The Offering

Upgrading your legacy system to a Columbus end-to-end business solution will improve your supply chain collaboration and overall operational efficiency. By streamlining your processes, you will gain full control over every aspect of your operation to optimise production capacity, warehousing and cash flow.

With real time access to accurate business details, the system improves visibility and the quality of vital business decisions. Business intelligence, data mining, analytics and KPI monitoring let you optimise business performance – with immediate impact.

Core Functionality in ColumbusManufacturing includes:

Product Lifecycle Support
Manage the entire product life cycle, from early design until obsolescence. Everyone works with appropriate information drawn from one version of the truth. Dispersed data, projects, and processes come together in the right order. For example, you’ll know which teams and stakeholders work with prototypes, execute production, and sell products and parts.

Integration with CAD and PLM/PDM
Create design and engineering documentation automatically by seamlessly integrating with existing CAD and PDM systems. Columbus offers complete integration with PLM applications based on strategic partnerships, including Windchill 10.0 from PTC Software and Teamcenter 8.3 from Siemens Software.

Engineering Change Management
Manage product versions and product information change by implementing an ECR and ECO management process. Design and optimize workflows and flexible business rules for your organization. Integrate with PLM/PDM systems to gain insight into the logistical impact of engineering change.

Fast and Complete Quotations
Create estimates (quotation, bid, tender) quickly and accurately, using a variety of business templates. Apply concurrent engineering when building your quotation. Design easy-to use work breakdown templates for your organization.

Sales and Product Configurator
Implement modular manufacturing with a built-in product and sales configurator. Configure products via Web browser using graphical tools and flexible rules.

Project-based Manufacturing
Manage the contract lifecycle with a project-based manufacturing approach. Create full visibility across the entire process, including planning, costs, and progress.

End-to-End Project Planning
Manage the full range of planning activities across the supply chain, including:

  • Availability (ATP) and lead time for standard, one-off, spare parts, and nonstandard materials to ensure accurate inventory
  • Capacity (CTP) for equipment, tools, employees, and sub- contractors to optimize scheduling and delivery
  • All phases of project planning

Product Readiness
Ensure accurate data setup before product release with automated data checks for inaccurate pricing, missing labels—any data-driven roadblock to product readiness. Define checklists that become automated readiness checks of soft data.

After-Sales Service
Improve maintenance and repair capabilities with company-wide access to product information, warranties, service contracts, returns, and service calls. Plan and schedule service calls, preventive maintenance, and spare parts delivery.

Enterprise Asset Management
Efficiently monitor and maintain all shop floor equipment and tools. Incorporate plant maintenance into production planning.


Roll mouse over each title to learn more

  • Facilitate interaction with customers & suppliers using the web
  • Use standard tools to rapidly implement e-commerce web sites for selling your products over the internet
  • Display information on product availability automatically so it is always up to date when customers visit the site
  • Exchange item specific documents, purchases and shipping data with your suppliers
  • Optimize your supply chain in an efficient manner by enabling your supplier base to access and maintain key data
Shop Floor Control
  • Reduce manual data entry with automated collection of employee time and attendance
  • Set rules for flexible working hours while maintaining control of the total hours your employees spend on the job, including collection and management of overtime
  • Improve the efficiency of your shop floor operations with fast registration of real-time production information
  • Gain an overview into expected completion times of ongoing jobs
  • Using data already collected, generate payroll data, complete with pay types & rates. Then export this data to an external payroll system for output
Quality Management
  • Allows full integration for managing quality processes and non-conformances
  • Quality management processes can be applied to many different transaction types, including purchase, sales, quarantine & production orders plus route operations
  • Simplify quality control with the ability to set up and manage testing requirements, such as specifications, test locations, and destructive testing
  • Simplify quality management for non-conforming products and items, such as damaged goods, with the ability to manage turnaround times, quickly resolve issues, and link production activities to action items
Sub Contract Management
  • Enables strong management of relationships with subcontractors
  • Automatic generation of purchase orders to subcontractors when services are required
  • Order includes shipping documents for raw material and work description (operation and route) to subcontractor
  • Define subcontractors as work centres to give you greater control of the production process
Critical Data Reporting
  • Analyse the factors that affect your bottom line with flexible, customizable analysis tools
  • Provide a management dashboard to staff which focuses them on key organisational data and trends, utilising predefined data cubes available 'out of the box'
  • Utilise other Microsoft Office products such as Excel to manipulate and present data directly taken from the Dynamics AX database, e.g. in a pivot table format
  • Extend business intelligence to all employees with the ability to create, modify, and share standard and ad-hoc reports
Production Planning
  • Create multiple plans for short-term master scheduling to explore material and capacity requirements based on existing orders or different scenarios
  • Run master planning across multiple sites by allocating sites to BOM levels, and using intercompany master planning
  • Calculate Available-to-promise (ATP) delivery dates based on available inventory and current production orders
  • Production scheduling can be done forward or backward with different dates as starting points based on lead time of raw material
  • Use Gantt chart functionality to provide a graphical overview of the production process. Reschedule jobs simply by dragging them around the chart
Data Collection Technology
  • Support production, quality control and stock management through portable wireless devices
  • Ensures easy data collection via barcodes and / or keypad input
  • Create forms that can be used on a handheld device that can be navigated with only one hand, using function keys, that can be operated by workers with little or no computer knowledge
  • Present information in a clear & simple way, without the need for user interface elements such as scrollbars, toolbars or graphics
Customer Services
  • Utilise extensive returns management functionality to control who can return items, which items can be returned, and the destination for the returned items
  • Returns can be categorized according to return reasons or methods of disposition, and specific charges can be combined with the different return categories
  • Effectively target & communicate with your customers via marketing automation tools
  • Use campaign management techniques to keep customers informed and to gain feedback on what they think of your products and the service they receive
Engineering Team
  • Facilitate full Engineering Change Management control combined with Version Management of items and BOM's
  • Manage Engineering Change Orders via a workflow tool which routes the relevant information to the correct parties
  • Analyse key dependencies 'downstream' of the change process, e.g. where orders are using old / obsolete versions
  • Collate & publish all key product specifications and data in an easy to navigate format (including HTML for intranets, extranets or internets)
  • Facilitate integration to specialised PLM (product lifecycle management) applications
  • Simplify compliance with one central location for viewing, managing, and controlling business process content, internal controls, and reporting
  • Provide easy access to all compliance-related information and activities
  • Keep business information secure with a comprehensive set of tools
  • Graphical representation of the efficiency and effectiveness of internal controls
  • Manage action items from alerts or workflow
  • Automatically track your actions in the application for a given business process
Procurement Planning
  • Purchase Requisition in Microsoft Dynamics AX gives you the ability to streamline procurement with an end-to-end process that includes requests for proposals (RFPs), vendor comparison and selection, and integrated purchase processes (workflow)
  • With the workflow template provided in Microsoft Dynamics AX, you can define a workflow that controls the purchase requisition process before the purchase requisition is accepted and a purchase order is created and submitted to suppliers
  • Initiate purchase orders from many different places, including production orders, sales orders, or inventory rules (master planning)
  • Create purchase orders with direct links to sales orders to support JIT purchasing
Inventory Management
  • Use item dimensions to describe & control your products' attributes
  • Maintain centralized control of all site parameters from any location, whether site-specific or company specific, including inventory, BOMs, routing, costing, and profit and loss dimensions
  • Track items throughout the supply chain using serial & batch number dimensions
  • Stay informed of the current on-hand stock position by looking at any item or storage dimension or combination thereof
Project Planning & Tracking
  • Project functionality in Dynamics AX enables you to track time and materials consumed on an external or internal project, with the ability to measure utilization rates
  • You can itemize time and materials for invoicing, while retaining sales prices, cost of items and staff hours, and compare actual cash flow with budgeted cash flow
  • Manage project costs by summarizing actual cost, committed cost, and remaining budget to discover total expected cost
  • Gain early visibility into project-based manufacturing by recognizing actual costs to avoid potential cost overruns
  • Track project purchase orders, project purchase requisitions, and project requests for quotation to manage costs and overruns
Warehouse Management
  • Enables you to automate the materials handling functions in your warehouse
  • Adds logic and rules to inbound, replenishment, and outbound movements in your warehouse
  • On item receipt, the system will suggest optimal placement for storage in the warehouse based on preset rules
  • When you receive an order, the system can generate an optimized picking route based on preset rules
  • Support of basic radio frequency identification (RFID) integration scenarios with core business processes
Supply Chain Management
  • Use functions which help to automate the entire supply chain planning process
  • Have the system automatically check credit limits, customer account information, and inventory levels so you can give your customers real-time information
  • Optimize your supply chain in an efficient manner by enabling your customers and suppliers to access and maintain key data over the internet
  • Enhance business relationships with detailed trade agreements that include customer, vendor, or item specific pricing and discounts in all currencies
  • Automatically retrieve prices and discounts when entering orders - assign active 'from' & 'to' dates to prices for items & customers


To view full overview of the solution, click here

“With improved visibility into all of our projects, we have a much more realistic and accurate picture of the total cost of any given project.”


Learn here how this was achieved.

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