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Dynamics GP for Mid-Size Distributor: Implementation, Extensions

Great Plains Dynamics got its new name several years ago – now it is Microsoft Dynamics GP.  Being matured and very flexible mid-market Corporate ERP application, Dynamics GP should be a good fit for challenging requirements in nationwide and international distribution: Warehouse Management System, Electronic Document Interchange, B2B ecommerce, Consignment.  Various industry specific add-ons are available through Dynamics GP ISV channel

In this small paper we would like to give you typical implementation scenario and extensions, often required in distribution industry.  Successful businesses typically have their know-how or trade secrets, often requiring pretty unique ERP related data entry, querying and reporting.  If you recognize your scenario – Dynamics GP has various tools to modify existing or even introduce new business logic : Microsoft Dexterity, Extender, eConnect, Modifier with VBA, Integration Manager, plus it is open to Microsoft Management Reporter, FRx, SSRS, Report Writer, Crystal Reports, Microsoft Access reports, etc.  Let’s move on to the paragraphs:
1. WMS (Warehouse Management System) – this is often the heart of your ERP system in distribution company.  WMS in its turn depends on Barcoding technology.  In GP you already have all or most of the required functionality in Distribution set of modules: Sales Order Processing, Inventory Control, Purchase Order Processing, however WMS is still needed to be chosen and implemented to open SOP, POP and Inventory transactions for barcode scanning.  There is often dilemma in WMS software selection – popular Warehouse Management applications typically duplicate the same or similar distribution logic and then they have connectors or integration modules, to send WMS documents down to the Distribution modules of your preferred ERP.  If you think about the module, you as end customer, have to pay twice for the same logic in ERP and then in WMS, plus you have to budget special integration between the two (to synchronize parallel logics).  We suggest you slightly different approach, our WMS application opens Dynamics GP forms and tables to barcoding – SOP Transaction for WMS fulfillment, POP Purchase Receipt  for Inventory Restocking, and Inventory Adjustment and Transfer for moving merchandize and entering adjustments and inventory cycle counts on the warehouse floor
2. EDI.  There are very powerful Electronic Document Interchange products, supporting all the EDI methods and protocols.  Chances might be high that your EDI needs are pretty basic and you have only one required EDI format to implement and establish EDI documents interchange via FTP.  If this is your situation, we recommend you to purchase very modest EDI extension for Dynamics GP.  If you are making innovations and establishing your own EDI standard for your suppliers or customers (nice XML something for example), your Dynamics GP programmers should be able to follow that new standard and generate the file via precisely formatted SQL Select statement
3. B2B ecommerce in distributions.  Sometimes we see the trend, when Logistics and Distributions companies are trying to deemphasize EDI channels (which they consider as kind of legacy) and favor new technologies, such as Business-to-Business Electronic Commerce for new business partners.  In Dynamics GP you can establish pretty flexible Item pricing and catalogs for customer classes or even for individual customers.  The nice thing about our approach to ecommerce, is the fact, that you can get the order via ecommerce website and immediately send it for picking and packing on the warehouse floor (or even assembly on order) by warehouse worker with barcode scanner with WMS client application
4. Industry Regulation Compliance.  This could be important for distributor in Healthcare, Pharmaceutical, Jewelry, Food processing and delivery on consignment, manufacturing large construction custom objects on order (construction: big bolts, armatures, parts of the bridges, skyscrapers).  In Great Plains you have the option to track your Items and finished goods (as well as parts of your finished good in bill of materials) by Serial and Lot number.  You can also have attachments and comment lines to virtually every master record and transaction, meaning that industry compliance is typically realized on the procedural level and no custom programming is required.  In some cases we recommend to create industry compliance report via one of the popular reporting tools – it is your choice, as you may have preference to use Cristal Reports over Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services – we will help you with data pulling SQL View or Stored Procedure
5. If you are on older version of Dynamics GP, Great Plains Dynamics/eEnterprise.  As general advise – we recommend you to update the version to current (as of September 2010) version 2010/11.0, or at least 10.0, which will be supported for at least several years from now directly by Microsoft Business Solutions.  Such complex processes as Supply Chain Management, WMS, Distributions, Consignments often require Dynamics GP technical consultant help.  If you are on the version, which was released, say 5 years ago, please think about the possible facts, that database platform (such as MS SQL Server 2000, or Btrieve/Pervasive SQL, Ctree) is no longer supported by Dynamics GP generic partners and it is more difficult to find consultant who is comfortable to deal with your urgent technical issue, or required data repair.  If your business undertook downsizing in the past, and you have to stay on your version of Dynamics GP, Great Plains or even Great Plains Accounting for DOS, Windows or Mac – you can count on us, we are known to support all ever released versions of Great Plains
6. Dynamics GP customizations.  Not every Dynamics GP Technology Partner or reseller carries Great Plains Dexterity developers in staff.  If you are facing the need of large, mid-size and even small scale GP coding project, we recommend you to check with your Dynamics GP VAR is they are comfortable with Dynamics GP Dexterity programming.  They might be OK with newer technologies, such as eConnect, Microsoft Visual Studio SDK for GP – but all these new tools still rely on Dexterity objects (especially Dexterity created new tables).  We are carrying Great Plains Dexterity Software development Factory, where or Dexterity coders have access to Dynamics.dic Sanscript source code, meaning that these technicians are capable to track down every piece of Great Plains business logic and how it is programmed in Dexterity procedures and functions
7. Distribution to the international customers.  This is fine with Dynamics GP capabilities, you can setup multicurrency and international companies to enter transactions, plus there is intercompany processing module, where you can post your transactions (in Payable Management and General Ledger) to the targeted company from your Headquarters.  Please, note, however, that we do recommend you to review the options, prior to deciding to implement Dynamics GP for your international subsidiary.  There is such theoretical concept as Corporate ERP localization – it is based on such compliances are local language support and foreign country legislation compliance.  Dynamics GP is localized in USA, Canada (including French speaking Quebec province), UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Spanish speaking Latin America (excluding Brazil, where they speak on Brazilian dialect of Portuguese).  Dynamics GP is also available in Arabic speaking countries, plus in South East Asia, where English is dominant in business negotiations.  Dynamics GP is not localized in such countries as China, Russia, Germany, Brazil, Korea.  Please, give us a call to discuss the options, if you are USA or Canada based multinational corporation
8. How to request additional help?  Please call us 1-866-528-0577, or email us help@albaspectrum.com  We serve you USA, Canada nationwide with initial visits onsite when required and following remote support via web sessions and phone conferences.  Local support is available in Western Michigan, Chicagoland area of the state of Illinois, Southern CaliforniaPsychology Articles, Houston and Dallas Area of Texas

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Andrew Karasev, http://www.albaspectrum.com 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, help@albaspectrum.com.  If you are thinking to implement Dynamics GP in challenging environment, we recommend you to give us a call.  Our information portal is http://www.pegasplanet.com Pegas Planet 



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