Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of product numbers in your ERP system? Do you have to constantly decode your product numbers because you have one product ID for every color/size combination you offer? Do you feel a general sense of despair when viewing pages and pages of item numbers for the same core item? Then you may be suffering from Complexitis.

Outbreaks of Complexitis commonly occur among organizations using outdated or legacy ERP systems, which were often pitched as a vertical ERP solution. In reality these "solutions" are often a glorified inventory management (that somehow still can't manage item variations outside of the product) with the slimmest of connections to the business' financials or any other critical business operations. No matter how you got to this point, the story is the same. Every time there is change to a product color or size offering, or an altogether new product number needs to be created, you are creating unnecessary complexities for your self— there‘s a better way. Let’s explore the phenomena of Complexitis with a short example.

Imagine a shoe manufacturer, Sam’s Sneakers, with a severe case of Complexitis. Sam’s Sneakers makes running shoes in five specific styles. However, each of the five different styles of sneakers comes in 15 sizes, three colors, and three widths. That’s over 600 product numbers for what essentially boils down to five styles of shoes! What if Sam’s Sneakers wants to add another color or more widths? That’s a lot of new product IDs to create in the ERP system. Let’s not even talk about reporting the aggregated performance to the style level—it’s a total mess. Finally, Sam’s Sneakers’ parent company, Frank’s Fabulous Footwear, has decided that a new style for women should be offered next season. If that comes to pass, Sam’s Sneakers will be drowning in product numbers.

If left untreated, Complexitis is rarely fatal. However, it can spread and cause a chronic ripple effect throughout the rest of the organization, as in the case of Sam’s Sneakers. They experienced painful, manual, overly complex reporting and massive amounts of product data. In the  fictional (but based on true a story) scenario of Sam’s Sneakers, it’s easy to see how Complexitis can quickly get out of control.

Luckily, there is a cure. It can be found in the multi-dimensional product capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics 365. Out-of-the box Dynamics 365 can deal with the product complexities that are inherent to apparel, footwear, and furnishings companies like size, color, width, configuration, and more, while keeping only the style as the core product number.

Now, before you get too worked up about where your color/size dimensions will go if they aren’t in the product number, rest assure they are still there! Dynamics 365 allows you to have one core product number (In this example, A0103) with multiple dimensions such as size, color, and width attached to that core number.

Dynamics 365 simplifies the aggregation of style level reporting metrics, while still allowing you to see the granular color/style details.
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The beauty of Dynamics 365 is that you can have your cake and eat it too. That is, you can still have the multiple product details you need, but can also report on a single variant. Let’s say you just want to see how many colors of each type of boot you have on hand. Instead of having to sort through hundreds of product numbers, you can simply roll up the data, as illustrated in this screen shot. Easy, right?

When it comes to treating Complexitis, you’ll want someone with experience in the field, a history of success, and a familiarity with the problem. If you think you may be suffering from a case of Complexitis, don’t let it linger, call the leading primary ERP care provider: Sunrise Technologies.