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 pick or inner pack pick or each pick.
Pickfaces are usually located on the groud 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 allow you to have 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.
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