Other customer cases in manufacturing
Magnetic component design & manufacturer, iNRCORE, transforms supply chain forecasting with Dynamics 365
iNRCORE has been fighting the supply chain battle. But in a business that provides highly customized solutions, one that does not have the luxury of waiting to buy materials but must order them well in advance due to very long lead times, opportunities are won or lost based on how fast solutions can be delivered.
iNRCORE designs and manufactures magnetic components like power inductors and transformers that transmit high-speed, mission-critical data and power in the harshest operating conditions. For more than 70 years, iNRCORE’s solutions have reliably powered next-gen systems in virtually every high-performance industry, from defense to space exploration, including Lockheed Martin, Digi-Key, and Avnet.
Manufacturing Succes Story: Interview with Sarah Harris, CEO
How iNRCORE and its portfolio of companies took control of the supply chain with Microsoft Dynamics
Like any business today—and any manufacturing business, in particular—iNRCORE has been fighting the supply chain battle. But in a business that provides highly customized solutions, one that does not have the luxury of waiting to buy materials but must order them well in advance due to very long lead times, opportunities are won or lost based on how fast solutions can be delivered.
For iNRCORE, the problem was a case of technology not supporting critical areas like forecasting. The company was using Salesforce, but it was a carry-over from a time when the business was structured differently and was not able to meet current needs—and too inflexible to easily modify. For example, the sales pipeline was housed in Salesforce but managed in Excel. In addition, licensing was very costly, so as the time to renew approached, iNRCORE CEO Sarah Harris tasked GM Bob Jones to find another solution.
Another wrinkle: The deadline for renewing the Salesforce contract was approaching very quickly, so the selected solution—including multiple integrations—would either need to be implemented within approximately THREE WEEKS, or the company would need to hold off until the next contract cycle.
Choosing Microsoft Dynamics 365 after HSO's demonstration
After evaluating several products, including the latest version of Salesforce, Bob’s team chose Microsoft Dynamics 365, which was demonstrated by HSO. “HSO did a great job of listening to our reasons for change, which other vendors did not,” said Bob. “They also took a hard look at our processes, including how we were using Salesforce and Excel and the benefits each was bringing to the table, and then proceeded to show us during a demo what D365 could do to address those benefits while making improvements. Before we even signed the contract, they made our data set to come to life to show us what D365 could do, rather than giving us a canned demo.”
With such a tight timeline, HSO suggested a multi-layer approach, starting with getting data out of Salesforce and into D365 in a “minimum viable” form—which could be customized later—before the end of the Salesforce contract. This advice set the stage for an excellent relationship, with the iNRCORE and HSO teams collaborating closely to set realistic goals and timelines that would result in the desired state within budget and by the agreed-upon deadline.
With the new solution for contact management, activity management, quotes, and forecasts, everything is housed within CRM, but at a much more sophisticated level—with dramatically increased accuracy—than a traditional CRM in that it essentially is doing the work of an MRP.
The solution has two components:
This is an example of how CRM is used to strengthen the supply chain and manage volatility.
There are multiple businesses within the iNRCORE portfolio, none of which had a suitable system in place. Therefore, it was important that the D365 solution work for all the other businesses.
“Our businesses roll up into four sales streams, and the implementation of D365 for iNRCORE took the number of streams with no real system down to three,” said Sarah Harris. “We were unable to answer questions about pipelines or win/loss ratios. How could I figure out if we were going to have a sales revenue problem if I didn’t have visibility into 30 percent of where my sales were coming from?” This was making it difficult to forecast appropriately to the board.”
After seeing the D365 solution in action with iNRCORE, it became clear to CEO Sarah Harris that it was needed across the portfolio. So, she directed HSO to provide three more identical instances and work with each sales team so they could begin using D365 confidently, which would enable her to see data across all the businesses. She gave the HSO team a very aggressive timeline and a budget, and they met it—even though it all had to be done remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
All parties have been very pleased with the results so far: Bob’s iNRCORE team is managing the forecasting processes well, and Sarah is happy with being able to see the numbers she needs to make strategic decisions. “It’s transformed the business, taking it to a whole new level,” she said. “What we were getting before didn’t give me a sense of confidence. We were reactive, and now we can be proactive. It’s been a game-changer for everyone.”
Both Bob and Sarah are also pleased with the ease of use and flexibility of D365. Although they have a support contract with HSO, it was important to them that they be able to troubleshoot issues and add functionality internally, without outside help.
“Even at the end, we didn’t pay for things like dashboard creation,” said Bob. “We thought, if this is really a flexible platform, we should be able to do it ourselves. We got great guidance and training from the HSO team, but at the end of the day, we were able to build entire groups of dashboards, workflows, and all kinds of other things, which is ultimately what we ended up showing Sarah—and what convinced her to implement D365 in the other businesses. We have a sustainable solution and a healthy relationship with our partner.” “We’re the type of business that pivots quickly…we don’t have to deal with a big corporate bureaucracy,” continued Sarah. “Once we have those dashboards, we can learn from them and immediately know what to change. We have discovered opportunities we hadn’t even thought of before.”
The next steps are to move annual planning and budget processes into D365, including adding bookings targets by customers, person, or product group, and to pull other areas, like engineering, into the system for automating the design review process and more.
Sarah concluded it best: “Just getting the teams aware of what D365 can do is getting them thinking about what they can do faster and better speaks well of the platform—of its usability and flexibility.”
Other customer cases in manufacturing