March 28, 2011
Manufacturing and Microsoft Dynamics ERP
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor

by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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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:
  • Microsoft Dynamics AX is a comprehensive ERP product that helps midsize and larger organizations operate across multiple sites and countries. With a rich, flexible industry foundation Microsoft Dynamics AX can standardize processes, provide visibility across your business, and help simplify compliance.
  • Microsoft Dynamics GP is a scalable ERP product for growing and midsize organizations that can help you extend insight, productivity, and collaboration across your entire business. Microsoft Dynamics GP offers flexible deployment options to connect financial and operations processes, and provides fast access to relevant information using familiar Microsoft tools.
  • Microsoft Dynamics NAV is an ERP product for midsize organizations that provides proven industry-specific functionality relevant to your needs – even for the most highly specialized industries and business processes. Available in more than 40 country versions, Microsoft Dynamics NAV is fast to implement, easy to configure, and simple to use.
  • Microsoft Dynamics SL is an ERP product specialized to help project-driven midsize organizations manage people, projects, and profitability. With powerful solutions for professional services, operations, field services, and construction management companies, Microsoft Dynamics SL can help you manage your projects on time and on budget.

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:
  • GPU Accelerated Drawing Performance in Hidden Line, Draft Rendering, and Wireframe modes. Speeds drawing performance up to 60x faster.
  • Multi-Threading Support for both LightWorks rendering and ACIS solid modeling operations, taking advantage of multi-core processors so calculations are much faster.
  • Updated LightWorks Engine provides progressive, ray-traced rendering, improving workflow by generating fast estimates of images for early preview of light settings. Anti-aliasing for geometry and materials is also improved.
  • Multi-Select Drawings Command lets you open multiple drawings in one step.
  • PDF Underlay lets user import raster and vector PDFs and use as tracing layers with snaps.
  • Improved Drafting Palette, Fillet (2D and 3D) Tool, Mirror Tool, Measurement, Text, Stretch Tool, and Trim Tool boost productivity.
  • 3D Fillet Tool allows filleting of 3D polylines and works with the sweep and rigid sweep tools.
  • Assembly By Axis Modes. Three new modes make assemblies faster. Plus assembly tools now work with Xrefs and insertions.
  • Improved Sweep Tools and Simple Extrude Tool.
  • Pattern Tool applies 3D patterns “On Polyline” for rapid creation of parametric patterns. (Platinum Only.)
  • Updated Bend and Unbend Tools enhance control and precision. (Platinum Only.)

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.

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-- Jeff Rowe, Contributing Editor.


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