What is a Pickface in a Warehouse Management System?
A “Pickface” (also referred to as a forward-picking location) is a location in a warehouse where loose pick activities are conducted. Loose-pick means picking quantity is less than one (1) pallet. These can be carton pick or inner pack pick or each pick.
Pickfaces are usually located on the group location of a rack, or it may be located at one or two levels above the ground location. At the ground location, it is easier and more efficient for anyone to perform loose picking by hand. To perform loose picking at a higher level, the picker shall either need to use a forklift or a reach truck to bring down the pallet, pick the required quantity and return the pallet to the original rack location. Alternatively, a specialized MHE such as a man-up MHE (Material Handling Equipment) is required. As shown below, the higher level pickfaces require a man-up MHE (also referred to as an Order Picker).
As the picking activities continue, the quantity stored in the pickfaces shall sooner or later depleted. As such, the same product stored in another location (usually from a higher level) needs to be bought to the pickface, this is called a “Replenishment”.
Replenishment requires strategy, it is called…well… “Replenishment Strategy”.
For example, you may only want to perform replenishment in the morning because of manpower planning. Some may want to perform replenishment as when it is needed, some may want to perform replenishment when the pickface reaches less than 20% of the pallet quantity, some may want to over replenish the pickface so to fulfill a big wave.
To ensure replenishments are executed promptly to allow smooth picking, you need to have a Warehouse Management System (WMS) that has the flexibility in the replenishment strategy.
Advanced features such as “Dynamic Pickface” and “Slotting” are available in some WMS such as Infor WMS and Blue Yonder WMS. Dynamic pickface provides flexibility in organizing pickface locations — all the pickfaces are shared among all the items, the system is intelligent enough to assign (slot) items to to the pickfaces and then unassigned (un-slot) them when not needed, automatically, and without human intervention. The “Slotting” feature also generates tasks for moving unassigned inventory from the pickface to a location at a higher level. So the system constantly, based on the current needs and waves, slot and un-slot inventory.
In addition to the tips outlined in this article, there are many valuable resources available to help you improve your warehouse operations. One book we highly recommend is ‘Dodge It If You Can’ by David Mouland and Aw Yang Uei. This book presents a real-life collection of anecdotal incidents from industry veterans who have built their careers from scratch, providing practical insights into navigating the challenges of business. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to take your warehouse management to the next level, ‘Dodge It If You Can’ is a must-read for anyone interested in improving their business operations.
- Basic feature of Warehouse Management System(WMS)
- What is Inventory Day?
- Receiving Rules of WMS
- What is Putaway in WMS
- What is a Wave in WMS
- Picking and Packing
- What is a Replenishment in WMS
- What are Loading and Shipping in WMS
- What are the differences between Stocktake and Cycle Count
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