Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central has several ways to record raw materials consumption on a production order.  These are called flushing methods. We are going to have a look at each of these methods and how they are used.

Production Order Execution

In Business Central, once a production order has been created and scheduled, it has to be released to the shop floor to be executed. During the execution of the order, you record:

  • Materials picked or consumed;
  • How much time was spent working on the order;
  • Quantity of the parent item produced.

This information can be recorded manually or through automatic reporting, according to the setup in the Flushing Method  item and work center.

On Item Card: 

flushing methods on item card

On Work Centre Card:

flushing method work center

But what is flushing in manufacturing?

Flushing is the process of recording the movement of inventory items from a storage location to Work-in Process (WIP). Work-in-Process here means the production area where the material will be used. There can be three types of flushing:

Material Consumption

Business Central offers a variety of options for how a manufacturing company might want to record material consumption. For example, material consumption may be recorded manually, which might be desirable if there are frequent component substitutions or greater than expected scrap.

Consumption of materials may be processed through the consumption journal, but also may be recorded automatically by application, known as automatic reporting (flushing). The reporting methods are:

  • Manual
  • Forward
  • Backward

Manual consumption reporting uses the consumption journal to specify material picking.

Forward consumption reporting assumes the expected quantity of all materials for the entire order is consumed at the release of a production order, unless using routing link codes. When using routing link codes, the material consumed after the start of the operational step is recorded in the Output Journal. To forward flush the entire production order, you need to do two things:

  • All items in the top-level production BOM need to have forward flushing selected on their respective item card.
  • All routing link codes on the production BOM must be removed.

 

flushing method forward consumption

Backward consumption reporting records the actual quantity of all material picked or consumed when the status of a production order is changed to Finished, unless using routing link codes. When using routing link codes, the material is consumed after a quantity of the parent item is recorded for the operational step in the Output Journal.

 

flushing method backward consumption

When the Production Order is refreshed, the flushing method is copied from the item card. Because the flushing method for each production order component controls how and when the consumption is recorded, it is important to note that you can change flushing method for specific items directly on the Production Order.

Mix Flushing Methods

All components or operations do not have to have the same flushing method. It is common that components such as nuts and bolts are back flushed while key components are manually posted. Individual operations can setup to be back flushed to add costs to the product without user interaction while other operations are set to manually to capture actual time and output quantities.

Flushing together with Item Tracking

It is a common myth that you cannot use flushing together with lot or serial number tracked items, this is wrong; it works perfectly as long as you assign the serial or lot numbers before the flushing occurs. I have done several implementations where entire production orders are back flushed (all components and operations) together with both serial numbers and lot numbers. As example you can have the following procedure:

  1. During the release process the lot numbers for the components to be used are selected which in a way reserves the quantity from the lot(s) and a lot number for the output is assigned.
  2. The production order is printed and the printout includes the lot numbers for the components and the lot number to be used for the finished product.
  3. The production is completed accordingly and the status is changed to finished.

 

Flushing together with Warehouse Picks

When production is performed at locations that use directed put-away and pick you have the option to use flushing together with picks. The concept here is that you pick the inventory from a stock bin and move it to a production bin where the components are back flushed from. The production bin is specified on the location card as the ‘To-Production Bin Code’. The methods for this are called ‘Pick + Backward’ and ‘Pick + Forward’.

 

flushing method with warehouse picks

The choice of which flushing method to use is dependent on your situation, but here are some thoughts to keep in mind:

  • If you are using Lot or Serial Tracking, automatic flushing is not a choice.
  • If the items you actually consume and use in production are typically different from what is in the Bill of Material, automatic flushing is not a choice. This may be particularly true in process manufacturing where the quantity of items consumed may be more or less than what the Bill of Material calls for.
  • If your production cycle is long (more than a week), you should consider Routing Link Codes so that consumption can be recorded when the Routing Step is started or completed.
  • If your production cycle is short (e.g., one day), you should consider back flushing without Routing Link Codes so that all of the items are consumed when the production order is Finished.

 

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