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Freight Forwarding ERP: Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains customization & setup ? overview

Microsoft Great Plains may be recommended for international freight forwarding / transportation company. Great Plains has such features as multicurrency (Euro, Pound, Yuan, Yen, Peso, Real), Spanish, French, Brazilian Portuguese (and if needed Unicode-specific languages such as Chinese, Japanese). If you have operations in East Europe ? you can have Polish version as well as you can have several screens (SOP Entry, Inventory Item Maintenance, Customer/Vendor Maintenance, etc) translated to Russian, Lithuanian, Latvian. Plus ? if you consider Great Plains as a platform for custom tailoring and developing ? you can have reasonably priced solution for horizontal business, such as freight forwarding, cargo delivery, consignment, transportation. Let's consider industry specifics and the way to implement them in Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains

? Agent Settlement. Freight forwarder usually deploys agents to deliver shipment. And agents are usually paid on the monthly or semimonthly basis. This means that you should have agents as customer.

? Daily Agent MBL invoices/statements. Assuming that agent is handling several shipment with Master Bill of Ladings (MBL) and House Bill of Ladings (HBL) per day ? freight forwarder emails to the agent daily invoices. Then these daily invoices are settled and paid one time per months

? Cargo Tracking System. This is usually custom in-house made system, specific to each freight forwarder or industry specific stand alone software. The important requirement is the integration between Shipment Tracking System and ERP, such as Great Plains

? Accurate in-time payments. Payments are required to stay in highly competitive business, such as freight forwarding

? Bill of Lading report. Where you usually need additional info to standard invoice form: Carrier, MAWB, Airport of Departure, Airport of Destination, Flight #/ETA, Weight in KG, Lbs, number of packages, etc. Technologies and customization tools:

? Great Plains Dexterity. This is Great Plains Software and currently Microsoft Great Plains programming language and IDE. It will allow you seamless integration with Great Plains user interface. You should realize agent settlement screen and inquiry, MBS/HBL profit/loss inquiry form and probably Bill of Lading in Great Plains Dexterity.

? SQL Integration. Integrating with Cargo Tracking/Delivery system should be done via SQL stored procedures. Use ODBC Linked Server to link to your tracking system database (MS SQL Server, Oracle, DB2, Unidata, Pervasive SQL, Ctree/Faircom, mySQL).

? Web Order Entry. Use eConnect to avoid high user license cost in Great Plains. eConnect is SDK to reference Great Plains objects ? you will need SOP and POP orders entry

? Customer/Vendor Consolidation. For agents, who are customers and vendors at the same time use consolidation module. It is available for Great Plains Professional only ? if you'd like to stay with Great Plains Standard ? use Great Plains Dexterity to program the consolidation.

Good luck in implementing and if you have issues or concerns ? we are here to help! If you want us to do the job - give us a call 1-866-528-0577, 1-630-961-5918! help@albaspectrum.com

Andrew Karasev is Chief Technology Officer in Alba Spectrum Technologies ? USA nationwide Great Plains, Microsoft CRM customization company, serving clients in Chicago, California, Texas, Florida, New York, Georgia, Arizona, Minnesota, UK, Australia, Canada, Mexico and having locations in multiple states and internationally ( http://www.albaspectrum.com ), he is CMA, Great Plains Certified Master, Dexterity, SQL, C#.Net, Crystal Reports and Microsoft CRM SDK developer. You can contact Andrew: andrewk@albaspectrum.com

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