Richard Garraputa, Corning Data’s JD Edwards evangelist, recently presented a primer on License Plate Management at Collaborate17. This article is part two of his blog series revealing the highlights of that presentation.
So, how does License Plate Management differ from and relate to these other tools and concepts available in JD Edwards? One of the best ways to learn is to see how someone else has done it right, and I’ll share a great license plating success story with you later.
But sometimes it is just as helpful to see how others have failed. So as we compare and contrast these things with License Plate Management, I’ll share a few anecdotes about license plate mistakes so you can learn from them.
So, let’s talk about what License Plate Management isn’t.
This might seem like a basic concept: A unit of measure is how we count items. We can have conversion factors so we can transact in different units of measure and the system will automatically calculate for you.
Basic? I have had more than one customer say to me, “Richard, I have four cartons of widgets on a pallet. I keep pallets of widgets in my warehouse. I stock by pallet. I sell by pallet. I ship by pallet. I need to use license plating so I can transact by pallet.”
Not if the pallet contains a fixed quantity of all the same widgets. Transact by the unit of measure “pallet.’’ That is simple, plain vanilla JD Edwards inventory management, not License Plate Management. In this instance, if you are just moving around a quantity of widgets.
Lesson: Don’t confuse the words pallet and license plate. However, sometimes there is a need to simplify inventory transactions with all of the individual items on the pallet. A couple of examples may include:
- They are lot/serial controlled
- You add and remove items from the pallet but still need to transact, in aggregate, the items left on the pallet
A Location is a place to put items—it tells us where items are
A License Plate is a group of items.
The group of items (license plate) can be in a location, such as a staging location or a warehouse bin. This moves all of the items associated with that license plate into that location.
As a general rule, license plates tend to be mobile, and locations tend to be more static. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes it makes more sense for a route delivery truck or the trunk of a car to be used as a location.
Cartonization is a combination of Warehouse Management and Transportation Management functionality that helps suggest containers for packaging sales order items for a particular shipment.
NOTE: This is specific to the sales order process when Transportation is enabled.
Some of the setup of both cartonization and license plating is similar between the two—making it easy to confuse. In general, license plating is about handling inventory transactions. Cartonization is about preparing sales items for shipment.
I was walking through a warehouse with a client while they described their troubles managing inventory.
The company manufactured items they loaded onto a homogenous pallet in production. The only unit of measure they had was eaches, with 5 eaches in a case and 10 cases per pallet. Because they usually sold by the pallet, they assigned a unique lot number to all of the items on the pallet, affixed a label with the lot number to the pallet, and then customized the system to be able to transact by the lot number, which doubled as a pallet ID.
So, everything worked ok- until they had a damaged each or they had to open a case and pull out one widget for a sample or RMA replacement. Since their customization worked at the pallet ID level, they had to quarantine the pallet until it could be rebuilt with another widget. Now they had broken, unsaleable palettes sitting around. Since they rebuilt the palette with a new widget, but the lot and palette ID are indistinguishable, any integrity to traceability was lost.
The sad thing is they spent good money on building a system that was fundamentally flawed when they owned everything they needed to do it right. Their reason for taking this approach: they were afraid of turning on Warehouse Management to enable the license plating functionality.
Container management is an inventory feature that allows you to track reusable containers back and forth between you, your customers and suppliers. It supports tracking rental and deposit charges.
With license plating, you manage the inventory, rather than the container.
The next installment of this series will feature lessons on great use of license plating. Stay tuned on Thursdays for more in this continuing series.
Richard Garraputa is a Corning Data enterprise software evangelist with more than 20 years experience in helping drive real business benefits from improved processes and use of technology. He helps clients grow their top line revenues, reduce costs through more efficient and effective operations, and become more competitive through improved processes.