What is the Difference between Directed Work and Undirected Work?

Within the JDA RedPrairie Warehouse Management System (WMS), all warehousing tasks are classified as either Directed Work or Undirected Work. While the majority of tasks can be completed either way, there are some tasks that can only be completed via undirected work. Undirected and directed work tasks are completed the same way; the difference is in who assigns them and when.

What is Undirected Work in JDA RedPrairie?

Undirected work is any task that is not assigned by the WMS. Whether a task is assigned by the supervisor or selected by the user on their RF device, if the system did not assign the task the user is going to do, it is considered undirected work. Likewise, any paper-based warehouse operation runs entirely in undirected work mode.

Undirected work can never be more than 50% effective, since half the time the user is driving with their fork truck empty. While a user is focused on the current task, they miss opportunities to complete additional tasks along the way. Another drawback to undirected work is that it requires continuous supervisor involvement. They must monitor and manually assign the next task to every user, every time they need a new assignment.

What is Directed Work in JDA WMS?

Directed work is any task that is automatically and continuously assigned by the WMS. Instead of asking their supervisor for another assignment, users are automatically assigned the next most important task that they are allowed to do. JDA’s Directed Work Operations function controls the prioritization and distribution of tasks based on the three P’s:


All work has a numeric base priority that is assigned at the time the work is created.  To ensure that older work is done before newer work of the same type, the system has a built-in escalation timer that increases the priority of the work over time.


All users and Material Handling Equipment (MHE) are assigned to the various tasks in the system. If a user and/or their forklift doesn’t have permission to complete a task, the system will never assign them that task.


The system assigns the user to the closest task from where they finished their previous task. If two locations are equal distance apart, then the older of the two is assigned first.


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