I wanted to share with you how I have enabled the rich functionality of Dynamics AX 2012 to be run on a wireless device. What I show you here is 100% based on AX 2012 feature Pack, and everything is created in AX 2012. I decided also to have no changes on std. AX elements, and only use existing available functionality of AX 2012.
The wireless communication can be achieved either through the customer’s wireless infrastructure or a cellular network. To speed up the data mining process, the device must support touch screen and either barcode scanning or radio frequency reading.
Each wireless device can connect to an individual session through Remote Desktop Services of Microsoft Server 2008.
The key benefits of this setup:
• The build in communication and security features of Windows are utilized.
• Maintenance and deployment tasks are centralized, because all logic are located and run on one server and not on each device.
• The customer’s own IT department can set up new devices, because only the communication information is to be set up on the device.
• No business critical data is stored or executed on the device.
· Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.1 or later
· Remote Desktop Service client 7.0 (build into Windows Mobile 6.1)
· VGA (640 X 480) color touch panel (Other resolutions is just a configuration)
· Wireless network adaptor or cellular adaptor (EDGE or better)
· Barcode scanner or RF-tag reader
Due to past experience with several hardware vendors, and the requirements of the PDA solution, I have can recommend the Motorola MC75 wireless device. The MC75 is available in different configurations and can fulfill the specific needs of a typical customer.
General properties of a PDA form
All forms in a PDA solution should have the same generic properties, and what I have done is the following.
In addition, it is recommended to have a visual confirmation to the user. Like a flash green, if the input is accepted, and red permanent background if the scanned/entered data is not accepted.
To efficiently use a PDA, all items should have an item barcode associated to each item. The main reason for this, is that the item barcode will contain the unique reference to item and the product dimensions like configuration, size, color and style. If it is not a possibility to have item barcodes on the products, than use the item number as the item barcode.
To generate item barcodes, it is possible to automate this with a set of jobs than can be ran to periodically generate standard item barcodes.
The main menu, if the first screen that the user will access. I can recommend to implement a command line parameter, to automatically start the PDA. This means that when the user logs into the RDP, an auto startup command with AX32.exe –startupCmd=PDA, that will start the PDA menu automatically.
In addition it is recommended that the Exit button do a log-out of the user from the RDP session. If the user just wants to exit the PDA menu, then press “ESC” to exit, and the RDP sessions is closed.
The PDA screens should also be configured per user in a setup.
In the setup, the user can set up a default “current warehouse”, so that lookups and scanning is limited to the specified warehouse. In addition the worker can enable/disable functional areas that are not applicable to the workers normal operations, and therefore also reduce the number of options on the main menu.
Then the user is keeping his finger down on the screen, the current selected menu.
The menu items are also attached to configuration keys, so if a configuration is disabled (like project or production), then the menu will not be visible.
In several places a magnifier glass will appear like this:
This is a menu button to drill further based on the information that is filled in. In general there are 4 main types for generic forms. Item information, dimension specification, lists and picture.
The item information form will show primary information, like item barcode, item number, item name, standard purchase and sales price. In addition there are a editable field under the “location”. This is the warehouse. Normally the default warehouse will be filled in here, but the user can change this. This will affect the display of the primary picking location, and the fields for on hand, like available physical, Physical and ordered.
In the bottom, the item barcodes product dimensions, in addition to the item description.
The default product image is also seen here. By clicking on the image, the system will bring up a full size picture of the product.
The item dimension specification form, is typical used when there is not enough space in the form to specify all dimensions. Then a separate form will popup, where the user must specify/rescan item barcode, and also specify additional dimensions like pallet ID, Batch or Serial number.
This form is mainly used in picking situations, and what fields/dimensions that should be visible is dependent on the storage and tracking dimension group of the item.
The product picture form is a very simple form, that just gives the user a full size picture of the product. In addition, item bar code, item number, item name and product dimensions will be shown.
In some cases the magnifier will bring up lists to give the worker an overview. This could be an overview of all purchase lines, all items on a location, all lines on a journal etc.
The list contains a list with different information, a reminder and a quantity. The list changes based on from where it is called, and what it is supposed to show.
In this example it will show open purchase lines, showing item, reminder and line quantity. In the bottom the item bar code and product description is shown.
In the bottom section all dimensions from the line will be shown. Both product, storage and tracking dimensions will be shown here.
The default product picture is clickable, and will show the picture in full format.
To have these generic and common forms and framework, the development of the functional forms become very easy, and I could focus on the actual functionality. Drop by my blog in the weeks to follow, and I’ll show you how the functionality actually works.