In the heart of the island of Kauai, an independent affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, known as Kauai Habitat for Humanity, stands as a beacon of hope and change since 1992. For over three decades, Kauai Habitat for Humanity has been dedicated to addressing the critical need for affordable housing on the island, a mission that resonates profoundly with their community and stakeholders. They have achieved an impressive milestone, constructing 233 new homes and successfully completing nearly 40 home repairssince 1992.These efforts collectively contribute to their overarching vision of nurturing a brighter future for the residents of Kauai.
However, as Kauai Habitat for Humanity’s impact grew, so did the complexities of their operations. Their dedication to delivering affordable housing solutions to the island’s population required efficient resource management, precise financial tracking, and streamlined processes. For years, they relied on Microsoft Dynamics NAV to manage their operations, but the demands of their expanding team, the intricate nature of their projects, and the need for scalability prompted them to reevaluate their technological foundation.
Meeting Operational Needs with a Modern ERP System
The growth trajectory Kauai Habitat for Humanity envisioned required more than what their legacy ERP could offer. To continue making a profound difference in their community, they recognized the necessity of modernizing their technology stack. Dynamics NAV, although reliable in its time, posed limitations in meeting the organization’s evolving needs. A turning point came with the realization that they needed a modern integrated ERP solution to optimize their processes, manage their inventory, facilitate smoother onboarding for new employees, and meticulously track their financials, including mortgages and materials required for home construction.
With an existing operational model that relies heavily on the collaboration of various stakeholders, including volunteers, homebuyers, and support from the mainland, having a modernized ERP system became paramount. They needed a system to not only help them manage their resources efficiently but also enable them to maintain transparency in financial matters and project progress in real-time. By leveraging technology, their aspirations can be achieved by streamlining construction processes, hastening turnaround times, and ensuring the seamless continuation of their home construction journey.
Selecting the Path Forward – The ERP Selection Process
In pursuit of their business goals, Kauai Habitat for Humanity explored several ERP options. Their search included Strident, Dell Tech, Jonas Construction, and even QuickBooks Construction.
To make an informed decision aligned with their mission, Kauai Habitat for Humanity identified the following objectives for their ERP selection:
Ability to have an automated integration with their Ceridian Payroll
Solution with minimal customization
Robust reporting to support their Operational Reporting System that reduces manual functions
Seamless system with as much automation as possible
Develop a Platform to Support Growth within their Organization
Assurance of a highly reliable system and secure user and data access
Implementation of a system that is user friendly
Tool that handles importing from Excel
Dynamics 365 Business Central stood out as the clear choice as it would also seamlessly transition from NAV’s data structures and the preservation of past NAV modifications also aligned perfectly with their fine-tuned processes.
In addition, Kauai Habitat for Humanity found BC appealing due to its cloud-based nature and seamless integration with their existing Microsoft suite. As a Microsoft-centric organization, their use of various Office 365 products and services made BC’s compatibility a natural fit.
Transitioning with Expert Guidance – The Microsoft Partner Selection Process
Before teaming up with Technology Management Concepts (TMC), Stephen, the administrative support at Kauai Habitat, began the upgrade from Dynamics NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central (BC). Leveraging his experience in software implementations, he took the lead in starting the NAV to BC conversion process based on their existing design of module setups, master records and actual core transactional data.
Around 2020, halfway through the project, Stephen recognized the magnitude of the task at hand. Aware of his impending departure from the company, he understood that completing the conversion required a level of expertise that would go beyond his tenure. He researched potential partners who had deep knowledge and expertise in both Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 Business Central, and customized solutions tailored to Kauai Habitat for Humanity’s unique business needs.
“I evaluated several partners, including ones in the Midwest and California. TMC impressed me with your easy collaboration, which is a stark contrast to my past interactions with software professionals. I checked references and sensed a trustworthy organization. Your responsiveness and fairness in rates resonated with me as reasonable and aligned with our needs.
Unlike other cases where agendas are pushed onto clients, TMC prioritized our requirements over enforcing a preconceived framework. Their customer-centric approach, seeking our best interests, differentiated them. No cramming into boxes or exorbitant charges. It’s refreshing, given how often this occurs in software implementation. This was my impression from conversations with Matt and the subsequent experience with TMC.”
Stephen S. | Administration Support
Customizing Dynamics 365 Business Central to Kauai Habitat for Humanity’s Unique Needs
Given that Business Central is a natural progression from Dynamics NAV, TMC and Kauai Habitat for Humanity initially expected a simple upgrade. However, due to the intricate nature of Kauai’s accounting system and the multifaceted aspects of their business, such as mortgage loan tracking, home mortgage consulting, construction materials and operations, and donation collections, customizations were imperative.
TMC’s expertise in understanding the product, industry and business requirements enabled us to tailor the ideal solution for Kauai Habitat, resulting in the development of TMC’s Jobs Modification for Construction within Dynamics 365 Business Central. This modification, tailored for the non-profit housing sector, enables seamless integration of Grants, Contracts, and Material Lists into each job, streamlining processes. Furthermore, it simplifies Purchase Order creation from Contracts and Material Lists, minimizing manual input for multiple POs per job.
The Jobs Modification for Construction harmoniously integrates into Business Central, offering Kauai Habitat’s team an interface they’re already familiar with, ensuring a smooth user experience.
“TMC played a crucial role in customizing our system design, with a special mention to Jenifer’s remarkable contribution in enhancing job tracking for grants. Our collaboration with Jenifer has truly been outstanding.
I shared our current strategies and preferences with her, but I made it clear that our main goal was to find the most efficient method for Business Central (BC), as I’m not well-versed in BC’s best practices. Jenifer ingeniously crafted a solution that dramatically reduced our workload by around 70%. This was achieved by looking at things from a fresh perspective and introducing a new design approach. Most importantly, TMC was open to this innovative route and was flexible in adapting and collaborating. The result was a significant transformation that led to substantial improvements across the board.”
Stephen S. | Administration Support
Dynamics 365 Business Central’s Impact on Kauai Habitat for Humanity’s Operations
Since adopting Dynamics 365 Business Central (BC), the team at Kauai Habitat for Humanity has found it to be remarkably user-friendly and functionally advanced, a clear departure from their previous experience with Dynamics NAV. As an individual with a background in database administration, one team member noted how BC’s visual aids and intuitive navigation offered a more confident and seamless journey, even when solutions weren’t immediately apparent. The integration of Microsoft tools, particularly Excel and the evolving collaboration features of Teams, further caught their attention. This integration streamlined their workflow, facilitating a more collaborative and productive environment, particularly within the accounting department.
Stephen was notably impressed by Dynamics 365 Business Central’s seamless integration with Microsoft 365 products (e.g., Excel, PowerPoint, Word, Teams, One Drive, SharePoint). This integration swiftly amplified efficiency and collaboration within the organization. The cloud-based nature of BC proved advantageous for remote work scenarios, enabling access from any location. Even the mobile app emerged as a useful tool for quick data checks.
Being a non-profit entity, Kauai Habitat found resonance in BC’s efficient setup for its unique requirements, enabling streamlined processes and enhanced service delivery. The transition proved seamless, owing to the organization’s well-established high IT standards. In addition, the seasoned experienced accounting staff is capable of navigating the system with intuitive ease.
Dynamics 365 Business Central’s continuous technological advancements, consistently replacing outdated tools with innovative solutions, enabled Kauai Habitat to break free from past limitations that were present in NAV.
The automation of grant tracking, for instance, significantly reduced labor-intensive tasks, shrinking a two-day process to an hour.
“The GI grant used to demand a lot of effort, especially with data entry. We had to manually mark every record we wanted in the grant within our old system. Now, thanks to the new system and TMC’s solution, this process is automated. Previously, each job could require hundreds of manual transactions. With the new setup, TMC streamlined it to a single button click, handling about 100 transactions at once. This change significantly cut down the time spent tracking grants – what used to take a couple of days now takes just an hour. Recently, we received a new grant, and this improved system will reduce the time it takes to handle it by about 90%. Even though we only get this type of grant every few years, this enhancement will make a significant impact in terms of efficiency.”
Stephen S. | Administration Support
What’s Next for Kauai Habitat for Humanity?
Looking to the future, Kauai Habitat for Humanity has set its sights on further enhancing its business operations through the modern capabilities of Dynamics 365 Business Central. The organization recognizes the potential for continued growth and innovation as they aim to seamlessly integrate Homeowner Services into the BC framework. With TMC’s guidance and expertise, Kauai Habitat for Humanity anticipates a future marked by sustained collaboration and further advancements within their optimized digital ecosystem.
What Kauai Habitat for Humanity Has to Say About the TMC Team
“Having been involved in software implementation and IT since 1990, I can confidently say that working with TMC has been a refreshing experience. While no one is flawless, TMC stands out as one of the most accommodating teams I’ve encountered. With my extensive background in implementing software and collaborating with various partners, including my time on the implementer’s side, I’ve had my share of experiences with different management approaches. Through it all, TMC has emerged as an exceptional partner in terms of their flexibility and ease of collaboration. Their level of professionalism and cooperation surpasses many others in the industry, making them a standout choice to work with.”
Stephen S. | Administrator Support
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