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Navigator vs EXO4 PDA

Supplier: RF Barcode Systems

We have recently been asked the question - what is the difference between Navigator and EXO4PDA from the Ric Group? I thought I would take a moment to explain the differences between the two systems to enable our customers to make more informed decisions about the warehouse technology they use.

Price Guide: POA

1. Accounting System link
The most obvious difference is that Navigator is designed to link with any accounting system, whereas Exo4 is designed (as the name suggests) for Exonet.

2. Picking
The EXO4PDA system is a 'pick checking' system. Navigator's picking functions go well beyond simply checking that orders are picked correctly. Navigator ensures that orders are picked in the correct sequence and removes many of the delays typically associated with paper picking systems.

2.1 Assigning Work
To pick an order using EXO4PDA, a paper pickslip is printing from Exonet with a barcode on the top. The picker scans the barcode to load a list of sales order lines into the PDA and proceedds to scan each item and enter the quantity picked.

In Navigator, pick slips are imported from Exonet and displayed on a web page. This shows you the current status of each order including:-

  • who the order is for
  • when it is due to be despatched
  • who is picking it
  • how long it has taken
  • which item the picker is up to

Work is assigned automatically by the system based on a series of customisable rules:

  • Pickers request work from a 'pick group' which allows you to break tasks into a logical structure (e.g. customer pick ups vs deliveries)
  • The system assigns a pick based on the order's priority. This eliminates the time pickers waste searching through piles of paper for the 'perfect' order for them!
  • The priority of an order can be imported from Exonet, manually assigned, or determined automatically based on the pick up cut off time for your couriers.
  • The supervisor can move picks between groups, increase or decrease the priority of a pick and even assign a pick to a worker without shuffling paper.
  • Picks can be merged together into 'waves' where multiple orders are completed simultaneously or split according to 'zones' where each picker works on only part of a pickslip.
  • Orders may be picked by stock item - with the system telling pickers which orders need a particular item.
  • Orders can be picked on a hand-held scanner and even using voice picking from Vocollect.


So while EXO4PDA implements a 'one picker, one order, manual assignment' strategy. Navigator, allows you to choose the strategy which most closely suits your warehouse.

2.2 Pick checking

In both Navigator and EXO4PDA, the user scans the barcode to confirm the correct item is picked. Navigator extends this process through its support for voice picking, which allows you to pick accurately without even needing barcodes on each item!

2.3 Despatch

EXO4PDA uploads pick data once the pick slip is completed for manual processing inside Exonet. Navigator, on the other hand, incorporates despatch functions which allows consignment weights and cubes to be captured via voice, scanner or PC application. Once Navigator has this information it can be linked to SmartFreight from IFS to automatically print consignment labels and save the consignment note number against the sales order in Exonet.

Navigator also links with Exonet's Clarity reporting function to automatically print despatch notes as soon as despatch is complete.

3. Receiving

Both Navigator and EXO4PDA allow you to receive stock using a mobile computer. In both systems, you can choose a supplier from a list and choose an open purchase order. In both systems you can identify stock by scanning the barcode on the item and keying in the stock quantity received. In both systems, Inwards Goods records are created in Exo - ready for costing and invoicing.

Navigator takes the receiving process further by integrating it with Navigator's inventory system.

When entering a stock item, Navigator allows you to:

  • Search for a stock item on the purchaes order by typing part of the description to narrow down a list.
  • Scan or type a supplier stock code or barcode in order to receive the goods.
  • Scan an EAN-128 barcode to automatically capture serial numbers, batch numbers and expiry dates on cartons and pallets.
  • Print receiving labels or product labels directly from the handheld terminal.
  • Enter stock as it is found in a shipping container - this means you don't have to sort all of the stock to perform a single quantity entry. Instead, you can scan a product, enter a quantity, then add some additional stock as you find it.


Perhaps the biggest advantage that Navigator provides is that it allows you to specify where the stock is being placed. Because the scanner has access to real-time 'bin level' inventory data, it can:

  • Suggest that stock is scanned into the picking bin because stock is running low. 
  • Suggest some empty bulk locations where stock can be moved immediately.
  • Allow you to allocate the stock to a pallet, each with its own license plate barcode.

Once Navigator's inventory system is primed with receiving data, the system can:

  • Suggest an empty bulk location into which the pallet can be placed which is close to the pick face.
  • Allow you to do a directed put away function where a worker is directed from bin to bin to empty a mixed pallet.
  • Allow you to pick stock directly from the received items without needing to put the stock away.
  • Allow the picker to create a 'primary' pick location for the item directly from his scanner.

Not only this, but receiving ties in to other functions, so if a bin is flagged for replenishment, the act of receiving stock into the pick location (or receiving to pallet and running a directed put away) will turn off the replenishment - preventing unncessary pallet drops.

4. Replenishment

One of the biggest productivity killers in the warehouse is manual replenishment. Only Navigator eliminates these roadblocks by automatically suggesting bin locations which need to be replenished. It does this by automatically calculating a 'minimum' balance for each bin based on historical sales, then examines inventory levels periodically to flag bins for replenishment once they reach their minimum. Of course, Navigator is smart enough to create a higher priority task for bins which don't have enough stock to fill orders already in the system.

Navigator's paperless replenishment ties into receiving, using the pallet license plate number as an indicator of the age of stock in bulk bins. When a worker is assigned a bin to replenish, the system suggests the most appropriate bulk pallet and displays the pallet's current location on the scanner. Workers confirm that stock is placed into the correct bin by scanning barcodes on the bin location as well as the stock on the pallet.

Here is where Navigator gets really smart. When you replenish from a mixed pallet, Navigator will tell you about all other bins which may be replenished at the same time.

5. Cycle Counting

While both EXO4PDA and Navigator support a full "closed warehouse" stocktake, only Navigator WMS allows you to cycle count the warehouse by bin while you continue to trade!

Navigator uses a set of rules to create cycle count tasks each night. When workers sign on to their scanner, they are directed from bin to bin to confirm the product and quantity stored in each bin. If a discrepancy is identified, Navigator includes a supervisor approval process before counts are uploaded to Exonet  - ensuring a second set of eyes makes changes to inventory data.

Navigator allows you to complete cycle counts on a scanner in an ad-hoc or planned way and can even embed cycle count requests in the order picking process!

6. Transfers

Both EXO4PDA and Navigator allow you to transfer stock from one Exonet location to another.


Scan checking of orders is only the beginning! If you're running MYOB EXO and you've outgrown EXO4PDA, or you are looking for assistance to streamline your warehouse, you can trust Navigator to offer ALL of the functions which you will need.

For further information, simply call us today on 1300 136 419, visit www.rfbs.com.au or email [email protected]


Navigator WMS