Improve Functionality and Processes in Dynamics GP With WilloWare (Video)

See how WilloWare solutions: GP PowerPack, Mfg PowerPack, MO Generator, and Consulting Toolkit improve Dynamics GP functions and processes.

Transcript below:

Melissa: Hi there, everyone. Thanks for joining us today. We’ve got WilloWare here. And I’m Melissa. I’m the marketing specialist here at Encore. And today from WilloWare, we have Dee Dee and Brenner. So they’ll be talking about how to improve the functionality and processes in GP with the WilloWare products. So I’ll hand it right over to you.

Brenner: All right. Thank you. So this is our website. I’m gonna start here because we have a lot of software. We’re going to touch on everything really quickly today so you have an idea of what we have. And we’ll look in a little bit more detail on some things. We have video demos online, just about everything. So if you have any questions, hop onto our website and take a look. All of our pricing is also out there on the website. We do something a little bit different in that everything’s just priced by site so there isn’t a per user cost. So when you look at the pricing, that is the full cost of what you would pay for the software.

So this is the list of all of the modules that we have. The ones that are in yellow, we’re going to take a quick look at some of the functionality in those today. Blanket PO is Blanket Purchase Order module for GP. What’s different about this is it supports having a unlimited number of control lines per blanket so you can have a whole bunch of control lines on one Blanket Purchase Order, and then the leases for each one of those control lines. CompleteCount is a cycle counting module for GP. It supports two methods of doing a cycle count. One is to use pre-numbered stock takes. This method is really good if you want to have a detailed audit trail of how the count was conducted. And it also supports an Excel import, so you can conduct the count, put it in Excel, suck that into GP.

Consulting Toolkit, we’re going to look at it in a little bit. So I’ll just jump over to this one. It’s called Consulting Toolkit, but there’s actually a lot of end-user focused functionality in this. EZImport, this is a module that’s often used at the beginning of an implementation, gives you a easy way to bring in historical sales and purchasing records. GP PowerPack is a gigantic suite of functionality. There are a lot of things in here that could be standalone products in their own right, but we’ve grouped the most common requests that we’ve received from customers over the last 20 years into this one suite. By the way, everything in the suite can be licensed separately, so you can just get one particular module in it, and there’s also a suite, the price on the entire suite.

Item Process Tracking is a utility for setting up procedures and processes that need to be conducted when something happens with inventory. For example, when you receive a purchase order, receive something on a purchase order, a particular item needs to come in and be inspected and you have a series of tests and checks that need to be performed, you can set that all up in Item Process Tracking. It creates a new test document each time an item comes in and leads you through the tasks that need to be performed and gives you a place to record that information. LabelLink is a barcode printing solution for GP. You can print barcode labels directly out of Dynamics GP.

Lean Manufacturing is a manufacturing suite for GP. It doesn’t require GP Manufacturing. It is inside of GP and integrates tightly with inventory. Manufacturing Data Archive, the GP Manufacturing module can produce a tremendous amount of data. And over time, this makes the database large and inquiries and backups can get kinda slow. Manufacturing Data Archive can pull out historical manufacturing data and put it into an archive company database. Manufacturing Import has a bill of materials import utility and a routing import utility. Manufacturing PowerPack is the manufacturing counterpart to GP PowerPack. This is a really big suite of a lot of functionality that it pulls together all kinds of requests that we’ve had from customers over the years for things they wish GP Manufacturing was able to do. And we’ll take a look at a little bit of that in a second.

MO Generator has two big groupings of functionality, and we’ll get into this in a little bit more detail. But, in general, it has the ability to create manufacturing orders, reschedule them, do some updates to manufacturing orders, and then it also has the ability to create MOs and post MO receipts. Preactor Integration, this is a integration utility for something called a finite scheduling capacity tool. It’s produced by a company called Preactor. It’s advanced manufacturing production scheduling. SOP-POP MultiLink, this is a step up from what’s available in GP in terms of linking sales orders to purchase orders. This provides the ability to have multiple links from sales orders from, like, [inaudible 00:05:40] sales per line to multiple purchase order lines. And they go in both directions, and you can change them at any point. So it’s a very flexible SOP to POP linking module. And then lastly, our SpellCheck provides spellchecking to any string field or text field in GP.

Okay, so that’s the quickie overview of absolutely everything. Consulting Toolkit has several tools in it. What’s listed on the bottom there are a whole bunch of free tools. So those, you just need to register for, and we’ll take a look in a second at what some of those do. Stored Queries, this gives you a way to create a SQL query in a dump that you created inside of GP in a interface that gives the user the ability to execute it, but they can’t see the query or make changes to it, so it’s secure. So you can set this up so that, you know, a user could do something, and it can prompt them for parameters, but then it’s controlled about who has access to it, which databases they can use, and the functionality of the query, things like that.

And so what I have an example of here is using a Stored Query to move transactions from one sales batch into another sales batch. We’ll flip over to GP here. Okay. So we have two invoices, and this customer is set up to not accept emailed invoices. And then our other customer, Aaron Fitz, Aaron Fitz does want emailed invoices. And what we want to be able to do is pull all of the invoices for a customer that need to get emailed out of whatever batch they’re in and stick them all into one email batch. So we’re gonna jump over here to the Stored Query maintenance window. So this is where this is set up. And you can specify which database it gets executed in. You can also set it up to show results. So there might be a query where you need to run a query once in a while, maybe, you know, a query of stuck batches, or users who created sales transactions, or something like that, and you just want to see the results. So you can run a Stored Query and have it return results.

Assign users to a query, and by default, nobody has access to anything. SA does have access to all of the queries by default, and then you can set up a list of parameters. So if you need some input information, in this case, we’re going to get two different batch IDs, when the user X executes the query, it’ll prompt them for that. This is the end-user interface, and in this case, I’m in SA, so I’ve got access to both of the queries that we have in our system. And as you can see here, you can’t see the query, you can’t do anything to it. And when you click the execute button, it prompts up and it asks for my two parameters. And in this case, I’ve got a batch ID of demo that we’re pulling invoices out of, and we want to move them into the email batch. And I don’t know if you saw that, it ran for just a second. There was no progress down the bottom.

And now, if we come back over to sales transaction entry, you can see that Aaron Fitz’s documents has moved into the email batch, and the West Central invoice is still sitting in the demo batch. Another utility in Consulting Toolkit is Virtual Triggers. What’s really neat about Virtual Triggers is this module gives you the ability to add functionality into GP without doing customization. So you can have it automatically calculate something and populate fields, create new records, prompt the user for information, highlight fields in red that some condition is met, pretty much your imagination is the limit with what you can do with this.

And so I’ve got an example in here. So there’s not dexterity coding needed to create the enhancement that you add, but you do need to know a little dexterity in order to do this. So this really isn’t a end-user kind of thing, this is more of a consulting-focused utility. But this is the extent of the setup. You just tell it where we want to put this little trigger, and then you tell it what we want it to do. And in this case, what we’re going to do is add a little bit of functionality to the MRP quantities query window. Because what we’ve found is that when this utility comes up with purchasing suggestions, they aren’t exactly what we want to do. We know that this particular vendor, you know, maybe they want something specific with the quantities, or we know that we’re going to be creating some manufacturing orders, they’re not in the system yet, maybe there’s additional demand that we’re aware of that MRP isn’t. And so we need to change this quantity.

And, normally, when you create a purchase order from this window, and you double click on it, and you click Transfer to PO, and it comes over with the quantity and the date that were suggested by MRP. But we actually want to change this. And so using that Virtual Trigger, we now have this newer little additional menu up here, Change Quantity. And it pops up a dialogue and says, “What do you want the quantity to be for this MRP suggestion?” And we say, “Well, we actually want it to be 100,” changes it to 100. And now when we go to create the purchase order, it has this new quantity.

All right. So the next thing we’re going to take a look at it in Consulting Toolkit is something called GP Report Extender. In a nutshell, what this does is it gives you the ability to add any information from any table in the database to any GP report writer, report. The reason this is important is that normally when you’re doing a report modification, the only information you can add onto that report comes from tables that are already defined on that report. So, for example, with the sales invoice, that report is set up so that it links the sales line table to the item master table. And so you can pull things from the item master onto the report, but there isn’t a link from any table on that report to a manufacturing order.

So perhaps we have a situation where we’re a white label manufacturer and we produce something and it then gets changed once it’s produced, but prior to sale, into a packaging or with a label, but it’s specific for our customer. But it has a root item that is our actual internal manufactured item. So this doesn’t exactly make sense, but, in this case, the customer’s item is 128 SDRAM, our internal item is chair, and this is the thing we actually make. And, for some reason, our customers want to see the most current manufacturing order in the system that’s for their item. And so I use GP Report Extender to pull in the manufacturing order. And it’s going from 128 SDRAM to the item master, it’s pulling that generic prescription field, which contains the item number chair, and then it goes in and locates the most recent demo for that item. So if we go over now and look at manufacturing, we’ll see that MO3 is for chair. So this is a really powerful tool. Anything that you need to pull, if it’s in the database and there’s some way to link it through the data to the report that you have, you can use GP Report Extender to pull that information on the report.

So another neat little tool in here is View Wizard. And this is one of the free tools. If you’re creating reports, one of the things that can be a little challenging with GPs, if you look at any given table in the database and you’re trying to pull information out, you’ll have fields that are in the database. It doesn’t say customer number, it says CUSTNMBR. Now, that one’s pretty easy to figure out, but a lot of them are pretty cryptic. What this utility will do is create a SQL view using all of the plain text names for the fields, and then you can use that view to create a report.

Another neat little feature on here is this Excel export button. And let’s see if this is gonna come up. Oh, let’s see. Excel. And if you’re doing any work with the database and GP tables and trying to create a report, this is handy. So that window creates this export of all of the table names and the physical name. All right. So let’s pop back over to GP. Another free tool on here is Finder. This one comes in pretty handy because sometimes you know that there’s some piece of information in the database, in this case, it’s the word “blue,” we don’t know where it’s stored, but we need to find every place it’s stored because, I mean, we’re trying to whatever. Maybe we’re trying to create a report, we’re trying to track down where GP stores it. Maybe something got messed up and we’re trying to track down every place where we need to make a change. This goes through every table and every field in the database and finds a match.

And so I’m gonna stop it here because this can run for a really long time, but you see we’re up to for 32 records. And it pulls them in, and then you can click on that one lookup button and it will show you a little bit of information about which table that field is coming from. And then you can also directly query that table to see the information in the database where that’s coming from. And, lastly, I’ll just jump into this thing called Database Manager. If you’re familiar with SQL Management Studio, this is a bit like SQL Management Studio, except inside of GP. So it gives you the ability to look at tables and views and stored procedures, and you can look at the data and the tables. So this gives you a really handy way to navigate data in GP.

All right, now, hang with me just a second. We’re gonna flip back over to the slide deck. So GP PowerPack, as I mentioned in the beginning, this is a suite of a large amount of functionality that primarily has been created over the 20 years that we’ve been around based on customer requests. This is a list of things that people wish GP did. And there’s two big groupings of functionality. There are something that we call features, and features are large enhancements, or large additions to GP. These are things that really could be standalone software modules. And then there’s also a large collection of something that we call Tweaks. And we’ll take a look at Tweaks in just a second. I just wanted to run through some of the GP PowerPack features. And then we’ll also take a look at some of these in GP.

Alerts, this gives you the ability to create a pop-up alert attached to any master record in GP. So you could attach a alert to an item, or a customer, or vendor, or maybe you have a third-party product and you wanna attach it to a fixed asset. When you attach that alert to something…it could also be a transaction, by the way, like a sales transaction. And every time you use that master record, such as putting an item number on a transaction, or maybe applying a payment to a sales transaction, that alert pops up. And, as an example, we use this internally in our own GP, and we attach alerts to sales transactions so that when a payment comes in, an alert pops up saying, “Hey, tell Troy that he has to do something, because we just received payment.” It’s a really handy way to enforce a workflow based on specific conditions that pertain to a transaction or an item.

Bin-to-Bin Transfers, if you’re using multi-bin, GP has a bin transfer transaction, but the transaction doesn’t integrate into the GP inquiries in reports, so that inventory movement is actually kind of invisible. Our Bin-to-Bin Transfer creates a real inventory transfer so that, historically, you can see that inventory movement when you’re doing a lookup on an item and those transactions will show up, or running a report. Color Settings, I’ll just pop to the next slide real quick. Color Settings has a whole bunch of really fine level control over the color of different user interface elements. And so you can use it to just make the lines on a transaction more visible. Some of GP’s multiline scrolling windows can be a little bit difficult to keep track of where you are on a window, so giving it a brighter or more contrasty coloring scheme can make it easier to use.

You can also use it to make sure that users are aware that you’re in a test company, or if you have multiple companies, you can color each company differently. And it could be something pretty subtle, like just changing the color of the toolbar, or you could change the entire color of a background window. If you use lot tracking, Extended Lot Attributes gives you the ability to create a unlimited number of lot attributes, and they can be of any data type. So it significantly expands the amount of information that you can attach to a lot.

idModifier is a utility for changing string fields in GP. And this kind of goes back to the Finder utility that we looked at earlier. If we need to change, you know, Blue Yonder to BLUE Basics, you can use idModifier to search through every database table, find every instance of the ID that you need to change and change it to the new value. What’s really nice about this utility is it’s not hard-coded. It has logic built into it, where it can go out and find the values that need to be changed and change them in any table. So if you’ve got third-party products, for example, this will be able to find that value in those third-party products and change it.

Login Monitor is a utility for managing your user licenses. It’s also a utility for managing security. There’s a couple of different ways that it can be used. You can kind of kick people out as soon as they are inactive for a certain period of time, so that’s more of a security-focused method. And you can also set it up to kick out inactive users when somebody else needs to get in. And that is a method of maximizing your user licenses. If you have 10 and there’s 10 people logged in, but somebody is inactive, when that 11th person tries to get in, it will find who to kick out and remove their user from the system.

PO Document IDs is a bit like SOP Document IDs, in that it allows you to create a unlimited number of system-generated PO document numbering sequences. So you could have a different PO number per department, or maybe per material class. Sales Pro is something we’ll take a look at it in a second. It’s a super item lookup for GP sales transaction entry. And then the last one I’ll touch on here is Select Checks Filters, and this is a utility for building a complex query to find which payables documents that you want to pay.

All right. So let’s jump back over in to GP. Now, you probably saw alerts a little bit earlier when I was in here, because it did pop up as I was working through these transactions. And I have an alert attached to 128 SDRAM. And this is what the alerts do. So they can be all over in the system. In this case, we have one attached to 128 SDRAM. And every time we use it throughout the system, it’s going to pop up. Now, I set it so that it pops up on sales transaction entry and on purchase order entry, so you can control where it happens. The alerts can be on any record. So we have a whole bunch of them that are predefined for master records that we already know about in GPU items, customers, vendors, sales transactions, purchase orders, and so on, but it also can be set up on anything. Again, so if you have a third-party product like a field service module, you could create an alert on a field service work ticket.

And this is the Sales Pro Item Lookup. So what this does is, by default, the lookup window is showing you customer history. These are items that the customer has purchased in the past. And when you select an item in this window, down in the bottom left, it’s showing you sites that have available inventory. You could also look at all sites, you can change the view of this. And then in the bottom right-hand corner, this is showing you invoices with that item. So this is where the customer has previously purchased this item. And it has another view of items purchased with the selected item. So the last time they bought this ACCSCRD item, they also bought that. And then lastly, the go-to button up here gives you access to just about every other inquiry window in GP that has something to do with sales or inventory.

We’re going to take a look at some of the GP PowerPack Tweaks. So this is the setup window for GP PowerPack, and you can see all the modules listed and then all the Tweaks. And by default, nothing is enabled. You just turn on the things that you want to use. So I’ve turned on a couple of these, and we’ll jump over into the GP windows and take a look at what some of these do. There is our alert popping up. So the first thing that we’re gonna look at is…it’s just a little Tweak that opens up the item resource planning window based on what the default site ID is. Normally, when you open this up, it opens the default values, and then you have to change this to show the site that you want to work with. And this is representative of how a lot of the Tweaks worked, and that it’s a really small Tweak to GP, but it’s focused on making things more efficient and easier to use.

The one I wanted to mention, and I’m not gonna show this, because running a check batch can kind of take a while to create, but when you create a check batch, it sort of runs in the background, and it can be a little bit hard to see what’s happening. And what this does…well, let’s just click batch and see what happens. Okay. Yeah, I’ll just leave this. What happens is when you click to build the batch, you’ll get a little message up in the top. While the batch is being built, while GP is out there finding payables to stick into the batch, it’ll show a little message up here that the build batch routine is running.

So another Tweak is…and this is one that closes child windows in purchase order processing. We have a similar thing over in sales order processing. Normally, what happens is you’re in a purchase order entry, you’ve opened up a whole bunch of these little windows, and then you need to save the transaction. And when you click Save, GP says, “I can’t close the open window.” And, you know, these windows might not be this easy to see. They could now be behind GP and behind a Word document or something. It’s a little bit hard to track them down. What this Tweak does is when you… Did I not enable the Tweak? Yeah, well, so that’s the message that you get. Let me just run back to setup, and purchasing, auto-close child windows. And I didn’t have it marked, so let’s manual enable that, purchasing. Okay. So we’ve got that window, and we’ve got this one. And now when we click Save, instead of getting that warning messages… Now I’ve got required fields. You see it closes all of those windows automatically.

Let’s see here. Another one… So a common issue with purchase order entry is that you can mis-key item number, and the purchase order entry window just assumes that it’s a non-inventory item, and it accepts it. So, you know, in this case, we have 128 SDRAM, and it’s really easy to type 128 SDRAM, think that you’ve keyed in the correct item number, and normally, purchase order entry will just accept this and go on. And you don’t know until you get around to the point of doing the receipt that you actually entered a non-inventory item. So we have a couple of Tweaks in here that have different methods of controlling that. You can have a password to prevent you from using it. You can do this, where it prompts you to add it, so now it just behaves like a normal item number field, where it says, “This item doesn’t exist. Do you want to create a new item?” You can say yes, no, or you can continue with the non-inventory item.

And another Tweak here…all right, so that’s a…our item is new item. That’s a non-inventory item. It doesn’t exist in the item master, but we do want to use it. There’s a Tweak that allows you to change the unit of measure for non-inventory items. In this case, GP normally defaults to each, but maybe you don’t sell things as each, you sell them as a box.

Brenner: Another Tweak is we have a set of controls on the customer PO number field. And if you actually use this, maybe you want it to be unique. In this case, I set up…one of the options is to check for duplicates. It doesn’t prevent them, but it just looks for them. And if it finds documents that have that same customer PO, it gives you the ability to look at them, and it looks at both open and historical transactions.

Melissa: You know, I think we’re just about at time, actually. So I might have to…

Brenner: That’s it?

Melissa: …cut you off, unfortunately. Yeah, yeah, the time goes by really fast. Sorry about that.

Brenner: Okay. Can you give me two minutes, and I’ll just check some of these slides real quick.

Melissa: Okay, sounds good.

Brenner: Okay. So this is the not the entire list of GP PowerPack Tweaks. There’s a lot of them. MO Generator, as I mentioned, you can create MO receipts. You can either do that from the staging table that you populate from an external system like a manufacturing control software, or it can also pull in a Excel spreadsheet. This is the list of Manufacturing PowerPack features. This is the big enhancements to Manufacturing in GP. And Manufacturing also has a large number of Tweaks to GP Manufacturing. A really cool one here is the indented bill of materials report. And that’s it. So, I’m sorry we didn’t get to everything. Please hop out to our website. Go to willoware.com, take a look at the products. There’s a whole bunch of online demos, and, of course, we’re always here if you have any questions.

Melissa: Great. Thank you so much for joining us today and for presenting. Thanks to everyone else. And I guess I could say have a good afternoon. Bye, everyone.

Dee Dee: Thank you.

Brenner: Thank you.

Melissa: Thank you.

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