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Dynamics GP and Barcoding Technology or How Forms Could Be Enabled for Barcode Scanning

Modern Corporate ERP system is typically not something standalone, it is integrated with your manufacturing facility, warehouse, ecommerce, EDI, it is part of your Supply Chain Management, or you name it

Barcode scanners are driving force for modern distribution, wholesale and retail oriented enterprise.  In this small publication we would like to review how such ERP and MRP system as Great Plains Dynamics GP could be enabled for barcoding:

1. The simplest way to introduce barcode scanning for Microsoft Dynamics GP or any other Corporate ERP application is to attach something like USB compliant scanner directly to your computer, where you run ERP client application.  Typically all the documents, such as POS transactions, Inventory Counts, Purchase Receipts, that you need for Barcode automation should be available in most of leading Corporate ERP application brands.  Let’s assume that you need to expose Sales Transaction Entry in Dynamics GP, open it in user interface, enter document type, number, customer ID, etc., and move on to entering items.  Here, position your cursor on Item ID field and now instead of entering alphanumeric code for the item number, just scan it with your barcode scanner.  The code should show up in the field, as USB compliant barcode scanner works similar to computer keyboard, but obviously a way faster.  If you are happy with this approach and you can train your POS cashiers to work with Dynamics GP SOP Transaction Entry screen (or your warehouse workers to carry small netbook on wireless connection with USB barcode scanner connected) – great and happy with barcoding.  However the rest of the auditorium will tell us – wait a minute, we need to process thousand barcode label scans per hours on the warehouse floor or in our Point of Sale cash registers and what you are suggesting is not acceptable and will not provide required performance.  We agree with you, this was just a probing paragraph, where we are talking about one of the options, and probably not the one implemented in the majority of cases.  Look, typical Corporate ERP application is not something created specifically for Barcoding and Warehouse Management automation, it is rather targeted to be Accounting, Financial Reporting, Sales, Purchasing, Inventory Control, Human Resources/Payroll and Manufacturing.  This is why we recommend you as the first approach try to cover barcoding in external systems with integration to Great Plains Dynamics: POS, Warehouse Management System, Supply Chain Management

2. Barcoding in external systems: POS, WMS, SCM.  Let’s assume that you would like to implement barcoding for your POS terminals in the retail stores, integrated with Dynamics GP.  There are special POS systems, with reasonable functionality to cover such Retail outlet routines as POS, Store Purchases, Merchandise Cycle Count, Items On Sale Campaigns, Special Pricing for on account customers, Credit Card Processing with advanced support for Barcoding technology.  In our opinion it is better to implement something like Microsoft RMS (Retail Management System), or Counterpoint (POS application coming from Radiant) where you possible barcoding needs are already addressed and with reliable interface to Microsoft Dynamics GP.  We think that Microsoft RMS has more advanced integration options, you can either choose to implement standard integration, supported by Microsoft Business Solutions, or pick more advanced one with integration on the Sales Order Processing document level, coming from Alba Spectrum

3. Enabling direct Dynamics GP Forms for Barcoding.  If you already have read paragraph #1 and you need something smarter, let’s speculate about modern barcode scanners.  These devises have their own operating system (Windows Mobile for example) and processor.  They are a way more advanced, comparing to cheaper devises, like USB scanners.  And that advancement and complexity leads to the requirement to program special interface.  Let’s try to think this way – barcode scanner with its own processor and OS is capable to scan the whole document (where you may have hundreds or items on the packing slip manifest), prior to uploading it to Dynamics GP in the form of let’s say Purchase Receipt document.  Or, even more powerful barcoding scenario, where you read the whole batch of documents (maybe your suppliers are delivering their trucks to your warehouse in specified hour and would like to scan the whole batch without interruption and then upload in to Dynamics GP Purchase Receipts).  This example should give you an idea.  In order to enable specific Dynamics GP transaction for barcode scanner integration, you need to either do it via external system (see paragraph #2) or be ready to program custom interface.  Custom Barcoding related programming should be done in Great Plains Dexterity (nowadays referred as Microsoft Dexterity).  If you think that the volume of barcoding originated transactions is reasonably low, the other approach to consider is Microsoft Dynamics GP Integration Manager, capable to integrate POS and other Barcode originated transactions, exported into text file (CSV, Tab or custom character delimited) or even via ODBC

4. Barcoding in Warehouse Management System and Dynamics GP.  We’ve already published several publications in 2010 (we are writing these lines in October), where we are comparing external standalone WMS platform with Dynamics GP Warehouse Management Extensions.  Both systems have pluses and minuses, but both of them support barcoding technology

5. Dynamics GP and Supply Chain Management. SCM is the concept which includes such subsets, as Warehouse Management System.  Plus it might include such requirements as just in time delivery (optimized truck routing), conveyer belt in picking and packing, some optimizations in manufacturing (Dynamics GP Manufacturing suite is handling discrete manufacturing business processes)

6. International Environment and how to implement Dynamics GP with Barcoding for Multinational Corporation.  Here you need to understand two concepts, first is Corporate ERP localization (compliance to local country business legislation), and the second one is being translated to local language.  Language compliance should probably be reviewed first, Dynamics GP Dexterity doesn’t support Unicode characters (2 bytes, comparing to ASCII 1 byte), meaning that such languages as Chinese, Japanese, Korean are not really supported (with some exception, take a look at NJ Star offering).  Now Corporate ERP localization.  Dynamics GP is localized in USA, Canada and most of the Spanish speaking Latin America, plus it is available in UK, Australia, New Zealand, OceaniaScience Articles, Africa (English Speaking)

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Andrew Karasev, Great Plains Dynamics GP and eEnterprise Certified Master, Microsoft MVP and consultant with 10 years and plus experience and expertise.  Alba Spectrum, 1-866-528-0577,  If you are thinking to implement Dynamics GP in challenging environment, we recommend you to give us a call.  Our information portal is Pegas Planet

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