Loads, Shipments, and Waves Oh My! Part 1: Single Order Picking


PART 1 of 3 - Single Order Picking: One-to-one relationship between Sales Order and Shipment

Dynamics 356 for Operations offers the flexibility to manage outbound warehouse processes from the most basic order and ship processes to the most complex load planning requirements.  D365O uses a variety of concepts that allow this flexibility through configuration and management processes.  

This blog series will cover scenarios which represent several common practices used in today’s warehouses.  These scenarios will illustrate how key D365O Warehouse Management concepts and configuration considerations are used to enable the desired process design to meet the most simple and complex requirements.

We will address three process scenarios regarding outbound order management:

  • Part 1- Single Order:  One-to-one relationship between sales order and shipment
  • Part 2- Multiple Order: One shipment to many sales orders
  • Part 3- Multiple Shipment:  One load with many shipments and many orders per shipment.

The focus of this blog series is to illustrate how the concepts of loads, shipments, and waves are related to each other as well as to show their relationship to sales orders. 

Below is a diagram illustrating a somewhat complex scenario that can be achieved in D365 for Operations Warehouse Management.   While this drawing represents an advanced process that is quite plausible, we will break this process into simple parts and simple processes before revisiting it later in the series.  The diagram below is meant to represent an overview of the “big-picture” process.

To put the illustration below into words, think of a load as the object the delivery will be carried in.  This can range from a shipping container or semi-truck to a single package that is delivered via parcel.  These loads can contain one or multiple shipments.  Shipments represent the portion of the load that will be delivered to a single destination; generally, a customer.  One or more sales orders can be within a single shipment.  Consider the load and shipment to be an empty truck and an empty pallet at this point.

This nested, hierarchical relationship must be created for shipping waves and work to be created.  Consider a wave as instructions to the warehouse as to how to fulfill a sales order, shipment, and/or load.  These instructions include “work,” which represents lines on a pick list(s) for shipment(s).  Once the work is completed (picked and packed), the truck and shipment are now full and ready to be shipped to the customer.


While the above scenario represents the “big picture”, we will start with a simpler scenario of a single order and shipment.  In this first scenario, there will be a one-to-one relationship between the sales orders, a load, a shipment, and a wave. 

Single Order Picking: One-to-One relationship between Sales Order and Shipment

This is the most basic fulfillment scenario for small orders of items that are always in stock and are picked and shipped immediately after the creation of the sales order.  As the customer orders are entered, the orders need to be added to a new or existing load.  This load will then have an associated shipment for the reserved items since inventory must be reserved for shipments to be created.  The shipment will contain the SO lines (items) and, subsequently, a wave will be created, processed, and released.  Once released, picking work will be created and communicated via a picklist.  The work (pick & pack) will be completed and the shipment will be confirmed (shipped).  The order is then on its way to the customer.

BLOGGERS NOTE:  While the scenario above is quite common, the D365 process demonstrated below would prove to be very cumbersome in a real warehouse application.   The manual process documented below will NOT utilize automated functionality regarding wave processing or releasing.   These steps will be performed manually to demonstrate key concepts.  However, these manual steps could be used in a “live” environment to make “on-the-fly” changes to loads, shipments, and waves (i.e. last minute change to a sales order).  The use of automated features will be demonstrated later in this blog.


The illustration above represents relationships among the discussed concepts as well as the steps to managing those processes.   This procedure is quite linear with the one-to-one relationships. 

Throughout this blog series, scenarios will be presented in both a manual process and in an automated process whenever practical.  The manual process will be demonstrated to illustrate key concepts and functions and how they work independently from each other.  While the automated demonstrations will show how the key concepts and functions interact with configuration settings to create the automation. Download the manual process instructions by clicking here



About the Author

Tim Downie, Dynamics AX Consultant

As one of Western Computer's Dynamics AX Consultants, Tim Downie is involved in every type of project from end user technical support to ERP consulting. With over 16 years of Information Technology experience, Tim is proud to be a creative problem solver for even the most complex business issues.

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