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Standard VDI-3601

Warehouse management systems VDI 3601
Rebooking as completion of a physical
movement 13
Rebooking as initiator of a physical
movement 13
Rebooking without physical movement 13
6.6.6. Stock-taking ________________________ 13
6.6.7. Control centre _______________________ 14
Warehouse management systems VDI 3601 ___ 2
Preliminary note __________________________ 2
Scope _______________________________ 2
Terms and definitions __________________ 2
Abbreviations ________________________ 3
4. Position of the WMS within the system
landscape ________________________________ 4
Superordinate systems ________________________4
Adjacent systems _____________________________4
4.1 Enterprise resource planning (ERP) __________5
4.2 Material flow control system (MFCS) ________5
4.3 Programmable logic controller (PLC) ________5
Administrative environment ____________ 5
User and authorisation management _____5
Multiple languages _______________________5
Parameters _____________________________6
Ergonomics _____________________________6
Archiving _______________________________6
Warehouse structure ________________ 7
Warehouse __________________________7
Warehouse type/system________________8
Storage area _________________________8
Storage location ______________________8
Area of activity _______________________9
Door ________________________________9
Staging zone _________________________9
Work station _________________________9
Production supply area _________________9
Master data management ____________ 9
Material _____________________________9
Packing specifications _________________10
Business partners ____________________10
Inventory management _____________ 10
Transport management _____________ 10
Incoming goods____________________ 11
Advanced shipping note _______________11
Receipt _____________________________12
Deconsolidation _____________________12
Quality inspection ____________________12
Storage ____________________________12
Advanced shipping note completion/ feedback
on stock 12
Additional functions _________________ 18
Core functions ________________________ 6
Outgoing goods ___________________ 14
Order management __________________ 14
Order picking _______________________ 16
Functional support of different order picking
procedures 16
Consideration of relevant stock properties16
Communication with resources involved16
Consolidation _______________________ 17
Packaging __________________________ 17
Dispatch ___________________________ 17
Staging of goods __________________ 17
Loading __________________________ 18
Delivery feedback _________________ 18
Batches ____________________________ 18
Cross-docking _______________________ 18
Dock/yard management_______________ 20
Double/multiple-depth storage _________ 20
Hazardous material __________________ 20
Hazardous substances ________________ 20
Weight control ______________________ 20
Handling units management ___________ 21
Kit building _________________________ 21
Consignment ________________________ 21
Empties and load carriers ______________ 21
(Multiple) client capability _____________ 22
Multi-warehouse handling capability ____ 22
Best before dates ____________________ 22
Package optimisation _________________ 22
Production supply and removal _________ 22
Resource planning/labour management __ 23
Returns ____________________________ 23
Serial numbers ______________________ 23
Slotting and warehouse reorganisation___ 23
Forklift guidance system ______________ 23
Value added services _________________ 24
Vendor managed inventory ____________ 24
Scrapping __________________________ 24
Customs ___________________________ 25
Bibliography ____________________________ 25
Warehouse-internal processes _______ 13
Relocation of stocks __________________13
Replenishment ______________________13
Rebooking __________________________13
Warehouse management systems VDI 3601
Preliminary note
The content of this standard has been developed in strict accordance with the requirements and recommendations of the standard VDI 1000.
All rights are reserved, including those of reprinting, reproduction (photocopying, micro copying),
storage in data processing systems and translation, either of the full text or of extracts.
The use of this standard without infringement of copyright is permitted subject to the licensing conditions specified (www.vdi.de/richtlinien) in the VDI Notices.
We wish to express our gratitude to all honorary contributors to this standard.
1. Scope
The present standard describes task and performance areas that define an IT system as a warehouse
management system (WMS). To this end, it defines the necessary terms and acronyms, describes the
administrative and functional environment and addresses customary ways of integrating a WMS into
superordinate or subordinate IT systems.
In current language, the term “warehouse management” is used to describe the management, control
and optimisation of storage and distribution systems. The fundamental functions of warehouse managementcover quantity and storage location management and control as well as disposition of conveying
means. In addition the scope of a WMS as per this view also comprises complex methods and means for
controlling system statuses as well as various operational and optimisation strategies. Thus, the task of a
WMS is to manage and optimise intra-company storage systems.
See ISO/IEC 2382 for definitions on concepts related to the technical environment of a WMS (operating
systems, servers, clients, databases, etc.). Warehouse management systems necessitate that these
subordinate system layers ensure throughput, data quality, and data stability as required for the WMS
to perform its tasks.
2. Terms and definitions
For the purposes of this standard, the following terms and definitions apply:
Booking process for ^incoming goods at the storage location, comprising storage location finding, transport to storage location, and checking the storage location coordinates.
Recording of all assets, especially of the entire warehouse stock, to correctly determine a company’s
floating capital.
Order picking
Logistic task for compiling partial quantities from a total of goods (assortment of goods) based on delivery orders by means of warehouse tasks.
Logistics control centre
Technical installation that continuously visualises and analyses key figures and logistic processes, identifies deviations from the target, and recommends actions to the user.
Master data management
System for handling and storing condition-oriented data (usually with redundancy).
Note: The most important master data objects are customers, suppliers, products, capital goods,
personnel and accounts. The master data also includes movement data on material in the warehouse,
from ^incoming goods to ^outgoing goods.
Part of the intra-company logistics where the entire outgoing movement of goods is managed physically
and IT-based.
Outgoing goods
Area of a company where the goods to be delivered are physically released and booked out from stock
and checked against advised quantities regarding contents and quantity.
Incoming goods
Area of a company where incoming goods are physically taken over, booked in and checked against advised quantities regarding contents and quantity.
3. Abbreviations
The following abbreviations are used throughout this standard:
advanced shipping note
enterprise resource planning
handling unit
industrial PC
QA Stock
mobile data entry
material flow control system
best before date
management information system
number of shipping unit
production planning and control
quality assurance stock
storage and retrieval machine
radio-frequency identification
programmable logic controller
serial shipping container code
transport management system
value added services
vendor managed inventory
warehouse management system
4. Position of the WMS within the system landscape
As part of the system landscape of a company, the WMS communicates with adjacent systems via interfaces (Figure 1). The position of such systems within the IT hierarchy is geared towards the tasks and
main functions of the software systems involved. The precise differentiation and/or layout of the individual systems and their system boundaries result from the individual project requirements. This means
that alternative configuration options are possible. Advantages and disadvantages of specific alternatives can therefore not be defined globally within the framework of this standard.
Figure 1. Plane model of system landscape (from WMS’s perspective)
Superordinate systems
The WMS communicates “upwards” with systems ranked at a higher hierarchical level. Typically,
these are ERP systems, see also VDI 3969.
Subordinate systems
The WMS communicates “downwards” with systems ranked at lower hierarchical levels (subsystems)
such as material flow control systems (MFCS) or programmable logic controllers (PLC) that directly
control automatic conveying or storage equipment such as rack vehicles and conveying paths,
sorters, order picking robots and packing facilities. This group also comprises systems that support
manual handling such as barcode and RFID scanners, pick-by-light and pick-by-voice devices.
Standard series VDI/ VDMA 5100 describes a possible design approach to this topic.
Adjacent systems
The WMS communicates “sidewards” with systems hierarchically ranked neither at superordinate
nor at subordinate levels, e.g. dispatch systems, transport management systems (TMS), management
information systems (MIS) and data warehouse systems. The systems are part of the same
operational plane within the plane model.
Enterprise resource planning (ERP)
Enterprise resource planning is an integrated software system for comprehensively planning and coordinating corporate and especially business-related tasks. It is aimed at utilising the resources available
within a company (personnel, operating resources, etc.) in the most efficient way. In addition to
comprising programs for virtually all tasks of a company (e.g. finance, accounting, controlling, HR
management, product development, production), RP systems can also provide logistic applications (e.g.
inventory management, disposition).
Material flow control system (MFCS)
The implementation of partially or fully automated material flow operations is realised in the Material
flow control system (formerly: material flow computer plane). It coordinates and, where necessary, optimises the sequence of tasks to be performed and controls the source-target relations of single (transport) tasks, processes, etc. being completed. To this end, subordinated controls are activated.
Material flow control can be an integrated module of a WMS or installed as a separate system. A
material flow control system performs all transport management tasks within the warehouse described
in Section 6.4. The forklift guidance system described in Section 7.21 is a special form of transport
Programmable logic controller (PLC)
A programmable logic controller is an electronic assembly at subsystem level used for open and closedloop control tasks of automated components, e.g. conveying equipment or storage and retrieval machines. Basically, this is a device with specialised input and output interfaces. Using sensors and actuators, it can control, monitor, and influence production and transportation processes.
There are now controls available for the tasks described that are based on an industrial PC (IPC) or on
software solutions.
Administrative environment
User and authorisation management
In order to avoid unauthorised access to WMS data and functions, authorised system users are created
and maintained in the user management. The regulations for the assignment and validity of passwords
are also defined here. There are functions for maintaining users, e. g. creation, deletion, and password
Permissions for accessing WMS objects (menus, dialogues, fields and functions) are set within the
authorisation management. Usually, these permissions are combined into profiles or groups and then
assigned to the user. A distinction is made between different permission levels: read/visible,
execute/write, no permission.
Depending on the specific setup, the user has permission to see, navigate within, enter data into or
execute the relevant objects. Objects for which the user has no permissions can be hidden or greyed
out. As part of permissions maintenance, the dialogues and functions required for individual employees
or groups of employees are set and functions that are not required are deactivated.
In addition to permissions for objects, permissions for data contents, e. g. for delivery orders of specific
clients, can be set. This is especially necessary to limit data access in multi-client environments.
5.2 Multiple languages
Based on the language selected by the user, all screen texts are displayed in that language. In addition
to the dialogues, this also affects e.g. error and system messages, help systems, and descriptive master
data (e.g. material descriptions). Translations can either be provided by the WMS manufacturer or
entered by the administrators themselves via the dialogue system. In addition, documents can be
printed in languages other than the one set for the user, e.g. in the language of the goods recipient. To
this end, information such as names of materials, other text elements and, if necessary, whole forms
must be managed in multiple languages. Text administration is done using suitable character sets, e. g.
Unicode. The language for print outputs can be selected e. g. based on warehouse, site, client, or goods
recipient. Different units of measurement including conversion from one unit to another are supported
to enable the correct units of measurement to be displayed based on the language setting. This refers to
the display of screen dialogues and/or the printout of receipts and not to a change of the unit of
measurement used in the system itself. The system’s unit of measurement needs to be set once during
initial configuration of the system.
5.3 Parameters
The configuration of the WMS is performed using editable parametersi. Some parameter changes take
effect immediately, others only after a (partial) restart.
Basic parameters usually are maintained within the system configuration only and thus can only be performed by configuration administrators (in most cases, these are key users defined by the WMS supplier’s customer).
Other parameters can be modified by the application administrators. Usually, these parameters are
maintained directly within the productive system. To this end, relevant dialogues are available in the
5.4 Ergonomics
The WMS supports the warehouse processes using ergonomic, process-oriented dialogues. Frequent
dialogue changes within one process are avoided. Verifications help to avoid wrong entries and any
forbidden triggering of functions. The information required for the processes are presented clearly, any
unnecessary information can be hidden.
5.5 Archiving
Usually, a WMS is optimised for processing the required data volumes. Storing fully processed records
(e.g. for research) requires considerably larger resources in terms of storage volumes and processing
Therefore, data records ready for archiving and completed data records are exported from current data
tables on a regular basis. Archiving these data records reduces the amount of data in the productive
system to the level required for operation. The archive can be optimised for the queries usually
performed to speed up research in these larger amounts of data. Depending on the requirements, archives can be sourced out so that productive operation is not impaired by the queries being performed.
Usually, data retention periods within the productive and archiving systems are defined during the
conception stage.
If central data warehouses are used for archiving and researching across system borders, data is not
usually archived within the WMS. Instead, the data warehouse is supplied with the relevant data via an
interface. Cross-system information can then be compiled from a single data warehouse.
6. Core functions
The core functions are part of the minimum scope of delivery of every WMSii. However, specific
functionalities can differ. The core functionalities support - normally using modules provided by the
WMS supplier only - the main area of application of every WMS, i.e. the processes from incoming goods
to outgoing goods as well as warehouse-relevant management processes.
Figure 2 illustrates the structure of a WMS, focussing on the interaction between core and additional
functions. The latter are described in Section 7.
Warehouse structure
The warehouse structure is the basis for designing the processes. The warehouse structure consists of
various organisational units that are partly organised
hierarchically, partly linked to each other. Examples of typical organisational units:
• warehouse
warehouse type/system
• storage area
• storage location
• area of activity
• door
• staging zone
• work station
• production supply area
These are explained below. The contents can have different, project-specific designations.
A “warehouse” designates the logical aggregation of all storage facilities and areas managed by the
WMS plus the transport facilities and traffic zones directly linked to them as well as any work stations,
storage compartments, areas, silos, tanks and other facilities that can be used to hold goods for storage,
handling or order processing purposes. This also includes facilities and areas for incoming and outgoing
Usually, a warehouse is assigned to a site, i.e. to a continuous property. In exceptional cases, continuous
storage processes (e.g. storage and retrieval actions) can also extend across several properties. If several
such warehouse sites are closely linked to each other on an organisational level, the system is referred
to as a warehouse network; it can be mapped in a WMS as one logical warehouse.
Warehouse type/system
Warehouses are classified into physical or logical warehouse types that are characterised by their storage technology, organisational structure, or function. Most warehouse types can also be operated
Examples of warehouse types that are used for the actual storing of material:
• classification based on physical characteristics:
- pallet warehouse
- high-bay warehouse
- small-parts warehouse
- bulk warehouse
• outdoor storage space
• classification based on logical characteristics:
- hazardous substances warehouse
- bonded warehouse
- consignment warehouse
Examples of warehouse types that fulfil a specific interface function within the processes:
• incoming goods areas
• outgoing goods areas
• transfer locations (e.g. between halls or warehouse types/systems)
• order picking areas
• packing areas
• consolidation areas
Warehouse types have parameters defining their specific properties, e.g. storage and retrieval
strategies, capacity checking methods, storage of handling units (HU), mixed storageiii.
6.1.3. Storage area
Any warehouse type can be divided into logical or physical storage areas. Several storage locations
with identical properties can be grouped together to form a single storage area. Often, storage areas
are arranged based on the materials’ properties within a warehouse type, e.g. based on weight
(heavy materials), volume (bulky materials), temperature (materials that need to be cooled),
turnover frequency (fast moving goods).iv
6.1.4 Storage location
The term “storage location” is used for a specific location in the storage area where a material stock
is stored or can be stored. A storage location can be characterised by multiple attributes, e.g.:
• x, y, z coordinates (e.g. aisle, column, level)
• maximum weight
• maximum volume
• allocation to a fire sector
• partition of storage location
• storage location depth
• fixed or random storage location
storage locations are often designated based on a specific scheme that is in turn based e.g. on the
coordinates of a grid. Often, the spatial allocation of storage locations such as “aisle”, “column”, or
“level” is considered when creating a term.
Since most warehouses comprise tens of thousands of storage locations, the storage location is a master
data record that can be created via mass maintenance or an upload function in many WMS v.
6.1.5 Area of activity
An area of activity groups together storage locations used for a specific activity, e.g. order picking, storage, or stock-taking.vi In contrast to warehouse types or storage areas, storage locations are thus mainly
grouped together based on processes. Another difference is that activity areas for different activities
can overlap.
6.1.6 Door
The term “door” is used for a point in the warehouse where transport units such as trucks, wagons, or
other vehicles deliver material to the warehouse or take over material from the warehouse.
6.1.7 Staging zone
A staging zone is physically located within the warehouse in close proximity of a door. When a transport
unit to be unloaded arrives at this door, the material is unloaded to the relevant staging zone before it is
processed further. For a transport unit to be loaded, the staging zone serves as a buffer for the loading
process. In some countries, the staging zone is also used as consolidation area.
6.1.8 Work station
A work station is a point in the warehouse where tasks involving materials and HU are carried out, e.g.
order picking, counting, quality inspection, packing, deconsolidation, VAS, kitting.
6.1.9 Production supply area
A product supply area serves as an intermediate storage area in the production to provide material
needed for production directly at the line or the production work station.
The product supply area groups together production work stations that are close to production storage
locations, taking into account the material staging type. Material staging types e.g. are staging for
exactly one production order, cross-production order staging, or KANBAN staging.
Master data management
The material master data comprises a material’s data required for warehouse logistics. These data comprise general data that are not specific to a single warehouse only but relevant across all warehouse
sites. Important data are e.g. an external material number (number from ERP), a material description,
gross weight and volume, batch management requirement, serial number profile, information on
storage life, and hazardous substance or hazardous material data.
A material is always listed in a base quantity unit (e.g. piece) and can also have alternative quantity units
(e.g. a sales quantity unit or an order quantity unit).
In addition to the general data, the material master data also contain warehouse-specific information.
These can differ from warehouse to warehouse and usually concern control indicators for storage and
retrieval as well as for stock-taking within the entire warehouse.
Some WMS provide a higher degree of detail by offering the possibility to maintain data for control
within one warehouse type. These data comprise information e.g. on replenishment quantities or preferred storage areas.
In practice and sometimes depending on the industry sector, the terms “article”, “item”, or “product”
are used instead of the term “material”.
Packing specifications
Packing specifications comprise information on how material is to be packed vii. In different storage processes, the packing specifications e.g. provide information on finding the appropriate packing material
or pallets to be used. Moreover, they provide important information to the employee during the
packaging process.
Business partners
Business partners are goods recipients and/or consignors of goods who maintain a goods relationship
with the warehouse. Goods consignors can themselves be recipients (e.g. in case of returns). These can
be customers or suppliers, but also subcontractors, detailers, or any other kind of service provider.
They not only include legal or natural entities maintaining business relations with the company (e.g. customers, suppliers or service providers), but also other organisational units of the same company.
Several addresses can exist for one business partner (e.g. pickup address, delivery address, billing address).
Business partner master data are mostly managed by the ERP and not by the WMS.
Inventory management
Inventory management comprises functionalities and methods for managing and finding identical and
differing warehouse inventory items.
Warehouse stocks can be managed at storage locations, on resources (e.g. on forklifts, order picking
trolleys, storage and retrieval machines) or on transport units (e.g. trucks, railway wagons). In order to
differentiate stocks from each other, the WMS uses stock-differentiating properties that enable the
stocks to be clearly differentiated, e.g. material, batch, client, country of origin, customer order, or
project (see also Section 7.1, Section 7.8, Section 7.12, Section 7.14, Section 7.19).
Another important stock-differentiating property is the stock type. Based on the stock type, a
differentiation is made as to whether a stock is part of e.g. the stock readily available, the locked stock,
the quality inspection stock or the customs stock.
Furthermore, it is possible to determine whether the stock is in transport to or already at the storage
If the stock-differentiating properties of two stocks are identical, the stocks’ quantities can be merged
(e.g. with addition to existing stock at one storage location). viiiOtherwise, the stocks can clearly be
differentiated from each other based on their stock-differentiating properties. Stocks with different
stock-differentiating properties can also be grouped together on a project-specific basis. However, the
properties for the new stock then have to be defined.
Using the methods of stock determination, stocks can be selected for specific warehouse activities
based on stock types and clients. Stock determination can be done separately for each material.
A special case of inventory management applies for material that is requested in custom base quantity
units (e.g. lengths, volumes, surface). Here, a classification into residual quantities and cut parts is done
even before processing. Examples are wood, cable, and glass cuts. The cut material is therefore called
“cut” Differing from this, the term “filling” is used for liquids and bulk material. The resulting requirements for inventory management and retrieval strategies must be taken into consideration.
Transport management
The movements of storage aids/transport aids within the warehouse from a starting point to a
destination are managed using transport orders. Usually, a transport order contains at least the
following information:
• transport order number
• starting point of transport
destination of transport
• type of transport (e.g. storage, relocation of stocks, replenishment, special transports)
• type of transport aid (or storage aid)
• identification number of transport aid
• transport group (for classifying the permitted means of transport, e.g. forklift)
• transport status
In addition, the following information regarding the transport order is logged:
• creation of transport order (date/time)
• planned/actual start of transport order (date/time)
• receipt of transport order (date/time)
• resource and user who carried out the transportix
For transport management, all available transport subsystems are defined, e.g. conveying technology
systems, forklifts, mobile data entry units (for manual transports).
The route parameters determine which transport systems using which transport aid types can carry out
the transports between the starting points and destinations of the warehouse.
For transport order planning and execution, outstanding transports are compared with the available resources and assigned to an order backlog based on strategies (capacities/priorities). The assigned and
available resources retrieve the transport orders from this order backlog for execution.
All movements are logged. Arrival at the transport destination is reported by transport management to
the ordering entities (e.g. inventory management).
Incoming goods
Incoming goods is the area where incoming goods are physically taken over, booked in and checked
against advised quantities regarding contents and quantity. The following sub-processes are possible:
• advanced shipping note
• receipt
• deconsolidation
• quality inspection
• storage
• advanced shipping note completion/feedback on stock
Parts of these processes can also be executed within the ERP, their level of detail can vary. The
sequence of the listed sub-processes can also vary.
Advanced shipping note
The announcement of a delivery of goods from a supplier to the recipient is called “advanced shipping
note” (ASN).
An advanced shipping note should at least provide information on the estimated time of arrival at the
warehouse, the orders and order items covered by the delivery, material (material number, quantity),
and possibly weight and/or volume.
The advanced shipping notification is carried out e.g.
• by the supplier feeding advanced shipping note information directly into the ERP system and from
there to the WMS,
• through a load carrier-specific advanced shipping note, e.g. in the form of an NSU (number of shipping
unit) or an SSCC (serial shipping container code),
• without actually transmitting an advanced shipping note, i.e. by transmitting order items to the WMS,
• without actually transmitting an advanced shipping note, i.e. the goods are booked in the WMS only
based on shipping note information; the references to the purchase/purchase item must then be
created manually.
During discharge, the goods are checked against the waybill and the carrier is relieved.
During receipt, the advanced shipping note, accompanying papers (e.g. shipping note) and actually delivered goods are compared and booked. In doing so, the stock is created in the WMS. Usually,
identification of material and papers is done using barcodes or RFID.
Deviations must be taken account of (e.g. excess deliveries or underdeliveries, wrong material).
6.5.3 Deconsolidation
During deconsolidation, the delivered containers are singularised so as to obtain individual storage units
based on the different storage areas or warehouse tasks.
Sometimes, partial quantities are separated for additional processes (e.g. quality inspection, cross-docking, master data control) at this stage already.
6.5.4 Quality inspection
Depending on the operational requirements, inspections of supplier and material qualities can become
necessary. These can range from a simple inspection of type and quantity to a comprehensive quality inspection. A visual or laboratory inspection of either a random sample or of the entire quantity can be
carried out. Usually, the specifications for random sampling (quantity, scope, inspection regulations) are
managed in the ERP system or in separate quality assurance systems.
Quality inspections impact on inventory management in the WMS (e.g. rebooking, relocation of stocks,
6.5.5 Storage
The functional support of storing incoming goods comprises storage location finding, transport to storage location, and checking the storage location coordinates after completion of the warehouse task.
Numerous storage strategies can be applied in this context that may vary significantly depending on process requirements.x A prerequisite for this is warehouse-relevant master data of sufficiently high quality.
The following aspects can be relevant for storage:
• physical material criteria (e.g. material dimensions, net/gross weight, shape)
• material group (e.g. special material, hazardous substances)
• (admissible) load carrier types (e.g. based on physical material criteria)
• material characteristics (e.g. fast/medium/slow moving goods based on access frequency)
• dedicated storage areas for specific material assortments or storage aids
• handling during storage and retrieval (e.g. for selecting appropriate means of transport)
• existing stock situation (e.g. for equal distribution to different lanes)
Once completion of storage has been confirmed in the WMS, the stock of a material is booked from incoming goods to the storage location.
6.5.6 Advanced shipping note completion/ feedback on stock
Once the quantitative registration of all goods of one delivery has been completed, the received
quantities for the individual advanced shipping note item are reported back to the ERP, which then is
responsible for accounting.
For stock synchronisation purposes, it must be decided when and to what level of detail which stock
changes will be communicated to the ERP system.
At the very latest, the stock quantities are communicated to the ERP system as available stock once storage and advanced shipping note have been completed.
Warehouse-internal processes
6.6.3. Relocation of stocks
The term “relocation of stocks” is used to describe the warehouse-internal process of transporting stock
from one point in the warehouse to another. Relocation of stocks can be unplanned but also planned,
xie.g. as part of a reorganisation (through slotting, see Section 7.20).
6.6.4. Replenishment
Replenishment is a special form of relocation of stocks. In the replenishment process xii, a quantity of one
material is e.g. repositioned from a reserve area to an order picking area. The order picking area is replenished based on the required quantities. Likewise, replenishment can be carried out between
different order picking areas (e.g. from a pallet rack to a shelf storage system) or between different
reserve areas (e.g. from a complete pallet storage system to a buffer area and from there to an order
picking area in small quantities).
Replenishment can e.g. be planned based on consumption data, or it can be triggered unplanned
through the action of an order picker.
The quantity to be replenished can be determined based on different strategies (e.g. based on the
results of an analysis of minimum and maximum quantities, or considering outstanding orders or
available container sizes).
6.6.5. Rebooking
A rebooking can be initiated in the WMS or in the ERP. During a rebooking, at least one attribute of a
stock is changed.
Rebooking as completion of a physical movement
A rebooking can take place following a relocation of stocks, e.g. after storage is completed (upon acknowledgement at the destination storage location, a rebooking of the stock from “being stored” to
“freely available” takes place).
Rebooking as initiator of a physical movementxiii
A rebooking to change the stock status, e.g. from “freely available” to “locked”, can result in a relocation
of stocks, e.g. to the quarantine warehouse.
Rebooking without physical movement
A rebooking does not necessarily entail a relocation of stocks, i.e. the status of a stock can also change
within one storage location without stock being moved. Examples are rebookings of “quality” to “freely
available” or “locked”.
6.6.6. Stock-taking
The term “stock-taking” describes the recording of all assets, especially of the entire warehouse stock,
to correctly determine a company’s floating capital. The WMS supports the stock-taking process while
evaluation of the stock-taking results is usually carried out using an ERP system.
Various types of stock-taking are supported (e.g. end- of-period stock-taking, sample stock-taking,
permanent stock-taking). The actual design of the required functionality depends on the customer’s
legal and organisational framework conditions.
A detailed description of the stock-taking procedure can be found in standard VDI 4492.
6.6.7. Control centre
The logistics control centre is a tool for monitoring and controlling operational sequences. The WMS
provides the user with key warehouse figures and information on the logistic and/or
warehouse-relevant processes. In more complex situations, a control centre continually visualises and
analyses the key figures and logistic processes, identifies deviations from the target and recommends
actions to the user.
A detailed description of the control centre functionality can be found in standard VDI 4493 Part 1. Relevant key figures for warehouse logistics are found in standard VDI 4490.
Outgoing goods
The task of outgoing goods is to prepare a delivery or load creation. This comprises the following
possible sub-processes:
• order management
• order picking
• consolidation
• packaging
• dispatch
• delivery feedback
Order management
Order management serves to process customer orders on the IT level or to supply production by the
warehouse. To this end, the WMS imports delivery orders from the ERP system via an interface or
enables the entry of orders directly into the WMS. In special cases, the WMS allows for combining
several delivery orders into one collective delivery order. Delivery orders consist of one or more delivery
order items that are processed by means of warehouse tasks. A warehouse task in turn is processed
based on a specific workflow. By processing all warehouse tasks for a delivery order item, packages are
created. These packages form consignments. A consignment can comprise one or several packages (plus
any load carriers) that are addressed to one goods recipient. Usually, a 1:1 relation between delivery
order and consignment exists; some WMS also offer the possibility to split delivery orders into several
consignments or to combine several delivery order items into a single consignment. Grouping together
several consignments for transport, e.g. to one or more recipients, is referred to as creating a
load.Figure 3 primarily illustrates the logical objects of order management within the WMS rather than
the physical processes. Note: Usually, each package is assigned a unique number of shipping unit (NSU)
and/or a serial shipping container code (SSCC) for unambiguous identification; see ISO/IEC 15459 for
more information. As part of the interface communication between ERP and WMS, the transmitted
delivery orders are checked forcompleteness and consistency. This is followed by the “schedule
approval” of delivery orders for processing in the warehouse. This comprises: stock assignment Usually,
access to freely available
stock and the
Figure 3. Logical document and object structure in outgoing goods
subsequent reservation of the quantities required to fulfil the scheduled delivery orders takes place
warehouse tasks. In more complex environments, special order types also allow access to other stock
qualifications, e.g. access to customer single stocks, consignment stock or QA stock for returning to the
supplier. In addition, strategies for optimised retrieval are implemented for assigning stocks (e.g.
first-in-first-out, last-in-first-out, retrieval based on quantity, retrieval of goods not to be picked shortly
before time of delivery, e.g. retrieval of entire containers).
• package pre-calculation
A pre-calculation for packages can be carried out during delivery order processing. Considering
weight and volume and any hazardous material data or other factors, an algorithm is used to optimise the number and packing of packages.
• consignment creation
During creation of a consignment, a check is carried out to see if several packages for the same re15
cipient can be grouped together. Consignment creation takes place either continuously or subsequently. During continuous consignment creation, a check is carried out for each new package to see
if a consignment for the same goods recipient already exists. If this is the case, the package is attached to the existing consignment if sufficient capacities are available. Where consignments are
created subsequently, a check to determine which packages belong together is carried out during
load creation. Accordingly, packages are only grouped together at that point.
Once schedule approval has been given, the “approval for physical processing” of the warehouse tasks
takes place. The latter are explained separately hereafter.
6.7.2 Order picking
The objective of order picking is to compile partial quantities from a total of goods (assortment) based
on delivery orders using warehouse tasks. This comprises both the singularising of material and the retrieval of entire containers from the assortment.
The WMS supports completion of the warehouse task “order picking” by
• applying different order picking procedures and optimising order picking notes,
• accounting for relevant stock properties, and
• communicating with the resources involved (e.g. employees, conveying technology, robots). Functional support of different order picking procedures
Usually, warehouse management systems support order picking based on the principles “person to
goods” and “goods to person”. Depending on the principle, the WMS either guides the order picker to
the goods
(e.g. order picking in pallet rack) or it controls the transport of the goods to the person (e.g. order picking station of conveying technology).
More complex systems support hybrid forms, e.g. pass-on systems with several zones defined as working area of the order pickers involved.
In order to increase performance, the WMS optimises warehouse tasks for order picking. Common
examples are:
• splitting of delivery orders into warehouse tasks per storage area/activity area (parallel or sequential
order picking)
• grouping together of different warehouse tasks for simultaneous order picking in one storage area/activity area (multi-order picking)
• grouping together of different delivery orders into one picking wave or picking batch for combined
This allows e.g. multi-level order picking (material-based retrieval for several delivery orders on the
first level, followed by sorting according to delivery order on the second level).
Moreover, the WMS guides the resources required for order picking through the warehouse, taking into
account order priorities and minimising the time required and distances to be covered. In addition to
the manual approval of warehouse tasks by the warehouse personnel, rules set in the system enable
automated approval of warehouse tasks relating to order backlogs.
Consideration of relevant stock properties
Depending on delivery order or master data specifications, properties such as batch number, serial number or best before date must be considered during order picking.
Communication with resources involved
(employees, conveying technology, robots, etc.)
The WMS controls the communication with the resources involved in order picking. For “person to
goods” order picking, the information transfer to order picking employees takes place either with paper
(printout of an order picking list) or without paper. Common procedures for paperless order picker guidance involve mobile data entry (MDE) devices or forklift terminals, optical methods (e.g. pick-by-light or
put-to-light) or acoustic methods (e.g. pick-byvoice).
For “goods to person” order picking and fully automated order picking, the WMS controls the connected
storage and conveying technology via the material flow control system to transport the goods to the
order picking stations for retrieval.
6.7.3 Consolidation
Following order picking, the picked stocks for one delivery order are physically grouped together, i.e.
The task of the WMS is to manage the staging areas, organise the incoming stocks, and monitor
completeness of the delivery orders. Once all parts of a delivery order have been consolidated, the
subsequent process can be initiated.
Different conveying and storage technologies can be deployed to support consolidation, e.g. conveying
technology gyros or buffer storage systems.
Also, consolidation can take place during the order picking stage (e.g. in a pick & pack scenario) or during the packaging process (grouping together packages for one goods recipient, if necessary also across
delivery orders).
6.7.4 Packaging
Typically, the packaging process is supported by the following WMS functionalities:
• selection of the packaging type and size appropriate for the goods to be packed (based on material
properties, volume and weight, dispatch route, hazardous material regulations, master data or delivery order-specific properties, packaging notes, etc.)
• calculation and specification of packaging sequences and/or packaging schemes
• repackaging functions for repackaging from warehouse-internal load carriers into the packaging used
for shipping
weighing of package to determine/control weight
• quality control (e.g. quantity check, scanning individual material)
• printing out and/or attaching or including papers (e.g. list of package contents, shipping notes,
shipping labels, hazardous goods documents, customs documents, advertising material)
This necessitates proper maintenance of the required master data on packaging types and sizes and
other information linked to these processes.
Packaging, i.e. packing of the picked goods ready for shipment and the creation of the necessary documents and labels, is usually carried out after consolidation. However, parts of the process can also be
completed earlier and even before starting the order picking, e.g. when orders are picked directly into
the shipping containers (pick&pack).
6.7.5 Dispatch
Staging of goods
The consignments packed ready for shipment are provided at dispatch and then transported to the
The WMS assumes the following tasks:
• management of dispatch areas and doors for staging
• assignment of packages to dispatch areas
A load/transport unit is created in the WMS prior to physical loading. During the loading process, the
consignments and/or packages are assigned to the load/transport unit. This can be ensured by a
scanning function at the door.
The freight documents are created after loading.
Possible additional functions and interfaces in this context are:
• handover of data to the carrier (papers, waybill, export documents)
• linking of shipping software/platforms (interfaces to forwarders)
Furthermore, e.g. the following aspects of optimisation can be implemented:
• consideration of stackability of pallets in the truck
• consideration of loading sequence
• re-storing of packed packages for retrieval shortly before shipping to optimise utilisation of the dispatch area
In this context, some WMS can integrate functionalities for tour and route planning. This means that interfaces to or functionalities overlapping with ERP or TMS systems can exist.
Delivery feedback
Within the delivery order processing in the WMS, different statuses can be carried forward and submitted to the ERP system to initiate follow-up processes (e.g. invoice printing). Possible statuses are: “order
picking completed”, “packing completed”, “loading completed”. Usually, booking of outgoing goods
takes place when the transport unit leaves the warehouse site. This is reported back to the ERP system,
synchronising the stock situations in both systems.
Additional functions
A WMS’s core functions are complemented by additional functions. They are installed or activated when
the customer needs the relevant functionality (e.g. due to trade-specific requirements). Furthermore,
some modules (e.g. dock/yard management or resource planning) are offered separately by specialised
providers and linked to the WMS via an interface.
In the following, common additional functions of a WMS are listed in alphabetical order.
7.1. Batches
Batch management especially relates to the functional support of the traceability of batches required by
law as per European Regulation 178/2002. To this end, the batch number needs to be captured at
incoming goods (traceability from supplier). In addition, traceability must be ensured to the precise
storage location when internal transports occur. The batch is considered a stock-differentiating
characteristic. If the batch has already left the warehouse, it must be assigned to the customer it was
supplied to (proof of use for customer). Using empty fields (e.g. best before date as batch number field)
is usually not sufficient because it would then no longer be possible to manage batches with a best
before date.
7.2. Cross-docking
The term “cross-docking” is used to describe processes where stocks from incoming goods are not
stored but instead are fed directly into the outgoing goods process.
For cross-docking, a distinction is made between processing inventory-managed material and HU
without inventory information.
• For cross-docking of inventory-managed material, additional processes must often be initiated since
the quantities available in incoming goods do not usually correspond exactly to the quantities
required in outgoing goods. Example processes
are the storage of residual quantities, the retrieval of shortages and the cancellation of retrieval tasks
that are replaced by cross-docking.
• For cross-docking of HU without inventory information, no inventory management based on material
takes place. Only the HU are identified, managed and controlled based on their destinations
(customers/loads/deliveries). This means that material quantities are not relevant.
In addition to inventory information, the process trigger is of crucial importance for cross-docking
(Figure 4). Firstly, a distinction is made between:
• unplanned cross-docking
• planned cross-docking
In unplanned cross-docking, the WMS recognises whether the stock items in incoming goods qualify for
cross-docking during the incoming goods process or the outgoing goods process.
• unplanned cross-docking in the incoming goods process:
During creation of the warehouse tasks for storage, a check is carried out to see if stock items can be
used for deliveries. In case of a match, crossdocking takes place.
• unplanned cross-docking in the outgoing goods process:
During creation of the warehouse tasks for retrieval, a check is carried out to see if any matching
stock is being delivered or available in incoming goods. In case of a match, cross-docking takes place.
In planned cross-docking, the decision as to whether or not cross-docking will take place is taken prior to
the material’s physical arrival. Planned cross-docking is subdivided into:
• goods allocation
During goods allocation, a decision is made in the ERP system to carry out a cross-docking. The deliveries and delivery orders affected by the crossdocking are communicated to the WMS. In direct
cross-docking, the materials are distributed untouched. In flow-through, however, the material is
relocated from the incoming goods area to a repacking area before being made available in the
outgoing goods area.
• transport cross-docking
In contrast to the other cross-docking processes, transport cross-docking has no impact on the process within the warehouse. Instead, it impacts the transport process to the goods recipient. In this
case, the WMS draws on route information to decide during the outgoing goods process whether
goods are transported to a goods recipient directly or via one or several hubs.
Figure 4. Cross-docking (schematic illustration)
7.3. Dock/yard management
In dock management, the warehouse docks (ramps) are managed by the WMS. The WMS supports e.g.
the assignment of a truck to a specific dock at a set target delivery time. Yard management manages the
warehouse yard. The WMS manages the parking positions of the yard and controls and monitors transports between the individual points of the yard.
Dock/yard management comprises functions such as planning and allocating time frames, checking in
and out trucks, truck recognition, truck management, parking position management, dock planning,
door allocation, calling up trucks, and relocation transports.
7.4. Double/multiple-depth storage
This describes storage of two or more storage units (with or without load carriers) behind each other at
a single storage location. If storage locations are not allocated to items of the same material or batch,
strategies for the relocation of stocks are required. These strategies can be more or less complex
depending on the layout of the warehouse and the conveying technology (channel storage system;
high-bay warehouses; SRM with 1 to n single/multiple-depth load handling devices).
In this environment, the management of stock sometimes takes place in separate sub-systems of the
ware- house/conveying technology suppliers. This is mainly the case in storage systems with channel
storage systems, storage systems with SRM with several load handling devices or automated vehicle
storage and retrieval systems.
In double or multiple-depth storage systems using SRM, warehouse management is often done without
such sub-systems. The necessary relocation of stocks is then recognised by the WMS and the SRM is informed via the MFCS. In this case, the corresponding locations can be controlled based on the
subsequent movements.
7.5. Hazardous material
Hazardous material is defined as a substance, an item or a formulation that represents a hazard to
humans, animals, or the environment when transported incorrectly. The tasks for hazardous materials
management include safe transport of hazardous materials. To this end, specific arrangements are
necessary to secure the goods for transport. These can include attaching safety signs to the transport
unit, creating accompanying documents and checking quantity restrictions for hazardous materials
based on the means and type of transport (transport by rail, road, air or sea). For multi-mode
transports, the requirements for each individual transport section must be considered.
7.6. Hazardous substances
The storage of hazardous substances is subject to special requirements stipulated by laws and
regulations. On the one hand, these requirements relate to controlling storage in order to adhere to
rules for storing substances together, and on the other to documenting stored substances. Therefore,
storing substances with hazardous properties in warehouses in which many different substances are
stored is extremely complex and challenging. In such warehouses, efforts must be made to optimise two
areas: On the one hand, the logistical requirements for efficient processes and an optimum use of
available resources and space must be met. On the other hand, all safety and environmental regulations
for operating such a site must be strictly adhered to.
7.7. Weight control
In some storage processes it can make sense to integrate weight checks to record the weight of stocks
and to check it against any weight restrictions. During the storage process, the weight can e.g. be
checked against the load bearing capacities of the storage locations; during the packing process, attention is paid to the weights of dispatch units to account for shipping/transport restrictions. During
stock-taking or order picking of material that is time-consuming to count, the weight of a material can
be recorded instead to then calculate the number of items in stock.
Especially in the food industry, goods often differ in terms of the weight of the individual items. This actually makes it impossible to determine a fixed conversion factor from piece to weight unit. Thus, each
product has two units of quantity with equal significance, one logistical unit of quantity and one valuation unit of measure (catch weight management). The weight check serves to determine or check the
valuation unit of measure.
7.8. Handling units management
The term “HU” is used to designate a logical warehouse unit that consists of one or several packing materials (load carriers/packaging material), any materials stored on it and any additional HU. Typical load
carriers for HU are e.g. pallets, wire-mesh pallets, containers, shelf boards, and cardboard boxes. Nesting allows for a clear hierarchy to be created. (In order to e.g. map the structure of a shelf board or of
the package, it is important to know the HU’s spatial positioning as this must also be accounted for.)
Each HU is assigned a unique number for identification and management in the WMS. This identifica
tion allows for handling units to be traced so they can be used for storage, transport, or dispatch.
7.9. Kit building
The term “kit building” (also “set building”) is used to describe the process of compiling a kit. A kit comprises a kit head and one or several kit components. The kit head is the material that is ordered. The kit
components are the individual parts that form a kit by assembly in the warehouse either during the
order picking process or separately at a work station.
Kit building consists of three processes:
• kit-to-order
• kit-to-stock
• reverse kitting
Kit-to-order means that the kits are created individually for customer orders based on sales bills of
materials if a sufficient number of assembled kits is not in stock. After the bill of materials is analysed,
the kit components are assembled to kits as part of the outbound delivery processing. This is done
either at a work station or directly during order picking into a HU.
Kit-to-stock means that kits are created anonymously (i.e. independent of any customer orders). The
process can be initiated both in the ERP (e.g. via a production order) and directly in the WMS based on
production bills of materials. If no production bill of materials exists, kit head, kit components and their
quantities can be entered into the WMS manually when the kit-to-stock order is created.
Reverse kitting means that a kit can also be disassembled back to its original components. This process is
used e.g. when kits are no longer required, when the bill of materials of a kit has changed or when a kit
has been received as part of a customer return. Reverse kitting can be carried out with or without a bill
of materials.
For consignment, the material is still owned by the supplier after receipt at the customer’s warehouse.
The customer takes ownership when retrieving the material for consumption or resale, thus creating a
liability towards the supplier.
The WMS can manage and distinguish the ownership structures of the material stocks (including those
of identical material from different suppliers), and control consumption so that own stocks are
consumed or sold before any consignment stocks.
Empties and load carriers
The unambiguous identification of each load carrier, the functional support of empties/load carrier accounts, the generation of collection requests for empties and the calculation of the necessary transport
capacities are all aspects of empties/load carrier management.
(Multiple) client capability
A WMS offers client capabilities if several clients (e.g. customers of a logistics service provider) can be
served by the WMS independently from each other. This requires that the data for all of these clients
can be maintained completely separate from each other and that no unauthorised access is granted.
This not only applies to stock data but also to supplier and customer data, user management,
warehouse regulations, warehouse processes, accounting of logistics and other services, and the
allocation of storage areas to clients.
Multi-warehouse handling capability
The support of at least two warehouse sites that are separated on a spatial and organisational level by a
single WMS is referred to as multi-warehouse handling capability. It is important that one stock overview per warehouse site and one overview of the total stock of all warehouse sites can be displayed. In
addition, it must be possible to carry out replenishments or consolidations between the individual sites.
Best before dates
The management of best before dates (BBD) comprises at least the storing of dates of expiry after which
the goods shall no longer be delivered or sold. In this context, the best before date is a stock-differentiating characteristic. Complex functions can quickly become necessary especially in the food and
pharmaceutical industries. For these industries, e.g. customised residual lives, ascending sorting of best
before dates at dispatch or a consideration of best before dates and residual lives as part of the
availability check can be required. Furthermore, consideration of the latest permissible delivery date
and of the latest permissible date of sale are important in some industries.
Package optimisation
A package is a compiled unit of products or packages for protection and transport purposes. Package
optimisation is a function of a WMS that prepares a package based on certain restrictions. Examples for
such restrictions can be that a package may not exceed a specific weight, that the existing space of a
packing unit is to be utilised fully or that a packing pattern calculation including the required sequencing
for order picking is necessary.
Production supply and removal
Supply and removal of material for production usually require specific handling in the warehouse. Differences compared to the processing of delivery orders for distribution result e.g. regarding the following aspects:
• separation or deliberate combination of distribution orders and production orders during order
• simplified outgoing goods processes by avoiding packaging or staging in the dispatch area
• deviating replenishment strategies or material staging processes for production, e.g. by staging based
on production lot size or staging in fixed replenishment lot sizes (e.g. KANBAN)
This can be followed by WMS-supported restorage of finished goods or of residual quantities that have
not been consumed.
Additional functionalities in the production supply and removal areas are:
• mapping of production or assembly stations including staging areas and corresponding stocks in
production, if necessary in multi-step processes
• processing of one- or multi-step bills of materials
displaying production or assembly instructions for simple production activities
More complex production requirements, especially those regarding planning activities, are usually managed using a production planning and control system (PPC) or corresponding modules in the ERP system.
In addition, there are functional overlaps with or similarities to logistical added-value services (see
Section 7.9 and Section 7.22).
Resource planning/labour management
Prior to the actual resource planning, the total processing time needs to be determined based on past
data and/or standard times. In addition, a load forecast based on the total processing time needs to be
created. Resource planning can be divided into employee-based and transport means-based resource
planning and is a useful feature of a WMS. By its very nature, employee-based resource planning is
based on personnel data such as working hours and working times of the relevant employee, qualifications and areas of deployment. For transport means- based resource planning, data such as key performance indicators, areas of deployment and availabilities are considered during planning.
In industries/companies with low return rates, returns can be handled as “normal” deliveries. Additional
functional support in this area can e.g. be the initiation of control works and any processing steps resulting from it (e.g. special storage, conditioning, scrapping).
In industries/companies with high return rates, e.g. in the mail order business, the returns process
becomes a core process of the logistical processing and can have retrospective effects on many process
steps in the WMS.
Serial numbers
Managing serial numbers is not limited to simply storing the serial number based on an individual material. It also involves registering serial numbers or serial number ranges at incoming goods based on individual deliveries (traceability from the supplier) and registering them at outgoing goods based on individual recipients (proof of use for customer). Using empty fields (e.g. best before date as serial
number field) is usually not sufficient, it would then no longer be possible to manage series with a best
before date.
Slotting and warehouse reorganisation
Slotting (also called “warehouse disposition”) is a planning function for automatically determining a
storage location for a material. Based on material packaging, and demand data, slotting calculates a
suggestion of data relevant for storage and retrieval (e.g. area for storage, storage location properties,
storage and retrieval strategies). An example for slotting is the allocation of storage locations based on
an ABC analysis.
In the context of warehouse reorganisation, the current stock situation of the products being stored at
the storage locations is compared to the storage disposition data that was originally defined. In this way,
it is possible to determine whether or not a product is stored at its optimum storage location. If the
product is not stored at its optimum storage location, a warehouse reorganisation can initiate a
relocation of stocks. Warehouse reorganisation can increase efficiency within the order picking process,
boost warehouse capacity utilisation and minimise the number of replenishments.
Forklift guidance system
A forklift guidance system is a system for efficient resource management using vehicle or ground conveyor disposition and guidance. The system treats the forklift just as any other conveying system.
The forklift guidance system comprises:
• stored transport matrix reflecting the material flow topology
It is possible to store route restrictions (drive- through widths or heights, admissible floor loads).
• typification of forklifts based on usability (dedicated load handling devices, special functions, required
drive-through heights)
• list of forklifts available in the system including relevant type information
• allocation of forklifts to guidance areas (if spatial allocation of forklifts to storage areas is to be restricted)
• allocation of load carrier types to suitable forklift types
The system’s task is to optimally allocate transport orders to avoid non-productive empty runs, search
runs and dead times. In this way, it is possible to achieve even utilisation of the forklifts and to increase
throughput. Transport orders are allocated to the appropriate vehicles directly to the terminal by radio
data transmission and without paper and/or can be selected from the outstanding orders by the forklift
driver A forklift guidance system can allocate transport orders e.g. based on the following optimisation
• forklift availability
• forklifts close to the source location (also possible via positioning systems)
• forklift that is allocated to this storage area
• vehicle types, transport aid types (forklift that has permission to transport these goods, e.g. due to
load capacity or because it is equipped with a special attachment)
• movement job types including order priorities Furthermore, hand-over locations with capacities must
be managed and be considered during the transport order assignment.
Value added services
The term “value added aervices” (VAS) is used to describe services provided in the warehouse that add
value. To be able to charge for these activities separately, data relevant for accounting are recorded and
provided as part of the VAS. A distinction is made between VAS like labelling such as price marking in
trade, repackaging, and assembly work (see also Section 7.9). For the latter, it is often necessary to
process bills of materials beforehand. The value-adding activity is very often carried out by the logistics
service provider on behalf of its customer (the client).
Vendor managed inventory
In vendor managed inventory (VMI), the supplier (or outsourcing partner) carries out the inventory management of their merchandise and goods at the customer (dealer or manufacturer). To this end, the
supplier is continually provided with information, e.g. with sales or consumption data or with
information on the estimated demand.
Even though it is often the ERP system that disposes within the scope of the summary inventory
management, there are areas of application where a corresponding functionality is provided by the
WMS, e.g. if
• WMS-specific material that is not managed in the ERP system (e.g. packing material) is to be provided
via automated replenishment by the service provider/supplier, or
• the supplier carries out material disposition without a superordinate ERP system (e.g. logistics service
provider) and the WMS replaces this functionality.
From the WMS’s position, two VMI versions are possible:
• For active VMI, the WMS disposes the stocks at a downstream level, e.g. by organising automated
replenishment by generating a delivery order based on sales or consumption data.
• For passive VMI, the WMS enables direct access to the inventory data in the warehouse by an upstream supplier who disposes a delivery when required.
The scrapping process serves to destroy a warehouse stock. Scrapping of material becomes necessary
when it is damaged or has become unusable in another way. A scrapping order can be created for tar24
geted disposal or destruction (maculature, disposal of problematic substances from the chemical,
pharmaceutical, electrical, etc. sectors). The scrapping process can also follow on from a return process,
e.g. when goods are returned by the customer due to insufficient quality. Usually, these orders relate to
goods that are not tradeable (i.e. goods with quality defects). Scrapping is also used to free storage
Scrapping can be initiated both from the ERP system and from the WMS.
The additional function customs describes IT support of import and export consignments, different
types of bonded warehouses, refining processes, consideration of the country of origin, and interfaces
to state- run customs systems.
Processing export consignments can necessitate the creation and handling of special documents.
The exact scope and extent of customs functionalities depend on country-specific regulations, shipment
characteristics and the material. Schrifttum /
Gesetze, Verordnungen, Verwaltungsvorschriften / Acts, ordinances, administrative regulations
Verordnung (EG) Nr. 178/2002 des Europaischen Parlaments und des Rates vom 28. Januar 2002 zur
Festlegung der allgemeinen Grundsatze und Anforderungen des Lebensmittelrechts, zur Errich- tung der
Europaischen Behorde fur Lebensmittelsicherheit und zur Festlegung von Verfahren zur
Lebensmittelsicherheit (ABl. L 31, 2002, S. 1-24)
Technische Regeln / Technical rules
ISO/IEC 2382 Information technology (Informationstechnik). Berlin: Beuth Verlag
ISO/IEC 15459 Information technology; Unique identifiers for transport units (Informationstechnik;
Eindeutige Identifizierung von Transporteinheiten). Berlin: Beuth Verlag
VDI 1000:2010-06 VDI-Richtlinienarbeit; Grundsatze und Anlei- tungen (VDI Guideline Work; Principles
and procedures). Berlin: Beuth Verlag
VDI 3969:2003-12 Schnittstellen des Lagerverwaltungssystems zu ubergeordneten Systemen (Interfaces
of the warehouse administration system with superordinate systems). Berlin: Beuth Verlag
VDI 4490:2007-05 Operative Logistikkennzahlen von Warenein- gang bis Versand (Operational logistics
key figures from goods receiving to dispatch). Berlin: Beuth Verlag
VDI 4492:2006-08 Anwendung von Inventurverfahren in EDV-ge- fuhrten Lagern (Application of
stocktaking procedures in IT-based warehouses). Berlin: Beuth Verlag
VDI 4493 Blatt 1:2013-03 Leitstand fur die Intralogistik (Control centre for intralogistics). Berlin: Beuth
Verlag VDI/VDMA 5100 Blatt 1:2011-07 (Entwurf/Draft) Systemarchi- tektur fur die Intralogistik (SAIL);
Grundlagen (System Architecture for Intralogistics (SAIL); Fundamentals). Berlin: Beuth Verlag
VDI/VDMA 5100 Blatt 2:2008-03 (Entwurf / Draft) Systemarchi- tektur fur die Intralogistik (SAIL);
Beispiele zur Modellierung (System Architecture for Intralogistics (SAIL); Modelling examples). Berlin:
Beuth Verlag
Weitere technische Regeln / Further technical rules
VDI 3628:1996-10 (Entwurf / Draft) Automatisierte Materialfluss- systeme; Schnittstellen zwischen den
Funktionsebenen im Automa- tisierungsmodell (Automated material handling systems; Interfaces
between the various function levels in the automation model). Berlin: Beuth Verlag
VDI 3628:1985-03 Automatisierte Materialflusssysteme; Schnitt- stellen zwischen den Funktionsebenen
(Automated material handling systems; Interfaces between the various function levels). Berlin: Beuth
VDI 3629:2005-03 Organisatorische Grundfunktionen im Lager (Basic organisational functions in
warehousing). Berlin: Beuth Verlag
VDI 3962:1995-02 Praxisgerechter DV-Einsatz im automatischen Lager (Practise proved computer
installation in automated storage systems). Berlin: Beuth Verlag
The configuration of the WMS is performed using editable parameters
ii The core functions are part of the minimum scope of delivery of every WMS
iii Warehouse types have parameters defining their specific properties, e.g. storage and retrieval
strategies, capacity checking methods, storage of handling units (HU), mixed storage
Storage area Any warehouse type can be divided into logical or physical storage areas.
Several storage locations with identical properties can be grouped together to form a single
storage area. Often, storage areas are arranged based on the materials’ properties within a
warehouse type, e.g. based on weight (heavy materials), volume (bulky materials), temperature
(materials that need to be cooled), turnover frequency (fast moving goods).
the storage location is a master data record that can be created via mass maintenance or an upload
function in many WMS
vi An area of activity groups together storage locations used for a specific activity, e.g. order picking,
storage, or stock-taking.
vii Packing specifications comprise information on how material is to be packed
viii If the stock-differentiating properties of two stocks are identical, the stocks’ quantities can be merged
(e.g. with addition to existing stock at one storage location).
Usually, a transport order contains at least the following information:
• transport order number
• starting point of transport
• destination of transport
• type of transport (e.g. storage, relocation of stocks, replenishment, special transports)
• type of transport aid (or storage aid)
• identification number of transport aid
• transport group (for classifying the permitted means of transport, e.g. forklift)
• transport status
In addition, the following information regarding the transport order is logged:
• creation of transport order (date/time)
• planned/actual start of transport order (date/time)
• receipt of transport order (date/time)
• resource and user who carried out the transport
x The functional support of storing incoming goods comprises storage location finding, transport to storage location, and checking the storage location coordinates after completion of the warehouse task.
Numerous storage strategies can be applied in this context that may vary significantly depending on process requirements.
xi Relocation of stocks can be unplanned but also planned,
Replenishment is a special form of relocation of stocks. In the replenishment process
Rebooking as initiator of a physical movement