Effective Project Management

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1 Effective Project Management with Microsoft Dynamics GP With Microsoft Dynamics GP, you can increase profitability by integrating project activities to company financials and transforming field service activities from a cost center into a profit center. More visibility into your data. Less time hunting for answers. Capturing and recovering project costs such as billable labour and project-related expenses can help feed your company s profit margins. Microsoft Dynamics GP can help improve your visibility, by connecting project activities to your company s financials. The result? Extensive reporting capabilities, accurate accounting and billing processes, streamlined time and expense management and increased profitability. Managing a project successfully requires being able to not only plan well, but the ability to adapt plans to changing circumstances. A tool such as Great Plains(GP) enterprise resource planning software can help build your reputation for getting things done on time and under budget. Learning how to use that tool effectively is where an experienced team of experts can help. Problems Impacting Profitability and Growth in Project Management Managing projects is indispensable to achieving desired tangible results on time, on budget every time. Therefore, two key points of succeed of project management are Time and Budget. # By the time the reports are coordinated with accounting and gets to management, it s three weeks after the fact. One sneaky trap waiting to ensnare unwary project managers is the danger of stale information. A project is going along, being recorded periodically and every so often generating a report describing its progress. Narrowing that gap between the report and the reality is vital. Real-time visibility is much better. If a three-week-old report says that 90% of the project s budget has been spent, it already should have had the brakes put on to avoid an overrun. There needed to be a reaction and some discussions with the customer on managing the potential overrun before it became a fact. Instead, the company risks having an unhappy customer and disputes over payment. # Another potential pitfall is any disconnect between the budget and actual expenses. Time sheets let people on the project know how much time they have left and how to react to shortages. If there is equipment involved, there may be lead times on getting equipment in 1

2 place and supplies in stock. How to isolate those costs associated with IT can be hard for firms that are just running a general ledger in accounting. Separation those costs and then managing the budget and avoiding overruns require coordination that is difficult without support. Getting Started in Better Projects Managment Sometimes a project-based business is having trouble managing its process and accountability and this drives it to seek solutions to avoid missed deadlines or lost profits. Other times a project-based entity has developed an accounting system that manages to work for it, but it is now looking to improve operational efficiency and boost profitability. Issues typically involve better allocation of project costs, more accurate time sheets and tighter expense accounting. The company may have a good project planning and control product but be having trouble matching it to its accounting software. An entity may be relying on spreadsheets and manual processes to control costs, monitor project progress and track work. An ad hoc system may not be able to recognize changes or react to them effectively even if it does. Decision-makers may understand costs that are coming in without understanding what commitments they ve made against the budget. For example, if there s a $100,000 project and they ve spent $15,000, in their mind, they are 15% through the project. But they may have made 30 days worth of commitments for another $40,000 in spending which means they ve already effectively used up 55% of their budget. And sometimes a business has simply outgrown the system that used to work for them. Understand Your Challenges Why do tens of thousands of customers rely on Microsoft Dynamics GP business management solutions? The reasons are diverse. Dynamics GP meets the needs of many businesses like yours, with easily customizable solutions that go beyond basic business management and reporting to help people companywide work faster and smarter. Not all the problems faced by companies are the same. Often companies use an outside eye to help them question assumptions and discover un-examined issues that are hindering their business success invisibly. For example, they may need mobile access for time sheets and mobile access for expense reporting, especially if they have many employees in the field. In services industries there can be challenges in dealing with the scale differences between the big projects and the smaller jobs. If the business is maintaining and repairing kits, they might carry stock and have challenges in accounting between individual components and entire kits. Other businesses may provide maintenance contracts. Perhaps they are refurbishing big vehicles and after selling a vehicle to a customer it needs Stop wasting valuable time. Start trimming waste. The project management capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics GP can help you streamline inefficient project processes like data re-entry that can eat away at hard-earned profits. It can help shorten cash collection cycles, increase the value of invoices, reduce project-related paperwork, and automate once-manual processes. You can also track and control change orders by baseline or by forecast. And automate invoicing processes to meet project-specific needs by tailoring billing options and invoice formats. To better manage projects, you need timely and accurate information. Microsoft Dynamics GP provides easy access to the information and templates you need to do your job quickly and efficiently. Plus it helps you go beyond basic reporting to identify important trends in your business. 2

3 to be serviced every six months. The company must be able to keep track of it and maintain good records. So service management is something that sometimes comes into play. Other industries have continuing contracts. Once a project s is delivered there may be a contract to maintain that project. That has to be tracked with adequate resources lined up. And finally there s the need to handle changes. Some changes will be driven by customer requests, some by changing circumstances and some by innovations. Whatever the agent of change, the company has to be able to account for and manage those changes and integrate them into the project flow successfully. Many more customers are moving to Microsoft Dynamics GP, because it excels at meeting the business needs that are particularly relevant to their own challenges. Project Management Examples in Action # Event Projects The business has to track the cost of the event, but may have difficulty defining what costs accrue to the event and which costs do not. On the day of an event, there may be unexpected additional costs that have to be tracked. One of the Microchannel Service( MCS) clients used the project management software to control its event costs, generate reports on those costs and see what the profitability on the event was in real time. This allowed the entity to promptly decide whether they should continue this event every year. If the data does not report that this event is costing them money, they may just keep having the event while not understanding its impact on the bottom line. On the other hand, they also had the tools to look at the event as part of the bigger picture. They didn t compare that project to just one invoice, but a collection of tickets they sold. Because it was not a traditional project with costs coming in one payer, but a single project with multiple people are paying for the event indirectly, having the software allowed them to capture and calculate the real costs and profits in a way that would not have been possible otherwise. The Microsoft Dynamics RoleTailored interface makes it easy, giving you and your team access to the right information using role-based dashboards and key performance indicators. PROJECT MANAGEMENT MODULES Project Accounting: Connect project activities with company financials; provide extensive reporting capabilities; help ensure accurate accounting and billing processes throughout project life cycles; and streamline time and expense management. Project Time and Expense for Business Portal: Empower project team members and managers to effectively capture, review, and approve project time and expense data on the Web, enabling prompt, accurate customer invoicing and efficient reimbursement for out-of-pocket employee expenses. 3

4 # Resource Allocation and Management In a large organizations where there are hundreds of people, trying to find the right person for the job and allocating them to projects exceeds the knowledge of any one person. The right software can aid in matching the task and the task completer. In construction, for example, just managing the variations becomes a huge challenge where the software can make a difference. Having strict control of people assigned to work orders, monitoring those orders, tracking changes and comparing estimated costs to actual expenditures keeps the system working smoothly and avoiding misunderstandings. Without good controls a business can be hurt when the customer comes back and says they thought this particular item was part of the project. Once the job is done the ripples of that kind of misunderstanding can be very costly. One large not-for-profit organization was having big problems with their inventory. Working with their warehouse management helped them save about 7,000 tons of food per month. That huge benefit came from identifying a problem, working out a proper plan to put it together, sticking to that plan and then reaping the benefits on a wider scale. First an inventory management plan was rolled out in one warehouse and then a repeatable process was created to spread the improved methods to all of the organisation s warehouses. Microsoft Dynamics GP helps you easily access the business information needed to optimize field service processes. FIELD SERVICE MANAGEMENT MODULES Service Call Management: Enter customer service requests; dispatch technicians; and manage parts, labor, and miscellaneous charges. You also can bill customers for time and material services. Contract Administration: Enter, set up, and maintain your quote and contract documents. If Contract Administration is integrated with Service Call Management, contract costs are updated from service calls and contract terms update service calls. Contract Administration also will send transactions to General Ledger for revenue recognition purposes. Depot Management: Provides tracking and maintenance of in-house work performed for items belonging to a customer or to a servicing company. Preventive Maintenance: Automatically generate service calls for preventive maintenance work with a minimum of user intervention. You also can use Preventive Maintenance to create a list of preventive maintenance requirements and track preventive maintenance history on generated, cancelled, and completed preventive maintenance requirements. Returns Management: Enter, set up, and maintain your return materials authorization (RMA) and return to vendor (RTV) documents. If Returns Management is integrated with Service Call Management, an RMA is created automatically from a returnable parts line on a service call. If Returns Management is integrated with Sales Order Processing, you can select items directly from the historical Sales Order Processing invoice that was generated for a specific customer. 4

5 Tips for Implementation Success FOUR TOP REASONS to use Microsoft Dynamics GP connect project activities: Increase visibility and control of time and expense entries; project status and profitability; labor, equipment, and materials; and employee expenses. Improve efficiency throughout your business with centralized access to information on-site or at the office. Increase cash flow and profitability through automatic integration with your billing system. Improve customer invoice accuracy and automate processes to meet projectspecific needs by tailoring billing options and invoice formats. # Accepting Changes Introducing new project management software and processes often runs into resistance that can be minimised with expert guidance. Acceptance requires a buy-in from the people who are actually going to use it. In most of the case that even the existing system does not good enough to fulfil the requirement, there still be resistance from employees who are already get used to the way things are. Changing the culture of any group is difficult, especially if the benefits of the change are unclear. Having someone who can demonstrate how the improved way is better can go a long way towards gaining acceptance. # Have a Proper Procurement Process in Place Putting in a project management system to account for current and future spending against a budget for that project is good. But if you don t have a proper procurement process in place and you re not electronically managing your procurement process, then the business will struggle to get future visibility of commitments against the budget. # Set a Profitable Training Mindset The challenge is that opening up systems and processes to a wider audience in the company also requires education and change management so people to understand the impact of everything that they re doing and how all the pieces have to fit. The wider the audience is, the bigger the challenge. With proper training, however, software becomes an investment that delivers a positive return over time. # Get Commitments from All the Stakeholders Half-implemented policies are going to be fully implemented failures. If somebody isn t filling out their time sheet correctly or consistently or they are not putting in procurement accurately then the system will not succeed. # And Finally, Don t Over Complicate It Often organizations believe that they have to do it all at once. It may be that if the business could just get an account structure implemented in the general ledger to manage associate costs being run through that project it would give them a quick win and a first win. Then they can move on to the procurement side and other needs. It s often wise to get some quick wins on the table. Often organizations start thinking through some of the challenges they ll face, and then they just put it in the too-hard basket. So they don t really achieve anything because they feel that it s just all too hard. With the proper guides it is not. 5

6 About MicroChannel Services MicroChannel Services is a multi-award-winning business solutions and technology provider, servicing a vast range of businesses, corporate divisions and government agencies. Founded in 1995, MicroChannel assists hundreds of clients to leverage technology for commercial success. MicroChannel Helps Our Customers to: Improve the customer experience for their own customers Increase their market share Lower their cost of doing business Get practical, simple solutions that fit their business needs Better utilise their resources and assets Come to realise their potential. Businesses vary in requirements and complexity; therefore it can be difficult to choose the right direction to go in when looking to improve your system. This is where MicroChannel can help, by providing advice which has been trusted by businesses across Australia for 18+ years. MicroChannel is here to help, and we would be more than happy to hear from you We can be contacted via the below details Sydney Melbourne Brisbane Perth The MicroChannel Building Suite 5, 401 Pacific Highway Artarmon, NSW 2064 Level 1, 210 Albert Road South Melbourne, VIC 3205 Suite 1A, 96 Lytton Road East Brisbane QLD 4169 Suite 6, 336 Churchill Ave Subiaco WA 6008 p: f: p: f: p: f: p: f: For more information about MicroChannel Service (MCS)products and services call the sales and information line on For more information on Microsoft Dynamics GP, visit This ebook is for informational purposes only. MCS MAKES NO WAR- RANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. 6

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