Wave picks allow a warehouse to consolidate picking requirements. Like other procurement solutions, if you want to perform wave picking in SAP SD (Sales and Distribution), you first have to group deliveries together based on the time when they have to be processed.
Wave picks aren’t for everyone. Some companies’ products allow for direct picking for each customer’s orders; in other cases, consolidated picking is a very good option. If, for example, your company’s products are packed in pallets or boxes that contain multiple items, and each of your customers orders large multiples of them, then you may want to execute consolidated picking. This is true when selling to distributors and not directly to end customers.
Wave Picking Prerequisites
To use wave picks, you need to have other functionalities of SAP ERP installed as prerequisites. The simplest configuration can be based on a lean SAP ERP Warehouse Management (WM) implementation, but if you have a very complex warehouse, then your company can benefit from a full SAP ERP WM implementation.
Another prerequisite for wave picking is the use of time slots. Time slots help you plan wave picks according to the working calendar at your warehouse facility. These time slots can be, for example, linked to routes so that all the deliveries for a certain shipping route are picked at the same time, and the trucks can be loaded and dispatched on schedule.
Because time slots have a predefined duration, and your picking capacity is just so much at a given time of the day, you can set limits on the number of articles that can be processed. You can set up these capacity restrictions in two ways:
- Maximum number of delivery items to be picked in a wave
- Maximum number of picking transactions per wave
These restrictions are set in configuration, and only the system analysts can change them. The simplest way to create a wave pick is to use the Outbound Delivery Monitor, which we’ll describe next.
Creating a Wave Pick
To create a wave pick, follow these steps. First, choose Logistics > Sales and Distribution > Shipping and Transportation > Picking > Wave Picks > Create > Via Outbound Delivery Monitor. The Outbound Delivery Monitor is your single point of contact with all of the delivery order-related statuses, as shown in the first figure.
Next, click on the For Picking button. In the Picking Data section (shown in the following figure), you’ll be able to enter selection parameters so that the resulting worklist shows the deliveries that you’re looking for.
The search screen allows you to enter several different parameters to narrow down your search results. The basic two parameters you have to enter in this search screen are the Shipping Point and Picking Date Range. The next figure shows the deliveries that matched our search. Here you see the global information that totals the item’s data.
Next, select the Item View button, as shown in the figure below, which displays detailed information for each item.
Select all of the items, and choose Subsequent Functions > Group > Create with WM Reference, as shown in the figure below. In this example, we’re selecting a SAP ERP WM group because it’s simple.
Finally, enter a description for the group and the warehouse number, as shown in the figure directly below. After you’ve done this, the status bar will show you the group number after it’s created, which is Group 6139 in this example, as shown in the final figure.
The table below illustrates the various transactions and menu paths for wave picks maintenance.
For companies that want to perform wave picking in SAP, there are a handful of things you need to know, chief of which is that wave picking requires prerequisites. If your company meets those requirements, wave picking can be a powerful tool. Of course, this is only one method of picking your warehouse can execute. Which option do you utilize?
Editor’s note: This post has been adapted from a section of the book Sales and Distribution in SAP ERP: Business User Guide by Matt Chudy, Luis Castedo, and Ricardo Lopez.