Today’s blog covers Basic inventory and Basic warehousing, demonstrating the initial setup and examples of it in action. The relevant setup includes Location Card fields, inventory put-aways and inventory picks. 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.
Different levels of warehousing
When using warehousing, there are multiple levels of configuration to choose between. Fortunately, Microsoft have provided a document categorising inventory and warehousing functionality. of which functionality falls into which category. Additionally, here’s another useful Microsoft document classifying warehouse functionality.
We will start with the most simple configurations, before putting most of our attention into Basic warehousing.
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 the 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.
Basic Inventory and no warehousing
In a Location Card, if you’ve not used warehousing before, you will presumably have this setup below:
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 the goods.
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.
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.
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:
The Inventory Setup page is crucial for specifying the number series’ in a Basic warehouse configuration. This will include things like inventory picks, put-aways and their posted counterparts.
On the Warehouse Setup page, the reason I haven’t picked out the fields in the ‘General’ tab as being key is because we configured this on the Location Card. We will leave them blank in Warehouse Setup. These values on the two pages contradict each other. All this means is the Location Card values takes priority here.
The next step is to assign warehouse employees to locations. If you work in several locations, create a line for each. We will cover Basic inventory further on. Notably, Warehouse Employees aren’t required for that. They are necessary for Basic and Advanced warehousing. 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.
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.
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.
For the items we are going to transact with, define a ‘Default’ bin. To do this, go to the Bin Contents page. Here, use the filters for Location and Item and use the Default tick box on the bin you want as the prioritised bin. When we receive stock into this location, the system will look to receive it here if possible.
Example of Basic warehousing
We will now demonstrate Basic warehousing, starting with an inbound transaction. On a purchase order, populate the lines as you would normally. Next, after releasing the order, 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:
After creating an Inventory Put-away record, 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 also access the record directly from the purchase order. To do this, click ‘Related’, ‘Warehouse’ and ‘Invt. Put-away/Pick Lines. Note, if you click ‘Related’ and ‘Whse. Receipt Lines’, there won’t be a record. That’s because this pertains to Advanced warehousing, something we will cover in the next blog.
On the Inventory Put-away record, 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, back on the Inventory Put-away record, there are two options. The first is to simply change the Bin Code value from the default, to another bin.
The other option is to 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.
Invoicing the order
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.
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.
When you post the Inventory Pick or Put-away record, it will create a Posted version of the record. As you’d expect, the Inventory Pick or Put-away record you started with will disappear after posting.
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! If you have any comments or queries, feel free to contact us.