Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations comes with an integrated Point of Sale system (POS) out of the box. All transactions recorded by the Dynamics 365 POS are therefore centrally stored in the main database. Practically, each time a customer purchases something through a retail store’s POS, Dynamics 365 creates and posts a sales order. This sales order is clearly identifiable as an in-shop purchase and, in case the customer has used a loyalty card, it is also clear who has made this purchase. This obviously entails great omnichannel sales management possibilities but also allows for advanced supply chain strategies.

From a replenishment perspective, the immediate, centralized availability of POS transactions provides real time access to demand patterns. Based on those, Dynamics 365 has the information what and how much is needed where. Consequently, it can suggest the necessary transfer orders to immediately replenish the sold-off inventory.

Apart from registering POS transactions, Dynamics 365 also has real-time insight into retail store stock levels, as the retail store is also considered a warehouse. So apart from capturing what is being sold off, Dynamics 365 also always knows what is still available on-hand. This information can be used to trigger demand based on a minimum and maximum stock levels. Depending on the means of transportation chosen to fulfill the replenishment demand, the combination of trigger points with continuous replenishment based on POS transactions ensures that certain minimum transportation quantities are met.

A fast and flexible supply chain

Another consideration in the continuous replenishment process is the warehouse from which the replenishment goods are being sent. As mentioned earlier, each retail store is also considered a warehouse – the degree to which detail this warehouse is structured, can, of course, be tailored to the individual needs. This means, however, that retail stores can also be used to replenish each other.

The transfer orders used to replenish retail store inventories are integrated with the POS systems as well. This means that incoming replenishment inventory appears as a receiving request. Likewise, if a retail store is meant to issue goods to another retails store or warehouse, the transfer order translates into a picking request in the POS.

Another Dynamics 365 functionality which becomes very relevant in regards to continuous replenishment is cross-docking. Cross-docking means that received goods are not being moved into inventory, but straight away leave the warehouse for forwarding to another warehouse or retail store. The rules to be applied for identifying shipment eligible for cross-docking, as well as those to determine outgoing bay door locations can be configured within Dynamics 365 as well.

Companies using their own vehicles to transport goods to and from retail stores will also benefit from the integrated transportation management module, which can be used for planning of the replenishment routes.

Ultimately, Dynamics 365 offers various functionalities that can be combined to form the ideal replenishment process for retail operations of any size. Continuous replenishment will suit those organizations most, where speed in the supply chain and in-stock performance are key to success.

Senior Business Consultant at AlfaPeople