Written by Richard 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 Richard 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 Richard on February 1, 2015

Auto-Issuing from multiple locations for a single Part

Yes it is possible.

VISUAL allows you the capability to setup a part to be automatically issued to a work order as labor is reported against an operation.  To do this there are a couple of settings that you need to have in place for this to happen.  At a minimum, you need to flag the part as being AUTO ISSUE and specify the Warehouse and Location to issue from.  These settings can be found in the PART MAINTENANCE module

Infor VISUAL ERP - Part Maintenance
Part Maintenance in VISUAL 7.1.2

Now you may have situations where you need the ability to auto issue a part from multiple locations.  From the onset it may appear that you are limited to only having one - but it is possible to configure VISUAL to have more. 

Here's how...

  1. Call up the part in PART MAINTENANCE.
  2. Go into "Warehouse Locations..." from the MAINTAIN menu to bring up all the warehouse locations assigned to the part
  3. Now your first instinct would be to check the checkbox in the Auto Issue column.  DON'T because you may find yourself in a frustrating game of "Whack-A-Mole"!  Go ahead and try - you'll see what I mean.

    Whack a mole
    A Classic!
    Instead, simply select the checkbox under the Default Part Auto Issue column (the AUTO ISSUE checkbox will check automatically).  Once you have all your auto issue locations set - save and close the window

    Infor VISUAL ERP - Part Maintenance Warehouse Locations 
  4. Now you have configured the part to have multiple auto issue locations.  The only step left is indicating which location VISUAL should auto issue from on your work orders and/or engineering masters.  You can do this in the MATERIAL (REQUIREMENT) card of the auto issued part in the WO/EM under the PLANNING tab.

    Infor VISUAL ERP - Work Order Requirement Material Card Location ID 
    Note: The locations available will only be those that belong to the WAREHOUSE specified on the Work Order Header.  Also, if you choose not to override the location - then VISUAL will auto issue from the Default Auto Issue Warehouse and Location in PART MAINTENANCE.

Now you're all set.


Written by Richard on December 10, 2013

Automatically link new work orders to line items in the customer order entry window

The New Work Order feature in Customer Order Entry (and Order Management Window) allows you to create and link work orders as you enter the sales order into VISUAL.


This feature can save you quite a bit of time for situations where creating work orders on the fly from the order entry screen makes sense.  It allows you enter the sales order, create the work order and link (allocate) it all in one step. 

If linking work orders to customer order lines is common practice in your work place you might want to consider this option - Again, if it makes sense for your business

If you do use this feature or plan to use it - this macro might be of use to you.

Chances are, not all line items of a sales order require a work order....

  • Some items may be purchased.
  • Some items may be stocked items
  • Some items fall under specific planning policies
  • Some items are service charges
  • etc...

So the decision to link work orders to customer order lines may rest on the person entering the sales order.  You can streamline this process (and make the decision automatically) coding the business logic into an OnSave macro.

The following macro will automatically create and link work orders to line items for FABRICATED parts.  Simple requirement - but you get the idea

Macro breakdown

The Database Connection parameters:  You will need this to for the database lookup - which we will be doing to verify whether the line item meets the criteria to create a new work order.

strServerName="E N T E R   Y O U R   S E R V E R    N A M E"
strDatabase="E N T E R    Y O U R    V I S U A L    D A T A B A S E    N A M E"
strUserName="E N T E R    Y O U R    R E A D O N L Y    U S E R    I D"
strPassword="E N T E R    Y O U R    P A S S W O R D"

'*** Connection string for SQL Server
strcnn="Driver={SQL Server};Server=" & strServerName & ";Database=" & strDatabase & ";Uid=" & strUsername & ";Pwd=" & strPassword & ";"

set rs = CreateObject("ADODB.Recordset")

The remaining code uses the LINES object which allows us to read the line items (grid) of the customer order.  As we cycle through the lines, the macro will do a database lookup to determine whether the PART meets our requirement to create a new work order.  If a work order is required, we check the "New W/O" checkbox.  To do this we set the ADD field to "true".

FYI: In macro terms, the variable ADD represents the "New W/O" checkbox you see in the grid.

Now because whenever you set the New W/O checkbox, VISUAL prompts the user to set the status of the new work order (Unreleased, Firmed or Released).  To accept the defaults, we use the SendKey function to hit the enter key. 

Infor VISUAL ERP - New Work Order Defaults
New Work Order Prompt - Use the Sendkeys to "hit" the OK button


set objShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")


Set OrderLines = LINES.VALUE

For i = 0 To (ORDERLINES.COUNT - 1)

    '*** Check SUPPLY_TYPE to make sure that line has not been allocated yet
    SupplyType=ORDERLINE("SUPPLY_TYPE") & ""
    '*** Verify that the line item is a VISUAL Part and that
    '*** it has not been allocated yet
    if PartID<>"" and SupplyType="" then
        '*** Database lookup to check whether part meets
        '*** new work order requirement
        '*** In this case if the part is FABRICATED

        if not rs.eof then
            if rs("FABRICATED")="Y" then
                '*** Part meets requirement.
                '*** Check New W/O checkbox

                '*** Send the ENTER key to accept
                '*** new work order defaults

            end if
        end if
    end if

Download the macro and try it yourself

Written by Jaime on August 14, 2013

Why you need to dispatch Outside Services in VISUAL

Outside services (OS) on work orders need to be purchased and linked to a purchase order number.

Yeah, Yeah …. you know that already. 

Infor VISUAL ERP - Global ScheduleBut did you know that if you don’t dispatch these OS purchase orders in VISUAL, it can greatly affect the Concurrent Scheduler?

Dispatching in VISUAL allows you to keep track of parts that are physically sent to your OS vendors. Each service dispatch is linked to the corresponding purchase order which in turn is linked to the work order.

The Concurrent Scheduler works with the dispatch records when it is performing the service checks (if selected).  If the parts are not dispatched, then the Scheduler does not recognize that it is out at the OS vendor and will just continue to plan using the transit days specified for the SERVICE ID in Outside Service Maintenance.

The PO’s Desired Received Date will only be used if the OS is dispatched.  This should only be of concern if you’ve checking service availability when generating your schedule.

Another tip: Be aware that if you do change the desired received dates for OS purchase orders --> be sure to update the dates on the dispatch records too!





Jaime Bzdok is a guest author of and is an active participant in the VISUAL community.  Jaime is the Director of Customer Engagements at Visual Business Solutions, an Infor Channel Partner. 

Connect with Jaime online at LinkedIn 

Written by Richard on June 13, 2013

Be careful when using the Material Requirement Part Replace function

The Material Requirement Part Replace function is a great feature of VISUAL when you have to replace a large number of requirement cards for the same Part ID with a new one.

Infor VIUSUAL ERP - Manufacturing Window
The REPLACE feature can be found under the EDIT menu of the Manufacturing Window

If you need to do a mass update, you can selectively replace Part IDs across Eng Masters, Quote Masters and/or Work Orders.  This function also allows you to change quantity (Qty Per, Fixed, Scrap) and cost information during the replacement process.
Infor VISUAL ERP - Manufacturing Window
The Material Requirement Part Replace window.


So this feature can save you a lot of time and effort

BUT it can also cause you a lot of grief if you're not careful.

First of all, I'm sure you're aware that this feature has the potential to modify a significant number of material requirements (especially if you hit the "REPLACE ALL" button) - so proceeding with caution is warranted

What you may not know is that this has the potential for causing major delays and issues the next time you run costings!  Say What?

This feature, if not carefully used, will allow you to replace materal cards on CLOSED work orders if the material card is UNISSUED (regardless of the cards' status).  And because of the way VISUAL works - these work orders will then have their POSTING CANDIDATE set to YES and will be re-assessed by the costing utilities.  Whoa!

This issue only applies to replacing parts on work orders.  So be very sure before you commit to replacing parts on a large number of work orders - especially if you hit the "REPLACE ALL" button

The Material Requirement Part Replacement window is definitely missing a much needed filter (or column) --> Work Order Status.  That or only show orders that are FIRMED/RELEASED.  This would be a great Enhancement Request.

Written by Jason on June 5, 2013

Sweep the Leg
Sweep The Leg

There’s always that big debate of whether to use leg and detail and having one complex engineering master, or breaking it up into layers.  From the recent projects I am working on, the latter is working out excellent.


Here’s how we use Easy lean to simplify our builds, simplify planning, and reduce inventory on the floor. 

We had many complicated builds using a lot of leg/detail.

Here is an example of an engineering master that goes 6 fabricated layers deep comprising of 50 sub IDs (legs).

  • Top layer – 1 final assembly
  • 2nd layer – 5 sub IDs
  • 3rd layer – 8 Sub IDs
  • 4th layer – 10 Sub IDs
  • 5th layer – 12 Sub IDs
  • 6th layer – 14 Sub IDs

We broke out each of these Sub IDs as make-to-stock parts.  As an order was created for the top level part, Easy Lean would go through the requirements and create firmed work orders with appropriate release dates for each.  Release dates for each part is calculated by the parts “buffer”.  The Buffer is basically the time it takes to complete that work order.  In the example above, here are the buffers we assigned to each layer:

  • Top layer – 1 final assembly - 4 day buffer
  • 2nd layer – 5 fabricated parts – 5 day buffer
  • 3rd layer – 8 fabricated parts – 3 day buffer
  • 4th layer – 10 fabricated parts – 2 day buffer
  • 5th layer – 12 fabricated parts – 3 day buffer
  • 6th layer – 14 fabricated parts – 2 day buffer

When you calculate out the buffers and how the “layers” will be released it would look something like this:

Infor VISUAL ERP - Buffer Easy Lean

Notice we only gave the shop floor what they needed.  Instead of 50 work orders (sub IDs) getting printed and released all at once; the work orders were released in ‘layers’.  No human intervention was required in the planning of things as Easy Lean planned it all.  We could also set up replenishment levels and min/max/multiple rules in Part Maintenance for each make-to-stock part and plan all those to stock.

There are many other benefits of Easy Lean but what I find the most beneficial is this “MRP automation” it can do.  As long as you can define the logic it needs to follow, Easy lean will do all the planning for you!

Jason Snoeyink is a frequent contributor to and is an active participant in the VISUAL community. 

Connect with him online at LinkedIn 

Written by Richard on May 20, 2013

What does "Use All Supply before Applying Leadtime" exactly mean?

Good question!

The setting determines how MRP will create planned orders (or not) to satisfy demand.  If this option is turned on, VISUAL applies all quantities for a part from open supply orders (ie: purchase orders, work orders, and incoming inter-branch orders) in calculating the planned order quantity.

Here's a simple scenario:

A work order has been entered calling for 10 units of Part ABC.  You have zero on hand, BUT you do have an open PO for 100 units of part ABC to be delivered in 2 months (60 days).  The leadtime for part ABC is 10 days.

If you have this setting turned ON - VISUAL will not create a supply planned order for this part because you already have an open PO for it.  This PO is considered "available supply". 

The potential impact here is that if your purchasing agent is not on top of their game, the work order will only be scheduled to start in 2 months if "Check Material Availablility" is checked.  OUCH!

This is not to say that you shouldn't use the "Use All Supply before applying Leadtime" option.  You should use it to keep inventory levels down (especially on high $$$ items).  Just make sure all parties are on the same page and running exception reports in the MATERIAL PLANNING WINDOW to expedite (or push out) orders when needed - saving everyone a lot of grief!


Written by Richard on February 13, 2013

Yes, you CAN use the drag & drop feature to reschedule operations in the Standard schedule

I happened to be referring to the VISUAL manuals on scheduling when I came across an item stating that you cannot Drag and Drag operations in the STANDARD schedule

This is definitely not the case....unless I've been using a hacked version of VISUAL - which I'm not.

What's this Drag and Drop feature?  The Drag and Drop feature allows you to visually move and reschedule operations in the Scheduling window.  You can set when an operation should start or when it should finish - basically ignoring what VISUAL has determined to be your best schedule based on current conditions and system parameters. 

So you can literally have complete control of everything on the floor. 

MasterAnd why not use it?  You are king!  You are master of your domain. 

Well, I suggest you control yourself and limit your use of it.  When you intervene and move operations, you're actually FREEZING the operations to the new dates and times.  VISUAL will not schedule FROZEN operations and will schedule other jobs around them.  VISUAL now has to deal with these "fixed" operations when scheduling jobs.  And the resulting schedule may not be what you expect only because you may have forgotten about operations you had FROZEN in the past.

But I digress...

If you find yourself not being able to drag and drop operations in the STANDARD schedule, set the following in your VISUAL.ini file or Preference Maintenance.

[Scheduling Window]

And remember...self-discipline ;-)

Written by John on December 18, 2012

Concurrencies and the concurrent scheduler

I avoid using concurrencies and the concurrent scheduler. I used to be a strong believer that the scheduler could properly schedule a plant by managing all this complexity. Then I came to realize it really can’t. You might achieve a schedule, and maybe even one the users think they can execute, but it is hardly one that even comes close to achieving high performance.

In some cases we did achieve a proper executable schedule but in most cases not.

I just don’t believe the basic assumptions of the concurrent scheduler are true, namely:

  1. Maximum profitability is achieved when all resources are busy
  2. High resource utilization is key to shortest lead times
  3. The way to manage the plant is to manage every resource in detail
  4. More detail is the best way to manage complexity
  5. Maintaining the scheduling data detail is the best use of the scheduler’s time
  6. The operations can be scheduled just in time (I know you can put in artificial move times)
  7. That backwards scheduling from the due date will give you a good solution (it won’t)
  8. That forwards scheduling from the start date will give you a good solution (it won’t)



Richard Ferlatte
Results Driven VISUAL Specialist


Taking it to the next level and designing a program around "Hands On VISUAL Training".

Check them out - there's sure to be one to interest you!

Operational Workshops
Reporting Workshops
Financial Workshops
Inventory Workshops
Quality Workshops


BOM Xploder
Drastically improve your BOM visibility and discover shortages at ANY level of your bill of material no matter how deep.
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.