Supply Chain Management in Dynamics AX

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

Warehouse and Transportation management vs. the “old” Advanced warehouse management

Warehouse and Transportation management vs. the “old” Advanced warehouse management

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Overview

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 included new Warehouse management (WHS) and Transportation management (TMS) modules. These modules are both enabled by a single configuration key, WHSandTMS. However, AX already offered the Warehouse Management II module, which is enabled by the WMSAdvanced configuration key.

However, Microsoft does not support AX instances where both modules are enabled. You should use either the old Warehouse management module (WMS II) or try the new solution, WHS.

Although technically there is nothing preventing the successful co-existence of these modules, our team made a conscious decision not to support this combination. This has allowed us to save time on compatibility testing and instead focus on delivering the best possible warehousing and transportation solution to the market in the allotted time. Microsoft plans to build the future warehouse management capabilities within this module as well. In fact, the WMS II feature set is included on the deprecated list for feature that will not be supported when releasing next major release. See Deprecated features

Microsoft has made it abundently clear that it is not liable for any damages that result from a concurrent installation of WHS and WMS II, so you should think twice before making the decision to use both of them in a production environment.

We have built in a warning message that immediately notifies users when they try to create data for one of the modules while the other one is also enabled. Please see below for a walkthrough of the two forms where this message can appear.

Warehouse creation

If you are planning to use one of the two warehousing solutions, you will want to create one or more warehouses. As part of that process, there are two extra validations that are performed.

Creating a new WHS warehouse

If you try to create a new warehouse and select the “Use warehouse management processes” check-box, and the WMS II configuration key enabled, the following section is displayed in red at the top of the form to notify you of the error in your setup.

Creating a new WMS II warehouse

If you try to create a new warehouse, and then try to define the pallets that will be used at the warehouse, and the WHSandTMS configuration key enabled, the following error text appear in red at the top of the form.

Storage dimension group creation

Apart from creating new warehouses, you will also need to set up the storage dimension groups that you specify when creating products. Storage dimension groups control which storage dimensions are going to come in play at your company’s storage facilities. Two extra validations are performed as part of this process.

Creating a new WHS storage dimension group

If WMSAdvanced configuration key is enabled when you create a new storage dimension group and enable it for warehouse management processes by selecting the Use warehouse management processes, the following error is displayed.

Creating a new WMS II storage dimension group

If the WHSandTMS configuration key is enabled when you create a new storage dimension group and enable the Pallet ID dimension, you will see the following error.

Note that this does not prevent you from persisting this data, it’s just a reminder that this configuration is not officially supported.

There are a number of other places where you set up data, but we limit the validation to these two because they are central to any master data setup in a company that plans to use a built-in warehousing solution in Dynamics AX.

Technical description

As I mentioned earlier, the new WHS module is protected by the WHSandTMS configuration key. LogisticsBasic is its parent key. The old WMS II module has two configuration keys – WMSAdvanced and WMSPallet, which is a child of WMSAdvanced. WMSAdvanced, in turn, is tied to the WMSAdvanced license code. Which means that in order to turn off the WMS II solution, you must disable the corresponding license key. Turning off the WMSPallet configuration key is not sufficient, and you will still see the warning message when working with Warehouses and/or Storage dimension groups.

Partitions

Data is always isolated within a partition so that one or more companies can use the same AX application, but access only their own data. Configuration keys, on the other hand, are per application. This means that even though you are only using one of the modules in your partition, you will still be in danger and thus getting warnings in the cases described earlier. That is because the business logic of the application often has checks like “if isConfigurationKeyEnabled() then do something”, which implies that “something” might go wrong in your company even though you have the correct data.

Demo environments

Because we still support both modules in AX 2012 R3, we also need to showcase the features of both modules in the virtual machines (VMs) that we make available for partners and customers to use for demos. Due to time/resource constraints, however, we only released one VM configuration, which has both configuration keys turned on at the same time. Now, I realize that contradicts what I wrote above about the support of just one, but remember that these VMs are only meant for demonstration, and their configuration should not be copied to a production environment.

So far there were no bugs reported through use of these demo VMs, which would be caused by the co-existence of the two WMS solutions. However I would like to repeat that these are not to be used in a production environment.

Conclusion

Enjoy the new Warehouse and Transportation management capabilities, people!

  • I see no reason why these  cannot coexist for different item group or warehouses

    It does not make sense for expense and consumable item sot be subject to the same processes.

  • When can we expect the documentation for the new modules? It is very time consuming to figure out everything by ourselves.

  • Hi Steve,

    Thank you for your feedback.

    I assume you have looked through the information Markus posted in this post

    blogs.msdn.com/.../introducing-the-new-warehouse-management-and-transportation-management-modules-in-dynamics-ax-2012-r3.aspx

    We do acknowledge that more information is necessary out there for people to learn the capabilities of the new modules. Which is also why we post in this blog.

    In parallel, there's work going on to release more official documentation and white papers about the new solution. So stay tuned, hopefully something should be out within the next 14 days

  • Thanks you for your prompt response Ivan. Eagerly looking forward to the release of official documentation.

  • Hi Steve,

    The Warehouse management system implementation guide has been released today.

    You can download it here:

    www.microsoft.com/.../details.aspx

    Let us know what you think about it, and if that's what you were looking for or not.

    Thanks

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