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Lifecycle of a product in a distribution environment using advanced warehouse management (using Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations)

By Amit Raina, Senior Manager, Retail and Supply Chain, Arbela Technologies

In today’s high-velocity manufacturing and distribution industries, it is imperative to develop processes that not only streamlines the business activities but also become an integral part of the system flow. Many of the advanced warehouse management systems (WMS) claim that they allow such capabilities, however, a few pressing questions needs to be asked and evaluated before these systems are to be considered. Ask the question, why will it work for me? The list below are a few questions that I have asked myself:

  1. Does the automated integration with potential WMS systems or the seamlessly integrated system would help streamline processes and offer increased productivity? Will it affect my system performance?
  2. What business feature sets and capabilities are required within your company, and does the potential WMS system offer such real-time capabilities such as, Inbound and Outbound pick and put directives, and strategies, serial and lot (Batch) control, cycle count planning, front counter support for retail industry, manifestation, replenishment features, provide advance warehouse metrics via powerful business intelligence, warehouse utilities such as stocking and movements within warehouse, load planning, transportation management capabilities such rating and routing. The list can be endless based on your warehousing business requirements
  3. How will the potential WMS system improve user experience, day to day business activity and more importantly give an exceptional customer experience
  4. Does the WMS system monitor moving of high-velocity items and slow moving inventory at the same time? How can it suggest the most optimal pick and put away locations?

Once you have evaluated the answers based on your business needs, as a next step, evaluate the feature sets that are on the offer. Many advanced WMS systems offer a wide range of feature sets that control many aspects of warehousing operations. In simple terms these operations range from receiving and storing items as part of the Inbound Management process, retrieving and shipping these items as part of Outbound management process, counting to movement to inquiry lookups to warehouse transfers as part of Inventory Management process, and more advanced Warehouse Management processes such as production material picking and finished good put-away as part of manufacturing operations, inventory replenishment, cross docking, quality management as part of distribution operations, Kanban picking, receipt, and put-away as part of lean manufacturing. Based on your business needs, a good warehouse management system must provide capabilities to design warehouse that will allow users to utilize available space, make best use of employee’s time and labor utilization, the ability to fulfill unique stock storage requirements that you may have, and provide the mobility to process the warehouse transaction through handheld devices (or as we call “Mobile Devices”).

In order to gain the competitive edge in delivering on time in full goods to your customers, it is extremely important to deliver a unique experience by doing these activities quickly and efficiently. With that said, it becomes imperative that you know exactly how much (Quantity) and where (Locations) you have stock on-hand. For these purposes, Microsoft Dynamics AX allows you to design your optimal warehouse to meet your business needs and provides various configuration abilities such as designing menu items for warehouse transactions and mobility purposes as discussed below.

Commonly used menus for mobility

Figure 1.1: Commonly used menus for mobility

Mobile device menus dynamics 365 for OperationsMobile device menus dynamics 365 for Operations 2

Figure 1.2: Configured menus and menu items Dynamics 365 for Operations

Menu items on Android Dynamics 365 for OperationsMenu items on Android Dynamics 365 for Operations 2

Figure 1.3: Menu Items on Android Phone

*Dynamics 365 for operations – Warehousing is an application available on Google Play Store and Windows Store. The images above are from real instance application from my Android phone

In that regards, Dynamics AX 2012 and Dynamics 365 for Operations have tremendously improved their functionalities and capabilities in the Warehousing and Transportation management areas. These two new modules within AX 2012 R3 are integrated seamlessly, allowing businesses the ability to manage and control all aspects of Supply Chain and Execution using real-time data to better service their customers without the hassle of integration and updates from third party system.  All data is shared within the same database and information are readily available for end-users. In the first series, we will cover warehouse management concepts and setups as related to an Inbound process.

Click here to watch the webinar recording.

Key takeaways attendees gain from this session include:

  1. WMS Core Concepts and Setups
  2. Inbound goods management
  3. Manage load and shipment for Inbound
  4. Real-time Inventory Management
  5. RF Mobile Solution
  6. RF Mobile device execution