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Inbound and Outbound Shipping Processes in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

August 7th, 2014 Ashley Harbaugh No comments

A company’s inbound and outbound shipping processes are crucial points in the supply chain management process.

Without accurate and timely inbound shipping, a company cannot receive the parts and materials needed for customer orders, and thus cannot effectively fulfill those orders – which lead to unhappy customers.

Similarly, without accurate outbound shipping, a company cannot deliver the parts and materials that a customer orders in a timely manner, and thus cannot effectively fulfill those orders – which again lead to unhappy customers. 

With Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, companies are able to track inbound and outbound logistics from the beginning to the end of the cycle, ensuring that goods and materials flow efficiently in and out, with companies able to track the progression of each step in the process.

Inbound Shipping

With Microsoft Dynamics AX, companies are able to get an arrivals overview and view all inbound shipments, including purchase orders, warehouse transfers and customer returns.

Inbound Shipping with Microsoft Dynamics AX

Microsoft Dynamics allows you to see all the purchase orders set for arrival.

Inbound Shipping with Microsoft Dynamics AX

With Microsoft Dynamics AX, companies are able to start the arrivals process per line on a PO, helping to keep arrivals visible and shipping arrival tracking accurate. 

With Microsoft Dynamics AX, a company can easily start the arrival process on items that come into the warehouse, and can see all the lines within a PO that is set to arrive. With this procedure, companies gain more insight into the inbound merchandise that arrives, and can store it accordingly.

A company can start an arrival on a PO, and they can also auto-create arrival lines based on pallet capacity. The system can also perform directed put away; in other words, you are able to make the system auto-select pallets and recommended locations according to specific parameters – for example, if certain items should be received and stored in a refrigerated part of the warehouse, etc. 

After transport from the inbound dock to the destination (whether it was done through bulk or picking), a warehouse user can log into Microsoft Dynamics AX to verify that the PO has been received and the inventory updated.

Outbound Shipping

With Microsoft Dynamics AX, shipping templates allow for quick and easy new shipment creation – which means faster conversion from order to fulfillment, and thus greater customer satisfaction. Shipping templates can be automatically created, or Wizard-driven, or even created manually. For example, shipments can be defined by:

  • A mode of transportation (if certain items should be transported by truck, etc.). 
  • Time and location (e.g., all US shipments should be shipped out in the morning).
  • The materials being shipped (e.g., hazardous materials only shipped at certain times or by certain modes of transportation).
  • Customer addresses (grouping orders to customers in the same city, state or zip code).
  • When a shipment can be filled (based on availability of the order lines). 

After the shipment is created in Microsoft Dynamics AX, you can group orders by customer (such as if you have multiple orders from the same customer that will be shipped out), and can transport orders from picking location to the outbound dock.

After shipment is staged for loading and sent, Microsoft Dynamics AX can then create the bill of lading as well as the packing slip.

Outbound Shipping with Microsoft Dynamics AX

When transporting orders from the picking location to the outbound dock, you have control and visibility over all aspects of the transportation process, including the ability to assign a specific forklift to move the order.

After the shipment is sent out, you can then verify on the sales order if the order was delivered to the customer.

Outbound Shipping with Microsoft Dynamics AX

Microsoft Dynamics AX provides full transparency into the order shipment process, from the first stages to the end delivery.

Microsoft Dynamics AX provides a powerful warehouse management system that helps you receive and deliver products with pinpoint accuracy. For more information on how Microsoft Dynamics AX can improve your warehouse operations, please email us at dynamics@ignify.com.

Ashley Harbaugh is a Marketing Coordinator at Ignify. Ignify is a technology provider of ERP, CRM, eCommerce, and Point of Sale software solutions to organizations. Ignify is winner/finalist of the worldwide Microsoft Partner of the Year Award in 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing businesses for seven years in a row by Deloitte, Inc Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine from 2007 to 2013.

Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail Implementation Best Practices

July 8th, 2014 Sandeep Walia No comments

I recently presented on this topic at the AX Users Group (AXUG) and have summarized best practices to focus on when doing the implementation. The key areas this blog article will focus on are

  • Scope of Implementation
  • Rollout
  • Change Management

Scope of ImplementationMicrosoft Dynamics AX for Retail is one of the few solutions providing an end-to-end retail solution which includes Financials, Inventory, Warehousing, Procurement, Store Management and Point of Sale. Because of the breadth of the functionality as well as an architecture that allows for integration with other solutions, customers have a series of implementation options as shown below.

  • Everything or Big Bang: If there are multiple systems that need to be replaced that are either not integrated today or loosely integrated this can be a good choice. The main downside to this is the amount of energy and horsepower required by the retailer and the implementation partner to pull this off successfully. This option is not for the faint of heart and requires a well thought out plan, sufficient resources and top management commitment.
  • Phase Implementation via packages: A list of packages are
    • Store Operations, Assisted Selling, Point of Sale
    • eCommerce, mobile-Commerce or mCommerce, Social Commerce
    • Customer Care and Marketing
    • Order Management, Inventory, Warehousing and Distribution
    • Financial Management, Management Reporting

If taking a phased approach, my preference is to do the financial implementation first as you can set out our base fundamentals right. That would include the chart of accounts, financial dimensions, reporting and ensuring our have a solid foundation for the rest of the implementation. The second preference would be to do the Front-end implementations first which is either the Store Operations and POS or the eCommerce and mobility. If you have to pick order management, warehousing, procurement I would typically recommend bundling in financials in that implementation as well. The up side of a phased implementation is that the scope is manageable and can ensure the organization is focused on getting it right without burdening the whole organization with the implementation. Th down side of a phased implementation is the need for intermediate interfaces as well as a longer duration which typically results in higher costs over a Big Bang approach.

implementation packages

The last piece of best practice advice around the scope is the most obvious one – to keep it manageable. If the internal implementation team is not scaled up to doing the whole implementation then it makes most sense to implement it in a phased manner. An example phasing is shown below

phasing of implementation

Rollout: A lot of retailers don’t think about rollout. But if you are doing a POS and Store operations implementation then you want to decide whether you rollout to all stores together or do a certain number of stores as pilot and then do staged rollouts after that. The upside of doing it all together is that you get it done with in one shot but it can be much harder to manage the change for all the in-store personnel at one go. The advantage of a staged rollout is manageability but you will need to interface to the older store system while rolling out even if you just to the GL to bring in the transactions for the stores that are not covered in the first rollout. Below is a list of parameters to think about while deciding one way or the other with the metrics usually found. I say usually because even though I would typically say anything more than 50 stores it is better to stage a rollout, in one instance we implemented to 400 stores in one shot since the cost of integrating with the system we were replacing was too high due to its legacy architecture.

 

Staged Rollout

All Stores in one Rollout

Number of Stores

50 stores or higher

Less than 50 stores

Number of users

More than 100 users

Less than 100 users

Internal change management capability

Low to Medium

High

Cost of Integrating with store system being replaced

Low to Medium

High

Change Management: I referenced change management in the rollout section and my experience is that retailers often significantly underestimate the amount of change management required to make a new implementation successful. Often the focus of Change management is the training for the in-store personnel. However a new retail business system like Microsoft Dynamics AX can transform an organization in a very positive fashion. However, without good change management you could end up with a very poor implementation as users may try to get the new system to be like the old system as opposed to adopting best practice business processes that come with Microsoft Dynamics AX.  Similarly poor change management can lead to lack of preparedness for data migration, under-trained staff and high resistance to a new system irrespective of the quality of the system. While everyone typically things of adding in a project manager, I would also recommend adding in a Change Manager in the organization that helps with all of the following

  • Expectation Management
  • Training
  • Project Communication
  • Business Process Improvement
  • Openness to a new system

A new implementation while challenging can be a lot of fun and an opportunity to not just modernize your business systems but also significantly revamp you processes to allow the organization to operate in a much more optimal fashion than before. I wish you the best on your implementation journey. For more information on implementing Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail, please email us at retail@ignify.com.

Sandeep Walia is the CEO of Ignify. Ignify is a technology provider of ERP, CRM, eCommerce, and Point of Sale software solutions to organizations. Ignify is winner/finalist of the worldwide Microsoft Partner of the Year Award in 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing businesses for seven years in a row by Deloitte, Inc Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine from 2007 to 2013.

Port of Long Beach launches Customer Portal integrated with Microsoft Dynamics AX

July 3rd, 2014 Sandeep Walia No comments

Port of Long Beach launches Customer Portal integrated with Microsoft Dynamics AXThe Port of Long Beach, which was recently named the world’s Best Green Seaport this month at the 28th annual Asian Freight & Supply Chain Awards, launched a web-based Customer Portal. This secure web application, created in partnership with Ignify, provides customers access to their billing information, vessel calls and related information. The Portal is now available to all Port customers with a valid e-mail address.

Via the internet, the Port’s customers can securely log in and view their vessel calls, invoices, payment history, annual minimums, breakpoints, lease terms and lease documents. Invoices can be reprinted or downloaded into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet; customers can also pay invoices online using eChecks at no additional cost. The Customer Portal is fully integrated with Microsoft Dynamics AX, which the port uses for its financial management and analytical reporting processes.

Security features were integrated into the application from the start and customers have the option of restricting access by employee to certain types of account information based on security access levels. Most invoice and payment history is available back to October 2011. The Portal reflects the Port of Long Beach’s continued commitment to innovation and its ability to automate transactions that are done manually at most other seaports.

Ignify is pleased to have been a key partner in this engagement by providing the base Customer Portal for Microsoft Dynamics product as well as implementing the PORTS solution on Microsoft Dynamics AX.

Sandeep Walia is the CEO of Ignify. Ignify is a technology provider of ERP, CRM, eCommerce, and Point of Sale software solutions to organizations. Ignify is winner/finalist of the worldwide Microsoft Partner of the Year Award in 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing businesses in North America for seven years in a row by Deloitte, Inc Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine from 2007 to 2013.

Webinar: Tips for Surviving the Changing Digital Landscape

June 11th, 2014 Brianne Schaer No comments

As digital technologies continue to transform the way consumers shop, businesses in the retail and consumer packaged goods industries must be able to keep up in order to remain competitive. Enterprise resource planning software is becoming more common to perform operations and manage inventory. Regardless of the tools available, there is a shift among the businesses that acknowledge digital disruption and those with a solid, attainable digital strategy.

A recent Forrester Research report titled “The State of Digital Business in 2014” found that while 74 percent of today’s business executives say their company has a digital strategy, only 15 percent believe that their company has the skills and capabilities to execute that strategy. The report reveals the reality of digital business in 2014 by examining digital business strategy, responsibilities, and organization structures.

Ignify’s new webinar titled “Digital Disruption: Threats and Opportunities for Retail and CPG Leaders” provides cutting-edge advice and tactics to build a successful technology strategy. Guest presenter George Lawrie of Forrester Research discusses new industry trends, how those trends are impacting the way retailers and consumer packaged goods companies do business, and how business applications allow companies to meet both threats and opportunities head-on.

Digital technology

Source: newretailblog.com

Consumers expect to find an in-store item on their smart phone at the tap of the screen. View our webinar to learn more about how digital technology has changed the way retailers do business.

The webinar features three main sections aimed at making leaders successful in the changing digital landscape. It culminates with a conclusion highlighting what these major points mean for a business developing a digital strategy as well as potential next steps.

Changing Consumer Behavior

Lawrie discusses how digital disruption can generate better ideas faster, as there is more competition between retailers online as opposed to just brick and mortar stores. Additionally, buyers are completing much more research before purchasing an item, and expect the retailer to provide a seamless experience across channels. With the Internet, consumers expect retailers to provide facts, data, and comparisons to paint accurate portrayals of their products.

Supply Chain Proliferation

Digital disruption has ushered in an increase of value-added services and precise tracking of items. Merchandise must be personalized to varying audiences; businesses must be able to supply goods for different demographics with varying demands.

Application Strategy for the Age of the Customers

In order to remain competitive in the digital age, businesses must provide useful, usable, and enjoyable experiences. These experiences will have to be transmitted across all channels, as more consumers will be turning to computing trends, such as mobile devices and wearables, to research their purchases. Lawrie discusses fascinating new data regarding this “mobile mind shift” during the webinar.

The full webinar is available here and may be viewed after completing a short registration form. For more information regarding Ignify’s ERP solutions, please email dynamics@ignify.com.

Crucial Webinar Insights:

  • New Forrester data on customers' and employees' changing expectations.
  • How changing expectations impact retailers' and CPG manufacturers' enterprise applications, such as supply chain.
  • How applications enable companies to evolve with these shifts and provide customers the service they demand.

Brianne Schaer is a Product Marketing Specialist at Ignify. Ignify is a technology provider of ERP, CRM, eCommerce, and Point of Sale software solutions to organizations. Ignify is winner/finalist of the worldwide Microsoft Partner of the Year Award in 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing businesses in North America for seven years in a row by Deloitte, Inc Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine from 2007 to 2013.

Microsoft Unveils Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3

April 15th, 2014 Brianne Schaer No comments

Create amazing customer experiences. Run agile operations. Expand business. These core values stitched together during the Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 Launch Event.

The focus, as it should be, was very much on the customer throughout the hour-long online event, featuring breakout sessions from corporate business leaders and Microsoft professionals, as well as engaging demos.

If you missed the launch event, it’s not too late to watch the presentation. The entire recording is streaming on demand for your convenience. Simply register, or sign in, to view the video.

Informative video snippets demoed the new release in a very fresh manner. A few key features include upgraded demand forecasting features, custom app components, new mobile POS enhancement, and new transportation capabilities. Most feature are fully-functional on tablet and smartphone devices—no cumbersome laptops or desktops required.

Tablet usage and cloud-based software are greatly improved in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3

Source: www.microsoft.com

Tablet usage and cloud-based software are greatly improved in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3.

Key Event Highlights:

  • Listen to Gartner’s Principal Analyst Nigel Montgomery speak on how to adapt to today’s changing market conditions.
  • Learn how leaders of companies like Ashley Furniture, Kathmandu, and New Belgium Brewery use Microsoft Dynamics AX to improve customer experiences and expand business.
  • Discover how businesses are simplifying their supply chain, which strengthens their ability to give timely business insight to the board room and noticeably improve employee productivity.
  • Watch a sneak preview video of how to Run, Engage and Expand your business with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3.
  • Hear Special Guest Hal Howard share tips and tricks for R3 and better business practices.

What’s New with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3

In today’s business climate, engaging with the customer is always the number one priority. Microsoft Dynamics AX has proven to deliver quantifiable results without increasing your business costs. The new release is slated for release to the general public next month. The main touch points for customer satisfaction will be facilitated with the technology available in the new release: deliver amazing customer experiences, engage with customers on their terms, run agile operations to exceed customers’ needs, and expand the business to better serve customers.

New social channels integration and eCommerce features in R3 allow you to support loyalty programs and develop meaningful customer relationships. Facebook and Twitter can be leveraged out-of-the-box for campaigns. Other new integration capabilities translate to more choices for customers, which allows them to get the results they need. Additionally, R3 will help grow your customer base and expand business opportunities. All of these features can be leveraged with localizations for 36 countries.

Capabilities

  • Financial management
  • Human capital management
  • Manufacturing
  • Supply chain management
  • Project management and accounting
  • Retail
  • Business intelligence and reporting

Next Steps

Microsoft Dynamics AX delivers unmatched ability and capability to create a compelling and empowering user experience. This powerful and dynamic enterprise resource management (ERP) software is designed to scale with your business to create results. For more information on Microsoft Dynamics AX, please email dynamics@ignify.com.

Brianne Schaer is an Assistant Copywriter at Ignify. Ignify is a technology provider of CRM, eCommerce, ERP, and Point of Sale software solutions to organizations. Ignify has won the worldwide Microsoft Partner of the Year Award in 2013, 2012 and 2011. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing businesses in North America for seven years in a row by Deloitte, Inc Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine from 2007 to 2013.