Dynamics GP Manufacturing Implementation Options and Support

Aug 29 18:29 2010 Andrew Karasev Print This Article

Formerly this Corporate MRP/ERP application was known as Great Plains Dynamics.  Microsoft Dynamics GP is well positioned to be implemented as MRP platform for small or mid-size production company, where you classify as discrete manufacturer

If you are large manufacturing mill,Guest Posting or if you are engaged in process manufacturing (such as food processing, meat, poultry, mining, diamonds processing) – we recommend you to take a look at Microsoft Dynamics AX (formerly known as Axapta), but for the rest of us Great Plains is good choice.  Let’s come through Great Plains manufacturing implementation and support highlights:
1. Full featured manufacturing suite versus distribution Bill of Materials.  If you do not need such high-end manufacturing functionalities as Floor Capacity Planning, Quality Assurance, etc., we recommend you to look at Distribution BOM module, where you can do simple assembly (including phantom BOMs).  Dynamics GP Bill of Materials module is budget oriented and well positioned for small manufacturing firm
2. When Manufacturing Suite is required.  For mid-size manufacturing facility it is important to automate often complex steps in creating manufacturing order (it often comes from external manufacturing custom system), process it and finally post all the way through General Ledger.  Besides Manufacturing Suite implementation services we recommend you to take a look at Alba Spectrum Workflow and Posting Server, where you can automate “standard” MO processing and route “exceptions” to GP Manufacturing screens for decision maker action (component replacement, backordering, obsolete part)
3. Manufacturing and Barcoding.  Modern production facility often relies on Barcode scanners (parts picking from the bins), inventory restocking (Great Plains Purchase Receipts) and of course, when your make on order item is finally assembled, you fulfill the Sales Order on your warehouse floor via scanning the barcode label.  Those and other barcoding features are available in Dynamics GP ISV barcoding extensions
4. EDI channels in Manufacturing.  Electronic Document Interchange might be an imperative, especially when you are placing your Purchase Orders to Leading Nationwide Distributers.  From your homework you might get the impression that EDI for Dynamics GP is something complex and very expensive.  Well, you should be conservative and expect sales pitch.  Of course, if your EDI module is required to support all the EDI formats (formatted text file, XML) and all the EDI delivery methods (ftp, http post, email).  On the other hand, if all your EDI partners have one or two flavors of the EDI interface and delivery methods – it is probably reasonable to program EDI in precise SQL Select statement
5. Great Plains Manufacturing Support.  If you got your Dynamics GP implemented through relatively expensive nationwide Great Plains Partner (or if these people screwed up the GP implementation) – and now you are in recovery or maintenance mode, there is the time to request support quote or second opinion.  Dynamics GP manufacturing implementation is often associated with complicated data conversion from your legacy production database and application, also often customers like to stay with legacy system and keep ongoing integration to GP manufacturing modules (the most popular is Manufacturing Order integration), especially when Manufacturing in-house programmed system reflects company credo (and possibly business success secrets of the initial entrepreneur)
6. Current Microsoft Dynamics GP version is 2010 (also known as 11.0), however we can support Manufacturing in earlier versions, such as 10.0, 9.0 (these two are supported also by Microsoft Business Solutions, as we write these lines in August 2010), as well as no-longer supported by MBS versions: 8.0, 7.5, 7.0, 6.0, 5.5, 5.0 (you may have earlier versions of Icontrol Manufacturing – in late 1990th Icontrol Manufacturing Suite was acquired by Great Plains Software and put into the foundation of the future Great Plains Manufacturing).  If you are on older version of Dynamics GP Manufacturing, we recommend you to consider upgrade to Dynamics GP version 10.0 (in few months we will begin evaluation of mass upgrade to version 2010/11.0, when we see several service packs released)
7. Switching from Small Business Manufacturing packages to Dynamics GP MA (it might be SAP Business One, Accpac, Platinum, to name a few).  Data migration service is available.  In our opinion the most important in data conversion is planning (measure seven times and cut once), data massage and conversion risk is typically associated with large scale of manufacturing operations, where you cannot stop production (sometimes customers like the idea of pilot project or parallel data entry in Dynamics GP and Legacy Accounting and MRP)
8. Walking away from Great Plains Dynamics GP Manufacturing to larger packages, such as Oracle Applications/eBusiness Suite, SAP, Dynamics AX Axapta.  Dynamics GP MA data export service is recommended, and data could be exported into tab or comma delimited text files, XML, MS Access, MS SQL Server Database (sometimes accountants suggest MS Excel, this is also fine, smile).  And good luck in going public and entering Corporate World, typically associated with big tickets accounting and Corporate ERP packages
9. Manufacturing and Bill of Materials Custom Programming.  We often hear the request, especially from small and mid-size businesses, when they do not need full-scale manufacturing functionality, but rather prefer to have either Inventory Control transactions (typically adjustments) or Bill of Material documents to be modified (or customized in Microsoft Dexterity).  These request are often related to unique (often confidential) production business logic.  We do Great Plains Dexterity programming since 1997 (or 1994, if we count programmers who are no longer with us) and we are very comfortable to help you in Dex code analysis, upgrade, performance optimization, porting legacy GP Dexterity cursors to MS SQL Server Stored Procedures
10. Dynamics GP Manufacturing and Linux/Unix World.  We respect the fact that some (or better to say may) of manufacturing factories and mills deploy mainframes and Unix operating system and applications (often Oracle, Sybase, Progress, etc.).  We also respect the desire of small manufacturing businesses to adopt Linux (it is free and cost efficient, plus such nice features are PHP, Magento ecommerce shopping cart, MySQL).  You should know that Microsoft Dynamics GP is available on Microsoft Windows platform, where database is exclusively MS SQL Server (2008, 2005, 2000 7.0 and earlier depending on the version, legacy Great Plains Dynamics was available in Pervasive SQL 2000/Btrieve and Ctree/Faircom including Macintosh version).  In our experience we saw many customers where Linux/PHP/MySQL platforms were integrated to Dynamics GP via Integration Manager, eConnect, direct cross-platform SQL stored procedures
11. Dynamics GP Manufacturing Reporting.  As Great Plains Dynamics resides in MS SQL Server, it is open to such industry reporting tools as SSRS (Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services), Crystal Reports, MS Access Forms and Reports, Excel Reporting, or virtually any ODBC compliant reporting tool.  We are happy to help you with Manufactured items barcode label printing
12. Vintage Great Plains Manufacturing support.  We see reasonably large number of customers, who are on Great Plains Accounting for DOS, Windows or Mac (typically deployed on Btrieve DB platform).  Great Plains Accounting was a predecessor of Great Plains Dynamics for Windows and Mac operating systems (released in earlier 1990th).  We support all the versions of GPA and we are happy to provide upgrade quote and service all the way up to the Dynamics GP version 2010/11.0.  There are some myths about Great Plains Accounting limitations and restrictions to only WindowsNT 4.0 and Novell platforms, please be aware that we can move you to Windows 2003 Server or even 2008 (the important point is – it should be 32 bit versions, not 64)
13. Dynamics GP Manufacturing and Java/EJB.  For small manufacturers we believe that such technologies as JDBC/ODBC bridge should work.  If you are working for nationwide manufacturing company, you may also go all the way down to the native Java DB access drivers and have them talk to Microsoft SQL Server (where Dynamics GP Dynamics, and Companies databases are residing)
14. How to call or contact us?  We are available via Nationwide 866 number: 1-866-528-0577, or feel free to email us help@albaspectrum.com  By the nature of our consulting business we serve you USA, Canada, Mexico nationwide and internationally.  Local service is available in Michigan (Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, Benton Harbor, Muskegon, Grand Rapids, Holland, South Haven, Grand Haven), Chicago, IL, San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange County, CA, Houston, TX

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About Article Author

Andrew Karasev
Andrew Karasev

Andrew Karasev, Alba Spectrum 1-866-528-0577, help@albaspectrum.com  http://www.albaspectrum.com  Information portal Pegas Planet http://www.albaspectrum.com  Andrew is Great Plains Dynamics Certified Master and holds MCSE and MCDBA certifications as well as Microsoft MVP 2006-2010 in Dynamics GP product line

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