To meet the needs of the high velocity world of e-commerce, conveyors and sorters must be a smart, fast, and efficient component of a production or order fulfilment engine. Driven by the need for flexibility, speed, and maximum uptime, customers are turning to a new generation of technologies—and new ways to minimize and optimize conveyor and sortation solutions—that enable nimbleness while cutting costs.
A warehouse management system (WMS) is the backbone of day-to-day warehouse operations. WMS software applications help centralize warehouse tasks such as tracking stock locations and inventory levels. The benefits are cost savings as well as improved customer service.
A well-designed warehouse management system integrates computer systems, material handling equipment and people into a single working system. The benefits are cost savings as well as improved customer service. There are five key benefits of a well-designed WMS. A warehouse management system (WMS) is the backbone of day-to-day warehouse operations. WMS software applications help centralize warehouse tasks such as tracking stock locations and inventory levels.
Zero Information Errors
A WMS can eliminate errors using several methods. You can maintain 100% information verification resulting in excellent tracking. Every shipping operation is system-directed, and each product will move with more accuracy, thus eliminating operator error.
Improved Information Lead Times
Lead times are improved by moving from paper based to electronic transmissions. Electronic data and radio communications used in your WMS lower lead times exponentially. A WMS brings lead times to nearly zero, contributing greatly to your bottom line. The speed of this accuracy assists in everything from faster turnaround time to plans for loading trucks, freight ratings, personnel requirements and order prioritization.
Maximize Your Team
A well-designed WMS increases your team’s productivity. It can select tasks from a queue of all pending activities and prioritize them. It can also provide feedback to the management team to assist with future planning including peak labor hours. When you ship perfect orders, your demand history is not cluttered with repeat shipments or replacement materials for incorrectly shipped items, helping to ensure that your demand history is clean. The correct WMS not only improves your perfect order rate, it can use the history to predict future demand using a “best fit” algorithm to calculate demand.
A WMS can improve space utilization in your facility. The system can tell an operator where to put an item and maximize each slot for the best fit. Ensuring inventory is stored in the proper environment and used in the best order helps to minimize scrap, waste, and obsolescence. Improved record accuracy allows you to minimize safety stock, on hand quantities and lot sizes so you can achieve savings.
A WMS can improve capacity by allowing goods to move more quickly through the warehouse. A WMS provides quality information and with zero information lead time, it can allow you to reduce inventory levels. It can also use cross-docking to reduce handling and storage needs. Cross-docking can be an efficient way to achieve continuous flow throughout your operation. A WMS that can anticipate receipts, customer orders and item movements can maximize cross-docking opportunities.
Before selecting your WMS be sure the system you are considering has the right capabilities for your business. For help with selecting contact us today and we can assist you in understanding all your options.
Beyond running diagnostics or shifting your warehouse design around, sometimes it can be helpful to have an open and honest discussion with everyone on your staff. Everyone from your temp workers, full time operators, managers, directors, all the way up to VPs, need the ability to communicate where they see ways to improve your bottom line. Your employees will not only tell you about problems that you may not know exist, but may solve them just as quick and often in the same meeting.
Here are five ways to consider improving your picking productivity once you’ve identified the problems with your staff. You can review the potential ROI to understand which system will work best for your operation, discuss them with your team, and since they will be the ones ensuring the speed and accuracy of the systems you choose, decide which ones will benefit you the most.
1. Parts images and photos on the PC monitor when directing the picker. Many of today’s WMS, WCS and inventory management and picking software solutions allow organizations to include images of items in their database.
2. The use of pick-to-light and put-to-light indicators can be implemented in many processes to minimize errors. To make this cost effective, the integration of goods-to-person technologies (such as carousels, VLMs, shuttle technologies, ASRS, etc.) can be used. Items are delivered to the operator at an ergonomic height, and the lights tell the operator where and how many items to pick and put into the correct container.
3. Slotting your inventory will provide great benefits by increasing throughput and providing increased accuracy levels. The benefits of an effective slotting strategy include; increased throughput, improved labor utilization, reduced injuries, better cube utilization, and reduced product damage.
4. Kitting could be another option, though in some cases, while knitting does increase inventory levels, the variables may create too many kit options. If you often ship in kits, your team can help design the most cost effective kits to create and offer your customers. This can be either virtually on your marketplaces – a listed bundle comprised of disparate parts –– or physically in your warehouse – products bound together and stored in one location. The beauty of product kitting is that it allows you to sell kitted items and individual component items simultaneously.
5. Voice picking comes into play when you have a large number of SKUs in shelving or rack not using goods to person technologies. The audio directs the picker to the correct location and quantity. The picker then verbally verifies the SKU and quantity. The throughput levels often increase slightly with this technology, but your accuracy will often increase much more.
For example, Canadian retailer London Drug tossed its paper-based pick systems and turned to voice to help process SKUs of varying shapes and sizes—the result has improved productivity and 99.97% order accuracy using voice technology in its operations.
WMS (Warehouse Management System) solutions have been a standard in the area of warehouse process management in enterprises for many years now. In practice, every newly constructed warehouse is launched with a WMS implemented. At KMH we give you a FREE Operation Audit to make sure we have studied every area of your business and the best ways to increase your ROI in the shortest amount of time. Your ROI (Return on Investment) is defined as a profitability ratio used to measure the effects of an investment within a specified period. Such an analysis makes it possible to identify potential areas of savings and to estimate the time needed for the return of the invested capital. We carefully demonstrate in the ROI analysis what essential actions should be made concerning your decision to implement a specific WMS solution and why.
Based on our 40+ years of experience working with customers, a WMS offers the sort of rapid ROI that might make you wonder – can I afford not to invest? At KMH we estimate customers will see a full ROI in 12 months but in some instances it is a lot less.
Ways a WMS will add value to your supply chain:
Full real-time visibility of all your stock, orders, and processes
Using a WMS allows you to gain inventory and warehouse accuracy so they can reduce safety stock levels.
Having the right product to deliver to customers at the right time and to the right place helps increase sales by reducing short ships, shipping errors, and missed deliveries.
Make the best possible use of available warehouse space
Reducing time spent locating product as a result of accurate inventory and a WMS helps with associating equipment to areas of the warehouse and appropriate work spaces.
Using a WMS allows distributors to define storage areas and bin locations in the warehouse. The system then manages product storage using the rules established for the facility. A better organized warehouse yields space savings.
Improve workforce productivity and accountability
Labor savings come in numerous forms, using a WMS delivers benefits including productivity.
Reduce wear and tear
Pallet jacks, forklift trucks, man-up trucks, and other materials handling equipment experience tremendous wear and tear. Using a WMS provides benefits such as:
- Efficient routing of activity throughout the warehouse
- Consolidated activity, such as wave order picking and zero bin cycle counts
- Associating equipment to areas of the warehouse and to appropriate work
- Managing and enabling pickup and delivery, also known as drop points
- Reducing time spent locating product as a result of accurate inventory
Call us today 888-564-7978 or please use the form below to set up a free Operation Audit so we can start helping you maximize your efficiency.
Warehouse Management Software controls many aspects of warehouse operations, from receiving and storing items to retrieving and shipping them. You can design your warehouse to make the most of your available space, your employees’ time, and the unique storage requirements of the goods that you stock. You can structure your warehouse in almost limitless detail, so you can know exactly where everything is and the exact quantity you have on hand. This allows you to maintain a continuous flow of goods and gives you the competitive edge in delivering goods to your customers quickly and efficiently.
Accuracy & Speed
With User-defined rules for stock movement and parameters for items and locations to control stock movement you have complete control over fixed and random locations for more efficient stock movement. This gives you the ability to review warehouse contents using multiple levels of detail. You can audit trail reporting of inventory movement, create a logical model of your warehouse, too.
Being able to generate an audit trail of reports for each stock movement helps you sequence your employees’ trips through the warehouse to maximize their productivity and with the ease of using it just like your smart phone you can confirm stock movement with minimal data-entry keystrokes.
First In First Out…
picking you can move your oldest inventory first using date-of-receipt tags and expiration date codes.
Units of Measure…
allow you to choose locations according to the item’s unit of measure to ensure the best fit and maximization of your available warehouse space. You can also allow the system to combine or break down units of measure to speed up inventory movement or maximize utilization of locations.
of locations enable the system to monitor every location in your warehouse and can trigger stock movements to replenish your picking locations automatically when you deplete stock quantities to a point that you define.
gives you a history of all inventory movements.
pull up the order types (sales, purchase, and so on) and the order statuses that the system processes.
The abilities are nearly endless, we can add new functionality as your needs and business practices evolve. Call to talk with us 888-564-7978 about your ideas regarding RFID and how we can help you revolutionize your operation.