Already hard hit by declines in manufacturing activity, West Midlands small and medium sized business (SMEs) have a significant need to put themselves at the leading edge of efficiency to compete in cut-throat global markets.
However, help is available for SMEs through the worldclass approach known as ' enterprise resource planning' or ERP.
Already a central part of the Birmingham-based Technology Innovation Centre's (TIC) industrial training courses in manufacturing systems, ERP integrates all company activities through a single computer system serving every commercial, production and administrative need.
As one of the UK's leading engineering faculties, the University of Central England's TIC makes ERP an essential part of its upskilling programmes. These are based on professional development certificates, or PDCs.
This commitment has led to the TIC being chosen by Microsoft Business Solutions to launch the first UK academy able to offer SMEs leading-edge ERP, based on its advanced Navision software. The TIC is already a leading UK academy for advanced Microsoft Office IT training.
Microsoft's Navision 4.0 integrates manufacturing, supply-chain, distribution, financial, customer support and other commercial data.
Not only does Navision ensure every business activity is in step with the rest, but it also ensures that updating one piece of data informs all related company functions. It is commercially available in the Midlands through Wolverhampton-based Technology Management.
Navision advanced ERP seeks to ensure no business process and no individual, from supplier to customer, is out of step with the rest. The resulting efficiencies and productivity are valuable to all those involved.
Announcing the new academy, divisional director Peter Rayson said: "Failing to plan can mean planning to fail.
"ERP is key to the needs of a modern business in global markets and is essential in modern industrial training.
"TIC courses now incorporate Navision which is already in 39 languages and fast becoming an international standard. Through Navision, TIC offers SMEs the opportunity of being at the forefront of proven ERP technology."
The launch of the NavisionAcademyat the Technology Innovation Centre, Millennium Point is on Monday, May 9 between 10am and 2pm. It will identify the benefits of ERP based on Navision for even the smallest of Midlands companies.
The full programme will include presentations by Microsoft Business Systems and a case study by David Millard, of Dudley Tool and Engineering.
Keynote speaker is Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC)'s worldwide automotive practice head, John Boyce.
* Companies can reserve free places at the event by contacting Mark Paul on 0121 3315400 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org