As Bob the Builder says: “Can we build it? Yes we can”.
Let’s try to answer that question in Dynamics AX.
There are two inquires we can use, Max report as finished, and a master planning Explosion.
Let’s start with Max report as finished. Note that on the item master form, on the Engineer Action tab there are two very similarly named buttons. ‘Report as finished’ and ‘Max. report as finished’:
‘Report as finished’ is a processing button. It lets you create a BOM journal which receives your finished goods item into inventory and consumes components. I’ve heard it described as ‘order-less production’, and I’ve also heard is described in much less flattering terms – but that’ll have to be the subject of another post.
The other option Released products > Engineer > Process > Max. report as finished is an inquiry form. Click on the button and you’ll see:
That top line shows me the current item and tells me that I currently have 6 on hand in my default production receipt warehouse, and I have enough components available to make 607 more.
The last component (D002) is actually a sub-assembly – you can see that on the Tree view:
Change that Explosion option to ‘Always’ and you’ll see its components as well:
So we’re getting useful information here, but there are a couple of issues with this form. Let’s take a close look at that item which is actually limiting our build here (M0002):
There’s no option on the form to do this, but let’s go look at its on-hand inventory:
This is showing that we have inventory in other warehouses.
A setup I come across quite often is that components are received into a main stores warehouse but are consumed out of a production warehouse (representing a staging area). In that scenario the Max report as finished form isn’t really any use – mostly we’re not interested in what’s available in our staging area, we want to see what’s available in our main warehouse.
That on-hand display is also showing that although I have 607 ‘Available physical’ I have open demand orders (presumably other production orders, but they could be sales orders) for 341, so actually I really only have 266 available for my D0001 production if I start it today, and I don’t want to mess up any other orders.
So let’s turn to our other option, Master planning > Inquires > Explosion. To run this we need a sales order or a production order. I’m going to use a production order. I’ve created a production order for 500 off D0001, and, most importantly I’ve scheduled the production order (Inquires > Explosion won’t work on a ‘Created’ production order). Production control > Common > Production orders > All production orders > View > Requirements > Explosion:
Our explosion principle is ‘Down’ when we open this form from a production order, which means we see the supply tree. ‘Up’ means we see where the demand is coming from. (Open the Inquires > Explosion from a planned purchase order and the default principle is ‘Up’ and you see the demands that generated the planned purchase order).
Incidentally that runs counter to the APICS ‘Upstream’ = towards our suppliers, and ‘Downstream’ = towards our customers, convention; but you get that on the related ‘Multi-level pegging inquiry.
Note that we’re working in a Master plan and have the option to re-generate the Inquires > Explosion. If we choose that Update option the master planning net requirements calculation is performed for each item in the tree.
Also notice that now we’re getting quite a different impression of our component and sub-assembly availability.
In summary, Max report as finished:
- Doesn’t show on-hand available in re-filling warehouses
- Doesn’t take other open demands into account (expect for reservations)
- Is tucked away on the item form
- But can be run without creating a dummy order
Inquires > Explosion
- Is a ‘proper’ multi-level supply and demand review, takes all supplies and demands into account
- Is accessible from the sales order line and production order forms
- But does require an order, so can’t be used as an ad-hoc inquiry
So IMHO neither option’s perfect. (I think I’d like to use up one of my 8 Desert Island customisations here), and I also yearn for a convention I saw in the AX 2009 Lean manufacturing module: a Green / Red flag. A Kanban which could be started got a green flag. A Kanban with component shortages got a red flag.