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Microsoft Great Plains in Metal Distribution: Implementation & Customization ? Consultant Overview

Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains serves to the wide spectrum of horizontal markets and could be also considered as generic ERP/MRP/Accounting platform for light and advanced customization to fit verticals. In this small article we describe distribution sector with the example from metal distribution - Dealer/broker of industrial nonferrous by-product scrap, de-tins and de-oils industrial by-product scrap and finished parts. It might sound a bit complex ? but we think this is typical for this horizontal market niche. The language of the article is targeted to primarily technical consultant and in-house programmer/software developer. In our opinion ? ERP applications should be implemented with the leveraged help and support of internal IT people ? we are entering into the epoch of technical specialists and IT departments ? smile.

Industry specifics:

? Cost / Price with 5 decimals of the dollar. Well ? if you sell thousands of pounds with the price per pound ? then every tiny fraction of the cent makes a difference in vendor selection. In Microsoft Great Plains you have reserved 5 digits in the currency datatype to be able to track 5 decimals of the $. In case of Euro or other currency in multi currency environment ? this should be applicable to your local currency: Rand, Peso, Real, Pound, Yen, Chinese Yuan.

? Settlement Report. This report is typical for distribution and logistics type of business. In case of metal distributor ? this report shows either monthly transactions log or HBL (House Bill of Lading) /MBL (Master Bill of Lading). Again we should implement 5 digits fractioning of the main currency. This report is classical Great Plains Dexterity or Crystal Report ? depending on the level of integration with Great Plains screens (Dexterity gives you seamless integration ? Crystal requires Modifier/VBA scripting to call Crystal Reports engine)

? Historical Customer Orders. When order taker gets order by phone she/he should have instant access to customer's recent purchases and comparisons with average recent sales for the specific alloy or metal item. The customization you need is Great Plains Dexterity sales pad and instant item sales inquiry. Both should pull info from Sales Order Processing (SOP) module and have item lookup to Inventory Control (IV)

? Compliance Reporting. We recommend you to use Crystal Reports ? this tool should stay for five years and plus. These reports should publish Great Plains company database data at your will and the requirements of the federal or state authority

? Customization & Modification. You should consider using these tools: Great Plains Dexterity (requires some training and experience), Crystal Reports, Visual Studio.Net web publishing, MS SQL Server stored procedures for data integration and feeding.

Good luck with localization, customization and integration and if you have issues or concerns ? we are here to help! If you want us to do the job - give us a call 1-630-961-5918 or 1-866-528-0577!

Author is a Great Plains specialist in Alba Spectrum Technologies ( ) ? USA nationwide Great Plains, Microsoft CRM customization company, serving clients in Chicago, Houston, Atlanta, Phoenix, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Miami, New Orleans, Toronto, Montreal and having locations in multiple states and internationally

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