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Need professional help with flow and procedure

Need professional help with flow and procedure

Need professional help with flow and procedure

We think we want barcode.  We are a engine parts distributor.  We don't have any real examples in our industry to draw from.    None of our managers have a "We used to do it this way and ..."  Our accounting package is in UNIX.  I can print 3of9 barcode on my forms with the use of escape codes.  The mechanics of printing labels and forms is NOT our challange.  Our challange is in flow.  When should we print labels?  Do we print labels before we receive or after?  When should we scan (if ever) with respect to the picking process?  Should we pick as normal and use a scanner as a QA tool?  Our part numbers include alpha and numeric as well as hyphens and other special characters like "#" so only 3of9 univrsal will work?  
  I'm thinking a couple of PDT 8100's from Symbol would help because of the wireless connectivity but those would need programming that maybe somewhat beyond my expertise.  We've got 10,000 in the budget for 2 PDT's, 2 zebra's, and 2 HP lasers with font cards, and 3 hand held wired scanners.  We already have a 802.11b/g infrastructure.  
  OK, you industry professionals...what should we do?  What would you charge to help us accomplesh that?  For whom have you done this in the past?  

Thanks for all the help here, i just love tek-tips, they ROCK!

Scott in Charlotte, NC

RE: Need professional help with flow and procedure

Take a look at http://www.systemid.com They are extremely helpful with lots of infomation. My experience with sales and tech support has been good.

RE: Need professional help with flow and procedure

a lot of your answers depend upon what you want / need to accomplish.  code 3 of 9 is pretty much the industry standard, but some use code 128 and there are a few distributors that want upc, or the biggies like gm  - delphi that want 2d.  what may be the best way to start is to look at your current processes and decide where a barcode (item #, lot #, etc) would decrease errors / user input time.
feel free to post back with any specific queries.

RE: Need professional help with flow and procedure

The thing to remember is that barcodes are just a tool and should serve to enhance processes and procedures by, as stated by longhair, decreasing errors and reducing input time.  Typically barocoding requirements are defined by internal processes and customer requirements in the distribution business.  Be aware that tagging and scanning can increase effeciency in some areas but often can decrease effeciency in other areas.  It is all in how you implement your warehousing solution.  

RE: Need professional help with flow and procedure

Have all your warehouse locations bar-coded so you can do inventory by location.  maybe you have more than one location type in the facility, for example, a backstock area and a picking area (backstock is used to replenish pick.)  main thing in warehousing is that you know where product is and how many are there.  don't scan during pick, that slows process.  you want to scan stuff as little as possible.  if incoming product is not labeled / barcoded, do it at receiving time (at the point of receipt, if you use a PO system, let it drive the printing if possible (when you bring up the po and enter the receipt quantity).

Scan what you put away during the receiving process (what/how many and where).  this lets you use a random putaway so you can use the space in the warehouse effectively, ie you can put anything anywhere there is space and the system knows where it is.  I have seen a lot of warehouses that try to put all of a certain item in a given space, sometimes that works, most times not and they have to plan the space for the max they think they will ever have in the location and that seldom works.

Incorporated with order fulfillment (invoicing) let the pick process let down or decrement the location quantities.  The systems knows where it is and how many are there so let the system direct the picker to a location for a quantity of X.  the system can decrement the quantity automatically.  

Use "Cycle counts" to keep things tip top (you do not want to count the entire warehouse at once so you count small areas sequentially over time).  I.E. on a cyclical basis, count a range of locations and update the locations with the actual items/quantities (just overlay what is there (you might want a location over-short report)); for example, weekly, count an entire aisle then the next week, another aisle (once your comfortble with the process you can fine-tune the frequency).  Of course, cycle counts would be used on both the backstock and pick areas and you would not count during a time when there is activity in the locations being counted (unless your system is sophisticated enough to handle it).    

Pick replenishment from backstock, if you do it, works similar to pick.  Set limits on your picking bins (low and high) so that when a low threshold is reached, you replenish the pick bin to the upper limit.  Most big high velocity warehouses will run a replenishment cycle before each pick to ensure there are not any no-stocks.  The system should identify a short if it sees the qty in the pick bin is less than the pick demand and can generate a replenishment for a sinble bin if necessary.  Naturally, the replenishment process decrements the backstock area location and increments the pick area bin locations.  

If possible, integrate processes so as to drive product re-order (integrated with purchase order processing (both re-order and receival).   

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