Telecom warehouse management system in VC4’s IMS
The telecom warehouse management system of VC4’s Inventory & Management System (IMS) is designed to control the movement and storage of materials within a warehouse, while processing associated transactions, such as receiving, putting away and picking.
In addition, this functionality can direct and optimize stock that is put away by using real-time information, allowing minimal amounts of time to be wasted.
The benefits of using IMS for telecom warehouse management include:
- Improving overall warehouse efficiency, thereby reducing labour costs
- Reducing inventory stocking level requirements
- Increasing shipping accuracy
- Enabling efficient and accurate material tracking
- Decreasing the volume and cost of warehouse space
Each stock item, warehouse and spares location has a unique name within IMS, with the software able to differentiate between these.
Furthermore, the following details regarding materials can be stored in IMS:
|Name:||Name of the material|
|Description:||Description of the material|
|Supplier:||Supplier of the material|
|Vendor Code:||Vendor code of the material|
|Version:||Version of the piece of equipment|
|Price:||Price of the material to buy this piece of equipment|
|Status:||At the moment a material is being ordered at the supplier, the material gets a status. The different statuses are listed below.|
|Status date:||Date of last status change|
|PO number:||Number of purchase order|
|Order number:||Order number in service delivery process|
|Row/Rack/board:||Exact location of material in the warehouse location|
|Requester:||Name of the person who requested the material in IMS application|
|Remark:||Extra comment field|
|Barcode:||Barcode related to the material|
And the different statuses:
|In Stock||The material is stored in the warehouse and is not yet planned to go in the network yet.|
|Ordered||The material is being ordered at the equipment vendor.|
|Reserved||The material is in the warehouse and is reserved to go into the actual network soon.|
|Laid Out||The equipment is being packed to be picked up. It will leave the warehouse any moment.|
|Out Stock||Material is not in warehouse anymore.|
|Ready for Sale||The material is in warehouse and will not be used in network anymore. It will be sold.|
|Sold||The material has been sold to an external party.|
|Returned||Something is wrong with the material and is returned to vendor.|
|Defect||The material is defect and needs to be fixed or replaced.|
Materials ordered at suppliers and those stored in warehouses can be defined in the ‘material list’ of IMS, with users with the right permissions able to add, edit and delete items in the list.
The following fields are linked to material types that can be ordered through the system:
|Deliverable:||is this material (still) deliverable at the supplier.|
|Serial No. Mandatory:||is the serial number field mandatory to be filled in when working with this material.|
So-called material families can also be created in IMS, allowing corresponding items to be stored together – equipment chassis and standard cards, for example. Using such groups can help telecom service providers to order equipment quicker and more efficiently.
Material templates can be used when different types of material are being ordered at one time, meaning they can be selected with just one click of the mouse, instead of several.
Ordering equipment with IMS
A purchase order (PO) must be created before any equipment is ordered.
Fields related to POs include order numbers, budget, supplier, warehouse location, requester, enter by deadlines, data entry dates and descriptions.
When the PO number is made available, equipment can be ordered from the supplier, using the order list form.
After materials have been selected, the order list must be committed.
Other ways materials can be added to the warehouse include by reusing existing ones by moving them back into this functionality, as well as selling them and returning them.
Materials can also be reserved from the warehouse, with telecom service providers able to select items that are ordered, but have not yet been received to keep track of goings-on.
When these materials have finally been picked up at the warehouse, a member of the logistics team must book them out – this can be done for all items, even those that haven’t been reserved.
Cable Management in IMS
Cables are handled different in the warehouse compared to equipment, with another form being required to manage them.
This diagram below shows all of the cables in the warehouse, including those that have been and can be ordered.
For each cable, the following information can be stored:
|Supplier:||Name of the supplier of the cable|
|Vendor code:||Code that is used when ordering the cables|
|Cable type:||Type of cable, e.g. Multi-mode, Single-Mode, Coaxial|
|Connector type A:||Type of connector on one end of the cable (e.g. BNC, RJ45, E2000, FC/PC or SC/PC)|
|Connector type Z:||Type of connector on other end of the cable (e.g. BNC, RJ45, E2000, FC/PC or SC/PC)|
|Duplex type:||Type of duplex (if applicable)|
|Diameter:||Diameter of cable|
|Length:||Length of the cable|
|Price per piece:||Cost of one cable|
|Minimum supply:||Minimum stock level. When the quantity of cables in warehouse goes below this amount, a warning will be send to logistics department to order new cables of that type.|
|Order rate:||Minimum order quantity|
Ordering Cables in IMS
Similarly to the process for ordering materials, purchasing cables requires the creation of a PO, as well as records of their receipt and a logistics employee booking them out.
Corrections relating to the number of cables a warehouse stocks can be changed within IMS too.
Moving items between locations
Items can be moved from the warehouse to the network inventory, with pull-down fields becoming available when new equipment needs to be installed in one of these areas.
Clicking the right-hand mouse button then allows the user to select a card that is in stock in the warehouse, before moving it to its new location.
Items can also be moved from one place in the warehouse to another, by the user simply clicking on a material and selecting ‘move’.
In a similar way to the other functions of the Inventory & Management System, different reports can be produced in the warehouse management section.
These include information regarding stock levels per site, equipment type, cable type, lead time equipment suppliers and automatic warnings when stock levels drop below the threshold value.
Both standard and customized reports can be created within IMS.