Keeping tabs on your off-site inventory

VISUAL has this great little report called the Inventory Out Report - and it details all your inventory that you own that's currently off-site.  This could be material that you have with a supplier that's providing an OUTSIDE SERVICE or it could be inventory that's IN TRANSIT to one of your warehouses across the country.

InvOutDialogThe report allows you the flexibility to focus only on inventory transfers (IBTs) or only on inventory dispatched to your suppliers for a service.

The Inventory Out Report is fast and simple - providing you with a quick reference to all that you have "out there" beyond your 4 walls.

You can find this report under the INVENTORY menu near the bottom of the list.

If you happen to find yourself without this report in the menu - it's only because Infor buried it for you to uncover.  You'll need to free the report through Application Global Maintenance (under the ADMIN menu).  Go to the Shipment Trk tab and check the Shipment Tracking Enabled option.  Then save the changes.  You may have to log out and log back into VISUAL for the report option to appear.

Now go and print the report and see how much $ in inventory you got "out there".

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish - Dealing with Interchangeable fish...I mean parts

So have I lost my mind?  ... most likely.

Tonight, my 2 year old pulled out the Dr Seuss classic to read as part of our bedtime routine.  So as usual, I opened the book and started reading in my "Dr Seuss" voice and pointing at all the funny looking fish all the while trying to maintain the rhythm and rhyme.

"One Fish."

"Two Fish."

"Red Fish."

"Blue Fish."

We finish the book with a laugh...and now we're ready for dodo.

So I've been sitting here with the intention of posting to the blog on how to manage interchangeable parts in VISUAL.  Which wouldn't be a difficult task do if it weren't for these fish that I can't get out of my head.  I figure I'll start with them as it does relate to what I want to write about.  ....  ok work with me here

So what can you do with parts that are interchangeable?  Let's say the only difference between them is color - everything else is the same.  You want to manage these parts so that they are interchangeable but you also want to keep tabs on their color.

How can we do it in VISUAL?

Should each part have it's own Part ID?  Perhaps.  Having their own part id would mean having to look up demand and supply for each part.  Would that be an inconvenience?  Maybe. 

What if your RED part is out of stock and there is demand for it?  With separate part ids, MRP will likely generate a planned supply order instead of using your BLUE stock which you have ample supply of.  Would you be ok with that?


If the parts are truly interchangeable then I would consider having ONE part id and using one of the following techniques: 

Option 1: Use Location IDs
You can create LOCATION IDs for each TYPE of the part. You don't necessarily have to have an actual bin location for each type (just in VISUAL).  Keep interchangeable parts physically together. When you receive or issue these parts you'll need to specify the Location ID (TYPE) that they're associated to. With this setup, you'll be able to look up quantities per type (using location ids).

One of the drawbacks here is that you're tying your warehouse and location structure (and naming convention) to a specific part attribute.  Depending on the how many "types" of a part you have  - but you can end up with a lot of locations ids in your system that are part specific.

Option 2: Use Trace

Trace will allow you assign part type as an attribute of the trace record. You can then track parts by color.  With this, you only have one part number to manage, but you have visibility based on their attribute.  This is likely the better solution of the two.

"So what color is that?" asked the cat in the hat.


Including purchase burden in your cost estimates

Are your purchase burdens being applied when calculating your cost estimates on quotes masters, engineering masters and work orders?

Not sure?

First things accounting hat please.

Infor ERP VISUAL - Issue Burden
In PART MAINTENANCE under the "Costing" tab, you'll find the option to apply a Purchase Burden for a part.  This particular burden allows you to account for outside costs relating to handling the part.  It can be entered as a percentage of the material cost OR as dollar amount per unit.


 Infor ERP VISUAL - Part Maintenance

If you're not using purchase burdens, then you can move on to more pressing things

But if you are using purchase burden, then you may want to verify whether it should be used when calculating your cost estimates in your quote masters, eng masters and work orders. 

You can have VISUAL use this burden (or not) by flicking the switch in the PREFERENCES under the OPTIONS menu of the MATERIAL CARD.

Infor ERP VISUAL - work order material card

This setting is USER SPECIFIC, so if you decide as a company that purchase burden should be applied (or vice versa) - you need to ensure that every user has the proper setting in place.

In the VISUAL.ini file:

[Visual Mfg]
IncludePurcBur={Y or N}

Or, if using the Preferences Maintenance module:

Infor ERP VISUAL - Preferences Maintenance

If you do decide to change this setting, be sure to "Reset Material Requirement Costs..." (Part Maintenance) to update your existing Quote Masters, Engineering Master, and Work Orders (where needed) so that they reflect this new cost setting.

Infor ERP VISUAL - Reset Material Requirements Cost

How to apply additional costs to an inventory item

Two scenerios come to mind as to why you would like an inventory item to absorb additional (extraordinary) costs.

  1. The part may be damaged and needs to be "reworked" to be suitable for use.
  2. You may have significant freight costs when transferring the part between warehouses.

These are just 2 examples...I'm sure you can think of a heck of a lot more.

In order to incorporate these "extra" costs you're going to have use a work order for the part.  And because a work order cannot be self-referencing, it will have to be a NON-PART ID work order.

Information_blueSelf-referencing?  This simply means that you can not have a work order to build a part and have that same exact part as a material requirement of the work order.

To get around this paradox we'll use the CO-PRODUCT feature of the work order.

Here's a simple example on how to add reworking costs to a part.

  1. Create a new work order.  Leave the Part ID field blank.

    Infor10 ERP Express - Work Order 
    Click SAVE.
  2. Proceed with building the work order by adding the necessary operation(s) to do the job.  Then add the part that needs to be reworked as a material requirement.

    Infor10 ERP Express - Work order
  3. Double click on the work order header card (white card in this example) and click on Co-Products.

    Infor10 ERP Express - Co-products 
  4. In the following window, insert the part that is being reworked and enter 100% under all cost components (material, labour, burden and service).  Then enter the number of units being reworked under the Desired Qty column.

    Infor10 ERP Express - Co Products
    Click SAVE and then CLOSE
  5. When it's time to start the "rework" - perform the operation(s) and issue the material as you would normally do for any other work order.
  6. When the work is done, go to the Inventory Transaction Entry window and receive the work order.  Because this is as a non-part id work order, we will only be receiving the CO-PRODUCT (which is the reworked part).  It should default to the reworked part id.  If it doesn't, click on the the dropdown box and select it.
    Infor10 ERP Express - Work Order Receipt 
  7. On last thing you need to do - which has more to do with housekeeping than anything else.  You MUST go back to the work order and manually CLOSE it.


"You cannot receive this part into a non-hold location"

Are you getting the following popup message when try to do a purchase receipt for a particular line item?


And is your reaction like this?

Infor ERP Express - Say What

Why is VISUAL not allowing the receipt of a part in a valid AVAILABLE location?

Well it's because the part has been identified as requiring inspection.  All parts that are needing inspection are to be received in locations marked ON HOLD.   Once the parts have been inspected and passed, only then will they become available for production.

The Inspection Required setting can be found in PART MAINTENANCE under the Default tab.

Infor ERP Express Visual - Part Maintenance

When Inspection Required is set for a part, you need to assign a location with a status of ON HOLD

Infor ERP Express Visual - Part Location

With that set, you can now receive the part into this ON HOLD location for inspection.

No more popup.

btw...if you set the default Inspection Warehouse & Location for the part in PART MAINTENANCE - you won't need to enter this location when you do a purchase receipt as they will be automatically entered for you.

Infor ERP Express Visual - Part Maintenance Inspection


Configure VISUAL to browse on the different languages of your part description

VISUAL allows you to maintain the description of parts in multiple languages.  Wouldn't it be great to be able to browse the parts in these various languages?

Whoa Whoa Whoa, Stop The Clock...

HuhLanguages?  What do you mean languages in VISUAL?  Well, this is a useful feature available to you if you do business with international customers.  It enables you to provide customer facing documents (ie. order acknowledgement, packlist, BOL, invoice, etc) in the language of companies with which you are dealing.

Let's assume you do business in Quebec and you configured VISUAL to generate documents in french for your Quebec customers.  You also maintain all the parts to have their own french description.  Cool.

If you want your browse window for PARTS to include the french description, you need to make a few minor changes to your VMBROWSE.ini file and browse window. 

  1. Open your VMBROWSE.ini file.  This file can be found in your VISUAL local directory.
  2. Under the [PART] section of the file, set the TABLE and WHERE to values highlighted in YELLOW below.  Leave all other parameters and values unchanged.

  3. Go ahead and save the VMBROWSE file.
  4. Go to PART MAINTENANCE and open the PART browse window
    Infor ERP Express Visual - Part Maintenance
  5. Select "Edit columns..." from the DATA menu.

    Infor ERP Express Visual - Configure Browse Window
  6. In the "Edit Columns" dialog box, you'll notice a few more columns to choose from (at the top of the list).  Select the LANG_DESCRIPTION.PART_DESCRIPTION column.  This field contains the french description.  Click the OK button (checkmark) to continue.

    Infor EDP Express Visual - Edit column browse window
  7. You should now see the french description column as part of the BROWSE window - which, of course, you can search on.

    Infor ERP Express Visual - Part Maintenance Browse window


Demand History.....What is it good for?

Infor ERP VISUAL - Part Demand HistoryHave you ever wondered what this part setting is used for?

Me too.

It does absolutely nothing!

The VISUAL manual states that you should select this option if you what to summarize a part's demand history which can then be used to export to a "forecasting function". And that's all you'll find in the manual regarding this part setting.

What is this "forecasting function" ? No idea!  It doesn't exist.  Well, the ability to forecast in VISUAL exists, but it has nothing to do with this setting.

Does VISUAL store this summarized demand history in a field somewhere in VISUAL? Nope.

So for those of you who have been setting this checkbox thinking that it has some function - it's may all be in vain!


It’s the little things…Preventing Negative Inventory in VISUAL 7

It’s certainly not the touted feature that the folks at Infor use to celebrate the latest version VISUAL, but it’s will make your life a little easier in preventing inventory from going negative.

Infor ERP Visual Enterprise - Issue Negative In VISUAL 7, as in previous versions, you can prevent inventory from going negative within a warehouse BUT YOU CAN NOW prevent negative inventory at the LOCATION level. 

It used to be that the locations were allowed to go negative if they were offset by quantities in other locations.  This would leave you with the task to tranfer inventory from location to location to remove the negatives (PITA).

With this new option, it forces the user to use locations with sufficient quantities to complete the transactions.

You can set this option in the APPLICATION GLOBAL MAINTENANCE window under the Costings tab

Note that, as with previous versions, auto-issue can drive inventory negative regardless of the settings - and this is by design

How to search on the Specification field

So we all know that the all specification and notation fields are kept in a binary format in VISUAL. This is a problem if you're wanting to search in these fields.  Here's what you can do to overcome this obstacle. 

I'll walk you through setting this up in PART MAINTENANCE - and then you can implement this throughout the remaining modules in VISUAL.

  1. Create a view (using the statement below) that will link the PART table to the PART_BINARY table.  This view will also convert the BITS field to a string value.

    SELECT P.*,
  2. Next we need to modify the VMBROWSE.ini file to configure the PART browse function to use this new view for searching.  This file can be found in your VISUAL local directory.  In the VMBROSE.ini file, locate the [PART] section and change the 'table' from PART to PART_VIEW.

  3. To complete this process, go to PART MAINTENANCE and browse for parts.  From the Browse window, select Edit Columns under the DATA menu.  Within the list of available fields you should be able to pick the BITS field to search on.

    Infor ERP VISUAL 

Thanks to Dave Giusto for helping me "fine-tune" this great tip. Dave currently works out of the New York office of Synergy Resources and can be reached there or via the Visual Manufacturing International User Group (VMIUG) under the handle dave_giusto.


No reason not to have an adjustment reason!

One of the most frustrating things when trying to audit/reconcile inventory transactions is the lack of information provided by the user for quantity adjustments.  What I'm referring to are the Adjust Ins and Adjust Outs that allow you to modify quantities for a given part.  In a lot of cases, it seems that inventory magically appears or disappears.

In recent versions of VISUAL, you can now enforce the user to select an Adjustment Reason when entering adjustments - which will at least give you some sort of indication as to nature of the transaction.

You can turn on this requirement in the Application Global Maintenance windows under the DEFAULTS tab.

Infor ERP VISUAL - Application Global Maintenance

You can populate the Adjustment Reasons list by selecting the Adjustment Reason table item from the MAINTAIN menu of the Application Global Maintenance window.

Infor ERP VISUAL - Adjustment Reasons

When all is set, the user will then be able to select a reason when entering an adjustment transaction.

Infor ERP VISUAL - Application Global Maintenance

Failing to select a reason code will result in the following:

Infor ERP VISUAL - Enforce Adjustment Reason 


Rich Ferlatte
Results Driven VISUAL Specialist


Of course, I am available for hire!

ERP Implementations & Upgrades
Analytics & Reporting
Integrations & Macros
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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
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