No matter how big or small your warehouse, the speed at which you can pick your orders and the accuracy of your stock, can make a huge difference to your profitability. The first step is to ensure that you or rather your system, knows exactly where your stock is located
3EX.NET Allows you to store stock for a single SKU in any number of locations or “Bins” across any number of Warehouses or “Stores”. For example a SKU may be kept in your main warehouse in both a Pick and Bulk location. You may also hold stock of this SKU at any number of different shops, or perhaps an overspill warehouse. 3EX.NET will allow you to keep track of your stock, so that not only do you know how much stock you have at any one time, you will also be able to know exactly where that stock is.
3EX.NET Allows you to create each of your different warehouses, shops etc as elements known as “Stores”. Each Store is broken down into Zones and each Zones is broken down into individual locations called “Bins”. As stock is receipted, replenished or picked, the system knows exactly which bin has been used, ensuring stock accuracy and minimising picking discrepancies.
Each Bin Location within the Store is assigned a Zone, a Location Type and a Priority.
Zones define the different areas within your warehouse and can be used to limit certain activities to these different areas. For example, you may wish to only count stock for certain Zones within the Warehouse. When creating a Stock Take, you can specify to count stock at all Bin Locations within a certain Zone or range of Zones. Zones are used in a similar way by the Replenishment, Stock Take and Picking Systems.
Bin Types are simply used to define default details against the bin. Most warehouses will have around a half dozen different bin location types, for example:
The Bin Types will determine the default size of these location (when using Volumetric measurements) and can also be used to assign Maximum Location Quantities and Replenishment Levels. I.e. A product may have a maximum location quantity of 10 in the Small Picking Locations, but 30 in the Large Picking Locations. If you move a product from a Small Picking location to a Large one, the system will automatically know it’s replenishment levels, without the need to set these up per location.
Bin Priorities can be used in a similar way to the Zones to help specify a range locations to Replenish or Stock Count, however there primary purpose is to control the picking process, or more specifically determine which orders are actually pickable by a user, without the need for a replenishment.
For example, the following Bin Priorities map out the type of locations available within a store.
Typically, an order can’t be picked from stock which is held in a Bulk Location as this will involve using a fork lift truck to drop the item to the floor. Therefore, as an order is taken the system doesn’t really care whereabouts the stock for the item is held. The user entering the order, simply wants to know if the item is available for the customer. The system can therefore allow an order to be placed for an item that is held in a bulk location. However, when the order is moved through to the Picking Process, the system can be configured to hold the order in a “Waiting to be Picked” area or “Stage”.
A Replenishment can then be run which will automatically determine the items on order at the Waiting to be Picked Stage and suggest which items need to be replenished before for the order can be picked. The Replenishment will be able to tell the user exactly where to get the stock from, where to put it and what quantity to move. Once the replenishment has been completed, the system will automatically allow the order to move into the “Picking” stage.
Using Bin Priorities in this way effectively prevents any picking notes being printed for orders which cannot be picked. This prevents orders being lost due to mislaid paperwork and ensures that your pickers are constantly picking orders, rather than waiting around for an item to be brought down from bulk.
As stock is receipted, the 3EX.NET system can intelligently determine whereabouts the warehouse team should place the stock.
Bin Pick Rates stipulate the level of difficulty involved in picking stock from certain locations. For example, Picking Locations at around waist height are probably the easiest to pick from, whilst those on the floor or at head height can be considerably more difficulty.
Bin Pick Rates can be used to determine a least walk picking route around your warehouse, but their greatest strength is the fact that they can affectively advise your warehouse team as to how best to lay out stock within your warehouse. This feature of the system is known as Bin Optimisation. When used in conjunction with the Forecasting System, the Bin Optimisation system can forecast which of your products are going to be your best sellers. The system can therefore advise that the warehouse team move the best selling items, to the locations with the best pick rates. This will obviously mean moving stock which currently resides in these locations and the Bin Optimisation system will tell you exactly whereabouts to put this stock as well. Ultimately the Bin Optimisation system can be used to move specific items to Fast Moving Picking locations, optimise certain areas or Zones, or even optimise your whole warehouse.