Spotlight on Advanced Warehousing

Robert Sherriff, Senior Supply Chain Consultant at HSO, blogs about some of the highlights of Advanced Warehousing in Microsoft Dynamics AX.

The warehouse management module for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 lets you manage warehouse processes in manufacturing, distribution, and retail companies.  With the introduction of Advanced Warehousing in Microsoft Dynamics 2012 R3, Microsoft has introduced many advanced functions that have been lacking in previous versions but were seen in the industry as standard warehousing processes. Click here for a comprehensive list of what’s new in Microsoft Dynamics AX Warehouse Management.

In previous versions, the system was primarily dictated to by the user. It meant that the stock would arrive and the staff would decide where the items were to be stored and then AX would be told the items’ location. The modern equivalent now allows for the configuration of inbound and outbound intelligent workflows. However, a user with the right security level can be given the rights to override the suggested location, if required. The flexibility of these directives now allow the warehouse manager to predetermine stock locations in advance of any delivery. In most cases this would be undertaken based on the type of product stored (e.g. large, small, high value, cold storage etc.).

One of the fundamental game changers of Advanced Warehousing was the introduction of the mobile device menu items and mobile portal. This, for the first time, gave AX the ability to design and use all types of mobile devices to process warehouse work. For years within many warehouse systems, if you wanted a mobile device menu to be set up, you would need many hours of a developer’s time and at a considerable cost. Now, with a very small amount of training, warehouse users can be taught how to design and use these themselves.

Sales order picking strategies were difficult to implement until the introduction of Advanced Warehousing. Now there is the option to pick in many different ways by the use of the location directives. As with the put-away directives previously mentioned, the sales order directives can be set up with a multitude of criteria so that picking is made as efficient as possible. To release sales orders, there is now a function called wave processing which can create, implement, and release work using batch-scheduled or manual processing of waves. There is now the option to use a standard packing centre which allows the user to pack into a container, be it into one, two or more boxes; produce container documents and easily link into courier systems to produce delivery documentation.

One of the standard ways of picking in an e-commerce warehouse would be to use a picking cart. With the introduction of Advanced Warehousing, AX now offers a function called ‘cluster picking’ which can be set up to do exactly this. A user can assign orders to clusters to pick from a single location and configure profiles to control the validation and packing of items into shipping containers. You can also alternate between picking strategies for batch and non-batch items.

Although in previous versions, stock counting could be undertaken very effectively using counting journals; the introduction of cycle counting in Advanced Warehousing adds much more flexibility as well as the ability to count using a mobile device. Counting plans can be created which will effectively allow you to monitor and count each product X number of times a week/month/year. In addition to this, thresholds can be set on products and locations that will automatically trigger a count to be undertaken. When counts are performed on a mobile device, there is now a great function that will allow a supervisor/manager to verify the count before the journal is posted into AX, allowing for the ability to double-count if necessary.

Another great new function is replenishment, which allows the user to use scanners or other mobile devices to replenish from bulk locations to picking locations based on thresholds that can be predesigned by the warehouse manager. These thresholds can be triggered by demand or during the sales order picking process.

A guide to help anybody that needs to set up an advanced AX warehouse from start to finish.

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