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January 2018

Written by Rich on January 31, 2018

Hey Google! Can I build this product right now?

Infor VISUAL ERP - Caden using Google Mini Home
Caden using his Google Home Mini - He's asking the same question, but in his case, it's to build up his youTube channel - "Caden's World"

Google may not be plugged into your operations....yet

BUT if it were, it would likely answer you with results generated from the BOM Xploder.

The BOM Exploder is a VISUAL extension tool that quickly lets you know on whether you have all the materials to complete a job (work order) - right here, right now. 

The tool looks at ALL of your jobs (works orders) in VISUAL, drills down through all levels deep, looks to future supply and demand of parts - and tells you if you have any shortages anywhere throughout the multi-level BOM - even if parts of that BOM have their own engineering master that hasn't been released yet

One of the great things about the BOM Xploder is that it allows you to work at the Job Level rather than at the Part Level like the Material Planning Window. 

I know how arduous it can be going down the rabbit hole in the Material Planning Window chasing parts that may cause you grief in production.

The BOM Xploder gives you an overview of all your jobs to see what can be built or not based on what's available or expected to be available.  The Jobs are color-coded to providing you more information on whether you can build or not:

  • BLACK → You can build right now
  • RED Part Shortages - no supply purchase orders and no supply work orders
  • BLUE Part Shortages - supply purchase order and supply work orders in place
  • ORANGE You can build now - BUT you would be stealing from other jobs

 

Infor VISUAL ERP - BOM Xploder
Static screenshot does not do this justice
Contact me for a demo! -

You can drill down to investigate further as well as jump directly into the Material Planning Window, Manufacturing Window and Work Order Traveller

A "bonus" feature allows you to view all the parts that are causing jobs to be late.  This list can be considered your Hot or Expedite List as it prioritizes the parts based on the number of jobs they are causing to be late.

It's definitely a tool you should consider if you have deep BOMs and spending a significant amount of time in the Material Planning Window to investigation possible part shortages.

Ping me if you are interested in hearing more about BOM Xploder!


Now full disclosure :-) 

BOM Xploder is product developed by the great team at Synergy Resources who I work for.  So you may consider this post as being biased - but I do think it's a great VISUAL extension and it's currently being used in the community with great success.

If you have or know of a great product or solution for VISUAL - I'm interested in speaking with you and showcasing it

Written by Rich on January 16, 2018

Have VISUAL automatically open your "Start Up" windows after signing in

Infor VISUAL ERP - VMX Default windowsDo you often find yourself opening the same VISUAL windows after signing in?  It'd be nice if you can have VISUAL open them automatically.

VISUAL doesn't have this as a built-in feature - but that's not to say we can't make it happen.  

We can use a VMX file to achieve this.

FYI:

VMX files are shortcuts to specific records in VISUAL.  You may have come across them if you have ever used the Send To feature in VISUAL - they will be attached to emails for recipients to open.  VMX files are associated to the VISUAL application - so the system will know what to do when the user double clicks on them. 

The VMX file is basically a text file that VISUAL reads and executes.  If you look at the contents of the file (using a text editor like Notepad), you will notice that all VMX files start with LSASTART.  The next line indicates the module (program) to open and the document id to retrieve.

For example, if we wanted the VMX file to open Customer Order Id 123897, the file would contain:

LSASTART
VMORDENT~123897

VMORDENT refers to Customer Order Entry window - which is the VMORDENT.EXE executable file.  The 123897 is the customer order record to retrieve.  The tilde("~") is used to separate the program file and the record.

Now why am I explaining this?

Well, we can use this in our VISUAL hack.  The VMX file does not limit us to the number of programs to open at once.  And the document id reference is optional - meaning we can just reference the program without having it retrieve a record.

And another thing, because the VMX file is associated with VISUAL - the system will check whether you are signed in.  If you are not, the Sign In window will appear before opening your windows.  

So, all you need to do is create a VMX file with all the VISUAL windows you want to have opened after signing in.  This VMX will now be your Shortcut to Signing into VISUAL (as oppose to your standard sign in shortcut pointing to the VM.exe file)

Here's a quick Walk-Through

  1. Create a new file using your favorite text editor (like Notepad)
  2. Enter "LSASTART" on the first line
  3. On the next line(s), enter the program name(s) of the VISUAL window(s) you want opened as part of your startup.  For example, if you want Part Maintenance, Customer Order Entry and Material Planning Window to be part of your start up - you should have the following:

    LSASTART
    VMPRTMNT
    VMORDENT
    VMPLMWIN

    If you are not sure of the program name, you can look this up by calling up the window in VISUAL and selecting "About..." under the Help menu.

    Infor VISUAL ERP - Material Planning Window
  4. Save the file to your desktop.  Be sure to save it with a "VMX" extension.
  5. At lastly, make sure VMX files are associated to VISUAL. 

    To do this, right click on your VMX file - and select OPEN WITH from the popup menu. 
    Select Infor VISUAL from list of applications (and check the checkbox to always use the application) - and click the OK to confirm

    Infor VISUAL ERP - VMX File association


 

Written by Rich on January 11, 2018

Speed things up by skipping over default confirmation prompts in the Manufacturing Window

Have you seen these before?

Infor VISUAL ERP - Manufacturing Window - Load Operation Type Defaults
Infor VISUAL ERP - Manufacturing Window - Part ID already is used

Oh, I'm confident you have.  I'm also betting that for the most part you responded YES, YES, YEEESSSS!!!  

In fact, for some of you, it's probably so second nature you don't even notice what's being asked and hitting the ENTER key.

These prompts mean well - and they may have stopped you from making a mistake and made you seriously think of what your doing - but for the most part they are annoying and slowing you down - and yes, you know what you're doing! 

You can prevent these prompts and skip over them by configuring your preference settings.

Your preference settings can be found in Preference Maintenance under the ADMIN menu. 

The two settings that affect these prompts are in the ManufacturingWindow section: SkipMsgLoadOpTypeDef and SkipMsgPartAlreadyUsed

If you have these two entries with a value of 'Y'  -  VISUAL will skip over these prompts and you can now speed through your builds

Infor VISUAL ERP - Preference Maintenance

 

One of the many options you have available to enhance your VISUAL User eXperience!

Infor VISUAL ERP - Preference Maintenance - User Experience 

Written by Rich on January 9, 2018

VISUAL's AutoRun feature to automate Cost Utilities, Concurrent Scheduler and other processes

VISUAL_AS_A_Service
For as long as I can remember, the user community has been looking for ways to schedule and run certain VISUAL processes automatically and un-attended; Processes like Costing in Costing Utilities, MRP and the Concurrent Scheduler.

Earlier versions of VISUAL did not have this built-in feature - leaving many users to resort to creative ways and workarounds to accomplish this – some good and some not so good. Most involved 3rd party applications such as AutoIT and Automate.

But now with VISUAL 8 and up, using AutoRun Services, you can schedule and automate the following:

  • Running Concurrent Scheduler
  • Printing of Work Order Travellers
  • Costing (Cost Utilities)
  • Running Material Requirements Planning
  • Updating the Reporting Database Tables (for Dashboard Analytics)

Setting up the schedule can be done within each window of the specific process – under the FILE menu.

EXCEPTION: For Updating the Report Database Tables, you need to go to Admin > Application Global Maintenance > Maintain > Visual Reporting Data…

For example, to setup an automated schedule for the Concurrent Scheduler, select “Set as Scheduled…” item from the FILE menu of the Concurrent Scheduler window

 

VISUAL ERP - Concurrent Scheduler Automation
Concurrent Scheduler > File > Set as Scheduled...

The following window will appear. The left area are the parameters that you would typically set for running the Concurrent Scheduler. The right area is where you set the parameters to schedule the running of the Concurrent Scheduler – the fields are fairly straight forward.

ScheduleParameters

 
Also note that you can have the process run several times a day – up to 6 times - which is great if you have lots of activity (transactions) going on (inventory movement, labor reporting, shipping/receiving, etc)...it helps in keeping the system up to date (where needed).


Now
, out of the box, these services are not installed...

Don't fret - there are some setups involved but it's not overly complicated

Each automated process has its own service executable file – which are typically found in the VISUAL executables directory

Service EXE What does this service do? How many times do you need install this service?
VRDTASVC.EXE Loads data into the Reporting database tables Once per database
VMSCHSVC.EXE Runs a schedule Once per site
VMDBRSVC.EXE Runs a schedule in a DBR-enabled database Once per site
VRPTSVC.EXE Once per database Once per database
VMCSTSVC.EXE Runs costing Once per site
VMMRPSVC.EXE Runs MRP Once per site

You may have to go through the installation procedure more than once for a given service if you are a multi-site operation.


I'll walk you through an installation of the Costing Service.

  1. On the computer or server that will be running the service, go to the directory that contains the VISUAL executables and find the file VMCSTSVR.EXE (this is the service executable file to run the Costing Utilities as a service)
  2. Right Click on the VMCSTSVR.EXE and "Run as administrator"

    Infor VISUAL ERP - AutoRun     
  3. You will then be prompted to Sign Into VISUAL.  You can use any VISUAL User ID as long as it has the permissions to the respective area (in this case the Costing Utilities).

    Infor VISUAL ERP - Sign In

  4. In the following window, you'll need to specify the following:

    Site ID
    :  The Site to which the service will be running against.
    Log File Directory: Directory Location to store the log files for this service
    Polling Interval:  Frequency the service checks for updates - I just accept the default
    Log Level: You can specify the amount of details you want to capture when the service is running.  The recommended level is to set to None (logs just basic information - timestamps, etc).  Refer to the VISUAL manual if you would like more info on this

    Infor VISUAL ERP - AutoRun Service

  5. Hit the Install Service Button

  6. Click Yes at the following prompt

    Infor VISUAL ERP - AutoRun Service 
  7. Then CLOSE the window

The costing service is now running!!

You can verify this by going into the Services Console in Windows and scroll through the list for the service.  In this case, the service is called Infor Visual Costing Service (database name:site id) 

Infor VISUAL Services - Windows Services

 

Now that the Costing Service is running - you can now set the schedule to run Costings. 

Remember how? ... Go to the Costing Utilities window and click on Costing Service Schedule under the FILE menu. 

OK...here's a screenshot...
Infor VISUAL ERP - Costing Utilities AutoRun

  

WHO IS VISUALNUGGETS?

Rich Ferlatte
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VISUAL EXTENSIONS

BOM Xploder
Drastically improve your BOM visibility and discover shortages at ANY level of your bill of material no matter how deep.
SmartViews
See, analyze, and track information that helps you better support individual, departmental, and your company’s performance metrics and goals.
Credit Card Integration
Easily accept and process credit card payments right from within VISUAL.
CAD Integration with CADLink
Reduce rework, minimize scrap, and work more efficiently with CADLink - a fully automated, two-way connection between VISUAL and your CAD system.
Sales Tax Automation with AvaTax
Easily automate sales and use tax in VISUAL with AvaTax. No more manually entering data or uploading rate tables and tax information.
Workforce Management with Kebrite Solutions
Streamlines the collection of Job, Labor, Payroll, Time & Attendance, and a vast array of HR related data-- with live VISUAL integration.
ACH Document Processing
Leveraging VISUAL's payment scheduling and batch payment functions, with the added convenience, performance, and security of Electronic Funds Transfer payment processing.