Chris Brons, Senior Supply Chain Consultant
Helping companies do more with D365 Supply Chain
Dividing your warehouse work by zone or aisle is a picking technique that keeps your warehouse moving. Creating work by zone keeps a worker's activities focused on a specific area in your warehouse. This picking strategy saves steps and time while promoting greater warehouse efficiency.
With the CDC recommending social distancing of at least six feet, zone or aisle picking is a must-have to maintain the health and safety of your workforce. This picking method can help you promote social distancing while providing efficient picking processes.
You can set up work header breaks by aisle or zone in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Supply Chain to assign work to your warehouse teams.
Configure your work zones to match your physical warehouse.
Your warehouse may have natural breaks that will support zone picking. As you look at your physical layout note if you have:
Natural breaks or zones: Consider firewalls, doors, and climate-controlled areas. These areas are already more defined to support zone picking.
General flow: What are the paths in your warehouse? Consider one-way traffic, assigned walkway, and even areas your warehouse experiences bottlenecks or team members struggle to move around.
Equipment: Do you have areas that require specific equipment such as a cherry picker or forklift?
If your warehouse has an open layout, creating work by aisle is a smart option to promote social distancing.
Imagine there are two zones within the building that use specific equipment. Zone A picking requires a forklift. Zone B picking requires a cherry picker. Assign one worker to a zone and a piece of equipment to promote social distancing and reduce physical touches on equipment and workspaces.
Work Break Templates in WMS
Work header breaks on Work templates in D365 Supply Chain's Warehouse Management System (WMS) control how you create Work in the Warehouse. To enable the functionality of Work header breaks, set up sorting on the field you wish to break by.
To Configure Sorting:
Go to the Edit query on the Work template you want to update
Navigate to the Sorting tab
Select the field to break by
The example below shows how to break by Zone ID. The search direction determines the pick creation order. An example is Zone 1 before Zone 2 or visa versa.
Work IDs by Zone ID
5. After you configure Sorting, return to the Work template.
6. Click Work header breaks. This is where you will activate the Work breaks using the field you selected in Sorting.
7. Find the field and select Group by this field
You can set up multiple Work breaks by following the same process. You first need to active the highest-level break before setting any of the subsequent breaks.
In the example below, if you want Work to break by Location, it MUST break by Zone. Change the break order via the Sorting tab in the "Edit query."
Zone picking is a technique that promotes social distancing between warehouse workers while improving pick efficiencies. It is just one of the ways you can decrease costs and overall efficiencies using base functionality in D365 Supply Chain.
Here are some other great resources to help you decrease touches in your warehouse: