In AX 2012 R3, a new field appeared on the Customer form. The field is labelled ‘Automatic cancel’, and is so innocuous you may well have not even noticed it:
There is currently no mention of it on the TechNet help page for the customer form. The only clue to its intended purpose comes from the help text for the field, which reads ‘Automatically cancel supplementary item if the item it is attached to is cancelled’.
It so happened that an implementation I was working on expected to use supplementary items on sales orders, and I could use the functionality apparently offered by this tick-box. So I tested it, and found that it didn’t do anything – or at least it didn’t do what I expected it to do. To explain what I expected it to do, I should mention what supplementary items are.
For any item in Dynamics AX, it is possible to define one or more ‘Supplementary items‘. Supplementary items are items that might typically be added to an order when the ‘main’ item is ordered. In fact, it is possible to define Supplementary sales items and Supplementary purchase items for an item. That is to say, you can define a list of items that is typically sold (or purchased) when the main item is sold (or purchased). For example, if your business is in the habit of selling laptop computers, then you might decide to set a laptop bag, an extended life battery and a travel mouse as the supplementary sales items for a laptop item.
Additionally, supplementary item functionality has often been used in buy-one-get-one-free scenarios, since it is possible to define that the supplementary item (which might normally have its own selling price) can be sold for free when added to an order as a supplementary item.
In either scenario, there have always been a couple of problems with the use of supplementary items. One of those is that if you remove the ‘main’ item from the sales order, the supplementary items remain on the order. You have to remember to also remove any supplementary items that were added. If a customer decides not to buy the laptop, will they still want the laptop bag? Probably not. Worse still, if you offer a buy-one-get-one-free deal, and the ‘buy one’ item is removed from the order, there is the chance that the customer will still get the ‘get one free’ item – for free!
So I expected the ‘Automatic cancel’ tick box to plug this gap… or at least I expected it to handle the scenario where the main item is cancelled, by automatically cancelling the related supplementary items. Unfortunately, I found that this did not happen.
So I logged it with Microsoft support. Based on other recent experiences, I was aware that they probably wouldn’t be able to handle it has a bug fix. But I was also aware of a thing called a DCR (design change request?) by which support agents had recently been able to get me changes to the standard product, so I had some hope. Noting that the field actually lived in the MCRCustTable table (and was therefore probably inherited with the Call center functionality), I make some cheeky requests of my own:
- The functionality should work on all sales orders, regardless of whether the Call center functionality had been enabled
- The functionality should work when the order line for the ‘main’ item was deleted (not just when it was cancelled) and in this scenario should result in the automatic deletion of the order line for any supplementary items.
And less than two months later, hotfix KB 3072485 was released. And do you know what, it handled both the cancellation and deletion of the ‘main’ item, and it worked even if Call center was switched off. I could not be more pleased. At my direct request, Microsoft support have arranged for the creation of seven hotfixes this year, two of which are DCRs. I am stunned at this level of service from a giant like Microsoft to a little old consultant like me!
But back to the hotfix. What does it do? If you tick the ‘Automatic cancel’ tick box on any customer, when you add a supplementary item to an order for that customer and you either:
Cancel the order line for the main item
Delete the order line for the main item
the same will happen to the order line for the supplementary item.
Perfect! Unfortunately, it doesn’t help with the other problem with supplementary items (there is no way to automatically add them, or even to prompt the user so that they know that supplementary items are defined), but you all have your own solution for that already, right?
Its worth noting that the functionality does not also work on purchase orders. And you’ll also want to know that KB 3072485 did not make it into CU9.