Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 offers multiple ways to streamline and expedite communication with business partners such as vendors and customers using simple yet efficient methods. By providing simple translation tools, errors are avoided, and customer and vendor satisfaction is increased. This post deals specifically with product number identification.
In many businesses, a product may be identified by a different reference number from that assigned by the customer or vendor. To accommodate this inconsistency, Microsoft Dynamics AX provides the ability to link vendor and customer product number references to the internal catalog using external item description functionality. This will ensure that the correct products are purchased or sold by using this secondary reference when communicating product information to business partners.
In this blog we will illustrate how an external item reference can be applied to a product, and also how we can view this identification on purchase and sales orders. The instruction below demonstrates this functionality for a vendor; although it is applicable for the customer in the same way.
How to assign an External item description to a product:
After products are created and released, Microsoft Dynamics AX allows assigning vendor specific product numbers and descriptions by performing the following steps:
- Navigate to: Product information management > Common > Products > Released Products
- Select the product that needs an external item description.
- On the Action Pane, from the Purchase tab, in the Related information group, click External item description to open the External item descriptions form.
- Click NEW.
- Enter the external item reference details including ABC code (if applicable), Account code (choose group for a Vendor Group or choose table for a specific Vendor), Vendor Relation (enter the group or Vendor name), External item number (enter the external reference identification for the product as it applies to this vendor group or vendor). You may enter multiple vendor relations reference numbers in this form. Click NEW for each addition.
- Click CLOSE to save changes and exit.
NOTE: You can also perform the same setup from the Vendor Form. Navigate to Accounts Payable > Common > Vendors > All vendors. From the Action Pane, select the Procurement tab, and from Setup group choose External item description. This is the recommended approach if there are many supplementary product numbers that should be linked to one specific vendor.
Put it into action:
Now when you create a Purchase Order for this vendor, you will see the related External reference that was applied (note that you may need to add the External field to your Purchase order line grid using Personalize features) after adding the product to the PO.
In addition, from the Purchase Order, you can add notes to the External reference that will be applied exclusively to the current PO by adding additional details to the External and Text fields in the Line details FastTab. If you want permanent notations added, follow the steps above.
Using the External item description in your Documents
Through a minor setup change, you can control what Microsoft Dynamics AX product number is referenced on your sales and purchase orders:
- Navigate to: Procurement and Sourcing > Setup > Forms > Form Setup.
- From the General page, in the Item number in forms field, select BOTH. This will print Internal and External item codes on the Purchase Order.
- Also from the General page, check the Include both name and description field to print Internal and External descriptions on the Purchase Order. In addition you can choose to Overwrite or Append the external description of the item to the original description.
- Click CLOSE to save changes and exit.
As a result, the layout of the Purchase Order will include both internal and external product numbers and descriptions:
Microsoft Dynamics AX can also leverage this functionality using the “Punch Out” catalog concept, where employees are able to search and configure products directly from the supplier’s website.
In conclusion, this functionality is very useful for easy communication with vendors and customers. Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 provides powerful, easy and flexible ways to control product identification translations; however the even bigger challenge is for businesses to maintain the correct information as part of the content management process through the use of clear business procedures to define and release products.