Organizations new to putting Inventory Management in place often ask our opinion on best practices for defining locations where inventory will be stocked and bin setup in Dynamics GP. Because our solution uses Dynamics GP as the host inventory database, we start with the setup options available in that system. Let’s first get an understanding of the nomenclature. Within Dynamics GP, you will have the concept of Sites and Bins for location. A Site typically identifies a more global location. This can represent a building, a department, a truck or van. Under the Site would then be a more defined level of location identified as a bin in the Dynamics GP world. From here, there are a couple of options to evaluate.
First, you can assign a single bin assignment for each item for each site. For companies that have a specified place for each item, this works great. However, this presumes you won’t have any alternate stocking locations for any of these items. Even with this simple setup, PanatrackerGP presents the bin assignment details within the mobile user interface.
The other option you can elect to setup is multiple bin tracking in Dynamics GP. This opens additional configuration setup and inventory management opportunities as you can now define multiple bins (locations) under each site. This is ideal if items can be located in multiple spots under a given site. Some Panatrack customers will have a primary stock location identified and then have overstock areas. At other organizations, we find that inventory is stocked wherever there happens to be an open spot available at the time. Either of these cases, enabling this feature and adding PanatrackerGP will provide the ability for your workforce to access exactly where your inventory is located and the quantity.
Regarding the numbering for bins, it is important to consider how items are picked. If a customer is using a pick cart, for example, where someone is walking through the warehouse gathering multiple items, bin numbering that easily sortable and setup in a logical pick path will result in the option to have your picklists presented for the most efficient path. For organizations that are primary moving and picking inventory with fork trucks, this may not be as critical.
Guidance on numbering is also dependent on the size of the warehouse and how product is stocked. We typically recommend keeping numbering simple instead of long, complex location bins which can be challenging for users to adopt. Keep in mind, a site already defined independently so doesn’t need to be incorporated in the bin location ID. Your approach to numbering also depends on the warehouse setup. Sometimes, identifying the Aisle and Row may be adequate. Other cases may require that more precise locations be defined. You’ll want to evaluate how detailed the location should be based on the user perspective. For example, a bin representing Aisle+Row may be adequate if you are stocking pallets of inventory. For areas that stock many items in the same Aisle+Row space, adding a shelf position can add the logic required to quickly pinpoint the inventory needed.
In Dynamics GP, you will have up to 15 characters for your bin locations. If you are enabling multiple-bin tracking, your location IDs should be barcoded for easy data capture. A bin ID can be defined numerically or using an alpha-numeric characters (keeping in mind sort order). Dashes are often used to make it easier to identify the location in the human readable display. We do suggest that you avoid using spaces or special characters. If starting out defining larger areas, also consider leaving gaps in the numbering in the event you decide to add additional locations at a later time. If you have metal racks, consider magnetic location markers that can be shifted if needed due to stock level fluctuations.
One final consideration: Panatrack has introduced an advanced bin management module that adds attributes to the core bin setup of Dynamics GP. This includes the ability to assign bins to zones and define a type of bin including stock, overstock, and staging. Additional validation and logic has been added with implementation of this infrastructure if you do have more advanced inventory management requirements.