Implementing Infor Factory Track for Infor M3

Picture of William Bolin

William Bolin

Senior Consultant - Supply Chain

Infor’s Warehouse Mobility has been around for decades as an old work horse in the on-premises M3 world.  It brought the ERP system into the mobile warehouse scanners and out into the warehouse shop floor.  To align with IT and business process requirements, however, Warehouse Mobility was sunsetted and has since been replaced with Infor’s Factory Track.  

Like Warehouse Mobility, Factory Track offers a mobile-device compatible front end to the M3 system, allowing operators to perform a full range of common warehouse tasks like picking, packing, shipment receiving, and cycle counting without the need to return to a PC workstation.  This increases warehouse and logistic operational efficiency and also reduces errors by easily integrating barcode validations into the process.  Additionally, Factory Track offers a number of advantages over the old warehouse mobility solution, such as compatibility with cloud versions of M3 and most modern mobile scanner hardware.  As expected, it also offers improved capability and flexibility when compared to its predecessor.  

If you or your organization are considering implementing Factory Track in your organization, then hopefully the below points can provide you with some additional tips and information to put you on the right path to success.

Considerations for a Factory Track Implementation

Configuration required

There is no migration path from the old Warehouse Mobility to Factory Track.  While Factory Track was built to look and feel the same for the Warehouse Mobility average user, it is a completely different piece of software.  Anything that was configured in Warehouse Mobility will need to be redone.  So regardless of whether you are coming from Warehouse Mobility or implementing Factory Track in a green field, there is going to be work to build up the system the way you want it.

Hardware requirements

If you are coming from Infor’s Warehouse Mobility or have never had a mobility solution for your warehouse, you can expect there to be some new scan gun hardware requirements.  Plan some time to make sure the guns are properly configured for your needs and that users can get trained on them.  If you use an Android scanner, you should note that Infor has a Factory Track application in the Google play store that offers a more mobile-optimized experience than the basic web client.

On-premise compatibility

If you’re not in the Cloud yet, Factory Track is still compatible with on-premise M3 version 13.4. This leaves you with the option to implement it first and have one less thing to worry about when you migrate to the cloud edition of M3.  

Infor standard platform 

One of the advantages of Factory Track is that it is built on top of the Infor Mongoose platform.  This allows it to more easily incorporate custom functionalities beyond what is available in the standard transaction profile configurations.  This could be custom screens to support additional processes (like shipping container management) or a button to trigger some javascript to launch a batch job or start an integration process (like allowing users to print pick lists from their scanner).  This may require the support from an M3 partner or technical resource, but the platform is there to be used. 

Configuring Factory Track

Flexible to configure

Factory Track is designed to be extraordinarily flexible with building processes in the warehouse.  It can allow users to search for the orders they want or it can feed them directly to their scanners.  It can force users to scan barcodes or it can allow a process to flow unimpeded.  Different users, teams, and warehouses can have different transactions that they are working with and can have different permutations that are optimized for different purposes.  If users are finding that the system is cumbersome, inflexible, unintuitive, or difficult then you might just need to take a look at fine tuning your configurations.  

Find the right balance

Factory Track allows you to create “transaction profiles” for different variations of the same work- example picking small components for a manufacturing order and picking finished goods for shipment would be different configurations of the same “PICK AND PACK” transaction profile.  You want each transaction to be configured in an optimal way, but resist the urge to over-engineer a solution.  It may make sense to have 5 different picking transaction profiles (small customer order, large customer order, DO, MO, and RO), but maybe doesn’t make sense to have 25 just so each user can do their own thing.

It takes time

Configuring Factory Track is easy to learn, hard to master.  We’ve seen users struggle with getting the last bit taken care of prior to implementation.  Some common areas where this occurs are sharing work between multiple users (multiple operators working the same cycle count or packing the same shipment) or performing multiple transactions at the same time (picking for two customers at the same time or transferring multiple balance IDs to a new location with one scan).  

Complexity adds cost 

Of course, the more complexity that is in your operation, the more that needs to go into configuring it.  Lot control, sublot management, container management, consignment warehousing, or soft allocation can all add extra steps and configurations to be properly accounted for in an optimal way.

Best Practices for a Factory Track Implementation

Involve the operation

You’ll want to bring some experienced shop floor people into the process early, and if possible get them some familiarity with system configurations so they can get some understanding of how it all works and how Factory Track can be built to make the process flow as expected.  I’ve spent 12 years in warehouses and I’ve never met a person there that wanted an IT guy to tell them how to do their job.  

Test in live environment

Be prepared for lots of user testing on the shop floor.  Mobility solutions do not lend themselves to testing well on a conference room PC.  You’ll need a scanner in someone’s hand and some barcodes in front of them.  

Start small

Since Factory Track is just an extension of M3, it can be rolled out to Production as slowly as necessary.  Take advantage of this and start as small as you can.  A single user, a single process, a single team.  Get things stable and then layer on top of it as you ramp up.  

Get help 

Implementing Factory Track on your own is hard.  It’s a lot smoother with an experienced partner to guide with the initial specification, installation, and configuration to make sure that everything is being designed in the best way to meet process needs.

Wrap Up

Infor’s Factory Track can bring substantial value to a warehousing operation with M3, either as an upgrade from M3 Warehouse Mobility or as an altogether new addition to your environment.  It’s highly flexible, highly configurable, and designed to smoothly integrate into any existing M3 shop to quickly start adding value as a mobility solution.  However, implementing Factory Track has a fair amount of planning and considerations required to get it done right and on time.  

As we’ve seen throughout this blog, there are advantages to using Factory Track and along with that, considerations when thinking of implementing Factory Track for Infor M3. Are you thinking of implementing Factory Track or considering whether it’s the best move for your business? Fill out the contact form to meet with us and discuss this opportunity further. 

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