Getting Your Warehouse In Gear
SMB’s with stock keeping requirements to support distribution or manufacturing operations should integrate a design strategy for the ERP system for optimal performance. This white paper will layout the stages distributors and manufacturers should divide their design strategy into once on Acumatica ERP. Completing all four encourages accuracy, efficiency, and business growth. You will progress from stage to stage in different gears, reaching full power once you have set all your gears in motion.
First Gear – Consider your core business
The first gear is to understand the prerequisites of an inventory control system – the physical inventory, locations, and equipment in your warehouse.
There are six basic actions that are done in a warehouse – receive, move, count, pick, pack and ship. Acumatica’s Distribution Edition provides a wide range of features that will help your business perform these transactions using either browser-based terminals or mobile handsets with bar code scanners.
Let’s start with your inventory items. Inventory encompasses the finished goods and raw materials that cost money, have value, and are stored and used in the business. These goods or products are generally referred to as stock items.
Some key questions to determine how best to operate your warehouse are:
- What materials do I need to handle?
- How do each of these need to be handled?
- Do I handle the same stock items in different units of measure? e.g. receive by the pallet, store by the case and pick by the each.
For example, a distribution warehouse for consumer products may receive truckloads of products on pallets and then sell by the pallet. Almost all of their material handling would be performed using lift trucks.
A cosmetics manufacturer, however, would be receiving and storing materials in many formats such as pallets, drums, cartons, sacks, and more. Raw materials would be measured and issued to manufacturing in any number of formats. Finished goods might be stored and sold by the pallet, case or item. Their requirements for material handling equipment and processes would need to be far more varied.
Using the wrong material handling equipment for your inventory is like eating soup with a fork – it may eventually work, but there is a better tool for the job. You will need to select the appropriate material handling equipment to use for each type of stock item during each of your transactions.
The material handling requirements also extend to the storage location requirements. Zones should be isolated by properties such as temperature, dimensions, hold status, security.
- Ice cream MUST be stored in the freezer
- Jewelry belongs in a safe
- A lift truck won’t fit in the shelving aisles
- A pallet won’t fit in a small parts bin
- A picker on foot can’t reach the top level of racking
- And many more reasons specific to your operations
Putting small things into big locations is easy. The problem is finding them again, so don’t store needles in haystacks. The size of a storage location should be proportional to the size of the storage containers. A stock locator should be able to direct a material handler to within arms reach of the desired item minimal chance of selecting the wrong item from the right location. What is the right size? The answer is really “whatever reduces errors in your situation”.
Only after you optimize the material handling methods for your core business’s combination of stock items, locations, and warehouse transactions should you start designing your system.
Second Gear – Build in Accuracy
Now we are going to apply what we learned in first gear to designing processes and configuring Acumatica Cloud ERP with accuracy in mind.
Continued on next page…