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Dynamics GP Warehouse Management Automation Highlights

Microsoft Dynamics GP, often also referred by its historical name Great Plains Dynamics, has numerous third party modules and add-ons, developed and supported by Microsoft Dynamics ISV partner network.

If you are in the industry, where automated Warehouse operations are required, we recommend you to review two options: external standalone WMS with rich functionality and complete list of laser barcode scanners and devises support with integration connectors to major Corporate ERP applications, such as Microsoft Dynamics GP, Axapta, SAP, Oracle Financials.  Second approach is Dynamics GP Warehouse Management extension module, available through Great Plains ISV channel.  Both approaches have their pluses and minuses, we would like to review them in this small publication.  We’ll try to keep appropriate balance between being too technical (to be understood by programmers and IT professionals only) and being too functional (where this is only for company owners, accounting department managers):

1. External Warehouse Management System.  These systems are available from few nationwide Supply Chain Management and Barcoding automation software development companies.  In order to keep high level of sales, these companies are in the business model where the WMS solution is completely autonomous and it has very rich Warehouse automation functionality and long list of features.  We would not be in the position to recommend one vendor over another, but if you initiate new search in Google, Yahoo or Bing (Microsoft MSN) with Warehouse Management System keywords, you will get all the list of these companies.  Now, here is what you should be aware of.  External WMS is very reliable, as it has large number of USA, Canada nationwide installations and internationally, where most if not all the possible software bugs were already addressed (and in timely manner reported by customers or internal beta testers and QA engineers).  The external WMS typically integrates with your Accounting back office, or Corporate ERP/MRP application via connectors.  Sometimes we hear concerns from existing Dynamics GP customers, who decided to take external WMS route, that connectors are not very reliable and WMS to Great Plains integration phase takes too much time, not really initially budgeted, and even leading to pilot modes and custom programming to achieve supposedly standard integration goals.  Additional drawback would be the fact, that parallel functionality is already available in the majority of Corporate ERP systems, namely: Sales Order Processing Order Fulfillment, POP Purchase Receipt as Merchandise restocking, Inventory Transfers, Adjustments and Cycle Counts.  In Dynamics GP, in fact, you have the whole set of so-called Distribution modules, where all the above logics and plus a lot of additional features are available for the implementation and setup.  Why would you pay second time for the same business logic in external Warehouse Management System?  And then probably for the integration of the parallel type of documents to push WMS transactions to Great Plains.  If you think that these reasons are good enough, let’s move on to Dynamics GP Warehouse Management Extensions

2. Great Plains Warehouse Management Extensions work directly out of GP forms and DB tables, so the integration is not required.  There is no need for integration phase and testing.  Additional pluses are software licenses saving (you do not pay twice for the same functionality, as you would do in the case of purchasing and implementing external WMS solution).  Also, at this time, external WMS could cost you hundred thousand and plus US dollars, while extensions might fit the budget and be reasonably below, let’s say k$50, and even less, if you are smaller organization.  Our Dynamics GP Consultants are ready to help you with WMS extensions implementation and user training.  Our approach is very open to your needs and requirements, for example we consider every Warehouse Management and Dynamics GP implementation with challenging requirements as Solution, versus frozen in the box software product.  Our software developers have access to both Microsoft Dynamics GP source code and Warehouse Management System extensions code base, and are comfortable to modify business logic in both parts if required.  These advantages could not be necessary considered as something like critical success factors (in the traditional business consulting theory), however they might help you to better understand your options in Barcoding for Dynamics GP.  We are also happy to provide second opinion in Dynamics GP implementation in Distribution, Wholesale, Retail, Supply Chain Management, Manufacturing, eCommerce environments

3. Dynamics GP WMS customization scenarios.  Most of our Supply Chain Management, Retail, Consignment, Wholesale, Distribution, ecommerce, Logistics customers requested moderate or even high level of custom programming.  We maintain Dynamics GP Software Development Factory to address all the requests.  There are customers, who are contacting us to help them to switch from external WMS implementation limbo to more straight forward approach with Dynamics GP WMS extensions

4. Dynamics GP and Barcode Laser Scanning.  Theoretically each GP form, where you have editable fields, is open to barcode scanners, especially the old ones with serial interface, or new and cheap ones, USB compliant.  It is possible to do barcode scanning directly in Dynamics GP native user interface, but it might be too complicated, and especially time consuming for your Warehouse workers.  Imagine the scenario, where you have to provide each worker with light weight notebook (possibly netbook) with USB barcode scanner attached.  But this is not all – you will have to train the worker to open relevant Dynamics GP form, SOP transaction entry for example, tab through or use the mouse to position the cursor over the scrolling window items ID field. At this point the worker can click barcode scanner button to scan and enter Item ID field

5. Barcode Scanning, Great Plains Dynamics in Retail Business.  In this specific environment you should consider such POS and Retail applications as Microsoft RMS (Retail management System), Counterpoint, Compass POS extension module for Microsoft Dynamics GP.  Barcoding is typically handled by POS applications

6. Complete Automation, or opening your B2B or B2C ecommerce or EDI transactions for Warehouse Management Fulfillment.  Dynamics GP eCommerce add-on allows you to integrate in wizard driven manner such shopping cart platforms as Magento, ASP.Net Storefront and others.  eCommerce web site could be hosted in Linux/PHP or in Microsoft Windows .Net platform, this is your preference

7. To request support call, please call us 1-866-528-0577, help@albaspectrum.com We need to discuss your cards in order to recommend you the best solutions, which is not contingent to our preferences.  We serve you USA/Canada nationwide via remote support (web sessions and phone/skype conferences).  Local service is available in Western Michigan, Chicagoland, Southern California (LA, Orange County, San Diego)Health Fitness Articles, Houston area of the state 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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