Many companies today have a hard time being pigeonholed as either a manufacturer or a distributer, when they are a combination with both sides being important in the life of the business.  Companies that many consider a manufacturer often have a smaller but important distribution portion of the business, and vice versa.  I have worked with a couple of distribution companies that not only started manufacturing products, but in a number of cases, the manufacturing became the primary focus of the company and what drove growth and profit. I have also worked with a number of manufacturing companies that distributed not only their product but sometimes the supplies those products require.

How do you select an ERP software package when you are so diverse that often software products that are rich in manufacturing features are lacking in distribution functionality, or distribution software is lacking manufacturing functionality?  This is a sweet spot for Microsoft Dynamics NAV, a product that is feature-rich in both manufacturing as well as distribution, on top of a world-class financials package.

With NAV, you get a manufacturing package that handles everything from the custom manufacturer to the standard product manufacturer.  NAV’s MRP capabilities allow for the detailed planning of production and material requisitions. The planning tool even allows for the definition of constraints and supports constraint-based scheduling.  Combine these features with a manufacturing costing system that is without peer and you have a winning combination.  The superior serial and lot tracking capabilities of NAV make it a great choice for the medical, food, defense, and aerospace industries.

For the distribution side of the business, NAV handles multi-warehouse locations and full warehouse management.  The same planning tool that helps manufacturing plan production gives the purchasing people a tool to reduce inventory while increasing sales order fill rates.  The scalable warehouse management features not only allow you to define the level of process at each warehouse, but it can be changed and grow with your business.  The same serial lot functionality discussed in manufacturing carries over to the distribution side as well, and it can even be scaled to the level of tracking you want per item.

When you look at the combined functionality of the manufacturing and distribution areas within NAV, you can see why it is the choice of many businesses that deal in both of these areas.

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