Tuesday, August 10, 2010

In Defense of Classes (Inventory)

So, last week I was on phone support (which sometimes happens when the stars align and our regular support folks actually want to take the vacation they have earned), I had a case come through that was a great reminder of the benefits of classes in Dynamics GP.

Of course, there are the generally accepted benefits:

  • Provide defaults for new records

  • Roll down changes to records

  • Group records for reporting and other processes

In all modules except Fixed Assets, classes are completely optional. However, there are some very practical reasons to use classes which I was reminded of this past week. First, let's talk inventory. When you set up an item from scratch, using Cards>>Inventory>>Item, the maintain history checkboxes are not marked by default in Cards>>Inventory>>Item>>Options. This presents a couple of issues. First, will someone actually remember to click the Options button and choose to track history for item? Odds are, sometimes they will and sometimes they won't. So, then, what happens? Well, I hate to be obvious but...inventory history will NOT be tracked for the selected item. Yes. You heard that right. No inventory history, which will then interfere with the printing of historical reports like the historical stock status. Ugh.

So...how does a class help this? Well, you can set up your item classes and mark the check boxes to track history. Then when an item is placed in the classes, those settings can default. Which can be a huge lifesaver, since items that are not marked to maintain history behave just like items that do maintain history. Trust me, the issue will only come out when you go looking for inventory and there is none.

Now, a similar issue can occur if new item classes are set up and the maintain history check boxes are not marked for the new class. How can we ensure that these options are marked by default on new classes? It's as easy as marking the "default" check box on a class.

The "default" check box is often misunderstood. It does NOT mean the selected class is the default class for new items. What it DOES mean is that the selected class is the default template for any future classes that are created. So, pick a basic class with the correct settings, and make it your default. Then when you set up a new class, it will assume the settings of the default class and then you can make modifications based on the requirements of the new class. easy.

Next up, in defense of employee classes later this week :)

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