Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 Business Central currently support many large companies operating sophisticated warehouse operations within their complete ERP solution.
Many companies have the basic operation of ‘Buy something’, ‘Put it somewhere’, ‘Sell it’, ‘Ship it’, ‘Collect payment’, ‘Pay suppliers’ and ‘Account for the effort’. This is the basic function of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, with our beloved Dynamics NAV, or more recently Dynamics 365 Business Central, at its core. When an operation does this in higher volumes, the efficiencies required in the warehouse become more valuable, maximising the pick route, automating the replenishment of bulk to pick face and collecting real time picking and movement information on hand held terminals becomes an important part of a new solution.
The NAV | 365 People (TNP) have been implementing Dynamics NAV / Business Central for many years into sophisticated warehouses. Utilising cross-docking, pick to tote, automated transfers from other locations, batch posting and other techniques have enabled companies like MatchesFashion, Healthspan, The National Trust and Converse Pharma to ship 20,000 orders per day whilst providing real time information to the business. Handheld integration using add-on products like MobileNAV and Tasklet Factory combined with automated POD and credit card processing on despatch are important additions to the core needs of a volume warehouse operation.
‘It’s always fascinating to see how different warehouses tackle the same problem’ says Sandy Byfield, one of TNP involved in many warehouse implementations, ‘the size of the product, the type of customer for example B2B or B2C and even the average number of lines per order all effect how a customer might pick goods. Often different pick strategies will be used for different efficiencies. It is common to process ‘single line orders’ in one pick run and follow up with multi-line picks where both items are in neighbourly bin before finally doing the balance of the picks. Healthspan pick tens of thousands of products a day but do not consolidate by order as their products (vitamins) fit nicely into a postage bag, so it’s efficient for them to pick by putting the product in a bag and sticking on a postage label. Other customers like MatchesFashion pick to a variable sized tote trolley, the handheld tells the picker which tote to put the item in to ensure at the end of the pick each tote contains a complete customer order.’
Bin replenishment, goods receiving and put away can also have their nuances and it’s common to have ‘QA’ functions embedded in the warehouse process, for example check the quality of certain items or items from certain suppliers on receipt and before put away.
Finally, having very large items like sofas adds its own challenges! ScS have large furniture items, many of which involve a specific sofa required for a specific customer due to its option combination. Delivery management, route planning and courier integration are all additional features that add value to a warehouse deployment and finally third party warehouse integration is another common challenge overcome by Dynamics NAV and Business Central.
All in all, warehouse in need of efficiency? Bring it on!