An appealing report we stumbled upon which has many things to study from. You could check it out to find out what you think.
Former Great Plains and current Microsoft Dynamics GP has pretty structured modules hierarchy, where the heart is General Ledger. Then one step away you see Payable, Receivable Management, Bank Reconciliation, Payroll. Inventory Control module sits on the next layer and it is required for such distribution modules as Sales Order Processing, Bill of Materials, Purchase Order Processing. In other words, Inventory module is the foundation for the rest of the distribution suite. Such thirds party extensions as Warehouse Management System, Supply Chain Management are also built upon the Inventory module master records (Items, Sites, Kits, Bins, Price Lists, Landed Cost, etc.). Considering the market niche of GP and its fit for mid-market and smaller companies, engaged in Logistics, Consignment, Distribution, Wholesale industries – in some situations you may decide to rely on your robust IT department and program small SCM or WMS extension in-house. If this is your case, we would like to give you some practical recommendations:
1. Software Development Tool selection. If you are running Great Plains as your Corporate ERP system, you are likely a Microsoft shop with such programming expertise as C# or VB programming in Microsoft Visual Studio. You can definitely connect your MS VS project via ADO.Net to Great Plains Inventory tables, but we would like first, to encourage you to look at eConnect SDK. eConnect validates business logic and doesn’t allow you to compromise data in your production company. However in order to understand eConnect programming logic (you will have access to code samples in C# or VB.Net) we recommend you to review tables structure: in GP workstation – Tools -> Resource Description -> Tables, then switch series to Inventory and do your homework.
Just to be sure that you are on the right track – you should see that Inventory Master file is in the IV00101 table, work (not posted) transaction are in IV10000 (transaction document header) and IV10001 (document lines). Second tool to consider would be GP Dexterity, however it is not recommended for in-house programming as its architecture and Sanscript programming language are semi-proprietary and learning curve might be too long for the programmer, who doesn’t have to be exposed to Dex coding on the daily basis. Microsoft Visual Studio SDK for GP has some dependency on creating object directly in Dexterity, and if you decide to deploy that tool, be sure, that you have support from the Great Plains Partner with Dexterity programming expertise (we recommend you to check if your chosen partner participates in GP Source Code Program – if so – they have access to the Dexterity source code and this is the sign of Dex coding dedication). And lastly, we would like to discourage you from direct SQL scripting, especially in data update and insert into GP tables, as this is typical way to data integrity compromising
2. Opening Inventory Transaction to Barcode or RFID tag reading. Typically this is one of the key parts of the WMS, but assuming that Warehouse Management module might be too expensive to acquire and you are heading toward custom programming solution, we assume that all you need to do is to open couple of Great Plains Inventory forms for barcoding. EConnect programming option actually is just integration and you are uploading scanned documents directly to the database. In the case of eConnect, consider Barcode scanner to talk to Barcode server (where on the Server you have eConnect application, which talks directly to the GP server). Typically modern barcode scanner has its own processor and operating system, where you can run your WMS or SCM client application, but consider to make it really low profile, as scanner processor, RAM are restricted
3. If you think that you do want integration with SCM or WMS, but you do not have programming resources and you are short in budget. Well, even for the folks like you there are options to consider. Let’s assume that you can scan your barcode or RFID tags on the warehouse floor, then export them into text file (CSV, Tab Delimited or Special Character delimited). Then, consider Integration Manager to do the rest of the job – setup integration (text file is the most popular in IM scenario), the most popular IM destinations are SOP Document, Inventory Adjustment, POP Purchase Receipt. In more complex scenarios, Integration Manager can pull data from ODBC compliant database platforms, such as Oracle, MySQL, MS Access, FoxPro, Pervasive SQL, Ctree
4. Well, at this point you might be scared at least a little bit. Mid-market Corporate MRP application is not an easy target for customization, especially in-house. We have several solutions with proven code, where we are ready to tune the product to your business requirements: WMS, SCM, Consignments, Truck Route and Time delivery optimization, etc.
Andrew Karasev, http://www.albaspectrum.com 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, email@example.com If you are thinking to implement Dynamics GP in challenging environment, we recommend you to give us a call. Our information portal is http://www.pegasplanet.com Pegas Planet
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