With storage space limited at its outlets, particularly in large shopping centres, the retailer wanted to ensure they could meet peak season Christmas demand for promotions, with quick and easy access to accurate levels of inventory held locally offsite.
IDC’s SimpliTrak™ WMS provided the ideal solution, enabling each store’s seasonal stock to be held and managed at a nearby offsite location until needed. Stock levels within the temporary store are replenished automatically according to the previous day’s store sales, which generates a picking operation at the offsite warehouse to allow the shelves to be re-stocked. The Multi-site Warehouse Management System is hosted and managed by IDC within a secure UK Data Centre and linked to the client’s main WMS to allow data exchange between the two systems.
How It Works
Each store and off-site stockroom is provided with a Zebra TC20 terminal with built-in barcode scanner. A mobile printer and desktop PC running the SimpliTrak TM WMS web client allow operators in the stock room to view orders, manage the inbound process, put away and picking, and create reports.
Stores can raise emergency pick requests via the shelf edge labelling and the application installed on the TC20 terminal. These orders are in addition to the normal daily orders uploaded from the clients legacy system, based on store sales.
The TC20 terminals are also used for all Stockroom operations including trailer receiving, put-away, picking and replenishment. Also, the Stockroom has a wireless printer for labelling during picking operations at the Stockroom. All devices connect over the internet to the hosted virtual server using dedicated data lines with all traffic to the host system encrypted.
The off-site stock rooms comprise three location types, including Pick Face, Storage and Overflow locations which hold complete outer cartons. The pick face locations are dedicated to single SKUs and set up includes a sequence number so that locations can be picked in a specific order to reduce travel. A storage location can be assigned to one or more SKUs, allowing the stock to be grouped into areas or individual locations. The system overflow location is a default location where the stock will be directed, once all other location options have been exhausted.
Trailer Despatch & Manifest
An existing IDC application already manages and controls the despatch process in the main DC, producing a trailer manifest for every outbound trailer, so when a trailer is despatched from the main warehouse to one of the Off-Site Stockrooms (OSSR) the manifest is sent automatically to the OSSR system prior to its arrival. The data transferred provides each Stockroom with all the details needed to accept the trailer and create a putaway list.
Once a trailer arrives at the OSSR, the accompanying trailer manifest is scanned to confirm its arrival which updates its status in real-time. In the event data has not been sent for this, the OSSR can make a reverse request to the existing SimpliTrak™ system to obtain the trailer information before starting the putaway process.
The putaway process takes account of the individual pallet load positions on the trailer and is completed in reverse load order so that the pallet at the back is the first to be addressed, and each location follows the sequence of the location setup. Once the putaway operation is complete for an assignment, this is confirmed by scanning the barcode on the put away sheet.