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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Product Management with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 - Part III

I hope everyone is doing well today, and that your thankful for having another day. I know I am! With that, we continue to dive into Product Management with expert Brad Edwards. This is part III in the series, you can read the first two here.:


In this next installment, Brad dives into Product Variants release as well as Release Product Management.



Product variant release
Once product variants have been created at the instance level, they must be released to individual companies before transactions may be performed in the respective company.

Variants may be released from any of the Products forms (All, Distinct, Product masters), or from the Product variants form by clicking Release products in the ribbon section of the form. This launches the Release products form:



The user will first select the product variants that they wish to release. This is done in the Product variants section for Product master releases, and the Products grid for Distinct product releases.

NOTE: before Product variants can be released for a Product master product, the Product master must be released. This is performed by checking Include product master in the Product variants section.

The user will then click Select companies.



Here, the user will select each of the companies to which the selected products are to be released, and click OK at the bottom of the form.

Any errors that occur may be viewed on the Open product releases form, accessible from Product information management > Common forms:



The user has the ability to view and infolog for each release issue. Once issues have been resolved, the products may be released directly from this form, or the open releases may be removed.

Released product management
Up to now, we have discussed management of products at the instance level. Users in all companies will see the same records in the Product master forms.

Once products have been released, they can be managed within the individual companies by going to Product information management > Common > Released products. This is the AX 2012 company specific item master. Here, the user will only see products and product variants that have been released to the AX company within which they are currently working. The form looks similar to the products form, but much more information can be stored for each Released product.



Much of the information that was setup at the Product level can also be setup at the Released product level. However, there are several fields which, if setup at the Product level, may NOT be changed at the Released product level. The most notable cases of this type of behavior are the Storage dimension group, and the Tracking dimension group.

As with the Product dimension groups, Storage and Tracking dimension groups specify which dimensions are active for the Released product.

As mentioned earlier in the article, Storage and Tracking dimension groups are not required at the Product level. However, if they are specified on the Product, they will default each Released product, and may NOT be changed at the company level. This means that if Storage dimension group were specified for our testProduct product such that site and warehouse were the only active dimensions, then these settings will apply to all companies in which the product will be used. If it desired to maintain different Storage or Tracking dimensions in different companies, then these fields should be setup for each Released product in their respective companies.

Before Released products can be transacted upon within a company, several additional fields must be setup for the Released product:
  • Item model group

  • Storage dimension group

  • Tracking dimension group

Item model group may be specified by clicking Edit in the ribbons section of the form, and changing the value in the Administration section of the form:



The two dimension groups may be modified by clicking Dimension groups in the ribbons section of the form:



If these three fields are not setup, a user will receive an error if trying to create a transaction for the newly Released product. This, however, is a nice improvement from previous versions of AX, where it was necessary to specify this information upon creation of the product. In actuality, the product designer may have no insight as to:
  • How the Released product should be costed

  • Whether or not physical updates should be posted to the general ledger

  • Which WMS strategy should be used

  • How reservation logic should occur

  • Whether or not the Released product should be lot traceable or serialized


By eliminating the need to specify this information upon product creation, AX has now opened the window for product creation workflow capabilities that did not exist in the past. For example, a possible workflow may be setup such that product managers or engineers design and create the product, accounting specifies the necessary financial information, the warehouse manager specifies the necessary storage dimension group, and the quality manager specifies the necessary tracking dimension group.

One field that was not mentioned in the previous section is the Item group. In AX 2012, Item group may only be specified at the Released product level. However, Item group is no longer a required field. This is a very important change, as it affects the use of inventory posting profiles. While posting profiles still work in the same manner (Table/Group/All), if the Released product does not have an Item group specified, AX will skip the second option, and revert directly to the All items posting profile.

This means that it is very important to consider whether or not an All items posting profile should be used, as it could result in incorrect postings to the ledger. For example, if an All items posting profile is setup to post to the raw materials inventory GL account, and a user fails to specify an Item group for a newly released finished good, transactions will be incorrectly posted to the raw materials account. While this scenario exists in previous versions in the case where a user specified an incorrect Item group, it may be much more likely to occur, as Item group is no longer mandatory.

Now that all required pieces of information have been specified for the Released product, the product may be purchased, inventoried, and sold as defined by all of the specified properties.


Once again, I would like to thank Brad for the continued effort in giving us great insight into what's waiting for us with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, relating to Product Management.

This shows off the power of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, around Master Data Management (MDM) & Product Data Management (PDM) concepts. All companies need a good plan for this, and it's a very important topic.

That's all for now, check back soon as more to come! Till next time!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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