A Guide to Advanced Warehousing in Business Central

After covering Warehouse Setup, Locations, Warehouse Employees and Basic warehousing in the first post, we’ll now explore Advanced warehousing. This will include Warehouse Shipments, Warehouse Receipts, picks and put-aways. Each time we demonstrate something, we will show the configuration options. With Advanced warehousing comes the put-away worksheet so we’ll pay close attention to demonstrating how running that works.

Advanced warehousing

Before performing setup for Advanced warehousing, let’s run through the differences between Basic and Advanced in terms of utility to help you better understand which might be more appropriate for your situation. Whereas Basic warehousing grouped receipts and put-aways, as well as picks and shipments into two broad areas, Advanced separates them out into four specific activities. Separating them allows you to identify items that have arrived into the receiving bay, but not to their storage bin. This process of putting stock away can be sped up using a put-away worksheet, combining several receipts into one put-away. This extra level of specification better indicates where stock is at any time.

Changing the warehousing level of an existing location

You can change the level of warehouse configuration for a location. For example, from Advanced to Basic. However, you will have to make sure there are no open records related to Advanced warehousing. If there are, upon changing the Location Card, the system will error and prevent it.

Defining number series’ for Advanced warehousing

Before I continue into the setup, let’s first define various number series’ which will default the number field on various records we create. On the Warehouse Setup page, configure the number series’ for warehouse related records. 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:

On the Warehouse Setup page, you can add the No. Series values you created to the fields relating to Advanced warehousing. This includes the Warehouse Receipts, Warehouse Put-aways, Warehouse Picks and Warehouse Shipments.

To create a number series, go to the No. Series page. Establish a Code, Starting and Ending No. Next, state whether this series marks the default value that will populate the No. field and whether it can be overridden manually.

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.

Warehouse Employees

Like with Basic warehousing, users need to be set up as warehouse employees if they want to see, amend or post warehouse documents. Users can have several lines, one per location. This means they are a warehouse employee in each of those.

To add a warehouse employee, go to the Warehouse Employees page. Assign a User ID and Location Card and tab off the record. You can set a default Location for a particular warehouse employee. We will cover this in more detail later. Let’s now get into the warehouse configuration!

Advanced warehousing setup

In Advanced warehousing, any references to picks and put-aways will be warehouse related, not inventory. For the next step up in warehouse configuration, we are setting our location up as follows:

Lets explain what enabling these fields does.

Require Receive and Require Shipment

The Require Receive field states that incoming orders can’t be posted without creating and posting a Warehouse Receipt. Any user with the right permissions can create the Warehouse Receipt. Depending on the size of the company this could be the person creating the purchase order or a warehouse employee. However, only someone set up as a warehouse employee can post the Warehouse Receipt.

For outbound transactions, there’s the Require Shipment field. This works in the same manner, so the sales team will create the sales order but before they can post, a warehouse shipment must take place.

This makes sense; it allows us to separate the duties in the system by role. Those in charge of purchasing may never see the goods arrive, so having the warehouse team post their receipt before the purchase team post the invoice gives an added layer of accuracy and accountability.

Warehouse Receipts

As you can see, the process of creating a Warehouse Receipt is very similar to an inventory put-away which we covered in the last post. After releasing the purchase order, click ‘Actions’, ‘Warehouse’ and ‘Create Whse. Receipt’.

After creating a Warehouse Receipt on an incoming order, at a location with this functionality enabled, you will get this message:

If you instead decide to amend the Bin Code on the purchase order before creating the Warehouse Receipt, you will get this message:

As it’s likely the purchase team creating the purchase order, this prioritising of the Warehouse Receipt details over the purchase order makes sense given it’s outside the remit of a member of the purchase team to define where in the warehouse an item is received into.

What this is essentially saying is that you can change the receiving details on the purchase order however you like, but if they don’t match the details on the Warehouse Receipt, the changes will be ignored. This shows the precedence the Warehouse Receipt has over the purchase order in this regard. This works in the same fashion for sales orders and Warehouse Shipments. So, let’s have a look at where we can default the Bin Code value on a Warehouse Receipt!

Bin defaults

In any location, below the Warehouse tab, we have the Bins tab. In the Receipt and Shipment sections you can specify which bins goods arrive into and leave from. As we are using default receiving and shipping bins, we need at least one other bin to store goods. We’ll come to why this is important later.

Does Advanced warehousing require bin defaults?

Having a Receipt and Shipment Bin Code isn’t a prerequisite for Advanced warehousing. However, it will default the value that appears in the Bin Code on the Warehouse Receipt. If you forget to assign a Bin Code on the Warehouse Receipt before posting it, you get this message:

Usually, all goods arrive into the same area, so having this be the default value is useful.

If you try and post the Receipt and Invoice for the purchase order, prior to creating a Warehouse Receipt, you will get the below error message:

Where you post the Warehouse Receipt, it will post the receipt on the related purchase automatically, moving the value in the Quantity to Receive to the Quantity Received field. After posting the Warehouse Receipt, the system creates a put-away automatically. This is assuming you disable the ‘Use Put-away Worksheet’ field on the Location Card.

Invoicing purchase orders when using Advanced warehousing

One thing to note is that from the Warehouse Receipt, there’s not the ability to post the invoice or from the resulting put-away. You must post the invoice from the original purchase order. This takes this ability to post invoices away from warehouse employees, something which Basic warehousing doesn’t do. However, for Warehouse Shipments, there is the ability to post the invoice without returning to the original sales order. We’ve spoken a lot about warehouse employees having powers that the purchase and sales teams don’t, so it’s appropriate that this works the other way.

Require Put-away

The Require Put-away field means that for any incoming order, a record needs to be created and registered, designating the stock from the default receipt bin to a storage bin. In the case of picks, the goods move from the storage bin to the default shipping bin. Earlier I mentioned how significant it was to have at least one storage bin.

If I try and put the stock away into the receiving or shipping bin I configured on the Location Card, the system will error:

To get my put-away to work, I have to choose a storage bin. You don’t have to do anything particular to label a bin a ‘storage bin’. You simply create and name a bin against a location. Make sure it’s not set as the default for receiving or shipping. We will cover bins in greater detail in a later post.

Adjusting the Qty. to Handle quantity

Now we have a put-away record created, we can determine which bin the goods are going to. So, let’s say we have a ‘Take’ line that has five items on it. We can reduce the value in the Qty. to Handle field on the ‘Place’ line to a lesser number. From here, we can click Functions and Split Line to create additional ‘Place’ lines. I now have the ability to dictate that the incoming stock is being moved to different bins, making sure the total number of moved items across the ‘Place’ lines equals the value on the original ‘Take’ line.

You can then Register the Put-away. The reason this is ‘Register’ and not ‘Post’ is because there’s no financial implications associated with this action.

Require Pick

On the Warehouse Picks page, it’s almost the reverse of the put-away process. After creating the warehouse shipment, we need to specify which storage bin to take the goods from. The ‘pick’ manages this process.

After creating a pick, on the warehouse shipment, click ‘Related’, ‘Shipment’ and ‘Pick Lines’. Here, there should be two lines for each item. These represent ‘take’ and ‘place’ lines. On the page that appears, click ‘Card’. Inside the pick record, click ‘Process’ and ‘Register Pick’. After registering this pick, we can post the warehouse shipment.

Advanced warehousing with transfer orders

Using Advanced warehousing with transfer orders is very similar to purchase or sales orders. Dependant on the warehouse configuration of the locations you are transferring stock between, the process will be different. Let me demonstrate with an example.

I am transferring stock from a location which has no warehousing functionality enabled, to a location with Advanced functionality enabled. As the stock is coming from somewhere without, I can’t create a warehouse shipment, I simply post the shipment:

But, as my receiving location has Advanced warehousing functionality enabled, I have to create a Warehouse Receipt. If I try and post the receipt like I posted the shipment, I get this:

After I create my Warehouse Receipt and post, I get this:

As well as this:

From that point on, all I have to do is register the put-away like I would with a purchase.

Bin Contents

Another page with useful information is the Bin Contents page. This is a useful page for seeing stock quantities in particular bins. However, an additional benefit is the ‘Default’ field. Setting this field means that when you create an order for that particular item in that location, the Bin Code field will be populated automatically. This is amendable, but it can save time. The system will error if you try and have two defaults for the same item in the same location.

You might be wondering ‘what happens if my Receipt Bin Code value on the Location Card is different to my Default value on the Bin Contents page – which takes precedence?’ For all intents and purposes, try to keep them the same. However, the determining factor of which bin receives stock is the value on the Bin Code on Warehousing Receipt. If we change that, it will change where the item is received into. Again, this makes sense as at this stage, the default value is automatically suggested but the warehouse team will be best positioned to determine where the goods actually go.

However, as the Receipt Bin Code dictates that all items that come into that specific location, by default are received into that bin, it’s best not to meddle once it’s been set up. After all, stock will presumably be moved out of the receiving bin shortly after arriving so it’s best to move it afterwards instead of changing the default receiving area every time.

A side note

In a separate instance where you aren’t using Advanced warehousing, and Require Receive is disabled on the Location Card, the Receipt Bin Code on the Location Card clears. This means the ‘Default’ value is the only option and it will use this, unless you amend the Bin Code on the inventory put-away line manually.

Put-away worksheet

After you post a Warehouse Receipt, the result depends on what configuration you have. If you have put-aways enabled, but not the put-away worksheet, the system creates a put-away record. If you have ‘Use Put-away Worksheet’ enabled at the location level, it won’t create put-away records. It will instead allow you to group receipts together so that they can be put away in one go. Below is the setup that we will use when demonstrating the put-away worksheet:

I mentioned in the last post about the biggest benefit of enabling Default on a record came with the put-away worksheets. If you use the put-away worksheet, the Location Code will default to your ‘default’ location on the Warehouse Employees page.

You can see my ‘default’ location matches the greyed out entry on the put-away worksheet’s Location Card field.

Example of the put-away worksheet

Like before, on a purchase order, click ‘Release’ and ‘Create Whse. Receipt’. Once you’re happy with the Warehouse Receipt, click to post it. You should get this message:

Notice how there’s no mention of a put-away being created!

Next, go to the Put-away Worksheet page and click ‘Actions’, ‘Functions’ and ‘Get source documents’. Here you can select the lines that you want together. The next step is to click ‘Actions’ and ‘Create Put-away’.

This will group the lines you selected to be together onto one put-away.

You might choose to group records based on whether they are going to the same bin. If you print the specific list of items going to a bin at this stage, you could give it to a warehouse employee, making them aware of everything they need to move, saving them performing individual trips back and forth with individual items. Generally, this provides a more efficient means of performing put-aways.

Microsoft have an informative post on put-away worksheets if that interests you.

Closing remarks

Thanks for reading! That’s a good chunk of Advanced warehousing checked off, however there’s more to go! We will continue explaining the available functionality in future posts, so stay tuned. As always, if you have any questions, contact us here. We will try our best to get back to you as quickly as possible.

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