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Why Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 suits New Zealand food exporters

We all understand the importance of the primary processing sector to our economy. The challenges of the sector are well understood also; (chief) amongst these are export market entry requirements, New Zealand biosecurity measures, food safety requirements and the need to maintain our international reputation as a high quality food producer.

This blog examines the functionality included in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 that supports the needs of New Zealand food exporters: meat, dairy, wine, horticulture, seafood and arable production.

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 is Microsoft’s ERP solution designed for enterprises with 200 to 7,500 users. The Microsoft Dynamics AX community has grown to over 17,000 customers with an extensive partner ecosystem across more than 40 countries. The core Dynamics AX ERP system has been further enhanced to meet the specific needs of manufacturers. The requirements of process, lean and discrete manufacturers are combined into a single ERP solution.

Here’s our view on some of the key features in Dynamics AX 2012 that enable a new-improved business model for NZ food processors:

Market Entry

Products can often be sold to a number of different markets, albeit with slightly different variations. Dynamics AX lets you hold your inventory at a more generic level with “item attributes”. The customer-specific requirements are held as “customer attributes”. Dynamics AX will help you match the inventory attributes that meet the customer’s specific attributes, and manage the steps to ensure full market eligibility (for example, a product may require additional Arabic language labelling first).

You can also understand the inventory that does not meet market requirements. For example, a product may normally be suitable for a customer, but not the batches of that product that were produced using imported lactose, and therefore are not suitable for that customer order. Dynamics AX will stop these batches being selected. 


Consumers are demanding to know where their food comes from. Traceability is a requirement of EU and US market requirements. Non-integrated systems or manual processes are unable to provide the level of traceability required, nor the efficiency or accuracy required.

I like to think of traceability as providing a “glass-pipe” supply chain from your suppliers to your customers, providing full visibility along the way:

Glass pipe supply chain

Glass pipe supply chain 

In a world where human error may prove costly, Dynamics AX helps you provide full traceability from ingredients and raw materials through to finished goods, including all tests and measurements performed along the way. 

Quality Management

Dynamics AX provides in-line quality management. The quality assurance and quality control processes are built into the main business process flows.

For example, the receipt of a raw material automatically creates the quality orders to inspect and test the raw materials. Dynamics AX manages the business rules associated with the quality regime. For example, you may have a rule to stop issuing raw materials into production until their quality inspection is complete. A failed test could place the inventory into a quarantined state automatically.

The results of the quality orders update the attributes of the batches automatically. This is used later to generate documentation, for example a Product Analysis Certificate, as illustrated below:

Integrated quality management leads to full traceability

Integrated quality management leads to full traceability  

Process Manufacturing

Dynamics AX combines the specific needs of process manufacturers with discrete and lean manufacturing functionality in the same system. This enables mixed-mode manufacturing, but also offers process manufacturers the benefits of lean manufacturing in parts of their operation.

The process manufacturing functionality covers all of the challenges; catch weight inventory, formula/reverse BOMs, co-products and by-products, item costing, lot and serial tracking, and expiry date management.

The added bonus is the integrated quality management.

Process Industries for Microsoft Dynamics AX functionality

Process Industries for Dynamics AX functionality

Manufacturing Execution System (MES) integration to ISA-95 and ISA -88 standards

At Intergen, we have extended Dynamics AX to integrate to Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) in accordance with the IAS88 and IAS95 standards.

This level of automation captures the information required for traceability automatically, and links right through from your Sales and Operations Planning process to the physical production control systems.

Intergen's 4 Layer MES integration model to IAS-88 and IAS-95 standards

Intergen's 4 Layer MES integration model to IAS-88 and IAS-95 standards

Further information

Intergen works with a number of food processors across New Zealand and Australia. Contact us today to understand how Dynamics AX may suit your business.

Posted by: Richard Malloch, Client Director | 25 October 2012

Tags: ERP, Microsoft, Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, AX 2012, Microsoft Dynamics, New Zealand food exporters

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