Assembly Management was released as part of Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013, and it includes a set of features designed for companies that supply products to their customers by
combining components in simple processes, such as assembly, light manufacturing, and kitting.
Kitting and Assembly Management
Before the Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 release, customers and partners in selected regions and countries, such as North America, France, and Australia, may have been familiar with a similar local functionality called Kitting. The uptake of Kitting in those geographies has been both the driver and inspiration behind the global Assembly Management feature. Its value proposition and the functional breadth have been closely investigated and appreciated by the NAV core development team, resulting in Kitting’s key business and user requirements laying the conceptual foundation for the new Assembly Management feature.
To ensure the quality of the new global Assembly Management feature as well as its solid integration into the existing supply chain suite, the core development team produced a
physical and conceptual design that differed significantly from the one in Kitting. The differences are many. While Kitting used the BOM journal to manage the assembly process, Assembly Management operates with the concept of assembly order, which offers more functional flexibility, better user interface and extensibility. Last, but not least, assembly order offers more superior integration points to the rest of inventory, such as availability calculations and order promising, item tracking, supply planning, warehousing, and costing. This is understandable because the BOM journal, like any other journal in the application, is different from an order in its flexibility and scope, with the BOM Journal’s main goal being to support users in quick data entry for a subset of specialized transactions, while bypassing any auxiliary inventory processes.
With the introduction of the assembly order, the BOM journal was deemed unnecessary. This also meant that a disassembly process, which the BOM journal partially supported, would
have to be redesigned in Assembly Management along the same principles as the common assembly process. More specifically, a disassembly order to manage a reverse conversion process, i.e. from one item to many, would need to be added and integrated to the same supply chain features that the assembly order integrates to (see above). The disassembly order was not included in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013.
Customers, who assemble their items themselves (as opposed to purchasing them from outside or getting them back through returns), and who need to reverse the previously made assembly, can use the new Undo Assembly function.
The option of keeping the BOM journal in the application for the sake of disassembly was rejected for several reasons:
a) Though useful in some scenarios, the actual BOM journal support for a disassembly process was limited to automatic creation of negative and positive adjustments for finished items and components respectively.
b) Its handling of cost flows required serious improvement.
c) As pointed out earlier, a journal line offers no integration to other parts of the inventory processes.
The core development team will be evaluating the possibility of including a properly designed disassembly feature in the future NAV releases. Kitting customers that used the BOM journal for their disassembly tasks should approach their partners for a discussion of reintroducing a journal for disassembly scenarios. The core development team will make no design recommendations in this regard.
For more information, see Assemble Items in the MSDN Library.
The NAV Supply Chain team