Modify Create Pick Program

In our warehouse each item can be located in one or more bins. Our items don’t have an expiration date and move that fast that we don’t have to worry about items that stay to long in the bins. The quantities that we have to pick for an item can vary from 100 PCS (smallest box) to 24000 PCS (2 full pallets). Each bin has the capacity of one pallet. For the fastest movers we sometimes have 5 pallets (not all full) or even more on inventory (based on the demand on the sales orders) Navision uses the bin ranking in the calculation of the pick lines. Certainly for larger quantities, it happens a lot that we have to pick from several bins to get the total qty, while there is often a bin (with a lower ranking) with the total qty available to pick. Of course this is very time consuming and, more important, often frustrating for the warehouse people. If I set the bin ranking equal for all bins, the calculation of the picking lines uses the first bin in the list, which is also not the right method. Has someone ever modified the calculation program in a way that it tries to use a less bins as possible? If not, what are your ideas about this kind of system? Is it possible to modify the create pick program that way? All pro’s and con’s all welcome. Does anyone use the bin replenishment system in Navision? Any pro’s and con’s? Thanks in advance, Dany Leemans

Basically your client is doing it wrong. That’s clear. But the hard part is convincing them. In the end you may end out haveing them force you to make this mod anyway. OK, so what are they doing wrong[?] One major goal of any bin management system is to consolidate like items into bins together. Its always better to have 3 sequential bins of 12,000 items, than to have those items spread over multiple bins all over the warehouse. But if you allow your warhouse staff to be lazy, and alwasy pick the easiest items, then the total state of the wareouse will deteriorte (aka first law of thermodynamics - Order tends to disorder). You have to fight the natural tendancy of bins to scatter throughout the ware house. By suggesting that the warhouse pick the smallest quantities, the warhouse gets natually consolidated, and then you no longer have all these small quantities all over the place. In the short term it is more work, but after a while it gets much better. You have to concider the first few months doing this, as cleaning up the mess that you created from the start, just like defragmenting a hard disk. Put simply, the warhouse is making life easier for them selves today, at the expense of adding more work in the future, and requirement more warehouse space. I went through this with a client about 8 months ago, and it took many example scenarios to convince them. They had items all over the warhouse, in odd quantities, because the warehouse peole would always look for the easiest item to pick, and could not visuallise that this is bad. I convinced them to take the risk and pick what Navision suggested. It took them 6 months to see it working, but now they are very satisfied. I find that clients just hate it when you say “No please don’t give me this huge bag of money to write code”[V]. I don’t know why, but at least I feel better afterwards.[^]

I agree with David’s comments regarding how the warehouse “should” pick. And yes, eventually, “the warhouse gets natually consolidated”. We have a client that went through the same situation as you. However, since they move so much inventory per day, it hard to just let Navision suggest the bins to pick from without adding additional warehouse staff. In addition, the retail companies require items to be ship in boxes, it’s hard for the warehouse staff to find time to put loose quantities into a box, pack it up, and put on the pallet. In the end, we did a modification to allow Navision to pick based on case quantites first, then any remaining quantites will following Navision’s natural bin picking order. This way, the customer can satisfy the requirements of chain stores as well as allow the warhouse to “get natually consolidated”. As to your next question regarding bin replenishments. Yes, our customer uses the bin replenishments. It’s working very well for them. What kinds of concern do you have?

There is really a variety of ways to approach this. Some have a zone in their warehouse for full pallets and a zone for less than pallet quantities. Depending on your units of measure setup, using breakbulk, etc. you can us these to create a process to pick the full pallet portion of the order from the full pallet zone and the remainder from the zone with ‘broken’ or non-full pallets. The programming adjustments for this probably wouldn’t be too bad (I’ve done something similar) it’s the setup in Navision that can be difficult if it’s not already done. Setting up units of measure can be a pain.

I agree with crazy, that if you have seperately defined zones, then it does make sense to have differnt picking in each, and make code changes to do this, assuming that the zones are physically seperate, ie, the bulk pick zone and the quick pick zone etc. I still feel though that if you have bins that have similar structure, then you should be pulling the smallest quantity first to force bins to conslidate. If there are bins with qty 5, 8 and 100, and you need to pick 10, then you should pcik and combine the 5 and 8, if you brak the 100, then you now have 5, 8 and 90, and it just gets worse and worse. Basically you are just lettting one warhouse worker belazy today, and put off the job for another one to do in a weeks time. If you are in a fast moving bin scenario, then you hould have quick pick bins for pulling, and a seperate structure for in consolidation, you should NOT have people just picking from what ever bin in what ever zone they want.

I agree completely with the “Lazy warehouse workers” mentality. There are indeed more ‘complications’ then I hoped there were, when I change the program to pick always from a bin with the Qty avail. to pick >= Qty to pick. I think that I have to go for a daily bin replenishment system to clean up the bins with very small qty’s.

Exactly, and its really more work for them to go and do the clean up than to poick and bundle at once. The issue is that its normally an SEP issue, so I do what’s easiest for me now, and the clean up will be somebody elses problem later.


… then the total state of the wareouse will deteriorte (aka first law of thermodynamics - Order tends to disorder).
Originally posted by David Singleton - 2005 Oct 29 : 06:45:52

Just for the record, this is the second law of thermodynamics. The first law is all about the conservation of energy.

Please no !!! I can’t be wrong twice in one week. I jut hope my Thermodynamics professor is not readingthis forum, he was an old school Scott that would litterally hang me for a mistake like this. Anyway its just not fair enthalpy and entropy are just too close to remember which is which. I think Enthalpy is Ctrl+F2 and Entropy is Shift+F2