Tag: Iot services

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Close the gap between the retail experience you offer and the one your customers expect

Close the gap between the retail experience you offer and the one your customers expect

In the fight against the e-commerce giants, brick-and-mortar retailers have a winning card: customer experience. Many factors contribute to making an in-store experience unique and compelling. A curated product selection, an exciting and fresh atmosphere, and personal, one-on-one service are just some of the elements retailers can use to their advantage.

Unfortunately, not all retailers seem to be playing their cards well.

Last year alone, Accenture reports, 61% of customers stopped doing business with at least one company because of poor customer experience. Research by Omnico Retail Gap Barometer reveals an even darker figure: 72% of consumers actually see all shopping as a frustrating experience! Brick-and-mortar shopping was found to produce even more irritations than online, with over a quarter of respondents describing the average in-store shopping experience as poor.

Going back to basics

When talking about modern customer experiences, one of the most popular topics is in-store innovation. In the past few years, the availability of increasingly advanced, and affordable, technology has utterly transformed shopping. Today’s in-store experiences are a far cry from last decade’s weekly trips to the mall.

However, the kind of tech some of the most innovative brands are experimenting with – from augmented reality, to holograms, to immersive multi-sensorial experiences – seem to be light years away from the bog-standard, uninspired customer journeys that too many retailers still offer.

Most of the frustrating shopping experiences customers describe and report are attributable to one or more of the following factors:

  • Unhelpful sales associates.
  • Inconsistent cross-channel experiences.
  • Poor personalization.

Let’s take a closer look at each factor, and see what tools can help close the gap between what consumers expect and the current, disappointing experiences many retailers still offer.

1. Unhelpful sales associates

The majority of retailers (61%) are confident that their store associates deliver great value and best-in-class assistance to customers, according to research by Forrester. Shoppers, however, disagree. Most (51%) consumers surveyed in the very same research believe that salespeople are not as knowledgeable about products as they should be. It is unsurprising, then, that very few consumers – less than one out of three – decide to rely on stores associates when they need to find a product.

How can you fix this?

Do you want your employees to deliver helpful, knowledgeable service? Then empower them to do so. This means giving them constant training, and the right technology.

Training: Learning about products and excellent service should not be limited to the onboarding stage. Keep your staff up-to-date with what stock is coming in, and help them understand how each item can suit different customer needs. A shopper looking for new running shoes doesn’t want to hear “here is what we have” – or wait around while the sales associates tries to read the boxes to understand the difference between two pairs of sneakers. What the customer expects is solid, competent advice on what sole is better for rough terrains, or which model has the best arch support. The in-depth knowledge needed for this level of service does not come cheap: you need to invest time and resources in constant, thorough, focused training.

Technology: Even with constant training, you can’t expect your employees to memorize your whole catalog and all your products’ features – especially in the days of endless aisles. A simple and affordable way to empower your employees to give more personal service is mobile Point of Sale. With a mobile POS in their hands, your employees can walk around the shop floor and give product information and one-on-one service to your customers where they are. On the POS, salespeople can quickly find all information on product details, variants, prices, and even real-time availability across all your locations. And it doesn’t end here. The best mobile POS systems also enable your employees to view, and show to customers, your whole product range, not just what you have in-store. A customer is looking for a specific type of paintbrush? Use the tablet to show the products available in your other locations and compare items side by side, with details and pictures. And to finish, you can close the sale on the spot. Yes – the best mobile POS take payments, too.

2. Inconsistent cross-channel experiences

In today’s hyper-connected world, the points of interaction and purchase just keep on multiplying. People can buy the t-shirt their favorite rapper wears straight from the music video. They can purchase a necklace on the jewelry designer’s Facebook page. They can replenish their kitchen detergent by pushing the Amazon Dash button they keep next to the sink. They can buy a new pair of headphones on their mobile, and select to pick them up in their favorite store location, or at a delivery box close to their home. They can use voice recognition to ask Alexa about the best wine pairing with ossobuco – and get the bottle sent home.

Across these increasingly diverse shopping moments, customers expect their experience with each retailer to be smooth and consistent – no glitches, no hitches, no disconnects.

As consumer expectations keep on growing, the gap with what most retailers offer gets larger. According to BRP’s latest Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Survey, the majority of retailers still don’t offer basic cross-channel capabilities such as stock visibility, start-to-end order tracking, or cross-channel returns. A case in point: none of the retailers interviewed by BRP said they could offer effective “start anywhere, finish anywhere” (shared cart across channels) services. At the same time, almost 3 out of 4 (73%) consumers believe that this is a key capability.

How can you bridge the gap?

Unified commerce is the latest tendency in retail management systems. Unified commerce replaces all the separate, badly connected software solutions and databases retailers use across their business with just one, centralized, enterprise-wide software platform combining POS, mobile, Web, inventory management, customer information, and more. Within a unified commerce system, all information is maintained in one place, and shared and distributed instantly to all touchpoints. This means both your staff and customers can have access to the same, real-time data, including prices and offers, which and how much stock is available in each location, as well as customers’ shopping history. By unifying all information and making it available across the enterprise, a unified commerce platform ties all loose ends, enabling retailers to achieve, and offer their customers, total visibility, consistent information, and smooth experiences across all points of interaction.

3. Poor personalization

The vast majority (85%) of retailers, Forrester reports, believe they do a good job at personalizing their messages to each single consumer’s tastes, interests, and past purchases. Once more, shoppers disagree. More than half (59%) of consumers interviewed in the same survey say that retailers do not know them, and that the personalized offers and communications they receive tend to be irrelevant and untimely, providing no value to them. Ouch! Last year alone, according to data from Accenture, 33% of consumers who abandoned a business relationship did so because they felt personalization was lacking.

The tech you need:

Mass-made, one-size-fits-all products, offers and messaging don’t cut it anymore. Today’s consumers are used to receiving targeted recommendations, designed-for-you communications, and even personalized prices  online, and they have come to expect the same level of individual attention across all channels.

To deliver this kind of experience across your whole enterprise, including brick-and-mortar locations, you need unified commerce systems, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools.

By maintaining all customer information in one database, unified commerce enables retailers get a straightforward, real-time picture of their customers’ habits, preferences, buying history, and behaviors. This highly organized data can then be run through predictive analytics and artificial intelligenceservices to deliver more effective, engaging, and personalized customer interactions. A good example of one such service is LS Recommend. This AI-powered recommendation engine uses historical purchase data to deliver relevant product recommendations. These suggestions can be shown on the e-commerce site, viewed on the phone of loyalty program members, or even displayed at the Point of Sale. In this case, sales associates can use them to engage customers, delivering the recommendations in the form of a personal suggestion. And thanks to machine learning, the system becomes increasingly accurate with time.

Making an experience great

Many retailers are feeling outpaced by today’s speed of change, with consumer expectations constantly increasing on the one hand, and technology quickly changing on the other. “By the time we catch up to technology, it will have moved past us again,” a billion-dollar revenue retailer told Forrester.

The good news is, you don’t need to offer drone delivery, virtual reality, or 3-D printed items to guarantee great experiences. Rather, implement the technology that enables you to deliver the necessary, and oh-so-important basics of modern shopping: competent service in-store, personalized interactions, and a consistent brand experience across channels. You can find all the elements you need to offer all this in a retail management system like LS Nav, our unified commerce platform that gives retailers mobility and a centralized view of all their information, including customer data.

To know more about LS Nav, and how it can help you close the gap between what consumers want, and what you can offer, get in touch with us.

 

Note:  Blog source : https://www.lsretail.com/blog/close-gap-retail-experience-offer-one-customers-expect/  LS Retail Official Website

Manufacturing IoT

It’s all about connecting data to make smart decisions to improve manufacturing

Manufacturing IoTThe term IoT was first originated by Peter T. Lewis to narrate “the combination of people, processes, and technology with connectable devices and sensors to activate remote monitoring, status, manipulation, and evaluation of trends of such devices.”

So the entitle has been around for a while now, but the idea still continues to develop and evolve as technology continues to facilitate through new hardware like sensors, and through the collection and analysis of data. So, how have the advancements in smart manufacturing affected the manufacturing business?

Benefits of Smart Manufacturing

Smart factories deploy smart manufacturing to gain production efficiencies, improve production quality and lower reaching to market. Machines can now address failure points and collect data that can be used to increase predictive and preventative maintenance, which in the long run improves uptime. Data analysis is used to predict and prevent failure; it indicates when intervention is required and suggest the necessary corrective actions. Troubleshooting is more systematic, which benefits both manufacturers and customers.

Sensors, Connectivity and Data

The entire concept of smart manufacturing plays around collecting and analysing the data. Sensors collect the data and networks transfer the data. If a device or piece of equipment on the floor is independent, it will not contribute to the collective understanding of the smart factory. Devices and machinery equipped with sensors have the ability to monitor, collect, exchange and analyse data – all without human interference. The sensors collect data, and communicate with correct information on the plant floor, as well as outside the plant (or from the outside in) faster, in order to make easier decisions.

Every device that has the ability to collect intelligence needs to be on a backbone of some type that allows it to produce data or have data pulled out of it. New sensor with networks can be established, or sensors and data networking can be added to existing devices.

As for the data itself, decisions need to be made that make the most sense for the manufacturing plant. How and where to house the data is one such decision – should it be kept in-house, or outside of the organisation walls? Data security is of important concern, so if data is stored off premises, remote connectivity and how to safely get into your system from the outside needs to be addressed.

Auto component, in Particular

Since automotive component manufacturing is the largest sector in the manufacturing industry, it permits special consideration in the IoT as it impacts manufacturers and their customers. In terms of complex components, the data gathered and analyzed can help ensure maximum replication in the process, consistent quality, and low defects. And again, the data also helps determine preventative machine maintenance which helps avoid unplanned break down.

From the customer perspective, smart manufacturing provides various benefits for communication and visibility. Machine data collection and reporting provides the customer important timing information on project and production order status.

And so it goes. The drive to glean more – and better – data from industrial equipment and systems will continue to improve productivity in all the sector as technology, sensors, and systems continue to evolve, to the benefit of the moulders and their customers.

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7 Retail Management Software Selection Mistakes that Spell Failure

The retail management software selection process is a complex and
difficult task. Implementing, maintaining and upgrading a core business
software solution over a five-year term will average $100,000 – $500,000
for the typical mid-market retail organization. On top of that, the software
you choose will impact your business’s operational effectiveness for the
next 6-10 years.
Given the significant commitment and investment required, it is shocking
how few retailers invest the appropriate resources and complete the
required due diligence. The problem is, a lack of work at the beginning will
show at the end. It is therefore unsurprising that many new
implementation projects end up not fulfilling the business requirements
and expectations. In the latest Panorama Consulting Solutions survey on
management system implementations, 28% of the companies described
their most recent ERP rollout as a failure. A further 30% was unsure
whether their implementation could be considered successful – or failed.
Although too often overlooked, the preliminary selection steps are
necessary to ensure that this critical business decision, which will affect the
company for years, is taken based on empirical data and pragmatic criteria.
This white paper outlines 7 all-too-common mistakes many retailers make
during the business software selection process.

Mistake 1: Believing that all retail management solutions are the same

Mistake 2: Starting the process with a fixed idea of what you need

Mistake 3: Leaving the selection process to the IT department

Mistake 4: Deciding that “cheapest” means “best value”

Mistake 5: Tightly controlling vendors in an attempt to decrease costs

Mistake 6: Giving too much importance to the demo 

Mistake 7: Not getting references

So how do you choose the right approach?

The best place to start is internally, with requirements gathering. Define your organization’s corporate goals, objectives/metrics, and strategic imperatives. Review your business requirements, and list all the challenges that are preventing your organization from
meeting its objectives. To accomplish this, it is critical to develop an internal company vision and scope document.

Making the right choice for the future :

Retail management software projects are a high-involvement,
highly demanding process. At the same time, the software
solution you choose will significantly impact your business and
business processes for the next 5-10 years – so this is not a
decisions to be taken lightly.
Throughout the process, keep in mind the 7 software selection
mistakes outlined in this paper. Use them as a litmus test to
select a retail business software system that enhances your
business results, rather than falling for one that will, along the
way, undermine your productivity and flexibility.
Follow this methodical process, and you will significantly
increase your probability of project success – where success is
determined by being on-time, on-budget, and delivering
measureable business value, today and in the future.

To avoid unhealthy and unnecessary project risk:

  1. Examine your buying process for transparency and executive availability. If you are setting up a dynamic that promotes confusion rather than collaboration, stop it before it’s too late.
  2. Clearly define, then share, the project’s anticipated measurable business benefits with the vendors.
  3. Ask for the vendors’ advice on incremental business benefits, process improvements or cost reduction measures that your organization may not have contemplated.

Trident LS Retail Solution for your Retail Business :

Is the sheer amount of similar retail software on the market making you dazed and confused? Do you need help to understand what you actually need, and how to work through contradicting business requirements?  Contact with our Consultant 

LS Retail is a world-leading provider of business management software solutions for retail, hospitality and forecourt businesses of all sizes. Our all-in-one management systems power tens of thousands of stores, restaurants, cafés, bakeries, pubs, food courts,
cafeterias, and more.

dynamics 365 business central

Dynamics 365 Business Central – Connect and Grow your Business

Dynamics 365 Business Central

Dynamics 365 Business Central Modernize your business operations across finance, manufacturing, and supply chain to drive new growth.

Dynamics 365 Business Central is designed for businesses looking for an all-in-one business management solution that’s easy to use and adapt. Connect your finances, sales, service, and operations to streamline business processes, improve customer interactions, and enable growth.

  • An all-in-one business management solution
  • An evolution of Dynamics NAV
  • An intelligent and unified solution
  • A member of the Dynamics family
  • An application and a platform

Financial Management

Make Informed Decisions

Connect data across accounting, sales, purchasing, inventory, and customer interactions to get an end-to-end view of your business. Chart financial performance in real time with built-in Power BI dashboards.

Accelerate Financial Close and Reporting

Streamline accounts receivables and payables, and automatically reconcile accounts to close and report on financials quickly and accurately, while maintaining compliance.

Improve Forecast Accuracy

Refine financial forecasts by modeling and analyzing data across multiple dimensions. Customize reports using seamless Microsoft Excel integration.

Basic General Ledger

Set up a company and start posting to the general ledger, chart of accounts, general journals, VAT facilities, recurring journals, and source codes.

Budgets

Work with budgets in general ledger accounts.

Deferrals

Set up deferral templates that automate the process of deferring revenues and expenses over a pre-defined schedule.

Basic Fixed Assets

Keep track of fixed assets and related transactions such as acquisitions, depreciations, write-downs, appreciations, and disposals.

Basic Receivables

Post sales transactions in journals and manage receivables; register customers and manage receivables using general journals.

Dimensions

Add unlimited dimensions to any ledger for advanced transaction analyses.

Audit Trails

The system automatically assigns audit trails and posting descriptions to every transaction. In addition, users can define reason codes to create complementary audit trails.

Bank Account Management

Create, operate, and manage multiple bank accounts for catering to your diverse business needs and across different currencies.

Reconciliation

Reconcile your bank statement data automatically to open bank account ledger entries end to keep track of all your bank statements.

Currencies

Manage multiple currencies throughout the system, including payables and receivables, general ledger reports, resource and inventory items, and bank accounts.

Human Resource

Employees

Group and track employee information and organize employee data according to different types of information, such as experience, skills, education, training, and union membership.

Expense Management

Post expenses against employee cards to track and reimburse their expenses.

Project Management

Stay on Budget

Create, manage, and track customer projects using timesheets along with advanced job costing and reporting capabilities. Develop, modify, and control budgets to ensure project profitability.

Plan with Precision

Manage resource levels by planning capacity and sales. Track invoicing for customers against planned costs on orders and quotes.

Analyze Project Performance

Make effective decisions with real-time insight on project status, profitability, and resource-usage metrics.

Resources

Register and sell resources, combine related resources into one resource group or track individual resources.

Estimates

Monitor resource usage and get a complete overview of your capacity for each resource with information about availability and planned costs on orders and quotes.

Jobs

Keep track of usage on jobs and data for invoicing the customer. Manage both fixed-price jobs and time-and-materials jobs.

Timesheets

Timesheets are a simple and flexible solution for time registration with manager approval and integrate with Service, Jobs, and Basic Resources.

Multiple Languages

Switch languages on the client in real time provided that the desired language is available.

Reason Codes

Define a set of reason codes that can be assigned to individual transactions throughout the system, providing user-defined audit trails.

Extended Text

Set up an unlimited number of lines to describe inventory items, resources, and general ledger accounts.

Intrastat Reporting

Automatically retrieve the necessary data to report Intrastat information to statistics authorities. Local customs authorities can inform you whether your company is obligated to file such a report.

Outlook Integration

Synchronize your to-do items and your contacts with your meetings, tasks, and contacts in Outlook.

Empower Everyone with Ictionable insight with Power BI

Make Data Driven Decisions

See all your data through a single pane of glass. Live Power BI dashboards and reports include visualizations and KPIs from your data in the cloud and on-premises, offering a consolidated view across your business, regardless of where your data lives.

Build Intelligence into your Apps

Make all your apps smarter when you collect and infuse all the data captured across your organization. Bring the power of the Business Application Platform, Power BI, and your apps together to deliver actionable insights.

Use Common Data Service for Analytics

Remove data silos to drive intelligence across your organization by connecting data from Dynamics 365 and your other business apps with Common Data Service for Analytics.

Apps that Transform the Way you do Business

Create An App for Every Task

Build visually stunning apps that take advantage of device capabilities like cameras, GPS, and pen controls, run on any device, and are completely customized for your business requirements.

Incorporate Powerful Workflow Automation

Integrate Microsoft Flow workflows to automate virtually any process including notifications, data collection, and approval routing—all without writing a single line of code.

Use Common Data Service for Apps

Consolidate your data in Common Data Service for Apps. It’s the foundation for your apps and includes a set of over 200 standard business entities and relationships.

Customer Relationship Management

Deliver Value at Every Touch Point

Prioritize sales leads based on revenue potential. Keep track of all customer interactions and get guidance on best upsell, cross-sell, and renewal opportunities throughout your sales cycle.

Boost Sales Productivity

Accelerate the quote to cash process. Act quickly on sales-related inquiries, manage service requests, and process payments—all from within Outlook.

Maximize Profitability

Gain a comprehensive overview of your service tasks, workloads, and employee skills to effectively assign resources and accelerate case resolution.

Contacts

Maintain an overview of your contacts and record your contact information for all business relationships.

Campaigns

Organize campaigns based on segments of your contacts that you define.

Opportunity Management

Keep track of sales opportunities, section your sales processes into different stages, and use this information to manage your sales opportunities.

Dynamics 365 for Sales Integration

Integrate with Dynamics 365 for Sales in a few easy steps to synchronize your data, including sales orders, item availability, units of measure, and currencies.

Automate and Secure Supply Chain Management

Optimize Inventory Levels

Use built-in intelligence to predict when and what to replenish. Purchase only what you need with dynamically updated inventory levels.

Avoid Lost Sales and Reduce Shortages

Maintain the right amount of inventory by automatically calculating stock levels, lead times, and reorder points. Suggest substitutes when requested items are out of stock.

Maximize Profitability

Get recommendations on when to pay vendors to use vendor discounts or avoid overdue penalties. Prevent unnecessary or fraudulent purchases through approval workflows.

Sales Order Management

Manage sales orders, blanket sales orders, and sales order processes.

Purchase Order Management

Manage purchases, blanket orders, and purchase order processes.

Locations

Manage inventory in multiple locations that may represent a production plant, distribution center, warehouse, showroom, retail outlet, or service car.

Item Transfers

Track inventory as it’s moved from one location to another and account for the value of inventory in transit at various locations.

Warehouse Management (Basic and Advanced)

Warehouse functionality in Business Central can be implemented in different complexity levels, depending on a company’s processes and order volume. The main difference is that activities are performed order-by-order in basic warehousing when they are consolidated for multiple orders in advanced warehousing.

Assembly Management

To support companies that supply products to their customers by combining components in simple processes without the need of manufacturing functionality, Business Central includes features to assemble items that integrate with existing features, such as sales, planning, reservations, and warehousing

Service Order Management

Manage Forecasting to Fulfillment

Use sales forecasts and expected stock-outs to automatically generate production plans and create purchase orders.

Run your Warehousing Efficiently

Get a holistic view of inventory for efficient order fulfillment. Track every item transaction and movement by setting up bins based on warehouse layout and storage unit dimensions.

Reach Optimal Output Levels

Calculate and optimize manufacturing capacity and resources to improve production schedules and meet customer demands.

Service Orders

Register your after-sales issues including service requests, services due, service orders, and repair requests.

Service Item Management

Record and keep track of all your service items, including contract information, component management, and BOM reference and warranty information.

Service Contract Management

Record details on service levels, response times, and discount levels, as well as on the service history of each contract, including used service items and parts and labor hours.

Planning

Assign personnel to work orders and log details such as work order handling and work order status.

Dispatching

Manage service personnel and field technician information, and filter according to availability, skills, and stock items.

Service Price Management

Set up, maintain, and monitor your service prices

Manufacturing

Resources

Register and sell resources, combine related resources into one resource group or track individual resources.

Estimates

Monitor resource usage and get a complete overview of your capacity for each resource with information about availability and planned costs on orders and quotes.

Jobs

Keep track of usage on jobs and data for invoicing the customer. Manage both fixed-price jobs and time-and-materials jobs.

Timesheets

Timesheets are a simple and flexible solution for time registration with manager approval and integrate with Service, Jobs, and Basic Resources.

Multiple Languages

Switch languages on the client in real time provided that the desired language is available.

Reason Codes

Define a set of reason codes that can be assigned to individual transactions throughout the system, providing user-defined audit trails.

Extended Text

Set up an unlimited number of lines to describe inventory items, resources, and general ledger accounts.

Intrastat Reporting

Automatically retrieve the necessary data to report Intrastat information to statistics authorities. Local customs authorities can inform you whether your company is obligated to file such a report.

Outlook Integration

Synchronize your to-do items and your contacts with your meetings, tasks, and contacts in Outlook.

Subcontracting

Allows companies to send raw materials, unfinished goods, or partially finished goods for further processing elsewhere.

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Connect Anything, Change Everything – Seamlessly Integrate Data and Processes

Digital transformation is a business reality. As a growing business, you want to make sure that implementing or upgrading a new system will have minimal interference to your operations and infrastructure. Trident can help seamlessly integrate applications, data, and processes. This will enable you to operate at exceptional speed and agility in an ever-changing world.

Leverage the power, security, and flexibility of Azure — Microsoft’s integrated cloud services platform that IT professionals use to build, deploy, and manage applications through a global network of datacenters. With Azure, you can deploy anywhere with your choice of tools — connecting to the cloud or on-premises with hybrid cloud capabilities for maximum portability and value from your existing investments.

Microsoft Flow – Automate Process & Tasks

Work less, do more.  Create automated workflows between your favorite apps and services to get notifications, synchronize files, collect data, and more.  The simplified interface removes the need to code secure handshakes between apps, logging rules and mapping, as this is all performed as part of the Flow eco-system.

Work Seemlessly with On-Premise Data

Flow lets you securely connect to on-premises data and cloud based services, so you can make the most of the data you already have.

Multi-Step Flows & Conditions

Turn repetitive tasks into multistep workflows. For example, with a few clicks capture tweets and add them as leads in Dynamics 365, subscribers in Mailchimp, and more.  Make decisions in your workflow, like running an action only when certain conditions are met.

Secure

Prevent sensitive data from leaving your company using built-in or customized data prevention loss.  Inherit the security from your LOB and productivity applications.

Right Data, Right Place at Right Time

The success of your implementation relies on having the right data, in the right place at the right time.  With multiple integration methods at our disposal, our team of integration consultants will architect a solution that ensures the productivity of your business flows at a rapid rate and that your sales team has all the insights possible to close the deals.  No matter what product you need to integrate, whether on-premise or cloud we have the capabilities for you. Our most common integrations are between Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales and Dynamics 365 for Operations.

Common Data Service

The Microsoft Common Data Service is your place to exchange information both for Microsoft Dynamics 365 as well as other platforms. Having the right organizational data stores that allow you a single view of all your data elements in a service that supports easy interchange of data between applications will allow you to expand your offering rapidly. From website integration, mobile applications, productivity applications and line of business applications – you can have a single source of the truth for all data exchanged. Use the common data service to support your business growth

Uncategorized

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Service

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Learn how Singapore’s biggest transportation network operator doubled their productivity and delivers faster, friendlier service.

Providing over one billion rail and bus journeys per year, SMRT is Singapore’s biggest transport network operator. In end 2016, the company started using cloud-based Dynamics 365 CRM service management features across its train, bus and taxi services to power new service innovations, and help staff members deliver better customer service. With Dynamics’ inbuilt automation features, SMRT employees are managing 2.3 times more cases than before. And with a cloud-based approach, SMRT can bring innovation projects to life in less than 3 months. Today, SMRT is powerfully equipped to deliver on its core responsibility: world-class transport that is safe, reliable and customer-centric.

Every transport network has its challenges, but Singapore‘s SMRT has enormous responsibilities. As provider of the principal public-transport network in Singapore, it is SMRT’s job to sustain Singapore’s world-class reputation for efficiency and customer service.

“We have 102 train stations and over 1,400 buses, and deliver over one billion journeys per year,“ says Dave Ong, Head, Passenger Service Department, SMRT. “Our mission is to enhance the lives of Singapore citizens with a transport system that is safe, reliable and customer-centric.“

The Cloud Journey to Better Customer Service and Innovations

SMRT is always looking for ways to enhance customer interactions, and in 2016, decided that the Cloud could help. On any given day, more than 1,000 employees are involved in the process of managing customer enquiries, compliments, complaints and feedback. These busy staff also have to pursue hundreds of ‘lost and found‘ cases each month. SMRT wanted to help these employees deliver a faster and friendlier service.

“Today, customers contact us through many different ways — emails, calls, faxes, letters, Whatsapp, Facebook and SMS,“ says Mr. Ong. “We need a case-handling system that helps us manage new processes for handling all these interactions, and a reporting system that helps us visualise our performance in real time.“

SMRT also wanted to make it easier to engage and manage external stakeholders on a succession of new initiatives known as innovation projects. Cloud technologies had the potential to help SMRT create, share and secure new business applications without having to purchase additional servers. “When setting up an innovation project, we want a system that would allow us to adapt and be more creative,“ says Mr. Ong.

One-Stop Customer Service and Engagement

In 2016, SMRT selected the cloud-based customer-relationship management solution, Dynamics CRM Online – which is now part of Dynamics 365 – to manage SMRT customer service and engagements at the enterprise level. The cloud-based solution provided convenience and flexibility to more than 1,000 employees, reduced capital costs and accelerated rollouts.

With the help of Customer Capital Consulting, SMRT used Dynamics 365 to create a single, integrated system for managing all customer interactions. The new solution aggregates all feedbacks, regardless of which channel the feedback arrives at and uses automatic workflows to assign the case to the relevant team.

SMRT Customer Relations employees use inbuilt features to track progress and turnaround times. System aids, such as reminders, help prompt everyone involved to take action when it‘s required. Checkpoints help employees manage the different types of cases, and see that they are on track. Meanwhile, reporting tools provide accurate updates to managers and external stakeholders.

A Force Driving Enterprise Innovations

SMRT has also used Dynamics 365 to create new business applications to support their new ‘Adopt-a-Station‘ initiative for school student ambassadors. With cloud-based workflows and document repositories, SMRT staff can centrally manage applications, correspondence, approvals and activities-tracking. Mr. Ong says that moving to the cloud presented no problem for the project, and the new application was put to use according to the planned schedule.

“The Customer Capital Consulting team was flexible and accommodated our concerns to the best of their ability,” says Mr. Ong. “They were willing to go the extra mile, including conducting training so that our staff were comfortable with the new systems. They worked collaboratively and closely with the SMRT team to meet deadlines and completed the project on time.”

Productivity is More than Doubled with Dynamics 365

With the help of Cloud technologies, SMRT is achieving Enterprise Digital Transformation where it’s vital — Customer Service. Today, more than 1,000 SMRT employees across different locations in Singapore use Dynamics 365 to ensure that customer enquiries and interactions are handled quickly and professionally. With its principal, public-facing systems in the cloud, SMRT can bring new initiatives to life without the cost and delays of investing in new infrastructure.

As a result, the service-oriented staff at SMRT are better able to handle more cases. Automated workflows reduce the manual effort of sorting and directing interactions. Meanwhile, dashboard reporting helps the team and the management of SMRT to ensure that customer cases are resolved within prescribed timelines.

“Our ability to handle public feedback volume has increased 2.3 times,“ says Mr. Ong. “Dynamics 365 reduces manual effort and frees up customer-service staff to handle cases with a personal touch. This helps us achieve our strategic goal of making all interactions with our contact centre more personal.”

Innovations Made Simple

With Dynamics 365, SMRT can accelerate the pace of innovation within the organisation. With customer-ready tools – such as workflow engine, standard user-interface design and dashboard tools – SMRT does not have to source, buy, learn and deploy different solutions to get new capabilities up and running. Managers can now build, test and use new applications fast.

“Dynamics 365 effectively reduces the time it takes us to evaluate, implement and roll out new innovations,” says Mr Ong. “This means we have a faster time-to-market for new projects. In addition, we save money by leveraging our existing investments.”

Innovation Projects Up and Running in Three Months

Today, SMRT can quickly build the systems it needs to support a new innovation project. rolling them out in just a few months, which is far faster than before. These new applications are cloud-based, so SMRT does not need to invest in new infrastructure. And with the many inbuilt automation tools in Dynamics 365, new projects are now easier to manage.

“By helping us create a new communicate hub for SMRT HQ, station staff and the different stakeholders, Dynamics 365 brought our first innovation project to life,” says Mr. Ong. “Our objective is to deliver a world-class transport service that is a lifestyle experience, and Dynamics 365 is now part of our journey.“

Note : Originally Published at Microsoft Official Website. 

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The new face of quality-checks: Industry 4.0 Cognitive Visual Inspection

Numerous manufacturing industries are showing interest and are adopting the smart factory concept or we can call it the connected factory or Industry 4.0 roadmap to amplify their productivity and raised competitiveness. Each and every field of industry talk about asset tracking, predictive maintenance and OEE that are being greatly impacted by Industry 4.0. This is because of the tremendous addition of value by coupling the IT (Information Technology) with Operating Technology. Producers are now looking forward to track the utilization of their products by directly taking feedback from their customers in order to rectify their upcoming variants. And for the attainment of this, the comprehensive value chain has established a network of retailer, manufacturer, supplier, warehouse and the consumer.

The manufacturing process needs to be very steady in order to provision higher qualitative outcomes during every phase of the production. More than half of these quality tests incorporate visual inspections to make sure that all the parts are functional and are located at the destined location or is there any possible blemishes or all the colors are intact or is there any shape deformation. Many times due these defects get ignored during visual quality inspection and reaches the end customer, result of which is customer dissatisfaction and negative brand image in the market. As a measure, companies have to recall the products from the market and from end customers. This is not only a rigorous process but also an expensive one.

Leaving these inspections checks on the automated technology can be tough due to the variety in ranges of product and the tremendous amount of inspections.  There can be any possible complexity that directs towards any sort of defect of any size. So it becomes extreme necessity to deploy the newer and more happening cognitive visual inspection, which has a proven track record to deliver the peak value at its best.

The images that are being captured during the distinct phases of the assembly line are passed through the main learning service, which then stamps it with OK and Not OK part, based on the desired characteristics of the elements and parts..  If the product doesn’t qualify the requirements submitted in the program it will be automatically stamped as Not OK and vice versa. Every organization can train and deploy these systems as per their inspection criteria and can set up even the strictest of visual inspections parameter.

As these programs are built using advanced neural networks, these can be easily trained and can be deployed on any hardware that has been already configured. So it curtails the chances of getting latency during the live production phase and the overall production will commence once it has been set up

 

Wrap Up:

These systems can be easily trained by feeding them the defected images > then allocate the trained system to pre-configured hardware > Inspect the image > and lastly preview the outcomes.

A crosscheck from the human inspectors who can check the results shown by the system will amplify its abilities. This correction information is then fed to the system again for the betterment of the results and to attain desired outcomes. The repeated occurrence of a defect can then be traced back in the production process to identify and eradicate the source of causing that defect thereby preventing it from reoccurring. Such type of cognitive system is a deep necessity for all manufacturing businesses and significantly the ones who are manufacturing products in sectors like automotive, electronics and the ones who are using assembly lines in their companies.

There are some more added benefits of deploying cognitive visual inspection i.e.:

  • Reduction in Inspection time leading to faster time to market
  • The level of quality touches sky with no chances of human mistakes
  • Smoothens Inspection process flow, without much  human intervention
  • Increase in Brand Image
  • Improved Customer Satisfaction
  • Lesser Product Recalls
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How to use your loyalty program to enhance the customer experience in-store

There is no doubt that loyalty programs can bring great benefits to customers and businesses alike. In fact, 81 percent of consumers say that loyalty programs make them more likely to continue doing business with brands, while 66 percent modify their spending to maximize loyalty benefits, according to Bond and Visa’s Loyalty Report. As a rich source of data and personalized engagement, loyalty programs also bring great opportunities to create a superior customer experience. But so far this potential is largely untapped: only 22 percent of loyalty program members currently think they get a better experience than non-members.

Using your loyalty program to create a unique customer experience in-store is a great way to engage on a personal level and bring people closer to your brand. Here are our tips on how you can use your loyalty program to create a unique customer experience in-store.

1. Offer personalized rewards

Knowing who your customer is, and creating rewards especially for them, can be a great way to enhance the in-store experience. Two key ingredients make this possible: data and the right technology.

You already have the data, and a customer who has your loyalty app will have given you permission to use it. To get the best from that data you need to be able to analyze it, and create insightful offers and identify opportunities for personalized recommendations that can increase sales – all in real time. Putting the analytical power of artificial intelligence to work through your loyalty app can empower you to create a rich, personalized in-store experience.

To personalize your loyalty program rewards in-store:

  • Analyze the customer’s interactions on all your touch points – online, mobile, kiosk, social media and face-to-face – to create in-store rewards that match their interests and shopping history.
  • Use a product recommendation engine to suggest ideas based on the customer’s loyalty program data. For example, you could recommend accessories to complement the suit they just bought, or invite them to look at a new collection that includes their favorite colorways.
  • With the customer’s permission, use GPS with their mobile loyalty app to identify them when they’re close to the store. Then staff can be ready to greet them by name and give them personalized, up-to-date offers and advice.
  • You can also give customers a great reason to come into the store by having in-store rewards and offers pop up on their loyalty app when they’re close by.

2. Make the customer feel privileged

Making loyalty program members feel like part of an elite group will really enhance the in-store experience. It can be as simple as putting them at the head of the queue for the latest cool products or giving them members-only privileges in the store.

To set your loyalty program members apart from other customers:

  • Invite loyalty program members to collect free samples of the latest products in-store.
  • Offer members the first chance to buy hot new products before they go on general sale.
  • Provide members-only special offers and discounts throughout the store.
  • Create an exclusive area in the store where your loyalty program members can relax and enjoy a free drink.
  • Offer higher-value, exclusive rewards for the members who spend the most or shop most regularly in your stores.

3. Create special events

Putting on an event especially for loyal customers is guaranteed to make them feel special. A lot of retailers invite customers to share information about their hobbies and interest, and you can use this data to get groups of like-minded loyalty program members together in your store.

To create events that make loyalty program members feel truly special:

  • Invite members to exclusive new-season previews of their favorite brands.
  • Hold a party in-store especially for loyalty program members. Include drinks and nibbles to relax your guests and give them personalized discounts, a treat (for example, invite your loyal customers who are make-up fans and give them a stylist makeover) or made-for-the-occasion gifts that are not available for sale.
  • Invite loyalty program members to meet the experts and learn about the subjects that interest them. It could be a top chef who will demonstrate cooking techniques, a fashion designer with exclusive insights on the latest trends, or an expert who can answer questions about pet care – anything that will captivate your loyalty program members.
  • Invite the customer to the store for special treatment to mark personal events like their birthday, wedding, or the anniversary of their loyalty club membership.

Tie it all together

Your loyalty program, combined with the physical space of your store, holds untold opportunities to let your best customers know how much they mean to you.

In order to give them a VIP experience, though, the right technology is necessary. A system that

  • ties together information from all touchpoints (loyalty app, Point of Sale, CRM)
  • enables you to manage everything – from offers, to personalized recommendations, to special events – seamlessly in the same platform
  • gives you a unified view of your customer and all your interactions

is a fundamental tool in the journey to being customer-centric. When all information is stored in the same place, you can easily access and analyze your customer data, and use the insights – alongside some creative thinking – to create an in-store experience that is personal, engaging and makes your best customers feel truly valued.

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What retail CEOs need to know to lead their business into the future

According to The DNA of the Future Retail CEO from the World Retail Congress, the top two current and future technical skills for retail CEOs are:

  1. Understanding of digital commerce and omni-channel
  2. Data/insight driven approach

The expert panel went on to say that the future retail CEO needs to be data driven “in the extreme”. Meanwhile, Korn Ferry Institute’s study of UK retail CEOs led them to say that the new retail CEO needs to be experienced with both budget and strategy. That is a demanding list of attributes for anyone.

Luckily, CEOs are not alone in managing their retail companies, no matter how big or small those companies may be. The right technology, along with the right people, can make the difference between shooting in the dark and creating a company strategy that is based on the most up-to-date and accurate information possible for unified commerce.

That is right, retail technology changes quickly. Keeping up with change and coping with it is one attribute of a leader-type CEO, according to research at Harvard Business School. More importantly, the researchers at Harvard found that being a leader-type CEO is linked with better outcomes for the company. But how can one person stay on top of the newest technological, financial, and retail trends? Here are some tips.

1) Have unified commerce technology for all your sales channels

Unified commerce is a step beyond omni-channel in that it brings together various, integrated systems into one platform. No matter what your company sells and where it sells it, your software should be a single-platform solution for e-commerce, m-commerce, and in-person sales. Pieced together systems, no matter how integrated, cost more money, and lead to lags in getting the data – or even to data not matching across the various channels. That means that you are missing out on important insights needed to make crucial strategic decisions. A unified system gives you the data you need quickly and easily so you can make long-term and day-to-day business decisions.

2) Have unified commerce technology for your core business functions

Unified commerce is not just about retail channels. A truly unified commerce system allows the front end and back end to talk seamlessly together. This means that tracking financials along with inventory, sales, customer satisfaction, and all other moving pieces of retail is possible in one system. What seems almost impossible if the company is running on different ERP, POS, and inventory systems, becomes smooth and consistent with the right technology. Data can flow freely from one area to the other. With the right business intelligence tools, you can make the connections between various aspects of your company to make better business decisions.

3) Set the goals for your company, but be able to cope with change

Retail changes quickly, but a retail leader can’t run after every shift that happens in the industry. Richard Branson, who got his start in retail, said in a recent interview with Freakonomics Radio that it is important for the head of the company to set the vision. At the same time, Branson has pivoted from retail music sales, to mobile technology, to airlines, so he understands the importance of changing course when needed. In order to change course, you first need to know where you are. Perhaps the change is to launch a series of pop-up stores. You then need to know how this kind of project fits with the overall vision of the company before jumping on the trend. At the same time, you can’t turn your back on a change that will help your business keep up with the modern pace of the industry.

4) Know how your retail business is doing and where it is going

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry famously said that “a goal without a plan is just a wish.” A strategic retail CEO doesn’t make wishes for the company, he or she sets goals and has a plan to track their success. If the retail goal is to sell more products online, the data-driven CEO needs to know where sales were before setting the goal, what data to monitor and how to track that data to know if the goal is being met. This is where key performance indicators, or KPIs, come in.

KPIs are exactly the measures that the retail CEO of today and the future needs to track how the company is doing financially and beyond. A unified commerce platform helps you collect and maintain in one place all the KPIs you need to track. It also enables you to easily split them between channels, product types and even individual products, so you get the level of detail you want for your decisions.

In The DNA of the Future Retail CEO, only 31% of the retail experts asked said that the retail CEO of the future will have the technical skills needed for unified commerce and to make data-driven decisions. Prove them wrong! Don’t be left behind as retail moves into the future. Be the strategic leader your company needs, with the right systems and data to support the decisions you make for your company

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The Industry Solution for Hi-Tech and Electronics Manufacturing

Today’s global customers are demanding more configure-to-order, make-to-order, and assemble-to-order products. The modern, agile industrial manufacturer must be responsive and able to deliver with the highest quality and timeliness. The fluctuating demand leads to significant challenges in managing the internal supply chain, coordinating the extended vendor ecosystem, controlling costs, ensuring quality, tracking production, and optimizing inventory levels.

 

With today’s ever-changing financial and environmental regulations, shrinking product life cycles, and global sourcing challenges, Dynamics 365 for Operations helps you gain visibility across the entire value chain, empowering you to make more efficient and timely decisions.

Trident’s implementation processes reduce time and risk so you can rapidly build an adaptive business network, seize new revenue streams, and respond to changing market conditions regardless of your company’s size.

Trident’s high-tech industry solution is a set of software and services that automate and streamline the following business processes:
• Materials management and demand planning
• Purchasing & Inventory Management
• Multi-Country, Multi Product, Multi-Level Manufacturing
• Multinational Financial accounting
• Supply chain planning and Logistics & Warehousing
• Service management and customer support
• CRM/sales
• Engineering Change Management

Materials Management and Demand Planning

In Hi-Tech Industries, conditions in materials management and demand planning vary rapidly. New requirements need to be determined constantly; order processes and production planning have to be updated. Manufacturing operations need to respond quickly and without too much expense. The higher the product and BOM complexity, the more important a comprehensive, automatic MRP planning process becomes.

Trident’s Hi-Tech Solution provides powerful MRP planning configurations, including ordering and order data, shopping and sales planning and stochastic processes.

Purchasing & Inventory Management

Trident’s Hi-Tech helps you in procurement planning considering minimum order quantities, lot sizes, purchase prices and current stock levels.

  • Purchase planning based on planned and historical consumption levels
  • Blanket orders, supplier inquiries & bonus management
  • Purchasing agreements with suppliers on price, quantity and delivery time for optimum supplier selection
  • Faulty parts management and backlog information with activity messages to avoid delivery delays
  • Supplier connection via the Enterprise Portal or other common industry standards

Multi Country, Multi Product, Multi-Level Manufacturing

Trident’s Hi-Tech gives you an overview of delivery dates, component availability, production capacities and capacities of external manufacturers (make or buy) and be able to plan accordingly.

  • Graphical view of production resources and production orders
  • Integrated materials and capacity planning as well as production priorities for managing rush orders
  • External production with the provision
  • Extensive production papers with barcodes, label handling for batches and serial numbers
  • Integration of time recording, production data acquisition and machine data logging
  • Visualisation of QA and QM processes
  • Various process variants can be configured such as Made to Order (MTO), Make to Stock (MTS), and more (BTO, ATP…)
  • Variant and product configurator for building custom products (also via the Enterprise Portal on the Internet)

Financial Accounting

Financial management is the core of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Hi-Tech. Full integration in the other areas of the application allows the collection and analysis of financial data in real time. With extensive country- and region-specific features, the solution fulfils the local financial requirements for 36 countries.

Financial accounting, financial planning and cash flow management on client company code, cost centre, cost object and up to seven other dimensions

  • Automatic accrual for consignment stock, bonus agreements and goods.
  • Automatic “work in process” (WIP) tracking for productions and projects
  • Cost and performance accounting integrated into production, project, time recording and production/machine data acquisition
  • Stock valuation

Engineering Change Management

Research and development (R&D) are the basis for the success of many medium-sized high-tech companies. Efficient quality, time and budget management for R&D processes often decide the future success of a company. Different types of projects and the integration of customers and suppliers into the processes require a flexible system for managing and controlling project activities. The product module allows you to manage and monitor internal as well as contract research projects.

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