimited training courses and materials Self-support resources like the knowledge base Access to […]

Management Reporter – Changing the Long and Short date

“How To” change the header presentation in Management Reporter. The header portion of reports found in Management Reporter on the “Headers and Footers” as seen here we are using the ” @ Period Coverage @ DateLong” as seen below

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