Introduction to Storage Bins
By general definition, a Storage bin (or just a bin) is the smallest physical unit for storing items in warehouses.
Tracking Storage bins allows us to locate the physical location of the selected items in the most precise and simple way.
In Erpag, each item belongs to a specific storage location. The storage location can contain bin-s.
The storage bin is able to have “maximum stock quantity” (capacity) and it can store more different items or just one (Multiple items/Single items).
Storage bin “key” and “description” are free texts, but it is usually a specific type that contains coordinates of the warehouse for ensuring the item is located in the fastest possible way.
Coordinates might represent Aisle, Rack, Unit, Shelf depending on warehouse organization.
Example: “MAT-A1-03-01” where “MAT” is part of the warehouse where raw materials are, “A1” is Rack, “A” for Aisle, “03” is the third shelf and “01” marks the first bin.
Storage bin concept in ERPAG
ERPAG is primarily created for SMBs companies. Having that in mind, while creating, we applied a little different approach aiming to make it as simpler and efficient as we can.
Most of the specialized applications for Warehouse Management systems (WMS) are having a direct “Putaway” in their concept.
“Putaway” is a process where we transfer supplies from receiving zone (collecting goods from supplier) to a warehouse in a storage location/ storage bin.
Direct putaway is a process where goods are immediately (or in a short period of time) sorted.
The reverse process is “picking from storage” (or just picking) where we transfer items from Storage bins to the packing zone.
Although ERPAG has retail and manufacturing, besides these two zones, there is one for issuing materials, delivering finished products, collecting goods from buyers in the retail, scrap, etc…
A concept like that would not be practically usable.
So we split stocks into two parts, “Operating stocks” and “Stocks on storage”.
Stocks on storage
“Stocks on storage” as a term is pretty clear, those are stocks that we have in Storage bins. Very similar to the “Storage zone” in the classic WMS-u (Warehouse Management System). The difference is that we can’t manipulate the number of stocks directly. Instead, we first need to move them to “operating stocks” (by using the “Bin transfer” option).
“Operating stocks” are stocks we manipulate on daily basis. This means that all zones are merged, except the “Storage” zone. From “Operating stocks” we transfer goods to “Stock on storage” by using the “Bin Transfer” option.
This concept is usually applied in Retail Discount Businesses (example: Ikea, Lidl, Sam’s club), where a certain amount of goods is available on shelves, while the rest of the goods are in “Storage” (closed part). If necessary, employees replenish the amount on shelves from the storage zone.
Bin transfer has two options: “Put in storage bin” and “Pull from storage bin”
- Put in storage bin
We use this option to transfer goods from “Operating stocks” to “Stocks on storage”. Just like in all documents in ERPAG, we enter the quantity of items that we need to transfer to “Operating stocks” in the “Quantity” column.
The new document is on status “Entered” by default. In order to finish the transfer, we need to activate the option “Transfer”.
You can complete transfer from multiple parts, by simply changing the quantity on the transfer list.
- Inventory / Stock list
You can check the quantity on “Operating stocks” and “Stock on storage” in “Inventory/Stock list”, where you can find special columns showing quantity at the moment.
By clicking on the “info” button, a window pops up including details about quantity on Storage bins.
There is an option for a special report showing quantity based on Storage bins as well.
- Pull from storage bin
This option is a reverse process of “Put in storage bin”, made to transfer items from “Stocks on storage” to “Operating stocks”.
The entry is generally the same as in “Put”. The only difference that shows up is when choosing “Storage bin”, it only shows currently available quantity in bins.
- Quantity control
Reducing stocks (packing, loading material, deficit, etc) is possible only from “Operating stocks”. In case there is not enough quantity on operating stocks, a notification pops out advising certain quantity of goods is on “Stocks on storage”
Also “Pull from storage bins” icon shows up.
By activating that option, you will generate a new Bin transfer, and ERPAG will automatically suggest Storage bins.
Note: We run our logic control only when we reduce stocks. In other scenarios (Available quantity/Reserved quantity) ERPAG is taking the entire quantity.
- Maximum stock quantity
You can determine “Maximum stock quantity” in every storage bin. This shows the maximum amount of goods you can place in a particular storage bin. If the quantity is “0” there is no limitation.
If we attempt to transfer a larger quantity, ERPAG will show a logical error.
- Contains single item
Like in the previous option, we can determine that on every storage bin there can be only one type of item (one SKU).
Example: If in storage bin A0-01 we have “apples”, logic control will not allow us to enter “pears” in the same bin. It will be possible only when we remove all “apples”.
In a dynamic environment, the question is which items and which amount can we transfer to storage to avoid unnecessary manipulation?
ERPAG software solution has an intelligent option called “Putaway”, which is the response to the previous question.
In the list itself, there are a couple of columns. The column “quantity” shows the amount which you need to move to storage bins.
Other columns are informative, in order to provide additional control and to help operators to figure out how the list was formed.
This is the sum of the reserved quantity of goods in documents (Sales order, Work order, Transfer).
The value of this column decreases from the amount that you need to transfer to Storage bins because in most cases, the reserved quantity you will soon pack, consume, or transfer. That quantity is actually “Operating stocks”.
If your business model requires all goods to be stored in storage bins, you can simply turn off the “Reserved” quantity option.
Minimum operating stocks
In practice, there is always a need to have some amount of goods on “Operational stocks”. For example “Retail Discount Business”, always requires that some amount of goods needs to be on the shelves for customers. In order not to send the quantity to storage and then immediately again switch it to “Operating stocks”, the value of the quantity for “Putaway” is reduced by this amount.
You can adjust the settings for every item and every warehouse in the “Minimum operating stocks” panel (if you have more warehouses).
Note: This entry differs from “Minimum stocks quantity”. “Minimum stocks quantity ”is the data we need for Fulfillment and refers to complete stock. In other words, how much we should have in the warehouse. While “Minimum operating stocks” is how much we need to have in “Operating stocks”.
If your workflow requires to always transfer “whole quantity” to “stock on storage”, just turn the parameter on like in the “reserved quantity”.
This column shows the quantity the “Bin transfer” is created for, and it is not finished, it is still in process. This helps us avoid
forming new requests for bin transfer multiple times.
- Bulk action – Put in storage bin
With the help of bulk action, we can create a Bin transfer for the “Put in storage”.
After selecting this option, recommended “Bin transfer” document will open.
Note: When you create a document, ERPAG will automatically take care of the logical controls. For example, if for some Storage bin you define “Maximum stock quantity” (capacity) and that storage bin is full, ERPAG will skip that document.
Pick from storage
The reversed process from “Putaway” is “Pick from storage”, i.e intelligent list that helps us transfer “Stocks on storage” to “Operating stocks”.
The required quantity is “reserved quantity” and “Minimum operating stocks”. By activating the bulk option, ERPAG suggests the “bin transfer” document.
The system will automatically populate the “Storage bin” column according to the available quantities on the storage bins.
Note: If you have multiple warehouses, bulk action needs to be done separately for each warehouse.
Storage locations in the ERPAG Mobile App
ERPAG mobile app also supports “Storage bins”. Mobile App is adjusted to operative manipulation with physical items. This means that the prepared “Bin transfer” in the back office, the mobile operator just verifies and processes according to the physical state.
The sole process is identical to other inventory options (packing, receiving, etc).
You can search by SKU, Barcode scanning through the mobile camera, or by searching the part of the description.
After scanning/data entry, click on the icon on the top right corner, to process the bin transfer.
In the item “look-up” options you will see the quantity in bins and “Operating stocks”.
More about using the Mobile app is on the following link: