WMS barcode system

Warehouse management case study


This case study is from a 3PL company that receives weekly containers of parts from overseas and then repacks and ships them. The warehouse management system is needed to record item receipts and shipments, to track lot numbers, to facilitate picking in a FIFO order, and to print labels and shipping documents.

The main operations are receive and ship. The case study illustrates administrative operations carried out on the web, and warehouse operations using the mobile barcode scanner, and the interaction between them.

Receive operation

The received items arrive in a shipping container of pallets, each pallet containing cartons with labels from the manufacturer, the labels including part number, serial number, lot number, and quantity.

Using Finale WMS, the receive process is:

  1. From the web application, create a blank purchase order and leave it outstanding. Received shipments will be attached to this purchase order.
  2. Using the mobile barcode scanner, scan the part number and the lot number from the first carton being received.
  3. For each carton of that same lot number, scan its serial number barcode on the label provided by the supplier. Thus, a single shot per box, very fast. This assumes the serial numbers on the labels are represented in a barcode, and that they are unique. If they are not, then you peel off a small serial number sticker from a pre-printed roll of sequential barcodes and apply to each carton to give the carton a new serial number for your own tracking.
  4. If a shipment contains multiple lot numbers, then you click a button on the scanner to change lot number whenever you switch from scanning boxes of one lot number to another.
  5. Finale will generate a pick list based on FIFO of lot dates. If the lot number begins with a date, then that is the date is used for FIFO purposes. If the lot number doesn't have a date, then Finale sorts by alphabetically/lexicographically.
  6. When you dock the scanner and sync, the transaction gets uploaded and the parts get added to your stock records, converted by the "standard packing quantity" for that part number from cartons to eaches.
  7. An additional option is you can declare your warehouse sections (A1, A2, etc.) as sublocations in Finale, and then you can scan the sublocation in which you are storing the received pallet. When repacking and shipping (see below), Finale will then be able to give you a pick list organized by sublocations, telling you where to go to find the FIFO pallet to be repacked.

Repack and ship operation

In this particular case study, parts are received in pallets of 25 cartons, 28 parts per carton. Thus 700 parts per pallet. The company repacks the items into pallets of 1320 parts each, and ships them on such pallets.

Using Finale WMS, the process is:

  1. On the web, create a sales order for 2640 parts.
  2. Click the "update shipment from order" button to generate a FIFO pick list identifying the lot numbers to draw from. If you record the sublocations in which you are receiving items, then the pick list will include directions as to where in the warehouse to find the lot number items.
  3. Undock the scanner, and take it with you as you pick the items for the order. Let's assume, for sake of example, that you will be drawing from 4 full pallets of 700 parts each, and that you will move them to a packing area to repack them.
  4. Move the palettes to the repacking area. Initiate a "pick" operation on the scanner. As you unpack cartons from a pallet, first scan the sublocation, scan the serial numbers on the boxes. Again, a single shot per box, very fast.
  5. If you are using Finale to keep track of storage locations in the warehouse, then prior to scanning the cartons from a particular palette, scan the sublocation barcode from where that palette was stored. This barcode will be on the pick list that told you where to go to find the palettes.
  6. For sake of example, let's say a carton contains 28 parts, and there are 25 cartons per pallet (28 * 25 = 700). After scanning 94 cartons, you've got 2632 parts. You need 8 more. You then click a button on the scanner to switch it to "each" mode, then you scan the 95th carton's serial number and enter the quantity 8 (or equivalently scan it 8 times). This concludes your "pick" operation.
  7. When done, either move the remaining 160 items (2800 - 2640) back from the packing area to the warehouse storage locations or if it is more convenient, leave them at the packing area. In the latter case, if you are keeping track of sublocations then do a quick "transfer" operation on the scanner to record the new storage location for these remaining 160 items.
  8. Dock the scanner by a computer to sync the recorded operation with the online account.