Automate the process of building loads [AX 2012]

Updated: November 13, 2014

NoteNote

This topic applies to features in the Transportation management module. It does not apply to features in the Inventory management module.

This topic describes a feature that is available only if you are running Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 Cumulative Update 8. The topic provides information about how to use load building strategies to automatically build loads. The following are some examples of when this is useful:

  • When you regularly ship a certain set of products. Rather than building loads every time, you can apply load building strategies.

  • When you want to maximize efficiency by avoiding half full loads.

Microsoft Dynamics AX provides a load building strategy named Volume-based load building strategy. This strategy lets you use the maximum values specified for height and weight in the load template, or override the settings by entering new values. To use this strategy, select it in the Load building strategy field on the Setup FastTab in the Load building workbench form.

In addition, you can add your own load-building strategies by creating a new class in the Application Object Tree (AOT). For information about how to do this, see the following procedures.

The following table shows the prerequisites that must be in place before you start.

Category

Prerequisite

Released products and Warehouses

The products and warehouses that are included in the sales orders must be enabled for Warehouse management processes.

Load template

You must create one or more load templates. When you generate proposed loads, load building strategies use the attributes defined on the load template to determine what to put in the loads. For more information, see Set up a load template.

NoteNote

A load building strategy named Volume-based load building strategy is provided in AX 2012 R3 CU8. If you have more than one load template, the volume based load template strategy uses only the first load template in the list.

Licenses

To be able to add a new class to the AOT, you need the X++ development license code for Microsoft Dynamics AX: SysXpp.

You can create new classes if you want to implement different strategies for building loads. This section provides tips and tricks that can help you create and implement your own load building strategy class.

A load building strategy named Volume-based load building strategy is provided in AX 2012 R3 CU8. This strategy lets you use the maximum values specified for height and weight in the load template, or override the settings by entering new values.

You must create a class that implements the TMSILoadBuildStrategy interface. To make the new class available, you need to apply it with TMSLoadBuildStrategyEnableAttribute. When you create the class, you should consider the following:

  • The getDescription method has to return a reference to a Microsoft Dynamics AX label that contains a user-friendly description of the strategy that you’re building. This description is displayed when you set up and use strategies that use this class.

  • Your class can require specific numeric, string, Boolean, and UTC date and time values for initializing the class instance. To notify the system about the type of data that is needed to initialize the class instance, you need to implement the populateParameterCollection method. This method requires that you provide object instances that derive from the TMSLoadBuildStrategyParam class. These objects represent parameters, so you need to make sure that they use unique keys to identify the parameter names. The keys are used to retrieve the parameter value when an object is initialized by the init method. The parameter values are specified by the user on the Load building strategy parameters form. After you add a strategy class, you have to click Generate class list on the Load building strategies form to add the class and its parameters to the list in the form.

  • The TMSLoadBuildSession table groups information about proposed loads into a load building session. This ensures that sessions are kept separate if more than one user is performing the process at the same time. The TMSProposedLoadContent table contains information about the supply and demand lines that need to be assigned to loads. The TMSLoadBuildStrategyInputSet table groups lines so that content lines that should not be packed together are kept separate. The load building process for each request occurs separately for each load building strategy input set. The proposeLoads method on your strategy class is called one time for each input set. This method should iterate through the TMSProposedLoadContent table records that belong to a load building strategy input set, and assign the reference to the TMSProposedLoad table records. By leaving the optional reference to TMSProposedLoads table blank, you indicate that the proposed load content record is not assigned to a proposed load. After you use the proposed loads to create loads, the lines in the TMSProposedLoad table become lines in the TMSLoadTable table. Records in the TMSProposedLoadContent table become one or more load lines. For an overview of the physical data model, see the following diagram.

    Proposed Loads for TM AX 2012 CU8

After you’ve added a class for load building strategies to the AOT, you need to apply the class in Microsoft Dynamics AX. You do this by setting up load building strategies, which also let you set and maintain parameters for the strategy.

To set up a load building strategy and set parameters for it, follow these steps:

  1. Click Transportation management > Setup > General > Load building strategies.

  2. In the Name field, enter a name for the strategy.

  3. In the Load building strategy class field, select the class that contains the logic for the load building strategy. When you select a class, the Description field automatically displays the description of the strategy of the class.

    NoteNote

    If you are setting up a strategy, or have updated a class and want to add it to the list of classes, click Generate class list.

  4. To add or maintain parameters for the class, click Parameters.

  5. Select the attribute in the list on the left part of the form, and on the General FastTab, enter or select the parameter settings.

    NoteNote

    The parameters that are available are provided through the class, and can vary depending on the design of the class. For the volume-based load building strategy class that is provided in AX 2012 R3 CU8, you can specify the percentage of the maximum volume capacity that you can fill for a load, and the maximum weight capacity. The parameter value works together with the maximum setting specified on the load template. For example, if the maximum volume capacity setting on the load template is 100 percent, and you specify a value of 10 for the volume capacity parameter, then a load will be filled to 10 percent.

You can create proposed loads based on a load building strategy.

To build proposed loads, follow these steps:

  1. Click Transportation management > Inquiries > Load building workbench.

    –or–

    Click Transportation management > Inquiries > Load planning workbench. On the Action Pane, click Load building workbench.

  2. In the Load building template field, select the template to use to generate the proposed loads, or enter a name for a new template.

  3. In the Load building strategy field, select the strategy that contains the criteria to apply when generating the proposed loads.

  4. In the Supply or demand type field, select Sales.

  5. Optional: On the Setup FastTab, you can specify ranges of criteria to control what goes into the load. For example, you can specify ranges of shipping and delivery dates, postal codes, country and region, and sites and warehouses. You can also apply filter codes. For more information, see Set up filters and filter groups.

  6. Optional: To define additional criteria for finding sales order lines, click Edit query, and then enter the criteria. Typically, this is used for specific cases. For example, if you want to use a specific carrier for the loads.

  7. On the Load templates FastTab, select the load template to use to generate the proposed loads. Use the Move up and Move down buttons to arrange them in the sequence in which you want them to be evaluated.

  8. Click Propose loads.

To change the proposed loads, follow these steps:

  1. On the Proposed load lines FastTab, do any of the following:

    • To remove a proposed load line, click Remove from proposed load. The line is moved from the Proposed load lines FastTab to the Not included FastTab. It is still available in the supply and demand.

    • To assign the load line to a different load, in the Proposed load column, select the load to assign it to.

  2. On the Not included FastTab, you can add lines to a proposed load. For example, this is useful if you know that the items can fit on the load although the system did not find capacity for it. The Not included FastTab includes sales order lines that the load building strategy could not include in a load. This can occur if a load already exceeded the maximum allowed for a load. To add a line to the proposed load, in the Proposed load column, select the load to assign it to.

To create loads based on the proposed loads, follow this step:

  • Click Create loads.

When you create proposed loads, a session is created to store the temporary proposals. When you create the loads, the information about the proposed loads is cleared. However, if you create proposed loads, but do not create the loads, the data is not cleared. If you frequently create proposed loads, the data can start to pile up. By default, the batch job will delete records that were created at least one day before the current date.

To run a batch job to clean up unused data for proposed loads, follow these steps:

  1. Click Transportation management > Periodic > Clear load building session information.

  2. Enter criteria for the batch job.

If you don't have access to the pages that are used to complete this task, contact your system administrator and provide the information that is shown in the following table.

Category

Prerequisite

Configuration keys

Click System administration > Setup > Licensing > License configuration. Expand the Trade license key, and select the Warehouse and Transportation management configuration key.

Click System administration > Setup > Licensing > License configuration. Select the X++ development configuration key.


Announcements: To see known issues and recent fixes, use Issue search in Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services (LCS).

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