In-depth: Inventory Allocation

Allocating inventory for order fulfillment is a critical function for any WMS.  While often times a new-comer to WMS is highjacked by pick/pack/ship functionality, how you receive and put product away and how you allocate are equally important.  Selecting the correct product from the proper location given a plethora of variables can have a range of positive effects on warehouse efficiency beyond simply getting the order out the door.  Today we offer a high-level review of AWLview WMS allocation methods.

Continuous Flow

This allocation method is typically used by our e-commerce and direct to consumer distribution customers, when orders come into the system must be shipped the same day.  Continuous flow in AWLview WMS does not require any interaction with an AWL user.  As orders are entered into the host system (or into AWL if order entry modules are included) they automatically flow into the WMS.  AWL will allocate inventory to these orders on a first come first serve basis.  AWL will begin to allocate inventory based on lot and expiration requirements, on allocation sequence within the warehouse configured by the customer (primary first, overflow second, inbound staging third, etc.) and so on.  With the appropriate data entered into AWLview WMS part profile, the system can even direct the operator to full case or pallet locations if standard case and pallet quantities exist.  No intermediate steps are necessary to release orders, pending pick transactions are put into the queue in order due date and priority sequence.

Wave Management

Some clients require more detailed control of releasing orders, especially in a manufacturing environment or extremely supply contrasted distribution of finished goods.  Other clients who ship-to-store, ship with various carrier types or ship to big box customers need the added fine-grain control over releasing orders and are best served by allocating with our Wave Management Utility.  As its name implies, Wave Management is used to create a wave, or group of orders, to release to the floor for picking.  A user with the proper system privileges may create a wave based on a number of factors: a wave of orders shipping next day air that must be processed and packed for early carrier truck arrival, a wave of orders for one specific customer or group of customers, a wave of consolidated orders to the same store, all orders with the truck route, all work orders without shortages, etc.  While creating and managing waves requires human interaction, it gives fine-grained control of inventory allocation and picking release to the floor.