Many customers seeking inventory management turn to evaluate full Warehouse Management Systems (WMS). In many cases, they want to add automation tools that will allow them to add serial or lot tracking or multiple-bin tracking. There is a misconception that Dynamics GP doesn’t support inventory management and that a separate system is required to achieve accurate inventory control.
While there are many cases in which a full independent WMS is needed, many organizations can add the inventory management benefits by adding a robust data collection solution and continue to use their Dynamics GP as the host inventory database.
This blog post will offer key inventory management features that are already supported in Dynamics GP that you may not be taking advantage of because you do not have mobile data collection tools in place. When you add mobile and bar code technology, the door will open for you to incorporate all of inventory management functionality Dynamics GP has to offer and add inventory control practices under a fully integrated system.
If you are familiar with Dynamics GP, you know you have the ability to set up multiple site locations. You also have the ability to make a single bin assignment for each item for each site. For companies that have a place for every item, this works great. Adding a mobile data collection solution will give your workforce access to which bin the item is located, whether transferring, using, or picking the inventory.
For many organizations, there may be a primary location for an item, but a need for an “overflow” or optional bin locations. Enabling multi-bins provides the abilities to track inventory in a variety of bin location. Bin assignments can be identified for the primary receiving and picking locations. Adding mobile data capture adds the ability for the users to access bin locations and the quantity on hand and available, adding efficiency to the workflow. Priority bin set up can be set up to add even greater inventory control and can also add minimum and maximum level recommendations.
Manufacturer Item Number Cross Reference
Many customers ask how to get the “bar code” into Dynamics GP. You can actually use your own Dynamics GP item number. Create an inventory label with your GP item number represented as a bar code and you are ready to go. If you have inventory that you receive with a manufacturer or vendor item number already represented in a barcode, you can store this as a cross reference in Dynamics GP Manufacturer Item Number Maintenance table. If scanned in a solution like PanatrackerGP, the cross reference number is automatically translated to your GP item number. Panatrack has also added features to automatically create the cross reference when inventory is received.
Serial & Lot Tracking
Many customers turn to bar code technology when they have identified the need to track their inventory by serial or lot number. Serial numbers tend to be long (and usually are represented on the inventory item in a bar code already). Scanning is a more efficient and accurate option to manually recording these numbers. Dynamics GP supports both serial and lot tracking. Lot attributes can natively be captured on lot tracked inventory include expiration date, manufacturer date and up to 5 definable attribute fields (3 text, 2 dates). Mobile data collection provides immediate real-time validation when selecting serial and lot details for inventory-related transactions.
Item Resource Planning
Within GP, reorder levels can be set for items by site. Faster entry of transactions provides more immediate information to maintaining stocking levels and purchase requirements.
Allocations for inventory provides an additional layer of management to inventory stocking levels. A “soft” allocation can be done on sales orders (allocation is done on an item level, no serial or lot number specified), to update “available quantity” to manage inventory quantity levels. Using a bar code data capture solution such as PanatrackerGP, specific serial and lot numbers are collected at the time they are picked.
WMS versus Dynamics GP
If you need features such as slotting, complex cross-docking, three-level location tracking, or load building capabilities, you probably need a full WMS. If you don't need these features (or don't even know what they are), chances are good you may not really need a full WMS. Keep in mind, a key feature of a WMS will be adding bar code and mobile data capture technology. Without it, you will be in the same boat you are now, with a manual process. Imagine providing the tools to your workforce to complete the transactions at the point and time they occur and look at everything Dynamics GP has to offer first. You may be surprised!