October 23, 2020
WMS in Directed Mode: The Three P’s of Warehouse Tasks
Most Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) today allow for users to operate in a couple different modes — “Undirected” or “Directed”. “Undirected” mode is primarily menu focused, not time sensitive, and requires heavy direction from supervisors to delegate work out to operators to get warehouse tasks completed. However, “Directed” mode is pretty much the opposite. It is job-focused, time-sensitive, and requires little direction from supervisors. But how does the system delegate work out to operators in a timely manner? Through the 3P-Puzzle: Permissions, Priority, and Proximity.
Through configuration, permissions are set allowing users to perform specific warehouse operations. Users with different levels of responsibility are assigned different warehouse tasks. For example, pickers can perform picks, supervisors can perform audits, etc. Combined with the type of equipment the user is currently operating, fork list, pallet jack, etc. will determine the first piece in the 3P-Puzzle.
Through configuration, priority of warehouse tasks can be set allowing more important tasks to be performed before less important tasks. For example, an emergency replenishment to a forward case pickface should probably be performed as soon as possible, over the putaway tasks from receiving to storage racks. As warehouse tasks age in the system, the priority can be configured to automatically escalate to a higher priority. This becomes the third piece in the 3P-Puzzle.
Through configuration, proximity can be setup to determine how far from the user’s current position in the warehouse will the system look for the next warehouse task. This configuration can be used to keep a certain number of users in specific work zones / work areas to avoid unnecessary congestion. This becomes the third piece in the 3P-Puzzle.
Using the collective configuration from all three of the puzzle pieces will determine the next warehouse task the system will delegate out to the user.