Manual packing functionality in Warehouse management in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3


Overview

The new Warehouse management system in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 introduces the concept of Containers. Containers represent the physical structure in which products are packed during shipping, and you can keep track of the container information in the system. This can be useful during transportation planning, especially in the case where shipping charges are calculated based on containers. You can see the number of containers that are used in a shipment, the types of containers that are used, and physical dimensions such as total volume, weight, and so on, prior to shipping.

The system provides a packing process that allows you to validate and pack products into containers. In this process, warehouse workers pick products from the storage locations and move them to packing station where they check the item quantities and types, and assign them to appropriate containers. When a container is fully packed, they can close it and move it to the outbound docks, and the products are ready for shipping.

 

How to set up packing

The following setups are required to enable the packing process.

Location profile

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Figure 1. Location profile (Warehouse management > Setup > Warehouse setup > Location profiles)

A location profile used for packing stations must be created. The location profile contains a variety of information and rules for a location. For more information, see Set up packing and container closing profiles for manual pack process.

Warehouse parameters

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Figure 2 Warehouse parameters (Warehouse management > Setup > Warehouse parameters)

On the Packing tab, in the Profile ID for packing location field, you must select the location profile that you want to use for packing.

Container types

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Figure 3 Container types (Warehouse management > Setup > Containers > Container types)

Define the types of containers that you use. You can specify the physical dimensions of the container, including Tare weight, Maximum weight, Maximum volume, Length, Width, and Height.

The Attributes are customized fields that allow you to add extra dimensions on the container type. You define these attributes in Warehouse management > Setup > Containers > Container attributes.

Packing profiles

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Figure 4 Packing profiles (Warehouse management > Setup > Packing > Packing profiles)

Packing profiles let you configure a packing process for each packing operation that you use. The following list describes the fields in the Packing profiles form.

  • Container closing profile ID: (Optional) The default close container profile for this packing profile.
  • Container ID mode: Determines whether a container ID is automatically generated when a container is created or you create them manually.
  • Container type: (Optional) The container type that is used by default when creating a new container.
  • Autocreate container at container close: Create a container automatically during the close container process.

Container closing profiles

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Figure 5 Close container profile (Warehouse management > Setup > Packing > Close container profile)

Container closing profiles define what happens when a container is closed. You can set up multiple close container profiles. The following list provides information about the fields in the Container closing profiles form.

  • Manifest at: Specify whether manifesting will occur when closing containers or when confirming the shipment. Note that manifesting is a process that requires that you are also using Transportation management. The logic for manifesting must be implemented in the transportation engines in order for it work.
  • Default location for final shipment: Select a final shipping location. This will be location to which products will be moved after the containers are closed. Note this location must have a location profile that is of the type defined on Warehouse parameters, under General > Location types > Final shipping location type.

Work users

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Figure 6 Work users (Warehouse management > Setup > Work users > Worker)

Optionally, you can also assign a container profile and close container profile to a work user. These will be used by default for the worker who is assigned to the work user. This will enable the worker to sign in to the packing station. The packing profile determines the packing process that the worker will perform.

 

Packing workflow

The following example describes the packing workflow for a sales order. Please note that the manual packing feature currently do not support transfer orders.

Move products to packing location

  1. A sales order is created.
  2. Work is created through a wave that has the packing station as the put location. Here, we assume the location directives and work templates are set up so that the items will be moved to a packing location when the picking work is completed.
  3. Warehouse worker uses a mobile device to pick the items and move them to the packing location.

 

Create a container and pack items

Warehouse management > Common > Pack

1. The work user responsible for packing opens the Pack form. A packing profile is automatically displayed if it has been defined for the work user.

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Figure 7

2. To start the packing process, the work user enters the shipment ID or the license plate number that is associated with the shipment.

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Figure 8

After that, information about the shipment, customer, order details, and so on, is displayed on the form, like below.

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Figure 9

The items that remain to be packed are shown on the Open lines tab. All of the items included in this shipment are shown on the All lines tab.

3. Click New button on the Pack form to create a new container.

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Figure 10

A New container dialog pops up (figure 10) asking for a container ID and container type.

The container ID and container type will be auto-generated if it is set up on the container profile. Otherwise you must enter a container ID.

4. After a container is created, you can start packing the items.

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Figure 11

In the Pack form, in the Pack item section, select the item and enter the quantity to pack. By default, the quantity is 1 if you do not enter a value. There are a couple of ways to do this, as follows:

  • You can select the item in the drop-down list. When you select the item, the item is automatically packed. The packed quantity increases and the remaining quantity decreases by one. You don’t have to click the Pack button to confirm the packing. This minimizes the number clicks required to pack an item.
  • You can enter a quantity in the Quantity field, and then select the item. The quantity that you enter is packed.
  • You can also type the item number. If you type the number, you must either click the Pack button or click on another field to pack the item. If you want to enter a quantity, you must specify the quantity before you enter the item.

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Figure 12

When packing product variations, a dialog is displayed where you can select product dimensions, such as color or size. (Correction, it is not possible to verify batch ID when packing.)

While items are being packed, the Quantity packed and Quantity remaining columns are updated on the item lines. When a line is completely packed, it will be removed from the Open lines tab. It, however, can still be viewed on the All lines tab.

In each packing action, the system validates the total item weight inside the container against the maximum allowed weight of the container. These are specified for the container on the container type. If it exceeds the limit, the system will prevent the item from being packed into the container and displays an error. However, the system does not validate other physical dimensions such as volume, width, height, length. This allows flexibility during packing, so you can accommodate situations where you can adjust these dimensions on the product. For example, a packer might be able to squeeze the items into the container although the volume exceeds the nominal value.

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Figure 13

The fields at the bottom of the form (figure 13) are updated as items are packed, as follows:

  • Total containers: The total number of containers on the shipment.
  • Total quantity: The total quantity of the items in the current container.
  • Total weight: The total weight of the current container.
  • Total items: The number of different items in the current container.

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Figure 14

At any time during packing, you can view and modify all containers created for the shipment by clicking the Available containers button on the Pack form. The Containers form is displayed (figure 14), where you can perform the following actions:

  • Adjust the item quantity in a container. Unpacked items will update on the Pack form to be packed again.
  • Delete empty containers.
  • Re-open closed containers.
  • Reverse the manifest.

 

Close containers

When a container is fully packed, it can then be closed. Closing a container will prevent any additional items from being packed into the container. The close container process moves items to the final shipping location and the items are ready for shipping.

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Figure 15

  • The close container process can be performed as part of the packing process from the Pack form by clicking the Close button on the action pane after a container is full. The Close container dialog is then displayed (figure 15), where you can enter the weight, select the final shipping location for the products, and enter the total weight.

The weight can either be calculated automatically by using Get system weight, which sums up the total item weight plus the container tare weight; or you can enter it manually in a situation where the container is weighed individually.

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Figure 16

  • Alternatively, you can separate the container closing process from the packing and close all containers after packing. For example, if you have several open containers that are being packed, and want to close the containers only after all the products have been packed. In this case, you can do the following:
  1. Open the Close container form under Warehouse management > Common > Container close (figure 16).
  2. Select a work user, container closing profile, and the container.
  3. Enter a weight or click Use system weight.
  4. Click close.

Note: you can also perform other tasks when you close containers. The following are some examples:

  • Rate and manifest containers. (The transportation engine must support the specific carrier that was implemented. Note that this requires that you are also using Transportation management.)
  • Print the contents of the container and the packing slip for the shipment. This can be done from either the Containers form or the Close container form by clicking Print and selecting either shipment packing slip or container contents.

 

Please note, that the Warehouse management in R3 also comes with an automated packing functionality called Containerization. For information regarding this feature, please refer to the post Introduction to Containerization – Automated packing process in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 or the MSDN article Set up containerization. It is worth noting that the manual packing process and containerization process are meant for two different workflows in the system. Containers created from containerization process cannot be used or modified in manual packing process described above, that is, you will not be able to pack items into these containers through the Pack form, re-open or change item quantities inside etc.


Comments (34)

  1. Good post – I would include a reference to the containerization step you can setup in the wave template. I have learned the hard way that if you have done containerization during the wave processing and thereby stamped the container on the work lines, the packing functionality doesn't (obviously) work.

  2. Jilong Zhang says:

    Thanks, David! That's a very good suggestion. I updated the post with some comment on the difference between manual packing and containerization, and a link to a MSDN article on containerization setup. Blog posts on containerization will also come soon.

  3. David W Ruston says:

    I liked the clear path through which the post took me – very useful and both the orginal post and David Probst's comment has saved me a lot of time today!

  4. Mohit says:

    We have been trying to pack items in a Sales order. All the setups are as per this blog. However, in the Pack form, we are unable to see any items in Open Lines and All Lines. Am i missing any step here?

  5. Jilong Zhang says:

    Hi Mohit,

    From your description, it seems like your items are not in the packing location and that is probably why you don't see them in the pack form. Did you make sure that your location directives and work templates are set up in a way that the items are moved to a packing location (of location type that is set on Warehouse parameters ,as mentioned above) after the work is complete? You can also check the inventory transaction after completing the work to make sure the items are in the right place.

  6. Souliere Jean-Luc says:

    Hi Jilong, can you tell me how we can manage a "double level" of packing ? it means i have to fulfill several cartons (=container level1) with several boxes for different products and at the end i will build a pallet (=container level 2) with several cartons. at the end i need to print the containers contents.

    Additionnal question : do we have possibility to use mobile device to create container, pack the items and close container?

  7. Ameen Al-Harbi says:

    Good post

    thanks Man

  8. Jilong Zhang says:

    Hi Souliere,

    1. Nested containers cannot be manually created though the Pack form. However, it can be generated though the Containerization feature. I'm writing a blog post right now on this topic and will post it within a few days.

    2. The answer is, unfortunately, no. As of now, there is no implementation on the Mobile device for packing.

  9. Geoff McMaster says:

    I note above it says you can use this Packing for both Sales Orders and Transfer Orders. I can't get it to work for Transfer Orders… Using the same setup as above, when the Work is generated for the Tr Put to 'Packing' it leaves that Put Location blank, and in the Work Creation History Log I see a message that says:

    'Location packing failed because the final shipping location for transfer order issue work must be a final shipping location type and be license plate controlled'.

    I suspect this may be a bug ion AX…. but if you are able to process Transfer Order Picks through Packing without hitting this error would be great to share your setup with me.

    Regards

    Geoff McMaster

  10. Jilong Zhang says:

    Hi Geoff,

    Thank you spending time testing this.

    Right now the packing flow only supports sales orders. I'm sorry to include transfer orders in the steps. This is currently not supported in the system. And this is why you are seeing the error during work creation. If you try to execute the work and manually specify the packing location as put location on the Mobile device, it will throw an error preventing you from doing so.

  11. Martin W says:

    Hi,

    Thanks for an interesting post.

    Do you know if it is possible to manually enter the dimensions (LxWxH) on a container? Or are you limited to the predefined dimensions on the container types?

    I would like to have a container type where the warehouse worker manually specifies the dimensions. Very crucial for goods that do not fit the standard container types, but where you still need to specify dimensions.

  12. Hi Martin!

    Thank you for your question. You cannot manually enter the dimension on a container. You are limited to the pre-defined dimensions on the container type.

  13. Roberto Bettinelli says:

    Are physical dimensions of the container in CM?

  14. Roberto.B says:

    Are physical dimensions in CM?

  15. Martin W says:

    Thanks Karina for your response. That's what I thought, but I had to put the question out there. Hopefully this will be developed.

  16. Nicholas Cram says:

    This is a really good blog and should be incorporated, along with your other post on automated containerization, into the WMS implementation guide.

    It was not very clear if Licence plates are created as a "backing entity" to Container ID's or not. I do not have definitive proof, but I noticed that LP's have the container type on them, and nested licence plates seem to be able to be driven through Container ID's.  Did I get this right?  And can you add a little word to the blog in this case?

    Thanks,

    Nicholas

  17. Nicholas Cram says:

    Roberto, if I have understood correctly its the system unit for length that is used.  You can see this displayed on the Physical Dimensions Group form.

    Which leads me to another question – how do we convert centimetres or mm to cubic metres?  Answer – there doesn't seem to be any way just yet…  Jilong, do you know if this is likely to be added in the near future?

  18. SOULIERE Jean-Luc says:

    I join Roberto & Nicholas for these questions around physical dimensions we can manage at different levels in AX : Item number ph dimension for several units with Unit sequence group, container, location profile….

    For same item, is it possible to enter dimensions in different unit : for example pcs in mm, box in cm but pallet in cm   and location profile dimension in cm and container in cm ? volumes in dm3 or m3 ?

    If we have only 1 default/system unit, where is this default unit defined?

    Thanks for your confirmations

    Jean-Luc

  19. @Roberto, I am not sure, what you mean by CM Case management??

    The physical dimension of the container is setup on the Container type. The manual packing station will give you an error if the weight is higher than the weight allowed on the container type.

  20. Galia Ivanova says:

    Hi, Jilong,

    I'm starting to work with Ax2012 CU8.

    In Warehouse Management–>Setup–>Mobile device portal item is new option for Work creation process  of type "PackToNestedLPs".

    Can you provide more information regard this new process. Is there any documentation about it?

  21. Steve Mulaik says:

    Excellent BLOG.  Thank you so much for writing this.

    I did find one issue.  The text suggests that the container close profiles are under /Setup/Packing, i.e.

    "Figure 5 Close container profile (Warehouse management > Setup > Packing > Close container profile)"

    But isn't it really under /Setup/Containers/Container closing profiles?

    For a minute there, I thought I had the wrong version of AX or something.

  22. Steve Mulaik says:

    I also had the problem that Mohit had.  This is the BLOG that forced me to really understood what the Multiple SKU flag on the Location directive header means.  It was not covered in the implementation guide and the TechNet doc mysteriously states:

     "Optional: Select this check box to use multiple stock keeping units (SKUs)"

    You cannot get your order to packing unless your location directive has the Multiple SKU flag set on the header.  This is why…

    At the conclusion of the sales order "pick"  the software needs to find a location that ALL the SKUs picked (not just the an individual line) may go to.  This means the location directive needs to have the Multiple SKU flag set for this to happen.  I now assume that this flag must always be set on location directives following the pick tied to a sales order.  The work template also probably needs to have a Directive code with the word Pack in it.  The corresponding location directive that looks for a location for the "put" following the pick should also have a directive of Pack.

    I know you indicated it was an assumption that someone knew how to set these up for packing, but I haven't found any place that told me how to do it, so I think it is worth calling out explicitly.

  23. Rosine says:

    Great Post! Quick question: I have tried to run a packing process by following the same steps but I'm not able to see open lines or even all lines inside my Packing screen. I was able to pick  my item and put itt away at a pack station. Any clue?? All settings for

  24. Line says:

    Hi, I have a question regarding containers:

    I have a case where we want to use the TMS-module, without the WHS-module. As described in this blogpost: blogs.msdn.com/…/using-transportation-management-without-the-new-warehouse-management-module.aspx

    We are only using the Loads-functionality, and we would like to be able to manually register the containers directly from the Loads. Is this possible? If so, what is the minimum setup to achieve this?

  25. RV says:

    Great Post. Very helpful. I am running into "Quantity Cannot be reserved, Container didn't close" errors. I picked the item quantities and put them in the packing location. Then I created the containers and packed the item quantities in these containers. Then I was trying to close these containers but ran into the above mentioned error. Did anyone on this blog run into any errors closing the containers? I would appreciate your comments. Thanks.

  26. Steven says:

    Hi RV, i have the same issue… Message telling me that the items cannot be reserved from the location/licenseplate combination at the packing station but on-hand tells me the items are physical onhand.

  27. g.casillo says:

    Hi Jilong!

    I've followed all the instrunctions, but, on the figure number 9, I can't find the list of the items so I can't choose any of them.

    Have you any idea about my problem?

    Thanks and best regards,

    Giovanni.

  28. Hatice Kubra says:

    Hi Jilong Zhang! Thanks for your blogs!

    I have a question. is it possible  to build a multi-level container structure using manual process AX2012 R3 CU8???? I haven´t  found the way….

    Thanks in advance

  29. Keith732 says:

    Jilong,

    Thanks for this very informative post on the pack form. I'd also like to contribute something on the notes field since I don't see it mentioned anywhere.

    On the pack form one will notice a long notes field going left to right. This is very useful in situations where customers require special crating, wood boxing, or just general pack instructions.

    To configure:

    1.) Navigate to Warehouse Management > Setup > Warehouse management parameters > Packing tab. Right click the Packing Screen Note Type and choose VIEW DETAILS

    2.) Create a new note type called Packing or something with meaning. Set the following fields. Class = Simple Note, Category = Notes , Group = Note. Then CTRL + S for good measure and close the form.

    3.) You should be back in the Warehouse management parameters under the packing tab. Set the Packing Screen Note type to your newly created Packing note and close the parameters form.

    4.) Navigate to a customer. Accounts Receivable > Common > All customers > Choose a customer and Edit

    5.) Click Attachements > New > You should see your note type Packing, select it. > Enter a description > Set the restriction to Internal > Type a packing note in the bottom pane such as "Pack With Care" > Close and close the customer master.

    Now when you create a sales order for that customer the note is copied to the sales order and when a shipment or license plate is scanned with outbound inventory for that customer in the pack form the note with your special instructions will appear.

    One other thing you may need to do which I didn't test because I have it configured already is go to Accounts Receivable > Setup > Accounts Receivable parameters > General tab. You will find a little check box named Copy Notes. Check it if not already checked. It may not affect the pack form but If you want your notes copied to sales order it will.

    I hope that helps someone.

  30. Kash says:

    Hi, I have found this blog and all associated comments very useful for the setup, however I am having trouble trying to setup the Location directives and Work templates to make Manual Packing work. Any help would be much appreciated.

  31. Performing the work is to pick from your pick area and move to the pack station.

    Pack locations needs to reference a separate profile ID for pack. You set this profile ID for pack location under warehouse management parameters > Packing > Profile ID for packing location.

    For AX2012R3CU9 demo data set I have added a warehouse 62 to company USMF, which is configured to demonstrate the pack station.

  32. Bella says:

    Hi RV, Steven,

    I'm also encountering the error "Inventory Cannot be reserved in closing the container.. Have you managed to resolve it? May I ask how?

    Thanks..

  33. Rodny Martinez says:

    Hello, maybe someone can help me with our process of importing products from abroad.

    1. Purchase Order is made for our agents and sent it to the supplier in another country.

    2. Our supplier loads the items in one or more containers. (40 feet  container, 50 feets container, 25 feets container).

    3. The supplier sends to us the list of goods(Items) loaded in each container. We type manually the information in Dynamics AX system. Here starts the process in AX. (Location 01)

    3. After closing the container ships to dock. (Location 02)

    4. The container is raised on the boat. (Location 03)

    5. The container arrives at the dock in Costa Rica destination. (Location 04)

    6. The container It is sent it to the courtyard to be review by customs agents.  (Location 05)

    7. The container is moved to the warehouse of the company. (Location 06)

    If you have some information about how can I manage this process in Dynamics AX I really will appreciate a lot. Regard Rodny M.

  34. Chris D says:

    Hi Jilong,

    Thank you for posting this, it has been very helpful for me. I have the functionality working, however I am trying to configure the system for manual packing and also to ship confirm on the mobile device. Basically, I am trying to combine this configuration with the configuration in this blog post (community.dynamics.com/…/confirm-the-outbound-shipment-automatically-in-whs-ax-2012-r3). I am able to make each of these working separately, but not together.

    Any ideas?

    Alternatively, is there another option to ship confirm besides selecting each loaded shipment and clicking Confirm Shipment? I have not been able to find anything and there is no batch job.

    Many thanks!