Warehouse Automation Module for Dynamics GP: Barcoding, RFID with Some International Aspects

December 23, 2017 by  Filed under: Computer 

Corporate ERP systems typically do not support Barcoding in its typical scenarios, including scanned batch of documents upload.

Instead you would have to do your homework in selecting Warehouse Management System module to handle barcoding operations on the warehouse floor and uploading it to GP Distributions modules: Sales Order Processing, Inventory Control, Purchase Order Processing, Bill or Materials.  WMS is pretty popular among mid-size or smaller retailers and distributors, this is why we believe the topic deserves USA nationwide and even International consideration:

1. Why do I need WMS, as far as I know Great Plains already has Inventory transaction, Sales Order Processing and Purchase Order processing documents functionality?  Technically you may try to install GP user application on tiny computer, attach generic USB barcode scanner and use this pair in the warehouse.  However, if you expect high volume of scans, it might be impractical, as the worker has to complete the document by tabbing, entering required edit fields, drop down lists and only click on the scan button, when only one of few fields are in focus.  You also have to have permanent wireless connection for the Netbook.  In some scenarios, this method might be feasible, especially when you are scanning only few items and they are high price ticket ones, and when your warehouse worker is trained to use client interface (and probably does scanning once per day during maybe twenty minutes or so).  For the rest of us, we need WMS client to be installed directly on the Scanner computer with very simple interface, where you do mostly scanning and simple decision making, such as “I just scanned the receipt header, now I am switching to scanning document items, etc.”

2. How the technology works?   It is not really a rocket science.  WMS client application talks to the Server, which is on the permanent network connection and it talks via ODBC to GP SQL Server.  Scanned documents could be categorized as Inventory Transfer or Adjustment, Sales Order Allocation, Purchase Receipt

3. How about RFID.  Here, the technology is based on RFID tags and readers, but the translation to the documents in your ERP application is very similar to what you can see in Barcoding.  There might be various reasons, why you would prefer RFID tag reading versus more traditional barcode label scanning.  It might be more secured, which is important for the Government contractors, military suppliers to give you couple examples

4. Barcode Scanners supported.  Our module requires the scanner which is at least text mode compliant.  We do believe that GP is a good fit for mid-market and smaller mid-market customers, engaged in wholesale, retail, distribution, supply chain management businesses.  In such environment you might not have a luxury budget for barcoding or RFID equipment

5. Competition.  There are two flavors of the Warehouse Management System for Great Plains.  First one would be the extension modules, working directly out of the ERP SQL database and creating transactions there in the real time, our module is one of them.  And the second flavor is external self-sufficient Warehouse Management application, which could be integrated via connectors and integration modules.  The second approach is typically more expensive, but it gives you more luxury in the covered functionality

6. Custom Business Logic.  When you are in the distribution industry, you may require some portion of custom logic, comparing to what generic Corporate ERP typically offers.  In the case of Dynamics GP first you would need to research the ISV add-ons market, maybe the product is already available to be integrated.  Often, however, you are in the situation, when you have to translate the alternative logic directly to your barcode scanning routines.  Our WMS extensions are ready for being modified and in fact the majority of the SCM customers have additional coding needs

7. Availability internationally.  Here we have to say the following.  Corporate ERP localization typically has two aspects: local language support and compliance to the targeted country regulations.  As warehouse operations are sort of internal routines, they are immune from the imposed local legislation.  We support our add-ons in English and Spanish.  In general, if you have your Corporate ERP implemented on the GP platform – we can help you with Warehouse automation.  In some cases we are receiving the calls from our potential customers: we have Great Plains as ERP in the USA, we are opening the subsidiary in China, Brazil, Russia, Taiwan.  Could you help us with this expansion and Distribution automation?  The answer really depends.  If your targeted country is small enough and the personnel over there is comfortable to English user interface – you can probably force GP implementation.  But for such regional powers, where Great Plains is not localized as Russia, China, Brazil, India – we really recommend you to check with your local CPA firm if they could support you on that accounting platform.  We understand that you would like something coming directly from brand name Corporate ERP providers – check our Microsoft Dynamics AX (Supply Chain Management, Process Manufacturing), SAP Business One (smaller Production facility)

8. Special Consideration for China.  Please note, that Great Plains Dexterity doesn’t support Unicode based alphabets, where you are using hieroglyphs, such as Chinese, Korean, Japanese.  This fact introduces additional complication in the considering GP to be implemented in China or South East Asia.  We recommend you to look at Axapta Dynamics AX or SAP Business One

9. Brazil.  Our company was hired by Microsoft Business Solutions in Sao Paulo to localize GP for Brazil to support Brazilian Portuguese user interface and Brazilian business legislation.  This was back in 2004.  We still have the version 7.5 partially localized.  But, in the course of the next several years, MBS changed its mind in favor of Navision Dynamics NAV, and then Axapta AX.  What we could recommend you at the time of 2011, as we are writing these lines in February 2011.  Consider first Axapta and if it is too expensive and difficult to implement, review SAP B1, and then local packages, such as Microsiga

10. Arabic World.  Here we see the tendency to deploy English in Warehouse operations, and Great Plains is available for the majority of the countries, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Tunisia, Jordan, OAE.  Arabic alphabet is ASCII compliant and you should be good to pick this ERP application for your overseas subsidiary

11. Russian Federation.  GP is not localized in RF, we see strong positions of such local ERP system as 1CAccounting (1S Bukhgalteria).  In Russia you should be aware about such principles as Federal Government approved GL chart of accounts (maybe similar to what you have in France, old fashioned manufacturing oriented).  GP is no longer localized, where our company participated in the localization initiative in the late 1990th, but then Great Plains Software was acquisitioned by Microsoft and the Microsoft acquired Navision Software, Denmark based corporation with such Corporate ERP products as Navision and Axapta.  Currently February 2011 we recommend Dynamics AX or NAV for the customers in RF

12. South, Central America and Mexico.  Here we were working hard with other VARs and consulting partners to synchronize the application with local legislations, such as Honduras Payroll taxes.  In our opinion Great Plains has green light for the whole Spanish speaking Latin America

13. Canada.  Here GP is available in English and French Canadian versions up to the current version 2010/11.0

14. Poland and Eastern Europe.  There were substantial efforts from GPS back in the late 1990th, prior to its acquisition by Microsoft to expand in Western, Southern and Eastern Europe.  Our company was one of the engines to popularize Dynamics in Russia and Czech Republic.  But, when Microsoft acquired Navision Software, the European Corporate ERP market was driven by Navision, and Great Plains was pulled out of the scenes.  In Poland we have some cluster of customers, typically on the version 7.5 with the user interface in Polish

15. For further information, please call us 1-866-304-3265 or email help@efaru.com 

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