Microsoft D365 2021 Wave 1: Key Features for Supply Chain Leaders

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Supply chain and logistics professionalare getting significant boost in inventory visibility as part of Microsoft Dynamics 365 2021 release wave 1. D365 Supply Chain Management continues to expand warehouse management and transportation using enterprise cloud data to help supply chains adapt to changing consumer and business requirements.    

Microsoft plans to release the following D365 Supply Chain Management features from April 2021 through September 2021.  

Blue Horseshoe and Microsoft have a long-standing relationship when it comes to creating warehousing and transportation capabilities for Microsoft usersMost recently, Microsoft licensed advanced warehousing capabilities from Blue Horseshoe, which became part of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management.

Inventory Visibility Add In 

With data at the core of any supply chain, Microsoft adds more capability to support data sharing across unique systems. A data-sharing strategy is a vital part of day-to-day supply chain management principles and best practices in an ecosystem containing multiple systems talking to each other.    

The Inventory Visibility Add In for D365 is, in essence, a common data service. Think of it as a basic standalone microservice integrated with Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management. 

The Inventory Visibility Add In provides REST APIs to connect inventory-related information from D365 with any external systems that manage inventory information or need to know current inventory data. These external systems may include demand planning systems, inventory management systems, or external warehouse management systems. 

With Inventory Visibility Add In, you won't need to develop custom integrations from scratch for these systems to share this data with D365. This new service will enable other systems to see and know various inventory statistics and values within D365This includes real-time transactions, current on-hand numbers of items/SKUs in multiple sites and warehouses, the statuses of that inventory, and other critical inventory aspects.   

Integration Framework for Material Handling Equipment for Automated Warehouse Processes (Previously MHAX) 

The framework for material handling equipment interface (MHAX), developed by Blue Horseshoe and licensed by Microsoft, is currently in public preview as part of the D365 2021 wave 1 release. It's one of the many new warehouse management features in D365 Supply Chain Management.     

This feature brings a lot of value to supply chain leaders and aligns with Microsoft's commitment to sharing data and information across systems. Warehouses need to share data with their warehouse management systems and other assets like material handling equipment, voice picking, and Robots/AGV to execute order fulfillment and connect operations. The integration framework for material handling equipment for automated warehouse processes helps you make these connections without custom integration.  

The Material Handling module provides: 

  • Built-in messaging handling features across the system 
  • Prebuilt error handling and work completion methods 
  • Configurable data mapping to allow the different systems to talk to each other properly 

This module delivers significant cost savings over developing extensive integrations to other systems from scratch. It also gives system designers a common framework to base the design on and front-end forms that users can leverage to manage the integration between these systems. 

Warehouse Management Mobile Application

Microsoft is renovating the warehouse mobile device app.  The new design is more intuitive and easier to use.   

Microsoft conducted end-user usability studies to enhance the user interface, and it will pay off significantly in this version.  Warehouse workers will gain more efficiencies, more productivity, and be better able to complete their work accurately, contributing to improving overall warehouse operations.   

The redesigned interfaces include the ability to key in quantities better, larger touch screen targetsand higher contrast viewing screens. Users can customize button locations for repeated functions and view improved product photos to help identify product selections. 

Small Parcel Shipping 

Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management users will now have added functionality to sync package shipment data, including the tracking number and cost from shipment carriers to sales orders with small parcel shipping. Microsoft’s Small Parcel Shipping does not include a rating engine, or integration with parcel carriers to allow real-time shipping quotes for parcels within Dynamics 365. Learn more about the wave 1 features and the Blue Horseshoe Supply Chain Cloud’s rating engine.

Saved Views for Inventory Logistics

If you interact with inventory and logistics forms, you're going to see a significant improvement with the new saved feature option. Microsoft is now allowing users to save views on the following screens: All waves, All loads, All shipments, Load Planning Workbench, Work Details, Transactions, On-hand list, Transfer Orders, and Purchase Order Details.   

These saved views will conserve a significant amount of time since you will not have to constantly refresh dimensions across these screens every time you visit these forms. 

Landed Costs

The new features for landed cost give supply chain leaders control, visibility, and status updates for inbound operations involving foreign shipments, ports, customs, freight forwarders, and other steps your company may take to bring goods into their warehouse.    

Landed costs allow you to define and track each segment of the in-bound inventory journey. Tracking segments include the inventory at the supplier's warehouse, the shipping dock, a freight forwarder, a landing dock or port and/or freight company, and the destination warehouse.   

Inbound arrivals are more transparent and predictable with this visibility, and warehouse & inventory planning is vastly improved.  With this added transparency, you can prioritize receiving processes to meet order demand. 

Landed costs give you more visibility into the financial side of your inventory by better predicting the cost associated with getting the goods in hand. You can configure automatic cost calculations for various transportation modes, duties, and other fees incurred to get a product to the warehouseLater, when the actual freight and other handling bills arrive, the estimated costs are adjusted to reflect the actual cost amounts. 

Schedule Work Creation During Wave 

This new feature allows a warehouse to run waves, hours, and potentially days ahead of need and creates a new element in planned work. Schedule work creation during wave allows a warehouse wave planner to get ahead of the daily outbound operation by creating planned work and, when ready, turning the planned work into actual work the warehouse should execute.   

What's Next?

As Microsoft pushes for a real-time unified view across operations, you can expect to see future enhancements that help supply chain leaders create more effective process and data strategies to enhance supply chain agility.  

Learn more about the important features in the D365 2021 Wave 1 Release

             Microsoft D365 2021 Wave 1 Guides                Material Handling Wave 1
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