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What is Replenishment in a Warehouse Management System?

WMS Back to Basic, Part 10 - Replenishment tasks in a warehouse management system.

Replenishment is a process where stocks stored at non-pickface locations(also referred to as reserved locations or bulk locations) are sent to the pickface locations within the warehouse. A pickface(also referred to as a Forward Location) is a location set up for loose picking. Loose pick usually means picking for less than a carton quantity, and often loose pick can also mean less than a pallet quantity pick.

Because loose picks are performed by a person (referred to as a ‘picker’) who needs to be able to pick the inventory easily, hence pickfaces are usually located on the ground floor of a rack so pickers may easily reach the locations. In the case of eCommerce warehouses, pigeonhole locations are often used as pickfaces.

When pickers pick from pickfaces, the inventory quantity of pickfaces will deplete. When such quantity depleted to a specific low level, the Warehouse Management System(WMS) can then trigger a replenishment task, asking a warehouse operative to replenish the stock from a specific reserved location determined by WMS, and such “replenishment from” location is configurable, and the stock can be rotated by First In First Out (FIFO), Last In First Out (LIFO), First Expired First Out(FEFO) or Last Expired First Out (LEFO).

Replenishment Task in Warehouse Management System Explained
Replenishment Tasks Created When Quantity of Pickface is Less Than 3 Cartons

In other examples, warehouse operations may want to perform replenishment first thing in the morning, but others may only want to do replenishment when needed.

To ensure replenishment tasks are executed promptly to allow smooth picking, a Warehouse Management System (WMS) is needed, and such WMS shall also provide flexibility in the replenishment strategy.

In general, there are 3 types of replenishment:

By Demand Replenishment

  • Replenishment tasks are created by demand. For example, the current processed orders required more quantity than the quantity in the pickface.

Top-up Replenishment

  • Replenishment tasks are created to a maximum level of the pickfaces during a specific time, usually off-peak hours.

Ad-hoc Replenishment

  • The operation may want to create replenishment tasks in an ad-hoc manner.

Read more on What is a Warehouse Management System:

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