Hi Guys, Here we are at the end of the Retail Warehouse Blueprint series. This is the last blog in this series where we will see how far does D365 F&O supports Retail Warehouse Blueprint. We will look specifically at how D365 F&O supports some of these areas better than others. In particular, two types of logic is needed to support different retail processing areas or storage locations –
- Routing logic – This logic is needed to intelligently guide products to a given area like the prep area or QC. You’ve got to have some kind of sampling logic, to figure out how many units need to go to QC and how many need to be put away, and you’ve got to be able to get it there.
- Processing logic – This logic is needed to actually do the work or record the work that takes place inside of the personalization area or the prep area or the QC area.
So in this blog, we will see for each of these different areas, how well does D365 F&O support, the routing logic needed to get it to that area and how well does it support the processing logic to actually execute or record the task that took place inside of that area. Now, keep in mind, before you approach a prospect or undertake a Retail implementation project that the product is evolving all the time, and many of these opportunities are already understood and recognized, and Microsoft is planning on trying to fill some of these.
But before we proceed with this blog, I will expect you to go through the previous post where we have gone through Retail Warehouse Blueprint in detail.
Inbound Processing Areas
Let us look at the Inbound side of things as far as the processing areas that retailers need to support the inbound flow of merchandise coming from vendors.
Outbound Processing Areas
- New SKU Area: This is where the product needs to go to get measured and set up in the system when it’s initially arrived at the warehouse because many of the dimensions and the weight and that kind of stuff aren’t recorded by the merchants who buy it. They expect the warehouse to collect that stuff once it shows up. So when the product comes in, it’s got to be diverted to this new SKU bench to have that information collected. Well, D365 F&O can be set up using filter codes, to divert new SKUs to that location using location directives and so forth. So it is yes, it can certainly get the merchandise to this area. There’s no problem. Once it gets over there, the next question is can you execute the work or record the work that needs to be done there? And it is yes for that one as well, because once it gets over there, you can enter the dimension into the product item master. You can put in the filter codes you need, the other stuff. All of that can be captured in the system without any problem.
- Quality Control Area: Can the product get routed to QC automatically? Yes, it can. Now, there is a little asterisk because it needs some additional partner supplied functionality that indicates how much should go there. After all, D365 F&O really has this assumption that the whole quantity will move in that direction if you’re going to need to apply quality orders to something. And we really don’t want to do that. We only want to move the sample to QC. But certainly, once it gets to QC, there’s plenty of functionality for executing all of the various tests and stuff that go on inside of the QC area.
- Prep Area: So prep is a slightly different animal. But to get to prep, there are two ways it can go. It can either be a manual activity to move the products to Prep or it needs to be the system saying this always needs to go to prep, because it always comes in from a vendor who refuses to put it in bags, and we need to put each piece in a bag before we ship it to consumers so we need to send it there all the time. So those two routing scenarios are well supported with the setup in D365 F&O. And once it gets to prep, there’s a series of activities that need to be done to it. Well, there’s no way to really capture the list of activities that a particular case is going to need once it gets there. So somebody has to come up with some manual process for communicating to the prep person, to tell them what is it that they need to do once it gets there.
- Flow thru Area: Also called as flow-thru distribution is completely supported than most applications that are available to operate warehouses. So the functionality there is very rich for getting the product where it needs to go and processing it while it’s there.
So now let’s look at the outbound side of things as far as the processing areas that retailers need to support the outbound flow of merchandise to stores or consumers.
- Put to Store Area: This obviously services the brick and mortar side of the business. With put to store, you bring the product to the pickers and they sort it into store-specific cartons. That process today isn’t supported really in any fashion within D365 F&O Warehouse Management. But everybody’s aware of it and hoping that it will get on the roadmap soon.
- Personalization Area: The personalization of product or the outbound value-added services area, where you can certainly set up the ability using a wide variety of fields that are in the system to get the product diverted from picking to a personalization station where it can be modified in some form or fashion. But as far as the actual process of that modification and communicating what needs to be done can be embedded in some order attributes, but there is no out-of-the-box solution for that. It’s going to require some partner functionality to really get it to work properly in a way that the Retail Warehouse will need.
- Packing Area: It is pretty much covered in previous posts. There’s a packing screen and there’s logic to get it to packing. So it is yes for both things.
- Manifesting Area: Some people like to manifest. And when we use the term manifest, we are referring to the process of generating the shipment or the carrier compliance label for an order that’s being shipped via small parcel carriers. That step of generating that label and sticking it on the box that’s really expected to be part of the packing function. It’s embedded into the packing process out of the box. But some people like to do it separately, and that’s to avoid the cost of having to buy one of those label printers for every one of their packing stations.
- Store Staging Area: It is a yes with an asterisk because for cartons that are picked but not packed, like the flow-thru cartons, some of those can be diverted straight to store staging without any problem and sorted out of the store pallet. But if you have to run through the packing and then sort it on to a store pallet, that has to be done manually. There’s really no way in the system to direct the palletization and to verify the palletization of cartons that go to stores that also went through packing.
- Audit: The audit process is post-pack, at some company that’s doing direct to consumer orders, they will sample a proportion of the orders outbound after packing. They’ll actually cut open the boxes and check to make sure that what’s supposed to be in there actually is in there. Usually, the percentage opened is like a one to two percent max. But there’s no current functionality for sending a packed carton to an audit station following the pack. But certainly, if you could get it there, you could look up inside D365 F&O what’s supposed to be in that carton and do a visual check. So I’ve given this a yes with an asterisk.
That kind of summarizes the areas that are supported a little bit better than some of the others. The product is evolving so you’ll need to check back the latest releases to find out what the latest version is that you’re going to be using or installing or selling that can support the requirements.
So that concludes our series on Retail Warehouse Blueprint. I believe it provided you the information that you need about what type of staging locations, the storage zones, and picking zones that you need to have, as well as the processing areas. And particularly, about the processing areas, you might have got a little bit better understanding about which areas are better supported by D365 F&O Warehouse management than other areas as a result of having gone through this blog. I hope this series will help you set up the blueprint for the Retail Warehouse that you have to implement or the prospect you have to visit.
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