How to Use Business Central for the Life Sciences Medical Devices Industry

How to Use Business Central for the Life Sciences Medical Devices Industry

I want to show you how a life sciences medical device company might use Dynamics 365 Business Central. We’re going to look at a typical product life cycle from the point of view of a startup company, going through startup engineering, design, and commercialization.

Startup Phase

So let’s get started from a startup point of view. We’re going to be looking at accounts payable and financial reports. This is typically what a startup company needs right at the beginning.

Accounts Payable and Financial Reports

Then we’ll look at engineering and design, inventory, and bills of material, and how to produce a finished good item. Finally, we’ll cover commercialization, including pre-commercialization activities like sending out sales samples, creating sales orders, sales invoices, and utilizing a contract manufacturer and a 3PL to help in our business.

Setting Up Accounts Payable

Let’s start with the startup phase of our company. At that phase, you only need accounts payable and typically financial reports, which is easy to do in Business Central. The nice thing about Business Central is you can start with a single license and expand from there. We will also see how we can expand the functionality as well. But let’s start with Accounts Payable and here we have a complete list of vendors. I can use these vendors for purchase orders, purchase invoices, and also make payments to the vendors from this list right here, which can be used throughout the lifecycle of my product and my company.

Managing Vendor Information

So let’s take a look at one vendor. This is the vendor card for this vendor. What’s nice about this is I have all the fields on this card. I can scroll down, see those fields, and I have quick tabs that allow me to easily go to these sections. I can also show less or show more in that particular section. Additionally, I can personalize this screen, adding fields to it within the user interface, making it easy to configure for personal use.

Adding Purchase Invoices

Next, let’s add a purchase invoice to this vendor and charge a number of items to my General Ledger. This is easy to do; I have my General Ledger listed here, with the items and amounts. I can add attachments to this document, such as an image, which will follow the document throughout the system. An approval process can also be added to purchase invoices, all contained within Business Central. For this demonstration, I’ll just enter an invoice, then post it, which is quite straightforward. I enter the invoice information, ensure I have the right vendor and General Ledger account, and then post it.

Creating Payments

Next, let’s create a payment to this vendor. It’s easy to do, so we’ll go to cash management and make a payment journal. Here, I can manually add vendors and apply invoices for individual payments or automate the process. By suggesting vendor payments, I get a list of payments I can make based on my selection criteria. I find the payment for the invoice we just entered, look at the applied entries automatically applied to this vendor, accept it, and then create the checks or use EFT as needed. Once printed and posted, the batch is complete.

Financial Reports

Next, let’s take a quick look at financial reports in Business Central. They’re easy to set up. Here’s an income statement, for example. The financial reporter in Business Central uses columns for various periods of time and budgets, and rows for the different entries. I can drill into these rows to see the underlying entries. I can print or export the report to Excel for further analysis.

We just saw how a startup company can use Business Central with only one license to set up an accounts payable function, make payments, and set up financial reports.

Operations Phase

Next, let’s look at operations. I’ve logged in as a different role, a manufacturing manager. Various roles come with the system, and you can create custom ones. As a manufacturing manager, my role center provides information important to me. Let’s look at items and bills of material. The item list in my inventory can be easily navigated and personalized, including adding documents like engineering drawings.

Managing Bills of Material

For the bill of materials (BOM) for blood pressure monitors, individual items and phantom bills are included. Simple reports, such as the exploded BOM, show the individual items and quantities, along with exploded subassemblies. These reports can also be exported to Excel.

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Running MRP Processes

Now, let’s run a simple MRP process to identify the items needed to produce the finished good item. The planning worksheets suggest production orders and purchase orders for the necessary components. Once the process is complete, I can carry out the action messages to create the purchase and production orders.

Examining Purchase Orders

Let’s examine the purchase orders created by the MRP process. These orders are similar to purchase invoices, making it easy to get familiar with the form. The items and quantities are listed, and I can receive and invoice them together. Once posted, the items are in inventory, and the accounts payable invoice is ready to pay.

Managing Production Orders

Now, we have a planned production order created by the MRP process. I can release it, update the cost, and assign serial numbers to the finished good item. The production journal shows all items used, which can be adjusted if necessary. After posting, the production order is complete, and the finished good item is in inventory, ready for sales samples.

Commercialization Phase

Creating a sales order for sales samples involves specifying the serial numbers and setting the price to zero. Documents like a pro forma invoice can be attached, and the sales order can be posted.

Outsourcing Manufacturing and Logistics

As my company grows, I may outsource the manufacturing and logistics. Business Central makes this easy by allowing me to specify different locations, such as a contract manufacturer and a third-party logistics company.


We saw how a life sciences medical device company can use Dynamics 365 Business Central from startup to full commercialization. With the ability to start with one license and expand both licenses and functionality as needed, Business Central supports inventory, bills of material, production, sales orders, purchase orders, and more throughout the product lifecycle.

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