Control of the storage and picking warehouse(s) is an important factor in despatching product and ensuring correct stock rotation. If the Stock/Inventory system shows that there is stock to sell it must be immediately obvious to the 'pickers' where the stock is located so that it can be despatched in the shortest possible time. It is also necessary to know which storage slot contains the stock items required so the fork hoist drivers know which pallets to bring from the storage areas to the picking areas.
This Warehouse Stock tracking system is not essential to most operations and is considered to be an extension to other modules that are involved with stock. The module will address the requirements above and will integrate with the rest of the SERENADE system. It is not possible to use this in a 'stand alone' situation because of the integration required, it is necessary to have the Stock/Inventory and Order Processing modules as a minimum and preferable the Purchase Order module as well.
The module allows the warehouse manager to reorganise the pallets and mix and merge different products on the same pallet to free partially used storage space. Sales Orders and Purchase Orders (inwards goods) modules are significantly affected by this module as the warehouse has significantly more control over picking and storage than with just the stock module.
- Multi element slot code
- Simple initial entry of Slot codes (individual or bulk)
- Different kinds of slot e.g. refrigerated, high-value etc.
- Automatic pallet movement instructions
- Integration with Stock, Order Processing and Purchase Orders
- Manual instructions to merge/move pallets
- Immediate update of stock when items are picked (rather then when the despatch is notified)
- Simplified stocktake
- Stock/pallet movements recorded
- Potential 'paperless' order picking
The system uses the word 'Slot' to indicate a position in the warehouse. This position may be big enough to hold a fully loaded pallet or just a small tray on a shelf. All slots in the warehouse must be notified to the system so that they will be used.
The slot code is required to be in the format: AAANNNNS
This represents: AAA Aisle Code (alphabetic)
NNNN Position Number (numeric)
S Site within position (alphabetic)
Not all characters need to be used but at least one of each must be present.
It is not necessary to put the full code in when referencing a slot. e.g. The system accepts A2L and converts it to A0002L for it's own use.
There are 3 special codes that are used as slots:
- BULKAREA The overflow area that takes pallets for which there are no storage slots available.
- INWARDS Inwards Goods received but not yet moved from the inwards cage area to storage. Possibly awaiting checking for damage and for counting
- UNKNOWN All initial take on and any credit returns that are allowed (especially at POS) etc.
Both of these last two must eventually be transferred to a slot.
It is recognised that a warehouse is usually divided in to different sections and this is allowed for in the system. Selected items often have a designated picking slot (e.g. the tray of items on a shelf), others must go in to a security area as they are high value or in to a refrigerated section. The system caters for these requirements. Each slot is allocated a 'type' code to indicate to the system it's use. The types are:
- Storage (pallet storage)
- Picking (pallets for picking)
- Valuable/Security (all are picking slots)
- Refrigerated/Reserved (all are picking slots)
- Fixed (Selected part only)
In most cases the storage racking is made of steel tubing that is often 4 or 5 levels high with only the lower 2 levels at a height that facilitates picking. The system allows the lower levels of an aisle to be designated as 'picking' and the higher ones as 'storage'.
A stock part may have an indication of what type it is and products may be assigned to fixed picking slots or the security area etc. If a part does not have an indication then it is considered to be a normal palletised item that can be made available for picking from any of the designated picking slots.
Pallets and Movements
The system expects most stock to be stored on pallets in storage (type) slots. A pallet may contain more than one product, in the storage or picking slot. Thus each pallet has to be uniquely identified so that when it is moved all its contents are indicated as moved to the receiving slot. Pallets may be 'moved' to a new slot or 'merged' on to a pallet in another slot. In the first case the pallet will retain it's original number in the latter case the items will be added to the pallet already in the slot. Where pallets are merged the stock will still retain it's original receipt details so that it may be tracked back to the receipt in case a return is necessary. When the system is activating a batch for picking it may need to have a pallet moved from a storage slot to a picking slot. If the item required is in a 'fixed' slot it will generate a 'merge' type process to take just the required item from the pallet to the slot. If not it will require a pallet to be moved to a picking slot it designates. Failing a picking slot being available it will select the BULKAREA slot
Multiple Pallets in a Slot
The system allows there to be more than one pallet in a slot. It will not move a pallet in to a slot already containing one, the system user must do this manually. The system will inform the user that the selected slot already contains a pallet and the user must respond that the pallet is still to be put in to that slot.
If a particular part is indicated as being a numbered item the system will still retain the unique identity of the items. The system will have multiple entries for the part on the pallet in the slot, each with its own number (as now).
There are a lot of other modules of SERENADE that do stock movements. These are not excluded from use by this module, but if you do use them to adjust stock etc. then the system is always going to require to be told which slot/pallet the stock was taken from or added to. In the case where product is being put in to a slot and on to a pallet that already has this product on it, the system will allow you to merge (increase the quantity to include) the returned stock. If you give a separate pallet number then the stock will remain separate.
Inwards Goods Receipts from the purchase order system may be treated in one of two ways.
1. Held in Inwards
- The stock is taken from the vehicle and held in the inwards goods holding area.
- The computer system is informed that the stock has arrived and has been put in to slot INWARDS.
- The stock is examined (quality control) and any damaged (etc.) items are rejected and the computer system is notified that the order has been amended.
- The stock is then put on pallets and as they leave the inwards area the system is notified of the movement and allocates a storage slot and pallet number.
- A pallet label is (optionally) printed
2. Directly to stock
- As a pallet is taken from the delivery vehicle it is checked for damage etc.
- The purchase order in the computer system is retrieved
- The quantity of the product(s) is marked off.
- As the stock goes immediately to storage, a slot is selected and a pallet number is assigned.
- A pallet label is (optionally) printed
In either of these cases the system can allocate a slot for the pallet or it can be allocated manually. The manual option must be used to get multiple pallets in to one slot.
Sales orders to be despatched are selected under a batch number but this does not mean that they must be picked as a batch. The system can be used to check that there is enough stock available to meet the requirements of the batch and orders may be removed from the batch if necessary. This check does not use the 'free' stock but the amount of stock that is not already been allocated to orders. The allocation process puts the order number on a quantity of stock (in a picking or storage slot) based on the earliest 'use-by' date. When the batch is activated the system issues any pallet movement instructions required and prints the picking instructions as labels, a consolidate (batch) list, a consolidated (batch) summary or as a free format list per order in the batch, or a combination of these.
It is possible to have a number of RFT (radio frequency transmitters linked to hand held or fork-hoist mounted units) so that the movements and picking can be done without need for paper (the paperless warehouse). In this latter case the stock levels will be updated when the RFT unit indicates that the stock has been taken. In the former case a program must be used to specify to the system that the batch has been picked and the stock is updated at this time.
When the stock is indicated as picked the sales order is updated with the picked quantity and cost. The order may be invoiced in any of the available methods within SERENADE including via the Point-of-sale process. Non-stock items (such as Freight charges) are automatically invoiced and do not get included in the stock allocation and picking processes.
The pallet movement and merges as generated by a sales order batch or manually, may be printed as a list or as labels. A merger type label will have a product and quantity on it while a straight move will just have the source slot and pallet and the receiving slot. Thus if multiple products are merged from one slot / pallet to another then multiple labels / print lines will be produced.