Routings in Business Central

After realising we had written a post on Work Centres back in July, it felt logical to follow it up with a piece on routings. Routings will only be relevant for users with a Premium Business Central license. This is because a routing is a key element to a manufacturing process; it’s a means of saying how you are creating an item and all things manufacturing in Business Central require a Premium license.

Item Card

Under the ‘Replenishment’ tab on the Item Card, there’s the ‘Routing No.’ and the ‘Production BOM No.’ These two go hand-in-hand as the BOM defines what items you are using in the process of creating the item, whilst the Routing is concerned with the timings and the method of creation.

Whether you have routings already set up or not, you can click into this dropdown field on the Item Card. From here, either click ‘New’ or ‘Select from full list’ to see those you have already configured. If you opted for the second option, the method of reaching the Card for viewing or editing purposes can be seen below. To demonstrate routings and routing links, we will be using a ‘House’ as our example BOM.

In the image below, you can see we have our parent item, the House, with a Replenishment System of Prod. Order and with the relevant Routing and Production BOM No.s attached. Notice the Reordering Policy is set to ‘Order’ in the Planning tab below. Therefore, I am planning to bring in the exact quantity of stock I have on sales orders and not focus on Reorder Points or Quantities. In the next few weeks there’s an Item Card blog, covering in detail the different reordering policies, so stay tuned.

To clarify, the reason why having a Reordering Policy set is so important is that without one, when we create sales orders for a ‘House’, running MRP will be redundant. It will return with blank lines. With each type, the calculations will be different. In this instance, we will stick to ‘Order’.

The Routing Card

Let’s explore what the Routing Card can do. Firstly, I’ve given the Routing the same name as the Item. I’ve done this to avoid confusion as to which Item this Routing is tied to. This is on the assumption that other Items will take different lengths of time or include different steps or Work Centres. In this demonstration, the Work Centre I am using is operational for a standard five days a week, from 9:00-17:00. This will important later when thinking about the Run Time.

The Lines on the Routing Card represent different operations. Against each I have the ‘Type’ set to Work Centre. You can equally set this to Machine Centre. In essence, a Machine Centre represents a machine, as you might have some machines capable of performing at higher production rates than others. For Work Centres, you are defining where each step is taking place.

The Type field in the header has two options: Serial or Parallel. If you set it to Serial, it sees the operation lines as being things that can only occur one after the other. Production, in my example, would start with Operation No. 10, followed by 20 and 30. If I have the Type set to Parallel, multiple operations can occur at once. If you only have one operation line, this field will be redundant. Thinking back to the Work Centre’s blog, the Consolidated Capacity field allows you to make multiple Items at once, this Parallel option lets you make multiple routing lines for one item at once.

Serial and Parallel routing lines

Whilst you can’t have certain Lines set as Parallel and others Serial, you can circumvent this issue another way. If you personalise the page, you can add the ‘Previous Operation No.’ and ‘Next Operation No.’ fields. This allows you to have multiple routing lines occurring at once. I am going to amend my routing to demonstrate this. See below:

In my example, both Operation No. 20 and 30 have a Previous Operation No. of 10. This means they both take place after Operation 10 has finished, at the same time. To do this, the Type in the header is set to Parallel. The ‘|’ icon is key to making this functionality work.

Demonstrating a production order using parallel lines

My routing above totals 220 hours of work. However, as Operation No. 20 and 30 can happen simultaneously, it actually equates to 170 hours. As mentioned, my Work Center operates from 9:00-17:00. So to calculate how long this should take, we must divide the total number of hours work by the number of hours work done each day.


Between the dates above, we can calculate there’s 29 days difference. If we finally factor weekends, when the Work Center isn’t open, it comes to 21 days and two hours. This matches our original calculation, proving that you can mix and match serial and parallel routing lines.

Routing Link Codes are used to match up routing operations to BOM components. What I mean by that is, where different stages in the routing are only able to occur after the completion of another, you need something to tell the system not to bring in resources too soon for something that will need doing later down the line. If we continue with the example of building a house, whilst the foundations are being laid, you don’t want the staircase arriving. It’ll be in the way, possibly get damaged and be an unnecessary expense.

Routing Link Codes will be used typically for long routings. For routings that take a few hours, it’s likely not going to be worth the hassle of setting up. Instead, using the ‘Wait Time’ field can resolve the issue. On my routing, prior to using both serial and parallel lines, you can see how I’ve set them up:

If we tie Routing Link Codes to Items in the Production BOM as well as in the Routing, the system knows how to match the Item to the Operation No. Remember to name the Routing Link Codes appropriately and ideally sequentially, as to show which stage they refer to.

Running MRP

The next step will be to run Material Requirements Planning (MRP) and see what’s suggested. It’s worth noting, there’s currently no inventory for any of the Items in the blog at this stage. I will start by creating a sales order to trigger my planning parameters. I will then run the Planning Worksheet and see what replenishment suggestions it comes back with for components.

On the Planning Worksheets page, click ‘Prepare’ and ‘Calculate Regenerative Plan’. Follow this up by incorporating the relevant details for your products where required. As you can see, using the ‘..’ functionality, my No. field is spreading across all the relevant components and the house itself.

If we check the dates, we can see they accurately factor in the warehouse opening times and run times of the various operations. Notice how the production order line can’t start until after the first components are received and the production can only finish after the last resources arrive.

The reason for the difference in start and end time on the purchase lines is due to Item Lead Times. The Bricks have a 1D Lead Time whilst the other two components have a 2D Lead Time. The Work Centre in question isn’t tied to a Location and so there’s no Inbound or Outbound Warehouse Time to factor in.

Concluding remarks

Hopefully that’s taught you something about using routings and routing links in Business Central. If you’d like to contact us, click here.