Work with location directives

Location directives are rules that help identify pick and put locations for inventory movement. For example, in a sales order transaction, a location directive determines where the items will be picked, and where the picked items will be put. Location directives consist of a header and associated lines. They are created for specific work order types.

Note

This article applies to features in the Warehouse management module. It doesn't apply to features in the Inventory management module.

You can use location directives to perform the following tasks:

  • Put away incoming items.
  • Pick and stage items for outbound transactions.
  • Pick and put raw materials for production.
  • Replenish locations.

Prerequisites

Before you can create a location directive, you must follow these steps to make sure that the prerequisites are in place.

  1. Make sure that the required license key is turned on. Go to System administration > Setup > License configuration, expand the Trade license key, and then select the Warehouse and Transportation management configuration key. Note that admin access is required for this step.
  2. Go to Warehouse management > Setup > Warehouse > Warehouses.
  3. Create a warehouse.
  4. On the Warehouse FastTab, set the Use warehouse management processes option to Yes.
  5. Create locations, location types, location profiles, and location formats. For more information, see Configure locations in a WMS-enabled warehouse.
  6. Create sites, zones, and zone groups. For more information, see Warehouse set up and Configure locations in a WMS-enabled warehouse.

Work order types for location directives

Many of the fields that can be set for location directives are common to all work order types. However, other fields are specific to particular work order types.

Location directives work order types.

Note

Two work order types, Canceled work and Cycle counting, are used only by the system. Location directives can't be created for these work order types.

The tables in the following subsections list the common and worker order type–specific fields that are available when you set up a location directive.

Fields that are common to all work order types

The following table lists the fields that are common to all work order types.

FastTab Field
Location directives Work type
Location directives Site
Location directives Warehouse
Location directives Directive code
Location directives Multiple SKU
Lines Sequence number
Lines From quantity
Lines To quantity
Lines Unit
Lines Locate quantity
Lines Restrict by unit
Lines Round up to unit
Lines Locate packing quantity
Lines Allow split
Location Directive Actions Sequence number
Location Directive Actions Name
Location Directive Actions Fixed location usage
Location Directive Actions Allow negative inventory
Location Directive Actions Batch enabled
Location Directive Actions Strategy

Fields that are specific to work order types

The following table lists the fields that are specific to particular work order types.

FastTab Field Work order type
Location directives Locate by Purchase orders
Location directives Applicable disposition code Purchase orders
Location directives Disposition code Purchase orders
Location directives Applicable disposition code Finished goods put away
Location directives Disposition code Finished goods put away
Location directives Applicable disposition code Return orders
Location directives Disposition code Return orders
Location directives Applicable disposition code Kanban put away
Location directives Applicable disposition code Kanban picking
Lines Immediate replenishment template Sales orders
Lines Immediate replenishment template Raw material picking
Lines Immediate replenishment template Transfer issue
Lines Immediate replenishment template Kanban picking

Open the Location directives page

To open the Location directives page, go to Warehouse management > Setup > Location directives.

From there, you can view, create, and edit your location directives by using the commands on the Action Pane. See the remaining sections of this article for information about how to use all the fields that are available on the page.

Action Pane

The Action Pane on the Location directives page contains buttons that you can use to create, edit, and delete directives (Edit, New, and Delete). It also contains the following buttons that let you adjust the sequence that the location directive is processed in and configure a query that defines the criteria for applying the location directive:

  • Move up – Move the selected location directive up in the sequence. For example, you can move it from sequence number 4 to sequence number 3.
  • Move down – Move the selected location directive down in the sequence. For example, you can move it from sequence number 4 to sequence number 5.
  • Edit query – Open a dialog box where you can define the conditions that the selected location directive should be processed under. For example, you might want it to apply only to a specific warehouse.

Location directives header

The location directive header includes the following fields for the sequence number and descriptive name of the location directive:

  • Sequence number – This field indicates the sequence that the system tries to apply each location directive in for the selected work order type. Low numbers are applied first. You can change the sequence by using the Move Up and Move Down buttons on the Action Pane.
  • Name – Enter a descriptive name for the location directive. This name should help identify the general purpose of the directive. For example, enter Sales order picking in warehouse 24.

Location directives FastTab

The fields on the Location directives FastTab are specific to the work order type that is selected in the Work order type field in the list pane.

  • Work type – Select the type of work that must be performed. The available values depend on the type of inventory transaction that you selected in the Work order type field. Select one of the following values:

    • Put – The location directive will try to find the most ideal location to put or locate inventory that comes into the system from receiving, production, or inventory adjustments. It can also be used to define the put to the stage location or the final bay door shipping location.
    • Pick – The location directive will try to find the most ideal locations to physically reserve inventory from (that is, create work). The pick can be completed (that is, the pick work line can be closed) even if the work isn't completed. The user can complete physical picking. In the system, that action is a pick step. The user can then cancel from the mobile device and complete the work later. However, the work header is first closed when the final put is completed.

    Important

    The other values in the Work type field aren't relevant for location directives. They appear only because the field isn't filtered to match the selected work order type.

  • Site – This field is mandatory, because the location directive must be able to determine the site and warehouse that it's valid for.

  • Warehouse – This field is mandatory, because the location directive must be able to determine the site and warehouse that it's valid for.

  • Directive code – Select the directive code to associate with a work template or replenishment template. On the Directive code page, you can create new codes that can be used to connect work templates or replenishment templates to location directives. Directive codes can also be used to establish a link between any work template line and a location directive (such as the bay door or stage location).

    Tip

    If a directive code is set, the system won't search location directives by sequence number when work must be generated. Instead, it will search by directive code. In this way, you can be more specific about the location directive that is used for a particular step in a work template, such as the step for staging the materials.

  • Multiple SKU – Set this option to Yes to enable multiple stockkeeping units (SKUs) to be used on a location. For example, multiple SKUs must be enabled for the bay door location. If you enable multiple SKUs, your put location will be specified in work, as expected. However, the put location will be able to handle only a multi-item put (if work includes different SKUs that must be picked and put). It won't be able to handle a single-SKU put. If you set this option to No, your put location will be specified only if your put has just one kind of SKU.

    Important

    To be able to do both multi-item puts and single-SKU puts, you must specify two lines that have same structure and setup, but you must set the Multiple SKU option to Yes for one line and No for the other. Therefore, for put operations, you must have two identical location directives, even if you don't have to distinguish single SKUs and multiple SKUs on a work ID. Often, if you don't set up both these location directives, unexpected business process locations will come from the applied Location directive. You must use a similar setup for location directives that have a Work type of pick if you need to process orders that include multiple SKUs.

    Use the Multiple SKU option for work lines that handle more than one item number. (The item number will be blank in the work details, and it will be shown as Multiple on the processing pages in the Warehouse Management mobile app.)

    In a typical example scenario, a work template is set up so that it has more than one pick/put pair. In this case, you might want to search for a specific staging location to use for lines with a Work type of Put.

    Note

    If the Multiple SKU option is set to Yes, you can't select Edit query on the Action Pane, because the query can't evaluate at the item level when there are multiple items. To ensure that the desired location directive is selected, use the Directive code field to guide the selection of the location directive that is related to the put lines where that directive code is assigned in the work template.

    Unless you always work with either single-item or mixed-item operations, it's important that you define two location directives for the Put work type: one where the Multiple SKU option is set to Yes and one where it's set to No.

  • Applicable disposition code – Specify whether the disposition code of the location directive must match the disposition code that is applied when the item is received, or whether the location directive can be selected based on any disposition code. If you select Exact match, and the Disposition code field is blank, only blank disposition codes will be considered for this location directive.

    Note

    This field is available only for selected work order types where replenishment is permitted. For a complete list, see the Fields that are specific to work order types section earlier in this article.

  • Locate by – Specify whether the putaway quantity should be the whole quantity on the license plate, or whether it should be item by item. Use this field to help ensure that all the contents on a license plate is put into one location, and that the system doesn't suggest that you split the contents into several locations for ASN (license plate receiving), Mixed license plate receiving, and Cluster receiving processes. (The Cluster receiving process requires that the Cluster putaway feature feature be turned on.) The behavior of the location directive query, the lines, and the location directive actions will vary, depending on the value that you select. The Lines FastTab is only used when the Locate by is set to Item.

    Note

    This field is available only for selected work order types where replenishment is permitted. For a complete list, see the Fields that are specific to work order types section.

  • Disposition code – This field is used for location directives that have a work order type of Purchase orders, Finished goods putaway, or Return orders, and a work type of Put. Use it to guide the flow to use a specific location directive, depending on the disposition code that a worker selected in the Warehouse Management mobile app. For example, you can direct returned goods to an inspection location before they are returned to stock. A disposition code can be linked to an inventory status. In this way, it can be used to change the inventory status as part of a receiving process. For example, you have a disposition code, QA, that sets the inventory status to QA. You can then have a separate location directive to move that inventory to a quarantine location.

    Note

    This field is available only for selected work order types where replenishment is permitted. For a complete list, see the Fields that are specific to work order types section.

Lines FastTab

Use the Lines FastTab to establish conditions for applying the related actions that are specified on the Location directive actions FastTab. For each line, you can specify the minimum quantity and maximum quantity that the actions should apply to. You can also specify that the actions should apply to a specific inventory unit.

  • Sequence number – Enter the sequence that each location directive line should be processed in for the selected work type. You can change the sequence as you require by using the Move up and Move down buttons on the toolbar.

  • From quantity – Specify the start of the range of quantities that the line applies to. Specify the quantity in the unit of measure that is selected in the Unit field.

  • To quantity – Specify the end of the range of quantities that the line applies to. Specify the quantity in the unit of measure that is selected in the Unit field.

  • Unit – Select the unit of measure for the items. You can specify a minimum quantity and a maximum quantity that the directive should apply to, and you can specify that the directive should be for a specific inventory unit. The Unit field is used only for quantity evaluation. To determine whether the location directive line is applicable at all, the system uses the quantity in the unit that is specified on that line. Every time that it reaches a location directive line, the system tries to convert the demand unit to the unit that is specified on the line. If the unit of measure conversion doesn't exist, the system moves on to the next line.

  • Locate quantity – This field is used only during attempts to put or locate items in the warehouse. (Therefore, it applies only when the Work type field is set to Put). Select one of the following values to specify the quantity that is used to evaluate whether a quantity is within the From quantity to To quantity range:

    • License plate quantity – Use the quantity on the license plate that is being received.
    • Unitized quantity – Use the quantity that is used during the transaction. For example, you receive a quantity of 1,000 in a warehouse and break it into 10 license plates, each of which has a quantity of 100. In this case, you can use a quantity of 1,000 items instead of the license plate quantity of 100.
    • Remaining quantity – Use the quantity that must still be received on the purchase order line that is being processed.
    • Expected quantity – Use the total quantity of the purchase order line, regardless of what has already been received.
  • Restrict by unit – This check box lets you make the location directive line specific to a unit of measure or multiple units of measure. Select it to restrict the units of measure that are considered valid selection criteria for the location directive lines. This functionality works only for location directives where the Work type field is set to Pick.

    For example, when you reserve quantities, you want to reserve pallets only from a specific set of locations. In this case, the lines will restrict that sequence to pallets in such a way that any quantity that is less than a pallet won't be selected for the location directive.

    Note that the Restrict by unit check box doesn't control the unit or units that are applied on work lines. The unit restriction applies only to the units that are made available via the unit sequence group. For example, an item is associated with a unit sequence group that includes both the pallets unit and the pcs units. A unit of measure has been defined, where 1 pallet = 100 pcs, and the location directive uses the Restrict by unit functionality only for pallets. Furthermore, a work template has been defined that limits the work header creation to 50 pcs. In this case, work lines of 50 pcs will be created. To specify the unit of measure for restriction, follow these steps:

    1. On the Lines FastTab, select Restrict by unit on the toolbar. (This button becomes available only after you select the Restrict by unit check box on the line and then select Save.)
    2. On the Restrict by units page, in the Unit field, select the unit of measure that you want to restrict by for the pick and put processes.
  • Round up to unit – This field works together with the Restrict by unit check box. For example, if Restrict by unit and Round up to unit are selected on the location directive line, the work that is generated from the directive for raw material picking should be rounded up to a multiple of one of the handling unit that is specified on the Restrict by unit page.

    Note

    This Round up to unit setup works only for the Raw material picking work order type, and only for location directives where the Work type field is set to Pick.

  • Locate Packing Qty – If you specify a packing quantity on a sales order, transfer order, or production order, this check box lets you restrict the system so that it can select only locations that have at least that packing quantity.

    Note

    This functionality works only with location directives of the Pick type.

  • Allow Split – Specify whether the location directive can split the quantity that is being received or reserved across multiple warehouse locations, or whether the whole quantity must be located in a single location or reserved from a single location to create work.

  • Immediate replenishment template – Use this field to create a connection to a replenishment template, so that replenishment is started immediately if items aren't allocated. If you leave this field blank, item replenishment won't be started until all lines of the location directive have been processed.

    Note

    This field is available only for selected work order types where replenishment is permitted. For a complete list, see the Fields that are specific to work order types section.

Location directive actions FastTab

You can define multiple location directive actions for each line. Once again, a sequence number is used to determine the order that the actions are assessed in. At this level, you can set up a query to define how the best location in the warehouse is found. You can also use predefined Strategy values to find an optimal location.

  • Sequence number – This field shows the sequence that the actions are processed in for the selected work type. You can change the sequence by using the Move Up and Move Down buttons on the toolbar.

  • Name – Enter the name of the location directive action. Be specific, so that the action that is performed is clear from the name.

  • Fixed location usage – Specify which locations the location directive should consider. Select one of the following values:

    • Fixed and non-fixed locations – The location directive will consider all locations.
    • Only fixed locations for the product – The location directive will consider only fixed locations for products.
    • Only fixed locations for the product variant – The location directive will consider only fixed locations for product variants.
  • Allow negative inventory – Select this check box to allow negative inventory at the specified warehouse location in location directives.

  • Batch Enabled – Select this check box to use batch strategies for items that are batch-enabled. It's important that you select this check box for processes that use location directives to find locations to pick batch number–tracked items from. In this way, the search for locations that hold batch number–tracked items is included. If this check box is selected, and the Strategy field is set to None, the system will move on to the next action line.

  • Strategy – To more easily and quickly define the actions that are associated with each location directive line, you can select one of the following predefined strategies:

    • None – No strategy will be used.
    • Match packing quantity – This strategy verifies whether a pick location has the specified packing quantity. This strategy is valid only when the Work type field is set to Pick.
    • Consolidate – This strategy consolidates items in a specific location when similar items are already available. This strategy is valid only when the Work type field is set to Put. A typical setup for put tries to consolidate on the first action line and then, on the second line, tries to put without consolidation. Consolidation of goods makes later picking more efficient.
    • FEFO batch reservation – This strategy uses first expiry, first out (FEFO) batch reservations. Use it when inventory is located by using a batch expiration date and allocated for batch reservation. You can use this strategy only for batch-enabled items. It's valid only when the Work type field is set to Pick.
    • Round up to the full LP and FEFO batch – This strategy combines the elements of the FEFO batch reservation and Round up to a full LP strategies. It's valid only for batch-enabled items and location directives that have a work type of Pick. The line must be batch-enabled to use the FEFO batch reservation strategy, and the Round up to a full LP strategy can be used only for replenishment. If this strategy is configured together with a location stocking limit, it can cause the selected put work location to be overloaded and stocking limits to be ignored.
    • Round up to a full LP – This strategy is used to round up the inventory quantity so that it matches the license plate quantity that is assigned to the items that must be picked. You can use this strategy only for replenishment location directives of the Pick type. If this strategy is configured together with a location stocking limit, it can cause the selected put work location to be overloaded and stocking limits to be ignored.
    • License plate guided – Use this strategy when you release the order to the warehouse to create the pick-and-put work. You can use this approach for multiple license plates. This strategy will try to reserve and create picking work against the locations that hold the requested license plates that have been associated with the transfer order lines. However, if these actions can't be completed, but you still want to create picking work, you should fall back to another strategy for location directive actions. Depending on your business process requirements, you might also want to search for inventory in another area of the warehouse.
    • Empty location with no incoming work – Use this strategy to locate empty locations. A location is considered empty if it has no physical inventory and no expected incoming work. You can use this strategy only for location directives that have a work type of Put.
    • Location aging FIFO – Use the first in, first out (FIFO) strategy to ship both batch-tracked items and non-batch-tracked items, based on the date when the inventory entered the warehouse. This capability can be especially useful for non-batch-tracked inventory, where no expiration date is available to use for sorting. The FIFO strategy finds the location that contains the oldest aging date, and then allocates picking based on that aging date.
    • Location aging LIFO – Use the last in, last out (LIFO) strategy to ship both batch-tracked items and non-batch-tracked items, based on the date when the inventory entered the warehouse. This capability can be especially useful for non-batch-tracked inventory, where no expiration date is available to use for sorting. The LIFO strategy finds the location that contains the newest aging date, and then allocates picking based on that aging date.

Example: Using location directives

For this example, consider a purchase order process where the location directive must find free capacity within a warehouse for inventory items that have just been registered at the receiving dock. First, you need to find free capacity within the warehouse by consolidating with existing on-hand inventory. If consolidation isn't possible, then you need to find an empty location.

For this scenario, you must define two location directive actions. The first action in the sequence must use the Consolidate strategy, and the second should use the Empty location with no incoming work strategy. Unless you define a third action to handle an overflow scenario, two outcomes are possible when there is no more capacity in the warehouse: work can be created even though no locations are defined, or the work creation process can fail. The outcome is determined by the setup on the Location directive failures page, where you can choose whether to select the Stop work on location directive failure option for each work order type.

Next step

After you create location directives, you can associate each directive code with a work template code for work creation. For more information, see Control warehouse work by using work templates and location directives.

Additional resources