We continue our Netsuite WMS series by discussing the bin concept and how bins are used to drive warehouse activities from an implementation perspective. Whether you are in the process of a WMS implementation, or are considering your options, it is important to put consideration behind your bin design. If you haven’t already, make sure to check out our blog on WMS zones and how they interact with bins. Understanding both concepts is critical to successfully implementing zones and bins as you go live with your chosen WMS.
The Bin Concept
Bins, a warehouse storage location, is the smallest unit of space within a warehouse used to store inventory. Whether storing raw materials or finished goods, bins are used to organize, classify, and store inventory. In addition, bins help maximize storage space within a warehouse. When properly planned bins can help optimize warehouse operations including inventory picking and put away by increasing accuracy and decreasing time spent. For these and other reasons, having a well-planned bin design is key for warehouse management.
Properties of Bin Records
In Netsuite WMS, bins can be created by navigating Lists > Supply Chain > Bins. Below I note some of the fields available, but there are more available for special use cases.
- Bin Number
- The bin name, not to exceed 20 characters. There are several naming conventions available, and the bin number is typically represented as a barcode or QR code next to the physical bin location.
- The type of bin, of which are six selectable types. This field not only classifies the bin according to function, but in Netsuite WMS also influences how the bin behaves.
- Sequence Number
- The sequence number is also sometimes referred to as the bin’s pick sequence, pick steps, or pick paths. Essentially, the sequence number helps the WMS determine in what order a list of items will be picked. Properly configured, the pick sequence helps support warehouse operations by reducing the number of steps a warehouse operator takes to pick or store an item.
- Bins are location specific, meaning each bin is associated to a location record in Netsuite. However, as with zones, you can have the same bin number used across multiple locations.
- Zone / WMS Zone
- I cover zones / WMS zones in detail on a separate article. Make sure to check that one out if you haven’t. Here, each bin requires a zone to be set which associates the bin to the zone and helps extend warehouse organization and classification.
Putting it Together
The bin concept helps standardize warehouse operations through logical warehouse inventory storage, classification, and optimization. Planning and implementing a good bin structure is crucial to warehouse operations as it allows warehouse managers to optimize processes and increase productivity to drive metrics. As you go through your implementation, put time, and thought into your bin design. Will the bin design help or hurt warehouse operations? Is the current bin design reducing or increasing inventory activities? Is the bin design logical, and easy to follow? Can a new warehouse operator easily understand and pick up the logical bin layout you’ve designed? These and other questions should be answered to ensure a successful WMS implementation.
We hope you found this article on WMS bins insightful and encourage you to reach out to our team of Netsuite professionals for your implementation needs. We’ll be glad to help you on your journey to success.
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