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In my rush to explore everything that Microsoft Dynamics AX 7 (aka Dynamics 365 for Operations) has to offer, I overlooked a new and important enhancement. In truth, I saw this improvement right away (as I’m sure many others did, too), but as I focused on other details, I did not realize the hidden beauty we have here.
The screen I want to discuss in this article is called “Product information”. When you click on the item hyperlink in AX7, you don’t go directly to the item anymore like in AX 2012. Instead, you go to a small screen with 4 tabs that appear to present a small subset of item fields and is labeled “Product information”.
This screen seems to be a big step forward. Let’s start with a purchased item.
We see a meaningful subset of item data divided over four tabs. The first tab shows the most basic facts about the item, surprisingly including external references that can be defined in the General tab of the action area in Released products. (related to ATF)
The next example is a manufactured item.
For manufactured items, the engineering tab is meaningful.
It shows links to BOM and Route right next to each other, which AX does not give us anywhere else. Showing active product change cases on the engineering tab is exactly right.
But the real winner is the Purchasing tab!
This screen combines information about the Released product that is normally entered and viewed in 5 different places:
- External item number in the Purchase action tab
- Lead time and standard order quantity in the Default order parameters in the Inventory management action tab
- Default vendor and buyer group in the purchasing fast tab
- Approved vendors in the purchasing action tab/approved vendors.
- Procurement category in the Product action tab
This is quite the breakthrough. We are very familiar with customers commenting that too many clicks are required to find the critical information about an item. This screen is the answer to that complaint. In one glance I know the most critical purchasing info. And… we can add more fields from the item table and even have a few fields from other tables available.
But of course, our wish would be to display pricing info here also, both from Trade agreements and from Purchase Agreements. Right now that would be a customization. What else would I change here? I would add the minimum and the multiple quantities in this screen, but these are unfortunately not in the item table so I need a programmer to help me there also.
The list above shows a few fields we can add to any of the four tabs of the PRODUCT INFO screen.
The last tab, “Plan”, is also a winner if you are a company with distribution networks.
This is the good old screen “Item coverage” but pre-personalized so we can see the planned order type and the coverage group value in one grid. They forgot the “main warehouse” which I added quickly as personalization. We always had to do this personalization in the standard item coverage screen because nobody wanted to go back and forth between two tabs to see all information about a certain setup.
Because this PRODUCT INFO screen is accessible throughout the entire system, and because it appears with one click where-ever you see an item number, this enhancement improves the usability of and the user satisfaction with AX in its core.It is a big winner in my book and many AX business scenarios will greatly benefit from this feature.