Benefiting from the Wireless Warehouse
Is it time for a Wireless Warehouse Audit? Here are some things you may want to think about:
Current Sequencing for Picking
Are you walking in circles? Or starting at a point in the warehouse that does not fit a good flow? How about picking items in aisle A, then moving over to aisle C, then back to aisle A?
These scenarios mean your picking sequence is not in line with your picking theory (starting at one point, and finishing in the shipping area). The same goes for putaway sequencing.
Putaway sequencing will walk the warehouse personnel in a logical path through the facility. Think of it this way: when you are ready to put away material to the shelves, you want to start where you pick the items up. Normally, the receiving department is a logical place to start. Whereas for picking, you want the opposite: start on one end of the warehouse, and finish in the shipping area.
Are you picking a group of pick tickets for the same customer, making picking much more efficient? What about picking a group of transfers for the same branch? Both of these options will increase efficiency, making one pass through the warehouse instead of one pass per pick ticket.
Bringing in Workbench
If you’re not currently using workbenches for your pick ticket sorting and assigning (yes, workbench can auto assign picks to a user!), you can create groups as well as load balance. No more Bob picking single line orders, and Tom picking 20 line orders. Think of this as a “push” process: the picker has no choice; he logs into the workbench, and picks will start going to his scanner, by priority (e.g., picking the “will call” orders first, then the rush shipments next, as well as specific carriers).
Also with workbench, you have the ability to automate “forward” or “primary” pick bin replenishments. Each item in the primary bin can have a Min/Max. When a sales order is picked from the primary bins, taking the on-hand quantity below the min, the system will send out an alert for a warehouse person to replenish these bins.
Cycle counting is a primary reason for moving to RF (wireless) warehouse management. With Epicor Prophet 21 real-time bin updates, users can be counting, picking and even putting away material all at the same time, all without the need to research allocated items, cancel pick tickets, or stop the ongoing daily warehouse activity.
Posted by Tom Kunse, Business Process Consultant at Epicor Software