Ultra recently hosted its bi-annual Make to Stock Manufacturing Webinar Series. We were joined by six vendors, one of whom was Vision33, who led a 90-minute session detailing their SAP Business One solution for make to stock manufacturers.
About Vision33 and SAP Business One
Vision33 is the number one worldwide provider of SAP Business One software, and has been an SAP Value Added Reseller (VAR) for roughly 12 years.
In their tenure with SAP, Vision33 has achieved Gold Partner status and received numerous accolades including the coveted Pinnacle Award in 2016, which is awarded to an SAP partner for their excellent customer service performance. This is the highest level of Pinnacle award presented by SAP annually.
Vision33 employs roughly 250 employees dedicated to SAP Business One. They offer a wide variety of services including:
- Business Process Improvement
- Customer Development
- ERP Software
- Customer Support
Vision33’s partnership with SAP allows them to leverage SAP’s Global footprint, while maintaining a customer service focus towards the small and mid-sized companies.
While Vision33 brings a superb customer service focus to the partnership, SAP brings size and stability with approximately 345,000 customers globally and roughly $23 billion in annual revenues.
This partnership is very well aligned, as SAP developed Business One for small to mid-size companies with a growing business structure.
SAP Business One Deployment
SAP Business One was specifically designed for small and mid-size companies. This is evident through their easy-to-use business management solution, which includes modules for the following:
- MRP Planning
- Production Management
- Inventory Management
Vision33 and SAP deploy their Business One offering as both on-premise and in the cloud utilizing Amazon Web Services.
In this webinar series, Vision33 demonstrated a Forecast to Shipment process flow, which allowed us to gain a deeper understanding of the modules SAP Business One utilizes to operate the various aspects of make to stock manufacturing businesses.
SAP Business One Overview
We will be reviewing the following features of SAP Business One: Navigation, Forecasting, Purchasing, Production Planning, Sales and Order Entry, and Shipping and Invoice Creation.
To kick things off, we reviewed the system and navigation methods behind SAP Business One. During this demonstration, we reviewed Business One 9.2, which is the most up-to-date version, running on the in-memory HANA database.
The system utilizes role-based navigation and produces dashboards which display user-defined Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), statistics, and other information that is pertinent to that specific role.
Along the left-hand side of the page there is a navigation panel which features quick links to launching specific modules, as well as a search bar allowing users to search and launch modules by searching a wide variety of information.
The first module we launched was the forecasting module, which allows the user to create as many forecasts as they need, utilizing historical data. The level of detail is very flexible as the user sorts, searches, and defines what data they are looking to pull into the forecast.
The user can choose the products they are interested in, set the date range for the forecast window, and set how the information is displayed (i.e. daily, weekly, monthly, etc.). The system features both a basic forecast tool and an intelligent forecasting tool.
The intelligent forecasting tool allows the user to forecast items by group, product group, or even product features. The forecasting type will automatically select the best fit forecasting method for the criteria the user inputs, but can always be overridden.
Once the forecast has run, the user can modify the demand and forecasted demand in real-time based on the user knowledge that may not be captured in the system (i.e. missed shipment, promotions, etc.).
SAP Business One is very flexible when integrating and manipulating data back and forth from Microsoft Excel. Users can easily copy historical data and forecasts into Excel to manipulate and ultimately refine or enhance the forecast further into the future.
There are features in Excel that allow the user to define confidence levels in the forecasted data and then import back into the system. This combination of utilizing system-based historical data and Excel’s advanced forecasting tools creates more accurate forecasting for the user.
The Materials Resources Planning (MRP) functionality in SAP Business One drives purchasing and production, as it has many options for selecting criteria and data range for the system to utilize. Users can select and limit what items, inventory locations, orders, etc. the MRP will look for. This allows different departments to run the MRP for their various needs.
After selecting criteria and running the solution, the MRP will generate recommended purchase orders, production orders, or transfer orders to maintain minimum stock levels, fulfill stock outs, and meet demand needs. This allows the various business functions quick and easy access to review and release of these various types of orders.
MRP completes the heavy lifting for the purchasing user as they can quickly review and release recommended purchase orders. The user can review recommended orders by date, product, vendor, etc. and then sort by due date. The system will highlight the critical/past due orders in a red color allowing the user to quickly identify the most important action items.
SAP Business One allows the user to quickly and effectively drill down to find vendor information, stock levels, due dates, and much more.
In addition to releasing purchase orders directly to the vendor from the system, the user can attach the orders as a PDF or even email the order requests to the vendor directly from the purchasing dashboard.
The production users can also utilize the MRP run data to review suggested production orders for release to the production floor. Users can review and sort recommendations by due date, product, as well as production lead time.
Suggested production orders with shorter lead times will be highlighted in red. The user can drill down into the production orders to review capacity plans and planned production orders for the machines and resources that will be impacted.
This allows the user to shift production orders to free up capacity on machines that will be needed. From this view the user can also create inventory transfer requests to fulfill the need for production requirements.
SAP Business One does an excellent job of streamlining correlated process steps, which shines through when completing the loop on the inventory transfer. From the inventory transfer request, the user can sort and select specific inventory locations and bins from which to pull the material from.
However, the capability does not stop there – with SAP Business One, the user can gain mobile access to or print directed pick tickets that correspond to the transfer request.
Sales and Order Entry
Access to real-time inventory status plays a key role in sales order creation as the user can review stock levels while entering line items.
SAP Business One has features to include available-to-promise figures, expected inbound product, production orders, committed orders, and many other factors that would be useful during the sales to order creation cycle.
These pieces of data are congruently used to determine the ability to accurately meet the customer requested delivery date. The customer satisfaction rate should increase due to having this information readily available to the user to create more accurate promise and delivery dates. This leads us into the next module of Business One, Shipping and Invoice creation.
Shipping and Invoice Creation
SAP Business One features a well-developed Shipping and Invoicing system which allows the user to take information from multiple sources and integrate with UPS and FedEx modules.
The Pick and Pack Manager allows the user to choose sales orders by date, fulfillment capability, item ranges, delivery date, and many other criteria to choose which ones will be selected to be picked, packed, and shipped.
The delivery date range drives the shipment requirement list, and once selected quickly identifies stock shortages. The system features multiple ways for the user to combat shortages including completing partial order shipments.
Once an order is selected for shipment, the pick lists are generated and accessible via mobile device. Once logged onto the picking system, the user will see all orders/pick lists that are available to pick and how much of each item is needed to fulfill the order.
Packing and shipment are a breeze with SAP Business One as once a user pulls up customer information, the orders that have been picked and packed will be shown.
From here, the user enters an estimate shipment cost and runs interface with UPS or FedEx. This creates a delivery ticket which drives invoice creation. The delivery ticket is copied into an A/R Invoice and the user applies proper tax coding and then sends it out to the customer.
These invoices are drillable to the level that the user can review gross profit on the line item level.
SAP Business One is an effective and easy-to-use system for make to stock business environments where there are many concerns surrounding demand forecasting, inventory management, customer satisfaction, and shipping.
To learn more about Vision33 and their SAP Business One offering, visit their website here.