Please Find the information below regarding the logic behind Directed Work in BlueYonder WMS.
- The three factors that help customers decide how to distribute the directed work to users are permission, priority, and proximity.
- In a warehouse, work is distributed to different locations based on the operator availability, the type of vehicles available in the locations, and the travel distance between locations. Warehouse Management System (WMS) facilitates the distribution of work by using the directed work concept. The successfully run warehouses use directed work for a large percentage of their business.
- A directed work operation is a defined activity performed by an operator within the warehouse facility by using devices, such as an RF terminal or a voice headset. A standard set of directed work operations is provided in WMS, and these operations define other activities such as receiving, cycle counting, picking, distribution, and loading and unloading trailers. Different types of directed work available to users and vehicles are receiving/putaway, inventory management, cycle count/audit, picking, replenishment, shipping, and yard management. To each directed work operation, you can assign users and vehicles, so that only those users and vehicles are authorized to perform the operation. You can assign a base priority to a directed work operation to determine the priority when it enters the work queue. You can also define the increments at which the priority is escalated. For facilities that use voice terminals, you can associate a generic voice function, such as picking, to operations such as Case Pick (CPK) or Pallet Pick (PCK). When the voice operator selects the picking function, WMS will try to find a directed work for any of the operations, such as CPK or PCK, associated with the function. You can maintain the directed work operations for a single-warehouse facility, a specific warehouse in a multi-warehouse facility, or all warehouses in a multi-warehouse facility.
- To manage the directed work, a warehouse is divided into multiple work areas based on the physical layout and the accessibility to different types of material-handling vehicles. For example, a narrow-aisle storage area and a floor storage area can be considered as different work areas if each of them supports different types of operations and vehicles.
- A work zone is a designated area in a work area and is typically defined as a group of locations that are in the same vicinity. For example, an entire narrow-aisle area can be considered as a single work area and each aisle can be set up as a separate work zone. Work zones are used to limit congestion in the work area by defining the maximum number of vehicles that can be assigned the directed work in the zone. Work zones are also used to limit travel by defining the work request priorities to keep operators within a work zone whenever possible. Please note that a work zone may include locations from multiple area codes. You can assign a location to a work zone when you create the location in WMS. For example, if one area code consists of an aisle of pick face locations and another area code consists of the locations above those pick face locations, you can include both sets of locations in the same work zone.
- For work areas and work zones, some of the examples are pick face, floor, and dock. Each work area is split into multiple work zones to facilitate the free movement of operators and vehicles.
- In WMS, the vehicle type code is used to classify warehouse equipment and material-handling devices, such as fork trucks, cranes, and handheld terminals, used by operators to perform directed work operations. The Maximum Vehicles by Work Zone and Vehicle Type feature enables customers to limit the number of vehicles and devices for a particular vehicle type in a work zone. For a vehicle type, you need to specify attributes such as the vehicle type ID to represent the vehicle type in voice recognition applications, the number of pallets or loads that the vehicle can move at one time, and the location access code that determines the location to which the vehicle type will offer the directed work. The location access code is used for work management purposes.
- The location access code is used to classify a storage location for work management purposes. This code enables customers to permit or restrict vehicle type access to a storage location. A vehicle type will not be offered the directed work in a location that does not have a location access code that is tied to the vehicle type. For example, users with handheld devices will have access only to the locations at the ground level. Therefore, these users need to sign on to WMS with the vehicle types associated with that level and have access only to those locations whose location access codes are tied to the vehicle types.
- The distribution of directed work is determined by different levels of permissions provided to users and vehicles. WMS can allow users or roles to access the screens to perform the directed work or perform a particular type of directed work. It can also allow vehicles to access the locations involved in performing the directed work or perform a particular type of directed work.
- The work management functionality helps you define priorities for operations to determine the sequence in which the work is displayed. The sequence helps display the most important work first. The work management functionality also helps you define priorities for work areas and work zones to determine when to move the operator from the current work area/work zone to another one. The priorities ensure that operators are working efficiently, and they do not override user and vehicle authorizations. In other words, the operators will not be moved if they or their vehicles are not authorized to perform the higher priority work. Please note that the work with the lowest priority value has the highest priority. You can assign different types of priority to directed work: base, maximum escalation, effective, absolute, delta, and home work area absolute.
- A work request is created and a directed work is entered in the work queue based on the base priority. You can assign a higher base priority to one work and a lower base priority to another work to ensure that the work with the higher priority is completed first. For example, you can assign a base priority of 10 to pick work and 20 to count work to ensure that pick work is completed before count work.
- The maximum escalation priority is the maximum priority to which the base priority of a directed work operation can be escalated. For example, you may want to escalate the base priority of the count work, 20, based on how long the count work remains in the work queue, but you may not want the priority of the count work to exceed the base priority of the pick work, 10. Therefore, you can assign a maximum escalation priority lower than 10 (such as 15) to the count work.
- The effective priority is the current priority of a work request in the work queue. It represents the base priority defined for the directed work operation and any escalation increments applied over time to the work request. For example, if the base priority of the count work, 20, is defined to escalate by 1 every hour, after 4 hours, the effective priority of the count work will be 16.
- You can assign absolute priority to both work areas and work zones. The absolute priority defines the priority at which the system should absolutely move an operator from the current work area to another to perform a work. If a work request exists in another work area with an effective priority higher than the absolute priority of the current work area, the operator is moved out of the current work area to perform that work. For example, consider that an operator is working in work area A and the highest priority work in this area is 30. If the absolute priority defined for work area A is 20, and there is a work in work area B having an effective priority of less than 20, such as 15, the system will display the work in work area B and the operator will be moved to work area B to do that work.
- You can assign delta priority to both work areas and work zones. The delta priority defines the difference that must exist between the highest effective priority work in the current work area and the highest effective priority work in another work area for the system to move the operator to the other work area. If the effective priority of work outside the current work area is higher than the highest effective priority of work in the current work area minus the delta priority of the current work area, the operator is moved out of the current work area. For example, consider that an operator is working in work area A, the highest effective priority work request in this work area is 30, and the delta priority defined for this work area is 10. If a work request exists in work area B having a priority value of less than 20, such as 17, the system will display the work in work area B and the operator will be moved to work area B to do that work.
- The home work area absolute priority is the priority at which operators who have one area as a home work area but are currently working in another work area will be given work back in the home work area. This priority is used to keep operators in their current work area until work of sufficient priority exists in their home work area to guarantee their return. If the effective priority of work inside the operator’s home work area is higher than the work area’s home work area absolute priority and the operator is currently in another work area, the operator is moved back to the home work area. For example, consider that an operator is currently working in work area B, the operator’s home work area is work area A, and the home work area absolute priority for work area B is 30. If a work request arrives in work area A with a priority value of less than 30, such as 25, the operator will be taken from work area B and given work in work area A.
- The work management functionality distributes the directed work based on travel sequence as well. Travel sequence is a numeric value used to identify the proximity of the current work zone to other work zones irrespective of work area boundaries. This value is also used to direct the movement of work between work zones.
- If Warehouse Labor Management (WLM) is installed, configured, and integrated with WMS, you can use the WLM travel distance calculations to enable the operator to find the next work that is physically closer to the current location. To accomplish directed work by proximity, first, WMS sends an ordered list that includes the starting location of each work to WLM. Then, WLM uses the list information to calculate the travel distance from the operator’s current location to each work’s starting location. WMS retrieves the travel distance information and sorts the list of locations. Finally, WMS assigns the work closest to the operator’s current location, which is also the work with the shortest travel distance. WMS has a configuration policy to determine the waiting period for it to receive the travel distance calculations from WLM. Generally, the waiting period is only a few milliseconds. A high waiting period value will result in WMS taking more time to assign the closest work to the operator, whereas a low waiting period value will result in WLM sending a partial list back to WMS as the time will not be enough to analyze all locations. The closest work may not get assigned to the operator. Generally, the list of locations sent to WLM is in the travel sequence order, which does not always indicate the physically closest location. To overcome the issue, the directed work by proximity functionality includes a policy to randomize the list of locations. This will help the operators find the next work that is physically closer to the current location within the given waiting period.
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