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Automated Containerization Is in The Box with Dynamics AX 2012 R3


One of the best parts about using Dynamics AX 2012 R3 is that it allows manufacturers and distributors to leverage advanced warehouse management capabilities so that they can deal more efficiently with market changes. This type of functionality is typically not available as a part of an affordable ERP system.  A notable feature of the AX Warehouse Management system is the ability to facilitate the configuration of outbound flows, enabling users to plan, schedule, and execute a series of outbound operations with the purpose of shipping products from a warehouse to an intermediate location or final customer using automated containerization.

Dynamics AX Optimizes Piece Picking and Packing  

Over the past years, the customers of distribution centers have placed smaller orders. As a result, operations professionals have been forced to change their picking and packing strategies. Compared to full-case and pallet-picking operations, piece picking implies complex activities, typically leading to labor-intensive order selection processes, higher costs, and lower revenues. Distribution centers need a powerful ERP solution that could help them handle piece picking more efficiently and meet ever-changing customer requirements while keeping operating costs down.

Since most distribution centers are facing significant fluctuations in demand and supply, developing organization-specific strategies to optimize the picking and packing process has become critically important. In many instances, this makes all the difference between being able and unable to react quickly to market dynamics. Dynamics AX expeditiously helps manufacturers and distributors complete warehouse operations efficiently by making available a series of warehouse management capabilities that allow users to:

  • pick products
  • validate products picked
  • pack products
  • set up container profiles according to multiple orders, lines, and waves.

Microsoft performed a series of tests to prove the efficiency of the new warehouse management capabilities included in Dynamics AX 2012 R3. According to test results, the system allows a distribution center to complete 4,000 sales orders per day, with 5 lines per sales order and 200 sales orders per wave. The system can also process peak loads totaling 60 percent of one day’s transactions in 3 hours. Based on these figures, a distribution center can complete 200 sales orders in just 15 minutes.

Compared to manual picking and packing, Dynamics AX can manage multiple operations simultaneously and create workflows automatically according to sales orders, lines, waves, and quantities to fit designated containers. For instance, the system automatically

  • generates and sends sales orders to warehouses
  • reserves items
  • creates containers
  • schedules and processes workflows and waves according to preset configurations
  • creates or adds loads/shipments to new or existing waves
  • schedules loads and workflows for outbound flow processing
  • has business intelligence capabilities for each order

Following a top-down approach, Dynamics AX performs containerization before the creation of workflows. This strategy allows the system to use container-specific information (e.g. size, location, destination, etc.) to guide the picking and packing operations. Since containerization logic is interconnected with sales orders, waves, and outbound flows, you can easily identify the type of containers needed, the products and quantities that go into each container, and the number of containers required for each sales order as soon as you complete the sales order registration process. 

Currently, the new features included in the Warehouse Management module are primarily aimed at assisting users with the automated planning and scheduling of picking and packing operations, according to the structure of each container.  

One potential drawback is the inability to perform manual operations and adjustments on the containers generated automatically by the system. If you can delete and add items, change quantities, close and re-open the containers you create manually in Dynamics AX, the system denies permission to execute these operations after you enable automated containerization.

To learn more about the warehouse management capabilities included in Dynamics AX 2012 R3, we invite you to contact our team at Clients First.  You can reach us by emailing or calling 800.331.8382. With an extensive track record of successfully completed ERP implementations, our professionals are ready to help your business evaluate and implement Dynamics AX for your manufacturing organization, be it small or large.

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