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Different Flavors of Warehouse Management in Dynamics NAV


Dynamics NAV (Navision) is a comprehensive ERP system. As such, it has many features that caters the different needs of businesses, for example, manufacturing, service managment, CRM, distribution, etc. Each one of these functional areas can be configured a number of ways depending on the needs of the business. During my time working at AP Commerce, there are never any shortages of investigating different setups based on on the needs of a business.

What you think you need may not be what you need. Yes, I did write that in one stroke without flinching. One of the most common requests from potential and current users of Dynamics NAV (Navision) is they want to effectively manage their warehouse using warehouse management system.

The question I’m always tempted to ask is: “What type of Warehouse Management are you looking for?” Of course I never ask that question because this will cause more confusion than I can handle.

So why am I tempted to ask that question? Again, in each functional area in Dynamics NAV (Navision), there are a number of ways to set it up. Having said that, here are different ways to setup WHM for your business. Note that Warehouse Management can be defined per warehouse, so every warehouse that you have can be setup differently.

NOTICE! The purpose of this article is not to give you a complete step by step instruction on NAV warehouse management, the purpose is to give you some knowledge on different ways to go about implementing WHM so you can have some knowledge and input when you speak with your Dynamics NAV partner on it.


One word of caution is when implement ANY warehouse management system, you have to make sure your warehouse is organized, efficient, and accurate. A lot of companies make the mistake of buying a warehouse management software because the warehouse is too messy.


Software, in general, is designed to streamline your operation and speeed up the processing. If your warehouse is disorganized, inefficient, and not accurate, any warehouse management software will make it worst. You will be disorganized, inefficient, and inaccurate at a faster rate. Garbage in, garbage out.

The Flavors

Here’s a picture of the Warehouse Mangement setup in Dynamics NAV:

Bin Mandatory

From initial look, if you just want to keep track of the items on the bins, this is the option for you, right? Unfortunately, no… I’ve never been in an implementation where we just place a checkbox on this field without at least enabling Ship/Pick or Receive/Put-away.

Just checking this on enables you to keep track of items by bin, however, one of the main problem with just checking this on is that you specify bin on the purchase and sales order. So if you have an item that’s on 2 different bins, you have to split the sales/purchase lines. Not only that, if you want to move an item from one bin to another, you have to use the item reclass journal, which effectively creates Item Ledger, value entry, and the general ledger. Doing physical inventory may also create a lot of excessive entries that will bog you down when you use the Item Ledger to do any sales and purchase analysis.

Pros: Allows you to tag bin code to an inventory transaction

Cons: Have to split sales and purchase line so the quantity matches the bins on the item ledger Creates a lot of excessive entries to key ledger tables Makes life harder than it has to

You Typically See This Setup for: No one. You’re better off using the Shelf/Bin No. field on the item card. This is how NAV 2.0 handles bins. We’re in Navision version 7 (Dynamics NAV 2013) now, no sense in going backwards when there are better options.

Require Shipment/Receive

Just enabling these option allows you to use the Warehouse Ship/Receive function. The main purpose of the Warehouse Ship/Receive is to allow the user to batch the sales orders by a container or a trailer going out per carrier. This option is typically enabled for companies that ships and receives by containers. The warehouse shipment is typically used to generate your bill of lading for the trucker.

Without turning on Pick and Put-away, I would NOT recommend turning on Bin Mandatory. You would encounter the same problem that I’ve stated above. For smaller companies, spliting up the warehouse process may not be necessary.

Pros: Allows you to Ship and Receive by container or bill of lading Warehouse Manager can control what he/she wants to ship based on released orders instead of the order processor printing out a pick ticket The warehouse process is separated out from the order fulfillment process (so warehouse can do their own posting) More accurate inventory can be achieved since inventory can be relieved when it’s shipped

Cons: Not recommend to enable Bin Mandatory (same cons as above) Not necessary if you do not wish the warehouse people to be posting stuff

You Typically See This Setup For: Large item distributors or manufacturers that want split out their warehouse processing, but does not care of bin contents Companies that ship and receive by containers but do not want to split their items into bins in the warehouse.

Require Pick/Put-away (No Require Shipment/Receive)

This is an option is what I would like to call the mini-fullblown warehouse management. This options provides the flexibility for the warehouse staff to create warehouse put-away and warehouse picks as they see fit, they can also assign these warehouse documents to the appropriate people to do the processing. Another way to use this feature is to allow the order fulfillment people to create the pick request to the warehouse without actually printing a pick ticket.

The draw back of using this option is that you’re only allowed to have one sales/purchase order per put-away/pick. This means that you won’t be able to group the orders together in one warehouse shipment (as stated above) to generate a consolidated bill of lading. Same goes for the receiving side, you won’t be able to receive by container or by bill of lading.

This option works perfectly if you want to enable Bin Mandatory. The Inventory Pick/Put-away document generated will allow you to split lines at the warehouse document level so you can put the items away in their proper bin without having to modify the original purchase or sales order.

Pros: Allows you to easily process inventory transactions by Bin Warehouse Manager can control what he/she wants to ship based on released orders instead of the order processor printing out a pick ticket The warehouse process is separated out from the order fulfillment process (so warehouse can do their own posting) More accurate inventory can be achieved since inventory can be relieved when it’s shipped

Cons: Not able to group orders together into one shipment or receipt Not be able to use ADCS (wireless handheld)

You Typically See This Setup For: Companies that would like to organize their warehouse by bin, but does not have the manpower to go Directed Pick/Put-away.

Directed Pick and Put-away

This is the full deal. It has all of the benefits that I’ve listed above. Group order together by warehouse shipment and be able to pick and put away by bins. Not only that, this allows you to use ADCS (wireless handheld device) so your warehouse staff and record warheouse transactions using the handheld.

All good right?

Not exactly. It really depends on what your company needs. All these features sounds cool, but if your business does not need it, trying to shove it in may create more work and processes than necessary. There are a couple of steps where the user need to interface with a computer when you enable Directed Pick and Put-away:
1. Create the sales order
2. Create warehouse shipment
3. Create pick
4. Register pick
5. Post warheouse shipment
6. Post sales order

Whereas if you do not enable any of these, the steps would be:
1. Create the sales order
2. Post the sales order


It’s highly recommended that you get with your Dynamics NAV partner and discuss which setup is right for your business RIGHT NOW with consideration for future growth. If you try to implement everything without any consideration for your current operation, the opertional efficiency will decrease. This is because of the increased overhead and maintenance that are required.

Make sure your company have the manpower and the infrastructure to absorb the overhead and maintenance required so the increase in efficiency and accuracy can be realized.

Do not implement some feature just because you like the feature. In most cases, it will be overkill. It’s like buying a size 10 top-of-the line Nike tennis shoes for your 3 year old son and forcing him to walk in it every day. Eventually, he will grow into it. But by the time he grows into it, he’ll develop some other major problems that will cost more money to fix.

NAV 2013 Technical Documentation on What is New

Just a quick note. If you don’t have this link already, here’s the MSDN article on what’s new in version 2013:

Import Budget into Excel in Dynamics NAV RTC

When you’re working in the RTC environment in the G/L Budgets, the standard NAV function is that you can export the Budgets into Excel, edit it, then import it back in in the same Excel format. This works fine in the classic client, however, when you try to import the budget in Excel in the RTC environment, you get the error message:

Dates have not been recognised in the Excel worksheet

The problem, as explained by my local Microsoft rep, is caused by the Dynamics NAV server recognizing the field in Datetime instead of just regular date. The solution to this problem is to modify report 81 with the following object.


The code for the changes is found here:

Auto-hide Taskbar Does not Autohide in Windows 7

This post is not Dynamics NAV (Navision) related, but I hope it’ll be extremely helpful because real estate space is really scarce on the desktop. Especially when you’re trying to cram all that data on to your screen.

This was troubling me for the longest during one of my demo sessions. Basically, I set my start menu to use auto-hide because I want to utilize all the space on my screen. The taskbar really gets in the way of everything we do.

Sometimes, the taskbar will not auto-hide. After browsing Google, the problem is caused by some notification or processes running in the background. What troubled me was that this only occurs every so often.

The problem is caused by the SQL Server Management Studio. You know, the annoying notification that asks you to give them your opinion on SQL Server. It turns out, you can’t just ignore that or else your taskbar will never autohide. The way to resolve it is to do this:

Basically, you have to set the Behavior of the SSMS notification to Hide Icon and Notifications. After changing this, my Auto-hide taskbar is working again.

If you don’t have SQL Server running in the back end, then I would suggest hiding the Icon and Notification for the different programs to see which one is causing it.

Dynamics NAV 2009 Reporting Book Released

Looks like I jumped the gun when I wrote about the book release on this post.

For real, the Dynamics NAV 2009 reporting book is now officially released. Again, you can buy a copy of the book here:

Back when I was asked to review this, I knew this was going to be a must read book for any people out there wanting to develop reports in Navision. After the final product is delivered to me, I have to say that the final book blew away even my original expectations!

Aside from the content it provides, Steven Render (the author) really made an effort to document all the necessary steps to create good looking and complex reports with step by step examples, and… PICTURES! For all of you future NAV book writers, it really doesn’t matter if you can construct the most beautiful sentience in the world. Well done pictures will always win. Better yet, draw/write within the pictures, as what Steven has done in his book.

I’m not alone on this as Eric Wauters (Waldo), a fellow NAV MVP, also had some good things to say about this book here.

As I mentioned before, this book really patches up the lack of documentation on the reporting side for NAV2009 and its capabilities. The information here is definitely not something you can just download from Partnersource or Customersource.

Recap of Directions 2011 for Dynamics NAV (Navision)

This post is an overview of my experiences at Directions 2011 – Connect Learn Execute. Again, if you don’t already know, Directions is THE single event that any partner dealing anything with Dynamics NAV (Navision) absolutely has to attend. Not only do they preview a lot of new stuff, it’s also a great place to learn from what other partners are doing and the challenges they’re facing in the market.

The Vibe

The event itself was spectacularly put together by the Directions people. Everything was very organized and well put together. Having been to Directions since 2006, every Directions I attended since had been better than the previous. There were always incredible key takes aways and new friendships that are made.

However, this year I felt something missing. In particular, the energy level to be low. The problem wasn’t the event itself, rather, it was the attendees lacked enthusiasm and energy. In addition, I significantly noticed a lot of partners that I’d use to see (even until last year) did not come to this year’s event.

There are a number of theroies on why I think the energy level is low:

  • The presenters from Europe speak and present with no emotions, like robots. If there’s a competition for monotone speak, the European presenters would be clear winners, no doubt. 
  • There was a couple of presentations that I would like to call the “Doom and Gloom”. Basically, we have to significantly change our business model to be volume based seller. 
  • RTC. Apparently, many partners are still struggling with this.

Demos Dynamics NAV 7 (Navision 7.0)
Looking at Dynamics NAV 7, Microsoft really made significant improvements in usuability, development environment, performance, etc. etc. They’ve addressed everything (and I do mean everything) that I thought was a problem with Dynamics NAV 2009. It’s really a product that everyone can really be excited about.

The reason I can’t blog much about Dynamcis NAV 7 is because as a Dynamics NAV MVP, I’m under the NDA. And since Dan Brown mentioned that everything we saw in Dynamics NAV 7 is not to be made public in the beginning of the event, I have to follow it. Fortunately, not everyone in the conference cares about what they signed, so you can find a lot more about Dynamics NAV 7 if you did a Google search.

One thing I found strange on this event was how Microsoft showing off freely how Dynamics NAV 7 looks and works, even though the product release date is scheduled for Q3/Q4 2012. I can tell you also that Dynamics NAV 7 that I saw in the MVP program is different than the Dynamics NAV 7 they showed at Directions.

Within one year, anything and/or everything can change. After seeing Dynamics NAV 7 in its current form, and knowing people and rumors will start of fly about Dynamics NAV 7, I really hope Microsoft can release it sooner than later.

Key Take Away
Microsoft has moved to the cloud. Dynamics NAV is moving to the cloud. From the sessions in “Doom and Gloom” series, the message was clear: “Move to the Cloud or DIE!”

Yeah… They were fun sessions to attend…

Imagine if Your ERP is on the Cloud with Amazon Right Now

If you haven’t heard already, Amazon Web Service AKA Amazon Cloud, has been down since around 1AM on April 11th, 2011.  I wrote an article about my reservations of having the heart of my business outsourced somewhere in the post here.

Imagine if your company decided to have your solution hosted with Amazon Cloud. You’d be hurting a lot right now as a lot of orders will have to be written by hand. But assuming you’re not using Quickbooks anymore, your company must’ve grown to a significant size, and in a world that’s more connected than ever, your ERP solution is probably integrated and receiving orders electronically (EDI, E-commerce sites, etc).

I realize this cloud computing is still at its infancy and as we can see, even if a hosting company as big as Amazon can fail without warning. The lessons learned here if you decide to host your ERP or Navision or GP or AX, etc. You have to:

  • Make sure how you’re going to process the order by hand
  • Make sure you have a plan to get all those electronic orders by hand
  • Make sure you have a plan to manually ship those orders

These plans will need to be in place for the long term as you never know when the hosting company can get their server back up and running again. It may take hours, days, or even weeks. Even so, you’re risking data loss after it comes back online. Basically, even if the hosting company guarantees, you’d better not expect it’ll be guaranteed.

On the flip side, if your hardware is hosted in house, the manually processes are not as important. You can get a computer and restore a backup last night of your database faster than the hosting company can get their server back online.

Recap of Directions US 2010 for Dynamics NAV (Navision)

This is an overview of my experiences at Directions US 2010. Again, Directions US 2010 is THE place to be at if you’re interested in learning any new for Dynamics NAV (Navision).

The biggest difference that I noticed on this conference is Microsoft’s presence. But the biggest presence is not about showcasing the latest technology, or talk about how good the product is. Rather, it’s open forum where you can meet and interact with the product team, managers, AND executives! I have to say that I’ve never attended a Microsoft conference where you can so freely interact with all levels of the NAV team. We get to hear opportunities and concerns from all levels in the NAV organization; which is pretty cool!

Let’s start with the Keynote. As may of you may know from my last blog post at Directions, I got in trouble because I posted some numbers that were not meant for the general public. So this year, they were a little more careful abour releasing the numbers. Here are the key points on Dynamics NAV:

– Dynamics NAV is the #1 Revenue generator for the Dynamics product family
– It has the largest presence for ERP partners on the Partner Network
– Despit the economic downturn, the growth of NAV has been on a steady increase!

The last point just blew my mind! Even in an economic downturn, companies are still investing in ERP software, and more specifically, into NAV. Not just that, NAV grew in the economic downturn! This just shows you what a great product Dynamics NAV is and how good the parnter network that stands behind it is.

One other huge point is that Kirill (the head guy for Dynamics) is not under the business solution division anymore. He now reports directly to Steve Ballmer (the head of Microsft). This means that the Dynamics business is now significant enough that now warrants Steve Ballmer’s direct attention.

The demo on Dynamics NAV 2009 R2 has been showcased. There are couple of interesting things:

– Visual representation of data – The demo they showed is the new Item Availibity screen. It’s a visual representation on the stock level. You can click the chart and have the system generate a new purchase order based on the user input. In addition, this screen now takes into account forecast as well!

– RTC (Role Tailor Client) over the WAN – With R2, the users can now use the RTC over the WAN. This means that you can have remote offices and sales people take advantage of the the full functionalities of the RTC without the limitations of using remote desktop and/or terminal server.
There was an image of Dan Brown using the FULL RTC on an airplane 38,000 feet above ground.

– Most of the add-ins in the demo video are now in the base R2 product. Frankly, this should’ve been in there in SP1.

Interesting ISV:

Jet Reports – They’re an adhoc reporting tool using Excel. The Jet 2010 product has been greatly enhanced and there are a lot more templates and a easier user interface to start using the product. Some may even make the case that you don’t need to be good in Excel anymore to create nice reports in Jet. Comes with some very nice standard reports.

Centerline Pivotier – They’re a reporting tool as well. However, their approach is very different from Jet Reports. Their approach is to leverage the existing Microsoft product in SQL (that you already own and use) to generate nice reports. This product is a little more techincal, but easy enough to train end users. Also comes with some very nice standard reports.

Software-as-service (SaaS) companies – The whole concept of going to Cloud Computing. Believe it or not, NAV has a cloud model. And some of these SaaS companies that have booths at Directions are showing how it can be done.

Session of the Conference:
I have to say the sessions I enjoyed the most are the interactions with all levels of the Dynamics NAV team. From product managers to executives. It’s very valuable that they ARE taking into account on what we are saying about the product and ARE putting our input into releases.

I also got answers on why the tougher new MPN requirements. As a small partner, it seems that they’re trying to get rid of me, along with other smaller partners that has really been the lifeblood of why NAV was successful int eh first place. However, upon getting into a deeper conversation with an executive, I now fully understand why (my next blog topic).

Interesting Note:
I got more than a few people coming up to me. Not because they saw my blog or saw my posting on mibuso or They know me because because I was the “dissonant” voice in these Microsoft sessions. I spoke what, in their opinion, needed to be said. I guess when you’re really passionate about something, you fight tooth and nail to preserve it. Or make it better.

Future of Dynamics NAV (Navision) – Recap of Directions 2009

This blog post is an overview of my experience at Directions 2009. In my opinion, this is THE event to attend if you provide software or service to Dynamics NAV (Navision).

Most of the sessions in Directions 2009 were about the RTC experience, upgrading to RTC, getting partners to buy into RTC.

Instead of posting a session summary ,which doesn’t really do the presenter justice with a few paragraphs, I just decided to write some highlights that stuck out for me during this event.

Now, for some numbers shared by the MBS executives:
– xx% of all Microsoft ERP sales is Dynamics NAV Navision – (Microsoft asked me to remove this number)
– There are now 1,350,000+ registered users for Dynamics NAV (Navision)
– There are 76,000+ Dynamics NAV (Navision) customer implementations worldwide
– No other mid-market ERP has more users and install base

Wow!! That’s some serious numbers! xx% of all Microsoft ERP sales is Navision! For all the people saying that Microsoft will discontinue or kill Dynamics NAV or Navision in favor of other products, I would seriously ask them to check their facts again.

New Cool Stuff in NAV2009 SP1:
(For all the people that covered what I’m about to write, I’m sorry if I’m duplicating)

– Dynamics Online – This is a Microsoft Software + Services thing. The demo they showed is a customer processing credit card transactions and have the credit card cleared by Dynamics Online. This is very neat and I’m very excited to see what other services they plan to offer with this program.

– Drilldown to Detail Reports – One of the best features in Quickbooks is the ability to drill down directly from the reports. For a long time, no other ERP product can duplicate what Quickbooks did unless they purchase BI tools or other report writing tools. This is now part of NAV2009 SP1. It’s about time!

– Edit in Excel and Import it Back – The folks demoed the ability to export to Excel, which was there since v5.0. But now, you can edit the data in Excel and import the data back into NAV. In addition, there is version control if the data is different from the time it was exported. But this functionality is not out of the box, it requires some programming.

Future of Dynamics NAV (Navision):
C/AL is Not Going Anywhere – One thing confirmed by Microsoft is that they will NOT kill C/AL either (the Navision programming language). It will continue to be used to develope Dynamics NAV (Navision). This means that partners do not have to rush to hire a ton of C# or VB programmers as previously thought. It also means customers do not have to fear about MSFT revamping the core logic of Navision making it unrecognizable.

Application Roadmap – In the Dynamics NAV (Navision) Statement of Direction, there’s talks about adding an Application Roadmap. This roadmap will list out improvements and new functionalities within the application to be added to the future releases.

I’ve confirmed with many Microsoft executives and managers that the NAV product team DO look at MS Connect for production suggestions. Even though they do not respond to most of the suggestions, they do put the suggestions into serious consideration. So if you want to make a difference in the future of NAV, this your chance!

Interesting ISVs:
– Centerline – They make reportings tools within NAV. Essentially, you can build queries within NAV and have it print very nice reports using SQL reporting services.
– Lanham Address verification – Lanham & Associates (the makers of EDI, eShip, etc) is developing a address verification grnaule within NAV. I have to say that it’s taking long enough for someone to come out with a good solution within NAV. No pricing is available on this product yet but this looks very exciting.

Session of the Conference:
For me, the session of the conference was not in Navision. It’s called Inventory Management devlivered by Jon Schreibfeder ( His session described how to achieve profitability by managing your forecast and your items. Lanham’s forecasting granule is based on this guy’s teachings.

Other interesting observations:
– There were more than a few Microsoft Partners using a Mac
– Learned the approach for purchasing ERP software for Europe, US, and Asia. Very interest, but I’m not sure if the conclusion was based on too much alcohol or scientific proof.

Source of all Evil?

I noticed this when I did a search on Google using the keyword Dynamics NAV or Dynamics GP (or AX or SL, or whatever). … rview.aspx

It seems random, on top search results it displays On the later pages, it displays

The source of all evil? Is this a Microsoft joke? Or did Google intentionally do this?