Warehouse technological control
If you find it difficult to manage large stocks of goods and merchandise receptions in a reliable manner, to serve and retain clients, to make efficient use of your storage spaces and centralize all operational information, there is a new type of information systems that might be the solution you are looking for.
This document is intended to bring you the forefront tips and best practices regarding the evaluation, selection and implementation of a WMS information system, which is considered to be the solution to the problems of distribution, manufacturing, pharmaceutical or construction companies.
The problem generated by a warehouse
Some argue that the acquisition and implementation of a WMS information system in any store, considering its type or size is useless, while others believe that without such a system, the company will be immersed in high costs and dissatisfied customers.
The truth lies somewhere in between. It is clear that each and every company that distributes or uses stocks and materials, must make sure that it meets and delivers customer needs on time, completely and with a low final cost.
The profit maximization, per delivery or article, can be achieved only by solving the merchandise reception, storage and delivery problems, as well as those related to transport means loading, expired or deteriorated goods, transfers between deposits and operations under special conditions.
No matter how efficient your employees are, how effective the use of storage space and the manual operational management are, your company will block at a certain point. The faster the business develops, the sooner it will happen.
The solution – a WMS system (Warehouse Management System)
The Warehouse Management Systems can be described as advanced and integrated technologies dedicated to operational processes that optimize the warehouse features. These features range from suppliers reception to client deliveries and include all transfers and flows of intermediate stocks.
No matter the size, need, delivery, communication and retail (standard or on line) type, you can afford to buy and implement such a complex system that integrates the hardware, software and peripherals and is designed to improve the logistics, stock, space, personnel and equipment management within the warehouse and distribution centers.
The positive results are real and felt both at company (general) and individual level (every person involved in the management process): storage operators, supervisors, sales persons, employees responsible for the inventory etc.
A flexible and well-developed WMS system accurately and quickly records all information regarding the goods received, finds the best positions for them within the company warehouses or locations, informs sales persons on inventory levels, automatically generates the necessary supply and makes the stocks inventory based on barcodes and mobile devices. Also, the goods management and delivery is carried out and controlled within a circuit with the help of efficient operation methods and functions of inputs and outputs management: FIFO and FEFO defined by customers, cross-docking (direct delivery from the reception area) between deposits, removal and disposal of damaged items, proper allocation of human resources in special environmental conditions (e.g.: temperatures below 5 degrees).
Integrated with a company resource management system, the WMS system completes the traceability of goods, articles, documents and operations from their entry / creation to their exit / completion and tracks easily, based on performance indicators and alerts, the productivity and efficiency of each operator, blocked operational flows or missing minimum stocks.
Benefits for small companies
Benefits for large companies
After a conscientious and complex analysis, you finally choose the solution and favorite service provider. Now you must make sure that the entire team is prepared and well trained, otherwise the whole project can easily fail.
Regardless of the implementation methodology, some people have critical roles in the project deployment: the project sponsor, project manager, operational end-users and IT team.
The implementation team training it is of an utmost importance. Whether it is performed at the client’s or supplier’s office, each representative must be trained under his responsibilities.
An action plan for solving problems and incidents can save the project. As long as there is a problem endangering the project, a predefined escalation procedure should be used. The problems list should be online, accessible to anyone, the information and resources to solve problems must always be known and the adjustments applications control during the implementation must be done after a risk assessment, through a good communication and understanding of the requirement and a continuously updated documentation. These are only a few key elements that sustain an optimal project deployment.
And remember: the later the system is launched, for various reasons, be they direct or indirect, controllable or uncontrollable, the more you postpone its afferent benefits.
To sum up:
The acquisition of a WMS system is an important decision for any company. Even if the distribution industry is undergoing a recession, the need for a system able to reduce costs and optimize operational activities is felt by major retailers and distributors, as well as small and medium companies. They all need to be flexible to market changes and maintain a competitive advantage to survive or even grow.