Moving from Sage Line 50 to Microsoft Dynamics GP leads to a loss of access to bespoke reports used to analyse the business. Microsoft Dynamics GP is challenging to navigate in terms of obtaining the information needed and also in creating new reports using SSRS. These complexities often require outsourcing to Microsoft partners in order to generate reports at costs in excess of £1,000.
Sirius use SQL queries to extract the information needed directly from the underlying SQL database and bypass the need for Microsoft Dynamics GP reporting. This allows access to the exact information that is required with a higher level of reliability than the “out of the box” system employed by Microsoft Dynamics GP. The use of SQL queries enabled eighty reports to be created for analysis on a monthly basis.
Creating these reports in house means data can be shared easily across the company regardless of geographic location. With all branches using the same data to compile reports the resulting analysis is far more accurate and cheaper to produce as the need for outsourcing is negated. In addition to the reduction in cost completing the task in house means specific trends and information can be extracted due to the increased understanding of the data outside developers do not have.
Sales Reporting Pack
Monthly sales data used for review by the sales team is time consuming to compile into pack form. The work is being carried out in Excel Powerpivot using the SQL queries previously created. This process still takes days to manually manipulate the numbers and generate the report. The process is also subject to human error in terms of remembering where the data comes from.
Sirius implemented Afinitis 2019 software to sit on top of the existing system. The new software becomes the analysis engine that caters for all reporting needs using one version of the truth. It no longer matters how the data is sliced, the sales figures always match the amount on the profit and loss account. Implementing this new system means sales data is sliceable in the previously used paradigms of salesperson, product family and country. Not only are the original areas reportable but several new sectors can now be used to slice and analyse sales data, namely average order value, new/lost customers and growing/shrinking products.
Minimal system setup time yields massive savings in report production time. Reporting views are linked directly to monthly reporting packs and dashboards meaning month-end reporting is now a “single button push” process. The information is automatically generated in graph and table form ready for presentation to the sales team. There are also places in the system to record comments and prompting questions that encourage discussions around what is driving the numbers.
Linking the reporting views to the dashboards gives real time access to key areas of data throughout the month. Automating and standardising the monthly report process allows constant data monitoring and in turn enables instantaneous reaction to current sales trends. Removing the manual compilation and input of data reduces the reporting time by three days every month. The time saved is now used to implement changes to sales strategy in order to increase profitability.
The inability to monitor warehousing and service departments leads to a lack of accountability and increases inefficiency. Without a system of tracking goods and their status as they enter the warehouse figures regarding stock on hand become inaccurate and irrelevant.
Key performance indicators are created to control the critical success factors in the warehouse. Liaising with warehousing enables the problem areas to be identified and reasons for the breakdown in efficiency to be established. The inclusion of staff from the problem department in the resolution process creates team buy-in increasing commitment to the solution. The volume of products processed and the length of time goods are held in receiving before they are processed is monitored to assess the issues.
Live information accessible to everyone not only gives accountability to the goods received process but also improves efficiency. The concise list created by the live data incentivises staff to process items more quickly by giving a clear end point to the task. Also by monitoring the live data stream it is possible to see the exact amount of stock on hand and where it is in the process. As well as stock location live monitoring enables busy periods to be identified and staff to be re distributed to prevent departments becoming overwhelmed.
Creating bespoke reports using Sage report designer and Crystal
Clients are unable to access specific information from existing accounting systems such as Sage or SAP. There is skill required to edit existing reports or create new ones.
Sirius created a range of reports to meet the client’s needs:
- Job card reports in Sage for a production company that moved them from a manual process into an automated system.
- Crystal reports for use in SAP, Prodman and Redthorn systems that enable the extra information to be communicated efficiently to production teams.
- Project reports in Sage that allow greater control and visibility over projects without having to use standard reports that only show parts of the puzzle.
Clients can have a specific set of reports that are bespoke to their needs, this enables the transparency of information required to manage businesses effectively.