Bar coding in Navision relates to agile manufacturing

Dear All,
I am reading BusinessWhitePaperAgilityandManufacturingNavision36to4.doc and find a paragraph that I don’t understand whether Navision support it and if yes what functionality I do use. The paragraph said as follows:

Hardware, CIM and Data Collection

Open data systems with access to the database and an easy-to-integrate business logic are key issues here. With Microsoft Navision for Manufacturing, data can be put into the system through either Microsoft SQL Server, text files, OBDC or OCX modules that bind the ERP and the shop floor together. This applies to:

  1. Bar coding systems
  2. Radio frequency systems
  3. Machines with protocols to the outside world
  4. Your present shop-floor solution

What I am looking for is all the applies that mentioned above. Where I can find bar coding systems, and how it works in Navision, and also the other. Could you give me solutions ? tks beforehand.

Rgds,
MrGM

Hi Marton

What they mean is it is really easy to interface to these sort of systems. On the item cross reference table you can specify the items barcoding, but the paragraph really means using the methods described you can easily interface with the other solutions. How you do this will depend upon the solutions in place and the requirements of the business.

tks for your quick answer. I know no.1 answered then but what about no. 2,3 and 4. don’t they have direct means in Navision, like Bar Coding, I can use item cross reference table, but what about the other then, I don’t have explanation from the whitepaper.

Rgds,

MrGM

Hi

It is just integration. Your present shop floor system can interface with Navision through SQL if you want to retain what you are currently using. RF can connect to Navision, it just depends what you are doing with it and where, and connection with machines as an example we got Navision to update capacity and storage information with a fridge accessable by the public.

The answer is you can interface with anything, but you will not necessarily get an answer in Navision, it depends upon what you are interfacing with.

Hi Steven, all,

I am interesting to this topic because it’s also discuss about RF, I know RF is radio frequency and if it can connect to Navision, it maybe need equipment that attached to navision server or maybe receiver I don’t know. Does it mean I can connect to navision using iPod or PdA then or what the function of RF there if skip the iPod use. or if I put electronic device (digital type) in the shopfloor that shows the current output of the production line (shopfloor) or shows hourly output, that is captured from capacity ledger entry that is posted hourly or if I have other production line outside the country or city, I can use feature RF for that (no electric cable) ? If yes, what will be the function of terminal services then…? I know the interfacing is the important want to answer MrGM’s unanswered questions. I also want to know the interfacing you said.

Rgds,

Mark

Simply put interface anything to Navision how you want, but it depends upon what you want. PDA’s yes, Ipod’s I have not done, but probably yes. It depends WHAT you want to do.

Hi MrGM,

Navision in its plain vanilla form does not really have much direct support for bar coding systems. The table objects that are relevant to bar coding are 7704 Item Identifier and 5717 Item Cross Reference. The only system function that is useful in C/SIDE language is the STRCHECKSUM, which allows you to calculate check digit of most EAN bar codes.

Bar coding is just an EAN/GS1 compliant numbering system which you can easily implement in Navision or any other ERP platform. When people taking about bar coding system, they are usually referring to UPC/EAN-13 (for retail) and SSCC/EAN-128 bar code (for warehousing & package tracking). The crucial piece of hard ware is the scanner but you use it like keyboard since there is no programming involved to capture a bar code.

We recently developed an in-house SCM solution for use in a distribution environment. It is incorporates features like scan-packing (to validate against order quantity so you never overship and you know when you are below the 100% fill rate) and freight management (to print SSCC and carrier-specific labels) instead of using label printing software provided by Shipping Agents like FedEx, TNT, TOLL (Australia), etc.

Regardless of which carrier you use, you generally have to implement the shipment/consignment tracking number yourself as they are all carrier-specific, unless your carrier can accept SSCC label. But most major Shipping Agents already have specs/guides on how to implement tracking bar code and label layout.

Hope this helps.

Scott

Microsoft has made pitches in the past that they were going to build many functions into Navision, not just make it easy to integrate

http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2004/sep04/09-28ExpandRFIDInitPR.mspx

Now I know this solution was a programmed solution, but the follow quote from the article clearly states Microsoft was going to move in the this direction

"Microsoft Business Solutions plans to include RFID technology as part of its ERP solutions, enabling small and midsize customers to fully leverage the technology while retaining a familiar, easy-to-manage IT environment. “We’re approaching RFID as a natural extension to existing and future business logic and processes represented in our ERP products, working to ensure a deeper level of process integration as the key driver of business value while reducing the need for training and minimizing the complexity of the IT landscape for our customers,” Nadella said.

Microsoft Business Solutions will provide a full range of RFID capabilities, from RFID reader management to the functionality needed to translate reader events into information relevant to business processes. “The power of RFID to automatically capture the physical movement of an item and have its electronic shadow follow it in real time is something that, in time, will help address many of our customers’ business challenges,” Nadella said.

Microsoft Business Solutions plans to include RFID technology in upcoming ERP releases including Microsoft Business Solutions–Axapta® 4.0, Microsoft Navision 5.0 and the next major release of Microsoft Business Solutions–Great Plains® . The offerings will provide out-of-the-box integration of RFID data with core business processes as well as a flexible and extensible framework on which partners can implement customer-specific processes. "

Now a long ago press release doesn’t mean they will ever do it, but we can hope. Also this press release says Axapta 4.0 with have it, so any Azapata users out there, can you confirm version 4.0 has it or not. ?

--------------------------------------------### IV. Planning News

RFID – A Look at the Year Ahead
Partner ready

Driven by the growing efforts of several supply heavyweights to implement it, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) continues to receive significant attention.
RFID is a generic term for automatic identification technologies that use radio waves to identify objects. An RFID system typically consists of tags, readers and encoders as well as middleware to integrate data with applications. The transponder or tag consists of a chip and an antenna that is attached to objects such as pallets, cases or individual items. The tag is encoded with a unique identifier that serves as the unique license number plate for the object. The second component is a reader, which creates a radio frequency field that detects radio waves. When a tag passes through a radio frequency field generated by a compatible reader, the tag reflects back to the reader the identifying information about the object to which it is attached, thus identifying that object. This unique identifier is passed from the reader to a middleware component, which uses the unique identifier as a pointer to additional information associated with the object in an internal application or database.

Although most would agree that RFID technology has the potential to eventually revolutionize supply chain management and many other applications, the technology is still in a relatively early stage of development. Early adopters have experienced hardware challenges such as read reliability and interference issues while at the same time, suppliers continued to struggle with the internal business case in view of high tag and reader costs (also see article “RFID 2005: The Dawn of Realistic Expectations” in Supply Chain Systems Magazine).

2006 will be an important year for RFID. The US Department of Defense and major groceries and consumer electronics retail chains are expected to continue to expand their RFID mandates. At the same time, two global aerospace companies have started to work with key suppliers to tag parts to optimize aircraft configuration management and increase serviceability of their forthcoming airplanes. Not only do these mandates impact a diverse set of vertical industries, but the buzz created will lead more companies in automotive, high tech, logistics services and pharmaceuticals to initiate business case driven deployments.

From a hardware perspective, the next generation of RFID tags and readers based on EPCglobal’s Generation 2 standard will hit the market soon. Not only will EPC Gen 2 address many of the technology challenges related to Gen 1, but is expected to lead to falling prices for tags and readers alike.

As a recent article in the online magazine RFID Journal predicts, another important event that will shape the future of RFID is the market entry of Microsoft. Our RFID Infrastructure will address many of today’s software related challenges and provides a great foundation for Dynamics AX and our partners to build RFID solutions. Our device management layer will provide plug and play with our rich hardware partner ecosystem and our data management components will provide the means to turn large volumes of noisy RFID data into business process relevant information. Microsoft Dynamics AX will be our first product to leverage the RFID Infrastructure to provide an end to end, pre-integrated solution for customers to comply with trading partners. By integrating RFID data with select business processes we lay the foundation for return on investment (ROI) from RFID implementations.

In order to create business value, RFID data needs to be integrated with a company’s business management solution. Deriving ROI from RFID technology will often require companies to reengineer their business processes to take full advantage of the technology. Here, other applications may prove to be rigid and inflexible, while Microsoft Dynamics AX can excel by being the enabler rather than the inhibitor of business process innovation. Affordable adaptability will help our customers improve their competitive position.

Whilst 2006 will be an important year that will shape RFID’s future, we do not expect large scale adoption to occur before 2007. Even though most of our target customers are not yet impacted by mandates, partners should be prepared to answer customer’s most pressing questions related to RFID, and to position existing and forthcoming Microsoft solutions. RFID as an enabling technology will only be useful in conjunction with a business management solution such as Microsoft Dynamics AX and we can help our customers improve their business today. Above and beyond RFID, many of your customers will see the need to start broad supply chain improvement initiatives to remain profitable and improve their supplier rating.

How does RFID fit into a company’s broader IT strategy and business process improvement initiatives? Are you in a position to help your customers define their RFID adoption strategies? Do your customers have the foundation in place in the form of consistent, harmonized data and integrated business processes to allow them to take advantage of RFID once compliance deadlines impact them?

Watch this space to keep up to date on RFID and Microsoft Dynamics AX.


This was in the January 2006 AX Partner Update

On 19/05/06 the following was written in the “What’s new in Microsoft Dynamics AX4.0 - Application”

As this is a manual that has “Microsoft Courseware Distribution not Permitted” I will simply quote the note at the beginning of Chapter 11 - “RFID in warehouse management”

NOTE "At the time this document was written the functionality for RFID in Microsoft Dynamics AX4.0 warehouse management has not been fully defined. This chapter provides a conceptual overview of the expected RFID funcitonality. However this functionality may change before it is released.

Not helped really have I [:D]

Dear Scott,

Tks for answer. You wrote:

“The table objects that are relevant to bar coding are 7704 Item Identifier and 5717 Item Cross Reference”

I’ve got the code field definition from online help:

Code Field

The Item Identifier Table

This field contains a unique code for a particular item in terms that are useful for automatic data capture. Not only is the item number referred to by this code, but also the unit of measure and a variant code, if there is one.

It means that identifier is used to apply barcode isn’t it? and there is a relation with item cross reference then, but how the system relate both…? Am I conclude wrong…? I know that every items I have I made barcode sticker and of course I have specific means to read it and I want that the result of scanning the barcode directly recorded in Navision. If the company is a dealer of otoparts, for example, Navision can ease their works because navision can also record barcode.

Rgds,

MrGM

Dear Steven, all,

Tks for your answer and info, it gives a quite detail about RFID. It means that Navision can record barcode but the technology used still low and can’t apply RFID technology. It means that this topic is still suspending. because based on its definition i.e radio frequency identification :

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is an automatic identification method, relying on storing and remotely retrieving data using devices called RFID tags or transponders. An RFID tag is an object that can be attached to or incorporated into a product, animal, or person for the purpose of identification using radio waves. Chip-based RFID tags contain silicon chips and antennas. Passive tags require no internal power source, whereas active tags require a power source.

However I can use item cross reference and item identifier for barcoding application, can’t I…? But for RFID, I think Navision can’t because based on your explanation, still dyn. ax, but not complete yet.

If there are more explanations, I can accept but I am able to understand now and closed this topic.

Rgds,

MrGM

Hi MrGM,

Q: It means that identifier is used to apply barcode isn’t it?

A: Yes. However do not confuse Item No. with Bar Code. They are different. All items will certainly have an Item No. but not all Items need to have a bar code. Item No. usually can be alphanumeric but UPC/EAN-compliant Bar Code is strictly numeric. If your autoparts are consumer products then you’re better off paying a few hundred bucks a year to get an EAN/GS1 company prefix and use it in your bar codes. Otherwise you could use whatever you like, even alphanumeric bar codes.

Q: Not only is the item number referred to by this code, but also the unit of measure and a variant code

A: In Navision a bar code is defined by these three fields: Item No., Variant Code, and a Unit of Measure. 7704 Item Identifier is essentially two-way a lookup table. We use 7704 to store only bar codes for our own company (i.e., bar codes prefixed with our company’s EAN/UCC Prefix). We added a field called EAN/UCC Prefix in 79 Company Information so each time we need a new bar code Navision can concatenate it with a serial number and then add a check digit to it using STRCHECKSUM. We also developed a Bar Code Management codeunit which allows us to automatically generate the next bar code based on the last bar code used and specify the type of bar code want for different markets (UPC or EAN-13). This implementation is more portable than using No. Series. No. Series will not know how to add check digit and it’s more difficult to bring the No. Series across and use it on the other server.

Q: there is a relation with item cross reference then, but how the system relate both…?

A: 5717 Item Cross Reference is designed to store Vendor Item Nos. or Vendor’s Bar Codes and is used with Nonstock Item, though you could theoretically store the same bar codes in 5717 Item Cross Reference as you would in 7704 Item Identifier.

Q: I want that the result of scanning the barcode directly recorded in Navision.

A: This can easily be done with some modifcation to the current Sales Order, Sales Invoice form so you can scan the item into the Sales Line rather than manually enter it. Just add one textbox control (to capture the bar code) and add two custom functions like InsertSalesLinePerScan(BarCode) and ModifySalesLineQtyPerScan(BarCode). It would take not more than 50 lines of code.

For more advanced applications like shipping or scan-packing you could add validation logic to check the Qty. Scanned against the Order Quantity so your warehouse stuff would never overship.

Hope that helps.

Scott

Hi Morton/Mark, just to sumarize what this is all about.

There are multiple technologies here, and although they are connected, and the various terminologies are used together, its important to think in terms of what each component is, and not try to get one global picture of everything in this case.

In a warehouse you have items, you also have items in a shop, and in th estore out back. Items are recorded in your ERP system, and have identidiers so that you know which item is which, and how many you have, and where they are located, and their value; as well as many other dimensions. Of the many ways to identify items, you can use Bar Codes, RFID, part numbers SKUs what ever, these are just numbers that identify a particlar item. Bar Code refers to the way the item number is printed in one or two dimensions using a font that can be identified with a bar code reader. RFID referes to part numbers encoded using (normally) passive RF devices. But these are all just about differnt ways of writing the Item Number, nothing more.

Data collection is all about how you read these item numbers into your ERP system, and then reconcile the numbers from the Store or warehouse (etc) to the numbers in your ERP System. there are many different forms of Data Collection, and I think this is really the bit that you are interested. The simples Datacollection is a system where reports are rpinted, and the users mark off numbers on these reports, that are then manually reconciled back into the system. There are possibilitites of On line systems, where a “wedge” is used to input bar code or other source data directly into the system, and in realithy all this does is reduce key borad entry requiremnts. Then there are full oof line systems, that have aserver dedicated to transacting data from inventory (warehouse) to yours system, fast enough to be concidered on line.

As to Ipods and PDA, well the first are for listening to music, and the later are small computers that run Windoes Pocket Edition, and whilst PDA’s can be used for shop floor collection, they are not relevant ot the issue. Allways the issue is how your warehouse works, and what you need the systme to do. Start there, and the hardware will sort of become obvious.

Hi David,

Tku. You are very funny. [:)]. I am glad that you don’t mind to spend time to summary this problem. I fully understand now and there were some companies see their futures about the using of pDA and Ipods not only to listen music but also in their business, I can answer now.[:)].

Rgds,

MrGM

Good to see that you got it [:)] the key think being that there is hard ware, software and general concepts, an duntli the general concepts are defined and understood, it makes no sense to look at hardware and software.

Q: I want that the result of scanning the barcode directly recorded in Navision.

A: This can easily be done with some modifcation to the current Sales Order, Sales Invoice form so you can scan the item into the Sales Line rather than manually enter it. Just add one textbox control (to capture the bar code) and add two custom functions like InsertSalesLinePerScan(BarCode) and ModifySalesLineQtyPerScan(BarCode). It would take not more than 50 lines of code.

For more advanced applications like shipping or scan-packing you could add validation logic to check the Qty. Scanned against the Order Quantity so your warehouse stuff would never overship.

Hi Scott,

Can u send me more information for same (CAL code ).