Part 7 Back to Basic - Pickface and Replenishment
A "Pickface" (also referred to as a forward-picking location) is a location in a warehouse usually setup for loose pick activities. Loose-pick means picking quantity is less than one (1) pallet. These can be carton picks or inner pack picks or each picks.
Pickfaces are usually located on the ground level of a rack or may also be situated one or two levels above the ground. At the ground level, it is easier and more efficient for anyone to perform loose picking by hand. To perform loose picking at a higher level, the picker will 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, specialized material handling equipment (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 be depleted. As such, the same product stored in another location (usually from a higher level) needs to be brought to the pickface; this is called "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 needed, while others may prefer to replenish when the pickface's quantity falls below 20% of the pallet quantity, and some may want to over-replenish the pickface to fulfill a large wave.
To ensure replenishments are executed promptly to allow smooth picking, you need to have a Warehouse Management System (WMS) that allows you to have flexibility in the replenishment strategy.
Advanced features such as "Dynamic Pickface" and "Slotting" are available in some WMS, such as Infor WMS, Blue Yonder WMS and AC2's WAVE WMS. Dynamic pickface provides flexibility in organizing pickface locations - all the pickfaces are shared among all the items, and the system is intelligent enough to assign (slot) items to the pickfaces and then unassign (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, slots and unslots inventory.
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Find out more about AC2's WAVE Warehouse Management System.
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