Batch Manufacturing and Process Manufacturing are often discussed together, and the terms are occasionally even used interchangeably. One of the reasons is that both are very well represented within certain types of industries – food & beverage manufacturers and pharmaceuticals manufacturers, for example.
Blending the terms can sometimes be problematic, however, when discussing the requirements that these manufacturing modes place on ERP software systems.
Batch Production is really just what the name implies: groups or “batches” of a product are produced together, even though the item being produced can take the form of a discrete unit. Process Manufacturing is typically characterized by output that does not take the form of discrete units. Furthermore, the product cannot typically be “disassembled” back into its component parts, and it often involves the extraction of 1 or more products from a particular input (example: juice, pulp, and an oil might all be extracted from the same fruit).
While Microsoft Dynamics GP does not have a specific solution set developed for batch or process manufacturing, it can and has been successfully deployed in both environments, as long as certain requirements are not present. Microsoft Dynamics AX, on the other hand, has a solution set specifically developed to meet the needs of both batch and process manufacturers, making it an extremely attractive solution for those industries.
There are some software system requirements that, although not specifically related to the mode of production, tend to be present in batch and process manufacturing environments because of the nature of the industries involved (example: lot number traceability in food & beverage). Below is a list of some requirements, as well as a quick look at whether or not related functionality is available in Dynamics GP and Dynamics AX. The intent here is not to characterize how comparatively robust is the functionality in each system, but simply to indicate whether or not some
functionality is available that could potentially meet the needs of a client.
Requirements that are common for both batch and process manufacturers:
- Managing shelf life / Expiration dates – Dynamics GP and Dynamics AX
- Traceability of Lot Numbers – Dynamics GP and Dynamics AX
- Tracking of Batch Attributes / Batch Records – Dynamics GP and Dynamics AX
- Quality Assurance and Quality Control – Dynamics GP and Dynamics AX
- Number of Decimal Places for Tracking Inventory Quantities (when very small quantities of an ingredient are used in formulas/recipes): 5 decimals in Dynamics GP; 8 decimals in Dynamics AX
- Multiple Units of Measure per Item – Dynamics GP and Dynamics AX
Requirements more commonly associated with process manufacturing:
- Ability to Transact the production of planned Co-Products (multiple outputs from the same production process) that should share the cost of the production inputs – Dynamics AX
- Ability to Transact the production of By-Products – Dynamics GP and Dynamics AX
- Tracking Catch Weight (example: # of fish and lbs. of fish both need to be tracked independently) – Dynamics AX
- Planning and managing the packaging and containerization of bulk product into multiple forms based on actual yields – Dynamics AX
Please Join Microsoft and Tridea Partners for the San Diego Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Launch event on October 11th, 2011 at 8:30am. Come see some of over 1,000 new features and enhancements included in this latest release of Microsoft’s leading ERP application. Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 is a single, powerful enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that is simple to learn and use so you can deliver value faster, take advantage of business opportunities, and drive user involvement across the organization.
Come to this Launch event to see:
Powerfully simple product demonstrations:
- Workflow: Create custom workflows that support your business processes
- Analytics and Reporting: Use Report Builder to create meaningful, graphical reports with quick drill-down to transactional data
- Role-Tailored menus and actions through client or browser
- Microsoft Office Integration: Instant, real-time data access in Excel
Review the new simplified pricing model, extending the application to all users
Learn about the latest, most innovative ERP application in the market
Does the Release of Management Reporter 2.0 Affect You?
With the release of Microsoft Dynamics 2010, Microsoft has also released their new reporting tool, Management Reporter, to replace FRx 6.7. While Microsoft is requiring all new Dynamics GP 2010 customers to utilize Management Reporter, existing users running prior versions of Dynamics GP can continue to use FRx 6.7, even with an upgrade to Dynamics GP 2010. Microsoft will continue to support FRx 6.7 through the end of the Dynamics GP 10.0 lifecycle.
Management Reporter has several new features which gives it an edge over FRx. It allows for windows authentication, version management of the reports and supports reporting on dimensions based data such as departments, locations, and cost centers. Additionally multicurrency reporting in Management Reporter is now driven from existing rate tables within Dynamics GP 2010, eliminating the need to maintain separate rate tables to facilitate this kind of reporting.
Additional features that users have been asking for in FRx, such as column breaks, undo and redo function and the ability to import images into the header and footer of the reports are now available in Management Reporter.
There are a few limitations of Management Reporter that should be considered in making the decision to upgrade, however there are available workarounds to mitigate these shortcomings.
With all of its new features Management Reporter still utilizes many of the same concepts as FRx enabling users to apply their FRx knowledge as they transition to Management Reporter. It has a similar look and feel for the setup of rows, columns and reporting trees with a slight variation of terminology. The dropdown boxes in the row and column definitions will provide selection FRx users are familiar with and have a few new selections of added functionality. A migration wizard is available to convert existing row, column, tree and report definitions, report catalogs, account sets and company information to new Report Definitions in Management Reporter, making the transition fairly seamless.
Well, we’ve been waiting on this new feature in Dynamics CRM 2011 to appease the other half of the world. Yes, there are people out there that don’t currently run Internet Explorer, or better yet, a PC. Microsoft recently announced that they will be supporting Dynamics CRM 2011 (on-premise and online) on Safari, Firefox and Chrome in the next major release of 2011. This is good news for many of those users that prefer working on one of these other browsers or desktop computers.
In addition to this very large enhancement with multi-browser support, Microsoft will also be releasing enhancements for social media, business intelligence, enterprise capabilities and other new functionality in an update later this year. Read more here on this new service update: Release_Preview_Guide_August_2011_FINAL.
We often get asked about integrating various web shopping carts (ecommerce sites) to Dynamics GP which requires a number of very important discussions before identifying the effort to configure such integrations. The following are 7 relevant topics that must be clarified first:
1) What vehicle(s) does the Shopping Cart provide to export the Sales Order information?
- A Web Services API which gives us direct access to the SO data programatically? Or,
- Can the Shopping Cart write new Sales Order info to a file (CSV, XML, SQL Table?) that we can grab programatically (from an FTP site, for example)? Or,
- Is someone going to have to manually download a file (CSV, XML?) that contains the new Sales Order information for a given period?
2) Customer records?
- Does the customer need a GP Customer Card for each new Customer that signs-up in the Shopping Cart? If so, we need a consistent rule to map Customer Numbers between the two applications.
- Will the customer enter all Shopping Cart orders using a generic GP Customer (such as: WEBCUSTOMER)?
3) Item records and Pricing Info?
- Will the Item Numbers used by the Shopping Cart be exactly the same as the GP Item Numbers? If not, we need to come up with a consistent way to map the two.
- Is the Unit Price charged to the Web customer clearly expressed in the Sales Order export? If not, we need to make sure that the GP Price Lists are consistent with the Shopping Cart pricing scheme.
4) Payment Info?
- Are the Shopping Cart Sales Orders entered in GP as fully paid? Or,
- Are the Shopping Cart Sales Orders entered in GP with a Credit Card Book Transaction to be settled later inside GP (once the order is shipped) by Nodus’ Credit Card Advantage (CCA)? If so, we need to confirm that the two systems work in a compatible way (that is: that the Shopping Cart’s Book transaction and corresponding Authorization codes are compatible with CCA’s Sale transaction inside GP.)
5) Do we need to export anything (such as Tracking Numbers) from GP back to the Shopping Cart? If so, what vehicle(s) does the Shopping Cart provide to import data?
6) Frequency of the Import / Export execution
- If we want automatic execution (if available depending on the answers to topic 1), with what frequency?
7) Notifications and Logging
- Do we want any email notifications triggered along the way?