A company evaluating Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (F&O) recently asked, “How can we know the impact on our customer orders of a change in product supply?” Excellent question that deserved some research. Let’s take a look at that scenario through the lens of the Dynamics F&O solution of Demand Planning Messages.

In this scenario, our salespeople and customer service teams are using the Available to Promise logic (ATP) in Dynamics F&O to provide visibility at Sales Order entry, to support the commitment to a customer for specific quantities of product and delivery dates. That ATP calculation is typically based on both on-hand inventory in the appropriate site and warehouse, as well as future supply orders that are anticipated to be received to inventory – based on their open quantities and due dates. (Note that ATP can be configured to consider specific sources of supply, but it is most common to consider on-hand inventory as well as future supply orders.) That commitment is recorded as an expected ship date on the sales order lines.

However, a change in the quantity or available date of supply at any time after the Sales Order is entered and prior to the ship date can render these ATP commitments invalid (a Purchase Order quantity change, a due date push out, and an inventory adjustment can all decrease available inventory – any change to supply can render the original ATP calculation invalid, without the user knowing.). The result may be that, even though a promise was made to the customer that was valid at the time of sales order entry, future changes in supply can render those promises invalid, resulting in poor customer service. So, to rephrase the initial question: “How can we know if a change to supply has affected our ATP promise?”

The answer to this question is provided by the action messages generated during a Master Planning MPS/MRP regeneration. Most users focus on the Supply Side Action Messages, generated by Master Planning, recommending changes in supply orders. As a result, little attention is placed on the Demand Order Action Messages that the system provides. However, these Demand Order messages provide the answer to our question. The system will tell us which sales order lines are affected by changes in Supply, and what that impact will be! These messages are called Calculated Delays.

The form above is found here: Master Planning module > Master Planning menu > Calculated Delays. After filtering for Sales Orders, the result is a list of all Sales Order lines that cannot be shipped per the Expected Ship Date due to changes in supply. The focus on this form is on the Days field, which represents the difference between the Desired Date and the To Date that resulted from the Master Planning regeneration. In the screenshot above, the 3rd row is a message that tells the user that the sales order 000698 line for Item D0001 will be shipped 12 days late (moved from Dec 27th to Jan 8th), due to changes in supply of that product. From this form, the user can click on the order Number field in the left column to drill to the order, review details, and take action.

Demand Order Planning messages are often overlooked, possibly because the Planners/Buyers that utilize Master Planning are more focused on supply. When sales and customer service personnel learn how to use Calculated Delays, they can be more proactive with customers and avoid the uncomfortable suprises that happen when the shipment due date has arrived and no supply is available.

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Joe D365

Joe D365 is a Microsoft Dynamics 365 superhero who runs on pure Dynamics adrenaline. As the face of PowerObjects, Joe D365’s mission is to reveal innovative ways to use Dynamics 365 and bring the application to more businesses and organizations around the world.