Category Archives: implementation - Page 2

Which Inventory WIP Are You Talking About in Dynamics NAV

Overview
When people talk about WIP account, it’s what it is. An intermediary account where the raw material is being worked on, but it’s not yet a finished good for sale. This is important for companies to audit in a manufacturing process where the inventory is being produced or in the middle of being produced.

WIP it Good
But there’s a Dynamics NAV WIP and WIP for companies.

When people account for WIP in their company, it’s usually an output of a product that still need to go to some finished good.

For Dynamics NAV, it’s the components that has been posted as consumed, but not outputted. So all NAV WIP reports are not what companies wants for WIP.

To identify WIP, we typically setup 3 inventory accounts. RW, WIP, and FG. For example, assume you’re in food manufacturing and you make frozen pizzas (because I’m hungry right now).

The flour, tomato, cheese, raw meat can all be considered RW
The marinara sauce, pizza dough, sausage can be considered WIP
the finished pizza (the holy grail) the FG

For a typical manufacturing company, they would have the following accounts:

  • Raw material
  • WIP
  • FG

The Actual Setup You Should Have in NAV
For Dynamics NAV, we typically utilize the following accounts:

  • Raw material
  • WIP
  • WIP (NAV)
  • Finished Goods

What NAV is Doing
When you post a consumption in a Released Production order for your WIP items, it will hit the following accounts:
– Raw Material
+ WIP (NAV)

Then when you output the production order and finish the production order, it will hit the following accounts:
– WIP (NAV)
+ WIP

Similarly, when you are producing the frozen pizza, the accounts that will be affected will be:
When you consume:
– WIP
+ WIP (NAV)

When you Output:
– WIP (NAV)
+ Finished Goods

Why Not Combine Them?
You could, but I would not recommend it. When you look at the WIP (NAV), you can easily tell if there are any production orders that has been consumed but not outputted and finished. If you lump it all into your regular WIP account, while you can still get the information by running reports, will be an extra step you need to take.

On the financial statements, you can easily lump the WIP adn the WIP (NAV) accounts together as a total WIP in the inventory.

Conclusion
I’m hungry.

New Book – Implementing Dynamics NAV 2016

Been working on this book for the past few months. Although it’s not a book that I wrote from scratch, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time updating the contents for Dynamics NAV 2016.

Implementing Dynamics NAV Book

Implementing Dynamics NAV Book

You can order a copy of the book here:
Implementing Microsoft Dynamics NAV – Third Edition

I hope you enjoy reading this book!

Understanding What You Want Out of Your Business

Overview

Having visited numerous SMB (Small or Medium Business) companies and implementing Dynamics NAV since 1999, I’ve had the wonder pleasure of meeting unique and interesting people. The business problems that were discovered are both exciting and challenging. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot both about businesses in general, as well as myself and our organization.

Rewind a few years in my career, I remember whenever I go into a company on a consulting engagement, after analyzing the customer’s business, I would make all these really good, cost effective, and sometimes contradictory recommendations on how to make their business more efficient and effective.

I would say out of the 10 recommendations and suggestions I would make, if I was lucky only about 3 or 4 of the recommendations I make are heeded. Some of the recommendations that I thought would be a sure hit turned out to be duds. I’ve always thought that the only reason why certain projects didn’t go through was because of the budget.

To a certain extent, it’s true, the monetary cost of certain projects will definitely be ignored especially if the benefit cannot be justified. But as I grow older (and hopefully wiser), I realized that most of these projects were rejected even before it got to “how much it’s going to cost” stage.

I realized that there is something else that is involved on deciding whether certain project gets supported. That “something else” is the current life stage of the owner.

It’s About the Money, but Not Really

It’s all so simple. A 30 year old person will make different “long term” decisions than a 60 year old person. What the younger me was trying to do is make suggestions for long term strategic growth for a business owner that’s trying to retire and/or sell the company. And making strategic short time gain recommendations who’s in the business for the long haul.

As I mentioned earlier, often these suggestions and recommendations will contradict each other. How should a company spend the time and resource to hire an assistant or spend the time and resource on training to make the team more effective? Invest in new equipment or just repair and patch the old one? Should we just patch this deficient business processes? Or totally revamp it? There are business cases for all, and depending on which way you swing, you can argue it either way.

After years of frustration on why my brilliant ideas were so casually disregarded, I realized that without understanding what the owner intention is for the business, a lot of energy I spent figuring out solutions to what I think is their business problem is will fall on deaf ears.

At the end of the day, what every SMB business owner want is for all of their problems to go away. But how do we, as a hired guns, help facilitate this? And how do we know which problems they consider “must solve now” or “solve later”?

For a while, my most feared question from our clients is: “How do we make our company more effective?”. Because this entailed hours analyzing and writing up recommendations, then having it shot down. Very demoralizing, billable or not.

The First Thing that We Need to Understand

What do you want from your business?

Are you looking for this business to provide comfortable retirement? Or do you want to expand it?

To expand it (and maybe sell it at one point), you have to invest and make changes in your business. To provide comfortable retirement, you may not want to change too much; stay the current course.

There are ways to implement the proper strategy for both scenarios. But don’t try to ask for advice on expansion when your goal is retirement. It will not work and you will come back and want to change everything.

Similarly, don’t think about short term retirement if your goal is to expand. Because to make your company more efficient in the long run, it will force you to make painful decisions on personnel, technology, and the way you do business.

Knowing their frame of mind and putting myself in their shoes allowed me to become more effective on providing recommendations for resolving the CEO’s problems on “what should be resolved right now”.

Conclusion

Note that the subject matter is usually very tense and a lot of CEOS and owners of the organization were taken back by the rather blunt question. Sometimes, it’s not as straightforward when family members are involved. Sometimes, the CEO wants to retire themselves but want to expand so their family members can take over. These contradictory objectives requires hashing out by answering more tough (and blunt) questions.

At the end of the day, knowing what you want out of your business will not only make our job easier, also make your life easier and happier.

Find and Replace Data in Dynamics NAV 2016 with RapidStart

Overview
One of the powerful tools in the old Navision classic client was the ability to do a Find/Replace. For example, if you wanted to change the Salesperson Code on the Customer Card from one value to another, just go to the field you want and click on Find, then Replace.

FindReplaceNavision

When you click on Replace All, it will find all values on this field with PS and replace it with AH.

This was a great function that allows the user to manually do mass change on the data without having to ask a NAV developer to write a process only report or some other modification to do the mass data change. While dangerous, this function did more good than bad in the companies that I work with.

New Version
When Microsoft released the Role Tailored Client, now called the Windows Client, they took away this ability. Instead, they gave us… This?

FindReplaceNavision2

Yes, we’ve gotten a lot of calls from our clients asking us what happened here.

The New Find/Replace
Thankfully, there’s another tool that can replace the Find/Replace option in Dynamics NAV. The tools is using the RapidStart functionality that’s built into Dynamics NAV. The nice thing about using RapidStart is that it validates whether the data is good or not.

Here’s a 2 minute video that shows you how to do a Find and Replace in Dynamics NAV 2016 using RapidStart.

Undo Receipt with Directed Put-away and Pick for Dynamics NAV

Overview
Undo receipt has become a necessity in some warehouse environments where the staff may not be able to keep up with the paper flow. Strictly speaking, the undo receipt process shouldn’t be necessary because the process in place should be able to accommodate. However, if there is a situation where a department “can’t keep up”, it usually means that something is wrong within that particular department. It may not be the people, it may just be how things are being done or may just lack the manpower.

Nonetheless, while you’re trying to figure out a more efficient way in that particular department; in our case the warehouse, mistakes in receipt will be made. We need to be able to correct the mistakes in the warehouse without causing the other departments (such as accounting) a ton of headaches on reversing.

Undo Receipt
The Undo Receipt functionality is pretty straightforward. Basically, you just bring up the Posted Purchase Receipts and do the undo receipt. In fact, it’s so easy it’s explained in a step by step instruction here: Undo Receipt in Dynamics NAV

Undo Receipt with Directed Pick & Put-away
When you enable the Directed Put-away and Pick (or the full Warehouse Management in Dynamics NAV), it may be a little more complicated.

If you follow the steps on MSDN, you’ll get one of these 2 error messages:
UndoReceipt1
“You cannot undo line xxxxx because warehouse activity lines have already been posted.”

UndoReceipt2
“You cannot undo line xxxxx because there is not sufficient content in the receiving bins.”

One error says you do not have enough on the receiving bin for undo, the other error message says you have a put-away (registered or not) out there.

How Is This Possible?
Right now you may be asking, “how is it possible to register the put-away when it’s physically not there?”

You’re absolutely right. It is impossible to physically put-away something that you didn’t even receive. This is what makes Warehouse Management in Dynamics NAV work; it’s the accuracy of data entry from the actions performed in the warehouse. In real time!

The real problem here is the process within the warehouse receiving department. If the procedures are followed, you should never have to undo. We have to dig deeper on why the warehouse receiving staff are not following the rules for unloading the truck and putting the stuff away. Sometimes there are legitimate reasons why the procedures cannot be followed. In those cases, a new process needs to be thought out to better accommodate the receiving staff.

Resolving issues like this may take a while and this is where we spend time with the client. Often times, I wish it was as easy as just telling the warehouse people to just follow directions.

But I digress…

Undo Receipt After the Put-away is Registered
Here are the steps that need to be done in order to undo receipt after the put-away is registered.

Delete the Registered Pick:
1. Locate the Posted Purch. Receipt
2. Click on Navigate
3. Show the Posted Whse. Receipt Line
4. Click on Navigate –> Show Posted Whse. Document
5. Click on Navigate –> Registered Put-away lines
6. Click on Navigate –> Show Registered Document
7. Push Delete

Adjust the items into the Receipt Bin. In this case, our receipt bin is R:
1. Warehouse Item Journal
2. Negative adjust the item from the bin you want to take out
3. Positive adjust the quantity to the R bin

Do the undo Receipt:
1. Locate the Posted Purch. Receipt
2. Click on the line that you want to undo receipt
3. Click on Function –> Undo Receipt

Conclusion
This is just to get by until you can get to the bottom of why the receiving staff are having trouble with receiving. That’s where the real problem and the solution lies.

Free training for Dynamics NAV – Be Self-Reliant!

One of the most underutilized resources for training is from the MSDN site updated by Microsoft. Instead of paying your consultant for training, train yourself! You’d be surprised at how many so-called “NAV partners” out there that do not know how Dynamics NAV works.

For step by step instructions on each department, click here. Please note that at the time of writing, the manuals are released for NAV 2013R2.  I suspect the content will be released for NAV 2015 soon. You can change the content for your specific version by clicking on the Other Versions.

MSDNHelp

If you’re more into watching videos than reading, MSDN also have a full suite of “How Do I” videos. They can be accessed by clicking here. The videos on here are created by Dynamics NAV MVPs and the product team at Microsoft. The contents on here are more technical than the MSDN help for Dynamics NAV.

Conclusion
Yes, it’s easy to just pick up the phone and call your NAV partner for answers. If you do that, you’re basically asking for a fish. My recommendation to you is teach yourself how to fish.

If you teach yourself how to fish, then your conversation (and your budget utilized) with your NAV partner would be how to make Dynamics NAV better for your company. In all honesty, that’s where you will get the most bang for your buck with your NAV partner.

Unexpected Changes the Expected Receipt Date in Dynamics NAV

Overview
This is one issue that I hear from customers using Dynamics NAV (formerly Navision) quite often is why does the Expected Receipt Date keep changing?

The Expected Receipt Date in Dynamics NAV is the main driver for inventory planning. Dynamics NAV uses this field to calculate the availability of the item. Based on this date, Dynamics navNAV calculates when the item can be received into your warehouse.

On the purchase order, the field is on the header and on the lines. Dynamics NAV will only use the field on the purchase lines in the calculation.

What the Help Says
Looking at the help, the explanation is simple enough:

ExpectedReceiptDate1

Basically, what it says is that the Expected Receipt Date on the purchase line should copy the information from the purchase header, if it exist. Otherwise, it will follow a formula:

Planned Receipt Date (Order Date on the purchase line + Lead Time Calculation on the Vendor/Item Catalog, if it’s blank, then the Lead Time Calculation on the vendor card)
+ Safety Lead Time (On the Item card or SKU card)
+ Inbound Whse. Handling Time (On the Inventory Setup or the Location card)
= Expected Receipt Date

However, if you continue to drill into the help, you’ll find another formula for the Expected Receipt Date:

ExpectedReceiptDate2

Order Date (on the Purchase Order)
+ Lead Time Calculation (From the Item Vendor table, if blank it’ll use the field on the SKU, then the item card)
= Expected Receipt Date

If you drill down on the Lead Time Calculation Help, it will say:

ExpectedReceiptDate3

If I follow the formula correctly based on the help:
Order Date + Lead Time Calculation =
= Planned Receipt Date
= Planned Receipt Date + Inbound Warehouse Handling Time + Safety Lead Time
= Expected Receipt Date

Yes… Nice and Simple…

Other Fields that Affect this Date
What the help doesn’t mention is that there are other fields that will affect the Expected Receipt Date. To test this, just create a purchase order and go to the Shipping Fasttab (or tab if you’re using the classic client) in your version of Dynamics NAV.

ExpectedReceiptDate4

The Safety Lead Time, Lead Time Calculation and the Inbound Whse. Handling Time explanation is pretty straight forward. In our test, the CRONUS database has 1 day on the Safety Lead Time.

Here’s what happens when you change the following dates on the Purchase Header:

Requested Receipt Date, it will changed/updated on the Purchase Line:
– Order Date
– Planned Receipt Date
– Requested Receipt Date

Promised Receipt Date, it will changed/updated on the Purchase Line:
– Planned Receipt Date
– Expected Receipt Date
– Promised Receipt Date

Expected Receipt Date, it will changed/updated on the Purchase Line:
– Planned Receipt Date
– Expected Receipt Date

Here’s Where It Gets Awkward
These dates work FIFO. So whatever date you change on the Purchase Order header will take precedent over what was entered before.

Worst, when you update the dates on the header, you’ll get a message asking if you want to change the Purchase Lines, WHERE ALL THE INVENTORY CALCULATION TAKES PLACE!

Conclusion
There are a lot of instances where the user will want to look at the purchase order header and get a feel for what is coming in what by who. Make sure the user know exactly what’s going on.

An option would be to remove these dates from the header and force the user to enter the lines. But if you have long purchase order, this is not really an option.

In the end, becareful about changing those dates when you’re entering purchase orders in Dynamics NAV!

Breaking up with Ex-Girlfriend vs. Implementing Dynamics NAV

The Decision
It’s time.

He has been with you for a long time. In the beginning, he was great. He did everything you needed him to do and you gave him anything he wanted. In return, he gave you what you needed as well.

But now, things are becoming toxic. It doesn’t matter how much time and effort you give him, he is just dragging you down, making you slow, and holding you back. What made you happy 5-10 years ago, is just not enough for you anymore. You’re looking for more, and it’s something more that he just cannot provide.

The New Relationship
The change is hard, but you know in order to grow, you need to change. It’s not just for you, it’s also for the people around you.

So you went for something new.

– He is smarter
– He works faster
– He looks better
– He makes you more efficient
– Any requests you throw at him, he will fulfill
– He will accomplish a lot more for a lot less

There will be a learning curve for you to get used to the way He moves, the way he looks, the routines you will try to figure out. There will be something that you don’t like, but you are willing to work with him on it. And he will change.

The Breakup
Anything new in your life requires some getting used to. Breaking up is hard. There are a lot of memories you’ve shared. Sometimes, those memories you’ve shared will come back.

– You missed the way he looks
– You missed the way he moves
– You missed having the routines you’re so used to with him every day

There are times where you’ll question yourself whether you’ve made the right decision. There are even times when you want to go back to him.

You’ll only want to remember the good things that he did for you and you will be willing to “forget” all the bad things he did. Painfully, sometimes you needed to be reminded how bad he was for you and your business.

Conclusion
Sure, you will miss what was there before, but we all need to move on. And we all know he’s not coming back. You’re with someone new now.

You needed to retire your old software and implement Dynamics NAV for your business in order for your business to grow.

I guess the similar concept described above can be said about your leaving your old significant other…

Process vs. Technical Questions

Overview
If you’re an IT or Finance person working in a company that uses Dynamics NAV. First, congratulations! There’s no other ERP product for the mid-market that has the growth (and growth potential) as Dynamics NAV.

Having said that, often times you will be fielded with questions about NAV and it will be difficult to respond. This is especially true when you’re supposed to be the “expert” of the software within your organization. Of course if you really get in trouble, you have your Dynamics NAV partner to back you up so you’re never really alone.

However, in order for your NAV partner to make you look good in front of your peers, you have to phrase your question in a way to get a “on the point” response. Don’t assume your NAV partner to know what you’re thinking, because trust me, being in this business since 1999, I still don’t know what you’re thinking. I did, however, developer a better sense of asking the right questions, but that’s probably a topic for a separate blog post.

When fielding questions, there are generally 2 different types of questions. One is technical question and the other one is Process.

What is Process and What is Technical?
I’m glad you asked that question. Here’s my definition of both

Process Question: A question that’s related to the daily/weekly/monthly workflow of a particular operation. For example, reconciling inventory to G/L at month end. (Non-linear)

Technical Question: A question that’s indirectly related to the daily/weekly/monthly workflow of a particular operation. For example, an error message when you’re trying to post. (Linear)

Troubleshooting the Process
Which of these questions is more straight forward? Of course the technical questions. It follows a linear path. These types of problems can usually be resolved using a debugger.

As the Dynamics NAV go-to person in your company, I bet most of your time is trying to figure out the process questions. The Non-linear questions that can have multiple paths.

It’s important to identify what is process and what’s technical question. If it’s a process question, you should get the experts or the person responsible for that piece of information involved. As much as you like to help out the process by request or making little modifications that solves their process question, it’s not the right way to go about it.

For example, over receiving. Some times the warehouse will complain that you cannot over receive. As an IT guy, yes it’s easy to bypass the check process and just modify the quantity.

However, by doing this, you’ve cascaded the problem and implemented a flawed process that people will get used to.

In this example, why is it flawed? Among the various reasons, one of the biggest problem is because when the vendor send you extra items, who’s responsible for it? Do you have to pay for it? Should the vendor give it to you for free? What if the buyer did not want to receive the additional items because it messes with their budgeting? You get the point.

Changing the Process
That’s not to say that processes cannot be changed. It’s really about how you go about changing the process.

The first step is to get with the people responsible for the process. For some reason there are some internal IT and finance people that simply will not do this. They want to assume they know what they’re doing or they do not want to ask the people responsible questions. This is absolutely a MUST!!

In our example, the purchaser should be involved and the warehouse manager should be involved. Sit with them and describe this problem and ask the all important question: “how do you want to resolve this?”. It’s up to them to define a process that satisfy the buyer and their vendors, the warehouse and the receiving process. Once that process is agreed upon, then it becomes a technical question.

Conclusion
As the NAV guru in your company, you’re most likely swamped.

We want resolve problems and issues to “get them off our plate” as soon as possible that sometimes, we mistakenly treat process questions as technical questions. I know because I’m guilty of that as well. This is not the right way to go about doing implementations and certainly not the way you should go about addressing the needs for your company.

Because ususally when IT gets involved in process questions, developers tend to find the shortest way to resolve the problem, not the right way. As always, finding the shorest way will always require exceptions in processes. Exceptions are fine until there are exceptions to exceptions. Then exception to exceptions to exceptions. This is a sure fire way to complicate your business process and have each department not taking responsibility and point fingers at each other.

Chinese Language Pack for Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 Business Central

Overview

Recently, we started a branch in Taiwan. One of the reasons, amongst other reasons, I started this branch is because it’s country where I was born. So in a way, I feel a little obligated to help the companies in my home country to be more efficient and enjoy the benefits in what Dynamics NAV has to offer.

There are many lessons learned in terms of starting a company in a different country; the local culture and views on technology, how to speak and appeal to the local management, etc. I’m sure I’ll blog about in a future article. For now, I want to share with you guys the many challenges when doing translation in Dynamics NAV (Navision).

One of the Technical Challenges

When selling into a local market, one of the things that is mandatory is whether you have the local language pack. As you know, Dynamics NAV is a software that’s utilized all over the world. Microsoft also supports languages for many countries out of the box.

Unfortunately, the Chinese language pack is not one of them. This means we had to create our own.

The Process

The process involves creating caption for all the fields, errors, messages, reports, etc.

There are 3 main parts for creating translations that works in Dynamics NAV.
1. Translate the platform by translating the resource file for each DLL file.
2. Translate all the captions by adding a new language into captionML in each object
3. Localize development environment by translating .stx and .etx files. These 2 files have to be sent to the Microsoft regional office and sealed by Microsoft. (Only required if you want the Development Environment to be in Chinese as well)

Fortunately, Microsoft provides tools that allow you to make your own localization. In our case, we did this for the Chinese language. The step by step instruction on how to do this is explained here. Basically download the PLLP (Partner Localization and Translation Licensing Program) and follow the instructions very carefully:
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/nav/archive/2013/11/15/microsoft-dynamics-nav-2013-r2-pllp-toolkit-released.aspx

You will spend most efforts on translate all the captions. However, this part can be accelerated a little bit by exporting all the captions in txt file. Once you translate all the exported captions with A1033 code (English label) to the corresponding language code (e.g. A1028 represents Chinese Traditional), import the txt file back to NAV. Then it’s done!

Introducing the Chinese Language Pack for Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 Business Central

As you will see, we did this for Traditional Chinese, but the nice thing about this is that it can be easily translated to Simplified Chinese.

Here are the results:

Chinese Dynamics NAV Selection

Chinese Dynamics NAV Selection

Chinese Dynamics NAV Role Center

Chinese Dynamics NAV Role Center

Chinese Dynamics NAV Departments

Chinese Dynamics NAV Departments

Chinese Dynamics NAV Customer Card

Chinese Dynamics NAV Customer Card

Here it is for Simplified Chinese: