With warehouse operations representing a significant proportion of overheads and labour costs for many companies, it is vital to ensure they are managed as efficiently and accurately as possible. Improvements in warehouse processes can directly impact the ability to increase the volume of orders handled, control staffing requirements, increase speed of fulfilment, maximise use of space available and ultimately reduce the cost of servicing orders for increased profitability and competitiveness.
Although the bulk of warehouse activities are centred on the booking in, picking and despatching of stock, an effective warehouse operation will require a variety of other stock management tasks to be performed in order to ensure efficiency and productivity is fully maximised.
Warehouse management activities to improve efficiency
Stock takes, stock movements and adjustments, discrepancy handling, stock transformations and stock put away are all tasks that help ensure stock information is accurate and warehouse operations run smoothly. Although time is required to keep on top of these warehouse management tasks, they result in greater efficiencies being obtained during picking and goods receipt activities.
Regardless of the size of the warehouse operation, many companies will hold stock of the same item in multiple locations and multiple bins. This can be a result of the quantity being held, set up of racking, space available and various other reasons. When stock is distributed throughout the warehouse in this way, as stock of an item from one bin is depleted, staff can find they are travelling further and further to pick stock for orders. This can lead to significantly reduced picking speeds should stock be stored in separate locations, held in high bins not easily accessible,or require unpacking from bulk packs or boxes. While regular checks or reports can help to identify when these picking bins are low for stock movements to be actioned, a more structured, forecasted and intelligent method of replenishing bins used for picking ensures the utmost in productivity is being achieved at all times.
A new feature to manage bin and pick face replenishment
In the 2014 v9.4 release of OrderWise a brand new Stock Replenishments licenced feature has been added, designed to provide structured management of pick face and bin replenishment. When activated, users are able to configure the replenishment criteria for each stock location set up against a variant as required, determine the stock locations stock can be taken from and replenished to along with the bin to be replenished. Minimum and maximum stock replenishment levels can be set with the minimum determining the point at which a replenishment requirement is produced and the maximum dictating the level to which stock will be replenished. OrderWise can also look ahead a user defined number of days at Order requirements and account for these, identifying stock replenishment needs as far into the future as appropriate for even greater stock management efficiency.
In system or via the OrderWise HHT Mobile Device
The Stock Replenishments screen is accessed from within the Despatch module and it is here that replenishments are created, managed and distributed. Working in a similar way to the Orders Requiring Picking screen, replenishments can be viewed across stock locations, stock allocated, assigned to a picker and accounted for as part of their workload, cancelled and progressed to completion. Paper replenishment notes can be output and printed providing full details of the stock that needs picking using the best walk route with corresponding details of the bins to which the picked stock needs replenishing.
Companies with the OrderWise HHT Mobile Devices can access the HHT Replenishment module where assigned replenishments can be wirelessly synced to a user’s device. Making full use of the barcode scanning functionality and up to date information as data is synced, pickers are guided by the HHT device firstly to pick the required stock by best route before replenishing into relevant bins. As completed replenishments are synced wirelessly back to the main system this enables up to date pick face stock levels to be used as order requirements are picked. If a company uses Tote Picking, this functionality and process can also be applied to the replenishment process.
Transform, Replenish & Fulfil
For some businesses, replenishing a picking bin comes hand in hand with transforming bulk stock down into single unit items. Where transformation needs to occur as part of the replenishment process when paper pick notes are in use, there will be a flagged box to indicate this, details of the break down, and the transformation can be processed in system. When using the HHT Mobile Devices to handle replenishments, users will be given clear on screen instructions regarding the transformation action required which will then be automatically performed as part of the HHT replenishment completion.
This new licenced feature will enable businesses to deliver incredibly effective handling of warehouse management, tailoring replenishment requirements to ensure maximum efficiency of warehouse tasks and productivity of staff.
The benefits provided by the Stock Replenishment functionality can be further extended when used in conjunction with our industry leading HHT Mobile Devices, providing an entire suite of cutting edge, barcode orientated and comprehensive wireless warehouse management tools.
For more information on OrderWise, HHT Mobile Devices & Tote Picking functionality download the brochures or watch our videos.
Existing users can visit the OrderWise Shop for more details of the HHT Devices.