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The Top 10 Benefits of Warehouse Management Technology

Your existing Business Management or Enterprise (ERP) system’s control of warehouse functionality could be somewhat limited or non existent. In order to achieve a greater control over the flow of inventory while optimizing your supply chain for efficiency, warehouse technology such as HighJump Warehouse Edge can help your company reach these goals. This post will briefly touch on 10 benefits to warehouse management technology.

HighJump Warehouse Edge (formerly AccellosOne WMS) achieves this level of ROI through order accuracy, on time shipping, minimizing inventory carry costs, and decreasing labor costs. Today’s warehouse managers are consistently finding that 2 to 5% improvement across various performance metrics can mean hundreds of thousands of dollars in bottom-line returns to the business. Using HighJump WMS, you are able to eliminate manual order checking by automating processes to improve your picking and receiving functions, which allows you to process more orders at a much higher level of accuracy.

HighJump WMS integrates seamlessly with many popular accounting/order-entry packages, including Microsoft Dynamics, Sage, SAP, NetSuite ERP Business Management Solutions and shipping systems to provide the warehousing link in your total supply chain solution.

HighJump Warehouse Management Systems WMS Benefits Include:

  1. Seamless integration: Over a dozen ERPs straight to your WMS and EDI solutions
  2. Order accuracy:  Achieve over 99%+ accuracy
  3. Outbound shipments: Volume increases 15%, double your orders per day
  4. Employee productivity: Improve productivity and keep personnel costs low
  5. Picking times & lines: reduce travel time 20% and triple number of lines picked
  6. Directed putaway: Replenishment accuracy over 99%
  7. Increased speed of warehouse operations
  8. Low TCO (total cost of ownership) Compared to Alternatives
  9. Built for Small to Medium Sized Businesses (SMB)
  10. ROI within 4-12 Months

Learn more about the benefits of Warehouse Management Systems here.

Request a free estimate on Warehouse Management Systems

Posted by iCepts Technology Group, A HighJump Warehouse Edge partner in Pennsylvania

WMS Technology Benefits for SMB

Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) are designed to make the flow of inventory in a warehouse as efficient as possible.  This is accomplished through advanced technology in the areas of warehouse operations from picking, packing to shipping. The below WMS Technology Benefits for SMB can help streamline your supply chain, and dramatically improve the proper flow of inventory in your warehouse while meeting the needs of your customers.

Increased Accuracy:  Improving accuracy, efficiency, and compliance by just 2-5% can result in increased capacity and hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual savings. This can have a dramatic impact on profitability.

Advanced Technology:  Modular design with integration-friendly architecture makes it simple to upgrade or add new modules, meaning you only pay for what you need.

Improved Stock Management Capabilities:  Most functionality is provided out-of-box, resulting in minimal customization will in turn will help reduce implementation costs.  Stock Management Functionality includes:

  • Rule-based Picking
  • Rule-based Receiving
  • ASN Receiving
  • Inbound Container Building
  • Cartonization
  • Repackaging
  • Counting
  • Cycle Counting
  • Inspection
  • Adjustments
  • Stock Locator
  • Directed Putaway
  • Replenishment

Robust Inventory Management Capabilities:  Additional Warehouse functionality revolves around advanced inventory management such as:

  • Lots/Serial Tracking
  • Expiry Management
  • Order Allocation
  • Wave Planning
  • Order Management
  • Multi-Zone
  • Multi-Location
  • Multi-Company
  • License Plates
  • Kitting
  • Returns Management
  • Order Consolidation
  • Order Entry (Sales and Receipts)
  • Dashboard Analytics and Pivot Tables
  • Reporting

Complete Operations Visibility: Complete warehouse inventory visibility with dashboard analytics, pivot tables, and 75 pre-built warehouse KPIs (e.g. monitor workforce productivity and order cycle time). In addition, a “Web-Centric” design gives you the ability to allow internal and external users visibility into the status of warehouse operations and a “role-based” user-friendly interface that can be customized by the user for specific needs.

Fast ROI:  Warehouse Management Systems users can recognize a cost-savings quickly depending upon the warehouse and scope of operations.  However, a short implementation, in as little as 90 days, means a much faster return on investment with higher profits.

Learn more about the Benefits of Warehouse Management Systems

Posted by iCepts Technology Group a Warehouse Management System Vendor in the United States

 

WMS for Microsoft Dynamics NAV ERP

Microsoft Dynamics NAV is a very mature, tested and proven ERP solution; known for its robust financial and inventory management capabilities. However, many organizations seek additional supply chain execution and trading partner integration functionality in order to achieve a more enhanced total end-to-end solution.  HighJump Warehouse Edge (formerly AccellosOne) is design to meet these complex warehouse challenges and have a tight integration with many Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems including Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

Learn why thousands of Microsoft Dynamics customers trust HighJump with their complex supply chain needs.

Scalability: HighJump Warehouse Edge is designed for small to mid-sized businesses, meaning it doesn’t require an army of IT staff to support. You are able to start with the functionality that you need now at a price that makes sense and scale for growth over time. Our seamlessly integrated modules and applications are available to you when you need them.

Advanced Warehouse Functionality for NAV: HighJump Warehouse is built on a web-centric platform with standard best-of-breed warehouse management features, as well as:

  • Dynamic Directed Putaway
  • Several Bar Code Supported Picking Styles such as; Wave, Cluster, Zone, Batch, and others.
  • Enhanced Container Management
  • Delivery and Load Building
  • Advanced Replenishment
  • Cartonization
  • Repackaging
  • Voice Picking
  • RFID (Radio Frequency Identification)
  • Integrated ASN Manager
  • Powerful Multi-Carrier Shipping
  • And More!

Microsoft Workflow Engine: We’ve incorporated Microsoft’s advanced workflow engine in the HighJump Platform. Workflow empowers you to customize the functionality of the WMS rather than writing code. Better results and easier upgrades.

Real Time Information: The new Advanced Event Engine provides powerful tools designed to leverage the system to deliver real-time information on behalf of your employees. The system can tap new orders, receipts, bills, or customers that meet user defined criteria and generate emails, text messages, workflows, database updates, or custom actions.

Enhanced Supply Chain Intelligence: HighJump Warhehouse Edge for Dynamics NAV delivers more powerful access to key performance indicators (KPIs) that can assist a business manager in more effectively making decisions within their business. New Pivot capabilities enable users virtually limitless ways to slice and dice information. The Win 8.1 tablet app mobilizes information wherever it is needed to illuminate trends and highlight outliers so that effective decision making becomes commonplace

Performance Reporting: HighJump WMS incorporates the powerful HighJump Report application to enhance the core reporting capability, deliver new Performance Reports, and allow for better user definable reporting extensions.

Download the HighJump Warehouse Management Systems WMS for Dynamics NAV Brochure.

Posted by iCepts Technology Group, Inc. A HighJump WMS Partner for Dynamics NAV ERP

Cloud Warehouse Management Systems Benefits

There’s an evolution taking place in the IT industry: the continuous and steady progression from traditionally installed software to cloud technology including Cloud Warehouse Management Systems. In the cloud computing model, the vendor provides Web-based access to applications as a service, through a subscription pricing model. The vendor takes responsibility for everything, including servers, storage, backups, system updates, applications, databases, and maintenance. This eliminates the need for customers to buy, deploy, and manage IT infrastructure, saving the customer large upfront deployment costs and ongoing maintenance headaches.

In recent years the shift of enterprise software to the cloud has intensified, driven by a perfect storm of dramatically lowered cost of storage, increased processor speed, elimination of the need for a software and hardware to be physically connected.

Warehouse Management System (WMS) Technology is now available in the cloud delivery model from some providers, offering a lower cost, reduced risk option. When evaluating WMS providers, it is imperative for every business to understand the total cost of ownership (TCO)—including both direct and indirect costs—of the technology and labor associated with adopting WMS technology. The scrutiny of new technology projects has never been higher, and building a business case to justify an investment in supply chain management technology has never been more crucial. While some see cloud as being simply the next level of technology, the shift towards cloud computing also has very tangible financial benefits.

More Technology for Less Cost:

For most businesses, infrastructure, development, and IT management are not core competencies or business differentiation. The anemic economy compels businesses to look even harder at their core competencies and costs. Ask yourself: can someone else do it for you more effectively and at less cost? Take, for example, the explosive growth of 3PL/logistics services providers, hired to take on tasks manufacturers and distributors used to do themselves, because the 3PL can perform the service more efficiently and at less cost than the company can itself.

Cloud allows you to switch from a fixed cost capital-intensive business model to a variable cost pay-as-you-go operating expense model. Eliminating the need to gain approval for a large, up-front capital investment to cover the cost of software makes stepping into a WMS easier for many companies, especially smaller operations with less cash on hand.

In typical enterprise data centers, large initial capital outlays also make ongoing upgrades in servers, operating systems, and database software prohibitively expensive. Over time these costs remain fixed, but so does performance. The economies of scale available with the cloud allow cloud providers to purchase and maintain large volumes of hardware storage at very low costs. In this way, the cloud enables costs to decrease and performance and functionality to increase steadily over time.

While a move away from capital expenses is undoubtedly attractive to most organizations, it is in the total cost of ownership analysis that the economic benefits of WMS in the cloud become clear.

Lower Total Cost of Ownership:

Performing system upgrades is one of the most dreaded IT tasks related to traditional WMS Software. Did you know there are a large number of businesses out there that have had to cough up a million dollars just to upgrade their WMS? With WMS in the cloud, your vendor performs routine software maintenance for you, including scheduled upgrades and patches.

Additionally, in traditional enterprise data centers; it is fairly common to experience capacity constraints or waste caused by spikes and troughs in demand throughout the year. You either need to wait while additional server hardware is ordered, shipped, and brought into operation—which can take months and cause lost business and unfulfilled orders—or you have excess capacity, meaning wasted space and expense. The cloud is elastic and scalable, so you can access more power when you need, and scale back during slower periods.

Learn more about Warehouse Management Systems and Technology

The Importance of Warehouse Inventory Accuracy

As supply chains continue to get more automated to streamline inventory, through the use of technology and utilizing best practices in operations, accuracy naturally beings to improve.  However, not every warehouse is automated and for various reason, If the physical inventory “on the books” and the physical inventory in a warehouse do not match, the situation is often chaotic.  For example, when a picker goes to retrieve a part and it is not there (or not enough is there), a series of manual checks and back tracking must be completed to fix the problem and get the order out the door.   The importance of warehouse inventory accuracy cannot be underestimated when you consider that your inventory could be the largest asset to a company.  Inaccurate inventory record accuracy results in having wide impact on other system  and areas in warehousing including:

  • Poor buying practices and excess safety stock associated to buyers lack of confidence in record accuracy.
  • Delays in order fulfillment associated to lost or misplaced product.
  • Lost sales due to stock outs and over commitments.
  • Costs associated to placing and managing back orders.
  • Lower labor productivity associated to searching for lost product.
  • Potentially higher freight costs resulting from expediting shipments to customers.

These issues could result in excess inventory, which ties up capital and negatively impacts capacity. The results are higher costs, low productivity and bad customer service. The self-checking nature of  advanced warehousing technology such as Warehouse Management Systems or WMS, in addition to a good cycle counting program, ensures inventory accuracy of 99+%. This high level of inventory accuracy is the foundation for a majority of the other benefits realized in using a WMS.

Learn more about Benefits of Warehouse Management Systems

 

Benefits Gained from Warehouse Management Systems-WMS

End-to-End Supply Chain Management Technology is becoming more common to have a unified method to fully optimize the follow of inventory in an organization.  A big contributor for optimization can be achieved through utilizing Warehouse Management Systems as part of this total supply chain solution.  Warehouse Management Systems, WMS, can seamless integrate with popular ERP technology to achieve this result.

HighJump Warehouse Edge (formerly AccellosOne) delivers a powerful, scalable and flexible real-time Warehouse Management System (WMS) for distributors.  HighJump WMS has the power to help your supply chain management objectives from the following benefits.

  1. Increase supply chain visibility:  HighJump Warehouse Systems integrates seamlessly with many popular accounting/order-entry packages and shipping systems to provide the warehouse link in a total supply chain solution. By integrating with leading accounting packages, warehouse automation equipment and shipping systems, you connect your warehouse to the rest of your supply chain. The seamless transfer of information between your systems means more efficient invoicing, order tracking and purchasing for your distribution operation.
  2. Streamline your warehouse processes:  By using the latest in Radio Frequency (RF), RFID and barcode technology to automate your warehouse processes, you can find, pick and pack inventory in the most efficient manner possible. This means that you will be shipping the right items, in the right cartons, to the right customers, on time, every time from your warehouse. Inventory accuracy is key.
  3. Improve your customer service:  By giving your customer service staff, sales team and even your customers a window into the warehouse using web-based warehouse management system technology, you allow them to track and trace the status of inventory and orders resulting in fewer customer calls and better managed sales expectations.
  4. Decrease Labor Cost:  Through Warehouse Automation , including a standard way of warehouse operations, you be sure that you are utilizing both technology and labor in the most efficient manner possible with the potential of enormous savings from a “paper driven” warehouse with little or no guidance for efficiency.
  5. Ensure Inventory Accuracy:  By selecting and upgrading  to an electronic Warehouse Management System from a “Paper-Driven” Warehouse, you can obtain an extremely high level of accuracy across along all warehouse processes and run your warehouse operations in the best manner possible.

Learn more about HighJump Warehouse Management Systems

Managing Warehouse Space Better with Warehousing Technology

Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) are designed with savings in mind to manage your inventory in the most efficient manner possible.  However, additional benefits can be recognized in other areas, such as cost saving associated with reduced labor and administrative costs, plus also an increase in customer service levels.  Another area as well includes both efficiency gains and reduced cost is in the area of better space management for your warehouse.

Consider the following. Can you eliminate or minimize the need for outside storage?  If so, you have the direct savings of reducing lease cost (normally on a $ per sq ft basis), insurance, and possibly transportation costs. Depending on the size, complexity and activity of the off-site storage, you may even be able to save labor costs associated with managing and transporting the inventory back and forth. Improvements in space utilization generally range from 5-15%.

A Warehouse Management System (WMS) tracks every location and knows where each product and quantity received should be stored. Put-away can be directed to maximize space utilization, minimize put-away travel, minimize pick travel, or some combination. The WMS knows the size and weight of each item, case and pallet, and the physical constraints of each location.

Material is placed in an appropriate location based on these criteria and other pre-configured put-a-way rules pertaining to forward pick location replenishment, product velocity, storage requirements, etc. Space utilization improvements are generally step functions. In a typical situation where the distribution infrastructure is owned, the creation of empty space in the warehouse produces no real benefit. The amount of space made available must be enough to provide for other activities.

For instance, if 500 ft2 are freed up, this will provide very little benefit. If, however, 5,000 ft2 becomes available, several alternatives can be presented for the new space. For internal space savings, if enough space is made available to avoid new construction expansion or a green field site, this can be directly qualified as a cost avoidance.

For example, if enough new space is available to be used for light manufacturing, value added services, offices, etc., this can be classified as a savings. If the new space can be subleased, this can also be classified as an incremental cash inflow. However, you must also consider the potential cost of refurbishing the facility as required by the potential tenant. Additionally, location utilization is improved by using a WMS. A non-automated operation is generally considered at capacity when 80% of the locations are being used at any given time.

With a WMS, operating capacity can be increased to 95+%. This improvement is due primarily to the WMS’s ability to continually manage inventory consolidations, re-warehousing activities, and mixed item locations.

Learn more about the Benefits of Warehouse Management System

Warehouse Management Systems Direct Labor Savings

Warehouse Management Systems are designed to execute the proper and efficiency flow of inventory along with warehouse procedures to reach a streamlined supply chain.   A large component improvement with this technology is gains in cost as it relates to labor. Labor productivity improvements can range from 20-30%. Labor is generally classified in three areas

  1. Direct,
  2. Indirect and
  3. Administrative.

This article focuses on direct labor savings achieved through Warehouse Management Systems or WMS

It is reasonable to expect up to a 20% improvement in direct labor productivity. Direct labor is better utilized due primarily to a WMS’s ability to provide specific task assignments based from a concise picture of inventory availability, inventory positions, and the overall movement activities to be accomplished. System directed activities minimize operators time spent identifying what actions need to be accomplished and planning the activities once they have been identified. The below key areas of warehouse activity focus on savings reached through WMS software functionality.  The sum total has the potential for dramatic labor cost savings.

Receiving: Generally, labor requirements in receiving stay the same for direct material handling but are eliminated for clerical activities. Efficiency in down-stream warehouse activities depend on the receiving process to capture and record accurate data. At startup, efforts should be made to ensure data integrity.

Once a system has been in use for 6 – 12 months, potential improvements in receiving labor productivity should be reviewed. As an example, you could use a wave receiving process to receive multiple purchase orders simultaneously and see improvement in both receiving labor productivity and dock utilization.

Put-a-way: Activities can be combined with the receiving process to minimize material hand-offs and staging or put-away can be performed as a separate activity to expedite the turn-around of trailers and improve dock utilization. In either case the WMS’s ability to identify appropriate put-a-way locations and direct the operator to the location will minimize an operator’s time spent searching for available storage locations.

Replenishment: In a forward pick/reserve storage environment, wait time for replenishment can be eliminated if replenishment activities can be managed by the WMS. In a system directed environment, forward pick locations are triggered to automatically generate replenishment commands based on inventory threshold levels. Replenishment activities are then performed in advance of pick operators being dispatched. This offers a significant savings potential if the amount of time pick operators spend waiting for material to be replenished can be quantified. Additionally, delays in the order picking process potentially lengthen the overall order delivery cycle time.

Picking: A majority of the labor savings is typically found in order picking which accounts for at least 50% of the labor costs. In general you should be able to practically eliminate time spent searching for lost inventory and improve pick labor productivity.

Picking improvements can be accomplished in several ways: Orders can be grouped to allow picking of multiple orders on one pass through the warehouse. The type of pick process you use is driven by cost, handling characteristics, and order profile.

Being able to match the right pick process to the order profile will result in improvements.  To understand your order profiles , consider analyzing 6 to 12 months’ worth of order history and develop a table or order distribution graph similar to this chart for your operations. Then begin to think about how you can manage to each order type.

Learn more WMS Cost Saving by Downloading the Business Case for Warehouse Management Systems:

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How WMS Software Can Save Money for your Company

Warehouse Technology Systems, commonly called Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), are designed to make the movement of inventory in and out of the warehouse as efficient as possible. Through advanced functionality such as different inventory picking options, lot and serial management, cycle counting, bin placement,  space management, ERP to WMS integration and others; warehouse management improvements can be realized that can offer significant savings from having increase accuracy, fewer errors and reduce labor cost.

Increased Accuracy-If the physical inventory “on the books” and the physical inventory in a warehouse do not match, the situation is often chaotic. When a warehouse picker goes to retrieve a part and it is not there (or not enough is there), a series of manual checks and back tracking must be completed to fix the problem and get the order out the door. Inaccurate inventory results can have broad consequences including:Savings

  • Poor buying practices and excess safety stock associated to buyers lack of confidence in record accuracy
  • Delays in order fulfillment associated to lost or misplaced product
  • Lost sales due to stock outs and over commitments
  • Costs associated to placing and managing back orders
  • Lower labor productivity associated to searching for lost product
  • Potentially higher freight costs resulting from expediting shipments to customers

Example: These issues could result in excess inventory, which ties up capital and negatively impacts capacity. The results are higher costs, low productivity and bad customer service. The self-checking nature of a WMS, in addition to a good cycle counting program, ensures inventory accuracy of 99.9%. This high level of inventory accuracy is the foundation for a majority of the other benefits realized in using a WMS. Inventory may be the highest asset in your company.  What is the financial impact of 95% inventory accuracy compared to 99.9% over the course of a month or year?

Fewer Errors-A real-time Radio Frequency (RF), ie. Hand Held Bar Code Scanning driven WMS is self-checking. As transactions occur, the system verifies the activity and may even prompt the user with a question if the system detects a potential problem. In a paper-based environment, errors are common across all functional areas. The impact of an error in one function is amplified throughout the overall operation. An error in receiving (wrong product number, wrong quantity, etc.) will create potential delays across many operations.

Example: Let’s assume 20 cases of part A are received as 200 cases, a put-a-way operator may spend considerable time searching for the extra 180 cases. In a non-automated environment, it is common to have operators putting away whatever product is in a staging queue without checking product numbers or quantities. In this instance, the
quantity error in receiving will get pushed even further downstream as operators are sent to pick 40 cases from the
load with only 20 cases physically on hand. Also, if an automatic payment correction is generated, you may end up requesting approval for payment of an additional 180 ghost cases.

In a paper based manual data entry environment, there is also an increased chance of data entry error. Humans make mistakes; WMS doesn’t. Studies have shown, on average, one out of every 300 keystrokes is an error. The cost of even one such error can be significant.

Example: What would be the effect of a missed product of some value, such as the cost of miss shipping a piano to Albany, Oregon, instead of Albany, New York, could easily run in the thousands of dollars. And, this does not take into account the added cost in damaged customer relations. The automated data collection nature of an advanced WMS results in process efficiency and data integrity. The benefits of data integrity are numerous.

Reduced Labor Cost-By eliminating manual data entry, associated fixed labor costs are immediately reduced. These reductions alone can justify an investment in automated data collection which is a key component of WMS. But other labor costs are reduced as well.

Example: Administrative labor is reduced as less time is spent correcting errors. Fewer errors and timelier, accurate information also mean fewer, more productive meetings for managers and executives. In general, automated data collection lowers labor costs by reducing overall setups, idle time, cost of expediting, and time spent correcting errors.

Example: It is reasonable to expect up to a 20% improvement in direct labor productivity. Direct labor is better utilized due primarily to a WMS’s ability to provide specific task assignments based from a concise picture of inventory availability, inventory positions, and the overall movement activities to be accomplished. System directed activities minimize operators time spent identifying what actions need to be accomplished and planning the activities once they have been identified.

Download the complete Business Case for Warehouse Management Systems 

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Warehouse Management Systems Guide

When evaluating different technology for better supply chain optimization, a Warehouse Management Systems Guide can help answer questions regard functionality, expected benefits and return on investment. A successful Warehouse Management System (WMS) implementation can provide a quick ROI, serve as a foundation for instituting a continuous improvement culture and facilitates on-going annual benefits, plus greatly increase the efficiency of flow of goods in and out of the warehouse.  For some companies, justification in a WMS is a matter of survival. Having the right material available at the right place and at the right time is no longer enough. In today’s economy potential requirements include:

  • Compliance LabelingBeautiful and happy female boss in warehouse
  • Floor Ready Displays
  • Advanced Ship Notices (ASN)
  • Postponement
  • Light manufacturing
  • Collaboration
  • Unique Customer Demands
  • And More!

Leading companies are realizing information has a specific shelf life value that diminishes over time, often by the hour or minute. Many of the processes and activities being managed and monitored by Supply Chain Event Management (SCEM) applications relate directly to warehouse operations. As the focus on SCEM applications continues to grow, the need for real-time activity tracking and inventory visibility offered by a WMS becomes even more critical to your organization.

Regardless of your perceived need for a WMS, an effective campaign to procure and implement a new system could depend on a solid business case. A good business case will include both tangible quantitative dollar justifications and the qualitative, intangible benefits difficult to enumerate. This paper introduces a tool to use when developing a project justification, identifies benefit categories for potential inclusion in the business case, and discusses areas of opportunity within the various benefit categories

A sound business case is critical to obtaining the management and employee support so important to a successful system implementation. The business case will consist of two components;

1) A Financial Business Case

2) Narrative explaining the assumptions behind justification estimates and providing an accurate picture of the intangible benefits.

A business case is a cost/benefit analysis aligning the project goals, costs, and risks to the company’s business objectives and financial expectations. The bottom line, the value of the benefits over the life of the project, normally 3-5 years, should exceed the total investment of the project over the same planning horizon.

This detailed guide will review both the tangible and intangible benefits associated with Warehouse Management Systems in addition to Return On Investment (ROI) financial considerations:

Download the Guide for Considering Warehouse Management Systems: