Case Study: Demand Planning Solution Integration with Dynamics 365 Business Central

By: Chris Haiss

Manual processes throughout your supply chain will eventually hold your business back if they aren’t already. If you still rely on manual processes for demand planning, it’s time to consider tacking on an integrated demand planning solution like Netstock.

Introducing further automation and analytics into your demand planning will keep your operations running efficiently while providing more information for strategic planning and inventory decisions.

And we’re not all talk—here’s a real-life account of how Netstock’s integration with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central helped a company called Aquatic AV reduce its inventory holding by over $1 million and improved its customer fill rate from 79 to 99 percent.

About the Company

Based in San Jose, CA, Aquatic AV works with over 100 original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) worldwide to develop and provide waterproof AV equipment for the spa, marine, powersports and motorcycle industries. They distribute their product range globally to over 700 authorized dealers and distributors.

ERP Challenges

Although Aquatic AV is a relatively small business, they have diverse needs and service customers in various industries. They carry over 500 items, from raw materials to finished goods, and many high-value, warrantied items that must be serialized. Their previous ERP solution could not efficiently record serial numbers, and they were slowed down by using spreadsheets and basic built-in reports to manage inventory. The process was labor-intensive, and the ERP processing was slow and cumbersome.

As a result, Aquatic AV migrated its ERP to Business Central.

Demand Planning Challenges

Before Netstock, Aquatic AV used spreadsheets and basic built-in reports to manage their inventory. Having a seasonality aspect with some of their SKUs and running multiple warehouses added a level of complexity that was not manageable or scalable using spreadsheets.

They didn’t have a visual representation of month over month and year over year, which limited Aquatic AV’s insight into how much inventory they had and when to order. They felt like they were planning in the dark and left guessing.

Implementing Netstock gave Aquatic AV complete visibility into their inventory, including the ability to see their combined inventory figures and individual numbers per warehouse, which was a major benefit from a global perspective.

First Impressions of Netstock

The team at Aquatic AV’s first impression after implementing Netstock was how easy it was to use with the Business Central integration. They were also impressed with the Netstock dashboard and how they could get an instant snapshot view of their inventory.

Other staff members could also have access to Netstock, so they can quickly access the information they need without having to ask colleagues.

Facing Supply Chain Disruption

Like many companies, Aquatic AV had a hard time getting components. Lead times were long, so customers were panic buying and ordering large quantities. Their team learned that it was important to trust the data provided by Netstock.

There were instances with two products where Netstock recommended that they not order the stock. The team didn’t adhere to the recommendation, ordered the stock and found themselves with excess stock.

The Netstock data is correct, but companies should look at the order recommendations alongside industry insights and trends, as Netstock doesn’t factor in that insight.

For example, some customers switched to a different product in Aquatic AV’s portfolio because they couldn’t get the one they desired during the COVID-19 pandemic. This affected the sales and skewed the data, so having input from their sales team on issues such as this one helped Aquatic AV’s team adjust forecasts accordingly with Netstock.

Benefits and ROI

Aquatic AV reduced inventory holding by over $1 million and simultaneously improved customer fill rate from 79 - 99% within the first year of using Netstock. They credit this to the visibility they have on the Netstock dashboard.

They can view excess inventory, which means they can action those items with the sales team so they can focus on selling them. They can also see their stockouts and potential stockouts so they can prioritize those orders with their factories. Outside of this snapshot in the dashboard, they can view individual product pages and see a specific product’s lead time, how much they should order and how much safety stock they should have, giving them total control over their inventory.

Not only did they save time by automating their forecast calculations, but also within their ERP processes. Business Central enabled Aquatic AV to track their serial numbers more reliably, feeding more accurate data into Netstock.

Aquatic AV’s purchasing manager, Erin Williams, said, “I think the ability to take data from Netsock and use it in SQL, Tableau, BI or Excel is very valuable for any company as data scientists use raw data all the time. We can see what we want to see in a logic that represents our business. Before, I was adding everything manually into a very basic table, and there was no way to have algorithms or calculations the way Netstock has it available to us. The process before would take several hours. Now, I can have a table ready in about 30 minutes with all the information our company needs.”

Need Help?

If you’re interested in improving your demand planning processes by integrating Netstock and Business Central, contact us online or give us a call at 410.685.5512.

Published May 8, 2023

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