Microsoft Dynamics AX is positioned in the Leaders quadrant of the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant (Magic Quadrant for ERP for Product-Centric Midmarket Companies, December 2010). Microsoft Dynamics AX’s ability to execute is proven by a long track record and above-average growth rates in the midmarket, its intuitive user interface, and by its functionality. The new Gartner Quadrant is scheduled to be released later in 2012.
Gartner’s report highlights Microsoft Dynamics AX as specifically being targeted at midmarket and upper midmarket organizations. It offers broad and robust functionality in distribution, manufacturing, professional services, retail and public sector, and delivers low TCO through bi-directional integration with other Microsoft products and technologies. Microsoft Dynamics AX can serve multinational companies in the core and the upper midmarket with out of the box functionality. Microsoft Dynamics AX allows support of multiple sites or business units in one single instance, including those that operate in different countries and need country-specific localizations and currencies.
Magic Quadrant for ERP for Product-Centric Midmarket Companies
Financial Dimensions in AX 2009 and AX 2012 provide a means to create additional segments to the main or natural general ledger account in order to track revenues, costs or expenses by a specific attribute, without having to have the segment be imbedded in the natural account itself. Additionally, these dimensions can also be linked to vendors and customers in order to facilitate the dimension tracking for a multitude of transactions.
Standard functionality in AX 2009 offers the three predefined dimensions of Department, Cost Center and Purpose. A big upgrade in AX 2012 is the ability for users to create an unlimited number of Financial Dimensions and link them in any combination to vendors, customers and the chart of accounts, creating one or more Financial Dimension sets or structures. These dimension sets can then be used to establish reporting structures, as well as in the validation of data entered for transactions, minimizing errors. Financial Dimensions offer the flexibility to continue to customize your chart of accounts and data analysis based on your business’ growth and needs.
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.