4 Feb 2013 3:09 PM Being the best at what you do means making the most of the resources available. Smart businesses know that a single long-term investment—if it’s the right investment—can become the catalyst that sets business transformation in motion.A growing number of businesses of all kinds are breaking out from the competitive pack by implementing Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions. By investing in their processes and systems, companies are tackling their challenges, moving to a new way of doing business, and driving growth. One of the best benefits of my job is connecting and learning from customers. Here are three real accounts from real businesses that have made real change in their businesses with Microsoft Dynamics ERP.Talking Rain is a beverage company in the state of Washington. With their old ERP system, they were buried in paperwork, and were using manual processes with pen, paper, and Microsoft Excel. They were passing paper across departments, and they were having problems with accuracy.The company selected Microsoft Dynamics ERP over the competition because it provided a complete manufacturing package having to purchase add-ons. Talking Rain cited two key areas of value in their Microsoft Dynamics ERP implementation that have played into their success:1. Time to value: Talking Rain was up and running in 90 days. With the Microsoft interface it was easy for their workers to learn the system and get up to speed.2. Custom reporting: Instead of waiting days for ad hoc reports, the company gained real-time insights into inventory, forecasting, and sales. The ability to drill down on sales by week, month, size, brand, and zone gave them critical insights for decision-making.After implementing Microsoft Dynamics ERP, Talking Rain has experienced double-digit growth—without growing their staff—and they have grown from a regional to a national company. Amax Incorporated distributes office products to more than 800 retailers in the US under the Stanley Bostitch brand. The company needed an out-of-the-box ERP solution that would be easy to implement, keep operations lean, and support continued growth. And with fluctuating margins they needed insights to help them make the right pricing decisions, a challenge that others in their business space struggle with.After evaluating three competing ERP products, Amax deployed Microsoft Dynamics GP in the cloud, enabling the company to be up and running quickly and get easy access from anywhere. The new implementation has brought big benefits:1. Business insights: Now employees across the company have visibility that enables them to manage inventory, optimize sales performance, and process large volumes of work efficiently.2. Sales support: Sales people have access to real-time, accurate margin analysis that supports sales promotions and product mix suggestions to help customers take advantage of pricing opportunities. With improved visibility into their ever-changing inventory costs, Amax has not only leveled out its margins, but increased them, improving cash flow in the process. Competitors that lack access to accurate margin data don’t stand a chance in tight negotiations.Faribault Woolen Mills is the oldest family-run business in the US. They closed their doors in 2009, after the economic downturn. When they were able to regroup and reopen, they were basically a startup, and they wanted to do it the right way. To minimize the costs of acquisition and ongoing maintenance, the company chose Microsoft Dynamics in the cloud. Faribault has gotten considerable value around getting up and running quickly and easily, and understanding their business like they never could before. Faribault’s leaders have told us about three other benefits to their new system:1. Ease of use and access: Employees across the company can get free access to the information they need, and it’s easy to produce reports in Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word.2. Accurate accounting: In their words, “Accurate accounting is not to be taken for granted.”3. Business insights: Fairbault now has effective tools for cost, production, inventory, and financials to give them insights into productivity and help them plan for the future. Faribault is now able to deliver a quality product at the best possible price. Sales growth has allowed the company to add new jobs to the local economy, growing from 38 to 50 employees in 2011, and now more than 100 in 2012.We have scores of examples like these. For more details on these three stories, including demos, view the full, on-demand webcast “Brilliant Ideas to Outsmart the Competition with Microsoft Dynamics ERP,” or download the white paper, “25 Brilliant Ideas to Outsmart Your Competition with Microsoft Dynamics ERP.”____________________Is your business ready to take off? We’d like to help you grow. We want to help more businesses prosper. Microsoft Dynamics ERP is a business management solution that gives companies the tools to make better business decisions and streamline processes. Enter the Win to Grow Business Challenge and you could be one of three winners to get $45,000 of Microsoft Dynamics ERP software and partner services.