Item requirement statistics as a vendor forecast in Dynamics AX

Apologies for not having a snappy title to this blog, but we’re not using snappy in the Dynamics AX world at the moment. “Microsoft Dynamics AX 365 for Operations” doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue does it. “MDO” anyone?

This week I was running a master planning workshop with a purchasing department, and that got me interested in taking a look at the Item requirements statistics form. I wanted to see if it has been converted into AX7, and sure enough our friends at Microsoft have done the business. Master planning > Inquires and reports > Master planning > Item requirement statistics:


There are a lot of useful display options on this form.

Firstly, we can show/hide Size, Colour, Style and Site using the good ol’ Inventory > Display dimensions options.

Next we can filter or display information by Item number or Item group; and Vendor account or vendor group. For instance, here’s the display for all items for one vendor:


“But wait, there’s more” as they say in those terrible TV adverts. The ‘Period’ selection is most useful: Total, Quarter, Month, Week, Date. Here’s what it looks like by Month:


(The ‘Period’ displayed by week is a bit cryptic, but still usable I think).

Finally, I thought that if you ticked the ‘By planned order type’ checkbox you’d get separate rows for purchase orders and planned purchase orders. But when that didn’t happen I did a bit more digging, and imagine my disappointment gentle reader when I realised that this form isn’t summarising the net requirements transactions (which would show purchase orders), it’s actually summarising planned orders. So, no purchase order information. To get that you’re going to have to use a master planning OLAP cube.

Here’s the AX 2012 version of this form:

Master planning > Inquires > Statistics > Item requirement statistics


And AX 2009:


Still, it’s really easy to setup the form to show your planned purchases by Vendor, and you can send this to the vendor by exporting to Excel.

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Firm a planned production order with marking in Dynamics AX

So this came up the other day – and caught me out. We were reviewing the master planning setup for a make to order (MTO) product.

There are two ways of processing MTO items in Dynamics AX: the first is to create the production order from the sales order line:


From the sales order line choose Product and supply > New > Production order, and the system opens the ‘Create production order’ form, and you’ll notice that the production order is being raised with reference to the sales order:


Obviously, Reference number is the sales order number, less obviously, Reference lot is the sales order line.

After you’ve created the production order you can see the sales order reference on the production order:


(Don’t forget to schedule the production order after you’ve created it.)

Incidentally, back on the sales order line notice that the inventory transaction status is now showing as ‘Ordered reserved’, and once the product is received from the sales order it’s immediately reserved, and the sales order line inventory transaction’s status becomes ‘Reserved physical’:


Also, if the item is batch or serial controlled, the batch or serial numbers added to the production order are immediately transferred to the sales order. However, note that this process will only work if the production order receipt and sales order issue are the same warehouse.

The other way this can be setup, is to use master planning to create a planned production order. For a make to order item you will use a Coverage group with a coverage code of ‘Requirement’:


So, I create another sales order line, and I’ll run master planning, and that creates a planned production order:


Now before I firm this planned production order, I’m just going to back up and point out a bit of setup. In the Inventory management parameters, I’ve not ticked ‘Reserve ordered items’:


Now that little tick box has been the subject of its own post, here so I’ll not labour it now. But notice that it didn’t stop the sales order line reserving from the production order above, and nor will it below.

I’ve set my MTO product up with a simple, a very simple, bill of material:


And, as luck would have it, I don’t have any stock on hand of that component, but there is an open purchase order due to be received:


So back to my planned production order – I’ll firm it (or pedantically one I created earlier), and on the Setup tab I’ll requested Extended marking:


Although you’ll find this setting on the Master planning parameters, the system actually uses the last setting you used on the Firming form.

As before, the production order shows the sales order reference:


And also the sales order line shows the production order reference:


So far so good – but quite un-expectedly the component is also marked to its incoming purchase order:


And to support the marking, the inventory transaction on the purchase order line is split:


Of course this is a simple example – in practice this creates problems if there is a simple common raw material (like zinc, or plastic) you can quickly end up with hundreds of additional inventory transactions, or you can find that the system’s marking to purchase orders when you have on-hand – but the on-hand is pegged to safety stock.

So as I said at the beginning, this came up when we were looking at master planning, and the company had adopted this second process (firming planned production orders with Extended marking) as opposed to creating production orders from the sales order lines. That’s understandable – you’d expect your production planners to be working from a planned order form, not from sales orders.

However, neither process is perfect. The major problem with relying on master planning to create a planned production orders is that if there is ever on-hand inventory of the make to order item that isn’t physically reserved to sales order (for instance if you process a sales order return, or cancel a sales order and don’t cancel the corresponding production order and end up making something) then master planning just doesn’t create the requisite planned production order.

So actually in a true make to order scenario I like to rely on a customisation that creates the production orders automatically (and schedules them) – typically when the sales order is confirmed.

I confess that I have no idea why in the second scenario the component is being marked – if I find more information I’ll update this post. I’d also be interested to receive any comments if this has caused you problems in your environment.

Use the Buyer group on production items in Dynamics AX

Unless your manufacturing process is very simple you’re going to want to categorise your production orders in some way – and the classic way of doing this is to use the ‘Production pool’. Product information management > Common > Released products > Edit > Engineer fast tab:


(Production pools are setup at Production control > Setup > Production > Production pools).

The Production pool is on the Production order list grid, and can be used to find, filter and sort your production orders. When you create a production order the Production pool on the production order is inherited from the item, but you can change it if necessary (for instance if you’re creating a re-work order or using an alternate production method). Production control > Common > Production orders > All production orders > New > Production order:


All well and good, but the production pool isn’t visible on Planned production orders. Production control > Common > Production orders > Planned production orders:


So here’s a simple solution – use the Buyer group on the item (in the Purchase fast tab):


(The Buyer group is setup at Inventory management > Setup > Inventory > Buyer groups).

Seems counter intuitive – but it works because the Buyer group is a field on the planned order, and obviously can be added to the Planned production order list grid. On the Planned order form just click the down arrow next to the Filter and select More…


And then add the Buyer group:


Giving:


Of course, if you’re using Buyer group like this, the sensible thing is to drag that column over to the left, and hide other columns that you are using.

Incidentally – don’t forget the ‘Edit in grid’ option on the Released products form. With a little bit of personalisation you’ll get:


Simple as.