Warehouse Inventory Management: Back to Basics-Receiving

Receiving is another back to basics functionality in any warehouse management system.  Receiving is another functionality designed to migrate the paper receiving process to a wireless device.  Once a purchase order has been entered into an ERP system, it is seamlessly transferred to the WMS (warehouse management software) where receivers await shipment. They are armed with wireless mobile computers that have integrated bar code scanners.

Man in warehouse scanning

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 Software 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 backorders 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, efficient warehouse receiving include:

  • Receive multiple orders simultaneously in no sequence, without paperwork
  • Scan product bar code or use quick lookup functions to identify products as they are being received
  • Print carton or pallet-ID labels as product is being received
  • Receive multiple pack-sizes on the fly.
  • Cross-dock non-stock items to forward pick locations
  • Immediately put product away without staging

Request the full white paper: How Goods Properly Flow through the Warehouse 

Visit our Warehouse Management Systems information page here

Posted by iCepts Technology GroupA Pennsylvania Partner for Accellos One Warehouse Management Systems 

Warehouse Inventory Management: Back to Basics-Picking

The Picking functionality in warehouse management systems is a core functionality designed to move the paper picking process to a wireless device.  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.

Warehouse

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 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.

Accellos One Warehouse, an example of a “best-in-breed” Warehouse Management System, has an abundance of picking styles that will accommodate a warehouse manager’s fulfillment strategy independent of warehouse layout, product size,velocity and order characteristics.

Some of the many picking styles are listed below:

  • Wave Picking
  • Batch Picking
  • Product Picking
  • One Scan Picking
  • Scanner Picking

In addition to picking styles, there are numerous benefits for having warehouse picking systems including:

  • Multiple pickers can pick in a single sales order
  • Single picker can pick on multiple sales orders
  • Password protection for skipping and shorting picks
  • Configurable worklow prompts for bin, packsize, and carton
  • Ability to generate a packing slip after last pick
  • Ability to assign orders to s specific user
  • Ability to reapack item
  • End of Line (EOL) workflow controls what additional processes happen to sales orders after they are fully picked
  • And more, including additional advanced picking functionality

Request the full white paper: How Goods Properly Flow through the Warehouse 

Visit our Warehouse Management Systems information page here

Posted by iCepts Technology GroupA Pennsylvania Partner for Accellos One Warehouse Management Systems 

 

 

Top 10 “Must Have” Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) Features-Order Allocation

Basic Order Allocation is a rules-based mechanism for allocating the available inventory to outstanding sales and is another “must have” with any robust Warehouse Management Systems (WMS).

Prior to order allocation, a short discussion should be examined with the relationship between order management, your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System and Warehouse Management Systems (WMS).

Woman Counting

Sales orders placed by phone, fax or email are typically entered into your ERP system manually using some sort of WMS Sales Order Entry function. Orders may also be placed using a B2B (Business to Business) e-commerce web-site, remote sales through mobile devices or by EDI.

As a result of sales orders being entered into your ERP system, the warehouse management software is immediately updated.

The Warehouse Automation Software is now responsible for orchestrating the order management activities. This is the prioritization of stock allocation and the assignment of work in the warehouse. The effectiveness of these tasks is critical to the efficiency of the warehouse and the service level that it provides.

Order management in WMS Software is a dynamic process that requires the flexibility to accommodate many different warehousing styles. Some sales orders need to be immediately released for todays pick run. Some may be held for a future date with or without stock reservations. Orders may be prioritized by backorder status, preferred customer status, fill rate, pick-up time, and truck route or by date. There are countless criteria by which orders are prioritized, allocated and released for picking.

Warehouse allocation is responsible for the logical reservation of product for sales orders. Allocation may be based on specific criteria such as FIFO, LIFO, FEFO, batch, pack-size, zone and warehouse.

As items are received into the warehouse, they are immediately available for order allocation, eliminating any time delay or sequencing issues between receipts, receip confirmation and pick-list creation.

While orders may be allocated on a first come first serve basis, the warehouse manager will more likely want to assert control over the warehouse process by prioritizing which orders are selected for allocation using a Sales Order Grid in the Warehouse Software.

After an order is allocated it will fall into one of several statuses, depending on the availability of inventory and where the inventory is located in the warehouse for example:

Held Short – There is not enough stock to satisfy the order

Ready to Wave – There is enough stock and the order is ready for picking

Held for Replenishment – There is enough stock, but there is not enough units in pick locations to fill the order, a replenishment task needs to be completed before the order can be picked.

Next Steps: Visit our Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) Page for further WMS Functionality

Contact Us: With any questions, request a demo, receive a free estimate or just WMS systems questions

Posted ByiCepts Technology Group, Inc.-An Accellos One Warehouse Management Systems Partner in Pennsylvania

Top 10 “Must Have” Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) Features-Lot/Serial Number Tracking

Another “must have” with any Warehouse Management System is Lot/Serial Number Tracking; this feature is designed to extend the inventory management capability in the warehouse to include tracking discrete balances by lot and/or tracking specific serial numbered items

Forklift in warehouse

Detailed basic functionality could include:

  • Bin-level tracking
  • Capture at Receiving
  • Validate during Picking, Cycle Counting, Direct Move
  • Allocate host-specified Lots / Serials
  • Allocate Lots by FIFO

Advanced Lot/Serial Number Tracking expands WMS software with more robust inventory management functionality such as single/mixed attributes and expiry allocation.

Single Attribute Allocation Restrictions means that for lot tracked items, the system can ensure that an entire order line is filled from a single lot (some warehouses deal with customer-imposed restrictions on whether shipments can contain mixed lots)

Furthermore, some Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) functionality offers support for scanning 2-dimension barcodes for capturing serial numbers (in picking)

Next Steps: Visit our Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) Page for further WMS Functionality

Contact Us: With any questions, request a demo, receive a free estimate or just WMS systems questions

Posted ByiCepts Technology Group, Inc.-An Accellos One Warehouse Management Systems Partner in Pennsylvania