Sakata Seed Shops About, Sticks with Microsoft Dynamics AX to Improve Budgeting

July 19 2016

As a growing company, Sakata Seed America knew it needed a budgeting system that could scale to meet the increasing demands of the company. This US company is a subsidiary of Japan-based Sakata Seed Corp., a producer of vegetable and flower seeds.

Sakata Seed America was already using Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 to run its business, including supply chain management, production, quality management, and overall financial management. But the company knew that it needed to further develop its budgeting capabilities, which depended on pieced-together processes, including worksheets, spreadsheets, and hands-on applications.

"Budget planning and budgeting is a key aspect of every organization," says Rahul Mohta, a Dynamics AX advisor/trainer at Microsoft partner Real Dynamics, the company engaged by Sakata Seed America to perform a post-implementation review of its Dynamics AX environment. "Sakata had been doing budget planning and budgeting through a mix of like Excel and a lot of emails."

So, employees were duplicating and resaving their entries in multiple versions of spreadsheets, which in turn were sent via email, and finance was tasked with constantly updating and double-checking spreadsheets for errors.

To an extent, the company was already using some aspect of budgeting within Dynamics AX but as the company expanded globally, it needed a common platform - one that was user-friendly - that could offer one source of the truth, Mohta says.

Initially, the company looked at third-party budgeting solutions. But while those solutions might have had a depth of functionality, Sakata Seed America decided against those systems for a number of reasons, including lack of a good end-user experience, the effort needed to gain user acceptance, and the costs, he says.

Sakata Seed America chose instead to expand its use of Dynamics AX to include a managed budgeting process that would integrate with AX financials, human resources, and Excel along with a full suite of ERP capabilities.

"The budget planning was introduced in Dynamics AX 2012 R3, it was not there in the version Sakata was using," Mohta says.

So the company deployed Dynamics AX 2012 R3 and moved its budgeting processes and data to a single platform.

"We recognized that our tool to transition into a more sustainable, scalable model was already right here," stated Monty McCoy, senior IT and quality management systems manager at Sakata Seed America, in a Microsoft-written case study. "By sticking with Dynamics AX, we didn't have to spend a lot on technology. Now, we have the opportunity to devote more time and resources to business transformation."

The benefits of staying with Dynamics AX

Dynamics AX 2012 R3 offered Sakata Seed America a common planning and forecasting system, seamless collaboration in Excel, operational efficiency and single source of truth, Mohta says. The transition was reportedly good enough that habitual Excel users saw little difference after the transition.

For Sakata Seed America, the top three benefits of the new system are: team collaboration is much stronger; everyone has the same information because of the common platform; and it's user friendly, Mohta says.

Now the Information flow in the business is more process -oriented with system driven validations and rules and less people-dependent, he says.

"Budget planning and control capability in AX is spread across several modules, i.e., budgeting, general ledger, organization administration, human resources, system administration, fixed assets and Project accounting and management," Mohta says.

Real Dynamics also took the system one step further and built in some KPIs for analytical reporting.

"So now users don't have to create their own reports and prepare the data for their decision-making," he adds. "So while they're working on their budgeting, they have an analytical view of their data as well."

Using the new system, Sakata Seed America has saved time, which translates into cost savings.

"In the past, we struggled to complete our annual budget on deadline. This year, with this budgeting solution, we completed the process about 45 days early," McCoy stated.

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About Linda Rosencrance

Linda Rosencrance is a freelance writer/editor in the Boston area. Rosencrance has over 25 years experience as an reporter/investigative reporter, writing for many newspapers in the metropolitan Boston area. Rosencrance has been writing about information technology for the past 16 years.

She has covered a variety of IT subjects, including Microsoft Dynamics, mobile security issues such as data loss prevention, network management, secure mobile app development, privacy, cloud computing, BI, big data, analytics, HR, CRM, ERP, and enterprise IT.

Rosencrance is the author of six true crime books for Kensington Publishing Corp.

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