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Using Cases To Manage New Product Introduction

Posted by Author, Curator, Visually Impared Squirrel Literacy Advocate & Dynamics AX Technical Solution Professional (TSP) at Microsoft on

Although Dynamics AX is not a complete new product development and formulation system since it does not calculate nutritional details, or perform least cost formulation, it does allow you to manage all of your product, costs, formulations, nutritional detailed etc. Additionally it has a lot of capabilities to help you manage the NPD and NPI process so that the process is a lot smoother.

In this example, I will show an example of how you can use Cases, Workflow, and Projects within Dynamics AX to manage all of the New Product Development/Introduction process.

The New Product Development Process
The model that we are going to use for NPD is a Stage/Gate process where there are a number of steps in the process, and also a number of approvals that need to be performed in order to move from one stage to another.
Using Cases To Initiate NPD Requests
The easiest way to manage this is through Cases. In this example I have created a new case category of NPD. To start off the NPD cycle, a user just needs to initiate a new case record for it.
One of the benefits of the cases are that you can associate them with Customers, Prospects, Vendors, and even employees for tracking of who is making all of the requests – you can use this later on for reporting and analysis.
In order to create a NPD request, we use the NewProdReq case category.
This is also tied to a NPD case process for tracking the stages of the NPD cycle.
In my example, I added tasks and responsibilities at each of the steps in the NPD process.
After telling the system that you want to initiate a NPD request, you can fill in the skeleton information for the request.
Tracking the NPD Process
Once the request has been submitted, the users are able to add additional information and relationships to the NPD request, making this the location for the history of the product.
Additionally, you can associate any electronic document that you like to the record – including recipes, ROI calculations, sample formulations, images etc.
Using Workflows to Coordinate the NPD Process
There are a number of steps and approvals required in our NPD process. So in this example, we also created a workflow process for the NPD to step through. Once we submit the case to the workflow, all of those steps and approvals will start to occur automatically.
The NPD Stage/Gate process would look something like this – although you can make the workflow as simple, or elaborate as you like, including in features like workflow escalations, and reporting hierarchies.
Now when the user that is responsible for the next stage in the NPD cycle is required to do something, they will be notified through the role center…
And also through the alerts, and the toaster notifications.
Tracking the NPD Status with Process & Work Flows
As the NPD steps are completed, then the user is able to move the process from the current stage to the next which initiates tasks for other users on the system.
Since we use workflows as well here, the users are able to change the status of the NPD process through the workflow actions as well.
These are all tracked within the workflow history, and can also be analyzed through the workflow reporting cubes delivered with Dynamics AX.
Tracking NPD Costs & Expenses Through Projects
In our process all of the steps up until the product formulation have been just designed to gather information. When we get to the physical formulation and development of the product, we may want to track the actual time and costs associated with the request. To do this we just create a Project directly from the case.
We just need to specify the project details, and then the cases will do all the rest for us.
After creating a project, it will show up in the associations against the NPD case.
Using Project Collaboration Sites for NPD
From the project we are able to associate time, expenses, items, and other expenses against our project. If we wanted to define a WBS for the project as well, then that’s not a problem since that is standard in the project accounting module.
Additionally, all projects also have a collaboration site associated with them in SharePoint. So as you are performing your tests, creating formulations etc. then the collaboration site will work as your electronic lab book.
All of this is accessible directly from the ERP system, so you will no longer have to move from system to system.

How cool is that.

Link to Original:         http://sdrv.ms/SZpOcW



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