Manufacturing and Microsoft Dynamics ERP
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Manufacturing and Microsoft Dynamics ERP

While we primarily cover MCAD, CAx, and PLM technologies, we thought we’d branch out a bit this time around and discuss an area that is becoming more prominent and important in the design, engineering, manufacturing communities – enterprise resource planning (ERP). It turns out that it is not suitable just for huge, multi-national companies anymore, but also medium and even some small sized manufacturing organizations, as well, for better understanding their businesses, control, and strategizing for the future.

In its most basic form, ERP integrates internal and external management information across an entire organization, embracing finance/accounting, manufacturing, sales and support, etc. ERP systems automate all of these activities with an integrated software. ERP’s purpose is to facilitate the flow of information between all business functions inside the boundaries of the organization and manage the connections to outside parties.

The notion of enterprise resource planning goes back to around 1990 when Gartner Group first coined the acronym ERP as an extension of material requirements planning (MRP), later manufacturing resource planning (also MRP), and computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM). Supplementing these terms, ERP encompassed a bigger picture, reflecting the evolution of application integration beyond manufacturing, although not all ERP packages were developed with manufacturing strictly in mind. Based on the markets they served, vendors began with accounting, maintenance, and human resources. In a few years, by the mid–1990s ERP systems addressed virtually all core functions required to run an enterprise.

Some of the functional areas of an ERP system directly related to manufacturing include design, engineering, bill of materials, work orders, scheduling, capacity, document management, workflow management, quality control, cost management, manufacturing process, manufacturing projects, manufacturing flow, activity based costing, product lifecycle management (PLM), supply chain management, and project management.


Connecting the Back Office to the Factory Floor

ERP systems connect to real–time data and transaction data in a variety of ways.

Direct integration—ERP systems connectivity (communications to plant floor equipment) as part of their product offering. This requires the vendors to offer specific support for the plant floor equipment that their customers operate.

Database integration—ERP systems connect to plant floor data sources through staging tables in a database. Plant floor systems deposit the necessary information into the database. The ERP system reads the information in the tables.

Enterprise appliance transaction modules (EATM)—These devices communicate directly with plant floor equipment and with the ERP system via methods supported by the ERP system. EATM can employ a staging table, Web Services, or system–specific program interfaces (APIs). The benefit of an EATM is that it is an off–the–shelf technology.

Custom integration—Many system integrators offer custom solutions. These systems tend to have the highest level of initial integration cost, and can have a higher long term maintenance and reliability costs.

Standard protocols—Communications drivers are available for plant floor equipment and separate products have the ability to log data to staging tables. Standards exist within the industry to support interoperability between software products.

ERP Advantages and Disadvantages

The fundamental advantage of ERP is that integrating the dozens of processes by which businesses employ (theoretically) save time and expense. Decisions can be made quicker and with fewer errors. Data becomes visible across the organization. Tasks that can benefit from integration include:

Some of the possible disadvantages of ERP include:

A Conversation About Microsoft Dynamics ERP

To get a better understanding of what ERP is like in the manufacturing environment, we spoke with Rakesh Kumar, the global industry product director of manufacturing for Microsoft Dynamics ERP. In this role, he drives the execution of Microsoft Corp.’s strategy for the Microsoft Dynamics solutions in the manufacturing industry, with various internal and external stakeholders across a broad network of partners and customers.



Rakesh Kumar, Global Industry Product Director Manufacturing, Microsoft Dynamics ERP

Kumar brings more than 25 years of industry experience, including manufacturing, supply chain operations, business transformation, sales and marketing, global IT infrastructure, and product management for discrete and process manufacturing industries. Before joining Microsoft, Kumar served as vice president and chief information officer at Marvell Semiconductors Inc., a leading semiconductor manufacturing company. Before Marvell, he spent close to a decade at Oracle as a senior director of product management, overseeing manufacturing and supply chain execution applications. Kumar started his career with Unilever, where he held various roles in manufacturing, operations, logistics and modernization across multiple facilities in South Asia.

Kumar has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi, India, and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

MCADCafe (MC): Can you briefly describe the mechanics and philosophy of Microsoft Dynamics ERP.
Rakesh Kumar (RK):
“We approach development and implementation of our products for automating ERP from our customers’ point of view. We have gained a lot of good experience for product development based on the Microsoft Office product line. This is especially important because our typical ERP user is not an engineer.”

MC: Please provide a little history/background on Microsoft Dynamics ERP.
“Historically, ERP has been regarded as a complicated and high-cost technology that frustrated many early adopters. To address these issues, Microsoft decided to extend its positive user experience from its business software to ERP by offering simplicity through the UI, value of the software, and innovation provided by our R&D.”

MC: What makes Microsoft Dynamics ERP unique in the marketplace?
“Innovation and value from our ERP products that offer customization and flexibility, continuous improvement, and our software design approach.”

MC: What types of problems are your customers (current and prospective) hoping to solve with Microsoft Dynamics ERP?
“Probably the most significant problems we help our customers solve is our ability to allow them to standardize operations across large organizations by implementing ERP.”

MC: How do you view the future of ERP (generally) and Microsoft Dynamics ERP (specifically)?
“We want to stay ahead of the market and continue leading best practices for the ERP market. Looking ahead to the future, we see several major trends that will benefit our customers:

“Looking ahead to the future, our primary vision is that Microsoft wants to be THE enabler for ERP for its customers.”

Microsoft Dynamics ERP Products

Realizing that organizations today need the right ERP software to help their people drive key business processes, make smarter and faster decisions, and ensure they make the most of their assets and resources, Microsoft Dynamics ERP provides these capabilities to organizations as small as a few employees starting a new venture to organizations spread across the world—for companies with just one server to operations tied in with the home office enterprise ERP system.

Basically, Microsoft offers four ERP integrations for manufacturers -- MS Dynamics AX (Axapta), MS Dynamics GP (Great Plains), MS Dynamics NAV (Navision), and MS Dynamics SL:

There was a time when the phrase “works well with others” belonged primarily in school report cards. But in today’s complex and interrelated IT landscape, working together is at the heart of productivity, with businesses demanding solutions that build bridges between disconnected business systems and enhance collaboration.

Businesses depend on the efficient management of financial, supply chain and customer information to operate effectively in today’s global markets. With the release of Microsoft Office 2010 and Microsoft SharePoint 2010, organizations that deploy the latest desktop productivity software alongside their Microsoft Dynamics business solutions stand to realize considerable productivity gains and greater return on their software investments.

In the past decade, technology innovations have redefined how users created and disseminated information, leading to a new set of challenges: How do companies quickly and easily locate and utilize the right information at the right time? Analysts estimate that workers spend up to 30 percent of their day searching for the critical data they need to make smart and timely decisions. Business workers across diverse departments in a company require access to their information around the clock and from wherever they happen to be.

This “anywhere access” to business data is now more easily available to Microsoft Dynamics ERP customers, enabled by a new technology spanning Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 called Business Connectivity Services (BCS). By linking commonly used Microsoft Dynamics ERP information, such as customer or supplier contact details, to BCS, companies can access these details offline in Outlook 2010 or SharePoint Workspace 2010.

Once information has been made accessible, it needs to be analyzed and understood. The majority of Microsoft Dynamics customers use Microsoft Excel to analyze their business information, and with Excel 2010 they can take advantage of powerful new analysis tools that provide insights into the nuances of business activities.

Microsoft Office, Microsoft SharePoint Server and Microsoft Dynamics now share a common user interface — the Fluent user interface (UI) — that makes them more consistent to use and easier to adopt.

Use Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions to manage critical business processes, respond quickly to change, and make the most of your assets and resources. Built on familiar Microsoft technologies, these ERP solutions are simple to use and deploy—and easy to customize and adapt as business needs change.

So, is ERP for everybody? Well, no, not yet, but it is making more sense for more manufacturing organizations as a competitive necessity.

The Week’s Top 5

At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the five news items that were the most viewed during last week.

Autodesk Names RND Automation & Engineering as Inventor of the Year for 2010

has named RND Automation & Engineering LLC as the Autodesk Inventor of the Year for 2010. RND Automation designs customized automation solutions for a wide range of customers, including manufacturers of hydraulic valves, contact lenses, and insulated beverage containers. The company was originally named Inventor of the Month in March 2010 for its Digital Prototyping work. RND has used Autodesk Inventor software since its first release on a wide range of projects, tapping almost every area of the software’s functionality in the process.

Siemens PLM Software Achieves Leader Ranking across All Segments of IDC’S PLM Marketscape Report
Siemens PLM Software
announced that IDC Manufacturing Insights’ latest PLM Marketscape Report, recognizes Siemens PLM Software as a PLM Market leader across the core categories, CAx, Discrete, and rated highly as a major player in the Process PLM segments. Siemens PLM Software’s NX and Solid Edge software, which serve the CAx PLM market segment, are ranked as leading solutions for this segment. The company’s Teamcenter software and Teamcenter Express software, which serve the Discrete PLM market segment, are referenced as the “de-facto enterprise solution standard in the Discrete industries.” IDC indicates that the Discrete PLM market segment accounts for the strongest overall market growth. Siemens PLM Software’s strategy and capabilities held leading positions in each of the three market segments evaluated and showed positive momentum in the market, an uncommon result in IDC’s Marketscape report. According to IDC Manufacturing Insights, “Siemens PLM Software is an IDC PLM Marketscape market leader in the CAx PLM segment. Siemens PLM Software participates in the CAx segment with its NX and Solid Edge products. Best-in-class functionalities for industrial design and styling, electromechanical design, mechanical simulation machining, and so forth make the NX platform stand apart from the rest of Siemens PLM Software's competitors' offerings.” IDC Manufacturing Insights report also says, “Siemens PLM Software’s end-users have higher satisfaction about the seamless functionality and reliability of its software.”

New TurboCAD Pro 18
released TurboCAD Pro 18 and TurboCAD Pro Platinum 18. New and enhanced features include:

BAE Systems Composite Structures Selects VISTAGY’s FiberSIM to Design and Manufacture Aircraft Parts
announced that BAE Systems Composite Structures Inc. has purchased FiberSIM software to design and manufacture parts for commercial aircraft programs, including an auxiliary power unit plenum. BAE Systems Composite Structures has worked with VISTAGY for over a decade and has used FiberSIM on programs for Rolls Royce, Bell Helicopter, and Raytheon. BAE Systems Composite Structures uses FiberSIM to compress product development cycle times and reduce costs by eliminating the laborious processes for manually developing plies, creating templates, and digitizing flat patterns. Further, FiberSIM-driven, state-of-the-art manufacturing processes enable BAE Systems Composite Structures to reduce layup time and improve repeatability.

Geometric releases eDrawings Professional for Google SketchUp version 8.0
Geometric Limited
announced the release of eDrawings Professional for Google SketchUp version 8.0 with support for Google SketchUp 8.0 and eDrawings 2011. eDrawings is the first email enabled collaboration tool designed to ease the sharing and interpretation of 2D and 3D product design data. eDrawings Publishers are also available for Pro/ENGINEER, CATIA V5, NX, Autodesk Inventor, SolidEdge, as well as for STEP/IGES/STL/OBJ/RHINO/DGN and DWG/DXF files. The new version of eDrawings Professional for Google SketchUp includes:

With eDrawings Publishers you can:

Jeffrey Rowe is the editor of MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached at Email Contact or 719.221.1867.


This Week

Product and Company News

Autodesk Unveils 2012 Manufacturing Software Portfolio

Autodesk Completes Acquisition of Blue Ridge Numerics, Inc.

PolyWorks V12 Integrates New DirectReplay Re-Measurement Technology into its Universal 3D Metrology Platform

i GET IT Adds "The Fundamentals of Vehicle Design and Packaging" to its Engineering and Design Knowledge Portfolio

Autodesk Increases Power of 3D Design With 2012 Design and Creation Suites

AutoCAD 2012 Products Deliver Flexibility and Accessibility

MSC Software's MD Adams Selected for the Simulation of NASA Mars Exploration Rover, Opportunity

CadFaster|Collaborate Cloud Software Now Available

Extensible CAD Technologies' InspectionXpert for CATIA V5 Fills Gap Left by Discontinuation of Rand Worldwide's Inspection Tools

Dassault Systèmes’ DraftSight Now Available for Linux

Autodesk Names Tata Technologies Top Manufacturing Sector Partner in Overall Sales Growth

The Electric Superbike Challenge - Stage 1 Winner Ben Murphy

IDC Manufacturing Insights Announces New PLM Software Application MarketScape Study

Delcam offers cost-effective reverse engineering with PowerSHAPE Pro

EMA Earns Autodesk “Rookie Partner of the Year” Award

CCE’s EnSuite Enhanced with Tools for Reverse Engineering & Rapid Prototyping

Dassault Systèmes Acquires Intercim

TopSolid’Cam 2011 – A guarantee of exceptional part surfaces and calculation speeds

Cleaner Energy, Fluid Processes: Viessmann Selects Siemens PLM Software Technology to Enhance Efficiency and Productivity

Quickparts Releases CNC Online Interactive Quoting

Discover Essential Solid Edge Tips & Tricks With Solid Mastermind

IMAGINiT Technologies Wins Multiple Autodesk Awards

Next Limit Technologies and Lightmap Ltd. Announce Maxwell Render Support for HDR Light Studio Live Plugin

Delcam's FeatureCAM gives H&R Precision success from the start

Catalog Data Solutions CAD Download Solution Selected by Schioppa Casters and Wheels

FEA-Opt Technology Announces The Release of SmartDO 3.1

CADENAS eCATALOGsolutions at Schneider Electric Motion

PACE Lab Opens at McMaster to Give Students a Global Edge in Automotive Design

Universal Robotics Launches Spatial Vision 2.0

LMS International and e-Xstream partner on composite fatigue analysis and composite simulation

French National Library Chooses Exalead to Accelerate Digital Revolution

Got A Burning Question Regarding Solid Edge - Why Not Ask The Expert?

IMAGINiT Technologies Supports Autodesk 2012 Product Launch With Technical & Training Expertise



Geometric releases eDrawings Professional for Solid Edge version 8.0

Introducing DARS v2.06: Advanced Chemistry Simulation for Efficient & Green Engineering

Learn How to Reduce Product Development Costs With SpaceClaim 3D Direct Modeling

M2 Technologies now offering Autodesk’s 2012 software and new product suites

Jabez Technologies releases Robotmaster V5

Sunstone Circuits Adds New and Improved Schematic Editor to CAD Tool PCB123

EOS Innovations Becomes a Value-Added Reseller for Autodesk

Autodesk Names IMAGINiT Technologies Reseller of the Quarter

NVision Scanner Helps Get Aircraft Accessories to Fit Right the First Time

Nordson ASYMTEK Mentors Students in the FIRST Robotics Competition in San Diego

The CAMWorks Handbook is updated for CAMWorks 2011

St. Conti Communications Engineers Publicity for Concepts NREC

CLAAS Boosts Innovation with V6 Solutions from Dassault Systèmes

Avnet Express’ Online Electronic Component Catalog Tops Five Million Parts

Immersion Corporation Reports Fourth Quarter and Fiscal 2010 Results

Hexagon Metrology and Ford Tool & Gage Corp. Announce a Strategic Distributor Partnership

Vante State of the Art Machining Center and Mold Shop Greatly Reduces Order Turn Around Time

Intercad announces stage one winner of Electric Superbike Project

Related MCAD News

HP Dismisses Rumors Regarding Its PC Business

HP Announces 50 Percent Improvement in Energy Efficiency of Products

Sustainable Minds and Eco Innovators Partner to Advance Greener Product Development for Australian Manufacturers

January manufacturing technology consumption 188% higher than in January 2010

SYSPRO ERP Chosen by Leading Test Equipment Manufacturer

Reportlinker Adds Global Machine Tools Industry

VYCON Extends Collaboration With Eaton Corporation for Distribution and Service of VYCON's Clean, Environmentally Friendly Flywheel Energy Storage Systems

SGI Announces World’s Largest Windows Platform with Intel Xeon Architecture

Aberdeen Publishes New Report Highlighting the Use of Operational Intelligence in Manufacturing

China Nuvo Solar Announces Plans to Acquire Lithium Ion Battery Manufacturer Freya Energy Inc.

Reportlinker Adds Global Aerospace and Defence Industry Industry

Boeing Named ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year

SGI Announces ArcFiniti Integrated Data Archive Solution

Biomedical Structures Acquires Medical Textile Manufacturer Concordia Medical

Innovations That Could Change the Way We Manufacture

Advanced Manufacturing Processes of Aide Solar Produce Consistent Volume of High Efficient 195W Mono Solar Modules at 125mm Cell Size

Oil, Gas and Aerospace Industries to Benefit from BCT Technology

DTECH LABS Announces Growth and Completion of Latest Phase of Manufacturing Facility Expansion

Colortrac release new SmartWorks Pro wide format scanner software supporting 10 languages for their SmartLF large format scanner customers

HP Board Announces New Dividend Goals, Increases Regular Quarterly Dividend by 50 Percent

PACE Automotive Design Lab to Open at McMaster University

Mentor Graphics Helps CamSemi Replace Design and Verification Flow to Improve Simulation Performance and Time to Market

Contex Wide Format Scanning Solutions Available on Promark Technology's GSA Schedule

Mentor Graphics Delivers First Multimedia Platform for Hardware Emulation of 3D TV Products

Corporate Moves

SofTech Announces New Management Team

Aras Welcomes John Sperling as Director of Product Management for Engineering Applications

Rapid Sheet Metal Strengthens Operations with Hiring of Experienced Manager

SIGMETRIX, LLC Adds Chris Wilkes as Vice President of Sales for the Americas

Surfware Appoints JBH Technologies, Inc. as Educational VAR in Illinois

Industry Events

The Call for Makers Is Now Open for Maker Faire Detroit 2011 at The Henry Ford

AeroDef Sessions To Show How OEMs, Suppliers Are Creating An Aerospace and Defense Manufacturing ‘Digital Thread’

Pointwise Sponsors SAE Competition

GPI Prototype to present Additive Manufacturing technologies at Design & Manufacturing South 2011

ASCON and KOMPAS-3D at Hannover

PTC Hosts UK Technology Forum 2011

DCS to Highlight Advantages of Simulation-based 3D Tolerance Analysis at COE Conference

Delcam's PartMaker to present on machining trends at PMTS

Webinar: Reduction and Acceleration Techniques for Solving Large Models (ANSYS)

DCS Vice President to Present “How to Leverage Measurement Data for Process Improvement” at AeroDef Conference

Annual TopSolid International Resellers “breaking the wall” meeting in Berlin

Pointwise User Group Meeting Call for Papers on CFD

Delcam to host fourth GTMA Emerging Technologies event

FISHER/UNITECH to Participate in Direct Part Manufacturing Workshop

GibbsCAM 2011 to be Previewed at AeroDef Manufacturing Exposition

PartMaker Medical Device Educational Webinar Series: Delcam

GstarCAD Invited to Participate the Regional Training by WIPO

Coordinate Metrology Society Extends "Call for Papers" Abstracts Deadline to March 18 for 2011 CMSC

CFD Webinar to Demonstrate Automating Blade Design Optimization

PLMIG Calls for Input to International PLM Standards Program

OEMs, Suppliers Exploring Cutting-Edge Technologies For Composite Materials at AeroDef Manufacturing

ASCON held Partnership Meeting and Seminar in Germany

Call for Papers: CD-adapco's STAR American Conference 2011

Automated Motion Debuts P3 Palletizing Cube at Automate 2011

GstarCAD Invited to Participate the Regional Training by WIPO

Delcam to present Adaptive Machining developments at AeroDef

KUKA Robotics Corporation Displays Innovative Robotic Solutions at Automate 2011

Delcam to show CADCAM latest at Composites Manufacturing 

Second Annual National Robotics Week Will Be Held From April 9-17

Delcam’s PartMaker Inc. to Host Monthly Webinar Series on Medical Device Manufacturing

Intergraph CADWorx P&ID Webinar to Cover Project and External Database Set Up for Process and Instrumentation Diagrams

iBASEt Demonstrates CAD, PLM and MES Integration at AeroDef

Sescoi to launch new automated implantology module at IDS

IOSO to Sponsor FLOW-3D European Conference

NAFEMS Announce Simulia as Principal Sponsor of the 2011 World Congress

Intergraph Discovery Tour in Yeosu, Korea to Feature CADWorx Plant and P&ID Professional With Integration of CAESAR II and PV Elite

Webinar to Discuss Changing Sizes Automatically in Intergraph CADWorx Plant

Delcam’s PartMaker to host monthly webinar series on medical device manufacturing

Corporate Newsletters

Delcam Newsletter - March 2011

SpaceClaim March 2011 Newsletter