Microsoft Dynamics AX is a very comprehensive system designed to cover a wide range of industries including
- Public Sector
It is therefore ideal for end to end supply chain applications. It is easy to use and configure and has inbuilt reporting and dashboards to get insights into information in graphical format. Examples of available modules include…
- Master Planning – capacity planning – demand v supply – finite planning
- Production Information
- Inventory Management
- Project Management
- Sales and marketing
- Production Control
- Warehouse management
- Travel and Expenses
- Accounts Payable
- Accounts Receivable
- Human Capital Management
AX for Retail
AX for retail is what Microsoft refer to as an Omni Channel Commerce Engine and is a holistic end to end retail solution built upon a common platform. This means it has a shared infrastructure for online e-commerce and in-store Point of sale (POS) as well as back office infrastructure capability, Finance and management. The experience is also consistent for all users whether they be self-serve customers or sales people or cashiers.
Another key feature of AX is that it is multi-currency and multi language. This helps not only with customers but also with the extended supply chain where suppliers are international.
Using a POS terminal the cashier can sign in using an id card. A customers products can be scanned and the purchase processed using a touchscreen. Discounts can also be applied and payment can be taken by a variety of common methods. For cash payments the cash drawer controlled. Change is indicated and the receipt printed. Transaction information including a unique bar code for scanning a return is included on the receipt including cashier, product code, company info all pulled from the ERP.
In real time the headquarters system and the POS unit in the shop or outlet exchanges sales transactions. Synching is performed from with the HQ system to pull item, price and configuration information to drive the POS. Sitting in the middle is a Synch. Database to keep the system synchronised. Retail outlets may also contain some additional infrastructure to support offline capability but this is optional. In all cases there is a SQL Express Synch. database, which contains all the AX tables necessary to support the POS service. This means that there is one source of client, product employee information and this can be shared by all locations in almost real time, it makes the POS system an extension of the main ERP system. Client information becomes available to all stores and you can search and if necessary swapping out delivery addresses. You cans select delivery options and pricing options as you would on the Internet.
All of this information is available for processing or distribution at the appropriate location such as a distribution centre.
The system will also support gift card capability. This is recorded on the system, the card is topped up and a separate receipt gift card is created. Subsequent pop up is also supported. Card balances are managed by the system. You can also create loyalty cards and track loyal customers.
Returns are scanned or can be entered manually, add reason code for analysis purposes. Options for repayment could be gift card cash or card refund. Even if the customer does not have a receipt the full transaction history is available irrespective of which channel or which location the customer purchased the item, making the refund process fully transparent for both parties.
From the POS terminal you can search for products as if it were an e-commerce site. These can then be ordered and delivered to the client or from stock. You can search for existing customers, by post code or any other information. Likewise an item can be searched for by number or description and you can look at inventory by item, product attributes such as size or colour and by the storage location. This means you can ship from alternative locations.
The system is also mobile enabled many retailers are using mobile devices such as tablets so they can stay with the customer when they are engaging with them and also reduce till queue times. This is all fully customisable, so the brand can be extended to the device itself. User log on is as per any other device. What the user sees can be tailored by role or individual.
Mobile functionality can provide sales assistants with e-commerce like sophistication. They can for example show related product items such as memory cards and batteries that may be required to be purchased with the main product. This increases the overall sale value but also enhances the customer experience. Likewise discounting can be added, this could be for example for loyalty, damaged items or ex demo items. Split tender processing i supported for situations where part payment is made by one method and part by another. e.g.on loyalty card/credit card/cash. This mobile functionality could also be made available to shop manager roles.
AX includes all the functionality you would expect from a modern e-commerce solution. It includes functionality such as a wish list, what other customers looked at, special deals, product reviews and of course the shopping cart and payment processing. To enable the customer to find products there are sophisticated categorisation and searching facilities. Pricing, product updates and availability are all served to the customer in real time from the core ERP system. The system is also social, media enabled so that products or information can be shared on Facebook, PinIt or Twitter.
The shopping cart is always instantly accessible. To pay the customer can log on as an existing customer or as a guest. Existing customers have all the normal password security features that you expect. There are options to have items shipped or if preferred picked up in store. There is also a store finder application linked to mapping.
Using the core ERP system calls can be taken centrally in a contact centre. Everything about the customer is available to the contact centre agent from the AX ERP system and hand offs are not necessary. Customer sales and servicing will be on the same basis of the other channels, but as with the in-store option a more personal service can be provided.
Distribution includes Warehouse Management, Transportation Management and Demand forecasting.