SHARK is designed from the idea that huge saving in cost and time can be achieved by optimizing the performance of the warehouse by minimizing the manual work that has to be done, this by finding optimal storage locations for each article, by controlling the sequence of orders to pick and by supporting advanced equipment that improves the speed. To achieve this SHARK is based on advanced algorithms that optimize location usages, picking speed and space utilization, all hidden for the normal user but still working to improve the working speed. Another important issue is the quality of the warehouse operations, it is expensive to pick the wrong article and therefore SHARK supports control functions, barcodes in all areas, pick-to-light systems and other techniques that ensures the right article at the right place.
Advanced functionality is fine, but not if it requires special training to make use of it. SHARK is very easy to use for the normal operator, fast to learn and with intuitive functionality, so new operators can be trained to the system with a short introduction.
The benefits of implementing a WMS system in the warehouse are many, some of the most important are:
- This gave higher pick rates for each employee. By the introduction of equipment as vending machines and SHARK are productivity improvements of up to several times normal.
- Better utilization of space.
- Fewer errors gives better quality which in turn means happy customers and lower costs.
- SHARK is easy to use, it means that it is fast to train new employees.
- Shark has the tools for ongoing productivity improvements.
Benefits like these means that an investment in a modern warehouse will often prove to be quite beneficial even for a short time and be an investment with a short payback period.
Receiving the Goods
In Goods Reception incoming goods are registered and the optimal locations are found, before the goods are put on stock. Cross-docking, incoming inspection, serial and batch number registration are also handled here.
Order registration: Put-away orders are received from an ERP system or created manually. When received the operator enters the order number or the article number and select the right order from a list if more than one matches the criterias.
Preparation: SHARK may find the locations for put-away automatically (by supplied replenishment information like zone, locationtype, package size) or the operator can select put-away zones manually. The articles can be put into a box with a barcode that later is used for fast identification in the put-away process.
Labels: Labels can be generated by SHARK for boxes and pallets.
Cross-docking: If one or more picking orders exists that wait for the article that are received, the operator can decide to pick the orders immediately in the goods reception window and thereby avoid a time and work costly putaway-pick process.
Quarantine: Received articles that are damaged, no papers received or similar problems that means they cannot be picked immediately can be put on quarantine. A special zone is dedicated for this purpose (only supported in the enterprise version).
Finding the Right Location
With Sharks location management system, there is absolute control over the warehouse setup. The warehouse can be are divided into zones, aisles, modules, shelves, trays, etc. Each location has a location type, with given physical dimensions, pick priority etc. Based on sophisticated algorithms and the use of historical data, Shark ensures the optimal use of the warehouse in such a way that the specific article always is placed on the best place, concerning picking speed and space utilization.
Storage space is costly, not the least when using automated storage machines, and by letting SHARK control the warehouse, it is simple to get a much better utilization factor compared to conventional methods. SHARK will continuously try to find the optimal location size and, if necessary, divide goods up into more locations. Using more locations for the same article gives smart space utilization, if one of the locations for a given article is empty, it can immediately be used for another article and we will never have to allocate space for the highest possible stock. Using one storage location per. article by experience leads to the storage of "air". The locations will in average be half full. By using 2 or more locations per. article, a utilization factor of 75% or more is realistic.
Most a Sharks functions for optimization, works automatically, without bothering the user. The sophisticated functions are stored underneath a user-friendly interface, making the system simple to use.
Normally in SHARK more orders are picked concurrently (batch picking), a techniques there are much more effective than conventionally methods. The operator or SHARK selects the next orders to be picked in one batch and SHARK optimizes then the picking sequence for optimal speed. Especially for automats, it is a smart feature that the batch is “floating”, this means that orders can be added or removed from the batch, also before the batch is finished.
Sharks batch picking window has all the necessary information available and is nevertheless simpel to understand. In the upper left corner, an arrow shows in which direction the transaction goes, a green arrow out, means it a pick, a red arrow in that it is a put-away.
An graphical drawing shows the specific location. Article number, description, order number, quantity on location, etc. are seen explicitly and push-buttons, to for example printout a label or correction the picked quantity are also available. Arrives an express order, requiring immediate action, this is indicated to the operator with a blinking red flag on the status line and a specific express pushbutton is displayed (can be extended to a flashing light visible from a long distance), press the express key and SHARK set the current orders on wait and picks immediately to the express order. Once the express order is finished, Sharks continued with the interrupted batch, simpler can this almost not be.
SHARK is especially suitable for controlling automated storage like vertical lifts (automats), where a long list of built-in functions optimizes the picking speed, storage utilization and support of advanced functions like tilted trays (individually selectable for each tray), control of pick-to-light in the lifts and individual user selectable variable working height for the operator of the gate. Support for automated storage is an integrated part of SHARK. SHARKs batch picking (picking more than one order at the time), improves picking speed dramatically, because waiting time can be minimized to a minimum or even be removed completely. This is because SHARK optimizes the sequence of order lines and orders, so the equipment can be operated as fast as possible. All equipment are operating in parallel, so while the operator picks in one automat, the other machines are busy retrieving the next articles.
Shelving and Pallets
Ordinary shelves and flow-racks can be used in combination with automats, thereby further optimizing picking speed and minimizing cost, by storing fast-runners in easy accessible locations, close to the automats.
Shipment and Consolidation
In the consolidation and shipment module, articles picked in different zones are combined and optional checked if they are picked correctly. Furthermore they can be packed and labels can be generated for the packing.
- Print delivery note or packing list. Address or box label.
- Merging af picking boxes: Collect orders picked in several boxes or zones.
- Picking of missing articles: It is supported that articles can be picked in the consolidation zone, for example articles that physical are placed in the shipment area.
- Control: Is is possibly to check the picked quantity for each line by reading the barcode of the articles.
How to move the goods around in the warehouse. Shark has goods are registered with a Palled or Box ID, that follows the goods around. Shark supports three methods for moving the boxes or pallets around: Simply moving the pallet or box around, using the ID to track it. Group the boxes on a trolley, the trolley has a number used for identification. Using a conveyor. Shark has a conveyor module that can be adapted to actually solution used.
Shark has integrated support for pick carts (trolleys). A pick cart is typical a standard trolley with a number of positions, but it can also be a pallet on a truck or similar methods of grouping and moving goods around in the warehouse. Number of pick carts: Unlimited. Number of positions on the pick cart: Unlimited. Assignment of orders to a pick cart: Automatically based on order priority and release state. Manually selected by operator. Filter function for order type (only one order type, on one trolley). Optimization: Support for order optimization. Shark is trying to group orders on the pick cart with similar pick/put lines. Pick-by-light: Intelligent pick carts with pick-by-light functionality are supported. Shark controls light indicators on the pick carts and confirmation is done using a push button. Thereby barcode scanning can be avoided.
Shark supports as standard pick cart, both smart carts with wireless connection to the server and a light marking the current box as well as simple pickcarts where barcode labels are used for confirmation and identification.
For larger installations, conveyors are effective.
To improve the effiency of the warehouse is an on-going process and having access to the right information is vital.
Optimizing the Warehouse
The Storage Manager is a tool to optimize the placement of articles in the warehouse. It can for example be used to pin-point articles stored at wrong locations and generate internal transfer orders to move the articles to new locations.
The Order Statistic functions is used to see information about the picking rate. For example, how long does it take for the warehouse from an order is received until it actually is picked. It is an effective tool to monitor if the warehouse is working satisfactory and how changes influences on the output. Statistical tools are important for the ongoing optimization of warehouse operations. It is for instance possible to see:
- Picking frequency divided up into zones/users/order types and time intervals.
- Order lead times.
- Picking frequency for trays in vertical lifts.
The inventory module provides a fast and secure way to keep the stock on track. Inventorying orders can be created, counting can be done on paper or directly entered into the system, recounting is supported and the result can be printed as reports and reported back to an ERP system and the actual stock in SHARK can of course be adjusted according to the result of the counting.
By showing the difference result as graphical symbols, it is fast to have an overview of what to recount or check. One of the other nice feature is that if counting is done in automats, SHARKs can get the tray automatically and will show a graphical picture of tray and use a light pointer if available, to guide the operator to the right location.
Counting orders: An unlimited number of counting orders can be generated.
Counting with paper lists: Counting lists can be printed, optional with a barcode. The barcode can later be used to fast report back the result.
Counting directly on screen: Counting can be done directly on the screen, where the location can be shown and for automats, the tray can be retrieved automatically.
Re-counting: An unlimited number of recounts can be performed.
User administration: Normal users have no access to the actual stock level or able to change the counting orders.
Stock update: The actual stock update is done under administrator control and first when the counting has been approved.
Reports: Difference reports can be generated.
ERP commitment: The final stock can be reported back to the ERP system.
Location management: The inventory system keeps track of last access time, store time and inventory time for each location.
Interfacing to Host Systems
Most Warehouse Management Systems must work in close cooperation with other IT systems and supports for integration with external systems are an important functionality of SHARK, implemented in the module SHARK Link. SHARK Link can be fully automated for automatic exchange of data, but can also be used manually.
SHARK has been installed for warehouse management in combination with a large selection of ERP systems like for example SAP, Movex, Mapics, IFS, Concorde, BAAN, XAL, Axapta, Navision and a number of customized solutions for example on an AS400 platform. Logiware has a lot of experience in implementation of specific solutions and works in close cooperation with the customers IT department or IT supplier.
SHARK has also been installed with existing Warehouse Management Systems where the uniqe features in SHARK for control of automated storage equipment are used while an existing system still are used for other functions as for example shipment and packaging.
Protocol: Data can be imported/exported from any folder.
File format: XML files in SHARK XML format or ASCII files in fixed length, CSV formats (using scripts). See the SHARK link documentation for further description.
Scripting: Scripts can be written in Java syntax for import/export.
XSLT: XSLT stylesheets is suppored for easy integration with external XML formats.
Message types: Master Data, Pick and Put-Away Orders, Confirmations, stock adjustments, Order Cancel.
Confirmation types: When order is finalized, for each line, when order is partly finalized.
Inventory: Stockcounting lists can be imported from an external system (an ERP system can for example decide what to count). Stock status can be exported to an external system.
Synchronization: Selectable import delay, default 15 seconds, minimum is 5 seconds. Typical synchronization time is less than 30 seconds.
Customization: SHARK link can be customized to other protocols and formats as for example direct database access, message queue systems, etc. Customized interfaces can be written in Java.
A Scalable Solution
Use SHARK for all warehouse sizes.
Shark is designed from the idea, that users have different needs and due to this, it can be build and configured to suit the need of your business. Four standard configurations are available:
Shark Light is targetting the small installation with 1-4 vertical lifts, no shelves and no need to connect to a host system. It allows articles to be stored and retrieved by name and to create locations with graphical displays in the machines. One of the big advances using this solution compared to a more simple approach is that it supports a smoothly later upgrade to a more advanced configuration, because everything already is registered in the database.
Shark Basic is similar to Shark Light, but it also supports interface to a host system. It is limited to a single zone and 4 automats.
Shark Standard has full support for automats, pallets, shelves, etc. It is only missing some of the more complex functions like automatic replenishment etc. as standard functionality.
Shark Enterprise is for demanding installation with the need of complex functionality, it also support conveyors.
SHARK Cloud is a hosted WMS solutions supporting both static storage like ordinary shelving and pallets as well as automated equipment vertical lifts and conveyors.
The software is provided as a cloud service and paid quarterly. The number of users and options are flexible from 1 user and upwards and covering a broad range of requirements.
Don't need WMS - just "something" to control the hardware devices?
If you already have a WMS System or are using an ERP System for warehouse management, but the system is not good at controlling, for example, vertical lifts, then SHARK WCS may be the solution for you.