A Guide to Basic Warehousing in Business Central

Today’s blog covers warehousing, mainly focusing on the initial setup and what each element means. In future blogs, we will cover practical examples of each variation of warehousing and more! When it comes to setup, we won’t cover all details specific to customers and vendors as we will work on the basis these have been setup correctly beforehand. We are working in a Cronus environment in Business Central, meaning as standard, a lot of the setup is configured already. Along the way, we will explain everything that’s happening to clarify why we are undertaking each step.

Locations

At the heart of warehousing is the Location Card. In Business Central, a location record will be where your warehouse is. On the card, there are several fields which determine what level of warehousing you want. Each of your locations can have differing levels of warehouse configuration. These levels are defined in the ‘Warehouse’ tab. We will cover the Bins tab too when we get to that stage.

Warehouse Setup

The main purpose of the Warehouse Setup page is to configure the number series’ for warehouse related records you will create. When you create these, you will have to go to the No. Series page and specify the start and end number for each. Here’s a look at some of ours below:

It’s worth mentioning, you won’t have separate number series’ for any of these record types based on location. However, you can filter the results by Location Code to see a chronological order of events. I’ve demonstrated below with posted warehouse receipts in the BASIC-WH location:

Back to the Warehouse Setup page, the reason I haven’t picked out the fields in the ‘General’ tab as being key is because they will be configured on a location-by-location basis. We will leave them blank in Warehouse Setup.

Warehouse Employees

The next step is to assign warehouse employees to locations. If you work in several locations, create a line for each. The Default field allows you to identify which location, ordinarily, the employee works. It doesn’t need to be applied. Its main benefit comes when using put-away worksheets, but we will cover that in the next post.

As you can see, it’s as simple as attaching a User ID to a Location Code.

This is a simple piece of setup, but a crucial one; without assigning a warehouse employee to a location, it will prevent the user from seeing or posting any created inventory or warehouse receipts after they are created. We will cover warehouse receipts in greater detail in the next post, as they are a part of Advanced warehousing. Something worth mentioning is that the ability to specify who can see, edit or post these records allows you to separate out the duties of those who are members of either purchasing or sales teams, and those who are warehouse employees.

This is for a warehouse receipt where I am set as a warehouse employee at BASIC-WH.
In the same view, after deleting the record to say I am a warehouse employee at BASIC-WH, you can see the record doesn’t show.

Inventory Posting Setup

There are two steps that need to be taken here. Firstly, click on a line and add the location for the warehouse. Next, let’s add all the relevant accounts.

You can see the first line doesn’t have account values inputted, something which will cause issues later down the road.

Different levels of warehousing

When using warehousing, there are multiple levels of configuration to choose between. Click here to read Microsoft’s breakdown of which functionality falls into which category. Additionally, click here for another useful document classifying warehouse functionality.

Basic Inventory and no warehousing

In a Location Card, if you’ve not used warehousing before, you will presumably have this setup below:

The only reason for putting a black box over some fields here is just to highlight those that are important for demonstrating this functionality.

Essentially, when there’s an incoming or outgoing transaction, there’s no requirement to do anything in particular related to bins, movements or receipts. Post the transaction like you would usually. Simply create an order and ship or receive.

Basic Inventory with bins

Bin Mandatory dictates that any movement into or out of the location requires specification of the relevant bin. A bin is a storage area in your location. It may be racking, or simply a portion of the location. How you define what is and isn’t a bin is your choice. What’s key is that it resembles a level above ‘location’ in terms of specification for defining where items are stored. For large warehouses, defining bins is essential for locating stock quickly.

As you can see, we have only enabled one field from the previous Location Card image.

For any level of warehousing, having this enabled will be your starting point. If you could enable other warehouse functions without this, the results wouldn’t be particularly helpful. For any receipts or shipments, without bins it would just be going to the generic location, so there’d be no point in having those other settings turned on anyway.

In the same token, having picks and put-aways enabled without bins would result in taking or placing something from a generic location code to the same generic location, without any additional detail. This goes to show the importance of having ‘Bin Mandatory’ enabled as your staple to any degree of warehousing.

Example using Basic Inventory and bins

Let’s demonstrate the effects of having Bin Mandatory enabled. On a Purchase Order, this is what happens if I try and post the order to a location without selecting a bin:

If I repeat this process, this time after specifying the bin on the order line, my order will post.

Basic warehousing

Referring back to the Microsoft attachment, ‘Basic’ warehousing includes: Inventory Picks, Put-aways and Movements, as well as the Item Journal and Item Reclassification Journal. To explain, a ‘pick’ specifies where you will take stock from, to meet the demand of an outbound transaction. More specifically, which bin you’ll take the stock from. A ‘put-away’ is the process of choosing the stock to move to a bin, after it arrives into the receiving zone of a warehouse, following an inbound transaction. The Item Journal and Item Reclassification Journal are ways in which you can bring in and move stock in the system. Let’s look at the setup for Basic warehousing in the Location Card:

Firstly, make sure you have your Inventory Setup number series’ mapped out for the relevant areas. This will include things like inventory picks, put-aways and their posted counterparts.

Example of Basic warehousing

We will now demonstrate Basic warehousing. On a purchase order, after releasing the order, we can click ‘Actions’, ‘Warehouse’ and ‘Create Inventory Put-away/Pick’.

If you don’t enable ‘Create Invt. Put-Away’ for a purchase order, or ‘Create Invt. Pick’ for a sales order and then try to create a put-away or pick, you’ll get this message:

We will cover error messages in relation to setup more in a later edition of this blog series.

Inventory put-aways

After creating an inventory put-away, go to the Inventory Put-aways page. Click into the relevant record. In here you will see lines indicating where the stock will move to. You can amend which bin to move the stock to as well as check the contents of bins already holding the item in question. To do this, click ‘Line’ and ‘Bin Contents List’. At this stage, you might think ‘there’s not enough room in that particular bin for all of this stock, only a portion of it’. To manage this, amend the Qty. to Handle on the line to match the amount you want in this bin. Next, click ‘Functions’ and ‘Split Line’. Consequently, a second line should appear, allowing you to assign a quantity of the stock to a different bin.

On an inventory put-away or pick record, there’s the option to input the Vendor or Customer Invoice No. value and post the invoice. This gives the warehouse employee the power to post the entire order from here, something which may or may not be favourable. You could amend who could perform which action, using ‘permissions’. This is something to note when considering how you wish to separate out the duties of different teams of staff. As a future reference, when using Advanced warehousing, warehouse employees can also post invoices from a warehouse shipment record, but not from a warehouse receipt record. Warehouse shipments and receipts relate to the level above an inventory put-away.

When you are happy with the put-away, click ‘Post’. This will move the stock to the location(s) on the Place line(s). As mentioned, the user can choose to post the receipt as well as the invoice.

Inventory picks

Fortunately, the process is similar for sales orders. After releasing a sales order, you can create an inventory pick using the same buttons as before. On the inventory pick record, the user again has the ability to post both the shipment and invoice.

If you’re aware of how Advanced warehousing works, Basic warehousing essentially takes receipts and put-aways, two components that are separate in Advanced warehousing, and merges them to simplify the process. It works the same way for picks and shipments. Whether or not you prefer Basic to Advanced depends on how granular you want your business processes to be.

Closing remarks

Touch wood, this post has generated some ideas as to how Business Central’s warehousing configuration can fit your needs. The next post will build on from the setup displayed in this post and focus on Advanced warehousing. We’d love to hear your feedback and questions! Click here to get in contact with us.

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