Future Uses of AI in Dynamics 365 Business Central

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The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is set to expand significantly, with future applications aimed at automating processes, enhancing decision-making, and improving customer experiences. There are already some amazing uses for AI in Dynamics 365 such as Microsoft Copilot and the Data Courage app suite. We’ll talk a little bit about that later in this article. 

Here are some potential future uses of AI in Dynamics 365 Business Central for manufacturers: 

  1. Have AI monitor supplier behavior to determine if they’re at risk. 
  2. Use product forecasting to produce a purchase forecast for vendors. 
  3. AI can improve optical defect detection. 
  4. AI can help engineers with bill of material (BOM) modifications. 
  5. Use AI to refine decision-making processes, minimize waste and enhance inventory management. 
  6. Let AI refine your material resource planning (MRP). 

These potential uses show how AI can transform various aspects of business operations, making Business Central for manufacturing an even more powerful tool for managing and growing your business efficiently. 

Have AI monitor supplier behavior to determine if they’re at risk. 

In this scenario, the AI would monitor a few things to determine if your suppliers are at risk. If your suppliers are at risk, so are your customers. Having suppliers at risk can impact your ability to ship products on time, increase costs, decrease product quality, and decrease your bottom line and customer satisfaction. 

Having AI monitor the behavior of suppliers is more productive than having humans do it. The AI can detect these increases earlier than people and more accurately. A person would notice that returns increased from 1% to 10%. However, AI will detect at a more granular level, if those returns went from 1% to 3%. 

Signs that the AI could look for: 

  • The frequency that you return products to the supplier 
  • The supplier keeps asking for credit limit increases 
  • The supplier is asking for you to pay sooner 
  • Late deliveries from the supplier
  • Partial deliveries from the supplier 
  • Invoices aren’t matching shipments as accurately 

These are all signs of financial distress from a supplier that AI could monitor and notify you about. 

Product forecasting with AI in Dynamics 365

Use product forecasting to produce a purchase forecast for vendors.

Business Central already has a forecasting capability that does a statistical analysis of past order behavior of customers to forecast seasonality and the probability of what orders will look like in the future. It looks at previous years, trends of your product sales, and tries to predict how many products you’re going to need to sell. 

The reason manufacturers need this is because they often place their purchasing forecast with their suppliers well in advance of getting the orders. 

A toy manufacturer that makes Tickle-me-Elmo would buy all the components for their product in anticipation of holiday season toy sales. They wouldn’t know how many toy sales they’re going to make from their distributors like Toys R Us or Walmart until it’s a little too late and if they haven’t ordered enough of those materials they can’t make enough toys. 

AI could enhance this by forecasting how many toys they’re going to make, take the forecast to produce a purchase forecast to tell their vendors what they need to be supplied, how to have it supplied, and when. Humans need to be involved but AI can make some fantastic improvements and suggestions. 

AI in Dynamics 365 can improve optical defect detection.

AI can improve optical defect detection.

I initially saw the beginning of optical defect detection in a factory that produced Turtles chocolate in 1991. They had cameras that checked to make sure that they were the right shape and weren’t squished. There was also a computer that was used to guide a machine that picked up the chocolates, weighed them, and if the chocolate was too heavy or too light it would toss into a bin of imperfections. 

Back then it was millions of dollars to build these lines. Today, AI can do this much easier and at a much lower cost. Business Central could do this if the right add-on was created. 

Imagine a future where a quality inspection application integrates seamlessly with Business Central, changing how materials are inspected. In this scenario, as soon as materials arrive, Business Central alerts the quality inspector. With just a tablet in hand, the inspector snaps a photo of the materials. The AI then begins counting the materials and checking them for defects—all in real-time. 

By embracing AI for quality inspections, manufacturers could dramatically reduce human error, cut costs, and speed up operations. 

AI can help engineers with bill of material (BOM) modifications.

Changing the products and parts in BOMs can be very time consuming when done at a large scale. However, AI can streamline this process significantly, accomplishing tasks in seconds that would otherwise take humans much longer. 

Traditionally, a human must open every order and every BOM, analyze it, and then determine if it is correct or needs alteration. This manual process is not only time-consuming but also prone to human error. Each moment spent on these tasks adds up, leading to considerable delays in project timelines and increased labor costs. 

AI can transform BOM management by automating it. Just tell AI what changes you need, and it can quickly update all BOMs. Its speed comes from handling big data fast, spotting patterns, and making changes accurately without getting tired or making mistakes. Plus, AI could suggest improvements by learning from past data, helping you make better decisions and cutting costs. 

Furthermore, AI can continuously learn and adapt. It can update its algorithms based on new data, leading to constant improvement in its accuracy and efficiency over time. This means that as your product evolves, the AI system can adjust to new requirements or parts without missing a beat. 

Use AI to refine decision-making processes, minimize waste and enhance inventory management. 

Imagine a manufacturer who needs materials cut into very specific lengths, such as three pieces of steel, each seven feet long. Using a 21-foot steel bar for this task would perfectly divide into the required lengths without any waste, unlike using a shorter bar that would leave six feet of unused scrap. 

AI can significantly improve the efficiency of your purchasing team by offering valuable insights into how to manage your inventory more effectively. This technology combines the best of CAD (Computer-Aided Design) software with advanced optimization techniques like nesting, now enhanced with AI’s ability to factor in future purchase orders that haven’t been delivered yet. 

For instance, if your current stock includes 20-foot steel bars, but you’re expecting a delivery of 21-foot bars in two days, AI could suggest waiting to complete a customer’s order. By waiting for the longer bars, you match your material needs more precisely, reducing waste and increasing efficiency. 

Let AI refine your material resource planning (MRP). 

AI can refine your MRP by analyzing usage patterns and automatically adjusting planning factors. 

Now, your MRP is dependent on two crucial elements: 

  1. The accurate recording of your sales, purchase, and production orders. 
  2. The specific quantities and scheduled dates for these orders. 

Old production orders that are no longer intended to be fulfilled can disrupt your MRP accuracy. Typically, manual intervention is needed to rectify these inaccuracies, but AI can proactively identify and prompt the removal of such outdated orders. 

Additionally, MRP involves critical variables known as planning factors, which include the lead time for products, the recommended inventory buffer, order sizes, and the lot accumulation period. 

AI can be trained to evaluate and optimize these planning factors based on a comprehensive statistical analysis of your MRP data. For instance, it might advise extending the lot accumulation period and reducing the safety stock based on its findings. 

This application of AI in manufacturing streamlines the MRP process, enhancing efficiency and decision-making accuracy by offering tailored recommendations for inventory management and order planning. 

AI in Dynamics 365 Business Central: Transforming Manufacturing with AI Apps

AI in Dynamics 365 Business Central is ushering in a new era of efficiency and innovation. Microsoft Copilot, along with Financial, Item, and Customer Intelligence applications, are transforming manufacturing processes. These AI-powered tools not only streamline tedious tasks like reconciling financial statements but also offer profound insights into inventory management, customer retention, and more, enabling manufacturers to focus on strategic growth. 

Specifically tailored for the manufacturing sector, features like Enhanced Bank Reconciliation, Inventory Forecasting, and Supply Chain Disruption Alerts optimize operations from financial management to supply chain efficiency.  

Data Courage’s suite of AI apps further simplifies profit and loss mapping, enhances inventory management, and improves customer relations, all while being easy to implement and use. For more information on the AI apps by Data Courage, watch the webinar on demand.  

Closing Thoughts 

At Sabre Limited, we are experts in manufacturing. We stand among the best Microsoft Dynamics manufacturing partners across North America. What sets us apart from our competitors is that we use fixed fees instead of time and material billing and we always put the customer first. 

Our areas of expertise include: 

If you are interested in learning more about what Sabre Limited can offer, we have been dedicated to helping small to medium-sized manufacturers learn and adopt Business Central. Reach out, and let’s explore how we can contribute to the success of your manufacturing journey. Contact us at info@sabrelimited.com or call (519) 585-7524. We look forward to hearing from you. 

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