Wednesday, May 29, 2013

AX 2012 Comprehensive List of Upgrade Options

Upgrade Options

Considering business drivers and existing AX environment, several upgrade options exist for an organization to evaluate:

  1. ERP and related software upgrade only

  2. Hardware and software upgrade

  3. Relocating hardware to a third-party hosting

  4. Re-implementation instead of convention ‘upgrade’

Before choosing an upgrade strategy for AX 2012 upgrade, it is important to establish a context.  The context consists of business drivers as well as an assessment of the existing AX environment.

Business Drivers (Why Upgrade?)

ERP vendors, like Microsoft, release several major and minor versions over time.  Many organizations choose not to upgrade for a multitude of business reasons.  The ones who choose to upgrade often have one or many of the following Business Drivers:

  • Save on infrastructure costs

  • Sunset the version at its ‘end-of-support’

  • Leverage new functionality to improve operations / decision-making

 Existing AX Environment

Having established the business drivers, organizations ask the next set of questions centered on the following:

  • Stability of the current environment

  • Need for a 24 / 7 support level

  • Cost of additional hardware to sustain newer, resource intensive software

  • Plans for adding more users due to business growth / acquisitions

  • Seasonal spikes in the user counts

Upgrades are critical and significant initiatives for any business.  Exploring available options, and evaluating them against parameters, such as:  TCO, maintainability, architectural strength, variable user load, 24 / 7 support requirements, extent of customization, among others, are key factors in decision making.

If you have a question about Dynamics AX that you would like answered, please email us. Or visit the BWIR website for more information about the company.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What's New in AX 2012 R2: Procurement and Sourcing and Product Information Management

We hope to share some of the changes coming to AX 2012 R2. We will cover accounting to sales and everywhere in between. It is our job to put the value in AX.

Take time to discover the new changes in-store for AX 2012 R2 and stay ahead of the curve.

Procurement and sourcing

  • Changes to Order management features

  • Data partition added for the Order management upgrade

  • Enhancements to the new vendor registration process

  • Enhancements to the purchase order change management process

  • Fulfillment of purchase requisition demand orchestrated by master planning

  • Integration of sales agreements and return orders

  • Product search on Employee Services site

  • Sales auto charges based on tiers and modes of delivery in sales orders

Product information management

  • Enhanced modeling capabilities in Product configurator

  • Improvements made to the overview of production information, approval and calculation of worker registration on projection jobs, and worker absences

  • Improvements to planning tools

  • The Configuration form in Product configurator is easier to extend

 If you have a question about Dynamics AX that you would like answered, please email us. Or visit the BWIR website for more information about the company.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Manufacturers: Should You Replace Your Existing ERP System?

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is an essential part of a manufacturing company's operational strategy. ERP provides the information backbone that companies rely on for managing internal resources (inventory control, production scheduling), planning and managing the business, and interconnecting with customers and trading partners in the supply chain.

Read Dave Turbide's Post

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How Top Performing Manufacturers Use ERP to Drive Continuous Improvement and Innovation

Nick Castellina, Senior Research Analyst in Aberdeen's Business Planning and Execution practice recent video reveals how Best-in-Class organizations utilize Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software as a hub for continuous improvement and innovation.

See more at the Aberdeen Group

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Business Intelligence (BI) in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 provides a flexible pre-built business intelligence (BI) solution for mid-market organizations. The use of built-in content—including Role Centers, analytic reports, and analysis cubes—eliminates the need to build a solution from the ground up, and therefore saves time and money. The Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 business intelligence solution can be configured and extended to suit your specific needs with the help of Microsoft Business Intelligence development tools.

The Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 business intelligence solution consists of the following built-in features:
  • Role Centers (dashboards). Thirty-two default home pages that pertain to the work needs of various user profiles in an organization.
  • Analysis cubes. Eleven analysis cubes that address the analytic requirements of the major functional areas within Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012—including finance, supply chain, manufacturing, professional services, and business processes.
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). More than 60 of the most commonly used KPIs that help users evaluate the success of business activities.
  • Analytic reports. More than 150 analytic reports that provide insight into business data.
The pre-built BI solution can be deployed when you implement Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 in your organization. A new intuitive, wizard-driven interface guides the user through deployment of the solution without requiring the user to have expert business intelligence skills.
By deploying the pre-built business intelligence solution as you implement Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, your organization can start using BI capabilities as soon as the new business functionality is operational.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Microsoft Director: 'Manufacturing Is A Hotbed Of Innovation'

Although it’s not difficult to find prominent industry leaders willing to tout all the positive elements the manufacturing industry represents, there is the risk of “preaching to the choir” in relaying this information to a manufacturing-centric audience. However, there’s also a significant level of cache and validation of these messages when they come from a prominent position within an iconic company.

This was the case when speaking with Melissa Cook, Microsoft’s Senior Director of Dynamics in the manufacturing industry. With a primary focus on the ERP offerings within Microsoft’s Dynamics platform, she holds a unique perspective not only on software, IT and manufacturing, but how they all fit together in solving industry problems and pushing the manufacturing sector forward collectively.

In this first of a series of 5 Quick Questions, Cook offers her thoughts on the future of manufacturing systems.

Jeff Reinke: What do you see as Microsoft’s role in the manufacturing industry?
Melissa Cook: The fundamental DNA of our business is to unleash the potential of people and organizations. And we have a long history of success in productivity tools. So that’s what we want to continue to do for our manufacturing customers — provide the tools to unlock their potential in growth, innovation, quality and customer service and help them improve productivity by optimizing and connecting their operations.

JR: You’ve been around manufacturing for much of your career. What is your perspective on the industry?  
MC: Manufacturing companies are so fundamental to our economy. For thousands of years, mankind has been a maker. The manufacturing industry has always been about innovation. Just take a quick look around the room you’re in as you’re reading this article, and you’ll see the fundamental impact that manufacturing has on your life. I’d offer a few perspectives on the industry after being in and around it for over 30 years:

1. Innovation has always been the absolute key to growth and profit in the manufacturing industry. This can take the form of innovative new products or innovative new manufacturing processes (like Lean). The good news is that the manufacturing industry knows how to innovate as companies in this industry need to innovate to survive. This makes manufacturing a very exciting place to be. At Microsoft we’re excited to bring technology and systems innovation to manufacturing companies to, in turn, help them innovate in their marketplace.

2. Speed and flexibility are much more critical now. The supply chain, customer demand and expectations and the global economy are all undergoing significant change. And Manufacturing companies sit right in the middle of all that change. With all the change facing the manufacturing industry, it’s very difficult to predict what the future holds, so being able to adapt is critical, especially in ERP systems. We need to design in the ability to change and to change quickly. Customers just aren’t willing to wait as long as they used to, either your external customers who can more easily find and purchase a competing product, or your internal IT customers, who are losing patience with years-long and expensive ERP projects.

3. People are absolutely critical to your success. That’s always been the case because companies are basically just a group of people with a shared mission. But now we’re likely to face a hiring shortage, if you’re not already facing it. And we’re in the middle of lots of changes. That means you’ll need tools to attract the best people, to help your people absolutely maximize their productivity and allow them to help you innovate and be engaged in the success of your company. It’s going to be an all-hands-on-deck future for manufacturing companies.

JR: Why have you stayed in the manufacturing sector throughout your career?
MC: I come from a computer science academic background but have always been passionate about the application of computer science and technology to business problems. And if you’re interested in making technology useful in industry, you seem to end up working with manufacturing companies. The manufacturing industry has historically lead the way in business systems innovation starting with Financial and Inventory Control systems in the late 60’s and going through MRP, MRPII and ERP. Manufacturing is a hotbed of innovation. 90 percent of all U.S. patents come from manufacturing companies so it’s always been an interesting and exciting industry to me.

JR: What makes Microsoft different from other ERP providers?
MC: Quite frankly, legacy ERP systems don’t have a great reputation. When describing their current ERP solutions, most customers use words like expensive, slow to implement, hard to use and inflexible. Microsoft’s approach to manufacturing systems is exactly opposite to this: low TCO, fast time to market, easy to use and agile. There is also the personal productivity side of the production worker that hasn’t been well addressed and we think Microsoft is very well positioned here.

JR: What advice would you give to those within a company who are trying to convince upper management that ERP investments need to be made?
MC: There’s always been a strong need for manufacturing systems. But with the global economic challenges, you’ll need lower TCO and faster time-to-market solutions to make the business case these days. And they need to have the flexibility to address future changes in the demand and supply chain.  Those are benefits that you can sell to your business execs and we think we have a great story here.

If you have a question about Dynamics AX that you would like answered, please email us. Or visit the BWIR website for more information about the company.

Fri, 05/10/2013 - 9:49am by Jeff Reinke, Editorial Director
*Article from Manufacturing Business Technology Magazine

Monday, May 13, 2013

Cloud Computing in Manufacturing

Why waste time when you got all the latest technology? Time is money and with all the newest software, manufacturing aspects have gotten easier to work with. Manufacturers these days have started using cloud based manufacturing applications including Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).

So now the main question is, why should manufacturers switch to Cloud Computing? Well here are the reasons mentioned by Louis Columbus in his article:
  1. To increase accuracy
  2. Speed up the process
  3. Capitalize on internal intelligence and knowledge
Cloud based strategies help companies to have a quicker roll out, easy customization and “show potential to increase adoption rates across resellers.”

Here are some ways cloud-computing is revolutionizing the manufacturing sector:
  1. Capturing and applying company-wide intelligence and knowledge through the use of analytics, business intelligence (BI), and rules engines.
  2. Piloting and then moving quickly to full launch of supplier portals and collaboration platforms, complete with quality management dashboards and workflows
  3. Designing in services is now becoming commonplace, making cloud integration expertise critical for manufacturers.
  4. Accelerating new product development and introduction (NPDI) strategies to attain time-to-market objectives.
  5. Managing indirect and direct channel sales from a single cloud platform tracking sales results against quota at the individual, group and divisional level is now commonplace across all manufacturers visited.
  6. Using cloud-based marketing automation applications to plan, execute and most important, track results of every campaign.
  7. Automating customer service, support and common order status inquiries online, integrating these systems to distributed order management, pricing, and content management platforms
  8. Increasing reliance on two-tier ERP strategies to gain greater efficiencies in material planning, supplier management and reduce logistics costs.
  9. Reliance on cloud-based Human Resource Management (HRM) systems to unify all manufacturing locations globally.
Tools like this are helping manufacturers cut down the processing time, which means more time for them to invest in other aspects of the business.

If you have a question about Dynamics AX that you would like answered, please email us. Or visit the BWIR website for more information about the company.

  *Above is a summary of an article from Forbes:

Thursday, May 9, 2013

What's New in AX 2012 R2: Inventory and Manufacturing

Here is a new post covering some of the changes coming to AX 2012 R2. It is our job to put the value in AX, so take some time to discover the new changes in-store and stay up-to-date.
Inventory Management:
  • Inventory quantity is calculated automatically for catch weight items
  • Role center enhancements in the Supply Chain Management area
  • Update service for shared products
Lean Manufacturing Payroll
  • Updated features for lean manufacturing
  • Payroll processing has been redesigned to provide a more consistent user interface with simplified setup and data entry
Process Manufacturing production and logistics
  • Add a batch attribute actual value to a registered inventory batch
  • Configure an item to inherit shelf life and batch attributes from intermediate items of the finished goods
  • Create an attribute-based pricing formula for a potency item
  • Create sequences for production
  • Define a formula, and perform batch balancing of a potency item used in production
  • Inventory quantity is calculated automatically for catch weight items
  • Provides chemical manufacturers with tools that to manage assets, operating costs, and monitor the impact of decisions on orders, production, inventory and distribution
If you have a question about Dynamics AX that you would like answered, please email us. Or visit the BWIR website for more information about the company.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Fixed Asset Posting Profile Setup in Microsoft Dynamics AX

Fixed asset posting profile is one of the most difficult subledger setups in Microsoft Dynamics AX. Setting up a subledger posting profile depends on the financial processes in a company. In this article I will explain posting profile setup with simple examples, with the assumption that you already have basic knowledge of accounting.

Below is the ideal Fixed Asset lifecycle. The setup of the fixed asset posting profile in Dynamics AX should follow these stages, as we will see below.


Read Muhammad Burhan's post

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

What's New in AX 2012 R2: Human Resources

Over the next few posts we hope to share some of the changes coming to AX 2012 R2. We will cover accounting to sales and everywhere in between. It is our job to put the value in AX.

Take time to discover the new changes in-store for the human resources section of AX 2012 R2 and stay ahead of the curve.

  • Adjust multiple values in the compensation grid simultaneously for fixed compensation plans
  • Copy existing positions, mass update positions, and block position assignments
  • Create a budget for filled or vacant positions
  • Eligibility rules provide greater control and fewer errors when signing workers up for benefits
  • Enhancements to the Benefit setup and Benefits list page
  • HR manager Role Center
  • HR training and development manager Role Center
  • Import worker information
  • Staffing manager Role Center
  • Use an Actions process, with optional workflow, to gather details and easily track history when positions are created or edited
  • Worker education enhancements
  • You can require applicants and employees to pass certain tests to obtain and hold certain positions
  • You can require applicants and employees to take or pass designated screenings

If you have a question about Dynamics AX that you would like answered, please email us. Or visit the BWIR website for more information about the company.