I had an ex-client call me with the most interesting question this week. How to setup barcodes in Dynamics AX 2012? Remember, technofunctional people don’t just do development – a lot of functional work also. The client told me that they couldn’t find any documentation on how to set it up with the exception of a TechNet article for Retail. So, I walked my ex-client through it on the phone real quick and told them to call me if they needed anything else. However, later I saw a post on the internet asking the exact same question. I don’t have much time for a long blog post today (got a deadline to meet for a client that I am working on), but I thought that I would create a little quick functional post.
What is a bar code?
Unique identifiers that identify key things in our warehouse and inventory management processes – items, pallets, shelves, even dimensions. Think of them as tracking codes that keep us from losing stuff.
How do we set these up in AX?
I’ve enhanced many of these with code, but I always ask clients to let me show them the default functionality first. Several of the code enhancements (not all) that I’ve seen were not needed as AX does a pretty good job on it’s own. However, if my clients don’t like the AX enhancements than there are several free and inexpensive software options available to them.
First, go to Organization Administration à
Setup à BarCodes
Now, when my clients are setting these up with me, I tell them that they need to make some decisions. The most important of which is the bar code type. Barcode types determine which scanners can use the barcodes and how they appear on printouts and forms. I could go a long time about barcode types and how to choose them. But this is what I want you to know. This is heavy functional process when I take clients through this. You will most likely use several bar code types for many different purposes, and that is just fine. An excellent discussion of these can be found here:
Here is the screen that you get when you setup barcodes:
And while people are often surprised (from my experience) when they find out just how nicely AX handles this mechanism and to see how many out of the box barcodes AX has, there is a plus. AX includes a very nice, and easily extensible framework for adding barcodes. You can also add .NET libraries very easily to increase this.
If interested in finding some nice inexpensive bar code developer frameworks in addition to the one by Dynamics AX, check out this link with several freebies:
Many of these customizations are light-weight and relatively quick to add to the AX framework. Or, you could just use the Barcode class in Dynamics AX from a developer point of view.
If you are a developer wishing to learn more then it may be wise to check out our Boot Camp, which takes you from zero to hero with some serious hands-on lab action.
Now, remember what I said. Barcodes are used for different processes and in different places. How you use them depends on the business process. But there seem to be two main places where I commonly see them from my experience. So, let’s work with those:
Place 1, bar codes that identify picking routes in the warehouse. Go to Inventory and Warehouse Management à Setup à Inventory and Warehouse Management Parameters. On the General tab associate this with the Picking rule that you setup following inventory and warehouse management best practices.
And here is a very common second scenario. You want to associate a bar code with an item.
Go to Product Information Management à Common à Released Products
Now, double-click the item that you want (you can also open it up by double-clicking) to associate with the bar code, and choose the bar codes option under the Manage Inventory tab
And we are in the candy store. Notice, how AX has some very nice bar code functionality when it comes to items, You can associate one item with multiple different bar codes based on dimensions, product variants, or for scanning, or for printing. It covers a very large range of options just by itself.
If I could tell you the number of times that I walk on an assignment and watch people get surprised when I show them just how much is built-in functionality when it comes to warehousing, you probably wouldn’t believe me. But seriously, AX has some serious firepower when it comes to inventory management. I could have made this post an entire series taking a month to write, but I made it quick and dirty. Now, if I could just solve the techno-functional consultant’s infinite hour work week dilemma, I would be good (no solution yet). Back to my latest deadline.. Have a good one.