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Friday, September 30, 2016

Tutorial: Location directive failures - Common mistake #1 - Multi SKU


A lot of people that are getting to know the new Warehouse solution are struggling to set up the location directives correctly. They very often end up scheduling some work and not getting the location automatically selected by the system.

A good example is this post on the AX community where I attempt remote location directive setup data troubleshooting:

In this next series of posts I want to cover some of the more common errors people do when setting up the location directives and explain ways you can try to figure out why a location was not pre-selected automatically, if that happens.

You can read the basic information about creating location directives on MSDN, in these posts I will assume good knowledge of the concept.

Common mistake #1 - Multi SKU

This is one of the most common problems reported as "location directives are not working and I can't figure out why, everything seems right".

As most of you have probably seen on your installations, you needed to setup 2 location directives for Put for each configuration, one with Multi SKU, the other without. Often, because people don't really understand when this setting comes into play, they don't create both, but only the single sku, or only the multi sku, thus resulting in location not being assigned (allocation failing).

So here is a brief explanation:

As you know, when work is being created for an order, whether it is a sales, a purchase or any other supported order, the location directives are used to determine WHERE to pick/put the item(s). So for each individual work line location directives will be evaluated, and a location will be selected based on the work line details. The location directives will be evaluated sequentially from all the ones that meet the requirements for the particular work line (e.g., they are for the right warehouse, have the right details based on the query, etc.)

Note. There are special cases where the location to Pick/Put is pre-selected. For example, during PO registration the first pick is always from the RECV location. Another example is the Inventory movement by template, where the location to Pick from is selected by the worker himself, and only the puts are done through location directives.

One of the criteria evaluated on the location directive is the Multi SKU flag. The location directive which has Multi SKU flag selected will only be considered, if the corresponding work line being processed right now has Item number = 'Multiple' (it shows up as blank in the work details, but as "Multiple" on the mobile device). This is typically the case for when you need to put items down to a Staging / Pack / QMS areas, after having picked up multiple items from the different picking locations in the warehouse.

Therefore, if Multi SKU flag is selected for a location directive, you cannot edit the query for it. That makes certain sense, since this location directive would only apply to multiple items, thus you cannot really check if they fall withing the conditions of the query, because there are more items than one.

The Multi SKU flag mostly makes sense for Put location directives, because for most of the picks we are in a situation where it is:

  • an initial pick (thus, pick of 1 particular item)
  • a special pick of one or more items from a pre-defined location (like RECV I mentioned above)
  • a special pick where we continue work execution after having previously put the item(s) down to a certain location (STAGE is the typical example, since we'll need to continue to BAYDOOR after that)

Location directives do not prevent you from setting the Multi SKU flag for Picks, however, so if there's a certain scenario where you do need this, it'll be available.

Short summary

In short, if your work orders are always small, 1 item per order, then you do not need a Multi SKU location directive.
If, however, you have work orders with single items, and then some with multiple items being picked as part of one work order, you will need to have 2 separate location directives, one with and one without the Multi SKU flag, and then you can decide if you want the goods travelling to a different location in such cases.

Example walkthrough

To show the difference between the behavior of the location directives with and without Multi SKU, I have created the following location directives, which are identical apart from the flag, as well as the location to Put, so we can see the result difference. Again, only the two Put location directives are really of interest. I have chosen to show a Sales scenario, but the same applies for all other flows.

Location directive for sales Pick work lines on WH 24
Location directive for single-item sales Put work lines on WH 24

Location directive for multi-item sales Put work lines on WH 24
To summarize, the intention is that work order with single items will be put to BAYDOOR location, while multi-item orders will be put down at BAY_MULTI location.

Note. Both Put location directives have the Directive code set to Baydoor. Discussing the behavior of this field is outside the scope of this blog post, but will be covered in one of the following posts.

Now, I have created the following 4 sales orders and released each one individually to create work. I have created sufficient on-hand for picking these items. Sales orders have the following configuration:

  1. 1 line for a single item
    1. 10 pcs of A0001
  2. 2 lines for different items
    1. 10 pcs of A0001
    2. 10 pcs of A0002
  3. 2 lines for the same item
    1. 10 pcs of A0001
    2. 10 pcs of A0001
  4. 2 lines for different product variants (meaning, same item number, but different product dimensions)
    1. 10 pcs of P0004, Size = L
    2. 10 pcs of P0004, Size = S 
You can see the screenshots for work orders created, in the above order, below:

Work for sales order with a single item
Here, location BAYDOOR was used. That is correct, since the Put work line is for a single item, A0001.

Work for sales order with multiple different items
Here, location BAY_MULTI was used. That is correct, since the Put work line is for two items. You can see the Item number is blanked out on the work order line in this case.

Work for sales order with multiple lines for same item
Here, location BAYDOOR was used. That is correct, since the Put work line is for a single item, even though the quantity for this line is a combination of more than 1 work line.

Work for sales order with multiple product variants
Here, location BAY_MULTI was used. That is correct, since the Put work line is for multiple product variants. So even though the Item number stamped on the Put line is just 1 item, the product dimensions are blanked out since there is more than one.

This is one of the "confusing" parts, as the rule is not just a simple "item number is not filled in".
We treat product variants as different products in this regard, so it is important to note this particular difference.

Next step

Stay tuned for the next common mistake in one of the next posts.

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