You cannot expect a business to function well without adequate, clear and simple communication. When implementing GraniteWMS, a crucial part of the requirements gathering process and analysis takes place when we map the client's process flows. This is our crucial and physical piece of communication with our clients. We devise our process flow maps so that the client understands what we are offering and so that WE understand what their desired changes will look like and what their expectations will be.
GraniteWMS itself is not customisable, but we have a number of process steps that we can customise according to your everyday warehouse functions.
Our process flows are constructed with one objective in mind: Keep it clear, keep it simple and keep it effective.
We want our process flows to be a source of reflection and referral. Our goal is to have them put up at each site we work on so that whenever someone is unsure of how the processes should run, that they have something to refer back to.
In our process flows there are 3 lanes that we use for each type of process (commonly known as 'swimlanes' in BPMN terminology). The first lane focuses on the business reason behind the step. The second lane illustrates the actual physical steps of the operator; and the third lane demonstrates exactly what the scanner prompts that operator follows.
The Business Lane (see figure below) explains the purpose of the process for the business. For example, the packing process is required as a 'second check' when goods are required for a sales order and picked off the shelves; the packing process ensures that the operator validates each of the items on the sales order as they get put into the box. This is explained in the first lane of our process flow.
The Physical lane explains each physical step the operator takes as the process is being carried out. This is important to demonstrate to the client in the process-mapping session, that their manual tasks are reduced, however, their usual process is not disrupted too severely. If we following the Packing Process example, the operator in the Physical Process will: check the sales order, validate each item and pack the items into their boxes.
Finally, the third lane maps exactly what the scanner will instruct the operator to do. This lane is used to demonstrate how the operator and scanner will interact. This final lane is the most important of all. Whenever management or an operator get confused as to what the process steps are or what was agreed upon, the scanner steps can be viewed on the process flow (instead of taking out the scanner just to see what each step is).
We additionally believe in and understand the power of human nature with our Granite Team, we know that a client can agree to one set of specifications and then ultimately change their mind along the implementation journey, that is additionally why these process flows are so useful. After every change or specification agreement, we insist that our clients sign off each process flow to confirm that they were present and approved of the decisions made. It is our safety net as well as theirs. We attach a small 'sign off' lane at the bottom of each process flow to ensure that all records of management's approval are kept.
For more information on our process flows and the Granite Sure Step implementation methodology, visit www.granitewms.com