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Package Tracking Improvements in D365 Business Central 2020 Wave 2 – does this enhancement deliver?

October 2, 2020Cynthia Priebe

For those looking for improvements with package tracking in D365 Business Central, the Wave 2 release due in October holds promise. Per the release notes issued over the summer,

“..most shipping agents provide an online service that you can use to track the status of your packages while they're en route. Knowing where a package is can be vital in many business processes, such as when you provide customer service. This means that it's important to be able to quickly get tracking information. To provide broader, and thereby faster, access to package tracking information from your shipping agent, the package tracking feature is available on more types of sales documents. In addition to the Posted Sales Shipments page, the tracking feature is also available on the Posted Sales Invoice, Posted Sales Credit Memo, and Posted Return Receipt pages.”

A solution?

I get excited whenever I see improvements in process and automation in BC, and got really excited with this improvement because I have been asked many times why can’t we track packages from the posted sales invoice? My answer - I don’t think tracking from the posted sales invoice could work for every company. Let’s find out if my explanation of why not is still true. Let’s begin with a review of how package tracking has been working from the Posted Sales Shipment.

To be able to track a package from a posted sales shipment, on the sales order we select a shipping agent and assign a package tracking number before posting the shipment. When the shipment is posted from the sales order or by using sales order shipping, the agent and package tracking is transferred to the posted sales shipment.

Track Package from the Posted Sales Shipment uses the Agent on the Posted Shipment to get the URL assigned on the Shipping Agent Card. It passes the package tracking number to the URL and opens tracking details page of the carrier.

 

I tested out this new enhancement with the Business Central 2020 Wave 2 release, and we can now add Posted Sales Invoice, Posted Sales Credit Memo, and Posted Return Receipt to the pages we can use to get to the package tracking details. Woo-hoo!

Not so fast…

The limitation I was concerned would exist has proven to be true. We can only track from the posted invoice or credit memo based on the package number on the order or credit memo at the time the order or credit memo is posted, either shipped or invoiced. What this means is that if you ship from a single order multiple times, you will be changing the package tracking number on the order for each shipment but the posted sales invoice will only include the package tracking number assigned for the last shipment posted.

Even if you wanted to list more than one package tracking number prior to finally posting the invoice, the package tracking number field is not long enough to include more than one. And unless the interface is changed, the numbers would not be listed one per line as the carrier requires.

This enhancement is a great step for smaller companies as they manage from sales orders and ship complete. In my experience, many new users typically start with this 1:1 ratio but soon increase in complexity as sales orders grow and partial shipments are required. Fortunately we have the ability to contribute ideas and vote on enhancements directly with Microsoft via the Business Central Ideas Portal.

In summary, I think it is great that we can now track packages from more than the posted shipment documents, but if you ship multiple times from an order you may only receive a benefit from the addition of the Posted Return Receipt document for package tracking with this enhancement. I share another Dynamics 365 Business Central 2020 Wave 2 enhancement that I'm thrilled about in a short video here, and invite you to see what my colleagues are excited about on the New View Strategies YouTube channel.

 

Note the features cited here are planned by Microsoft. These features may or may not be included in the final General Acceptance release of Business Central version 17.

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The experts at New View Strategies are experienced Dynamics NAV and Business Central trainers and business process consultants who have walked in your shoes as former Corporate Controllers, Directors of IT, and Solution Architects, and believe increased utilization of your business systems is critical to the continued success of your company.
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