Achieving Better Warehouse Management-Picking Options

Warehouse Picking

Warehouse Management Systems are becoming more popular as supply chain logistics become ever more complication along with increasing customer demands.  With an escalating volume of inventory movement, many organizations are turning to technology to streamline operations and meet these challenges.

Advanced technology through Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) allow companies to respond to evolving market pressures and deliver on ever-shrinking time to delivery windows. These systems efficiently capture every scan, every movement of inventory and are designed to make both accuracy along with cost reduction a top priority.  The following article can give you some insight into methods, obtained through warehouse technology, for achieving better warehouse management that are key to modern business supply chain logistics in addition to reaching your organization’s goals.

Picking Options:

The flexibility to have multiple inventory picking options can greatly increase warehouse efficiency.  The Picking functionality in warehouse management systems is another core functionality designed to move the paper picking process to a wireless device by the most optimum method available.

Warehouses come in different shapes and sizes. Some are “wide open” in a square shaped space. Others are contained in buildings on multiple floors, utilizing elevators to transport materials Warehouses will have varying ceiling heights. Some might have yard space. Materials handling will differ by product shape and size.  As a result, the warehouse racking infrastructure will vary by product size. Many warehouses keep large products in bulk stacks or pallet racks. While with small products, picking efficiency may be increased by storing smaller products in flow racking or static shelving.

Product velocity and order types also affect warehouse layout and consequently the picking strategies. Companies that ship single-sku (stock keeping unit) pallets of product to customers will have significantly different warehouse operations than ones that ship trailer loads of mixed-sku pallets (grocery is a good example of this). Even subtle differences in customer requirements for consumer products wholesalers will have substantial effects on the materials handling and picking. Operations that ship to retail distribution centers will have different fulfillment requirements than those that ship directly to stores.

Everyone can probably agree that customer demand appear to only be increasing recently and that supply chain movement is becoming ever so complex. Warehouse Management System have an abundance of picking styles that will accommodate a warehouse manager’s fulfillment strategy independent of warehouse layout, product size, velocity and order characteristics. Let’s explore these.

Wave Picking: The Wave Picking function allows a picker to gather multiple orders simultaneously on a pick run. Orders are picked directly into serialized shipping cartons. The advantage of Wave Picking is that orders are picked and packed and checked in a single handling step using bar code scanners. Wave picking is very effective for operations that pick to cart when there is an average of one or two shipping cartons per order. It is also effective for high volume operations that pick product out of flow racking to conveyor belts that whisk away boxes after they have been filled.

Batch Picking: There is a subtle difference between Batch Picking and Wave Picking. Rather than picking multiple orders directly into shipping cartons, Batch Picking does not prompt the picker to specify the sales order during the gathering process. The result is a “Batch” of product for multiple orders is gathered, and then sits in a staging area until distributed into the individual order pallets or cartons for shipment. The advantage of Batch Picking is that more product cube can be gathered in a single pass of the warehouse.

However, warehouses need to ensure that they have enough space to stage the orders that have been batch picked. Batch picking is effective for operations that will benefit from maximizing order consolidation, especially in larger warehouses where the amount of travelling required to gather orders would be substantially decreased by maximizing the cube gathered in a single pass. Operations with limited picking equipment resources (like man-up or narrow-aisle equipment) should consider batch picking to maximize equipment utilization.

Cluster Picking: Cluster Picking is a workflow that can significantly reduce average travel time per pick. With Cluster Picking, multiple orders are grouped into small clusters or waves. An order picker will pick all orders within the wave in one pass using a consolidated pick list. Usually the picker will use a multi-tiered picking cart maintaining a separate tote or carton on the cart for each order. Wave sizes usually run from 4 to 12 orders per wave depending on the average picks per order in that specific operation. In operations with low picks per order, Wave Picking can greatly reduce travel time by allowing the picker to make additional picks while in the same area.

Zone Picking: Zone Picking is the order picking version of the assembly line. In Zone Picking, the picking area is broken up into individual pick zones. Order pickers are assigned a specific zone, and only pick items within that zone. This method divides up aisles of bins so that individual pickers only work in a specified number of aisles.

In Zone Picking it’s important to balance the number of picks from zone to zone to maintain a consistent flow. Zones are usually sized to accommodate enough picks for one or two order pickers.

Creating fast pick areas close to the conveyor is essential in achieving high productivity in zone picking. Zone Picking is most effective in large operations with high total numbers of SKUs, high total numbers of orders, and low to moderate picks per order. Separate zones also provide for specialization of picking techniques such as having automated material handling systems in one zone and manual handling in the next.

Efficient inventory picking s just one area in which WMS can greatly improve accuracy and control the proper flow of inventory. Warehouse technology encompasses receiving, picking, packing and shipping goods in the best manner possible.  This not only saves time and money, however, also keeps your company competitive along with being up-to-date with the latest supply chain movement standards.

Download the free white paper: Achieving Better Warehouse Management 

Posted by iCepts Technology Group, Inc a HighJump WMS Partner in Pennsylvania

Personalizing your Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Role Center

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Personalization

Microsoft’s continued commitment and development of Enterprise Resource Planning Systems (ERP) has resulted in the release of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.

​​Business Central is a modern digital end-to-end robust business management solution designed to help organizations achieve greater efficiency, streamline business processes, and empower employees to react quickly to changing business needs with intelligent insights-anywhere and on any device.

With modern business solutions, it is extremely important to start quickly and have a system in place that can grow and adapt as your business needs change.  Dynamics 365 Business Central allows customers to tailor their business to their specific needs, get started quickly utilizing a new modern and refreshed user experience.

Business Central allows you to tailor your user experience to your particular personal work style and your particular needs.  In the system, there are many “pre-defined” roles which are already optimized for your particular job function in the organization such as Accountant, Business Manager, Project Manager, President, ect. Once in your determined Role Center, there is much information already displayed; however, you can boost productivity further through personalization.  This is easy to do in Business Central:

Go to Settings:

Then, look for the drop-down menu and click:

“Personalize”

In “Personalization” Mode you can enhance and tailor your user experience by utilizing the following:

Drag and Drop Information:  You can “Drag and Drop” entire sections of information on the role center to fit your particular needs and how you would like things to look for your everyday work.  By having the ability to shuffle around and display the information that you would like to see that is the most relevant helps in getting to the task that are most helpful to your particular job.

Determining Freeze Pane:   Also, you can go into the “Items List” and make further changes such as determining where to set your “Freeze Pane” to make it easier to view information. This is done by simply clicking on “Set Freeze Pane”.  Another option is to hide the Freeze Pane as well.  You will find that there are many customization in Dynamics 365 Business Central to help you stay productive.

Adding Additional Information Fields:  In addition, you can add fields of information to enhance your user experience by clicking on “More” and then to the right select “Add Field To Page”.  There are several options here.  Simply select which information field of information you would like, such as Standard Cost for example, into the item list and select done.

These quick changes can greatly optimize your Business Central role center to bring about better productivity to an employee’s particular needs.  You can further personalize the solution by using the In-App Designer.

Go to Settings:

Then, look for the drop-down menu and click:

Designer

In-App Designer:  The Designer functionality allows you not to only create personalization for your personal needs, but to create customization for everyone across the organization. In the Designer Mode, for example on a customer card, you can drag around fields along with re-naming areas.  When you are done making the changes, Business Central will take these changes and convert them into an Extension. You can even take an Extension and perform code changes and integration work with the Extension.  Extension are important in Business Central as this is the way in which you can customize your business solution.  It is important to mention that this new Microsoft Dynamics 365 cloud solution is a modern business platform you can easily and quickly tailor, extend, and build applications so they fit your specific needs — with little to no code development.

Microsoft AppSource: 

With Microsoft Dynamics 365, there is an ever-growing availability of business apps which are Extensions that are professionally created by thousands of partners.  These Extensions can by integrated to the Microsoft “Power Suite” such as Power App for creating business applications across devices or Microsoft Power BI for robust business intelligence reporting and smart decision making. Another example is Microsoft Flow for creating workflows and integration across different systems.

Since it is possible to extend the solution with apps from Microsoft AppSource, customers can choose to work with the global network of partners that have deep industry knowledge and expertise and help customize the business solution individual organization needs.

Learn more about Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Manufacturing Capabilities

Cloud Manufacturing ERP

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is an all-in-one business management solution that’s easy to use and adapt, helping you connect your business and make smarter decisions.  Built on functionality within Microsoft Dynamics NAV and adaptable to extend business applications to other Microsoft Cloud Services such as Office 365, Microsoft Flow, Power BI and PowerApps; Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Solution can grow as your business requirements change while taking advantage of the latest technology.

Customers that select Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Versions have a choice of either “Essentials” or “Premium”, in addition to either a Cloud ERP or On-Premise Deployment.  With either deployment, the “Premium” Version give you all of the vast functionality in “Essentials” plus robust manufacturing features such as:

Production Bill of Materials: Create bills of materials and calculate standard costs. Required for the configuration of all other Manufacturing modules.

Production Orders:  Create and manage production orders and post consumption and output to the production orders. After you have created a production order, you can calculate net requirements based on that production order. The Production Orders module includes a manual supply planning tool as an alternative to automatic planning. The Order Planning window provides the visibility and tools you need to manually plan for demand from sales lines and then to create different types of supply orders directly.

Agile Manufacturing:  This module enables you to run the Agile Manufacturing, Supply Planning, and Capacity Planning modules

Version Management:  Create and manage different versions of the manufacturing bill of materials and routings.

Supply Planning:  Plan material requirements based on demand with support for master production scheduling and materials requirements planning.  Basic Supply Planning includes:

  • Automatic production orders and purchase orders.
  • Action messages for fast and easy balancing of supply and demand.
  • Support for bucket-less and bucketed material requirements planning.
  • The Setup for items with their own reordering policy, including registration of whether they are manufactured by or purchased from a third party.

Demand Forecasting: Manage demand forecasting based on items. Input demand (sales) forecasts for products and components in a more convenient way (daily, monthly, quarterly). This data allows the system to plan and create production and purchase orders taking into consideration the demand forecast together with the level of available inventory and parameters of requirement planning.

Sales and Inventory Forecasting: You can use the Sales and Inventory Forecast extension to get deep insights about potential sales and a clear overview of expected stock-outs. The built-in Cortana Intelligence leverages historical data and helps you manage your stock and respond to your customers. Based on the forecast, the Sales and Inventory extension helps create replenishment requests for vendors and saves you time.

Capacity Planning:    Add capacities (work centers) to the manufacturing process. Set up routings and use these routings on production orders and in material requirements planning. View loads and the task list for the capacities.

Finite Loading:  Manage finite loading of capacity-constraint resources. Taking capacity constraints into account so that no more work is assigned to a work center than the capacities can be expected to execute during a given time period. This is a simple tool without any optimization. Used with the Order Promising module, Finite Loading also enables the system to calculate capable-to-promise (CTP).

Machine Centers:  Add machine centers as capacities to the manufacturing process. Machine centers are designed to help you manage capacity of a single machine/producing resource. With machine centers, you can plan/manage capacity on several levels: on a more detailed level for machine centers and on a consolidated level for work centers. Machine centers allow users to store more default information about manufacturing processes, such as setup time or default scrap percentage.

Learn more about Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central

Achieving Better Warehouse Management-Inventory Control

Warehouse Inventory Management

Warehouse Management Systems are becoming more popular as supply chain logistics become ever more complication along with increasing customer demands.  With an escalating volume of inventory movement, many organizations are turning to technology to streamline operations and meet these challenges.

Advanced technology through Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) allow companies to respond to evolving market pressures and deliver on ever-shrinking time to delivery windows. These systems efficiently capture every scan, every movement of inventory and are designed to make both accuracy along with cost reduction a top priority.  The following article can give you some insight into methods, obtained through warehouse technology, for achieving better warehouse management that are key to modern business supply chain logistics in addition to reaching your organization’s goals.

Inventory Control:

The proper and correct movement of inventory in your warehouse is critical for accuracy while also ensuring elevated customer service levels in addition to remaining competitive.  Consider the basic warehouse step of receiving goods as an example and how WMS can be of great assistance.

Receiving is a key functionality designed to migrate the paper receiving process to a wireless device.  Once a purchase order has been entered into an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system, it is seamlessly transferred to the Warehouse Management System where receivers await shipment. They are armed with wireless mobile computers that have integrated barcode scanners. After an inbound shipment arrives at the warehouse, the receiving team will typically unload the truck and grab the paperwork to identify which purchase orders are being received.

The first job of the WMS is to receive items accurately into the warehouse and then reconcile the shipment against the original purchase orders entered into your ERP system. Rather than using pen and paper to reconcile physical receipts, the receiver will bring up the purchase orders on a handheld computer. Once this is done, the receiver only needs to start identifying the product that is being unloaded (in no particular sequence).

With “best-in-breed” WMS Software, the receiver counts down against items being received right off of the container. It validates items against multiple purchase orders in the background, and then seamlessly updates your ERP system. No more paperwork!

Because a receipt is recorded as soon as items are entered into the handheld, stock may be immediately put away to a bin location. Bin location assignment following receipt may be automatic; stock can be transferred to a temporary receiving location if receipts are to be staged prior to put-away.

Most of the time, stock will be put-away following goods receipt.  If there are back orders waiting for product (standard or non-stock) or there is a “low stock alert,” stock may be put away directly to pick locations. Otherwise, stock handlers will move pallets into bulk locations (typically up in the pallet racks or on floor stacks).

Some of the highlighted benefits for accurate and efficient warehouse receiving include:

  • The ability to receive multiple orders simultaneously in no sequence, without paperwork.
  • Scanning product bar code or use quick lookup functions to identify products as they are being received.
  • Printing carton or pallet-ID labels as product is being received.
  • Receiving multiple pack-sizes on the fly.
  • Cross-dock non-stock items to forward pick locations. (We will discuss cross-docking next).
  • Immediately put product away without staging.

Efficient receiving is just one area in which WMS can greatly improve accuracy and control the proper flow of inventory. Warehouse technology encompasses receiving, picking, packing and shipping goods in the best manner possible.  This not only saves time and money, however, also keeps your company competitive along with being up-to-date with the latest supply chain movement standards.

Download the free white paper:  Achieving Effective Warehouse Management