Labels Anyone?

Development , Dynamics AX , Labeling , Reporting Add comments

Author Steve Boccio

Microsoft Certified Business Intelligence Developer
Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist More ...

Typically speaking, printing labels is an easy thing to do, right?  Anyone who has ever used the label printing in Word knows you can just enter some information into a little dialog box, choose a label type, and load up the label in your printer to print. Maybe those same people even took it a step further and tried a mail merge to their label output.  Sweet! Now I can use a spreadsheet or database storing my label information to print a sequence of labels out. Still pretty straight forward.  Shipping labels can be as easy as this. Maybe you create a label in your favorite label designer, source it to a spreadsheet and off you go. Now what if you need a label with a barcode or two on it?  And what if the barcode is a GS-128 barcode that requires an X-dimension of 20 mils? Or what if the information in that bar code needs to be unique for the next 3 years of shipping the product to that customer? These requirements came from one of my clients recently.  Bar code specifications, their requirements and densities can be a bit daunting if you don’t know the detail.

Using AX as a source for shipping carton or pallet labels has been a grey area in many implementation solutions.  Either using a third-party package like Bottomline’s Create!form and/or writing some X++ code to produce an output file to send to a label program has been the normal solution pursued in the past. The solution we have become accustomed to providing is using Create!form to design and maintain the label layout and writing a custom report containing the bar codes and data necessary for the label, attaching it to the end of the sales cycle at packing and delivery time. This has worked fairly well to this point, especially when your barcodes are code 39 or 128. Enter the requirements of the GS-128 specification and bar code density associated. Bottomline supports many bar codes natively in the Create!form product, all with several densities to choose from, but unfortunately could not handle these new requirements. Many customers require an X-Dimension or barcode density that exceeds 19 mils, which requires either a third-party bar code addition to Create!form, or another label development solution…

Seagull Scientific’s Bartender software just happens to support just about anything barcode specific you can think of.  In fact, it’s the go to product for label printing and design in Windows. Bartender does label design and bar code printing like Peyton Manning does quarterbacking.  Really well with very few things left to be desired and usually resulting in a win.  So if you have Bartender and already own Create!form, you can use that same custom report to capture the data you already had for the label, then write a Transform project in Create!form to output the data to a CSV file that Bartender Commander can be scheduled to upload into the Bartender label design and print accordingly.  It may be a few extra moving pieces to maintain, but a viable solution nonetheless.

The other solution I’ve just come across recently via Kurt Hatlevik’s blog is using the Columbus Seagull Bartender Integration BTI for Dynamics AX2012. This solution integrates Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 and Seagull Bartender directly into AX 2012 at the COM level. I haven’t had my arms around this particular solution yet, so I won’t comment first hand, but it sure does look like it could take the extra work out of printing labels through AX.

Happy labeling!

Author Steve Boccio

Microsoft Certified Business Intelligence Developer
Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist More ...

The Create!form® Suite - featuring Create!form Designer® and Create!form Director - is a powerful, next-generation e-forms solution for document output management.  Agility Business Solutions, Inc. is a Gold Level Partner, the highest level of Create!form partnership, and is authorized to resell applications from the Create!form product suite, and is trained and certified to provide professional services, including consulting and implementation, and provide first-line technical support to their customers.

Seagull Scientific has been a trend-setting innovator of label software and barcode software since 1985. They developed the world's first Windows software for industrial label printers, including the very first Windows printer drivers. Today, their industry-leading BarTender design and print software for label, barcode, RFID, and card printing is an essential tool for hundreds of thousands of users in more than 150 countries. Contact Seagull Scientific, Inc. to learn more.

Microsoft Dynamics AX is a robust ERP and Lean manufacturing enabler. The latest release, Dynamics AX 2012, combines the powerful planning and execution features required of comprehensive ERP integrated with the features of Lean to assist the "blended" manufacturer. Contact Agility Business Solutions, Inc. to learn more.

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