Easy 1099 Filing with Dynamics 365

By | ERP, Webinar

Easy 1099 filing with Dynamics 365 for your independent contractors, get step-by-step instructions for Dynamics AX 2012.

The IRS requires businesses to file 1099s whenever an individual is paid more than $600 in a tax year, whether the payment is for:

  • Services
  • Awards
  • Prizes
  • Rent
  • Or any other miscellaneous payment

The exceptions are that you don’t have to file 1099s for your own employees or for money you pay to another corporation.

Filing Deadlines & Penalties

You don’t want to miss a deadline in filing 1099s or sending the 1099s to your independent contractors.  You also don’t want to have to do a ton of legwork and paperwork in the beginning of the year to stay in compliance with the 1099 rules.

Use Dynamics 365 to Manage Vendors

Sending out your 1099s can be a breeze if you have your vendors configured properly in Dynamics 365. Each invoice can automatically reflect the proper 1099 amount, and be automatically sent to your contractors and electronically filed with the IRS.

How to set up vendors and generate 1099s in Dynamics AX 2012.

Watch the Recording

Author: Stacy Black

Stacy Black, Sr. Financial Consultant for MCA Connect, shares her tips and walks through the vendor setup and 1099 generation procedures in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 during this on-demand session.

JUMP! Ready…Set….Oh…The struggle of ERP implementations

By | ERP

You just have to BELIEVE!

When I was six years old, I broke my arm in a heroic attempt to prove that I could fly.  The plan was simple.  Climb a chest of drawers and jump!  I reasoned that if I moved fast enough, I wouldn’t be able talk myself out of it.  With ONE BIG JUMP I expected that by necessity, I would learn to fly.  I believed my success at flying was nothing more than a simple matter of choice.  That perception remained with me right up until I attempted my legendary leap.

BOOM!!!  That painful experience proved otherwise.

Magical Thinking is Dangerous

It’s not just adventurous 6-year-old boys who close their eyes, leap and hope for the best. And the results can be far more disastrous than a broken arm.

Project teams at major companies often toy with the idea of implementing new business methodologies or large system implementations like Microsoft Dynamics AX often assume that by “JUMPING” into such a change, the stars will magically align perfectly to achieve future goals and objectives.  The team is too smart and capable to fail.  They will save time and money by skipping the boring upfront planning, and instead just “build their parachute on the way down” and it will all work out. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. Lack of ERP implementation planning is one of the main reasons why many ERP implementations take much longer than originally planned – and/or the company is dissatisfied with the end results.

Feeling Brave vs. Assuring Success

Just as I found out with my legendary leap, it may FEEL brave to jump and assume luck will rise up to meet you….but success is not a simple matter of choice. It’s also not about being smart or talented. Assured success comes from jumping only after you have developed a clear team vision and plan that positions you to achieve your goals.

Preparing to Jump!

How do we find our footing for creating a project with minimal impact and optimal positioning?  It is done through properly performing a Rapid Opportunity Assessment as part of the overall change.  A Rapid Opportunity Assessment takes an in-depth view of the organization’s readiness to take on a business methodology change and/or system implementation, and looks at areas like:

  • Preparedness & timing – team availability & capability
  • Financial proformas
  • Manufacturing maturity
  • Discrete or lean manufacturing readiness
  • Current vs future state market positioning
  • …and so much more, dependent on the company and the type of project initiative….

Eliminating the Luck Factor

Taking the time to engage in a Rapid Opportunity Assessments is the bridge that eliminates luck as a simple matter of choice while providing a real framework to achieve the desired outcomes.

The concept of “Jump, Ready, Set” vs “Ready, Set, Jump” is normal in a 6-year-old, and even fine for smaller grown-up decisions.  But major projects have major risks. That same impulse to jump instead of planning is short-sighted and may be way more painful to an organization’s bottom-line than a simple broken arm.

Ready to Jump into an ERP Implementation?

If you want to be the project hero on your team, bring in a team that’s had years of experience implementing new business processes, changing methodologies and implementing systems like Microsoft Dynamics AX and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.  We will help you put together a rock-solid project plan with firmly defined timelines.  Your project begins by assessing where you are today – and where you’d like to be tomorrow.

Schedule a Rapid Opportunity Assessment with mcaConnect today!

Written By:  John Cowden

Is your organization ready for a new ERP o CRM system?

Find Out

Microsoft & MCA Connect Form Program Offering AX4Lean

By | ERP, News

Integrated solution addresses lean manufacturing challenges

Denver, Colorado, United States — September 23, 2015 — Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) and mcaConnect, LLC today announced a technology partnership to offer AX4Lean. This joint program is designed to help large manufacturing companies address complex lean manufacturing challenges, lower total cost of ownership, improve operations and optimize lean manufacturing processes across the enterprise. By formally creating this joint program, manufacturing companies on a lean journey can leverage Microsoft’s vast technology resources, software solutions and services team coupled with mcaConnect’s industry consulting expertise and intellectual property for a low risk, high reward industry solution.

“Manufacturing companies that build complex products in a high mix, low volume environment need lean manufacturing concepts to be woven within the fabric of their operations. Historically, technology has not been aligned with lean deployments. Microsoft and our team of professionals have changed that paradigm. Our combined offerings allow our clients to accelerate and stabilize their lean journey with leading technology from Microsoft and mcaConnect within their environments,” said David Huether, vice president of sales with mcaConnect. “By partnering with Microsoft in a combined delivery model, companies can turn to us to integrate lean design and planning, value stream mapping, and manufacturing execution into their business system implementation.”

“Microsoft is a global leader in developing manufacturing-centric solutions and in providing expert project management and change management services for deployment. By aligning the Microsoft Dynamics AX platform with mcaConnect’s industry expertise, lean solutions and client services, we have a very compelling value proposition for complex manufacturing enterprises,” said Terry Birdsell, Director of US Services Business Development and Partnerships, Microsoft Corp. “Effective deployment of lean concepts and technology tools requires a partnership with a company that is capable of addressing the complexity lean manufacturing operations entail. Together, Microsoft and mcaConnect are committing to a path of bringing new ideas, best practices and proven solutions designed to help organizations take a low risk, high reward approach to apply business-aligned consulting and technology in the enterprise.”

Through mcaConnect’s participation in the Microsoft Industry Partner Program, the companies plan to deepen the integration between the mcaConnect solution and deployment services and the Microsoft Consulting Services implementation delivery program as a way to lower implementation risk for large manufacturing companies. Microsoft will manage the SureStep Implementation methodology and Lifecycle Services. mcaConnect will provide their solution Areteium on Azure to assist in the lean planning process, and leverage their seamless integration to Microsoft Dynamics AX – working hand-in-hand with Microsoft Consulting Services to ensure successful deployment and adoption of the technology is achieved.

mcaConnect and Microsoft are currently releasing to market the following initiatives:

Deliver industry standards and best practices for lean manufacturers. The companies have created an integrated delivery model. The effort is designed to leverage mcaConnect’s Areteium solution, domain expertise and industry assets and have Microsoft oversee the implementation of Microsoft Dynamics AX.

Industry Messaging between Microsoft and mcaConnect will allow potential clients to clearly understand that through this joint partnership, Microsoft and mcaConnect will be able to assist them with value stream mapping, incorporating forecasted demand in the value stream, creating valuable what-if scenarios for supermarkets and reorder points, creating time-phased sales forecasts, running profit analyses by value stream and analyzing change in demand patterns.

About mcaConnect

mcaConnect is a Global Systems Integrator and Microsoft Dynamics Partner (AX & CRM) that delivers and supports operational transformation to help customers achieve competitive advantage. By combining product and industry expertise with proven strategic alignment methods, mcaConnect is able to consistently deliver innovative solutions that help clients realize their vision, as evidenced by our repeated recognition from Microsoft and the millions of dollars we’ve helped customers add to their bottom line. In 2015, mcaConnect was named Microsoft Dynamics U.S. Manufacturing Partner of the Year, Microsoft Enterprise Resource Partner of the Year and was a finalist for the Microsoft Customer Relationship Management Partner of the Year.

For additional information:

Shawnee Parris
mcaConnect, LLC

*Product or service names mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

International Microsoft Dynamics AX Implementations

By | ERP
If you have ever been involved in an international Microsoft Dynamics AX implementation, you know the importance of having local consulting talent in order to achieve success. The process of
finding the right local talent can be difficult and costly.

Picking an AX Partner

In the past when I needed to find an international partner, I traveled to each country armed with 3 recommended names and then I would vet each partner on different criteria important to mcaConnect and its customer. From this interviewing process, I would pick a partner, further educate them on our approach, and then work side by side with them to ensure our customer’s expectations were being met. This approach has worked very well for us and as a result we have some very strong strategic alliances with other Microsoft Dynamics AX partners around the world.

As you might imagine, however, flying across the world and hand-selecting partners is a time-consuming process and carries with it some inherent risks. Even with the best of vetting process, the alliance could prove wrong for us and then we are back to the drawing board searching and selecting a new partner, causing delays and increasing the costs associated with our customer’s projects.

Growth of International Projects

Today nearly all of our new customers have global operations spread across multiple countries. We needed a more efficient way to expand our alliance network quickly without sacrificing quality of partner and process. We needed to minimize the risk, finding partners who not only knew the product, process and geography – but who were willing and able to manage the complexities of an international collaborative project.

As a result of this need, we are pleased to announce our membership to AXpact, an international alliance of Microsoft partners. AXpact is comprised of 30 partners in 80 countries. We are proud to represent AXpact here in the US and also in Brazil through our branch office in Sao Paulo. This membership immediately expanded our international network of partners and with AXpact’s stringent evaluation criteria, solidifies that we have access to the best partners around the world. AXpact constantly monitors this network to ensure the quality that is expected is consistent throughout the membership. In addition, all members follow the same implementation methodology insuring quality and consistency throughout all of our global implementations. If you wish to learn more, I encourage you to check out their website,

Have questions about how Microsoft Dynamics AX can work for you?

Why CFOs Choose Microsoft Dynamics AX & MCA Connect

Learn how you can leverage technology to transform your business, finding hidden profits and creating bottom line results.

Download the Whitepaper

Author: John Spencer, Vice President of International

EPEI Part 5 – EPEI for Capacity

By | ERP
Phil Coy @leaniacManaging Director of Strategic Services

We’re back for round 5. Let’s look at how to use EPEI to dynamically understand the capacity of your value stream.

A while ago when we were considering takt time for a value stream, we made the point that the takt time is a decision you make. In effect, every process is designed to support an expected takt time requirement. In much the same way, every process is designed to support an expected interval.

For high mix/low volume (HMLV) value streams with a number of products in the product family, it’s difficult to anticipate a specific mix and volume especially when there are high runners, repeaters, and strangers all running in the same operation. While EPEI is an aggregate metric over an anticipated mix and volume of products, a single EPEI value can support many different combinations of mix and volume. For example, a mix and volume of few products with high changeover times could have the same EPEI as a mix and volume with many products that have low changeover times. And thinking back to the previous post about different kinds of changeovers, the same EPEI may be able to support a wide range of actual mix and volume patterns.

It can be helpful to look over your historic demand patterns, as you determine what your target mix and volume; and therefore EPEI, should be. Consider taking several “time slices” from historic demand and calculate the interval on each to see whether you can set an EPEI that accommodates your changing mix and volume.

Then, once we set an expected or targeted interval that expresses our actual capacity, we can calculate the EPEI for that specific mix and volume. The ratio of actual EPEI to targeted EPEI is an accurate reflection of the capacity utilization of the value stream required by the specific mix and volume that you are planning.

As mentioned earlier, EPEI is calculated on a process by process basis and so can vary throughout the value stream. Expressing capacity as a ratio, however, normalizes the absolute differences, thus allowing a consolidated view of capacity to be graphically presented quite easily.

Here’s an example of how capacity utilization of a value stream can be shown graphically and simply even when there are wide differences in the processes and mix and volume patterns themselves.

We’re just about at the end of our consideration of EPEI. One more to go!

People, Software, and Control

By | ERP
Phil Coy – @leaniacManaging Director of Strategic Services

“We use software and systems to control people as part of the process, rather than using software and systems to give control to people to enable them to control the process.”  

– David Bovis, Duxinaroe (

A LinkedIN discussion caught my eye today. It was titled, “Why can’t we use technology to accelerate Lean adoption across my company?” The chain generated a fair number of comments across the spectrum, mainly from those who expressed the very typical cautions about technology and the importance of starting with manual methods. Some of the most outspoken voices have long maintained that you can turn off your ERP on the shop floor and just use Excel and a whiteboard.  Been there, tried that. It doesn’t work unless you have a very simple process.

It got me thinking, once again, about why there’s such a distrust of technology within the lean community.

Enter David Bovis, MD of Duxinaroe, specializing in leadership, change management, cultural alignment, and engagement specifically in lean transformation. He just happened to ping me to stay in touch. David and I have had some fascinating discussions in the past so I brought the subject up. He contributed the above quote based on his philosophy and methodology. He has it exactly right; the issue with technology is all about CONTROL.

Is the technology there to control people or is the technology there to enable people to control their own process? The right answer is obvious when stated so directly, but there’s a subtle philosophy that creeps in, claiming that the ERP (or worse, IT) is in charge and the people are there to serve it–almost as if it really would be better without the people, whose unpredictability interferes with what should be a flawlessly functioning, robotic system.

Unfortunately, a lot of software seems to imbed this philosophy with fancy algorithms that people can’t understand and complexity that boggles the mind. The software was created by wizards who no one can talk to and certainly don’t communicate with us. And then there’s management, who so often seem to invest in software to control their people, instead of investing in people to own and manage their process.

I’ve tried to take the opposite approach with Areteium, the software toolkit I designed to support lean transformation. While others have encouraged me to use other tools and methods for fancy scheduling, we’re committed to visual factory on the shop floor with standard pull, flow, and heijunka. Every formula is completely transparent, providing insight and clarity in how takt time, EPEI, and supermarket sizing are set. We’ve worked hard to make the software easy to use, complete with easy data importing and exporting, as well as simple ways to provide what-if analysis. The underlying philosophy is to do just what David so succinctly stated – to provide a technology assist to put people in control of the process.

Here’s an open invitation:  check out Areteium and ask for a demo. See whether it’s geared towards enabling people to control their own data and their own process. And then let me know what you think.

EPEI Part 4 – EPEI and Changeovers

By | ERP
Phil Coy @leaniacManaging Director of Strategic Services

In our exploration of high-mix, low-volume (HMLV) value streams, we see that changeovers between items occur all the time when we have multiple items being produced in the same value stream. Our goal is always to eliminate changeover all together since it is non-value add but that sometimes isn’t possible. Changeovers are not relevant if our take time exceeds cycle time + changeover time. In that case, we can afford a changeover on every unit and we can run production in any sequence.

In my work with HMLV value streams, I’ve found that there are a few general kinds of changeovers. Understanding the kind of changeovers that you are faced with can provide some insights into the strategy for how best to deal with them and how to incorporate them appropriately into your EPEI calculation.

First kind of changeover is what I’d think of a normal changeover, the time between the production of the last unit of one item and the first good unit of the next item. Often times in a HMLV operation, the changeover time is the same between any two parts and so single changeover time is sufficient for all. In other cases, the changeover time is different depending on the part being run next regardless of what was run before it. In this case, a single changeover time by item is sufficient. In other cases however, the sequence of items in production may make a difference in the changeover times requiring a matrix of from/to items with specific changeover times depending what was run previous and what comes next.

The second kind of changeover is what I think of as a major changeover that occurs between groups of items. In other words, this changeover is the time between the last unit of one item in one group of items and the first good unit of the next item in a new group. A classic example is a painting process where there may be no changeover between multiple items of the same color but a changeover is needed for a new color. This also can occur with heat treat processes for temperature changes, changing machine settings for gauges of metal in a mill or rolling operation. Combining the major changeover with the idea of sequencing and a matrix of changeover times support many common manufacturing processes where the lowest overall changeover is going from light to dark, from low temperature to high temperature, from wide to narrow, or from thick to thin.

The third kind of changeover is what I call a useful life changeover. This captures situations where intermittent activities are required that stop operations after a period of time or after a certain number of units. Often times this has to do with tool changes, recalibration, or lubrication. For example, a slitting process may require blades to be changed every 4 hours or every 1200 meters of cutting. While this may not be technically a changeover, it is an intermittent interruption in operation that can be accurately planned in advance based on the mix and volume of products required.

These three different kinds of changeovers in combination with sequencing and a matrix of changeover times has been able to cover all of the HMLV value streams I’ve worked with.

If it sounds like this can get complicated, you’re right. It can. But the more precisely you can calculate the EPEI, the less you will have to provide a larger buffer than is absolutely essential. And therefore your value stream will run with its lowest level of inventory and shortest lead time.

We’ll ease up on the complexity next time and talk about how to use EPEI as a measure of capacity.