Many Panatrack Customers use their barcode scanners to compile a preselected assortment of items to deliver to a customer. These are interchangeably called kits and assemblies in many warehouses, however, these two distinct features with Dynamics GP must be understood. Kitting and Assemblies are two independent pieces of functionality that will accomplish a similar task. Often one transaction will be more appropriate to a use case than the other. Understanding when each feature is best used, and how they can interact with a barcode scanning or warehouse management solution is important when evaluating best practices.
What’s the Difference?
Quite often the term ‘kit’ is used for what is an Assembly transaction in Dynamics GP. Both Kits and Assemblies use a combination of components that are sold to a user as a single unit. In the case of an assembly, the item is configured in GP as a Sales Inventory Type; meaning that there is an on=hand quantity level in Dynamics. A Kit, however, is set up as a ‘kit item’ type and there is no quantity tracked in GP. The components are all kept as individual items within Dynamics with their own On-Hand and Available Quantities. The Kit is used primarily on Sales Orders to group a variety of items that are sold under a single line and price. The major limitation of kitting is the inability to see how many ‘Kits’ are available to sell. To check if a kit can be fulfilled a user would need to look at the quantities for each component of the kit.
When determining when an item should be configured as a Kit or an Assembly there is no hard rule; however, we have included a few guidelines below to begin the evaluation for your team.
- Are the components put together and packaged to be picked off the shelf as a single item? If the answer is yes, consider Assembly as the best option.
- Is an inventory item is repackaged from a large ‘bulk’ item to into smaller packages for resale? If yes, then again an Assembly transaction will work best.
- Will the components be selected for an order when it is fulfilled for shipment or pick up? If this is the case, the Kitting functionality will serve you well.
- Is the line on the sales order intended to represent a group of items which are all managed independently as inventory? This is a situation that favors the use of kitting.
Benefits in the Warehouse
When a user has a warehouse management or barcode scanning solution in place, there are certain capabilities that are enhanced. The ability to capture transactions when they occur is a large benefit of using a solution like PanatrackerGP; this provides a much greater insight into real-time inventory levels. Users who are stocking completed assemblies with Panatrack have the ability to check quantities and locations right on their handheld scanner. With Kits there is additional flexibility on the side of the picker, allowing them to select items from the list when the order is fulfilled. This also allows a company to manage inventory at the item level, which is useful for users who sell items individually and in kits.
More about Assembly
Should you determine that the Assembly functionality is the best option for your needs, you will need to start by creating a Bill of Materials in GP. This BOM can include the major component items as well as any additional non-inventory type items that may be required. These can include flat fees, service fees, and the like. Typically, components are configured as ‘per unit’ meaning, a user enters the quantity of each item required to produce a single finished Assembly Item. This is called the ‘design quantity’ within Dynamics. There is also an option to configure an item to be calculated as ‘setup’, creating a one-time entry for the transaction. Often the Inventory Bill of Material and Assembly are ideal options for manufacturers with very basic requirements. Panatrack has added a work order entry add-on for the GP Assembly and BOM to provide the ability for planning. This add-on enabled a more detailed transaction workflow and provides functionality that many customers find useful.
The PanatrackerGP Assembly Transaction enables a user to complete and submit the Dynamics GP transaction from a mobile device. The addition of the Assembly BOM Work Order allows you to plan assemblies with included infrastructure. There is also support for the backflushing of components, which automatically selects and computes the quantities; this is based on the Assembly Quantity X the Component Design Quantity. Building a chair, for example, requires 2 arms, 4 legs, 1 seat piece and 1 back piece. When the application is told to build 5 chairs with backflushing, the user does not need to manually select how many of each component is used (10, 20, 5, & 5 respectively). The same concept applies to a packaging conversion scenario. If I have a product packaged in bulk that I need to repackage into an item representing a smaller unit, the entry of the quantity used isn't required.
On the flip side, individual components can also be selected for each specific build process. This works for organizations that may create a BOM that lists any potential components that can be included as part of the build. Each build may be slightly customized based on components in stock. In this example, each component can be selected for the specific Assembly build process at hand.
More About Kitting
Looking at kit setup options within GP allows a user to define the components of a kit, though the identification of items defined as a ‘kit type’ is not required. The costing for the kit can be based on the sum of the kit components or can be set on the kit item card itself. When adding a kit to a sales order line, the user can change components for that specific document. Take, for example, the purchase of a new cellphone. Often when buying a shiny new phone, we need an extra charger, a case or two, and a screen protector. A company could easily make this a kit with a set price. The kit components are the same except that each customer can select from various cases within a price range. One customer may select a blue case, another a pink case; thus, different component items out the door for the same kit.
The choice between using Assembly or Kitting may be easy to identify, while for some organization a mixture of Kits and Assemblies could work well. A Panatrack customer that sells bicycles, for example, builds a bike before it is shipped and delivered to their customer. Both an Assembly and a Kit can function in this instance, this customer elected to use kits on their sales orders. They pull the kit components (which differ slightly for each customer bike) and bring those components to the build areas. This option was ideal because the specified kit components are tied directly to the sales order and the customer. Picking for the order is completed on the components because the build is completed in the final process before shipping.
Panatracks team of inventory experts are available to assist your team in identifying if Assembly or Kitting is the best fit for your business plan. One on One demos can be scheduled to review the entire PanatrackerGP Inventory and Asset control solutions.
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