If you run a small or mid-sized business (SMB) in the manufacturing industry, you may not have much difficulty seeing where there’s room for growth. Develop new products or product variations to boost your offerings. Revamp your sales strategy and increase your market penetration. Introduce a new marketing campaign and expand into a new region.

The question isn’t, “Can we grow?”

The question is, “Do we have the systems in place to support and sustain growth?”

Consider just one of many potential scenarios. Suppose you sell more and start ramping up your manufacturing process—only to discover a supply chain shortage or hit a production bottleneck. Lead times on order fulfillment skyrocket, driving customers to your competition. Instead of taking a step forward, you’re scrambling just to keep the business from falling apart.

Adding another production line and hiring more employees are aspects of how to grow a manufacturing business. But today, more than ever, you need analytical tools that pinpoint ways to achieve supply chain resilience, efficient inventory management, and uninterrupted production.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is an affordable, scalable enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution for SMB manufacturers. Stoneridge Software has a track record of successful partnerships with SMB manufacturers across multiple industries, including medical devices, chemicals, cosmetics, and food and beverage manufacturing.

How to Grow Your SMB Manufacturing Company With Dynamics 365

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There was a time when high-powered business software was prohibitively expensive for SMB manufacturers. But the shift to software-as-a-service (SaaS) subscription licensing has lowered the bar, giving small and mid-sized manufacturers access to the same applications used by much larger enterprises.

On a practical level, Dynamics 365 is licensed per user. You can start using Business Central with only a few users and add licenses as your operations expand.

If you need to—for example, if your business expands and contracts seasonally—you can also drop licenses. Dynamics 365 gives you the flexibility to right-size your ERP solution for your SMB manufacturing operation.

On a strategic level, an ERP solution built on Dynamics 365 Business Central provides SMB manufacturers with the software infrastructure and tools to support growth. By migrating to a Business Central ERP, you can shed the burden of outdated software and merge your systems into one integrated solution. With all departments using the same continuously updated data, you’ll have the insight and confidence you need to make the right decisions—now and in the future.

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With Dynamics 365 Business Central’s built-in management and analytical tools, you can do more than avoid the nightmare scenario mentioned above—stockouts and ballooning lead times. You can also look at your current supply chain, inventory management, and production operations:

  • Optimize your supply chain to ensure its resilience—don’t let unexpected events leave you short of vital raw materials or ingredients.
  • Balance your need to maintain sufficient inventory with the company’s cash flow requirements.
  • Find and relieve choke points in your manufacturing processes, and increase uptime with proactive maintenance and safety practices.
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Not long ago, information technology (IT) was for front offices alone, completely separate from what little operational technology was running on the equipment in your manufacturing facilities. Today, the lines between business technology applications are increasingly blurred. More and more manufacturers are adopting smart technologies—like robotics, automation powered by artificial intelligence (AI), and the industrial Internet-of-things (IIoT).

These new technologies—utilized by increasingly tech-savvy workers—offer a wealth of opportunities for growth:

  • Use robotics or automation for repetitive tasks to boost productivity and employee satisfaction.
  • Install IIoT-equipped sensors to predict when equipment needs to be serviced and ensure that your staff follows established safety protocols, avoiding production stoppages for injuries or breakdowns.
  • Combine smart sensors and machine learning to continuously refine your manufacturing processes.

Stoneridge provides training and ongoing support with every ERP implementation to ensure that your staff understands the benefits of your system and knows how to use it.

More Benefits of Dynamics 365 Software for Small and Mid-Sized Manufacturing Businesses

In addition to setting your SMB manufacturing operation up for growth, a Dynamics 365 Business Central ERP solution places your company on solid footing in an unpredictable business landscape.

  1. You have the flexibility to add CRM.

    Many ERP solutions don’t include customer relationship management (CRM) software. Microsoft is a leader in integrating these two essential areas of your business.

    One of the selling points of manufacturing ERP software is the way it unites your teams, so it doesn’t make sense to leave out customer relations. With Dynamics 365, you don’t have to—take advantage of the Microsoft technology stack and add Dynamics 365 CRM for specific applications like Sales, Customer Insights, and Customer Service.

  2. Your ERP Is always up-to-date.

    Dynamics 365 is cloud-native software—a feature that enables user access from any web browser. Microsoft releases two major updates each year, usually in April and October; smaller updates and patches come out monthly. Although you do have control over when the updates are applied, you don’t have to manually install new features on hundreds of devices—that happens automatically.

  3. Your ERP connects to other powerful business applications.

    Dynamics 365 is part of a larger ecosystem of Microsoft business applications, so your Business Central ERP data is available in ubiquitous productivity programs like Outlook, Teams, and Excel in Microsoft 365. Business Central ERP solutions also work seamlessly with Microsoft Power Platform and an array of niche manufacturing software extensions on Microsoft AppSource.

  4. You benefit from Microsoft’s research and development capabilities.

    From the business applications hosted on its Azure cloud platform to its investments in cybersecurity and artificial intelligence, Microsoft’s research and innovations are passed on to your SMB manufacturing operation in the form of new features, data security, and an expanding assortment of AI tools like Dynamics 365 Copilot.

Stoneridge Software: Your Dynamics 365 Implementation Partner

You may have gotten by on outdated, disjointed ERP software until now, but when sales pick up or a growth opportunity arises, will you be ready? The larger your organization, the harder it is to change systems.

Collaborating with Stoneridge Software to implement a Dynamics 365 ERP solution will allow you to refine your operations now and position you for growth in the future.

As a certified Microsoft Solutions Partner for Business Applications, Stoneridge has the expertise to implement a manufacturing ERP solution that fits your needs and to train and support your user base to take full advantage of it.

Contact us today to learn more about growing your SMB manufacturing operation with a Dynamics 365 Business Central ERP.