Dynamics GP in Logistics and Distribution Industry

Dec 13 11:10 2010 Andrew Karasev Print This Article

Modern Corporate ERP systems typically include Supply Chain Management functionality, which could be deployed in the implementation for wholesale trade, distribution oriented company

In this small paper we will review the set of modules and their implementation specific,Guest Posting assuming that you plan to deploy Microsoft Dynamics GP, formerly this Corporate MRP, ERP, Accounting system was known as Great Plains Dynamics.  Dynamics GP has Distribution suite of modules, including Sales Order Processing, Purchase Order Processing, Inventory Control, Bill of Materials and small modules and extensions to the ones, mentioned above.  Relatively recent trend in Corporate ERP applications (probably solidified in late 1990th) is Supply Chain Management theory and its realization.  In APICS dictionary you can find the following definition of the SCM: "design, planning, execution, control, and monitoring of supply chain activities with the objective of creating net value, building a competitive infrastructure, leveraging worldwide logistics, synchronizing supply with demand and measuring performance globally."  Distribution industry is diversified and the requirements vary dramatically, plus often the company engaged in nationwide wholesale business has its own culture and probably business secrets (or maybe better say proprietary unique business procedures and processes).  Let’s review key functionalities in the Distribution set of modules and how you could setup and implement these modules in your Logistics:

1. Merchandise Replenishment (Restocking).  Obviously you have Purchasing Department, which is trained to use POP module, and in some cases Business Portal Requisition Management module (with Purchase requests and approvals hierarchy).  But, modern restocking might require such automations as EDI (Electronic Document Interchange channel for your Suppliers), as well as Receiving and simultaneous entering the Purchase Receipts directly on the warehouse floor (usually it is Barcoding based routine, in some cases, especially for really unique and expensive items, you may require newer technology trends, such as RFID tags and readers)

2. Sales Order Fulfillment, typically also referred as Allocation on the Warehouse floor.  Here you usually open Sales Order Processing form for barcode laser scanning (or in more exotic cases to RFID).  In Dynamics GP SOP document (Invoice, Sales Order) you can decide to do so-called manual item line allocation (where allocation is triggered by your warehouse worker, who scans the barcode label in the warehouse in his/her picking and packing routine).  SOP Fulfillment could also be done via EDI technology, especially in Franchise network, where you do not control Inventory values and quantities at the site of your franchisees (in this scenario EDI channel deploy proprietary formats, often open for new EDI protocols, such as XML based)

3. Transactions within the network of your internal warehouses.  Here you do your normal daily, weekly, monthly routines: moves from one site to another, stock count, deciding on how to categorize returned items (in stock, in repair, damaged, samples, etc.).  Here Barcoding automation is probably the most essential.  Dynamics GP Inventory Control module has this business logic in Inventory Transfer and Adjustment forms (plus Cycle count, based on Inventory quantity adjustment logic)

4. Dynamics GP and Barcoding technology.  First of all, we have to set the expectations – Corporate ERP application is geared to work in Client-Server infrastructure, where such peripheral devices as Barcode Scanner, FRID tag reader, POS terminals are not supported directly out of the box.  However dominant ERP, MRP and Accounting platforms (including Dynamics GP Great Plains) open their client application or database access via Programming tools (often also referred as Customization or Modification instruments).  In the case of Dynamics GP these are Great Plains Dexterity (user interface control and modification as well as full control over SQL database), eConnect (set of encrypted SQL Stored Procedures, often duplicating Dexterity business logic and scripts, but obviously in SQL Server open technology).  We recommend you to make your homework and look at the options, available through Dynamics GP ISV channel (Add-ons available from Dynamics GP technology partners)

5. Phasing in Distribution modules and their barcoding open implementation – version considerations.  You probably do not expect that Logistics functionality enabling will be at the fraction of the cost, comparing to general Dynamics GP software licenses.  We believe that you have the right feeling that the warehouse automation cost is comparable or exceeds the generic Accounting application software licenses.  Upgrade to the current version (Dynamics GP 2010/11.0 as we write these sentences in December 2010) requires some budget, but it is probably lower substantially, considering upcoming Supply Chain Management project.  If you are acquiring Dynamics GP licenses now, obviously you can skip this paragraph, but when you are on the old version: 1.0, 9.0, 8.0, 7.5, 7.0, 6.0, 5.5, 5.0, 4.0 or earlier, please know that there is the way to upgrade to Dynamics GP 2010/11.0 and you may decide to contact us for the details.  Also, please note that Great Plains Accounting for DOS, Windows (9.5, 9.2 and earlier versions) has also the options to be upgraded all the way to Dynamics GP 2010.  GPA while often referred as “Great Plains” even having some similarities in user interface – in fact its functionality is quite different and you may consider user retraining after or during the upgrade to Dynamics GP phase

6. Some clues to expanding internationally with Microsoft Dynamics GP.  It is obviously good news, that if you own Great Plains licenses, you can install as many companies as you need  (on the same SQL Server) and open then through Citrix or Microsoft Terminal Server to the offices USA, Canada Nationwide and Worldwide without restrictions.  However there is such as concept as Corporate ERP localization, including local language and business regulations (tax code and government reporting) compliance.  Dynamics GP is “localized” in USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, UK and most of the English speaking countries (including Africa, South East Asia, Oceania, where English is the language of business).  There are several flavors of Dynamics GP localizations in Arabic speaking countries, including Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia.  Spanish speaking Latin America is also covered (except Brazil, where they are speaking in Brazilian Portuguese).  For the rest of the World we recommend you to weigh the pluses and minuses of implementing non localized ERP system and probably consider local or regional alternatives: Dynamics AX Axapta, SAP Business One… (especially in such regions as Russia, China, European Union)

7. Please call us: 1-866-528-0577. 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), Houston area of the state of Texas

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About Article Author

Andrew Karasev
Andrew Karasev

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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