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Warehouse management, bin locations, barcode scanning, etc
05-20-2013, 08:32 PM
Post: #11
RE: Warehouse management, bin locations, barcode scanning, etc
Sorry Exson.

I just re-attached the PDF. I hope it helps.

Buz
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05-20-2013, 10:59 PM
Post: #12
RE: Warehouse management, bin locations, barcode scanning, etc
Thanks Buz: File is available now. Looks like a great start point.

Regards,
Pak Ricard
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05-21-2013, 10:46 AM
Post: #13
RE: Warehouse management, bin locations, barcode scanning, etc
[undefined=undefined]Buz:
[/undefined]
Thank you very much!
I'll find some time to study it.

Best regards!

Exson

(05-20-2013 08:32 PM)Buz Wrote:  Sorry Exson.

I just re-attached the PDF. I hope it helps.

Buz
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05-22-2013, 04:46 AM (This post was last modified: 05-22-2013 10:51 PM by mightygorilla.)
Post: #14
RE: Warehouse management, bin locations, barcode scanning, etc
I've also been watching webERP hoping that at least a small amount of warehouse functionality would make it into the system eventually. We're such a small shop, I spend my days putting out fires and haven't had a chance to try to dig in and learn the basic structure of the system or I would consider trying to add some of the basics on my own.

The WMS Intro writeup Buz posted looks like a great start to planning some functionality. I just had a few notes to add for anyone who may be working towards this goal:

BARCODE SCANNING
Something that's easy to overlook, but can make a user's experience 100% better: Application IDs!
Add some simple AI processing to the input validation to direct scanned data to the proper field, so users need not "tab around" the screen to get their scanned data in the right place. They're just some codes prefixed to the barcode that tells your app what the data is, and thus your app can decide where (and if) it should go on the form.
The only mobile screen Buz listed in his PDF is fairly basic, but even there it would be useful to verify that it *was* in fact the item number scanned, as opposed to a UPC, etc. - and prevent a "double scan" of the item number from being interpreted as a quantity

LABEL INTEGRATION
The "standard" method for interfacing with label printers would be to use a labeling engine such as Seagull, Loftware, etc. These *would* mean requiring a commercial software package to be used with the webERP, but anyone who needs an ERP can probably spring for a basic edition of a label package. Depending on the package, there are several integration options. Commonly "label definition" files are just dumped to a directory queue and the system polls the directory, determines which printer, and spools it to the printer. The data can be in XML or possibly other structures. Some of the more expensive labeling packages may even offer web services to receive the label requests.

A more basic option (but a little less user friendly) would be to directly send ZPL code to the printer (if it's Zebra compatible, and network accessible). Users requiring customized labels would still need a copy of a labeling package to design that custom label, but after that you just have to send some code to the printer. I've written some stored procedures that output labels from our current ERP that have worked well using this method.

STOCK "ALLOCATION"
As soon as multiple bin locations are allowed in the system, it becomes necessary to identify picking locations on pick slips (if those are being used). It's my opinion that actual allocation to specific shipments would be functionality for far in the future. Early on, a "suggested" bin that has inventory enough to cover the pick would suffice, but some sort of algorithm is still needed to select the location. Our current ERP's functionality here is completely weak, just making this selection alphabetically by bin, and potentially sending pickers to odd places in certain situations. This would be a good place to offer users some customization options. Smile

Travis-
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05-22-2013, 07:34 PM
Post: #15
RE: Warehouse management, bin locations, barcode scanning, etc
It's good to see the discussion widening, Travis. WMS can get complicated, so it's important to get as much input as possible to get it right ... and keep it simple.

Re: your 1st point - it's important to keep the WH system very simple for Warehouse workers. In my WMS, the operator would drive to the 1st location indicated in the cycle count list of items to be counted. The cursor is already active in the Location field (as indicated by the reverse video). When location is scanned, the cursor moves to the Barcode field. When finished, the cursor would reset to the Location field, anticipating the next item count. Since we used a touch-screen computer, the operator could always move the cursor when needed, but that feature was rarely needed. I like your idea of the smart barcode that helps the operator. Let's do it!

We used a Zebra printer to generate location barcode labels. It worked well.

We allocated inventory at end of day, after order processing. Each delivery route was assigned to be picked by one operator. The system attempted to assign picks so that only one pass through the WH was required (the benefit of, and argument for, randomized storage). I agree that this function is likely a future implementation. It's possible to print pick tickets in the interim, but it's difficult to keep control of inventory that way. If there are enough programmers available, maybe we can undertake cycle count, receiving and picking in parallel. My PHP is pretty weak, so Phil would probably drum me out of the corps.

It sounds like you've given this long thought, Travis. This discussion should lead to a better solution.

Regards,
Buz
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11-18-2013, 07:49 PM
Post: #16
RE: Warehouse management, bin locations, barcode scanning, etc
so you used barcode scanner to scan the location ? which type can be available ?

Cindy, there are now many scanners that will work, including those you reference and any corded or cordless, mobile computer scanners and those on smart phones.

All scanners convert the barcode to ascii text so your the input looks the same to your application as if it came from the keyboard. This is why the type of scanner is not important. Just make sure the scanner converts to the format you need.

The application will determine what you need. If you must scan a rack location that may be 35' (10 m) high in the warehouse, then
you will need one with more power than a smart phone scanner.

Hope this helps,
Buz
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11-18-2013, 09:43 PM
Post: #17
RE: Warehouse management, bin locations, barcode scanning, etc
(11-18-2013 08:51 PM)timschofield Wrote:  While working on an open source system for hospitals I discovered that it is possible to set a custom URL in the android bar scanner app then when using the android device to scan a bar code you can directly open a page on your phone referencing that item. That might be something everybody else knew, but it impressed me :-)

BTW Buz, any chance of you doing a part 2 of your document?

Tim

Yes, I can do that Tim. Since there was little feedback about my first PDF, I didn't think there was much interest. Have you or anyone else attempted implementation?

That document showed how to introduce inventory to the system via cycle count.

I'll work on the next logical piece: Receiving. This is the process whereby product delivered by a vendor to the distributor is added to inventory. This uses the PO and Receiving documents as control. The PO is massaged for use on a forklift computer so the inventory can be received.

There is a back office piece and another for forklift.

This will take a couple of weeks as I'm a little busy right now, but I like the idea of open source software, so I'm happy to do it.

Cheers,
Buz
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11-18-2013, 10:21 PM (This post was last modified: 11-19-2013 07:01 PM by phil.)
Post: #18
RE: Warehouse management, bin locations, barcode scanning, etc
In general, WMS offers the greatest possibility for benefit to the distributor. My client was able to reduce warehouse staff from about 70 to 42 while greatly improving accuracy at the same time. And it was great fun to develop!

I'll be out for most of the rest of today, so I will check your blog later.

Cheers,
Buz
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01-20-2014, 12:26 PM
Post: #19
RE: Warehouse management, bin locations, barcode scanning, etc
Got some similiar issue here with barcode scanning and warehouse managing. Info posted is very helpful. But I have one little question, is there any easy way for me to put the data extracted from barcode into Excel file. Something like barcode tool for Excel that I can get?
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01-21-2014, 03:14 AM
Post: #20
RE: Warehouse management, bin locations, barcode scanning, etc
It depends on what software you are using. The simplest way to do it it to scan into a text file and then import that file into Excel. The barcdode is just a text string to the computer, exactly the same as if it came from the keyboard. So you might find out how to get your software to write to a text file.

btw, there is a new Receiving document that's was uploaded yesterday to Development Discussion & Specification.Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) which those interested in WMS might enjoy.

Regards,
Buz
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