Microsoft Great Plains Food Processing - Implementation & Customization Highlights

Microsoft Great Plains might be considered as ERP platform to build your own custom solution upon or as the assembly place for the existing modules. Microsoft Great Plains has Inventory Control (IV), Bill of Materials (BM), Manufacturing modules, coming from Microsoft Business Solutions directly, plus it has third party solutions, such as Horizon Light Manufacturing. In Food Processing industry, however the manufacturing itself is so-called process manufacturing, where with variable input you have variable output. It is opposite to discrete manufacturing, where you expect exact number of parts to be assembled into exact number of finished products. In our opinion - you should first understand your options to automate business processes and if Manufacturing module is absolute must - only then you should purchase manufacturing and implement it. Let's give you some highlights:

? Variable Input Unit Weight. You still have to count input units, but in parallel with this you should use Pounds (US) or Kilograms (Europe, Australia, Canada). This means that Great Plains should give you catch weight routine. You can purchase simple catch weight module from existing Microsoft Great Plains partner and tune it, using Great Plains Dexterity, Modifier with VBA and SQL Server scripts. We saw the requirements when Food Processor has to control weight variations to prevent theft and issues like that. In this case you tract average weight of the input item. This is classical Dexterity routine. As this catch weight system becomes your light manufacturing application - you will need MRP reporting - use Crystal Reports to cover your reporting needs, our recommendation is to create SQL views and stored procedures for your Crystal Report

? Repetitive Customer Orders. If you are food processing company - you probably have fixed number of permanent customers - grocery stores, food retail chains, restaurants and each permanent client orders the same set of products on the regular basis. You should have so-called Order-Pad with historical customer typical order components, where you just verify quantities.

? EDI. In the case of large grocery stores you may need Electronic Document Interchange (EDI). The easiest way to create it in Great Plains - export SOP orders via EDI fixed-length-position SQL formatted query. You can have it as SQL routine to export Customer orders into text file and forward it to the customer through EDI channel.

? eOrder. Smaller customers (Restaurant, Specialty food outlet) are willing to place internet orders. In Microsoft Great Plains you could deploy eOrder to sell on existing account.

We encourage you to analyze your alternatives. You can always appeal to our help, give us a call: 1-866-528-0577 or 1-630-961-5918,

Andrew Karasev is Chief Technology Officer at Alba Spectrum Technologies (">, serving Microsoft Great Plains, CRM, Navision to mid-size and large clients in California, Illinois, New York, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Arizona, Washington, Minnesota, Ohio, Michigan, UK, Canada, Brazil. Mexico