Sep 5, 2018 8:12:35 AM by Simon Henson

How Dynamics NAV Helps Fine Art Suppliers and Galleries Part 1

Microsoft Dynamics NAV

Dynamics NAV is a great system for art suppliers and businesses. Buckingham Fine Art Publishers are just one of the clients we have worked with who have benefited from implementing the tool.

Over the last two years working with CBIZ, I have been fortunate to have a leading role in the delivery of two cloud-based Dynamics NAV systems for two fine art supply businesses. Since I first worked on an image catalogue system (now over 20 years ago) I still enjoy working with systems that have lots of visuals.

Understanding the Needs of Growing Art Businesses

Fine art businesses and suppliers typically start life as smaller operations – the inspiration of a founding director – although a few grow to be more complex and commercial operations, with multiple suppliers, sites, and customers.

Artworks businesses can be broadly divided into suppliers to trade, who source works from artists and promoting these to galleries and trade partners, and end-user client suppliers, who cater for the needs of individuals and private clients.

Galleries themselves can be simply niche interest based or more commercial, supplying both individual and corporate customers and offering an array of inspiration, advice and delivery services.

As with any growing business in any industry, the tools they use spreadsheets, basic accounting and manual processes can’t cope for long with increasing volumes of trade and stock.

Symptoms of an overstretched business often include: lost or mislaid stock, excessive “firefighting” to resolve issues and confusions over invoicing, credits and outstanding payments. Faced with these familiar growth pains, businesses (usually) look for help.

Buckingham Fine Art Publishers

In 2016 CBIZ were able to help leading trade art dealer Buckingham Fine Art Publishers. We worked with them to install Dynamics NAV to help them manage their growing business.

The company’s main aim is the sourcing of fine artworks, both originals and high-quality limited prints, from artists on behalf of corporate clients (such as galleries) and individual customers.

As a NAV Solution Partner specialising in providing Dynamics NAV, CBIZ enjoy working with interesting customers and help them realise the benefits of having a system installed for them and tailored to their needs.

Buckingham Fine Art Publishers was the inspiration of founding director Ray Loud, who has seen the business grow over many years, acquiring a central warehouse and offices in Milton Keynes, and several in-house galleries.

The Business Challenges

By 2016 the company had reached a crisis point with lost and mislaid stock. Artworks were moving frequently between various premises of:

  • Suppliers
  • Warehouses
  • Storage units
  • Third party framers
  • Travelling sales vans
  • Galleries
  • Customer consignment sites

With such a large range of organisations and locations and without a consistent system for identification and tracking, they were struggling to keep track of the artworks for sale, which were constantly moving around.

What CBIZ Proposed

Following an initial discussion and establishing all the requirements, CBIZ then spent some time onsite to understand the business first-hand.

Getting stock under control was the main priority for Buckingham Fine Art Publishers. Dynamics NAV offers great facilities for stock handling: it can track multiple locations and assigned bins, including all sold artworks.

Another key area was for limited edition prints to be serial number identified and barcoded. Now, the company has serial number identification and barcode tracking across all sites, and consistent transfer processes for all movements, supported by their new system.

The company holds owned stock and large amounts of “sale or return” stock and these must be valued accordingly, and NAV is able to help store and track the prices and the whereabouts of the works.

Using the Dynamics NAV Mobile App for Stock Control

The mobile app can be used on iPads by both the travelling salespeople and the warehouse staff, making stock management and ordering simplified and optimised for the business. The devices are also used for sales support on the gallery floor – sales documents are issued by the central system as PDF for subsequent printing or emailing.

Using Dynamics NAV Across Multiple Sites

Buckingham Fine Art were delighted by the ease of installing NAV across multiple sites. By extending customer and sales order access to these locations, the business systems now seamlessly operate across four in-house gallery locations.

Each gallery can produce quality sales paperwork for customers complete with their own gallery branding – all managed from the central Dynamics NAV system. Extending systems to further galleries is now seamless, as all systems have cloud connectivity.

The Outcomes

Financial control and accounting are core features of Dynamics NAV. Transferring a business across is a well-rehearsed process, and CBIZ were able to help Buckingham Fine Art Publishers with specialist requirements for handling margin scheme sales and managing royalty payments for artists. Their system includes:

  • Dynamics NAV 2016: Cloud hosted, 10 users, 5 sites + mobile sales
  • Business accounting, sales and purchasing
  • Artworks stock management
  • Flexible serial number barcode labelling, stock identification and tracking
  • Website integration for artworks, stock and image data
  • Office Word template layouts for both warehouse and customer documents, with barcodes and printed images
  • Stock valuations for both owned and held stock
  • Margin scheme VAT helpers
  • Artists royalty calculations
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