Archives for Warehouse Management system

What is Your Biggest Problem?

I recently read a discussion board on LinkedIn that asked the question, what is your #1 problem in managing your warehouse?  Answers I saw included;

  • Aligning staff with work (labor management)
  • Irregular inbound shipments & deliveries (receiving)
  • Inventory mistakes (inventory management)
  • Human errors (picking, put-away replenishment)
  • Quality of workforce (employee accountability and productivity)
  • Late and incomplete deliveries of products (shipping mistakes)

What I thought was most interesting about all the issues was these are the exact problems that a best in breed warehouse management system is designed to address and eliminate.  The creation of a more efficient warehouse operation is the ultimate goal.

I have heard from many operations  and warehouse managers that the fear they have is that all the processes  that have been created to run their manual, paper driven warehouse will be tossed out when a WMS is introduced.  This is not the case nor does a WMS just magically create processes for handling the work done in the warehouse.  The goal in buying and implementing a WMS is to take the good processes already in place and make them more efficient, reshape the ones that are not as helpful and drop the ones that are causing profits to leak out of your operation.

If you compare the return that a WMS can give you against the investment you would make in purchasing and implementing a WMS solution you will see why successful, growing distribution companies are investing in this technology.

Read more on how a WMS operates inside a warehouse.

Top 10 “Must Have” Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) Features-Picking

1. Picking:  The Picking functionality in warehouse management systems is a core functionality designed to move the paper picking process to a wireless device.  Warehouses come in different shapes and sizes. Some are “wide open” in a square shaped space. Others are contained in buildings on multiple floors, utilizing elevators to transport materials. Warehouses will have varying ceiling heights. Some might have yard space.Materials handling will differ by product shape and size.

As a result, the warehouse racking infrastructure will vary by product size. Many warehouses keep large products in bulk stacks or pallet racks. While with small products, picking efficiency may be increased by storing smaller products in flow racking or static shelving.

Warehouse

Product velocity and order types also affect warehouse layout and consequently the picking strategies.  Companies that ship single-sku pallets of product to customers will have significantly different warehouse operations than ones that ship trailer loads of mixed-sku pallets (grocery is a good example of this).

Even subtle differences in customer requirements for consumer products wholesalers will have substantial effects on the materials handling and picking. Operations that ship to retail distribution centers will have different fulfillment requirements than those that ship directly to stores.

Accellos One Warehouse, an example of a “best-in-breed” Warehouse Management System, has an abundance of picking styles that will accommodate a warehouse manager’s fulfillment strategy independent of warehouse layout, product size,velocity and order characteristics.

Some of the many picking styles are listed below:

  • Wave Picking
  • Batch Picking
  • Product Picking
  • One Scan Picking
  • Scanner Picking

In addition to picking styles, there are numerous benefits for having warehouse picking systems including:

  • Multiple pickers can pick in a single sales order
  • Single picker can pick on multiple sales orders
  • Password protection for skipping and shorting picks
  • Configurable worklow prompts for bin, packsize, and carton
  • Ability to generate a packing slip after last pick
  • Ability to assign orders to s specific user
  • Ability to reapack item
  • End of Line (EOL) workflow controls what additional processes happen to sales orders after they are fully picked
  • And more, including additional advanced picking functionality

Request the full white paper: Request the Top 10 “Must Have” Warehouse Management Systems Features

Visit our Warehouse Management Systems information page here

Posted by iCepts Technology GroupA Pennsylvania Partner for Accellos One Warehouse Management Systems 

Lets Talk Green!

There is a lot of talk and so much written about the many ways a warehouse management system can help a warehouse or distribution center be more efficient.  It is also true that a WMS can help a company gain better more accurate control of their inventory.  The number of ways a  WMS can help a company save money are quite numerous and I have addressed many of them in previous posts.  One area that is overlooked quite often when reviewing the cost savings a WMS can provide has to do with the environment.  Lets discuss the green savings a WMS will provide.

PAPER & INK

In most cases when a WMS is implemented the amount of paper  used by the warehouse is reduced significantly.  Think about it there is no longer a need to print;

  • PO’s to receive products
  • Reports to do cycle counts or physical inventories (really the need for Physical inventory disappears but I digress)
  • Pick tickets
  • Replenishment or stock move reports

Your particular operation may produce special needs reports as well.  By uses the RF handhelds this data is transmitted electronically to and from the WMS  and in and out of the ERP solution that the WMS is tied to.  Paper use is virtually eliminated. Less paper means more trees are saved from the axe.  Your helping to save the environment and oh by the way you are also saving a wad of money.

Then there’s the actual printing aspect.  What goes on the paper, ink.  Where does most ink come from, that’s right oil.  Then you have the power needed to run the printers.  This adds up to more savings for the environment and for your bottom line.

EQUIPMENT

Most warehouses or DC’s use a few or many forklifts.  Think about all the travelling these things do in a days time.  By implementing a WMS you can reduce the travel time of your powered equipment substantially.  This saves both the energy usage and cost associated with the use and also reduces the pollutants emitted by these machines.  Again both the environment and the business win when these things are reduced.

I have listed a few things in this post where a WMS can help your operation become more environmentally sound.  I’m sure with a little more thought many other areas of savings can be revealed.  One more that comes to my mind is paper waste removal and how it effects our landfills and the related costs to our environment and  the bottom line.

Click here For more information on how a WMS can help a company be more profitable.