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Dynamics AX Updates

Dynamics AX Production Order Scheduling

This article gives the explanation of important fields in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 that impact the result of AX production order scheduling in a significant way. The business requirements that these features address are well known and Microsoft Dynamics AX production order have some very interesting options that are not widely known but that do address some of the requirements precisely.

1. Resource Efficiency percentage

The efficiency percentage is the field that is found in all MRP/ ERP systems. For example, if I work 8 hours a day according to my contract, the AX production order scheduling system cannot assume that I am indeed going to be available 8 hours to do work. The natural downtime has to be taken into account. The efficiency of 85% is considered realistic for human workers. For machines, one would leave it at 100%. When machines are down for maintenance or repair reasons, we do not use the efficiency percentage but actually, adjust the calendar to zero hours for the duration of the maintenance.

EXAMPLE:  If your calendar indicates 8 hours per working day, and your efficiency is 80%, then the system will assume you only have 6.4 hours per day to do work. See the screens below.

In the standard definition, this is the field that has values below 100. But there is no issue entering values > 100 and this turned out to be very useful.

Use Efficiency > 100%

Many AX manufacturing companies have a dilemma in the set up of resources as follows: Let’s say we have a department where 5 employees work full time. How to represent their capacity?

If we don’t know about the trick with an efficiency greater than 100%, we would have to create them each as a resource, link them to a resource group which is the team and we would get the available capacity of 200 hours a week as we wanted. By using operation scheduling only, the system would schedule on the resource group level and it would work fine. If we want to use job scheduling, we are in big trouble. The system will want to pick one of the 5 resources and if running “infinite” capacity, it will always be the first one (with the lowest id). This clearly will not work.

2. How to define shifts?

Microsoft Dynamics AX does not use the concept a “shift” in AX production order scheduling functionality, which makes this a topic of frequent discussion. The main question is: how the granular do we want to be when managing capacity? If we want the system to know exactly who works when we’ll have to set up the calendars that define the work hours of each shift exactly and link them to the resource. But if we are not managing our capacity “to the person” this does not make much sense. If we have a 2 shift operation, Microsoft Dynamics AX only needs to know the total of work hours of the 2 shifts together. This is defined in the calendar and this will define capacity accurately enough for AX production order scheduling.

NOTE: It is critical here as payment is different for different shifts. This shift field has nothing to do with scheduling.

3. How to use secondary operations

This feature is designed to address the ‘man/machine’ issue where we have operators and machines working as resources in the same routing step. One of the 2 has to be primary for scheduling and typically this would be the machine.

The operator is included to the routing with the same operation number but with priority ‘secondary 1′. What is the functionality of a secondary operation? Such an operation does not allow updates to the times. The times of the primary operation are used. We can use separate rates and of course the separate resource group or resource or resource requirement. For scheduling, the secondary operation is 100% parallel.

4. Use the Load field to handle one operator handling the multiple machines.

Often one operator handles more machines. How to set this up correctly?

  • For scheduling and for costing we want to reflect that our operator is the ‘part time’ for this machine.
  • This is done by using a little-known field on the Resource Requirement tab ‘Load’

With a percentage greater than 100, we can indicate that our operator is part-time attending this machine.

This will reduce the hours of the second operation so it will also reduce the cost.

Of course, the system will not be able to send a warning when our total percentage for a human resource is higher than 100%.  

NOTE: This field value will only take effect after a Re-estimate of the AX production order. In the update tab of the routing operation, you will view the total hours go down, and in the Price calculation, you will see the impact of this on the estimated labor cost.

5. Use the number of resources to indicate that the operation can be split up and run on multiple machines simultaneously.

There is another interesting feature of the resource requirements tab! It is the field “number of resources”. If the routing operation on a resource GROUP is scheduled, but I want to indicate that this routing operation is typically run on more than 1 machine at a time, I can put the number in that field. Let’s say I put a “2” in there. The system will then send me the below message immediately:

If “yes” when my 2 resources are working I parallel and my process time is actually cut in half.  My total time has not changed, so the estimated labor cost is also unchanged. But for scheduling, this makes a difference. The system will schedule only 12 hours in the calendar. If “no” when my 2 resources are not working in parallel and are both needed to get the work done.  Then the new estimate will be double hours, do double the cost. My scheduled dates for an operation will not change.

  • Operation scheduling. The routing operation remains scheduled on a Resource Group. NOTE: A peculiar detail is the following:  the system will give a scheduling error (you know that error, that always helps us so much not enough capacity can be found) when we don’t have the resources defined in the group.
  • Job scheduling. In this case, these 2 resources are actually getting the job, each gets half of the work. This is an excellent and I have had customers ask for this feature many times in the last 10 years. These would be the first to resources in the resource group, alphabetical order. If we don’t use any finite functionality (and we don’t), a system as no criteria to choose a resource and will simply go in sequence.

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