Inventory trace in Dynamics AX 2012 R2

I’m lucky, I spend most of my time working on implementation projects, which means that I’ve been working in Dynamics AX 2012 since it was released, but last week I visited one of our customer sites and they’ve been using AX 2009 since 2010. Wow –there’s a lot of functionality missing! Process industries; Warehouse management; Transport management; Trade allowance management – they’ve all become staples for me, including this function: Inventory trace.

Now you’ll probably know that an Inventory trace function has been around in Dynamics AX since, well forever. The scenario here is typically a food company – and we’re wanting to track the batches of ingredients and raw materials that have made it into a batch of finished goods product. I’m in the demo hyper-v image and I’m using the ‘Contoso Orange Juice’ USP2 company. If we look at a typical finished goods product like Apple Cheesecake and look at its inventory transactions we’ll see some production receipts and some sales order issues tracked by batch.

Select an issue (for example) and click on Inventory > Trace:

There’s some pretty self-explanatory setup options on the Setup tab, including a direction: forwards or backwards. Forwards is forwards from a raw material to a finished goods – obviously here we’re wanting to trace backwards from our finished goods to the raw materials. Click on the little + sign to expand the tree (sorry I don’t know a short-cut to expand the whole tree) and we quickly see the ‘Production’ production order receipt for this batch and the ‘Production line’ production order issues of raw materials ingredients and intermediates. You also quickly get back to the purchase order receipts of your raw materials:

Right-click > View details will take to each individual inventory transaction – and from there you can start another trace – but of course, now, there’s an easier way

A new function was introduced in Dynamics AX 2012 R2 CU6 and it’s the Inventory trace form Inventory management > Inquires > Tracing > Item tracing:

Here I’ve opened the form and typed in my item number and batch. This form does require an item number and a batch number. There’s the same Trace direction option on this form as we saw above, but this time it’s more to do with the way the trace tree is displayed than the actual trace direction. So as you can see above, you’ve only got one option – click on the ‘Trace’ button:

So our tree is displayed as above – but we’re in a much richer work-bench style form here with lots of useful functions. First up is the Batches button:

Up pops a list of all of the batches involved in the supply chain tree, and from this form [if you have the appropriate security profile] you can immediately lock down any other batches by changing their Batch disposition code.

Obviously the supply chain tree can quickly get complex. Fear not. Click on the Transaction button and all of the inventory transactions in the tree are presented in the familiar list grid:

Of course you can filter in grid – or export to Excel and filter.

The Customers button gives you the list of customers you’re just about to ring:

Here you’ve got instant access to their contact details and sales history.

Shipped sales order lists the inventory transactions related to sales:

But you probably went to ‘Not shipped sales orders’ and got on the phone to the warehouse first:

I’m sure you’ve got the idea by now – just one more thing to show off. The ‘Shipped to customers’ report:

Actually we found that was one thing we could improve on – we were working on an implementation where all export sales orders went through off-shore distribution companies, so the first time we printed this report the only customer details we saw related to the intercompany sales from the manufacturing company – fortunately it was a simple modification to add the ultimate end customer details from the selling company into this report.

Tucked away at the bottom of the form are a series of fast-tabs that give you lots more useful information – this time related to whichever inventory transaction you select in the tree.

In this simple example I’ve traced back from a finished goods batch – you can trace forwards from a raw material batch – or start in the middle with an intermediate or coproduct. You can even enter the vendor batch number and trace forward form that (providing that you registered the vendor batch number when you did the purchase receipt as explained here ).

If you’re interested in this topic you can find a great demo script on PartnerSource – search for “AX 2012 Solution demos” and/or “SCM demo script – Item Tracing” (or get your partner to do that for you – that’s your reseller partner, not your spouse). If you’ve got a log-in to PartnerSource the page you want is here.