I think everyone agrees that keeping track of project performance is essential in all project-based delivery scenarios. It should be fairly easy to see if a project is on track and that everything that should be invoiced is invoiced.
Project managers need to answer questions such as:
- What are the costs required to complete this job or project?
- Are all costs that should be invoiced to the customer, invoiced or planned to be invoiced?
- Are the estimated resource requirements accurate for what we have completed so far?
Job task lines and job statistics in the Project Management area of previous versions of Microsoft Dynamics NAV gave a good overview of total amounts for planning, actuals, and invoicing, but it was cumbersome to tie usage to those.
The Apply Usage Link, a new feature in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013, enforces this link. The main goal in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 is to strengthen the link between the project plan and the actual work done. That enables Microsoft Dynamics NAV to go further in calculating estimate at completion, better integrate to the planning engine, and enable partial invoicing.
Basically, you specify whether usage entered by, for example, a project manager or order processor, is linked to the project plan. This enables you to track the quantities and amounts of remaining work needed to complete a project, which easily brings you to estimate at completion numbers.
With the usage link, Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 provides you with an easy way to review and record usage on various parts of your project, which is automatically updated as you modify information about actual work done.
It’s important to note that previously, you would have used various tools and manually updated quantities to invoice on sales invoices if you wanted to invoice something different than what was planned for particular project task. Now, when you enable the usage link, you can really focus on planning and executing your project, rather than on the way your ERP system is working.
Using new configuration capabilities of the Microsoft Dynamics NAV RoleTailored client, you can easily set up different views on a project plan (tasks) that will fit each role, for example, that of project manager for a planning view, that will fit project team member.
In earlier versions, a user who entered purchases related to a project, or registered time or usage of inventory items, needed to know how the contract was constructed in order to match usage to particular planned project task. Now, there’s an algorithm that will do the matching of usage to project plan for you, or create new tasks for unplanned work if it doesn’t successfully identify project plan tasks to which to match usage. Of course, Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 flexibility still allows you to set this link manually.
As I mentioned before, with the link between usage and the project plan, you are always able to see an up-to-date estimate at completion and track your project budget variance. This also enables correct invoicing, since it tracks planned work versus done work.
Since Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 is an integrated solution, you can expect it to be able to use project plan as a demand source when you are planning your requisitions. Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 tracks the outstanding quantities that need to be supplied or processed based on the project plan.
This means it knows how many items you used on the project versus your requirements. Demand overview allows you to see whether an item you need to finish particular task on the project is in stock, and if not, when it will be. In addition, if an item is available to reserve, you can reserve it, to make sure it is available for your use.