How do I serialize finished goods in a high volume environment?
An organization may be looking to supplement their current system with serial number tracking software, and the process may seem daunting due to the high volumes of goods. However, the problem isn’t the actual serial numbers. This is a common belief, since an organization’s legacy system may still be able to handle requirements such as inventory transfers, packing of finished goods, the receiving of purchase orders and the shipment of sales orders. However, the challenge is in addressing the volume of transactions to minimize delays for high volume repetitive use.
The ERP system is designed to record the transaction. In knowing this, the user can expect that when an ERP system is “recording” a transaction, he/she must wait for the updating to complete. This wait is in part due to the serial number tracking software needing to record a chain of operations, in addition to the initiation of rollback safeguards. In standard Microsoft Dynamics AX, and depending on the specific transaction being posted, 10 or more CRUD (Create/Read/Update/Delete) operations can be initiated with the recording of this one transaction. Think of CRUD as “Creating a word document, reading the word document, adding a couple paragraphs to the word document and/or deleting the word document.” Thus, this series of CRUD (up to 10) can be multiplied against the number of events that were initiated by the recording of the one transaction. A serialized transaction is one tall order for basic serial number tracking software.
This complexity has the average person asking why serial number tracking is necessary. For industries such as Aircraft & Aviation Industrial Equipment Manufacturing and Firearm & Holster Manufacturing, the serial number requirement is mandated by government regulations that require the tracking of all item movements from the moment the number is assigned. In consideration of the many inventory movements of the receiver throughout the manufacturing process, this serial number tracking software requirement would result in a heavy transaction load on the system since each movement involves hundreds of receivers.
The Dynamics AX Solution
After having been briefed on how an ERP system records serial transactions, it is easier to understand how this transaction load would be an issue for a manufacturing organization. For example, any necessary operation such as Bills of Materials (BOM), routing, and transferring would weigh heavily on the ERP software’s ability to process information efficiently.
This high number of CRUD operations is avoided by first booking the serial number in the serial number tracking table first. This is typically not done, as a user would expect this serial number to be booked in the inventory transaction tables. The reason for not booking throughout the inventory transaction tables is because there are a significant number of inventory movements between transactions. In terms of serial number tracking software, this translates into several operations needing to be recorded, meaning that for each movement, a subsequent chain of events is triggered initiating several CRUD operations. This is why the ERP project manager avoids booking in the inventory transaction tables and instead has it booked when the product is sold. Thus, throughout the manufacturing process, the receiver will be a non-descript inventory unit and upon packing is when the serial number will be “officially” assigned in AX.
History of movement is achieved when the “official” serial number is assigned, because the number will already be in the serial number table with the movements recorded. This will provide a full history of the serial number with a minimum amount of processing impact to the serial number tracking software, or Microsoft Dynamics AX.
This can be thought of as a “lightweight” serial number first, and branded with the “heavyweight” serial number at the end:
By utilizing the basic functionality of Microsoft Dynamics AX, large manufacturers with high volumes of finished goods are able to “have their cake and eat it too.” This way, they can continue to utilize Microsoft manufacturing software for other business processes without having to worry about time consuming serial number tracking.