Master planning in Manufacturing

I just got my copy of the new Scott Hamilton book! Look at how happy I am!

It is an in-depth master piece that covers all the functionality from the basics to the advanced. Organized and written in a way that everyone with basic knowledge of the subject matter and ERP can digest it. It covers all the different type of manufacturing scenarios (Discrete, Project, Process and Lean) and has a great deal of case studies that are informative and might even solve many of your known and unknown issues.

This is the go-to book for any company that is using Master planning functionality. If you’re a customer, user or partner of Dynamics AX2012 or Dynamics 365 for Operations, then you should go get this book ASAP. You’ll probably save the cost after the second chapter (As the first is the introduction)…

It will deepen the understanding of the features for people that are already up and running on the system as well as work as a reference guide. And it is a great companion and a must-read to people doing an implementation or want to simply learn the solution.

Go get your copy either physical or electronically now!

Also read some of Scotts latest posts on for more info:

Flushing principles

I’ve had some questions from customers on how to utilize the flushing principles, so I want to try and explain it as simple as I can.

Flushing principles are settings that tell the system when to automatically deduct your BOM items during manufacturing. When executing manufacturing actions in AX you can decide to use flushing principle, always (All items) or never (No items). This way you can pull some BOM lines at different stages of production. But keep in mind what setting you use, so you don’t pull your materials multiple times or none at all.

There are three settings for a flushing principle: Start, End and Manual.

Start pulls your items on start actions. These are: Start production or start operation.

End pulls your items on end actions. These are: End operation or report as finished.

Manual won’t be pulled automatically at any manufacturing actions, but must be manually picked through a production picking list being manually posted.


Again: Be aware on how your manufacturing actions are set up to handle posting of journals.

This also applies to your route operations, cause you can apply the same concept to them as well. This is based on the route group settings.

Now go out and get some sun! 🌞


Time and Attendance (Part 28/31): Supervisor options

The idea behind the supervisor option is that the shop floor supervisor shouldn’t have to retreat to their office to do the most frequent tasks. This includes reprioritize work, control worker attendance, report absence and change feedback as well as report on manufacturing execution tasks themselves.

When authenticating on the time and attendance registration form, the supervisor will be prompted with a supervisor dialogue where they can quickly jump to the desired task.


The supervisor can change between different resource, groups and production units to do Job registrations.

Change Feedback

The “Change feedback” option gives an overview for feedback from the selected resources.


You can select multiple records and click the “Update Feedback” button. This launches the feedback wizard form which I normally don’t use because you can not access the picking list. This is a simple way to perform feedback.


After the supervisor has updated the feedback and clicks “Finish” the journals and jobb is updated.

This is a great feature as it allows the supervisor to reactivate jobs that has been reported as completed, but should have been reported as stopped. Earlier this gave a lot of headache because you would have to go into the AOT to fix it or create a job that could do this for you.


The supervisor can quickly access the Attendance form (which you also can do from the terminal directly) from the supervisor options to report absence or check the worker attendance.

After selecting a calculation group,


the supervisor will see the attendance overview.


Here the supervisor can print the attendance form, clock out a selection of workers or register attendance directly.

Clicking on register attendance for a worker the supervisor is presented with a absence registration form with a start/end date and time based on the planned work profile and can input an absence code.


This is done without even leaving the shop floor. When the forman is going to calculate the absence registered will be used and he/she won’t be bothered with roaming the workforce to find out who knows why anyone wasn’t clocked in that day.

Edit job list

“Editing job list” is used to reprioritize the sorting of the jobs on the terminal for the resource.


Selecting a job the supervisor can move it up, down or to a specific sequence number. It is also possible to move the work to another resource as long as it is within the route operations requirements.

Making the job High priority will force the resource to work on this job next. It will be the only job that the resource can start working on and will be notified if he/she tries to start another job.

There are also a lot of other information like capacity overviews, materials and general information about the production order and/or job.


To activate this feature for the terminal user. Go to Human Resources > Common > Workers > Workers | Employment > Time Registration > Supervisor Option and check the box.


Have fun!



AX7 – What’s new manufacturing

Disclaimer: The information is gathered from a pre released version of AX7 and might be subject for change before final release.

It has been stated that the next AX version will be equal to AX 2012 R3 when it comes to features, but there are some new knick knacks you should be aware of.

Mainly it’s the new user interface that offers some very nice new opportunities to interact with the existing data model. There are some new features as well.


Workspaces are the new dashboard experience that Microsoft is introducing. It is basically a combination of different elements. The consist of PowerView reports, Tiles (Replace cues), A list of some tables with their own action menus and a set of links/functions.
Together it is a very powerfull tool when used correctly.

Production floor management workspace is created for the manufacturing shop floor manager or formen. A one-stop-shop for all their needs from releasing, prioritizing, managing the workers, managing feedback and so on.


The visual impression is pretty nice and it gives new possibilities to combine insight and action.


General improvements to the UI

It is no surprise that the new interface is totally transformed and it takes some getting used to, but when you can grasp the new combination of forms and processes that it supports it is pretty obvious that Microsoft has been listening to their customers to gear the solution towards actual processes.


Like this beauty above which you are presented when clicking the “Production orders to release”-tile in the Workspace.

In a glance it shows the critical on-hand which is crucial when releasing jobs to the manufacturing floor.

Also they have moved away from the constraints of the menu structure (Common, Reports, Journals…) as well. Like accessing Manufacturing Execution.


Talking about Manufacturing execution…

Job Card Device and Terminal = Shop Floor Terminal

The job registration form is still present, but now it is called “Job card Terminal“. The new interface called “Job Card Device” is an alternative to the Shop Floor Control Job registration form and is actually very similar to the Windows New UI app that they developed.


The interface is snappy and very intuitive!
Production related buttons on the left side and actions related to the user on the right side. It works just like the Job card Terminal and is handling time and attendance with absence, work times, breaks and so on. Nifty!

Looking forward to implementing this!

Resource feasibility

As AX 2012 has a great new way to maintain resource requirements, it can be daunting to keep up with the fact that your resource requirements might not always result in a match with a resource. To handle this we have now the “Route feasibility form” that is used to review this.

You can review each operation in a route by clicking Ax2012_ApplicableResources or for the entire route by clicking AX2012_RouteFeasibilityButton .
I prefer the “Route feasibility” function as this gives me a grand overview.


The form will show if the route is complete and how many resources that apply. A great feature to keep up with the resource requirements. I hope in the future that this is a place where we can work on resource requirements, but for now it is just a place to get an overview.

Link: Info on the form on MSDN.

Maintain and update resource requirements

There is a great wizard/feature to do mass update to resource requirements on route operations in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. This is a great way to get from static resource planning (resource group or resource) to dynamic resource planning (capability, skill, certificate, title and so on) or to maintain and extend your static or dynamic resource model. For instance if you want to change a single resource in a static model to a new resource or if you want to replace a resource or resource group with a set of capabilities. It is the replacement scenario I will try to show you.

In any of the route forms you will find the “Update resource requirements” on the action menu.

Say you have a resource group that you want to replace with a set of capabilities.

1. Launch the wizard by clicking the menu item.
Notice the route has now route group “C1” as a requirement.

2. Click next in the first page of the wizard

3. Select the set of requirements you want to change.
Note that you can do and exact match or a partial match and be able to only select a single operation if you need to.

4. Select the action you want to be performed for the matches found.

You can do a number of different operations like replace or delete either for only the matched or all requirements on an operations. The scope of the application of the action on what to update is also a very nice feature. You can even update production routes, product builder/configuration routes or hour forecast for projects! Great!

5. Select what to replace the selection with or add

6. Confirm the action before running it

Notice the number of actions that is to perform. That is the scope of the matched records that will be altered.

7. Review your changes
You can see that the requirement for resource group “C1” is now replaced with a set of capability requirements.

So if you want to replace, update, delete or alter any type of resource requirements any place in the solution you can use this tool. I think this is pretty awesome. Have fun!

Two (three) different absence solutions in AX?

To answer the title: “Yes”. There are several places to maintain absence in AX 2012.
Working with Absence managment in AX 2012 you’ve probably come across this. The moment where you understand that there are multiple feature sets on Absence managment that don’t work together. Human resouces (HCM) and Time and Attendance (JMG) both use Absence codes, but the features in them are a bit astranged.

The reports in Absence managment in Human resources based on the absence journals are very good. That is why you set up the collumns and “include in report” on the absence codes.

You can transfer the absence registered in Time and Attendance into Absence journals in Human Resources if you’ve activated the parameter to do so.


Absence codes is a common concept and is used both in Time and attendance and Human Resources, but there are some places where you might fall in to a hole and the only way out at the moment is creating program changes.

Issue number 1: Absence applications from employees
You have the register absence under HR > Periodic > T&A > “Create planned absence”, create this through the attendance form (HR > Inquiries > T&A > “Attendance”) or do this through the T&A pane on the worker (HR > Common > Worker).

So far it looks to be working together, but what happens when employees need to register absence for approval. The employees can use Employee services in Enterprise portal to let your employees pre-register absence that is to be approved, but this doesn’t have anything to do with Time and Attendance.

Absence detatched

A way to resolve this would be to add a function to class when approving absence that also updates the planned absence in time and attendance.

Issue number 2: Resource calendar updates
If a person is absent and this person is also a resources (for projects and manufacturing) it would be nice to mark this resource as absent as well. This has to be maintained manually today by “Calendar deveations”.


A nice way to automate this process is to add a new field to the abcense code with lookup to calendar. Then on the “Planned Absence” create and update classes create some business logic that also creates and updates calendar deveations for the resource.

The features are all there, but they just don’t work together as I would have expected. I hope this post helped clear up some questions you’ve had and nudged you in the right direction. If you’re in the same situation you’ve probably got a partner with a skilled developer who can help you sort his out quickly.

Production planning with multiple resources (Dynamic resource management)

This is a tough one, but it is worth the read.

Some times you need more than one resource to perform a production operation and maybe these two resources can be used in other combinations to perform other operations. To get an optimal production plan that takes all this in to account is important, and with AX 2012 this is achievable.

To solve this, we use the secondary operation type in the routes to handle multiple resources and competencies to make resources work across different tasks/jobs with variation in properties.

Take for instance a simple production line with welding and assembly.

You have:

  • 5 workers (2 can assemble, 2 can weld and 1 can both weld and assemble)
  • 4 assembly stations
  • 3 welding stations
  • 4 welding torches

How do you set this up?

Resource groups:

  •  Factory workers
  •  Welding tools
  •  Welding stations
  •  Assembly station

Note: I’ve only created generic groups even through not all Resources within a Group is eligible for an operation. If you have multiple sites you might want to create one factory worker group for each site and added resource group to your requirements. As these might not be swapped around within a day. If you want to move a resource from one site to another it is easily done. For instance if you need a resource to be moved from site 1 to site 2 for a couple of days to fulfill some big orders.

Capabilities and Certificates: To be able to dynamically plan resources between different tasks and still be able to group them we need to apply some type of data. This is done by using capabilities (can be shared between any type of resource) or HR properties like competencies, skills, certification and so on. In this example we use a weldig certificate as a requirement for beeing able to plan a resource on a welding job. Read more about setting up capabilities

Note: On resources that can perform multiple tasks it is smart to use prioritization on the capabilities to ensure that they don’t move around too much and is put to work where the perform the best.

Route setup:
Routes would with the old model contain two operations (10 Weld – 20 Assemble) and two lines.
10 – Weld
20 – Assembly

In the dynamic model we will have two operations (10 Weld – 20 Assemble), but we use five lines.

10 – primary – Welder
10 – secondary1 – WeldTorch
10 – secondary2 – WeldLoc
20 – primary – AssWorker
20 – secondary1 – AssLoc

Resource requirements:
Operation: Welder
Resource type: Person
Certificate: Welding

Operation: WeldTorch
Resource type: Tool
Capability: Weld

Operation: WeldLoc
Resource type: Location
Capability: Weld

Operation: AssWorker
Resource type: Person
Capability: Assembly

Operation: AssLocation
Resource type: Location
Capability: Assembly

Notice that I didn’t allocate a specific resource group or Resource.

The planning engine will now take in to account all my resources and dynamically assign my Assembly/Welder where he is needed most.

Give your planning engine the information that it needs to give you the best suggestions for operations. Use multiple resources where applicable and Dynamics Resource planning for optimal results.

Dynamic resource planning

The resources in AX 2012 have properties that can be used to differentiate them from each other making for a much better and precise resource planning.

The different choices when selecting Resource requirements are:

  • Resource Type
  • Resource Group
  • Resource
  • Capabilities

Then you have the properties only related to human resources/personell:
To add these to a person, go to the worker card > Competencies and development > Competencies

  • Skill
  • Courses
  • Certificate
  • Title (Added on the worker card > profile)

Setting it up:
Resource type, Resource group and resource speak for it self.

Capabilities are new to AX 2012 and is a great functionality. This property can be shared between all types of resources. There is also a capabilities map to view resources and I encourage my customers to use this widely throughout their production planning to increase precision.

To set this up go to: Organization management > Common > Resources > Resource capabilities

AX 2012 Prod Resource Capabilities

A capability is connected to a Resource. It can contain an expiration date if a resource should loose the capability at a certain date.

Level can be defined on the route operations resource requirements and works so that a resource can have higher og equal level to the requirement, but not lower. Example of use can be a physical restriction capability (like weight/length/width…) where an Assembly station can not exceed the limits given on the operation.

Keep in mind that production planning always select the resource first by alpha numeric order. Priority can be used to break this and select a resource that is most suited. Example of use can be where two human resources can perform two tasks, but one is better than the other at one capability and the second is better at another capability. This really elevate resource planning within a resource group to find the best suited resource for the job.

You can also set the capabilities for a resource:

HR competencies:
There are four types associated with human resources. These competencies can be tracked through goal oriented management and you can create a road map and track progression.

Title is used for multiple purposes. One of them is purchase requisition monetary approval limit. So be aware of this when using this.

The three  other is found under Competencies and development.


Skill has the ability to have levels like capabilities. Only higher or equal skill level apply. You can create the rating type Your self like (Good | Normal | Bad), (Very high | High | Normal | Low) and so on. These can also be approved, but that is not required to be included as a viable resource.


Certificates have the great feature that they can expire. You can track expiration on them through reports and make sure that your resources have the right papers to perform their job. If the certificate expire the resource will not be available for planning.


Courses is a pretty big feature in HR, but let me just scratch the top here. You can create courses that the employees can attend. They can also apply for participation through enterprise portal. After completing a coarse they will get a record entry in the courses table. You can also add them manually.


To use this in a route.
Just find the property under the resource requirements on the operation.


So don’t get stuck in the old ways of joining a route operation directly to a resource or resource group. Expand your vision and get creative.