Warehouse Management Software

Simple Steps for Organizing the Warehouse

An enterprise that handles large levels of inventory requires a warehouse. Regardless of the products being stored in the warehouse, items should be routinely organized and quick to find. Organizing the warehouse allows the work environment to become more manageable and less cluttered, as products are stored correctly in designated places within the warehouse. Deciding on a routine method for organizing the warehouse will allow employees to easily maintain track of inventory levels, simply place orders for needed inventory and analyze the progress of production. Here are some examples for organizing the warehouse.

1. Assess the inventory levels of every product stored in the warehouse. Generate a detailed list of the description of each product stored in the warehouse, as well as the quantity of each product. When there is excess product leftover, consider selling the product at a discounted rate to consumers to clear space in the warehouse. When organizing the warehouse, damaged items should be discarded or immediately sold at a discounted rate to eliminate clutter.

2. Temporarily move all products out of the warehouse to categorize the inventory. This process should take place outside of the warehouse to reduce confusion and clutter. Before products are stored back in the warehouse, ensure that each product is quality assured and ready for merchandising.

3. Separate the inventory by categories such as type, size, or sales popularity. These are all variables needed for assessment when organizing the warehouse. For example, the products consuming more space or weight capacity should be stored on the bottom of the warehouse or on durable overhead shelves where they can be easily moved with forklift machinery.

4. Place commonly used products in the most convenient and easily accessible areas. This should help you reduce the time searching through less used products. When organizing the warehouse, the most frequently used items should be strategically placed in convenient areas, while the least used items are stored elsewhere.

5. Label inventory product according to category while organizing the warehouse. While it is essential for you to remember each product location, blatant labels allow all other employees access the products more efficiently also. You can indicate inventory categories with simple handwritten or printed banners. Removable stickers can be useful when organizing the warehouse.

6. Organize the warehouse and information more efficiently through a warehouse management system (wms). Technology can effectively keep track of inventory levels and reduce the time required for processes including ordering new products. A warehouse management system is a worthy investment to maintain the organization of your entire warehouse.

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Improve Your Company’s Inventory Accuracy

Like company profit, inventory must continuously flow for a supply chain to be fully cost-effective. Inventory accuracy is a key variable in maintaining maximum revenue. Inaccurate counts of inventory levels can be a significant detriment in company profit. To avoid such inventory mishaps, inventory management specialists have collectively gathered a few suggestions to maintain inventory and data flow accuracy. Here are two examples of their most common observations.

Eliminate Paper Documentation

The simplest way to amplify inventory management issues is to continue the usage of paper documentation. With increased usage of paper documentation, inventory management is guaranteed to slow in production and to use up resources. Ultimately, paper documentation counteracts inventory accuracy and creates a confusing atmosphere.

Paper-based processes can’t deliver automation or real time data. Without real time data, order pickers might choose products previously selected but not keyed in, affecting inventory accuracy. Regarding inbound processes, orders may be incomplete from idle inventory that has not been entered into the system.

A key component of achieving inventory accuracy is having complete visibility of your goods. This visibility is best achieved with automated data collection—which means getting rid of those inefficient paper documentation processes.”

Sync Up Your Processes

The Chief Technology Officer of Boomi Software, Rick Nucci, explains that the key factor that will allow companies to improve inventory accuracy,“is to synchronize existing systems by integrating them with each other in real time.”

Nucci claims that inventory accuracy relies on more than three systems within an enterprise, not just the shop floor alone.

Although a batch data collection system can allocate data about recent processes, it is incomparable to a real time data system. A business can improve inventory accuracy and data flow, from order procurement through fulfillment, by integrating with customer and supplier systems. Rick Nucci suggests beginning inventory data management improvements with a process of discovery. The management team must find ways that they can improve inventory accuracy to optimize company profit.

Automation and integration are two key processes that can help you quickly and easily connect systems and exchange data, improving inventory data.

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The True Distinction Among Top WMS Vendors

Competition within the Warehouse Management System (WMS) environment continues to intensify. Senior supply chain analyst at ARC Advisory Group, Steve Banker, claims, “There are a lot of players in WMS, and the result is a fragmented market. The top WMS vendors own about 33% of the market (based on worldwide software and service sales in 1998).The remaining market share is divided among nearly 100 other vendors.” In such a landscape, it can be difficult to distinguish between top WMS vendors. 

Recognize Vendor Quality Before Implementation

Warehouse Management System providers are typically categorized into three levels. Inevitably, top WMS vendors acquire the largest amount of profit, workers, and overall company size. Second tier enterprises are slightly smaller than top WMS vendors. Finally, bottom tier providers are often the smallest of both tiers, allocating only a regional sales staff and resources.

Top WMS vendors typically tend to attract clients with revenues as high as $1 billion and greater. Second tier vendors are usually landing clients with moderately high revenue below $1 billion but significantly greater than $50 million. Despite the slight economical difference, top WMS vendors and second tier vendors may occasionally dip into the same customer pool in the marketplace. The main distinction between top WMS vendors and second tier vendors is in product functionality. Before deciding on a system, high revenue clientele should carefully assess the support services offered, which include implementation knowledge and classroom-based training.

Examining the difference between top WMS vendors and second tier vendors is an essential, yet tedious process. One example is considering top WMS vendors (in terms of revenue) as tier one vendors (in terms of quality). What are the distinctions among lower ranked ranked providers? President of McHugh Software International, Ritch Durheim, claims, “There are differences between tier one and tier two companies. But, on the boundary of those tiers, the differences become somewhat blurred.”

President of Uniteq Application Systems, Owen Shea, argues that the only distinction between top WMS vendors and second tier vendors is the $20 million budget investment. Shea states, “”Once you get above $20 million in revenue, you are investing a minimum of $2 million to $3 million back into your product. A $3 million company might only reinvest $200,000.This is the real difference.”

As you look at top WMS vendors, take a look at your own company, its revenues, and its needs to determine which vendor can provide the solution suited to your business needs.

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How to Choose the Best WMS Software

Considering the competition among businesses in today’s economy, warehouse efficiency is an essential success variable for optimally managing your company’s supply chain and attain premium performance. By implementing the newest cutting-edge technologies, you can increasingly enhance warehouse processes, worker productivity, and client satisfaction. When the best wms software is installed for your business and you realign how your warehouse integrates with your workers, clients, and vendors, you are able to fully streamline warehouse processes while attaining high returns on the initial investment.

Build the case for the Best WMS Software

Although finding the best wms software for your company may be a challenging process, the greater difficulty lies in persuading your management team to find a need for the system. While most management teams agree that an accounting software is a key addition, the same sentiment may not apply to a warehouse management software. Before implementation, you may be required to sell the idea of the best wms software to the rest of your senior executive team. Because they may be wary of the investment results, you will need to begin building your case. This includes quantifiable metrics such as a predictive error rate, return materials authorization (rma), costs, and other applicable variables. Be prepared to assess all the possible advantages your company can acquire from the best wms software, and present these advantages to your senior executives.

Gather a project team

Gather a team of employees that will determine exactly what your company needs from the best wms software and what features are absolutely needed. Considering the size of your enterprise, your team of employees should include the warehouse manager, the senior finance representative, and the director of Information Technology (IT). Determine every team member’s duty and the amount of involvement and input ability during this process. A clear definition of each team member’s duties is needed to allow them to ration the amount of time, energy, and resources needed to accomplish their tasks. Because of this additional project, prior work obligations should be restructured since the selection and installation phases can consume considerable resources. Be sure that each member of your team can allocate appropriate resources to the project.

Remember the hard-to-quantify benefits

The best wms software should maximize the production of your warehouse staff. The system should alleviate them from mundane, tedious, resource-consuming duties and let them utilize their energy on choosing precise items the first time, everytime. The best wms software should allow your enterprise to benefit from maximized inventory handling precision and reduced costs of carrying associated with obsolete and slow-moving stock.

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Inventory Accuracy Captured with Egemin Warehouse Management Systems

A recent issue of the AccountingSoftware 411 regarded warehouse management systems as critical tools to deliver efficient and lean material distribution operation systems. There are few warehouses that actually experience 99.9 percent inventory accuracy, and as many as 35 percent can drive productivity improvements with an automated environment. Egemin is one provider set to extend such benefits to warehouses.

Egemin is a global organization and leading manufacturer of AGV’s and Warehouse Management Systems. All AGV technologies including design, software and support are developed and owned by Egemin and are being used by many Fortune 500 companies.

Mark Stevenson, vice president for Egemin shared in a statement that Warehouse Management systems must link the logistic environment and equipment available in the warehouse and consists of two main modules. Warehouse Management Systems must be specifically designed to work with all forms of automation, as well as forklift truck fleets.

Stevenson has worked with many of the world’s largest corporations, as well as holds a patent as co-inventor of ATL technology. He is considered one of the prominent authorities and experts on design and application of automated trailer loading systems and warehousing automation with automatic guided vehicles.

Automated guided vehicles are the ideal solution for the transport of end-of-line equipment to shipping in distribution centers. WMS solutions are very comprehensive and allow many add on elements that reap the benefits of AGV’s. Such elements consist of track and tracking module, statistical KPI management reporting, trailer patterning, yard management, equipment alarm management, warehouse control systems and satellite storage.

Supported storage methods must be compatible with all basic storage methods, but also support the more complex methods, as well. Stevenson noted that Warehouse Control Systems integrate all automated equipment in a warehouse into one well-oiled and efficient transport system.

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Inventory Accuracy Improved with Warehouse Management Solutions

Warehouse Management Systems know they must deliver efficient material distribution operations systems and must do so through unparallel personnel, inventory and management of equipment.

Few warehouses experience the 99.9 percent inventory accuracy that Warehouse Management Systems strives for with up to 35 percent productivity improvement from an automation environment.

Mark Stevenson is the Vice President for Egemin Automation, Inc., a global provider of Automatic Guided Vehicle Systems, Material Handling and Automation solutions. Stevenson has twenty years of experience working with some of the world’s largest corporations on design and implementation of automatic guided vehicle systems and he holds a patent as co-inventor of ATL technology.

Stevenson is recognized as one of the foremost authorities and subject matter experts on application and design of automated trailer loading systems and warehousing automation of automatic guided vehicles. He says Warehouse Management Systems must be specifically designed to work with all forms of automation, as well as forklift truck fleets.

Some key factors to focus on improving inventory accuracy are Core Inventory Management, Order Management and Automatic Storage Applications with AGV’s. Core Inventory Management is an inventory management module that stores product according to the carrier and compartment number, product attributes, storage zone, etc. Orders need to be automatically reallocated to other carriers in cases of unexpected product shortages.

Order Management is a warehouse order management module that must assign orders to resources based on their priority, due-out time and order reception time. The WMS solution must also support order-picking concepts.

Examples of Automatic Storage Applications with AGV’s include block storage of pallets, containers, racks, boxes and tubs, pallet storage in warehouse racks, vertical storage of reels and horizontal storage of reels in cradles.

Stevenson suggests Warehouse Control Systems integrate all automated equipment in the warehouse into one well-oiled, efficient transport system in order to operate most effectively.

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MAM Warehouse Management Solutions Selected by GROUPAUTO

MAM Software Ltd. has recently announced the GROUPAUTO UK and Ireland Ltd. have chosen to install Autopart WMS at its Distribution Center that opens in June 2011.

MAM Software Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of MAM Software Group, Inc. and they are a supplier of business and ERP supply chain management solutions to automotive parts manufacturers, distributors and retailers.

The Group provides the automotive aftermarket with a combination of business management systems, information products, and online services that together deliver benefits for all parts involved in the timely repair of a vehicle.

This new warehouse management system will help GROUPAUTO with the flow of goods throughout its Distribution Center so that it can optimize management of all the activities from goods receiving and put away to picking, packing and shipment.

GROUPAUTO UK and Ireland is a fully incorporated trading group with over 350 distributor members and 580 outlets. They are part of the European-wide GROUPAUTO International that provides a range of services from parts manufacturers, distributors and garages.

Autopart WMS is a specialized edition of MAM Software’s retail/wholesale application and will provide GROUPAUTO with comprehensive inventory management functions such as wireless data capture, location mapping, load planning and carrier integration.

After reviewing many options, GROUPAUTO chose MAM’s Autopart solution because it is a well known product that is used widely through the group’s membership. Autopart allows members to connect to the Distribution Center easily to inquire about stock and prices and to place orders.

Jim Mazza, the Managing Director of GROUPAUTO, says there were many options presented to them and they chose Autopart WMS because it was strategically the best fit for the business.

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RedPrairie Warehouse Management Set to Go Live

RedPrairie Corporation announces that Zotos International has finished its rollout of RedPrairie’s Warehouse Management and Parcel Management. Zotos will use its Warehouse Management solution as a key component in its distribution operations.

They will be able to track cases, pallets, and truckloads of inventory, as well as storage and replenishment across their high-volume warehouse. Additionally, the company will implement the RedPrairie Parcel to consolidate shipments and be able to better manage cost controls.

RedPrairie was chosen because it not only supports but enhances efficiency across multiple channels of business, according to V.P. of Operations for Zotos International, Anthony Perdigao.
He also says they have experienced significant growth and needed a partner who could provide their distribution operations with reliable and scalable technology.

A company’s success depends on logistics and supply chain management and Zotos’ commitment to supply chain innovation has helped them achieve tremendous growth year after year with high-volume products like Bain de Terre and JOICO.

RedPrairies’ solutions are designed to help high-volume, rapid-growth companies such as Zotos, according to Mike Mayoras, the CEO of RedPrairie. Mayoras said they are proud to support forward-thinking industry leaders like Zotos that are at the storefront of innovative and efficient business and technology practices.

RedPrairie delivers productivity solutions to help companies around the world in the three areas of workforce, inventory and transportation. RedPrairie provides these solutions to manufacturers, distributors and retailers, who are looking to support business strategies that increase revenue, reduce costs and create a competitive advantage.

They have over 20 global offices and solutions that are installed at more than 34,000 customer sites in over 40 countries and are committed to delivering solutions that work.

Zotos International, Inc., is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Shiseido International Corporation.

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Microsoft Dynamics GP Warehouse Management Delivered by Alba Spectrum

It’s a large task to select the correct Warehouse Management System to extend a corporate ERP system. Warehouse Management Systems offer a variety of diverse solutions within the general area of data capture.

While some solutions focus on manufacturing, assembly and finished goods tracking, others focus on distribution and supply chain management. There are several standalone Warehouse Management System applications available today in the market that have rich experience.

Research has shown that on average only twenty percent of features included in most warehouse management systems are implemented, however. In addition, very few systems are designed to be fully blended into Dynamics GP.

Many companies with small to midsize distribution operations are better served with less complex Warehouse Management Systems that are directly integrated to the company ERP system.

Alba360 WMS is a Warehouse Management system designed for Dynamics GP that allows users to control movement and storage of inventory items in the warehouse, process receiving, put-away, picking and shipping operations.

Direct unification with Dynamics GP allows all warehouse activity including receiving and order fulfillment and shipping operations to be available in real time within the Dynamics GP background.

Alba360 WMS uses the industry standard Wavelink mobile computing platform to provide the connection between mobile data capture units like Barcode Scanners and Dynamics GP.

The System consists of two modules which are the Wavelink Server and the Wavelink Mobile Client. The server receives data via WiFi and communicates with Dynamics GP SQL Server. The Mobile Client runs on the barcode scanner and provides data collection functions.

The WMS functions include receiving and put-away, bin transfers, picking and fulfillment, site transfers, inventory adjustments and stock counts.

Alba Spectrum Corporation is a based in Chicago and is a Gold-Certified Microsoft Dynamics Partner.

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Alibaba Launches Logistics Warehouse Management

Alibaba.com Ltd formally launched Fulfillment by AliExpress in April 2010, a new logistics and shipping service provided by a third-party partner for buyers using the AliExpress wholesale e-commerce platform.

As a result of this launch, small businesses using AliExpress will be able to combine multiple orders into one cost-reducing international shipment, as well as track and verify those orders from China-based suppliers using a single online interface prior to shipment.

Currently there are more than 10 million listed products from over 40 categories and there is no minimum order quantity associated with this service. International small to medium businesses will save up to 30 percent off total shipping costs when using Fulfillment by AliExpress. Businesses can order a single product or multiple products from different suppliers, giving their business the flexibility it needs.

AliExpress customers will be able to check on delivery or track shipments online and make it much easier to manage international shipping. This will help them extend international buying power and ship their business-critical goods easily and conveniently.

Alibaba continues to be known globally in e-commerce for small businesses and for being the flagship company of the Alibaba Group. They were founded in 1999 in Hangzhou, China and are available to millions of buyers and suppliers around the world. Their customers are able to do business online through three different marketplaces.

Together, these marketplaces serve a community of more than 56 million registered users in over 240 countries and regions. Alibaba is confident they provide top educational services to incubate enterprise management and e-commerce professionals across the globe.

David Wei, the CEO of Alibaba.com, stated that AliExpress was designed to give even the smallest of businesses a competitive global trade advantage. Alibaba is able to do this by offering better prices on smaller-quantity orders and making shipping and delivering as simple as possible.

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