Stock Picking Using Storage Unit Management - SAP WM

In this section we explain how transfer orders are processed for picking storage units whenever materials are picked for goods issue. Also, you will learn how to set up storage types with picking strategies for Storage Unit Management (SU Management).

For each of the primary methods used in SU management to process transfer orders, an example is presented to clarify what happens both physically and in the Warehouse Management (WM) component itself.

Picking Strategies Used in SU Management
For warehouses in which storage unit management is active, the manner in which picking strategies are carried out in the system is basically the same with or without storage unit management they are material-oriented and quantity-oriented in WM.

When you create a transfer order item to pick a certain material, the system searches for storage bins with the required quants based on the strategies defined in the system. How the system automatically attempts to find requested materials is also carried out in the same manner.

For stock picks, the difference between SU-managed storage types and storage types without SU management are described as follows:

  • When a specific quantity is removed from an SU-managed storage type, not only the storage bin information is updated, but also the storage unit involved.
  • When you create pick transfer orders, you can display storage units on selected screens.
    This allows you to manually select storage units proposed by the system.
  • In SU-managed storage types, complete stock picking is defined differently. Also, the respective functions have been changed.

Complete Stock Picks in SU-Managed Storage Types
You should activate complete stock picking when you cannot pick stock from the storage bin itself. You define how complete stock picks are handled in the system at the storage type level. For information on how to define storage type default values for SU management, see the Warehouse Management IMG documentation.

For storage types that are not SU-managed, the system always removes the entire quant. After the required material is picked, the system finds a return bin for the remaining part of the quant. A return item is created within the transfer order item that specifies where the partial quant will be placed. For a description of this process, see Releasing Stock from Inspection.

For SU-managed storage types, complete stock pick does not refer to the picking of quants but to storage units. When only part of the materials in the storage unit are required, this means that the entire storage unit must be removed from the bin.

Returning Stock to the Same Bin
If you have defined “complete stock pick” for a storage type, regardless of whether it is SUmanaged or not, you also have the option of activating the Return same bin field.

"Return stock to the same bin" means that, whenever a quant or storage unit is partially emptied by picking only part of the materials contained in it as the result of a complete stock pick, the remaining materials are returned to the same storage bin from which they were removed.

For storage types that are not SU-managed, remaining partial quants are normally returned to their original storage bins; for SU-managed storage types, partial storage units can also be returned to their original bins or they can be returned to a storage type specifically designated for partial pallets.

Options for Complete Stock Picking
Based on the definition for complete stock pick and returning stock to the same bin described above, there are three options available for configuring your SU-managed storage types:

  • No complete stock pick
  • Complete stock pick with return to the same bin
  • Complete stock pick using a pick point. These three processes are described in Partial Stock Picks.

Life Cycle of a Storage Unit Number
A stock pick has a destination storage type in WM normally, this is the interim storage type for goods issues. As mentioned in SU-Managed Storage Types, interim storage areas cannot be SU-managed. What happens then, when an entire storage unit is moved from a SU-managed storage type into a storage type that is not SU-managed?

Storage Unit Transfers into Storage Types that are not SU-managed
What occurs is exactly the opposite of when a storage unit is moved from a storage type that is not SU-managed into an SU-managed storage type. If you have a stock putaway into an SUmanaged storage type, the system creates a storage unit number for the storage unit concerned.

If you have a stock pick from a non-SU-managed storage type, on the other hand, the storage unit number of the storage unit is lost. This means that the storage unit no longer exists in WM after an entire storage unit is moved to a storage type that is not SU-managed and the transfer order items for that storage unit are confirmed,.

Storage Unit Transfers into SU-managed Storage Types
For optimization or other reasons, there are some situations in which you create transfer orders to move storage units from one SU-managed storage type to another SU-managed storage type within the warehouse.

For these types of movements, the following options are available:

  • When a complete homogeneous storage unit is removed and transferred to another SUmanaged storage type, the SU number is not changed.
  • When only part of a storage unit is removed and sent to another SU-managed storage type, this "part" receives a new SU number if it is not included as part of an already existing storage unit.

Partial Stock Removals
In the following sections, we describe the processes that take place in the system when only part of the stock is removed from full storage units. There are three options to configure a storage type for removing storage units.

  • No complete removal requirement
  • Complete removal requirement with return to the same bin
  • Complete removal using a pick point

For each of the examples, it is assumed that the storage type from which stock is removed is a storage type in which SU management is active.

No Complete Removal Requirement
By "no complete removal" we mean that only part of the stock in a storage unit is picked and the storage unit remains (with the rest of the materials) in the same bin.

Using this method of stock removal, several transfer orders can be processed simultaneously to pick materials from a single storage unit. The storage unit is not blocked by the system (for example, due to unconfirmed transfer order items). The storage unit remains in the same bin throughout the entire process. Although the quantity of material to be picked is blocked when the transfer order is posted in the system, all of the remaining stock in the storage unit is available.

Complete Removal Requirement with Return to Same Bin
For this process, only part of the materials contained in a storage unit are removed. As mentioned in "Strategies" in Stock Removals Using Storage Unit Management, you can define a storage type for organizational reasons so that an entire storage unit is removed for order picking. The partial storage unit with the remaining materials is then returned to the same storage bin from which it was removed.

In WM, for this process, the storage unit remains internally in the same bin. The temporary condition, during which the storage unit physically leaves the storage bin and returns again, is not displayed in the system. When you post a transfer order to remove a specific quantity of material from a storage unit, the remaining materials on that storage unit are blocked from removal by other transfer order items. (The only exception occurs for multiple processing.)

Complete Removal Using a Pick Point
For this process, a complete storage unit is removed from a storage bin and moved to a specific location in the warehouse (the pick point) where part of the materials in the storage unit are picked. The partial storage unit with the remaining materials is then moved - usually in a predefined manner - to a new storage bin in the warehouse.

Pick Point
Definition
The pick point is the actual location in the warehouse where items are picked for a partial stock pick from a storage unit. In an automatic high-rack storage area, the pick point may be a specific point along a conveyor belt to which storage units have been transferred for order picking. A pick point may also be a marked floor area where entire pallets can be brought for picking material items.

Use
The following graphic shows how sotrage units for picking are assigned to a pick point and afterwards how they are brought to another storage bin.

Pick-Point

Once a storage unit is moved to a storage type that is not managed for storage units, the storage unit number is lost. Therefore, if all the materials in a storage unit are transferred to the goods issue area, the storage unit ceases to exist in WM. To receive the storage unit when only part of the materials is picked, the storage unit is brought to the pick point. The required goods are picked and transferred to the goods issue area. The storage unit is then returned to the warehouse with the remaining goods. This means that the remaining goods are still assigned to the original storage unit number in WM. In this case, the transfer order contains not only a source and destination storage bin, but also a return bin.

Returning Storage Units
For your organization, there are several possibilities for what happens to a partial storage unit at the pick point after picking. Two examples are as follows:

  • The partial storage unit is returned to the same storage type from which it was picked, and a new storage bin is selected.
  • The partial storage unit is transferred to another storage type (for example, to a storage type that is specifically designated for partial storage units).

Configuration of a Pick Point
Before you pick stock from a storage type using a pick point, you must configure the storage types using the Customizing function.

  • First, you must define a pick point storage type.
  • Secondly, you must connect the pick point to the SU-managed storage type from which stock is to be picked.

Picking Using a Pick Point
After you remove stock from a complete storage unit using a pick point, it is often necessary to return the storage unit to another bin. This process is described as follows:

  1. First, a transfer order item is created to pick part of the materials from a specific storage unit. This item identifies the source storage bin as the bin where the storage unit is located and the destination storage bin for the quantity required is identified as an interim storage bin in the goods issue area. Technically (in the system), the storage unit remains in the source storage bin, but is blocked for further stock removals. (The only exception occurs for multiple processing.).
  2. As a result of the SU document that was printed when the transfer order was created (or the notice that was sent to the warehouse control unit), the entire storage unit is physically removed from the storage bin and transferred to a pick point.
  3. At the pick point, storage units are received with the transaction "TransOrder Confirm Storage unit" After entering the storage unit number, individual removal items are displayed on the screen and can be confirmed.
  4. When the last item picked is confirmed, the storage unit with the remaining contents (which up until now was located technically in its original storage bin) is posted in the system to the pick point. This system transfer takes place in the background without the need for creating a transfer order. At this point, the storage unit is located both physically and technically at the pick point.
  5. Finally, the remaining material items in the storage unit are transferred from the pick point to a new storage bin using the transaction "TransOrder Create For storage unit".
  6. The primary entry parameters for this transaction are the storage unit number and the movement type. By defining a new movement type to direct storage units to a specific storage type, you can configure the system to match your organizational requirements.Steps 3, 4 and 5 above are accomplished by switching back and forth between the transactions "TransOrder Confirm Storage unit" and "TransOrder Create For storage unit". To expedite this process, you can create a userspecific program to link the two transactions as required.

Example: Returning Stock from a Pick Point
To demonstrate what happens in the system when stock is removed via a pick point and a partial storage unit is returned to another bin, let's assume that you want to manually create a transfer order for a goods issue to a cost center for 250 boxes of pencils. For this example, one pallet normally contains 100 boxes of pencils.

To process this example, you must complete the following tasks in the order shown:

  • Create the transfer order for the storage unit
  • Confirm the transfer order items
  • Transfer the remaining quantity from the pick point to another storage bin

Creating a Transfer Order for a Storage Unit
On the transfer order preparation screen, you have several options for selecting material items to be picked for the goods issue:

  1. To process material items one at a time, choose Create TO in foreground. To allow the system to process material items for you, choose Create TO in background. To display and select from a list of available stock, choose Stock.
  2. To demonstrate what happens physically and in the system, for this example, let's assume that you chose Create TO in background. The system selects 3 homogeneous storage units containing 100 boxes of pencils. However, only 50 boxes of pencils are to be removed from the third storage unit.
  3. Post the transfer order to the database.

Confirming Transfer Order Items for Storage Units
To confirm the items for a transfer order that was created for a storage unit

  1. Choose : Logistics Logistics Execution Outbound Process Goods Issue for Outbound Delivery Picking Confirm Transfer Order Single Items for Storage Unit In One Step from the SAP menu .
  2. Enter the storage unit number for the first item in the transfer order in the Storage unit field. Enter d (process in background) in the Foreground/background field and choose ENTER. The first item is confirmed.
  3. Enter the storage unit number for the second item in the transfer order, enter d in the Foreground/background field and choose ENTER. The second item is confirmed.
  4. What happens to full homogeneous storage units when they are confirmed?
    When full homogeneous storage units are confirmed, they are transferred to the goods issue area. Since the goods issue area is not SU-managed, the storage unit number information is lost and is no longer recognized by the system.

    If you attempt to display the storage units for either of the first two items, the system responds with an error message that the storage units do not exist. The SU numbers were lost when the material was moved to the goods issue area (which is not SUmanaged).

    What happens to the partial storage unit?
    Before the third and final item is confirmed, technically (in the system), the storage unit is still located in the original storage bin although, physically, it has been removed from that storage bin and brought to the pick point.

    If you display the storage unit information for the third storage unit (Master Data → Storage Unit → Display), the header indicates that there is one open transfer order item. At this point, the storage unit has a status of "3" (to be picked).

  5. After you confirm the transfer order item for the third storage unit, if you display the storage unit information again, you will find that the storage unit with the remaining quantity was posted to the pick point. The quant number of the remaining 50 boxes in the storage unit is displayed as the storage bin.

Now, the storage unit is located both physically and technically at the pick point. (The 50 boxes requested by the third item in the transfer order were picked and transferred to the goods issue area.) To complete this task, you must transfer the remaining quantity from the pick point to another storage bin in the warehouse.

Transfers from a Pick Point
During a partial stock removal using a pick point, once the required stock has been picked and the storage unit has been posted to a pick point, the only task that remains is to transfer the storage unit with the remaining quantity from the pick point back into another storage bin in the warehouse. To do this, you must create a new transfer order.

The manual procedure is as follows:

  1. Choose Logistics Logistics Execution Internal Whse Processes Stock Transfer Create Transfer Order Move Storage Unit from the SAP menu.
  2. Enter the storage unit number and the movement type on the initial screen. As mentioned in “Transferring Storage Units" in Identification Points, we recommend that you define a new movement type to direct storage units to a specific storage type to match your organizational requirements. To display the preparation screen for placing a storage unit into stock, choose Preparation.
  3. On the preparation screen you can enter the destination storage type, section and bin. You can also return the storage unit to the same storage type from which it was originally removed.
  4. Choose Create trans.order to create the transfer order. The system selects a new storage bin for the remaining quantity.
  5. To post the transfer order to the database, choose Transfer order Post from the menu bar. Once you confirm the transfer order, the process is complete.

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