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Alba Spectrum Dynamics GP Supply Chain Management Add-Ons

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Andrew Karasev

Joined: 03 Aug 2006
Posts: 1505

PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 4:51 pm    Post subject: Alba Spectrum Dynamics GP Supply Chain Management Add-Ons Reply with quote

Alba Spectrum Dynamics GP Supply Chain Management Add-Ons: WMS, Barcoding, EDI, Manufacturing Workflow

One of the key elements of SCM theory is the concept of Warehouse Management System, where you open your Corporate ERP application forms and transactions to barcoding technology. There are various definitions of SCM, some of them also emphasize manufacturing and parts restocking and in-time delivery, others are more centered around scheduling packages to end customers and reordering merchandise for delivery (as in generic distribution oriented business). In this small publication we would like to suggest balanced approach, honoring all the SCM definitions and how Supply Chain operations could be implemented or integrated in such mid-market Corporate ERP application as Microsoft Dynamics GP (formerly known as Great Plains Dynamics):

1. Some of the SCM definitions, given in Wikipedia. First one “Supply Chain Management is the systemic, strategic coordination of the traditional business functions and the tactics across these business functions within a particular company and across businesses within the supply chain, for the purposes of improving the long-term performance of the individual companies and the supply chain as a whole (Mentzer et. al., 2001)” (we like this one as a good example of staying on the theoretical side and giving the option to project that kind of definition to such areas as Manufacturing, Distribution, Logistics, Consignment, Warehouse Management and Barcoding ground technology). And here is the second one, where Manufacturing and Production, plus MRP are emphasized: “Supply chain management (SCM) is the management of a network of interconnected businesses involved in the ultimate provision of product and service packages required by end customers (Harland, 1996).[1] Supply Chain Management spans all movement and storage of raw materials, work-in-process inventory, and finished goods from point of origin to point of consumption (supply chain).”. If you are student, who is interested in studying SCM course in conjunction to such Corporate ERP applications as Microsoft Dynamics GP, this is good paper to glance at. For the rest of us, let’s review practical aspects of Supply Chain Management for Great Plains

2. Warehouse Management System, or WMS. This is subset of SCM, where you typically review three components: Sales Order Fulfillment, Inventory Restocking and Inventory Adjustments (including transfer from one location to another). When you come to practical WMS software selection for Dynamics GP you have to choose philosophically on either external self sufficient stand alone Warehouse Management System, or pick WMS extension for Dynamics GP. There are pluses and minuses of these two approaches. To the pluses of External WMS – it has large number of installations, its business logic is very rich and you can have more options in business processes automation, it supports broader list of barcode scanners and probably has more advanced level of technical support. There are some minuses to consider, as well – it is typically more expensive, it has certain level of Distribution business logic duplication (comparing to Dynamics GP Sales Order Processing, Purchase Order Processing and Inventory Control modules), it requires separate phase of WMS integration implementation. WMS extensions, in their turn work directly out of Dynamics GP tables and extend direct transactions in Great Plains. This fact eliminates the need for integration phase; there is no need to pay twice for WMS logic. There are some minuses, to be aware – extensions probably have smaller number of installations USA, Canada and Worldwide (as they are apparently committed to just one Corporate ERP platform – Great Plains Dynamics GP)

3. Electronic Document Interchange. EDI definitely improve SCM processes as they automate Purchase Order as well as placing Sales Order. There are full featured professional EDI add-ons for Dynamics GP, where all or most of the EDI protocols are available and supported. As alternative, more budget oriented approach you may consider to deploy less powerful EDI solutions, that just do what you need. From our side we recommend you to consider even further scale down, where you do EDI parsing in precisely formatted SQL Select statement (saved into text file or XML)

4. Manufacturing improvements. We also recommend for smaller or even mid-size customers with Dynamics GP discrete Manufacturing Suite implemented to simplify Manufacturing bill of materials entry, processing and final posting all the way to General Ledger. Alba Spectrum Posting and Workflow Server for version 2010/11.0, 10.0 and 9.0 allow you post all sorts of GP batches, including manufacturing and it allow you to have pre-posting workflow with Dexterity Sanscript scripts, DLL procedures called out, Exe applications with parameters, etc.

5. Barcoding with Microsoft Dynamics GP. Obviously it is available in Warehouse Management System or Extensions. If you have retail outlets, instead for opening Dynamics GP screens for POS transactions, we rather recommend to deploy professional RMS application, such as Microsoft Retail Management System (or Microsoft RMS), where all the possible POS devises are supported

6. Electronic Commerce, especially in its B2B (Business-to-Business) scenario is good candidate to be included into Supply Chain Management theory. B2B ecommerce is modern way and competitor to legacy EDI protocols. eCommerce shopping cart (we recommend you to stick to such industry leaders as Magento/PHP and ASP.Net Storefront), is typically transferred as Dynamics GP Sales Order or Invoice with customer deposit (if you require immediate payment by Credit Card) or as sale on account (where customer is your business partner and you will have the way to mail invoice and collect based on the payment terms)

7. Some words about older Great Plains Dynamics versions and SCM. If you think that you got the budget to rush into Supply Chain Management World, we recommend you to update your Dynamics GP to current version 2010/11.0 (as it is current in September 2010) or at least version 10.0. In our opinion, the cost of version upgrade and even paying all the fees associated with the process of being reenrolled into Microsoft Business Solutions Dynamics GP annual enhancement program is fraction of the cost of SCM implementation

8. If you have one of the custom SCM applications implemented and integrated with legacy Great Plains version (likely in Microsoft Access, or earlier versions of MS SQL Server: 6.5, 7.0 or 2000). We certainly respect your commitment and ready to support your Great Plains. In fact, our company supports all the versions of Great Plains ever released, obviously Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010/11.0, 10.0, 9.0, 8.0, 7.5, Great Plains Dynamics Select and eEnterprise on MS SQL Server 7.5, 7.0, 6.0, 5.5, 5.0, 4.0, 3.2, Great Plains Dynamics on Pervasive Sql Server 2000/Btrieve or Ctree/Faircom: 7.5, 7.0, 6.0, 5.5, 5.0, 4.0, 3.2, plus Great Plains Accounting for DOS, Windows and Macintosh 9.5, 9.2, 9.1 and earlier

9. Great Plains Dexterity Supply Chain Management Custom Programming. In some cases it is better to consider Dynamics GP SCM related customization, versus to purchasing high priced WMS application, especially when you only plan to use several percent of the available business logic. It is important to be sure that you have full control over Dexterity add-on source code to secure your future version upgrades and possible transition to alternative ERP platform

10. Integration Manager and SCM. In Supply Management Scenarios you often cross the border of your ERP application and do custom coding in such peripheral systems as MS Access, Linux/PHP/MySQL, custom Oracle Database, MS Excel Portal (the set of linked Excel worksheets). In Dynamics GP the easiest way to integrate these external systems is via Advanced ODBC query (where you can base it on MS SQL Server Linked Server related cross platform Select Statement of View), or in even more common case on CSV or tab delimited text file, exported from UNIX/Linux/Oracle

11. International Implementations aspects. Here you need to be familiar with Corporate ERP localization points. They include local country language support in Dynamics GP user interface (in general Dynamics GP is recommended in English speaking countries, or in the countries where English is the language of the business: USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, India, Philippines, Oceania, Taiwan, Singapore, most of African countries), Spanish speaking Central, South America and Caribbean basin. Also Dynamics GP is available in Arabic (Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia). Second aspect of ERP localization is about compliance to the local country business related legislation. Please, be aware that Dynamics GP is not localized in such countries and regions as China, Russia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Greece, Turkey

12. Well, we covered a lot of the topics and now it is time to give you our contact info. Please call us 1-866-528-0577, email us We service you USA, Canada and Internationally via short visits onsite and following web sessions and phone conferences. Local service is available in Western Michigan: Kalamazoo, Benton Harbor, Grand Rapids, Saint Joseph, New Buffalo, Muskegon, South Haven, Holland, Grand Haven, Ludington; Chicagoland, Northern Indiana, Southern California: Los Angeles, Irvine (Orange County), San Diego, Houston Texas

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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