Using button grids to customize POS behavior

Screen Layouts in Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail POS help to define the visual appearance of the till. One element of screen layouts is the ability to setup button grids. Button grids help to define both the functionality and visual appearance of buttons used to perform different actions at POS, as well as control the flow of actions. For example, you can setup multiple button grids to appear at POS, and/or define sub-menus that appear on clicking a POS button. Multiple layers of sub-menus can also be setup.

Without divulging in the details of how to setup button grids and button specific actions, which can be further read here; let’s see how button grids can be used to complete a business process.

For example, in case of a restaurant business, “Order Taking” is one of most basic and frequent business processes. As this involves a number of steps, a guided order taking menu helps to facilitate POS user or waiter to ensure completeness of the order and avoid missing any step, especially in case of new users which is a common occurrence in service industry due to frequent employee turnover.

Below screenshots demonstrate how this process typically works

User logs into POS, where user is presented a number of menu options. The options shown are part of a button grid, where each button covers a specific function. Amongst these, a “Place Order” button has been custom created.

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Clicking the “Place Order” button takes user to a sub-menu of further buttons.

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In order to place the order, user will select items from “Main Course”, “Toppings” and “Drink”.

User selects “Main Course” and is presented a list of items or meals.

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Selecting “Pizza” (which has been setup as a Master Product having multiple SKUs) gives user a number of options between ‘Flavor’ and ‘Size’.

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User is also prompted to confirm the type of crust, setup as a reason code against the particular meal (pizza).

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This adds the meal to the electronic journal and displays the current transaction totals.

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Similarly, user can select “Toppings” from a list.

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In this way, user can complete the order and add more items as required.

The printed receipt with entire information captured can be passed on to Kitchen Staff for meal preparation, ensuring there is no miscommunication in the order placed.

Now let’s see how the menu options and step-by-step order-taking guidance was setup, using Button Grids.

First let’s setup the sub-menu options that will be displayed when user selects “Place Order” button. To do this, create a new button grid titled “Order Taking” as shown below.

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Once setup, click on ‘Designer’ button in the toolbar. This opens up the design form for the Button Grid. Click on ‘New design’ and define the number of rows and columns (in our case we need a 2 x 2 grid).

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Click ‘OK’ and this generates the grid of buttons.

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Right click on any button to define the properties of that button

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This opens the ‘Configure Button’ form. The ‘Action’ combo contains a list of actions that will invoke when button is clicked on POS.

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Select the appropriate action required and also fill in remaining fields for defining the visual attributes of the button.

In this particular illustration, for the “Main Course” button, we want user to be presented with a list of meals along with feature to search the list. For this purpose, set ‘Action’ field to “Search”, ‘Search type’ field to “Category”, and select the specific retail hierarchy from the list. Once done, drill down to the category level for which a list of products items/meals (products) should be displayed. In this case, the category “Main Course” has been selected.

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Click “OK” to complete the changes. Similarly, define button properties for other buttons.

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Now we need to link the button grid so that it appears as a sub-menu when “Place Order” button is clicked.

Go back to Button Grid form and select the existing button grid “Manager Tasks” and click on ‘Designer’.

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In Designer form, right click on “Place Order” button to modify the button properties.

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In the ‘Action’ field, select “Sub menu”. This will populate a list of options in ‘Menu’ combo. Since we want our custom button grid to appear as a sub-menu on clicking “Place Order” button at POS, select “Order Taking” option in the combo. (This is also why we setup the “Order Taking” button grid before modifying the “Manager Tasks” grid)

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Similarly repeat these steps by setting up button grids as sub-menus for “Toppings” and “Drink”. Run “A-1090” (Registers) job to view changes to POS. Make sure to restart POS for the changes to take effect.

In this way, we can see how button grids can be used to achieve a business process for ordering taking for a restaurant retailer. Buttons grids, along with overall Profile maintenance, can be used to customize the layout and functionality of POS specific to the retailer’s need, which shows just why Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 is a perfect choice for implementing your retail solution.

About the author

Hammad Zafar Malik is a Senior Advisory Business Analyst, with over eight years of experience in analysing and developing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions. His work has primarily focused on the Retail industry of UK and Europe, with exposure to General Merchandise, Fashion & Apparel and Book retailers. With a number of international client implementations under his belt, he brings with him a rich experience in retailing and supply chain management, and is keen on adding the same value to Dynamics AX application as part of the solution offerings enhancement by Systems Limited. Hammad enjoys undertaking excursions, watching movies and is an avid follower of the Premier League.

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