Archives for Highjump WMS Partner

Cloud Warehouse Systems ROI Considerations

There’s an evolution taking place in the IT industry: the continuous and steady progression from traditionally installed software to cloud technology. 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.

Warehouse Management System 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 differentiators. 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.

Lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO):

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.

Removes the IT Requirement, and Empowers The Supply Chain Team:

In many companies as much as 70 percent of the typical IT budget is spent just on making sure the business remains operational— tasks such as keeping servers running and performing upgrades. In the best cloud models, IT staff can devote their time to improving the business, rather than trying to solve infrastructure issues and applying software patches. IT can move from being an interchangeable commodity to a differentiator, shifting from maintenance to innovation.

When an IT team knows they need to run the underlying infrastructure, they realize there will be an inherent expectation that the business will rely on them for broader application support. Using cloud applications forces businesses to think differently about who will truly be accountable for the software and its implementation. If it is determined that the business process owners should “own” the software, the business process owners should likewise be accountable for it.

In order to make good business decisions about information technology investments, the business process owner—not the IT department must make the decision about investment and commitment to information technology. Sound business decisions about using technology cannot be made if the business owner perceives to be getting the system “for free” from IT. Similarly, a decision to invest in IT should not be limited by lack of internal IT resources or IT project prioritization. If a technology project stands on its own business merit, there should be a mechanism to execute on that project. That means that IT is freed up, and the supply chain department:

Download the Complete Document Below and Contact us with any Questions:

WMS in the Cloud: ROI Considerations:

Contact us about Warehouse Management Systems:

Warehouse Management Automation Benefits

Warehouse Management Systems are becoming more popular as supply chain logistics continue to develop with ever more complicated requirements that effect warehousing along with increasing customer demands.  With an expanding volume of inventory movement, many organizations are turning to technology to streamline operations and meet these challenges.

With advanced functionality through Warehouse Management Systems, WMS technology allows companies to respond to evolving market pressures and deliver on ever-shrinking time to delivery windows.

These system are designed to create highly efficient processes for handling inventory and picking orders that will eliminate the inefficiencies and mistake riddled processes that plague most manual-driven warehouses or absent warehousing functionality systems.

Another result of WMS technology is the ability to  enhance your customer satisfaction numbers and most likely help you attract new customers without adding to your workforce.

This post can give you some insight into how Better Warehouse Management Strategies through Automation are key to meeting the demands of a  modern business supply chain logistics  environment along with reaching your organizations goals.

Warehouse Management Automation Benefits:

Enhanced Productivity:

Utilize advanced functionality to increase inventory turns and provide detailed worker accountability, resulting in heightened productivity and maximized efficiency. Optimized warehouse processes reduce picking time and product touches by allowing you to seize cross-docking opportunities. It also minimizes travel paths with slotting/re-slotting functionality, optimizes picking execution with user-configured algorithms, and intelligently directs put-away to the appropriate bins based on product handling characteristics. Furthermore, our solutions virtually eliminate the need for non-value-added activities such as manual checking and shipment audits.

Achieve Up to 99%+ Inventory Accuracy:

Through robust cycle counting capabilities, real-time information confirmation and verification, our solution gives your employees and their managers immediate feedback on work accuracy. An accurate system ensures workers are not looking for missing inventory or overloading any given location. This also helps you avoid costly errors.

Boost On-Time and Complete Shipments:

The accurate order picking functionality “best-inbreed” WMS systems allows you to deliver complete orders on time. Increased fill rates and decreased cycle times enable you to avoid costly shipping delays and backorders that jeopardize valuable customer relationships. In addition, overall process efficiency decreases cycle time, resulting in more on-time shipments.

Warehouse Space Optimization:

HighJump Warehouse Edge provides directed stock rotation, intelligent picking directives, automatic consolidation, and cross- docking to maximize the use of valuable warehouse space. The system also directs and optimizes put-away based on accurate, real-time information about the status of bin utilization.

Reduce Shrinkage and Spoilage:

Better Warehouse Management Systems solution facilitates real-time monitoring and enforces FIFO (first-in, first out) rotation to reduce spoilage. In addition, high levels of worker accountability empower you to detect shrinkage problems

Exceed Customer Expectations:

Another benefit, sometimes intangible, is to empowered to consistently deliver on customer promises with the ability to reduce cycle times, stock-outs and backorders; improve order accuracy and on-time shipments; and offer unique services

Learn more about Warehouse Management Systems

Get an Estimate on Warehouse Management Systems 

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

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

 

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:

Better Inventory Flow with Warehouse Management Systems; Part 6 Replenishment Picking

In this final post, we will discuss Replenishment Picking.  All of these picking strategies are designed to gain warehouse inventory efficiency by selecting the best movement of goods in the most productive manner and part of any good “Best-In-Breed” Warehouse Management System, like AccellosOne WMS.

Replenishment Picking. Replenishment Picking combines the concepts of Batch Picking and the ReserveWarehouse employeeS scans informations from boxes in the warehouse.Storage/Forward Picking best practice. Reserve Storage/Forward Pick is the practice of segregating the warehouse into a storage (Reserve Storage) area and a picking (Forward Pick) area. This approach tends to optimize overall space utilization and pick labor productivity. Space utilization is improved by storing product in bulk (pallets or cases) in dense storage locations. Pick labor productivity is improved by keeping pickers working in smaller forward pick zones that typically hold smaller inventory volumes (days on hand vs. months on hand) with the inventory, eaches, or cases, in more easily accessible and ergonomically friendly locations referred to as the “strike” zones.

When using this approach it is common practice to setup a replenishment strategy to move inventory from the (reserve) storage locations into the forward pick locations. The timing of the replenishment activity is driven by a predetermined reorder point and the amount of inventory to replenish is typically driven by a pre-determined inventory level set at the forward pick location.

The same basic storage and picking principles apply when using Replenishment Picking – Forward Pick with minor variation to reorder point and quantity. With Replenishment Picking, a dedicated forward pick zone is setup to allow operators to work in a smaller area and the inventory is replenished from bulk reserve storage locations. However, replenishment quantity and timing is driven by the projected number of orders over a given time frame (typically a day). Once a group of orders for the day is created, the orders are replenished, in batch, to the forward pick area. At the end of the day, the forward pick area is picked clean and ready for the next pick cycle.

Another form of Replenishment Picking is replenishing to a pack station rather than a dedicated forward pick zone. In this process, all inventory for a group of orders is replenished in batch from reserve storage locations and deposited at a pack station. At the pack station, the inventory is picked to specific orders for shipment processing as outlined in the Batch Picking process.

Learn more about Warehouse Managment Systems

Posted by iCepts Technology Group, Inc. An Accellos Highjump WMS ReSeller

Operationally Considerations for a WMS System

It has been around long enough to be considered one of those “classic debates”: ERP warehouse management module or best-of-breed warehouse management system? One would think that by now this debate would have been settled. The facts and opinions have been examined for well over a decade, surely there must be a clear winner by now. If only it were that simple.

There are many reasons why this debate persists. One of the primary reasons is that companies are made up of departments and people that often have differing, or even conflicting, priorities. Sprinkled in among these differences are often strong opinions.  Opinions are not easily altered and the people that hold them didn’t get to where they are by quickly letting go of theirs in the face of debate.

Another key factor that keeps this debate fresh is the expansion of the dilemma to small and medium size companies. Early in the debate, most of the buzz was around SAP and Oracle ERP versus tier 1 best-of-breed warehouse management systems (WMS). Today, many ERP providers to small and medium businesses (SMBs) are also venturing down the path of expanding their suites to include warehouse management functionality.

Although still playing catch-up, the likes of SAP and Oracle have made gains in the last few years and are closing the functionality gap versus best-of-breed warehouse management systems. Due to a later start, the same cannot be said of ERP providers to SMBs. In this space there still exists a significant gap with respect to warehouse management system functionality. If the debate were solely focused on functionality, it would be short-lived for SMBs. Since there are other factors to consider, the debate endures.

Operationally Considerations: Workers In Warehouse Preparing Goods For Dispatch

The operations team will ultimately use the system to run their business so their primary focus will be on the system’s functionality. They will be looking for a system that not only meets their complex requirements today, but also a system that will enable them to grow, meet new requirements in the future, and that will provide tools to differentiate themselves from the competition.

The operations team will also be looking for a system that will ensure gains in operational efficiency. Maintaining the status quo in this area will be unacceptable. Systems implementations are difficult as there is a learning curve with new technology. Without the real benefits of increased operational efficiency and cost control, operations may resist the change and therefore adoption will be hindered. There will be the pervasive feeling of having fixed something that wasn’t broken.

So let’s take a closer look at functionality. ERP providers to SMB’s are in the early phases of creating warehouse management functionality. Naturally, any software company that is building a new product is going to start with the foundational elements. Just like constructing a building, if there isn’t a sound foundation, then anything else built on will be of no value. This is an important point. While it is clearly necessary to have a solid foundation and it is the correct place to start, it is not where the core value will be delivered from the system.

As an example, take picking rules. A best of breed system will have dozens of different rules that can be applied in each operation. These rules have been built up over time from implementations of the system across many industries and customers. This functionality not only provides a much higher level of flexibility, but it also provides the assurance that the functionality has been exercised and proven in the field many times

Contrarily, an SMB ERP has far fewer options in this area so the customer has a choice, they can make do with the existing functionality and forego the operational efficiency gains; or, they can implement customizations or workarounds each of which will increase cost and risk.

The list is actually quite long when one scrutinizes the functionality gaps between an SMB ERP warehouse module and a best-of-breed warehouse management system.

The following highlights those that will have the biggest impact on the operation:

 WMS Functionality  

Container  Management:

ERP:  Single Level; often only pallet.

Best-In-Breed WMS:  Multiple levels; including nesting (i.e. case on pallet and eaches in cases).

Business Impact:  Multi-level container management enables varied movements to be created and executed in warehouse and provides the ability to ship customers in multiple units of measure .  With multi-level, ASN information can be provided to customers since item level container detail will be available. 

Picking Rules:

ERP-Generally a single sortable code on locations to define pick paths.

Best-In-Breed WMS-Dozens of pre-existing picking rules as well as the ability to create user defined rules.  Some examples include, both Wave and Batch Picking.

Business Impact:  Advanced picking rules enable increased efficiency and inventory accuracy through order batching, optimized pick patterns, and proper execution of inventory strategies (i.e. FIFO).

Put Away Logic:

ERP-Usually a single primary put away location for each product.

Best-In-Breed WMS-Advanced put away logic and the ability to create user defined rules.

Business Impact:  Advanced put away logic ensures better space utilization and increased efficiency through the ability to top off pick locations, segment inventory across zones, and comingling of products.

Value Added Services :

ERP-No ability to preform value added services in base products.

Best-In-Breed WMS-Numerous value added service capabilities such as Kitting/Light Manufacturing.

Business Impact:  The ability to provide value added services for customers fosters innovation, provides operational flexibility and is a key differentiator. 

Ancillary Tools:

ERP-Not available in base product

Best-In-Breed WMS-Integrated functionality  in warehouse management systems such as Dock Scheduling, Transportation Optimization, LTL/Parcel Shipping Integration

Business Impact:  These are key inventory tools in delivering value from the warehouse management system through increased efficiency, and reduced errors from the manual processes

These are but a few important examples where functionality gaps exist. As highlighted in the introduction, if it were solely functionality based, the decision would be easy. However, there are other key stakeholders, so the discussion must move beyond functionality. For the system to deliver value and foster confidence with the operations team, it must function without failure and have near 100 percent up time. That is where the IT team comes into the discussion.

Learn more about Best-In-Breed Warehouse Management Systems

Find about Microsoft Dynamics NAV to AccellosOne WMS Integration

Ways Warehouse Management Systems Increase Inventory Accuracy

The proper movement of inventory in a warehouse is increasing becoming very complicated as there are more demands from your customers and volume.  As more and more transactions occur, so does the odds for errors.  Errors with inventory picking, packing or shipping always equate to loss revenue, increased labor cost and potentially unhappy or lost customers.

Wholesale Distribution organizations frequently turn to technology to solve this supply chain management challenge to keep errors at an absolute minimum through a high inventory transaction accuracy level.  Such a technology exist with Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), which are designed to ensure the highest level of inventory accuracy and efficient inventory flow through the use of advanced inventory tracking software and systems.  Below are some examples of ways warehouse management technology can increase accuracy:Warehouse Man with Scanner

1. Product Codes:  Whether you chose RFID or barcoding as a means of identifying various products, product coding greatly adds to warehouse accuracy. Pickers and packers can simply scan the items they are looking for to fill an order and immediately known if they are correct. This contributes to less accidental switches and confusion when picking and packing order.

2. Product Location:  Using a WMS solution to help design your warehouse for efficiency will help your pickers know exactly where they need to go for a product location. This reduces misplacement of items. In addition, pick times are lessened when items are arranged so that quick turnover products are close to packing and slow moving inventory is placed in lower traffic areas of the warehouse.

3. Inventory Management:  Having exact product codes and locations greatly improve the quality of the inventory data your company has for inventory management. Knowing exactly how many items are in exactly which bins, to be placed in exactly which orders, can aid in managing stock-outs, misplacements, mis-shipments and even potential theft within the warehouse. With better inventory visibility, orders can be sent faster without back-orders and costs can be cut by less inventory loss.

4. Filling Orders:  Knowing exactly where a product is in a warehouse and knowing how many are left in the bin help pickers fill orders faster. Packing can be expedited with fast-moving products closer to packing locations. In addition, scanning products help to get the orders filled correctly the first time and almost completely eliminate returns due to picking and packing mistakes.

5. Bin Replenishment:  With product data made available by scanning, bin replenishment can be made easy. The system keeps track of how many items are in each bin and slot and can be programmed with rules so that certain product numbers never drop below a certain amount. This removes the guessing from the reordering of inventory and the back-order problem when there are not enough items to fill a customer’s order.

6.  Big Retailer EDI:  When supplying products to a large retailer, it is important to provide them with correctly labeled items that will be read by the retailer’s computer system. Having incorrectly formatted labeling or no Advance Shipment Notice can result in the return of the order and a charge-back for that returned order. With product codes and inventory tracking in conjunction with EDI capabilities, order accuracy can be increased to 99.9%.

Learn more about Warehouse Management Systems:

Achieve over 99% Picking Accuracy with WMS

Warehouse Management System (WMS) allow you optimize your business processes, space and labor in order to achieve tremendous inventory movement efficiency.  Warehousing technology can have a surprising short return on investment (ROI) once fully implemented and utilized along a company’s warehouse(s).

Although there are typically “non-quantitative” results from choosing a Warehouse Management System such as a boost in customer service levels, for example, or keeping personnel cost down and an increase in warehouse operations.   There are, however, several measurable numbers on how this technology can help the movement of goods in your warehouse such as:

Order Accuracy:  Achieving over 99% AccuracyWarehouse Man with Scanner

Outbound Shipments:  Volume increases 15%; double your orders per day Inventory

Accuracy: Over 99% and up to 85% less inventory loss

Picking Times and Lines:  Reduced time 20% and triple number of lines picked

Directed Put-away: Replenish accuracy over 99%

In addition, Warehouse Management Systems generally have seamless Integrations to many Enterprise Resource Planning systems (ERP) and other supply chain management technology such as EDI solutions.

Warehousing technology, such as HighJump AccellosOne WMS, can play a vital role in completing and optimizing your supply chain to achieve a total optimize solution with measurable results.  In our technology-driven business environment, customers are increasing demanding these solutions to properly support their requirements.

Learn more about Warehouse Management Systems

Posted by iCepts Technology group, Inc. An Accellos Warehouse Management Systems partner in Pennsylvania.