An introduction to warehouse management
In today’s pulsating business scenario, to achieve organic growth, organizations need to harvest the most advance warehouse management system. An effective warehouse management solution (WMS), is a software application which is coded to boost distribution center and warehouse activities, along with other key areas of supply chain. With the growth in operations of an organization, it has been observed that supply chain management becomes the key pain area to manage. This is where a good technology partner, offering industry best practices in WMS, is crucial for organic growth of the organization. A good WMS solution should be able to plan, organize, control and often provide necessary staffing solutions to optimize the entire distribution management. Every item movement, in or out of the warehouse, should be accounted for in the most transparent manner, and the effect of the same should be seen in the respective material GL account, instantly.
Role of a good technology partner in implementing WMS
The main challenge lies in understanding the requirements of the organization, which only an experience technology partner can provide. It is important to carry out a detailed system requirement study, which would point out to the bottlenecks of the supply chain in the organization. The criticality of implementation goes up by many folds, when there are multiple sites or locations of warehouse or distributors to be connected. Proper synchronization with the 3PL service providers are absolute necessary. To gauge the effectiveness of the implementation process it is necessary to have a test run of the system, time to time. The main aim should be to design an informative dashboard, which would portray every bit of key information of the supply chain along with its stake holders.
Essentials of a warehouse management system
A fluidic supply chain process is instrumental in organization’s growth, which is facilitated by the effective implementation of WMS. Organizations do face the common problem of tracking real-time inventory and material movement. This is solved by an effective warehouse management solutions, which have got superior networking capability, in terms of on-premise and cloud-based solutions. Advance solutions has robust omni channel features with cross docking ability, which is needed for space reduction in warehouse and thus reducing inventory carrying cost. Cross docking also helps in maintaining customer product quality, by constantly monitoring the in-warded cargo.
Another important aspect of an effective WMS its ability to create a “supply chain operation reference framework”, which is an indicator of the industry performance indicators and benchmarks. This helps in monitoring the effectiveness of the system and undertakes any course correction measure, if necessary. The most striking feature of WMS is its ability to carry out FMEA (failure mode and effect analysis), based on “motion & time study”. This takes into account every process associated with the warehouse and analyzes them, not only to identify the bottlenecks but also suggest the most optimum solution.
The chosen technology partner should have the capability to demonstrate prototype of new ideas to the organization. Advance WMS comes fitted with a system health check up kit, which scans for any discrepancy and provides the most probable solution to the problem. Another advance feature of this tactical tool is its ability to trace multi location batch number, which may be in transit via multi-modal transport. This is carried out with the help of complex coding and barcode system. Barcode system also helps in material tagging and GPS tracking. WMS also has the capability of charting out advance store layout and provide in-depth shelf information, at a press of a button.
With the help of EDI (electronic data interchange), any 3rd party system can be conjoined with WMS and advanced reports from various portions of the entire supply chain can be generated. Efficiency in fast invoicing, shipping and special packaging requirements can be easily done with WMS. Modern solutions connect with variety of technologies likes RFID, automatic conveyor belts, storage equipment like the fork lift, etc. System generated ASN advance shipping notes along with received GRN notification is automated through WMS, which is crucial for bulk material handling in large organizations. It does produce a graphical representation of the warehouse, in terms of the set KPIs. Its integration with the organizations ERP system with forward picking and stock replenishment can be carried out smoothly with WMS. Some other advance features include vehicle loading optimizer, material compatibility control systems, labour productivity analysis, report exchange capabilities, authority levels setter and control, to name a few.