Business Central Implementation Costs for Manufacturing | 2021 D365 Pricing

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dynamics business central implementation cost We get asked all the time what a Business Central implementation cost would be for different kinds of manufacturing companies.  Many partners have historically hidden their costs until late in the sales cycle.  This makes customers nervous, especially in today's world where so much information is on-line.  It feels like pulling teeth to find out what your budget should be.  We think this is counter productive, as any customer should know what they are getting into. This post is a summary of just one section on my blog describing the Dynamics 365 products and prices.  If you're interested in digging in a little further, feel free to read up on my take on Dynamics 365 pricing.

Manufacturing Implementation Pricing for Business Central

I'm going to get into a little more depth here on Business Central in particular than I do on the larger Dynamics 365 pricing in my original blog.  To do that, we're going to limit ourselves on Business Central implementation costs for just manufacturing companies.  You can look up our pricing by different type of manufacturer on the Sabre Business Central manufacturing training page. We have a full breakdown of costs available for download as PDF files. business central essentials vs premium pricing

Business Central Essentials vs Premium Licenses

Business Central licenses are actually one of the simpler to understand among the Dynamics 365 family of products.  There are two levels: Essentials and Premium. Essentials includes core project manufacturing capabilities (although these are best augmented with addons like the Sabre ETO addon) and light assembly manufacturing as well.  We often recommend it to engineer to order manufacturers, print manufacturers (with the PrintVis addon), and small job shops with less than 20 employees total.  All other inventory, financial, warehouse, shipping and other modules are included.  It isn't good for every kind of manufacturing company, but it is quite good as a "starter pack" and is cheap!  I posted a summary of using Business Central essentials for manufacturing on this site recently. Premium adds two extra features: production manufacturing and field service.  The production manufacturing is pretty typical manufacturing with bills of material, routings, machine and work centers, capacity planning, engineering control etc.  It has all the core features of a standard manufacturing package.  We do recommend several addons from the AppSource store for the typical customer, but Premium has most everything a company needs. Some businesses also have a field service element, meaning they send trucks or technicians out to repair, service and maintain equipment. Premium comes with a fairly robust field service as required by most manufacturing companies.  If your business was 100% service oriented, it is not really where it needs to be.  But for a manufacturing company that does service as an extra profit center, it's pretty good.

Business Central License Pricing

Obviously the licenses are part of the Business Central implementation cost for any project. Note that all licenses for Business Central are based on named users (except device licenses which I won't cover here).  To figure out your named users, assume anyone with an email address who uses the system will need a license.  You can take your staff and break them into the categories I describe below, assign either a Full, Team or Full + Attach to them and come up with a pretty good estimate of monthly costs of Microsoft licenses. All prices are per month per user.

Business Central Full Users

Full User: $70 Essential | $100 Premium Yes ... all users must be either Premium or Essentials.  There is no mixing or matching What can the full user do?  The full user can do all features and functions in the system. Who should be a full user? Typically accounting, purchasing, shipping/receiving, planning and operations, lead engineers, inventory managers, inside sales/order desk.

Business Central Team Members

Team Member: $8 What can a team member do? Team members can: record time sheets; edit many fields and rows of data that have been created by others; create quotes and contacts; view all data (with the appropriate security), perform some warehouse functions but never, ever post data that impacts financial information.  This means anything that changes an inventory level, posts costs or sales. Who should be a team member? Usually shop floor employees (not necessarily all), design engineers, managers who view but do not update data.

Dynamics 365 Sales Professional Attach Licenses

Many customers running Business Central what to add CRM capabilities.  The Dynamics 365 Business Professional Attach license is a very inexpensive way to do that. Attach Licenses: $20 What is an attach license? It's a discounted license for (in the Business Central case) a Dynamics 365 Sales Professional (CRM) license.

Business Central Implementation Cost

Implementation costs vary a lot depending on: the size of the company; whether they get Premium or Essentials licenses; and how complex an implementation they want to do.  For instance, a company that implements lot/serial tracking of parts will have more implementation costs than one that does not. At Sabre, we've noticed a pattern that has been very reliable over time.  Manufacturing companies are quite different, but they tend to use similar "combinations" of features of Business Central despite those differences.  These features a little depending on the vertical, but basically there are simple implementations, normal implementations and complex implantation.  We refer to these as Bronze, Silver and Gold.

Business Central Manufacturing

Sabre has figured out some great methods to control the costs when implementing Dynamics 365 for mid-market manufacturing. We've applied LEAN principles to the projects and come up with what we think is a "better mousetrap."  As such we offer fixed fee implementations for almost any business that follows our process.  Let's look at some examples using a Job Shop type business as an example. business central implementation pricing at a job shop manufacturer

Small Job Shop

Let's say we have a small job shop with less than 10 employees in the shop.  They have a break press, one CNC mill, a few welding stations, a lathe, a sheer.  They do a lot of relatively repeated orders, and don't need any outsourcing.  They've not collected time from employees against jobs and they are ok to skip that for now.  We might suggest a Bronze package. The implementation should take about 4 months to complete.

The fixed fee implementation would be about $35,000.  The only extra costs would be a small retainer fee if they take more than 4 months (no more than $1200 a month) and any programming or customization they request.  I'd usually suggest taking about 10% of the fixed amount and adding that for customization.

Mid Size Job Shop

If we had a mid size job shop with 30 to 40 employees, we are unlikely to get away with our Bronze implementation.  This company is probably doing contract manufacturing for larger manufacturing companies.  They would need at least 10 Business Central premium users, and probably a few addon products.  If they don't do any lot/serial tracking or dimensional inventory then they would likely be a Silver package. They would implement inventory control, BOM and routings, scheduling and capacity planning, material resource planning, and all the core accounting, sales and purchasing modules.  This implementation should take up to 6 months to complete. The fixed fee implementation would be about $65,000.  They would also have the retainer fee if they take more than 6 months (at least 1200 a month) plus their custom programming.

Large Job Shop with Serial Tracking

For a large job shop, which needs to serial track product for their customers (for example, they machine large castings that are serial tracked) we would definitely be looking at a Gold implementation. Let's assume this company had about 100 employees and 25 full user licenses, and needed all the Silver features plus (likely) better warehouse control and accounting functions. A company with 30 full users that is a full manufacturing company that wants a lot (not necessary all) advanced functionality training should have a minimum budget (based on Sabre's pricing) of about $105,000. In this scenario let's say they also want 25 CRM users (15 inside people who also have a full Business Central license and 10 outside A Gold implementation would be about $100,000.  It would take as long as 8 months to complete (although we have done it faster) and the retailer fee is in the $3000 a month range.


Hopefully this document helps businesses establish some budgetary ranges for implementing Microsoft Dynamics at a manufacturing company.  We wanted to be clear about  licenses and Business Central implementation cost so you can understand them better.  These costs are pretty reliable to companies up to about 30 or 40 full users.  After that we start to get into some uncertainty, and you would really need to talk with us to increase the accuracy.

Sabre is the North American expert in Business Central for Manufacturing, so if you are looking for help, we really want to hear from you. If you have any comments or questions about this article, feel free to reach out to us at: (519) 585-7524 or contact our team by email.

About Robert

Robert Jolliffe is an expert in manufacturing ERP and in particular Business Central. He holds a degree in manufacturing engineering, as well as a Six Sigma and supply chain background. Robert is the owner and President of Sabre Limited.

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