OTHER Digitization

Nav123: Navision, Showare, OrderApp

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Digitization... what exactly is it?

There are plenty of definitions for "digitalization"... simply because it's such great marketing-speak... or, less prosaically: bullshit bingo or buzzword, i.e. an empty phrase.

There are specific recognized contents for digitalization, depending on the field. In the automotive industry, for example: Digitalization of the ordering process, procurement, autonomous driving, production ("batch size 1").

However, this article deals with the topic of digitization in the area of Navision / Dynamics NAV / Business Central applications.

Here, digitalization always means "someone else does the work", i.e. the automation of business processes in the broadest sense.

However, automation does not always have to be behind it. It can also be the outsourcing of an activity to, for example, the customer (placing orders via webshop or app instead of calling or faxing) or the supplier (sending invoices by e-mail instead of scanning them yourself - to "digitize" them).

In this respect, digitalization is nothing more than rationalization or automation. But it certainly has a lot to offer!

Who wants to type out bank statements or create orders by walking through the warehouse in the 21st century? More valuable work with more variety can be done in that time. Mechanical tasks should be automated.

Just like the loom used to be! Do you know anyone who still wantsto earn a living on a purely mechanical loom today? Watch out! Employees in an ethnographic museum do not count 🙂

Examples of digitization in the Navision environment

(The headings are clickable and take you deeper into the respective topic).

Incoming invoices

If you already place your goods orders via Navision or Business Central, you have already defined what is to be delivered at what price and in what quantity.
In most companies, an invoice will come up that is 100% identical to the purchase order. Why should you even look at it? Unit prices and bank details are already in Navision (Business Central), so they can be protected against manipulation. Quantities have been verified by the goods receipt. Danger of manipulation? Practically non-existent!

Customer orders via webshop

Well... in the last century, the webshop was considered was the measure of all things: any company without a webshop would go bankrupt within a few years. Of course, that didn't happen.
A web store can essentially be planned for 3 purposes:

  • Orders placed with you by industrial customers
  • Orders placed with you by end customers
  • Promoting your products

Please forget the first point right away. Nobody who uses a merchandise management system themselves and is still in their right mind will order from your webshop. It simply doesn't fit into their workflow. They would rather send you a fax, like in the last century. See EDI

For end customers, a web store is still a good, great thing. Make sure to make the entire search process, ordering process and payment as convenient and fast as possible. Remember: Otto, eBay and of course Amazon are just a click away!
Remember with every decision: The bait must taste good to the fish, not the angler. This means: If the customer wants Paypal, then give him Paypal, damn it!
And urgently consider the option of giving him an app on his cell phone for the future. But first he has to have found you. And that brings us to the most important point:

To become known.

Keywords: SEO optimization, Google visibility. Even today, a web store is virtually mandatory for this. And if you mainly offer products and services aimed at industrial customers, then a constantly visible contact option via email and telephone is much more important than PayPal!

Customer orders via app

Take a look at your own shopping behavior. Do you ever order from Amazon on your cell phone? Or do you use eBay on your cell phone? Maybe even the Alexa shopping list ("Alexa, add soap to the list")? A cell phone is no longer a telephone. A cell phone is a portable computer with a phone function. So... put your ordering options for your end customers in an app too! For the customer this means: Order anywhere, at any time. No computer startup, no registration, no store login. Take your cell phone out of your pocket, select items from a practical list, order, done.

Orders via EDI/Opendoc/Mail

Do you order from your suppliers via a webshop? Probably not. That's far too time-consuming. What do you do instead? Fax! Email! Automatically from the computer! Totally simple!... Total nonsense!

In IT, we call this a "media break". A date that already exists digitally (the order) is converted into something else, a fax or a telephone call.

And then?

Then it is typed back into a computer at the other end of the line, usually by hand.
Transmission errors, misunderstandings, busy lines - these are all part and parcel of media disruptions. So: get rid of it?

Let your customers order from you electronically, without media discontinuity, via EDI, via OpenDoc, if necessary via standardized mail.... only electronically readable, so that the target computer can process this document directly, without a human with keyboard & monitor.

"But my employees do..." - Then we come to the next anachronism. Your employees carry out checks such as delivery capability, protection against stock-outs, unusual ordering behavior. Things that you previously had to laboriously work out. No merchandise management system is as well suited to automating these checks as Navision! And... then no "newcomer" can forget to observe the credit limit.

Bank transfers/payments

Say goodbye to advice notes! Every notification, regardless of whether it is "hypermodern by email" or traditional by fax or even letter post, is a pure waste of working time. Not only for you. Also for your recipient!

Set up your remittance system, e.g. OP+ (OP plus), so that a maximum of 6 (good value) invoice items are included in a remittance item. This allows Navision / Business Central to electronically transfer the corresponding open items directly for each amount.

The same applies to your customers: Urge them to stop your payment transactions in the same way. Rule of thumb: It is better to have many transfer items than just one payment advice note.

Incoming payments

Are you still processing your customers' advice notes? Get rid of them! Insist that your customer sets up their payment transactions so that you receive all the necessary data in the account statement. See also bank transfers.

We are now in a "post-covid" period in which such simplifications are easy to implement. If necessary, send your customer the link to this page here to convince them.

Do you still account for your bank statements by hand? Then you probably also drive a car with a wood carburetor privately and prefer to take the coach instead of the train. Don't do this to yourself!

With my MT940 import or a properly configured OP Plus (OP+) (I will be happy to help you with this too), you can easily assign 80% of the bank statement lines automatically in Business Central or Navision. And you also get at least 80% of the open item reconciliations fully automatically. There really are better things than typing in bank statements.

Order proposals

"Our ordering process is so complicated, no computer can do it". Nonsense! Customer-specific requirements (one-off items, customer prints), seasonal items (Easter bunnies, Santas)? There is an IT solution for (almost) everything.

And if it is not 100%, at least 95% of the order proposals can be created by the computer and the buyer now has extra time to deal with the special cases, find alternative suppliers and conduct price negotiations.