Sumit Potbhare: The Value of a Customized Mobile Device | Approach to D365 for Commerce with Adv WH Mgmt
Hi Guys, In our previous blog we saw how can we save Putaway & Replenishment Labor. We also saw that one feature that impacts the Retail Warehouse payroll and that is Labor standard in terms of Efficiency and Utilization. In this blog, we will see how you could improve the efficiency and the service levels of the various people that work within a Retail Warehouse by modifying the mobile device screens.
In our previous post on Picking we saw this particular picking screen. We also saw how this can have two zeros for the quantity number. This screen is visited potentially at some places 10,000 or 15,000 times a day. So somebody can misinterpret that maybe pick 700 or 70 or something as a result. So those extra zeros following the decimal point need to be removed. There’s lots of places in a Retail Warehouse where little changes like that could have a noticeable impact either on productivity or on the quality of the work that goes on. And it’s really neat that one of the really strategic advantages of D365 FO is that it’s not very difficult with partner help to make some of these small mobile device screen changes so that you can deliver some value to a customer or prospect that’s really unique and personalized to their specific situations.
One of the things that really differentiates the ERP world is that oftentimes you get a copy of the code as opposed to in the best-of-breed world this does not usually happen. And what’s neat is that with D365 FO, the mobile device code is fairly straightforward and it’s pretty well documented. So it’s not very hard to create some new forms but also to tailor existing forms is pretty straightforward as long as what you’re trying to do is fairly simple.
Mobile Device codeFor example, imagine that you have something that’s fragile in your warehouse and people keep breaking it or customers report that it’s broken because people aren’t putting it into the proper sized box or they’re not wrapping it when they put it into the tote or something. So to help solve that problem, you want to change the Mobile device screen that’s used for picking to help the pickers out.
Out of Box
So you might do something like this. This is the standard picking screen. And looking at it, it just tells you that this is the item and this is the location you’ve got to go to. But there’s nothing on here that kind of tells you anything special about it. So you go to the location and you pick it. Well, you may not know when you’re looking at this item that inside that box is something that’s very, very fragile and consequently it needs to be taken care of. Maybe you need to wrap it with bubble wrap before you put it into the tote.
You can very easily go back to that code we saw above and add in something that will, just at the bottom of the pick screen, will say, hey, Fragile. Now, of course this is something the partner would have to do. But this is literally a ten-minute change. It’s not something that’s going to take very much time at all to implement.
And you can go even further than and really highlight it because these are HTML type rendered screens, you can make it big like that. And so that it’s perfectly unequivocal that this is something that needs to be addressed very carefully because it’s a fragile item. There’s a lot of these kinds of situations in Retail Warehouses whereby tailoring these screens just a little bit you can really make a difference. And here are some of the following examples as things to consider to put in front of a client.
Indicate that a pick involves more than one unit by writing MULTI in big red letters
A lot of e-commerce companies, the order lines typically are just for one unit. And so you get into a habit, if you’re a picker, of just grabbing one. You don’t even pay attention sometimes to the quantity that’s shown on the screen. You just assume it’s one. Well, here’s some way you could help reduce those mispick situations by creating at the very bottom of the screen code that will say MULTI in big red letters so the picker will go: Wait, wait this is really different, I need to pay attention to it because it’s not a single pick. So you could reduce the number of instances of mispicks that take a lot of labor to fix.
Indicate that something that needs to be picked with someone else (if its item wt > 30KG) by writing 2 MAN PICK
Here’s another one where, let’s say you got something that’s really heavy. Well, before the guy gets over there and discovers that it’s really heavy, you can show at the bottom of the screen that it’s a two-man pick, and as he’s driving over there he can look for people to come join him to make this pick. So he doesn’t have to wait when he gets over there to go find somebody. He can find somebody on the way to his pick location, which again could save time in the picking process.
If they scan the wrong putaway location make it play a sound
If somebody goes to put away something and they’re being told to go to a particular location, they may scan it, and they may not just look at the screen. Especially if you’re scanning lots of cases into the location, you just don’t, a lot of times people just don’t look at the screen, they’re just scanning it. Let’s say you scan something that’s not supposed to go to that location. Let’s have it play a sound that’s really distinctive to signal, hey, something’s really screwed up here, we need to make sure that we don’t put this particular merchandise in this location. You could do that very easily with this kind of functionality.
If they scan the wrong item, force it to ask the operator to scan the location before scanning the correct item to ensure they are at the right spot
Here’s one also that’s less than intuitive. A lot of new pickers make the mistake that when they go to a pick location and they’re told to scan the item there, they will scan the item that’s there and it will say this is the wrong item. They’ll look around, and they won’t see that item anywhere nearby, and they will short the order, which creates an order. Well, it turns out 30 to 40% of the short orders are not really short orders. And the reason they are declared a short order is because the picker was actually at the wrong location. And so as a result of scanning the item that was there, it was obvious that it’s not the right item. The system’s just telling them that. And so what we could see somebody doing is modifying the picking screen slightly so that if someone scans the wrong item, it asks you to scan the location you are at before asking you to scan the correct item again. That way they would know that they’re at the right location or not. You could force them to do that, as opposed to asking them to scan the location every single time they go to the Pick Face, which wastes two to four seconds for every pick. Again, if you’re doing this 10,000 times a day, that matters. That adds up to real cash. And this is an easy thing to fix.
When the are pulling a replen show the fixed pick location for the item so they can decide where to palletize it on the pallet
The last one is kind of an interesting one. Imagine if you’re pulling replenishment cases out of the back end reserve, if you show the forward pick location at the bottom of the replenishment screen, the replenishment operator that’s pulling these can kind of segment, say, the cases that need to go to the back of the warehouse are on the right side of the pallet; whereas, the ones that need to go to the front side of the warehouse can be on the left side of the pallet. This can make the process of putting product away into the fixed pick locations much more efficient later on. So this is an easy thing to add.
So all of these things are excellent examples of how, with partner help, that’s not too excessive or too complicated, you could come up with some really neat enhancements to the mobile device screens that could save time and could improve the quality of service that a Retail Warehouse delivers to its stores and customers.
In our next blog, we will see how the Warehouse Management module can actually make a retailer money through the idea of a retail chargeback.
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