This Christmas peak season was our busiest ever in terms of OrderFlow transactions, but it's also the time when our customers try to avoid making configuration changes.
While everyone was busy getting orders out of the door, we took this opportunity to make some significant enhancements to our WMS. Over November and December we were able to produce two substantial new releases; OrderFlow 4.0.6 and 4.0.7, which contain some very useful features in a number of key areas.
We've introduced a new and more consistent approach to identifying carriers and services across courier integrations and made some significant changes to work order and bill of materials functionality. OrderFlow now also supports a persisted scan to pack option, particularly for large orders that may be packed over hours or even days and we've also made a number of improvements around product lot and date management.
Persisted 'scan to packing'
We’ve now added the long-awaited option to persist pack scans; a really useful option for our B2B and trade customers, where dozens of products may be included in a single shipment. It ensures that if the pack needs to be interrupted, even over successive days, there is no risk of work being lost or having to be repeated.
We also added a more robust 'resume' mechanism for the scan to pack, which makes it much easier to continue the previously suspended pack of a shipment.
Licence plates and putaway
Licence plates are temporary locations, which may or may not be given an identifying barcode label. They are used in all sorts of different ways, for example to assist with receipt and putaway.
With the latest release of OrderFlow we've simplified the states used for different types of licence plates. It’s now possible to generate licence plates – usually pallet labels – as part of the receipt process. These pallet labels can show the pallet contents and the target location to which the pallet should be moved. In addition, we’ve further streamlined the handheld putaway process, allowing for improved screen transition as well as easier handling of (typically whole pallet) licence plate-based putaways.
Bills of materials and work orders
The latest release of OrderFlow adds the ability to support multiple bills of materials for individual kitted or bundle products. It also includes a new user interface for creating, editing and removing bills of materials, and for changing the currently active bill of materials.
The new functionality also feeds into significant improvements in work order functionality. It’s now possible to edit the constituent products for a work order prior to starting the pick for that particular work order.
We've introduced a new process for receiving finished stock into licence plates, that can optionally be tied to a task-driven handheld putaway process and it’s now also possible to disassemble work orders into their originating stock components and to substitute individual items within a completed kit or bundle.
Many courier integrations are available on the OrderFlow platform, but to create a more consistent and cohesive offering, we’ve introduced a carrier entity onto the system, which aims to represent the company that physically delivers the parcels. It’s now possible to map individual courier integrations and their associated service entries to the physical carrier and real world service actually used. This allows for better reporting both within the system and to third party systems.
Product lot and date enhancements
One area where improvements are continually being made within OrderFlow is lot tracking and date management.
In the latest release we have improved how the lot management features work with work orders, now allow lot numbers to be generated directly from a supplied date, for example, the best before date and support an option that allows the confirmation of product lots to be performed just by confirming the best before or expiry date.
Another notable enhancements and fixes we have made in the latest releases include:
- Adding the ability to click on product images during handheld picking rather than requiring the picker to scan a product barcode.
- Standardising and making it easier to implement functionality to hold shipments for picking according to configurable rules.
- Streamlining the manual order creation screen, providing better display of missing fields.
- Adding more control over the display of batches on the handheld batch listing screen
- Adding single product and order fetch processes for all of our supported e-commerce integration, designed to help facilitate testing.
- Our single shipment pick now supports a split from cartons to pieces where this is required.