NAVUG Forum: What is being offered in the manufacturing and supply chain track in 2012?

Marc Allman, Executive Vice President of AMS Controls and Manufacturing and Supply Chain Track Leader for NAVUG Forum guest blogs today on what the Supply Chain Track has to offer end users at NAVUG Forum, the annual NAV end-user conference held in Seattle, October 15-18 2012.

The Manufacturing & Supply Chain Track was designed to provide real, hands-on practical knowledge to any users in the manufacturing, purchasing, and warehouse functional areas in NAV.

Whether you’re a manufacturer creating production orders and purchase orders or a distributor just creating purchase orders, the process you use to determine your plans is the same – run MRP. This will be covered in two sessions: Supply Planning 101 and Supply Planning 201.

Once you’ve decided what to make or buy, you must deal the results of your plan. Working with Production Orders and Working with Purchase Orders will provide more insight into these topics.

Several sessions will provide some specific detail into some related topics: Forecasting FunctionalityManufacturing Product DesignSubcontracting, and Warehouse Operations.

Costing is one of the most complex areas within NAV. A two-hour Costing Deep Dive session will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about costing in NAV.

One of the best aspects of an event like NAVUG Forum is the access you get to the experts in the software you use every day. Two roundtable Q&A sessions are your opportunity to get your questions answered: Ask the Experts – Manufacturingand Supply Chain and Ask the Experts – Costing.

Finally, the forthcoming release of NAV 2013 brings with it some significant enhancements to the supply planning area.What’s New is Supply Planning in NAV 2013 will show off the new features.


NAVUG Forum: What is being offered in the finance track in 2012?

This fall, from October 16-18, is the NAVUG Forum annual conference, a user group conference organized and presented by NAV users for NAV users. The conference focuses on educational sessions and networking opportunities for people who use the Microsoft Dynamics NAV product in their businesses.

Educational sessions are offered in eight different tracks, and cover the range of all different levels of experience with NAV, from prospective new users to users who have been using the product for many years. Presentations, round table discussions, how-to sessions, deep dives, and customer showcases all fill the agenda, ensuring there are many options to choose from for the attendees of the conference.

This year, the finance track at the conference offers twelve sessions in just three days. Presentations on account schedules, dimensions, budgeting, and month end close set the stage for covering the basics for new users as well as for experts who are looking for a refresher on best practices. A two-hour deep dive session called Finance 101 covers setup and maintenance of the NAV finance functions, comprehensively walking through the elements of the finance module. New sessions this year include fixed assets, payroll, posting groups, and even a customer showcase highlighting how two customers solved the problem of paying their vendors with ACH electronic payments instead of paper checks. Sessions on multi-company consolidation and managing security and compliance round out the agenda for companies with more complex setups and regulatory environments. A round table session called Ask the Experts fills out the track, giving attendees a chance to ask a panel of peer experts questions regarding business challenges they are trying to solve.

The agenda is chock full of choices for finance folks, and there are just as many sessions planned in other tracks like Business Intelligence and Reporting, IT/Developers, Manufacturing and Supply Chain, and Strategic. A new track in 2012, Global Finance, focuses on the particular needs of our ever-growing international companies with never before offered sessions on VAT, multiple exchange rates, and additional reporting currencies.

I’m excited to see so many sessions being offered on such a wide variety of topics, but even more valuable is the opportunity to network with other finance users between sessions. Getting a chance to network with other professionals who use NAV every day, just like I do, is priceless. NAVUG allows ample time during the conference to meet other attendees, helping by providing job role themed meal tables, and even offering a buddy system that matches new attendees with veterans to assist in getting their questions solved and making sure they can find their way around.

I’ll be presenting some sessions at NAVUG Forum this year, and am bringing three of my colleagues to the conference. We’re looking forward to learning, sharing, networking, and bringing home a whole bunch of new ideas and solutions back to our company. I hope you’ll find as many benefits to this conference as we do. See you at NAVUG Forum!


User Poll: How many NAV dimensions does your company use?


End users talk about why Microsoft Dynamics NAV is simple and easy to learn and use

I love to hear why other end users have chosen Microsoft Dynamics NAV for their companies and what their experiences have been.

Christopher Patten, CTO with CyraCom International says that Microsoft Dynamics NAV “cuts down on the number of clicks” for end users and “delivers simplified interfaces but also allows us to have back end integration flexibility”.  Marc Allman, Executive Vice President of AMS Controls says that Microsoft Dynamics NAV “works in the same fashion that our Outlook and our Excel work; there is a similar look and feel and that has made our users training much much easier”.  He says, “our users are comfortable with it and are trained very very quickly”.

See this short video where real end users talk about their experiences with Microsoft Dynamics NAV. 


Why NAV users should be using dual monitors

My company began using dual monitors a few years ago for power users, and have been putting them into place for all users this year. Does this change make a real difference in user productivity?

Some real world examples of what my team uses dual monitors for:

    • More than one NAV session at a time. As long as you have the licenses for it, you can have more than one NAV session open at a time. This is great for when you need to run a report that ties up your session for a while like the AR aging or AP aging or inventory valuations. Use one session to run these reporting hogs in, and another session to look up information for something else you’re working on.
    • Answering email questions. Open up that email on one screen, and reference the information you need on another.
    • Spreadsheet stretch.  Sometimes when you have a ton of data to deal with, it sure helps to see it all in one place.
    • Remote access. If you’re in more than one computer at a time, perhaps your laptop and also a computer back at the office via remote access, being able to see one on each screen is a big help instead of hitting Alt-Tab all day.
    • Using the help menu or other documentation. Are you trying to figure out how to use something new? Put up the application on one screen and the help menu (or user guide) up on the other screen.
    • Comparison. Whether you’re looking up more than one option on the internet or comparing what you have in your production versus development databases, using dual monitors is a great way to see what you options you have without having to switch between screens to remember what you saw.
    • Connecting with your customer. When on the phone with a customer, our customer care team has NAV on one screen and a view of what our customer is looking at on our website on the other. This allows them to better answer the customer’s question about the product, and also make suggestions later as to how we can improve on the customer experience.
    • Entry to NAV on one screen, information on another screen. If your work is transactional, and you need to enter invoices on one screen, but reference a document on another screen, this is a great way to use dual monitors. Don’t print out that document, just put it up on your second monitor.
    • Paperless processing. Ultimately, dual monitors make paperless processing possible for my company. We’re working on a paperless initiative in our accounts payable area right now which couldn’t have happened without dual monitors. Getting users to reference documents on-screen has been an easy, natural transition and while we’re saving a tree or two, the better argument has been the time saved in not printing, organizing, and filing those documents.

Return on investment of dual monitors

If you’re not convinced yet, take a look at the ROI of dual monitors. Let’s say a second monitor costs $200. Estimates of productivity gains range anywhere from 10% – 50%. If you have an employee who generates $200,000 of revenue annually, at a conservative estimate of 10% productivity gain, this could equate to a $20,000 increase in revenue; a one hundred-fold payout on your initial investment.

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Maximize your Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 Classic screen space with user level configuration options

One of the first things I do when I get a new person started using NAV is to show them how to customize their screens using different NAV options available at the user level. The NAV defaults start us off with white space in weird places, columns we may not necessarily use, and headers we can’t read. These are all possible to fix easily at the user level, and I’ll share my six tricks with you today.

Today we’re just going to cover the Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 Classic client. The Role Tailored Client, with its updated look and feel, is significantly different and Microsoft has done a great job of addressing many of these small challenges with the new client.

  1. Change the size of the main navigation pane. You can do this by hovering on the vertical blue separator bar until you get a double-sided arrow, and then move your pane to the left or right.
  2. Get rid of unwanted menu options. If you’re not using the Jobs or Service Menus, right-click on that item and choose hide. You can always add something back to the menu by right clicking and choosing show.
  3. Increase your header size. Every screen starts out with the header line as one line tall. This means that you can’t read most of the information in your headers. Hover at the bottom of the blank grey box at the top left of the lines area until you get a double ended arrow, then click and pull down to see more lines within the header.
  4. Check your row height. Depending on your preference, you might prefer rows taller or shorter than what is the default. Choose any grey separator bar on the left side of the lines area between two rows and move it up for shorter or down for taller. Your adjustment will be equally sized for all rows.
  5. Change your columns. Make sure to show only the things you need. There are almost always more options available with the default than what you will use in day-to-day transactions. If you have a coworker in a similar role, it may be best to check to see what they use regularly when you’re just getting started. Hide anything you don’t need just by using right-click and hide. Just like with the menu options, you can right-click and show if you want to put something back on your screen.
  6. Make the glued column smaller. In NAV 2009 Classic, on every screen, one column is always designated as the “glued” column. This column is generally the Description column. You’ll know which one this is when you try to resize it to a smaller size and get the error, “You resized the glued column Description, which then expanded automatically to fill otherwise empty space”. This can get frustrating for new users, because it seems there is not a solution. There are two recommendations that I have to get past this.
    1. Place your mouse to the right of the glued column separator, and move from right to left until you get a double-headed arrow. Left click, hold, and aggressively move to the left, farther than where you want to end up. This will make your glued column narrower, but only if you have a bunch of columns off to the right already.
    2. Another way to accomplish this is to add a column that you don’t need to the right and make it really really wide, so that it creates visual white space on the right hand portion of your screen.

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