Supply Chain Management in Dynamics AX

This blog contains information and feedback on the Supply Chain Management area in Microsoft Dynamics AX

Inventory batch merge functionality available in CU7

Inventory batch merge functionality available in CU7

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In AX 2012 CU7 we released the inventory batch merge functionality which simplifies the process of consolidating several inventory batches into a single one. There is a number of scenarios when merging batches may be useful. For example:

  • Sammy, the receiving clerk, is walking through his warehouse, and notices that there are several batches of the same item that have low quantities. He is expecting to receive several new shipments, and he realizes that he can free some floor space by merging the odd quantities into a new batch.

  • Karl, the materials manager, wants to combine the new batch with one that he has already to improve the batch attribute value of the existing batch.

Overview

To start a new batch merge you can go to Inventory and warehouse management\Periodic\Batches\All batch merges and click New batch merge. You will be presented with the screen below:

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After you’ve specified the item and the common product and storage dimensions you can proceed with selecting source batches for the merge.

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The quantities and the dimensions of the source batch lines are populated automatically based on the on hand availability.

Once you’ve selected the source batches you can proceed with editing the properties of the merged batch.

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If one of the properties (like batch disposition code and manufacturing date in this example) has the same value for all the source batches then this value is automatically suggested for the merged batch.

After the details of the merged batch are set you can post the batch merge by clicking the Post the batch merge button. Behind the scenes AX will create a BOM journal based on the details of the batch merge and post it. Please note that you have to setup batch merge journal name before you can post/transfer to journal..

If you would like to delay the posting you have an option to create a BOM journal by clicking the Transfer to journal button. After that you can perform the standard inventory operations like reservation, picking and registration. And then you can finally post the journal.

The possibility to transfer batch merge to journal means multiple personas can work on the same batch merge. E.g. the warehouse manager creates the batch merge and transfers to journal and then the warehouse worker picks source batches and registers the merged batch and later the warehouse manager posts the journal.

The batch merges list page

The batch merges list page that is available from the Inventory and warehouse management\Periodic\Batches\All batch merges menu allows you to see both posted and pending batch merges.

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Setup batch merge journal name

Posting a batch merge is only possible after you’ve set up an inventory journal name for the batch merge journal.

You should go to Inventory and warehouse management\Setup\Journals\Journal name and create a new journal name:

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The journal type should be set to BOM.

Note, that if you want the source batches to be automatically reserved after transferring the batch merge to a journal then you need to set Reservation = Automatic on the journal name.

After you’ve created the journal name you should go to Inventory and warehouse management\Setup\Inventory and warehouse management parameters and specify the journal name that should be used for batch merge journals:

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Automatic date calculation for the merged batch

When merging batches it can be convenient to setup the automatic date calculation method. You can do it on the Product information management\Released product details form in the Inventory management tab by setting the Batch merge data calculation field.

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The options that are available to you are Manual, Earliest and Latest.

Suppose your item has shelf life requirements. In this case, using the Earliest option could be useful. It means that if you are, for example, merging two batches that have expiry dates 1st of January and 1st of February respectively then the suggested value for the expiry date of the merged batch will be 1st of January (the earliest among the source batches).

If you choose the Manual then the standard logic applies. That is if all the source batches have the same expiry date then this date will be suggested for the merged batch. Otherwise, the suggested date will be empty.

Date calculation methods apply to the following properties of inventory batches: Manufacturing date, Expiry date, Shelf advice date and Best before date.

Automatic calculation of batch attributes

If you are using batch attributes for your item then you will be pleased to know that the batch merge functionality supports automatic calculation of the batch attributes suggested for the merged batch.

For numeric attributes (integer or fraction) the suggested attribute value for the merged batch will be the weighted average of the attribute values from source batches. where the quantities of the source batches are used as weights. If the value is blank then the attribute value and the batch quantity are not included in the calculation.

For the other types of attributes the standard logic applies. That is if all the source batches have the same batch attribute value then this value will be suggested for the merged batch. Otherwise, the suggested attribute value will be empty.

Please note that you can change the suggested attribute values manually before the batch merge is transferred to journal/posted.

But wasn’t it possible to merge batches in previous versions of AX?

It’s worth mentioning that performing a batch merge was possible in previous versions of AX as well. However this process was quite time consuming. You would need to switch a lot between different forms and do a lot of manual work. Below is the list of steps that allows you to merge batches in previous versions of AX:

  • Create a new inventory batch (merged batch).
  • Select and analyze the batches that need to be merged (source batches).
  • Manually set properties (like manufacturing date, batch attributes, etc.) of the merged batch based on the source batches.
  • Create and post an inventory transfer journal or a BOM journal.
    • For every source batch you need to create journal lines based on the on hand availability.
    • For every journal line you would need to enter redundant information (like warehouse, item number, etc.) that is common for every journal line.
    • You need to manually lookup the on hand availability and then manually enter inventory dimensions and quantities of the source batch.
    • You can have several journal lines for a single source batch if it is stored on several locations.

The new batch merge functionality was designed to simplify this process.

  • The merge can now be done on a single form.
  • The item and the common storage dimensions need to be specified only once.
  • Adding a source batch to the merge is very simple. Just pick the source batch from the lookup and click add.
  • The quantities and the dimensions of the source batch lines are populated automatically based on the on hand availability.
  • All the necessary information about selected source batches is visible to the user.
  • Properties of the merged batch are calculated automatically based on the properties of source batches.
  • The properties of the merged batch can also be adjusted manually.
  • If the item has a batch number group defined then you don’t even need to specify the number of the merged batch. It will be fetched from the sequence at the time of posting/transfer to journal.

Additional information

Please refer to the TechNet articles below for more information and let us know if you have any questions.

About batch merges in inventory

Merge inventory batches

  • Hello! Any news regarding Batch Split functionality? In my experience it's a more common scenario.

  • Thanks, great post

  • The Batch Split functionality is on our backlog. Unfortunately we didn't have time to include it in CU7. There is one requirement in Batch split that we would like to get feedback on. Does the possibility of splitting a batch to different locations sound like an interesting option?

  • Thanks, Akshey )

  • Hi!

    For your mentioned business goals why we cannot use standard Dynamics AX transfer journal from one batch to another?

  • Hi Vladimir,

    We chose the BOM journal instead of the transfer journal as the internal implementation because it better represents the idea of multiple source batches/single merged batch while the transfer journal is more like multiple separate transfer lines from source batches to the merged batch. As a result of using the BOM journal we will also have better traceability in Item tracing for example. Do you have any concerns about using the BOM journal?

    And of course there's nothing that prevents you from using the standard transfer journal to merge batches. It's just a bit easier to do using the new form.

  • Hi,

    First off all, this is a nice interface for getting rid of many manual steps – good work.

    As I see it, this is a step in the right way,  but I would like to ask in to the roadmap for extending this functionality.

    - Are there any plans regarding access to this functionality from the item receiving process

    - Are there any plans regarding access to this functionality from the On-hand forms

    - Are there any plans regarding access to this functionality from the quality management area

  • Thanks for the nice feedback, Benny,

    We are considering improvements in this area but there is no clear roadmap.

    There is currently a limited support for creating a batch based on the on hand availability:

    The advanced sales clerk (e.g. also has shipping clerk role) takes an order from the customer that requires a batch with specific attributes. The sales clerk goes to the batch reservation form. There is a batch that satisfies the customer's requirements but the on hand is too low. Then the sales clerk can go to the batch attributes form and click batch merge. The batch merge form will appear and the batch merge will be prepopulated with the selected batch as the source batch. Please note that the site and the warehouse dimensions should be displayed on the batch reservation form since they serve as the context for the new batch merge.

  • Thanks for this post. Very useful.

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