Companies that work with manufacturing and distribution need to be able to run key business processes 24/7, without interruption, and at scale. Challenges arise with unreliable connections or network latency when business processes compete for the same system resources when peak scale is required, or during periodic or regular maintenance for different regions, across time zones, or to meet different scheduling requirements. The ability to execute daily mission-critical processes must be agnostic to these situations.
Cloud and edge scale units enable companies to execute mission-critical manufacturing and warehouse processes without interruptions. This functionality is provided by the following add-ins, now available in public preview:
- Cloud Scale Unit Add-in for Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management
- Edge Scale Unit Add-in for Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management
Cloud and edge scale units allow you to build resilience into your supply chain by providing dedicated capacity for your manufacturing and warehouse execution processes. This also places scale units near the location where the work is done, such as on the shop floor or in the warehouse.
How cloud and edge scale units work
Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management provides scale units in the cloud that runs in the nearest Microsoft Azure data center. Alternatively, scale units can run on the edge, hosted in appliances right in your facility. All scale units are connected to your enterprise-wide Supply Chain Management hub in the cloud to have all information readily available to fulfill your business needs.
Cloud and edge scale units for Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management deliver on two key business objectives:
- When a company is offline or when network latency is high, mission-critical processes must keep running.
- When throughput is high and heavy processes run in parallel, manufacturing and warehouse processes must still support high user productivity.
Hybrid multi-node topology is the foundation
One important foundation for cloud and edge scale units is a hybrid multi-node topology for Supply Chain Management. We have evolved the Dynamics 365 architecture into a loosely coupled system that runs selective business processes in a distributed model. Scale units are the environments that run those business processes, where all computation capacity is reserved for the processes and data in the assigned workloads.
Workloads define the processes and data
Workloads define the set of business processes, data, and policies including rules, validation, and ownership that can run on scale units. The preview capabilities include one workload for manufacturing execution and one for warehouse execution. These workloads bring the processes and data from the execution phase of the manufacturing and warehouse processes into the scale units.
Inbound, outbound, and other warehouse management processes for cloud and edge scale units have been split into decoupled phases for planning, execution, receiving, and shipping. Manufacturing processes are structured in a similar way for planning, execution, and finalization. Scale units take ownership of the execution phase.
After you configure the workload, the workers on the manufacturing or warehouse shop floor continue to go through the work and report results like they are used to, but now operate on the dedicated scale unit processing capacity.
Modern user experience for workers on the production floor
The new Production Floor Execution (PFE) interface for manufacturing workers comes with a modern, touch-friendly user experience. It not only looks great but is also tuned for difficult illumination situations on the shop floor.
Plus, the PFE now supports Dynamics 365 Guides which can be used to guide users to complete tasks in the best possible way, especially in complex production scenarios.
Deployment experience for scale units and workloads
The Scale Unit Manager helps you to configure scale units and define where workloads for selected manufacturing and warehouse facilities run.
In the future, the topology analysis page will show facilities, your Supply Chain Management hub, and your scale units. By looking at measures for bottlenecks, latency, and performance history you can identify the most beneficial applications for your scale units.
Next steps and learning
Dynamics 365 can help you build resilient supply chains in a multi-node topology using scale units in the cloud or on the edge. This is available now in public preview.