Last week I was delivering a training on warehouse management in Business Central and following the principle of a picture that is worth a thousand words, I prepared a scheme of a warehouse, mapping the document flow on the image. This image seems to work pretty well when I talk about basic warehouse operations and explain what a put-away is and why on earth it is needed at all.
Here is my illustration of a warehouse with some comments on each of the documents in the warehouse flow. The description below assumes that the sample location is configured with the full set of warehouse documents: receipt, put-away, pick, and shipment. Business Central allows simpler warehouse configurations, omitting some of the documents.
Receiving zone. Items arrived to the warehouse loading bay and have been unloaded from the truck into the staging area. Here, the received goods are undergoing inbound checks before being moved into a storage. Respective document which needs to be posted in order to reflect this operation is Warehouse Receipt.
Now received items are stocked in the staging area, undergoing checks and controls - for example, warehouse operators can verify the condition of pallets, make sure that their content matches the documentation, check expiration dates for expiring items, etc. Once all the checks are done, items can be moved from the staging area into the storage area and put on racks. To allocate the goods in the storage area, we post a Warehouse Put-away.
Sometimes items must be reallocated within the storage area in a warehouse. There is no external demand for this move, items are just moved from one storage bin into another. Business Central warehouse management system suggests different types of documents for this reallocation, depending on the warehouse setup. For an advanced warehouse with Directed Put-aways and Picks enabled, the document is Warehouse Movement. If the warehouse is set up with bins, but not directed put-aways and picks, we post an Internal Movement. And of course, locations with no bins can't track item reallocation.
Dispatching of goods starts from picking the pallets from the warehouse storage area and moving them into the staging area, which can be the same zone that is used for receiving or a separate staging for dispatch. Configuration of staging, shipping and receiving zones completely depends on the warehouse processes and the decision if the receiving and shipping share the same loading bays, or if these processes are separated. Independently of the particular warehouse configuration, the document that records the movement of items from storage to the shipping zone is Warehouse Pick.
Now the items are prepared in the shipping zone and ready to be loaded onto the truck and posting of the Warehouse Shipment registers the transition of goods away from the warehouse.