We’re working with a number of customers who want to use the new Advanced Warehousing functionality provided in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 – but not at initial go-live. For instance they don’t have mobile data terminals in their warehouses, and although that forms part of their long-term strategy for implementing Dynamics AX, it isn’t required immediately.
So this blog documents an experiment I conducted to see if it’s feasible to set an item up as WMI, and then later convert it to WMS.
So I started with the standard demo image and disabled the WMII licence key. WMS and WMII are incompatible and if you’ve used the standard demo image you’ll have seen the warnings:
First note that an item is defined as using Advanced Warehousing processes by the flag on its storage dimension group. Product information management > Setup > Dimension groups > Storage dimension groups:
Let’s setup a Storage dimension group that mimics this setup, but doesn’t use WMS:
So here’s our first issue. If the Storage dimension group ‘Use warehouse management processes’ flag isn’t ticked, you can’t enable the Inventory status and Licence plate storage dimensions.
Moving on …
The other setting that enables WMS is on the warehouse. Inventory management > Setup > Inventory breakdown > Warehouses
This flag must be enabled when you create the warehouse record. It can’t be changed once you’ve saved the warehouse record.
Upgrade scenario 1) Convert the item from WMI to WMS
So let’s setup the item as a WMI item, and transact it in a WMS warehouse and then change the item’s Storage dimension group. So I’ve setup a new item:
Created and received a Purchase order, and invoiced a sales order. The item’s inventory transactions show:
So now we’d like to start using WMS processes to issue and receive. Let’s change the item’s Storage dimension group:
That Infolog reads: “The new dimension group cannot be assigned. The physical inventory has not reached zero on-hand, while ‘Activate closing of non-financial transfers’ is set to Yes. The new dimension group cannot be assigned. Physical inventory transactions might exist and/or financial inventory transactions are not fully settled, while ‘Activate closing of non-financial transfers’ is set to Yes. Update has been cancelled.”
So the process is: set my inventory to zero; then run close; then change the storage dimension group; and then re-import my inventory (setting the now active Inventory status and Licence plate dimensions). Well to be honest I just don’t think it’s practicable in real world scenario with many items. Indeed it isn’t practicable in my scenario of just one item either. After setting my inventory to zero and running close, I tried to adjust my on-hand back:
“A reservation hierarchy must be set up for the item. You can create transactions for the item after a reservation hierarchy has been set up.” So let’s go do that:
“You cannot assign a reservation hierarchy to the item because there are inventory transactions. You can assign a reservation hierarchy to the item when no inventory transactions exist.”
Oh and just in case you were thinking of being sneaky and assigning the Reservation hierarchy to the item when it’s first setup (as a WMI item), that won’t work either – when the item’s a WMI item, the option is greyed-out:
Note that there is a Warehouse management periodic function to change the reservation hierarchy of an item. Warehouse management > Periodic > Change item hierarchy:
But if you’re converting from a WMI item without a Reservation hierarchy, and expecting this function to be bright enough to add a new Reservation hierarchy you’re going to be disappointed:
So my conclusion is that there is no practical way of converting an item from WMI to WMS.
Upgrade scenario 2) Convert the warehouse from WMI to WMS
But we already know we can’t do that. The ‘Use warehouse management processes’ flag on the warehouse can’t be changed once you’ve saved the warehouse record – let alone after you’ve posted inventory transactions in the warehouse.
Upgrade scenario 3) Setup the item as WMS, setup new WMS warehouses
Based on my observations I believe this is the only plausible upgrade scenario: Setup the item as a WMS enabled item. Setup WMI warehouses and transact the item using WMI inventory process (with optional additional use of the ‘Inventory status’ dimension). And then when you want to start using WMS Advanced Warehousing processes create new WMS warehouses, and migrate your on-hand inventory from your WMI warehouses to your WMS warehouses.
The pair of highlighted transactions are the transfer from my WMI warehouse to the WMS warehouse and I’ve transacted sales order picking work using that inventory. (Sorry about the dates – because I closed inventory earlier I had to post all of my financial transactions tomorrow).
Incidentally I found that I could not use the Licence plate storage dimension in the WMI warehouse – which will create an issue if you were thinking of using Licence plate in place of Pallet ID.