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Lean Manufacturing in Microsoft Dynamics AX

Reduce waste, streamline processes, accelerate demand-pull operations, and gain tools for implementing and sustaining lean manufacturing initiatives that can give you a competitive advantage.

Microsoft Dynamics AX can empower your people to successfully implement kanban, kaizen, heijunka-board production leveling, just-in-time operations, and other key tactics by delivering the specific functionality, access to information, and process flexibility demanded by lean manufacturing operations. As an integral part of a familiar and adaptable end-to-end business management solution, Microsoft Dynamics AX can help you achieve the insight, agility, efficiency, and customer-orientation that enhance profitability and business success.

Benefits of Lean Manufacturing:

  • Achieve demand-driven production.
  • Increase replenishment efficiency.
  • Accelerate continuous improvement.
  • Understand value streams, eliminate bottlenecks, and identify improvement opportunities.
  • Free people for higher-value activities.
Continue reading "Lean Manufacturing in Microsoft Dynamics AX"

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Business Process Maps

Microsoft Dynamics AX is a powerful business solution for the global enterprises of today and tomorrow. Simple to learn and use, Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 delivers value fast by supporting industry-specific and operational business processes across your global enterprise.

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 supports operational efficiency in all key functional areas, including out-of-the-box functionality for:

  • Accounts Payable
  • Accounts Receivable
  • General Ledger
  • Budgeting
  • Cost Accounting
  • Cash and Bank Management
  • Procurement and Sourcing
  • Human Resources
  • Sales and Marketing (CRM)
  • Travel and Expense
  • Compliance and Internal Controls
  • Project Management and Accounting
  • Inventory and Warehouse Management
  • Product Information Management
  • Master Planning
  • Production Control
  • Service Management
  • Public Sector
  • Retail

This document explores the core capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 and diagrams the core business process maps that the product can support. (For example, here are the underlying business processes associated with Production Control in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012.)

Learn more: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 - Core ERP Features and Business Process Maps

Approval Process for Purchase Orders with Microsoft Dynamics AX

Maintaining and controlling corporate spending is more critical than ever. With Microsoft Dynamics AX, it has never been simpler to ensure that an organization changes and evolves the business processes and tasks that control the procure-to-pay processes.

The approval process for purchase orders adds automation and control to purchase order processes. It also delivers a high level of flexibility in the modeling processes with policies and workflows, including task and approval management. Purchase order history and versioning is built-in and is easily accessible, providing deep insight and supporting analysis and conscious decision making.

The approval process for purchase orders ensures that the business processes have been followed and that correct review and approval has been performed, which guarantees that the purchase orders created and confirmed to the vendors have been appropriately reviewed and approved.

Approval Process Configuration

The approval process for purchase orders within Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 provides the flexibility to control and track changes within purchase order processes, and it enables control of the approval process by using the standard workflow framework.

The key areas supported by the approval process for purchase orders are:

  • Activation – The purchase order approval process can be activated on different levels:
    • For all purchase orders
    • For purchase orders for a specific vendors
    • For individual purchase orders
  • Workflow – The purchase order approval process uses the standard workflow framework to define activities (such as tasks, decisions, and approvals) that need to be carried out. It provides the ability to design business processes such as company approval processes and change management policies.Both the purchase order and purchase order line have been workflow-enabled, making it possible to configure and execute different activities per purchase order line based on line conditions and properties.
  • Versioning – The purchase order document is versioning-enabled with activation. A new document version is created upon approval of the purchase order, and versioning ensures a complete audit trail for the changes made to a confirmed purchase order.

The Purchase Order Approval Process

After a purchase order has been entered into the system, its approval status controls the actions that can be performed. An unapproved purchase order must be approved before the purchase order can be issued to the vendor and the purchase order status is confirmed. A purchase order must be confirmed before product receipt and invoices can be matched against the purchase order.

Approval state model:

  • Draft – The purchase order requester creates and makes changes to the purchase order when in Draft state.
  • In review – The requester submits the purchase order or the request for change to an approval workflow, which will change the state to In review. The policies and processes configured within the workflow will assign and execute tasks, decisions, and approvals needed for the specific purchase order or change request. If budget control is enabled, a budget check will be performed based on budget control policies, providing real-time analytics related to budget funds available.
  • Rejected – A purchase order that has been rejected by a workflow reviewer has the state of Rejected. The purchase order can be changed and resubmitted to workflow if desired.
  • Approved – A purchase order that has completed the approval process is considered Approved, and can now be issued to the vendor. Expected receipt transactions may be created when the order reaches Approved status.
  • Confirmed – Confirming the purchase order generates a purchase order confirmation document, which is an external document that may be provided to the vendor to notify them of the order. If budget control is enabled, the budget check is performed based on the budget control policies and budget reservations are established ensuring that planned expenditures do not exceed budget funds available. If encumbrance processing has been enabled, subledger journal entries are created for a purchase order when the purchase order is confirmed to reflect the consumption of budget funds on the balance sheet.
  • Finalized – Finalizing the purchase order requires all lines to be either canceled or invoiced. After a purchase order has been finalized, you can no longer change the purchase order. Finalize the purchase order to liquidate budget reservations and any encumbrance that is not yet relieved in general ledger.

The approval process for purchase orders features provided by Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 explicitly requires the approval of any request to change the purchase order, and the changes are not effective before approval. The feature also ensures that every change request is captured within a purchase order version, which allows for version comparison (header and lines) for analysis of changes between any two versions of the purchase order.

Windows 8 development - Process Lifetime Management

If you are a developer, starting to work on a Windows 8 application, one of the really important things to understand is the Process Lifetime Management or PLM. Even if you're not a developer, understanding what really happens when you run a Windows Store application or navigate from it could help you use the app better.

PLM is actually one of the major differences between a Windows 8 application and a desktop application. Unlike traditional Windows applications, which will continue to execute in background, Windows Store apps execute only when they are in the foreground. Windows 8 focuses on the apps in the foreground, keeping them responsive and providing excellent performance by allowing the app to use all of the available device resources. Applications that are snapped are running in foreground, too.

Once a user navigates away from the app, the operating system puts the application in the suspended mode to preserve battery. The application remains in memory but all of its thread are suspended. When the user navigates back to the app, it resumes execution where it stopped and you as a developer can't change this behavior. You don't even have to implement any code to make it happen.

This all seems easy and straightforward, but there is a catch. The operating system cannot guarantee that the application will stay in memory until a user decides to use it again. While the app is suspended, the OS can terminate it to free up additional memory. When an app is terminated, all state that has not been saved is lost. As a developer, you cannot allow for this to happen. Since we are not aware whether the application will be terminated, we must ensure the state is saved when the app is suspended and restore this state in case termination occurs.

But do not despair, Visual Studio 2012 does much of the heavy lifting for you. If your app is not complex, the VS project template takes care of this for you, completely. In the Common folder of your Windows Store app you will find the SuspensionManager.cs. VS added the OnSuspending method and following code to existing OnLaunched method in the App.xaml.cs to save and restore the app’s navigation state if the app was terminated by the operating system after it was suspended.

private async void OnSuspending(object sender, SuspendingEventArgs e)


var deferral = e.SuspendingOperation.GetDeferral();
await SuspensionManager.SaveAsync();


protected override async void OnLaunched(LaunchActivatedEventArgs args)


if (args.PreviousExecutionState == ApplicationExecutionState.Terminated)

// Restore the saved session state only when appropriate await SuspensionManager.RestoreAsync();



In case your application requires anything more sophisticated than this, you will have to implement it yourself, but at least you have a decent starting point. To test how your application behaves when terminated, start the app from Visual Studio and select Suspend and shutdown from the Debug Location toolbar (to activate it, navigate to View > Toolbars > Debug Location).

ROI of Process Industries for Microsoft Dynamics AX

Process Industries for Microsoft Dynamics AX can provide significant value opportunities across your business.

Let’s look at some of these.

Value Opportunity



IT maintenance and support costs

Reduce by up to 40%

· Improved ease of use; reduction in systems management requirements and in-house support; reduced maintenance and upgrade costs

Order lead times

Reduce by up to 35%

·  Better visibility of on-hand and in-process inventory; more efficient production; shelf life management and first expired/first out (FEFO) inventory management

Work-in-progress inventories

Reduce by up to 30%

·  Reduced production cycle times; increased utilization; improved routing and scheduling accuracy

Obsolete, expired, or perishable inventory

Reduce by up to 30%

·  FEFO inventory management, shelf life management

Changeover and setup times

Reduce by up to 20%

·  Better order sequencing and batch management; improved visibility of production setup and changeover requirements

Finished goods inventory

Reduce by up to 25%

·  Overall reduction in cycle times; improved order accuracy and forecast accuracy

Planning cycle

Reduce by up to 80%

·  Weekly, daily, and hourly supply/demand netting; what-if planning and simulation; improved granularity of resources constraints by formula, dimension, or other attributes

Forecast accuracy

Improve by 5% to 15%

·  More complete and accurate order data; integrated forecast netting against inbound orders and rework orders

Temporary labor requirements

Reduce by up to 25%

·  Greater visibility of actual production requirements; improvement in planning accuracy