“What-If” Costing using Dynamics AX 2012 R3

Microsoft Dynamics AX offers a nice set of tools for quickly performing a “what if” analysis on the impact of price changes (labor costs, material costs, or both) on the standard cost of manufactured items with multi-level bills of materials.

A high-level summary of the process is as follows:

  1. Setup a Cost Version of type = Planning that has a Fallback Principle = Active costs
    • This allows us to define “what-if” costs where applicable, while referring back to the current standards wherever a “what-if” cost is not entered.
    • This allows us to run the what-if analysis while only having to key into the system the incremental changes
  2. Make the proposed changes to the labor rates and/or raw material costs at any level in the product structure/BOM, assigning the changes to the new “What-If” costing version.
    • Update the price in the Cost Category form to perform what-if analysis based on labor rate changes
    • Update the cost price of an item on any level of the BOM/Formula to perform what-if analysis based on material purchase price changes
  3. Run a Cost Calculation for the “What-If” costing version on the top-level FG item.

This article was written by Matthew Boese, Partner at Tridea Partners, a Gold Certified Microsoft Dynamics Partner.

 

Dynamics AX 2012 R3: Stopped Workflow Error

When working with different types of workflows in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, you may encounter a stopped workflow record with an error message detailing that AX ‘failed to create a session’.

AX 2012 R3 Stopped workflow error

The error message can be generated because the workflow is unable to assign the record to a user for review or approval.

To resolve this type of issue, the first step is to identify which user record is causing the issue. Because no user ID is mentioned in the error message, you can identify the user by first finding the step where the workflow stopped. In the Workflow history form, click the Tracking details tab (screenshot above) to identify the step in the Workflow activities pane which has the Workflow stopped error message.

Next, navigate to the workflow and open the workflow editor to determine if the workflow step is assigned to a user, user group, security role or hierarchy. If the step is assigned to a user, you can easily identify the user which is causing the issue. If the step is assigned to a user group, navigate to the ‘User group’ form [System administration>Common>Users>User groups] and click the Users tab for the user group to identify which users are assigned to the group. One or more of these users could be the cause of the issue. If the step is assigned to a security role, navigate to the ‘Assign users to roles’ form [System administration>Setup>Security>Assign users to roles] and select the role to identify which users are assigned to that security role. Again, it could be more than one user causing the issue. Lastly, if the assignment type is a hierarchy such as the managerial hierarchy, navigate to the Positions list page [Human resources>Common>Organization>Positions>Positions], filter on the worker who submitted the record to the workflow then pinpoint the position/worker the hierarchy would assign the record to based on the ‘Reports to’ field.

Once you have identified the user(s) the step is assigned to, verify that each user record is enabled, the user is assigned to the appropriate security roles and that the user record is associated with a worker record.

In the case I investigated recently, the approval step where the workflow stopped was assigned to a user group. One user in the group had been disabled in AX but the user was not removed from the user group. The workflow was attempting to assign the record to each user in the group. Because one user was not enabled, the workflow could not assign it to all users in the group which caused the workflow to stop at an approval step. Once the user was removed from the user group, the workflow was resumed and the record moved forward in the workflow as expected.

This post was written by Robin Ellsworth, AX Application Consultant at Tridea Partners. Tridea is a leading Microsoft Dynamics provider.

The use of License Plates in Dynamics AX 2012 R3 Warehouse Management

The release of Dynamics AX 2012 R3 contained the new Warehouse Management module. One of the concepts introduced as part of this module, is the inventory dimension of license plate.  This article will outline a few specifics about this new inventory dimension.

When you enable warehouse management, it enables several new inventory dimensions. Those are Location, Inventory Status and License Plate.  These dimensions are not optional when using warehouse management.

Dynamics AX 2012 R3 Warehouse Management

The license plate inventory dimension is designed to allow you to track and move material in the warehouse by license plate numbers, typically applied to pallets. In this way, you can move a pallet that may contain many boxes of the same or different items in one transaction.  The license plate dimension can also be used to generate labels.

The warehouse management module requires that the following locations be license plate controlled:

  • Shipping Dock
  • Receiving Dock
  • Mobile Device User

To define a location as license plate controlled, you assign a location profile that has the “Use license plate tracking” box checked.

Dynamics AX 2012 R3 Warehouse Management

You can setup only these three locations to be license plate controlled, and then leave the rest of your locations, not license plate controlled.  This may be useful for implementations where you want to use mobile devices, but your warehouse isn’t complex enough or doesn’t have the volume to necessitate using license plates throughout the entire warehouse process.

If you only setup the required locations to be license plate controlled, then you can setup the mobile device menu options to generate a license plate automatically. See the purchase order receiving menu item below as an example.

Dynamics AX 2012 R3 Warehouse Management

In this example, this would cause a license plate to be automatically assigned to the incoming material, at the receiving dock. Once the material is put away, into a non-license plate controlled location, the users won’t have to transact with the license plate number until it’s time to ship the item.  When it’s time to ship, you can setup the mobile device menu item to generate a license plate automatically for shipping transaction as well.  So in this scenario, even though the license plate was generated at item receiving and item shipping, the user never needs to enter the license plate since its generated automatically by the system.  AX is generating and using the license plate, but the end users may never notice it.

In summary, the new warehouse management module in AX 2012 R3 is powerful and robust. The additional required inventory dimensions may seem like they add a lot of overhead, but if you’ve got an implementation that is more simplistic, you can make decisions during the setup to reduce the work for the end user.

For more information on the warehouse management module, there is an implementation guide released by Microsoft that will walk you through many of the steps of configuration, and can be found here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=43660

This post was written by Jason Federspiel, Senior AX Functional Consultant at Tridea Partners. Tridea is a leading Microsoft Dynamics provider. www.trideapartners.com

Dynamics AX2012 R3 – Warehouse Automation with Radio Frequency

Perhaps some of the most exciting new features that are now available with the release of Dynamics AX2012 R3 are those are in the area of warehouse management.  Dynamics AX now has true warehouse automation (bar-code scanning) without the need to utilize 3rd party software. The ability to use radio frequency handheld devices for warehousing transactions is now out-of-the-box functionality. Warehouse workers can use handheld scanning devices for inbound and outbound processes, as well as key inventory and production control processes. Furthermore, the functionality comes to us as a mature, well-proven solution. This is because Microsoft has folded into the core AX product the warehouse management functionality that was in use for years as a 3rd party product that was developed by the ISV Blue Horseshoe. Many partners and customers in the Dynamics AX channel can attest to the extensive and solid history that the Blue Horseshoe product has with Dynamics AX, thus alleviating any concerns about the maturity of this set of functionality. Some of the processes supported by the new warehouse management functionality are:

  • Radio Frequency Handheld Scanners for receiving, put-away, picking, staging, loading, inventory adjustments, and production
  • Real-time cycle counting
  • Workflow enabled inbound processes and outbound processes
  • License  plate control / pallet tracking

This article was written by Matthew Boese, Partner at Tridea Partners, a Gold Certified Microsoft Dynamics AX Partner serving Southern California.