Warehouse Vision (WV) is a state-of-the-art Warehouse Management System (WMS) and is the heart of LVS. It supports single and multi-site, private and public distribution centers utilizing the latest Barcode and Radio Frequency (RF) technologies. WV covers all major warehousing activities such as merchandise reception, put-away, inventory management, counting, order fulfillment along with picking, checking, packing and shipping.
Management of Purchase Orders and ASNs
A comprehensive POs (Purchase Orders) and ASNs (Advance Shipping Notices) management module are included in the WV.
POs are the orders submitted by a company towards its suppliers. ASN info is in turn provided by the suppliers following the execution of POs of their customers.
POs and ASNs can be entered manually or automatically imported into this module from another IT system such as the ERP of the company or the depositor (in the case of LSP) or even the supplier (in case of ASNs).
The automatic import is being done by the means of the LVS/Logistics Link Manager tool. It can be initiated by an authorized administrator or by the system itself (scheduled). Alternatively, ASNs can be entered through Web by means of the optional Web ASN module that is part of LVS/Trade Partner Management subsystem.
ASNs correspond (are linked) to POs, thus during the receiving process, actual receipts can be compared against the expected ones (ASNs), report the differences (if any) and update the relevant POs.
Receiving and Put-Away
The merchandise reception takes place on the docks where the goods are checked against the relative manifests and/or the Advanced Shipping Notices – ASN (if any).
The system can handle actual receipts against planned expected receipts (ASNs), unplanned receipts and returns. Barcode scanning can significantly improve performance and accuracy in the receiving process, supporting standard (eg. UCC/EAN-128 label) and supplier depended on barcode formats. System-directed palletization is supported based on predefined standards per item (SKU). Barcode labeling on the desired level (pallet, box, and piece) is also supported in case it is required.
The put-away process can be done in two ways:
- As an internal movement where the target storage location is decided by the user, or
- As a system directed put-away process where the target storage location is decided by the system based on a combination of predefined and dynamic criteria.
In both cases, users use their RF terminals to execute the process. They scan the proper barcode labels of the goods to be stored (e.g. pallet EAN 128 label) and the location they moved the specific goods (usually by scanning or keying the relative storage location id). In second case users follow system´s put-away proposal displayed on their RF screen (i.e. location to store the specific goods). Alternatively, an authorized administrator can update the system of the actual execution details of such activities via PC-based tools such as Task Manager (that is part of the LVS/Control Center subsystem).
Authorized operators are allowed to:
- Block particular lots
duringmerchandise reception and returns. Such blocking can be marked by fixed predefined or ad hoc defined reasons such as quarantine, unsuitability, etc.
- Unblock particular lots to make them available for further processing such as allocation to sales orders and picking.
In addition to the above typical quality control capabilities, LVS includes an advanced quality and safety planning and execution system (Quality Vision).
Returns are handled similarly to the standard receipts. However, instead of relating them to suppliers, they are related to specific customer order shipments/sales orders and thus facilitate and accelerate the identification of the returned items.
Furthermore in case the returned goods had been prepared (before being shipped) by LVS packing process, then the system can automate such returns by automatically identifying the returned goods along with their packing details, correlating them to specific order shipments/sales orders, advising the put-away locations (picking/stock/areas), cross-docking them for future shipments, etc.
Capture of Sales Orders
SO are the delivery orders submitted to a company by its customers. All known SO types are supported such as typical customer orders, production orders, stock designated for scrap, orders requiring specific pallets and/or lot numbers, returns to suppliers, etc.
SO can be entered manually and/or automatically imported into this module from another IT system such as the ERP of the company or the depositor (in the case of LSP).
The manual data entry is facilitated through a comprehensive Sales Orders (SO) management module that is included in the WV. Alternatively SO can be manually entered through Web by means of the optional Web Order module that is part of LVS/Trade Partner Management subsystem. The automatic import is being done by the means of the LVS/Logistics Link Manager tool. It can be initiated by an authorized administrator or by the system itself (scheduled).
Processing of Sales Orders – Stock Control
The processing of SO is facilitated through a comprehensive Stock Control module that is included in the WV. This module identifies and allocates the right stock for every SO. As a result, it could eventually create a back order, split an order to one or more order shipments, allocate an alternative item, explode a kit to its components, etc.
Stock Control allocates stock to SO both in soft-allocation and in hard-allocation modes. The first mode allocates stock without specifying which exactly physical stock is allocated to each SO (i.e. without specifying the exact storage location, pack type, etc.), whereas the second mode specifies so.
The stock rotation rules can be based on known standards such as FIFO, FEFO, FPFO, and LIFO as well as on any characteristics of the stock. Such stock rotation rules and priorities can be easily defined in the core system through LVS´ unique Stock Attributes mechanism.
Advanced stock rotation rules and scenarios can be defined by means of the optional powerful tool Visual logistics Scenario Builder that is a part of the Adaptability Partner Workbench subsystem. Requirements (usually coming from supermarkets towards their distributors/wholesalers) such as product shelf-life or deliver always better expiration dates are typical examples covered by these tools.
This tool not only allows the design of proper stock allocation scenarios per case but also the design of optimized picking and replenishment flows based on other criteria such as stock´s physical locations, packing conditions, etc.
Finally, such rules/scenarios can be assigned to specific customers, customer types, order types, etc., thus covering even the most complex stock allocation requests.
The stock allocation process is followed by automatic or manual generation of picking lists.
Picking can be performed by RFs and/or by printed picking lists (or alternatively by Pick2Light and other means). A picking list can be assigned to an individual picker or a group of pickers. The picking process can be done in two ways:
System Directed Picking
It is the picking that is based on the picking lists created by previous processing of Sales Orders. Among the picking techniques supported are the following ones:
- Pick by Order,
- Group (or else Batch /Consolidated) Picking,
- Zone Picking,
- Multiple – Order Picking,
User Directed (or else Real Time) Picking
It is the picking that relies directly on the orders (SO) rather than on picking lists/tasks. Among the picking techniques supported are the following ones:
- Pick by Order,
- Group Picking,
- Blank Order Picking.
The following stock replenishing modes are supported:
On time: Such replenishment process is triggered by the generation of picking lists. It is done in case the stock required to fulfill one or more orders is not available at the relevant picking location(s) or in the proper packaging format.
Off time: Such replenishment process is performed independently of picking waves and usually at different time windows, so that during picking no replenishment traffic is required in the warehouse.
Packing – Loading – Shipping
The packing process generates packing lists and shipping labels (if required). The format and information included on the packing list and shipping labels are adapted per case according to customer´s requirements. The packing information facilitates the following processes:
- Vehicle loading along with the checking of the goods being loaded (in order to confirm that the right goods have been loaded into the right vehicle).
- Delivering goods. The driver can better identify what to deliver per each vehicle stop.
- Return of goods. See above for more information.
- Traceability up to the delivery point.
Packing can be done in the following ways:
- Simultaneous with picking (Pick&Pack)
- After picking at a Packing Station or by RF terminals.
Finally, the system directs the users to load the orders onto the vehicles. The vehicle loading process can be checked with RFs or printed lists.
Directed cross docking is supported. Received goods can be matched with specific customer orders using specific stock attributes.
Furthermore goods “In Transit” are supported for warehouse receipts that are followed by a customer’s orders hard allocation.
Finally, special functionality for the dynamic (or else unplanned-opportunistic) cross docking environment is also available.
It is a sophisticated module supporting counting. It allows authorized personnel to generate count plans and then manage and monitor the execution of them.
There are two modes of operation in counting: summary and detail counting. Summary counting is a fast way of recording the actual inventory using the minimum of data required for the purpose of finding the differences with the system quantities.
In detail counting, which is typically performed for locations where differences were identified by a summary counting, all stock data are recorded so that the count stock may be used to update the system stock.
There are many other options for counting such as:
- Location counting or location and item counting.
- Single or multiple pass counting.
- Locking of locations for counting or counting without locking.
- A repeat count of difference only or repeat always.
Advanced Task Management
Automatic Task Assignment
It is an advanced mechanism included in LVS that is used to minimize the total execution time of tasks through the optimal utilization of employee skills.
Automatic task assignment may be applied to LVS tasks, i.e. putaway, replenishment, and picking.
Task assignment is based on sets of rules, or strategies, then contain criteria for the selection of tasks and criteria for the selection and sorting of employees.
Task selection criteria may be the depositor, task type, item category, Warehouse zone, pack types, SKU dimensions.
Employee criteria may include specific employees or employee sorting based on skill levels.
Additionally, a strategy may contain limits on the acceptable task delay as well the action that must be performed when those limits are exceeded.
Based on task assignment strategies the service periodically selects tasks suitable for the strategy and assigns them to employees.
LVS core has been designed to support advanced real-time task interleaving within the distribution center that greatly improves the efficiency and productivity of the resources (people, forklifts, etc.).
Both manual and automatic methods are supported along with advanced criteria such as last scanned location for traceability of user inside the warehouse for the relative task (near last scanned location) or customized criteria per customer needs.
A semi-automatic method is also supported, which is a combination of two above methods (Manual and Automatic).
Flexible and customizable environment
Warehouse Vision is one of the most adaptable WMS platforms worldwide which can be customized to cover almost every need of a modern DC. Authorized personnel can set up location and storage systems, define attributes such as item, stock, receipt, order, customer and dynamic, set up logistics processes (receiving, put-away, picking, replenishment, etc.), define standard stock rotation rules such as FIFO/FEFO/LIFO/etc., set up security and personalized user interfaces, etc. The initial setup and the after-sales continuous adaptation of the system to customer´s evolving needs are done by properly trained personnel (Mantis and their partners or customers).
In addition to the standard customization capabilities included in the core system, there is a powerful Adaptability Partner Workbench (APW) that provides advanced customization capabilities.
Interfacing with external systems
Mantis has a long experience in interfacing (i.e. Electronic Data Interchange) Warehouse Vision with other IT systems such as ERP, MRP, etc. A standard interface is included in the core system. In addition to this standard interface, LVS includes a powerful tool called Logistics Link Manager that allows authorized administrators to create and maintain complex interfaces. Logistics Link Manager is part of the APW subsystem.
There is a plethora of (Crystal-based) reports that are included out of the box in the system. In addition to those reports, there is a comprehensive optional Supply Chain Intelligence subsystem.