Microsoft Dynamics Workflow: How to Create an Audit Trail

Nov 16, 2011 12:00:00 AM

[Full Disclosure: Part of To-Increase’s business is based on the sale of Microsoft Dynamics software, of which one of its most useful features is audit trail capability. This post explains what an audit trail is and how this Microsoft product can streamline manufacturing practices.]

Understanding what’s happening in your manufacturing business isn’t just nice to know – it’s critical. This requires data and lots of it. If you are not capturing that data, then you need to rethink your streamlining strategy.

To get there and keep that data for later viewing, I always recommend an IT tool set with a solid audit trail add-in. With a good audit trail, you know what’s happening and how to fix problems – sometimes, before it’s even broken.

Let’s take a look at what goes into an audit trail and how an IT system solution for this process works.

What’s An Audit Trail?

As your manufacturing operations go through its daily processes, there is always a need for records of what is happening – from beginning to end. This would also include your external customer operations and internal processes.

Recording and tracking of day-to-day processes and activity is called an audit trail.

For a more specific explanation, the Wikipedia definition (Nov 16, 2011) says an audit trail is:

“A sequence of steps supported by proof documenting the real processing of a transaction flow through an organization, a process or a system.”

Simply, an audit trail keeps a running record of data that follows all of your manufacturing operations. With specific IT tool sets, such as Microsoft Dynamics, you can refer back to your trail at any point for crucial data that could impact your manufacturing processes.

From a personal standpoint, I can’t tell you how glad I am that software functionality like this exists. In my opinion, every manufacturer needs this as part of their operations mix.  Having that data readily accessible can be a lifesaver.

How An Audit Trail Benefits Manufactures

Now that I told you what an audit trail is, how does it benefit today’s manufacturer?

By having data that pulls from all of your systems, including Enterprise Resource Planning and Product Lifecycle Management, you benefit by knowing what, why, where and how your manufacturing operations stay efficient and keep up with customer demand.

By implementing a Microsoft Dynamics audit trail, manufactures will see benefits in situations, including:

  • Knowing the required amounts of materials to produce a product
  • Finding out how many hours does it require a product to go from design to production
  • Making decisions to increase resources for projects
  • Finding where to decrease wasteful practices that increase process efficiency

Getting Started With Microsoft Dynamics Audit Trail

To get started with an audit trail, let me run you through some introductory steps of the process.

  1. Firstly, audit trail isn’t installed right out the box and it takes one addtional installation to make it part of your system. Simply choose to install audit trailing from the setup menu in Microsoft Dynamics.
  2. Once it is installed, you need to decide who will have access to the audit trails. You want to make sure this is someone trusted and understands the data within the audit tables.
  3. Now decide what database tables to audit from your manufacturing system and apply permissions that enable auditing to proceed without issue.
  4. From here on, whenever a designated event occurs to auditable database tables, an audit ensues and provides you with the information about what’s going on.

What’s some of the information available in an audit trail record? Microsoft Dynamics audit tables duplicate the source table and add these fields:

  • Time
  • Date
  • UserID

Again, this is useful information for manufacturers who want more to see what’s happening in day-to-day operations.

I believe manufacturers crave data and not just any data – information that supports streamlining existing processes and boosting the bottom-line. By adding an IT tool set with a robust audit trail, like Microsoft Dynamics, expect an increase in efficiency for all of your operations, while keeping up with customer demand.

To learn more on how Microsoft Dynamics helps building strong audit trails for manufacturing operations, subscribe to our RSS feed, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook or connect with us on LinkedIn.

Contact To-Increase for more information on lean manufacturing, or insight regarding how to improve supply chain visibility.

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About Author
Luciano Cunha

Luciano Cunha

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) For Luciano, being responsible for To-Increase’s global sales and marketing means unleashing the company’s insight, innovation, and creativity to tell our story and help customers achieve their goals. On the road much of the time, he travels the world to meet with customers, understand their challenges and ambitions, and find the most effective ways to help them advance. Luciano develops and mentors our marketing and sales team, and creates strategies to help the To-Increase worldwide partner channel thrive and grow.
Making Customer Needs the Main Business Driver Luciano and his team have daily conversations with the To-Increase research and development organization to bring customers’ requirements and concerns into the road maps and design of our solutions. Luciano brings his insight to the marketing group to make sure the company’s communications resonate with customers and speak directly to their experience.
“I’m awed by customers’ innovative spirit in taking business management technology past its limits and by their generosity in letting us participate and empower them. I hope to transform our organization to become even more customer-centric than we are today. That means making more resources available to spend productive time with both our customers and partners, so we can ensure that we place into customer businesses effective solutions that fit the evolutionary stage of their operation and the way their people and processes work.”
Empowering a Global Channel
Because To-Increase only sells through partners, readying the channel to be successful in helping customers is a business-critical effort. Luciano aims to meet partners where their interests are. Partners who consider the relationship with To-Increase strategic can rely on our industry specialists to work with them as they plan their growth and serve customers. If partners prefer a less collaborative relationship, they still receive the rich To-Increase expertise and resources to ensure they win the business, perform a successful deployment, and retain a satisfied customer. In working with partners and their customers, Luciano brings to bear his experience of many years of creating successful, customer-focused business development and marketing strategies in many of the world’s countries and regions.
Enabling Customer Success in Challenging Business Environments
Looking into the near future, Luciano expects that customers will continue to expect To-Increase to help them make business sense of unfolding trends and technologies. For example, the internet of things (IoT) will thoroughly revolutionize manufacturing, engineering, and supply chains. Big data will be meaningful and valuable when decision-makers can use technology solutions to transform it into actionable business intelligence that supports key roles and business processes. Mobility will help companies become digital enterprises and move business processes forward from any location, at any time. Team To-Increase harnesses innovation to help customers translate the promise of these technologies into business results.
Before his current role, Luciano for several years was one of To-Increase’s global industry directors, responsible for our industry solutions. His experience also spans more than 17 years in IT and manufacturing management roles. These positions took him into various areas at IBM Brazil, serving as product manager for several software development companies, and included working in senior management at a manufacturing organization in the U.S.
Luciano is married with two young children. Away from work, he enjoys participating in a soccer class together with his son and daughter as well as taking relaxing walks in natural environments with his family.

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