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  • Writer's pictureAlfredo Iorio

Use Shipping Agents to Plan Warehouse Picks

Updated: Nov 9, 2023

Shipping agents in Business Central identify couriers or freight forwarders used to ship outbound requests like sales or transfer orders. The main benefit of using shipping agents in Business Central is consolidating orders shipped by the same carrier to plan picking activities. This method helps consolidate warehouse tasks and reduces the need to sort and pack goods after the pick.


In this post, I cover one of my favourite methods to arrange picking tasks. Planning warehouse picks according to the shipping agent code of the source document.


When I design picking by carrier - shipping agent in Business Central - for my clients, I also use another functionality, the default shipment bin in the location card. Though most BC consultants set up the shipment bin as a virtual bin, most companies with complex warehouses use dedicated areas to store picked goods, depending on the carrier. This dedicated area is the shipment bin, which works well when we pick stock using shipping agents.


Let's look at the overall process for picking goods by shipping agents.


Shipping agents to Ship-to codes or customers

First, we start by assigning a shipping agent to the outbound job. The agent can default to a ship-to address, which will be copied to the sales order. Then, we group outbound jobs depending on the shipping agent when we create the shipment. Lastly, we pick the orders.


When planning picks by shipping agents, we must first identify the correct agent that will default to our orders. Having a default agent depending on the ship-to address helps reduce time when we create orders. However, a company might want to choose between two different carriers to ship goods to the same address. The choice is often driven by order volume, weight or lead time. For this example, we will default a shipping agent to a customer ship-to address.

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Once we have identified addresses we service with a dedicated shipping agent, we can assign a default agent code to the ship-to address.


The picture below shows agent FEDEX assigned to the FLEET shipping code of customer Trey Research.


Every order for Trey research where the ship-to code is Fleet will get FedEx as a shipping agent.


­Use the shipping agent code to plan our picks.

Once the setup is complete, we can start planning our picks. First, let's get a few sales orders and one transfer delivered with the same agent, FedEx.


We can create a consolidated warehouse shipment for all outbound activities with FedEx as the Shipping Agent code.


First, we create a new warehouse shipment and run the filters to get the source documents. Then, we select FedEx as the shipping agent field on the request page. This filter can be saved so we can run it without typing the values each time. Note that we can select the source document types on the request page. I chose sales orders, returns and outbound transfers.


I get my orders and transfers to the same document when I run the request page.

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­Note that I have a shipment bin FedEx Bay in my location North; this bin is the dedicated area where we place goods in preparation for FedEx collection. This step is not mandatory; however, I always recommend my clients map their warehouse so that Business Central bins accurately represent the warehouse layout. More about shipment bins in future posts.


Pick by the carrier, break down by customers.

The last step is to create our pick or picks. We have two choices:

  1. We create the pick from the warehouse shipment. Doing this will make one consolidated warehouse pick that includes all the outbound lines. The picking lines can be sorted by item or by destination type, like the customer. This method works if orders are few and for varied items where one pick assigned to one user is the simplest and fastest way to pick. However, further sorting and packing might be required after the pick.

  2. We use the pick worksheet so we can create one pick per order. This method is my favourite when picking complex orders that contain many lines.

The picture below shows a pick worksheet for our shipment 0004 that will generate one pick per job. In our example, four orders and one transfer. Note that I selected the sorting method as Bin Ranking while I created one pick per order. This method allows me to pick and place complete orders in the FedEx bay, reducing packing and sorting time.

In Summary

  • Planning picks per carrier requires assigning a shipping agent code to orders. Default agents can be set to ship-to codes and transfer routes or added to individual orders.

  • Orders and transfers delivered to the selected addresses will get the shipping agent code value as a default.

  • Users can run the Use Filters to Get Source Documents to get all outbound jobs with the same agent in one warehouse shipment document.

  • One or multiple warehouse picks can be created from the warehouse shipment or using the pick worksheet.


Regards

Alfredo Iorio


 

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