Library Functionality for Media Processing
A Media organization has large number of media (content) assets which are leveraged to produce multiple end-products. So production operation in Media translates to:
- Processing of Media masters (movies, music, pictures etc) into a different format for various purposes like broadcasting, webcast, DVDs, online streaming etc.
- Processing of Media masters are processed for different runtimes, edits, languages, advertisement breaks etc.
- Creating new media files which are combined of single or multiple masters. E.g. Movie trailers, advertisements etc.
Here each production process requires one or more master files which is referred and not really consumed in production. In Dynamics packages (AX and Nav), we can easily map the production process, however, mapping of non-consumable masters remain a challenge. To model this process we will require:
- Master of items consumed in the process - which is readily available
- Master of reference media - is presently a gap and can be fulfilled by library functionality
- Bill of materials - Standard feature of AX. However needs to be enhanced to accommodate reference items
- Production routes - which organizes operations and sequences. This is also available, but would need enhancements to accommodate media references
- Creation and execution of production order. Additional features are required here to treat the reference items in a different way.
Now in traditional bill of materials the items are only consumables. Also when a production order is executed, all the bill of material items are consumed to produce the final output.
However in our media flow, the reference media is not really consumed, but is again put back into the media master.
Thus to enable the production flow for media processing the following features are needed which I refer as library features for production:
- Ability to pull library items into the bill of materials: This could a standard feature added for library functionality
- When routes are specified, have flexibility to add one or more library items which could be referred in the operation. This setup will be used to block when an operation is started and to release the library item once it is completed. This could be a standard feature for library functionality
- When a production order is scheduled, system should be able to calculate the time for which the library item would be needed - the start and end times. This could be based on the time taken for an operation to complete. This could be a standard feature of library functionality
- When an operation is started, if there is a linked library item, system should be able to post "Issue out" journal of library item (ref http://www.infosysblogs.com/microsoft/2010/09/library_functionality_in_erp.html) with reference to the production order.
- When an operation step is executed (or whichever flushing principle is used), the library item should not be consumed. This should be standard feature for library item. Once the usage of library item is completed, system should be able to post the "Issue in" journal to put the item back into the library and make it available.
- During planning of production orders, system should be able to take into account the availability of library items to appropriately schedule the orders
What these features help us to achieve is:
- Leverage the bill of materials to include non-consumable reference items
- Have production flow applicable to non-consumable reference items
- Ability to plan and schedule production order after considering the availability for reference items
Reports on usage of library items can be drawn and which can be used for storage decisions:
a. Utilization of reference items - count and total time
b. Reference item's usage and availability dates and times
Thus, by having an explicit library model with enhancements on bill of materials and production functionality, we would be able to leverage Dynamics AX for media processing.