Inventory accuracy begins when stock is received into the warehouse. A unique “Stock ID” is generated by SEQOS and a Stock ID label is printed. The Stock ID is the primary reference that uniquely identifies and tracks that exact stock through every warehouse operational process.
The label includes a Stock ID barcode, which is scanned using RF scanners during various operational processes to confirm the required action is against the correct stock. The configurable label also includes other details as specified by warehouse managers; usually the product SKU code, product description, EAN, receipt details and various stock attributes, for example, batch and expiry date.
Warehouse stock storage locations should each have a unique barcoded label. After receiving, the stock is put away into a warehouse location. The RF terminal prompts to (1) scan the Stock ID barcode and (2) scan the location barcode to confirm and ensure the stock is stored in the correct location. The Location ID will then be used to retrieve or view the stock.
The replenishment and picking functions in SEQOS can be configured to prompt for Stock ID, product SKU or EAN and optionally the Location ID to pick up the stock. If tracking stock attributes is not required for the product, then scanning the product SKU or EAN barcode is sufficient to initiate the function instead of using the Stock ID barcode.For replenishment and picking, SEQOS can be configured to prompt for Stock ID, product SKU or EAN and optionally the Location ID to pick up the stock. If tracking stock attributes is not required for the product, then scanning the product SKU or EAN barcode is sufficient to initiate the function instead of using the Stock ID barcode.
When the product is configured with serial numbers, the required serial number must be scanned during picking. Scanning serial numbers for internal transactions within the warehouse, including putaway, replenishment and relocation, is optional depending on configuration.
RFID tag on stock is an alternate method that ensures accurate tracking.
When RF scanners are not used, SEQOS generates a three- or four-digit random number for each location that is printed on the location label. The Putaway report, Replenishment report and Pickslip report have provision for the storeperson performing the relevant transaction to write-in the location’s generated random number by the storeperson performing the relevant transaction. The written report is returned to a data entry computer where the hand-written numbers from the locations are entered to accurately confirm the transaction.
All transactions are fully recorded in the SEQOS Audit Trail.
Lengthy familiarisation training for staff is unnecessary. Using the simple step-by-step process on the RF scanners, staff are productive and accurate within the first day of operation. Each process on the RF terminal involves several steps. Each step in SEQOS is prompted on a separate screen on the RF terminal device. Summary information for the previous steps is also displayed.Several picking methods are available in SEQOS.
- “Pick to Light”. (1) Each location in a picking bay has a simple numeric display. (2) When an order is scanned into a picking bay, the required quantity from each location is displayed at that location. (3) When the required quantity is removed from a location, the picker presses a button at that location’s display to confirm the pick, and the display is extinguished. The displays may also be used with the replenishment function to show the quantity to replenish at each location.
- “Put to Light” for multi-order picking. A numeric display above each order on the picking-area workbench shows the quantities to distribute to each order.
- “Pick by Label” for multi-order picking. For each product, a set of address labels is printed relating to the number of cartons of that product required for each order. The labels are attached to the cartons. The cartons are then ready for despatch.
At the conclusion of picking, the completed orders may be automatically weighed at a “check-weigh”. If the weight is outside a pre-configured tolerance, then the order is diverted to a "reject bay" for manual checking.
Another method for checking picks in SEQOS is to operate picking and packing as two separate functions. The picked items for an order are taken to the packing bench. Each item is scanned again at the packing bench into a despatch carton, and checked by SEQOS through the “check-weigh”.
Checking and Tracking
To ensure accuracy of picking for individual items, transactions on RF devices may be configured to scan every item. Although scanning each item takes longer, it ensures that each individual item is correct. The faster, less accurate method of confirming transactions is to scan the stock barcode once and enter the quantity, however, the risk is that individual items may be incorrect if not visually checked.
For high value merchandise, the RF operator can be instructed to count the remaining stock at the location after a configurable number of visits. For example, after ten transactions at the location (putaway, replenishment, relocation, picking), the RF operator must count the remaining stock at the location and enter the total into the RF device. If the total does not match after two attempts, then picks since the previous check count are withheld for checking and the location is automatically flagged for cycle counting.
Locations and products may also be configured for scheduled cycle counting. For example, every three months, or,other selected period, a particular aisle must be counted. On the following week, the next adjacent aisle must be counted every three months, or other selected period.
Manually short picking a product due to missing physical stock also triggers a cycle count at the location (as opposed to a system-generated short pick due to genuine "insufficient stock").
Finally, when orders are loaded into SEQOS from external computer systems, the integrity of the data is validated to ensure that only clean data is added into the SEQOS database.