ProMRO

MRO Software: ProMRO Service Template Profiles

Clients First has developed and implemented the ProMRO module for Dynamics AX. The module is specifically tailored for Manufacturing, Repair and Overhaul industry and includes project phases that can be pre-defined and then built on the fly with each newly quoted job.

The benefits of the ProMRO module include improved efficiency, cost savings, standardization and predictability across multiple departments. The ProMRO module makes your MRO business run leaner and be more competitive.

Service Profiles

One of the capabilities of the ProMRO module is the ability to create Service Profiles.

Service Profiles eliminate pressure and guesswork from the project administrator as they contain all the details about the service in a ready-to-use template. This helps to ensure consistency across all projects.

How to Create a Service Profile

To create a Service Profile in Dynamics AX, navigate to the Common Forms screen and click SVC Profile Details. The Service Profile form will be displayed.

ProMRO

On the top half of the Service Profile screen, you will see the list of forms on your instance of Dynamics AX under the Overview tab. The Overview tab provides a quick summary of a profile’s elements including the service ID, estimate center, service code, description, extended description, status, manufacturer, etc.

The bottom half of the screen allows you to view the Service Profiles and filter on five options, i.e. All, Free, Hour, Expense and Item. Here is an overview of what the options provide:

  • All – Shows all available Service Profile forms on your Dynamics AX instance
  • Fee – Allows you to make changes to prices for quoting purposes
  • Hour- Allows you to make changes for time spent on equipment
  • Expense – Allows you to change time expenses
  • Item – Allows calculation of cost and sale prices of items

Clicking on an entry on the Service Profile form makes it editable. You can make any price or product changes by selecting the entry you wish to edit to make it editable, and entering the new value you prefer.

Creating Service Profiles Based on Templates

The ProMRO module allows you to copy an existing Service Profile and make a new one based on it. Follow the steps below to create a new select Service Profile based on an existing one:

  1. i) Select the Service Profile you want to use as a template from the list of forms
  2. ii) Navigate to the left of the ProMRO module and select the Copy button

iii) Select Copy and Create New Profile from the side slide display

  1. iv) A new Service Profile form that is based on the one you had initially selected will be created and listed on the form list

Using the Recalculate Function for Service Profiles

Sometimes, you may need to recalculate the values in your Service Profile forms after editing an existing form or creating a new one based on an existing template. To get the required values for your new Service Profile form, make all the value changes you want.

When finished, click the Function button on the left of the ProMRO module and select SVC Profile Recalculation option from the slide display. A pop up box showing the identification details of the Service Profile whose values you wish to recalculate will be displayed. Click the OK button to start recalculation.

You can also make changes on the quote line items of the Service Profile form you are working on. To do this, you will be working on the tabs under the TypeFilter, which is at the bottom half of the screen. Select the Quote tab and click the Tools icon on the left of the module. The Line No. and Quote Description area will be displayed. Edit the quote description and click the Save icon on the main menu of the Service Profile forms page. Your new description will be applied to the Service Profile you were editing.

You can also change the status of the Service Profile to either Under Development, Not Certified, Awaiting Approval, Obsolete or Certified. To change the status, select the Service Profile you are editing, click the Status button on the left of the module and select the appropriate status from the slide display box.


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MRO Software

MRO Software: The ProMRO Equipment Table

The ProMRO module was especially developed to offer MRO companies the functionality they needed to manage industry-specific operations more efficiently. Minimizing paper-based administration and standardizing various processes, the module enables MROs to handle a variety of business processes, including quoting jobs, pre-defining project phases, and tracking equipment along with maintenance and repair tasks to extend the life cycle of operational equipment at minimal costs, prevent disruptions, and improve overall productivity. Besides advanced project, maintenance, and repair functionality, the module makes available a custom Equipment Table, which facilitates asset tracking within Dynamics AX and any other application interconnected.

MRO Software

MRO Software: Equipment Table Functionality

Specifically designed to allow MROs to record detailed, real-time information on equipment and parts, and access equipment history along with warranty, repair, and maintenance data, the Equipment Table can be used to:

  • Track equipment across different projects – One of the most valuable pieces of MRO software developed so far, the Equipment Table tracks materials, inventory, and equipment automatically, creating a comprehensive history for each piece of equipment you have used in your projects. By accessing the Equipment Table and highlighting a machine or part, you can get project, quote, repair, and allocation details relating to that piece of equipment. You can also use the Equipment Table to check the current status of a project, customer specifications, and equipment condition, which may range from “approved” and “shop floor” to “rented-out” and “lost” statuses. From the Equipment Table, you can also access the main table of each project to get in-depth details about different pieces of equipment and tasks.
  • Track warranties of equipment and parts – Not only the Equipment Table provides information about the original warranty of different pieces of equipment; it also indicates the equipment that needs to be sent off for repair or replaced before warranty expires. Additionally, by simply accessing the Equipment Table, technicians can get information about different pieces of equipment that cannot be repaired on warranty or in house and, therefore, must be replaced by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).
  • Track equipment location – The Equipment Table also allows users to identify the physical location of different pieces of equipment. This means that you can communicate to your clients exactly when and where their equipment has been allocated and even how much it will cost to deliver it to them. As you can find out the exact location of machines and parts without making phone calls or leaving your office, the Equipment Table can save you a lot of time and money.

Maintaining continuous operations in complex environments poses a major challenge for most MRO companies. Fortunately, the Equipment Table adds a new dimension to Dynamics AX, giving MRO companies a true 360-degree view of their equipment.

With this MRO software solution by your side, you’ll benefit from complete maintenance, repair, and overhaul support to achieve your equipment and productivity goals. Bringing about greater predictability, optimizing resource utilization, and helping you keep your own equipment along with your customers’ machines properly maintained and running smoothly, the Equipment Table is one “piece of the puzzle” you need to plan everything down to the smallest detail and avoid costly breakdowns.

In conclusion, the Equipment Table is a useful piece of MRO software that allows you to:

  • record and access detailed information relating to your equipment and services;
  • track equipment by physical location and status;
  • group pieces of equipment based on specific criteria;
  • associate equipment with projects and capacity planning;
  • keep detailed history, including warranty, quote, maintenance, and repair information;
  • view maintenance and repair reports whenever you need.

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Food Processing ERP

Food Processing ERP: Formulas and Recipes

To remain competitive in the coming decades, food processing manufacturers must find new, more efficient ways to transform raw materials into sellable products, while meeting a wide range of requirements. For this, they need complex food processing ERP solutions, which combine planning and reporting capabilities with industry-specific formula, recipe, tracking, and control functionality. By using advanced capabilities, process manufacturers can easily and effectively manage all the variables required to control manufacturing life cycles, gain visibility into business activities, drive continuous improvements, optimize production, manufacture high-quality products, and comply with the latest regulations and standards.

Food Processing ERP

Formula and Recipe Functionality: Is It Important?    

The unique characteristics of the food processing industry have determined developers to create software products that can manage niche-specific requirements. Single software solutions, such as Microsoft Dynamics AX, can help process manufacturers handle a series of operations, formulas, recipes, extractions, chemical reactions, and many other factors necessary to successfully convert raw materials into final products. Since recipes and formulas include more variations than regular bills of materials, Dynamics AX has become an indispensable tool for food processing manufacturers. As a food processing ERP solution, AX can help you with:

  • Recipe and formulation management – Since recipes and formulations are unique to food processing, manufacturing process management used to pose significant challenges for food and beverage companies. But this is no longer the case. Dynamics AX includes features that manufacturers can use to manage standard, adjusted-as-planned, and adjusted-as-produced recipes, substitute ingredients, formulate products to individual specifications, break down recipes into interim production stages, calculate costs based on ingredients and recipes, view formulations as tables, graphics, or charts, track batch execution, verify and validate compliance requirements, and create and filter reports by ingredient, formula, recipe, batch, stock, and production yield.
  • Production control – Formula and recipe functions included in advanced food processing software can help manufacturers control inventory items and handle different units of measure to optimize production. Since raw materials are usually measured by weight or volume, including different ingredients in a recipe can cause variances in production. To eliminate variances, Dynamics AX has been complemented with conversion factors that convert quantities from one unit of measure to another. The system can also be set up to track ingredients and make them available exactly when they’re required. Using ingredients before their expiration dates can help reduce waste.
  • Batch optimization – Dynamics AX is one of the few food processing ERP solutions that allow you to plan and produce goods against preset batch sizes, which will increase manufacturing yields. Additionally, it enables users to reserve raw materials for specific dates and restrict certain processes. For instance, newly received inventory may be available for viewing, planning, and reservations but put on hold from shipping. New features also facilitate automatic quantity adjustments based on the active ingredients used in recipes. This way, manufacturers can ensure that the right concentrations of ingredients are used in all products.
  • Competitive advantage – Unlike other manufacturers, food processing companies gain a competitive advantage especially through their formulas and recipes. Having a reliable food processing ERP system to control production, reduce costs and lead times, minimize risks, increase profitability, bring products to market faster than before, and efficiently deal with economic pressures and their consequences can help you achieve a competitive position in your niche.

Finally, food and beverage companies have a complex ERP system that fits their unique requirements. Designed with industry-specific capabilities, including advanced recipe and formula functions,  Dynamics AX is one of the few food processing ERP solutions ready to help food processing manufacturers handle variability, adjust ingredients, quantities, and production phases according to the specifications of each product, manage inventory items based on expiration dates, speed up production processes, calculate costs and define yields, track batches and lots, and meet government regulations to produce consistently quality goods and remain competitive.





Dynamics AX Filters

Microsoft Dynamics AX Filters: Tips and Tricks

Do you use Dynamics AX filters every day in your operations? If so, here are some quick tips and tricks that can speed up your queries.

i) Search for record ranges using open ended filters

To search for a range of records in Dynamics AX, you can simply use “..”. However, you can go further and create a filter for everything before or after a certain value. To do this, simply skip either the beginning or end filter selection respectively.

For example, to see everything from a specific value, simply create a filter in this format “value..”. For example, 100000.. will show the values beginning from 100000.

On the other hand, to see everything up to a certain value, simply create the filter in this format “..value”. For example, ..100000 will show the values up to 100000.

ii) Create more intricate queries using filter by grid and wild cards

It’s easy to search and filter records based on a field. However, to get the right data you want, you may have to combine some searches and filter your queries based on value and field format ranges. You may also have to filter the searches based on multiple fields at once. To ease your work, you can use the Filter by Grid feature. How do you do this?

On the list page, press CTRL+G or click on the Filter by Grid icon on the title bar to bring up the Filter by Grid feature. The feature is available on a row that appears on top of the list page. On the page, you can add the filters you want to any of the visible fields.

Using Wildcards

To filter certain data from any field, simply add a ! at the point where you want the filter to begin. This will mean that any value after the ! is not wanted.

Dynamics AX filters

For fields with numeric values, the expressions < and > can be used to select all the data that is less than or greater than a certain value respectively.

You can use the “, character to combine multiple filters, but not include any value in the middle. You can combine any number of queries within a field as you would like.

You can use the ..” expression in the middle of the low and high filters to select a group of records within a specific range. You can also wild card the low and high values.

If you are searching for records that all start, end of have the same characters somewhere within the file, you can use the * qualifier to stipulate that any value before or after the point is valid.

If you want to select records that are of a specific length, you can use the “?” expression to stipulate that a character (though not defined) is required in that spot.

You can also create super filters by filtering multiple columns at once on the Filter by Grid option.

iii) Search for subsets of data within columns using filter by field

Sometimes, you may want to search for all records that match a certain criteria within a list page. You can use the Filter by Selection feature if you want to search the whole value of a field. However, for more flexibility, you can search for subsets of data within the field. The best way of doing this is by using the Filter by Field feature.

To filter the data in a column on a list page, place your cursor in the field that you want to filter and press CTRL+F. Alternatively, right-click on the field that you want to filter and select the Filter by Field option in the submenu that appears.

When the Filter dialog box opens, type in the search expression that you want the data filtered based on and press the Enter key or click the OK button. The data will then be filtered based on the selection that you specified in your search.

The above are three quick tips that will help you do more with the filters in Dynamics AX.





eProcurement

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3: Transparent eProcurement

The latest capabilities included in Dynamics AX 2012 R3 are nothing short of the “Engage. Run. and Expand.” theme that Microsoft has promised.  Introducing a rich assortment of new end-to-end service frameworks, apps and features, R3 allows organizations not only to manage processes more efficiently than before, but also to develop and distribute custom apps that fit almost any requirements.  The net of it is: AX 2012 R3 is aimed at “Delivering Amazing Customer Experiences,” and eProcurement is no exception.

Advancements have been conceptualized to expand the capabilities of AX 2012’s modules, with a focus on transparency in eProcurement. As we all know, businesses find value in insight and visibility, shouldn’t our ERP functionality be the same?  The new features added to this area offer superior functionality, enabling AX users to:

Technology migration

  • Public Sector External Vendors. In Dynamics AX 2012 R3, vendors can be assigned not only an ‘external vendor’ role but also an ‘external vendor for Public Sector’ role.  Vendors with these privileges will be able to see open RFQ’s and public documents from their vendor portal-thus, granting the ability for vendors to bid on an RFQ, even if they were not specifically invited.
  • Make documents public. By enabling the Public Sector configuration key, you can publish documents, including RFQs and purchase orders, to the public Vendor portal. Any unregistered vendor can view these documents as a guest, but must register with your company and be assigned as a ‘Public Sector External Vendor’ to be able to bid on your offers.
  • Develop vendor scoring criteria. Rating, filtering, comparing, selecting and adding vendors to your RFQs has never been easier. Additionally, you can use AX R3 to evaluate RFQ replies based on preset scoring criteria.  Scoring criteria, as seen in our latest eProcurement demo in Part III consists of a ‘Collaboration’, ‘On time performance’, ‘Quality’, ‘Transportation’ and ‘Cost’.   These of course can be based on user-defined criteria.
  • Create questionnaires. You can create questionnaires for vendors by combining different questionnaires you already have or by collecting queries from new users. Vendors have the opportunity to complete questionnaires upon registering, or as part of their replies/bids from the public vendor portal.
  • Find the most advantageous offers. Making possible item/service substitution in bids, new eProcurement capabilities allow vendors to provide a variety of items/services for the same order, which means that you can choose the most advantageous offers. You can also setup the system to notify you every time a vendor makes a change to his bid.
  • Easily Manage Requests and Bids. In Dynamics AX R3, you can add or remove RFQs and renumber RFQ lists as needed. Furthermore, you can handle vendor bids, sealing and hiding them until solicitations are closed or bid tabulation begins.
  • Make updates and attach additional documents. Another thing you can do is to add documents, modify current RFQs and inform bidders of any changes by communicating updates via the Vendor portal.
  • Place requisitions on hold. For better requisition management, AX R3 allows you to place requisitions on hold and provide various reasons for the hold.
  • Create discount agreements. You can use specific eProcurement functions to require discounts from vendors and even set up long-term rebate agreements.
  • View price details. AX R3 makes available a Price Details form that provides information about the prices of trade agreements, which are especially useful when calculating rebates and potential profit margins for orders.
  • Create purchase orders for direct deliveries. With the direct delivery workbench feature, you can develop and handle purchase orders not only for your company, but also for other organizations.

In addition to all these, vendors are able to access the Vendor portal through Windows Live, Google, Yahoo and even Facebook after registering with your organization; view various details, including their scores, notes on their bids and changes to RFQs; and adjust fees according to your changes.

Assessing the Advantages of New and Improved eProcurement Functionality

One of the most critical aspects for an organization is to gain insight not only into customers’ needs, but also into its core operations. Understanding how things work can help leaders streamline processes, run more agile operations, engage customers on their own terms and last, but not least, build lasting relationships with vendors.

The new eProcurement tools included in Dynamics AX 2012 are flexible, agile and scalable enough to help you handle any procurement processes efficiently, while offering your vendors the ultimate service experience.

 





Microsoft Dynamics Comparison

Microsoft Dynamics Comparison: Dynamics NAV vs. Dynamics AX

Update February 16, 2018: Since this article was published there have been changes to the Dynamics AX platform.  It’s now written in HTML 5 which means you can access it on any Internet enabled device.  It can be deployed as a software as a service (SaaS) or purchased for an on premise deployment.  Dynamics AX is now called Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations Enterprise Edition. Dynamics NAV will also be available as a SaaS or on premise solution in the 2nd quarter of 2018.  It’s name is Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations Business Edition.   This article is still very helpful but it does not include the latest features for either product.  Contact us to find out which Edition is right for your business.

Dynamics NAV and Dynamics AX deliver two fully integrated, highly scalable ERP software solutions especially designed for companies planning to expand locally or globally. How could you find out which system best suits your organization? The answer is quite simple: by checking the differences that set these products apart from each other. Below is a comprehensive Microsoft Dynamics comparison. A Dynamics NAV versus Dynamics AX review that can help make your choice.

Microsoft Dynamics Comparison

NAV versus AX: Exploring Capabilities

The main difference between these two systems relates to the size of organizations. While NAV includes capabilities appropriate for small- and mid-sized companies, AX can handle extensive operations that usually characterize large organizations. Both solutions provide features capable to support operations in different industries, ranging from manufacturing, distribution and retail to finance and service. However, for a comprehensive Microsoft Dynamics comparison of these two systems to be truly possible, we’ll focus on the functions they provide for certain business areas.

Manufacturing Management

Both systems allow organizations to improve performance by streamlining and automating different operations, tracking costs, gaining better visibility into production and supply chain, and responding quickly to changing market conditions. While Dynamics NAV offers an additional discrete manufacturing management feature, AX provides all the functions an organization may need to manage discrete, process, job shop, mixed mode and lean manufacturing.

Project Management

Focusing on project management more than Dynamics NAV, AX delivers a rich assortment of tools that you can use to efficiently handle multiple projects, regardless of how small or large they are. Assessing production capacities, scheduling and prioritizing tasks, controlling expenses, streamlining project-related accounting processes, running analyses, drafting reports and calculating ROI for each project are easy tasks with AX. NAV includes a few extra functions for managing special jobs, calculating extra costs and planning the resources needed to complete each task.

Financial Management

A Microsoft Dynamics comparison of NAV and AX would be incomplete without talking about financial management. Both systems offer accounting and financial features to help you get up-do-date, comprehensive financial information, monitor financial performance, meet regulatory requirements, reduce the time your employees spend on accounting tasks, optimize cash flow, maximize cash resources and perform multi-currency, cross-border payments between international subsidiaries.

Supply Chain Management

Dynamics NAV and AX propose a series of common supply chain management features for demand planning, warehouse and inventory management, picking and putting away, shipment and cost management, item tracking, substitution and transfer, cycle counting, purchase return order management, requisition management, campaign pricing, analysis and discount, and sales and purchase order management. AX includes a few more features that can be used to manage trade agreements along with RFID, logistics, and product development and quality. Compared to NAV, the supply chain management features included in AX are more complex, thus more suitable for handling complicated supply chain processes.

Sales, Marketing and Service Management

Organizing campaigns based on target audience, recording interactions with customers, sorting contacts into categories according to your own criteria, keeping track of sales opportunities and setting up sales and marketing activities have never been easier. But with Dynamics NAV and AX, you can complete much more, including assigning employees to work orders, managing field personnel, set up notifications, registering and prioritizing service requests, and setting up agreements and prices. Since the main role of this Microsoft Dynamics NAV versus Microsoft Dynamics AX review is to indicate the differences between these two systems, it’s imperative to know that AX includes several auxiliary features for telemarketing management, and marketing and sales force automation.

Human Resources Management

Dynamics NAV makes available functions for basic human resources management, allowing you to handle employee information, sort personnel by skills, education, and union membership, keep track of benefits and record absences. With Dynamics AX, you can complete additional tasks, among which recruiting, performance and compensation management, employee development and training administration are the most essential ones.

Matching the functionality of a system to your organization’s needs and calculating the value it could deliver are not the only things you need to do in order to get the most out of a modern ERP solution. Equally as important is finding a vendor capable to fine-tune the system for optimal performance.

If you want more information on the software and our services, we invite you to get in touch with our friendly advisers at Clients First Business Solutions.  We are a Gold ERP and CSP (Cloud Service Provider).  We focus on manufacturing, supply chain and MRO industries and implement Dynamics 365, AX, NAV and Acumatica.

Email: Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas , or call at 800.331.8382.