Warehousing Challenges with Company Growth and how WMS can Help

Your business is growing, you operate one or many warehouses, and you’re considering what kind of warehouse software system is a fit for you. These may be some of your day-to-day considerations with a companies expansion.; such as the logistics behind:

  • Supporting increased sales without increasing staff or space
  • Limitations/availability of warehouse space
  • Increasing demand/supply fluctuations
  • Paper based, bar coding or best-of-breed warehouse software
  • Cloud or on premise deployment
  • Increase order accuracy and inventory visibility
  • Integrate shipping, ASN printing, and EDI as part of the outbound order process
  • Minimize inventory carrying costs and conduct cycle counts quickly and accurately
  • Decrease warehouse labor costs and potential chargebacks and penalties from retailers
  • Utilize one of many available pick methods

HighJump can help. The HighJump Warehouse solution, offered by iCepts Technology Group, was built by supply chain experts to provide the out-of-the box tools and the extensibility to tackle even the most difficult tasks in the warehouse.

ENTERPRISE SCALABILITY  HighJump Warehouse is designed for small to mid-sized businesses, meaning it doesn’t require an army of IT staff to support. You are able to start with the functionality that you need now at a price that makes sense, and scale for growth over time. Our seamlessly integrated modules and applications are available to you when you need them.

BREADTH, DEPTH, AND REACH  HighJump Warehouse is built on a web-centric platform with standard best-of-breed warehouse management features, as well as dynamic directed putaway, several bar code supported picking styles, container building, cartonization, repackaging, voice and RFID to name a few.

ADVANCED WORKFLOW ENGINE  We’ve incorporated Microsoft’s advanced workflow engine in the HighJump Platform. Workflow empowers you to customize the functionality of the WMS rather than writing code. Better results and easier upgrades.

ADVANCED EVENT ENGINE  The new Advanced Event Engine provides powerful tools designed to leverage the system to deliver real-time information on behalf of your employees. The system can tap new orders, receipts, bills, or customers that meet user defined criteria and generate emails, text messages, workflows, database updates or custom actions.

EXTENSIBLE PERFORMANCE REPORTING  HighJump WMS incorporates the powerful HighJump Report application to enhance the core reporting capability, deliver new Performance Reports, and allow for better user definable reporting extensions.

ENHANCED SUPPLY CHAIN INTELLIGENCE  HighJump WMS delivers more powerful access to key performance indicators (KPIs) that can assist a business manager in more effectively making decisions within their business. New Pivot capabilities enable users’ virtually limitless ways to slice and dice information.

ONE MODULAR SOLUTION SUITE TO FIT YOUR ERP Functionality is important. Couple that with a tight integration to your ERP and an enduring company that cares for its customers and its R and D budget, and you’ve got a good fit.

HighJump’s configurable web services integration platform stands between the warehouse and your ERP, order management, ecommerce or purchasing system(s). Leverage one of the many prebuilt integration toolkits for popular ERP systems from Microsoft, (such as WMS for Microsoft Dynamics NAV), Sage, SAP, NetSuite, Infor and more. Here are some examples of modules within the HighJump solutions suite:

Learn more about HighJump Warehouse Management Systems

Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2017 Manufacturing Capabilities

Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2017 Manufacturing Capabilities gives your company that power to streamline manufacturing processes and adapt quickly to changing demands to give customers what they want, when they want it. Dynamics NAV has much functionality around Made-To-Order and Made-To-Stock Manufacturing in addition to Assembled-To-Order.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV’s unique “Role Centers”give you quick access to the data, reports, and tasks that are relevant to your job such as Shop Supervisor, Machine Operator, ect. Enhance operational efficiency and effectively manage production with quick access to production orders, bills of material (BOMs), supply planning, and capacity requirements planning. Take advantage of a simplified manufacturing foundation that includes rapid visibility into work in progress (WIP) data and support for order-by-order work flows. You can personalize your Role Center based on business needs and monitor critical business processes in a dashboard view.

Dynamics NAV’s Manufacturing Capabilities include:

Bill of Materials: Create bills of materials and calculate standard costs. Required for the configuration of all other Manufacturing modules.

Production Orders:  Create and manage production orders, and post consumption and output to the production orders. After you have created a production order, you can calculate net requirements based on that production order. The Production Orders module includes a manual supply planning tool as an alternative to automatic planning. The Order Planning window provides the visibility and tools you need to manually plan for demand from sales lines and then to create different types of supply orders directly.

Agile Manufacturing:  This module enables you to run the Agile Manufacturing, Supply Planning, and Capacity Planning modules

Version Management:  Create and manage different versions of the manufacturing bill of materials and routings.

Supply Planning:  Plan material requirements based on demand with support for master production scheduling and materials requirements planning.  Basic Supply Planning includes:

  • Automatic production orders and purchase orders.
  • Action messages for fast and easy balancing of supply and demand.
  • Support for bucket-less and bucketed material requirements planning.
  • The Setup for items with their own reordering policy, including registration of whether they are manufactured by or purchased from a third party.

Demand Forecasting: Manage demand forecasting based on items. Input demand (sales) forecasts for products and components in a more convenient way (daily, monthly, quarterly). This data allows the system to plan and create production and purchase orders taking into consideration the demand forecast together with the level of available inventory and parameters of requirement planning.

Capacity Planning:    Add capacities (work centers) to the manufacturing process. Set up routings and use these routings on production orders and in material requirements planning. View loads and the task list for the capacities.

Finite Loading:  Manage finite loading of capacity-constraint resources. Taking capacity constraints into account so that no more work is assigned to a work center than the capacities can be expected to execute during a given time period. This is a simple tool without any optimization. Used with the Order Promising module, Finite Loading also enables the system to calculate capable-to-promise (CTP).

Machine Centers:  Add machine centers as capacities to the manufacturing process. Machine centers are designed to help you manage capacity of a single machine/producing resource. With machine centers, you can plan/manage capacity on several levels: on a more detailed level for machine centers and on a consolidated level for work centers. Machine centers allow users to store more default information about manufacturing processes, such as setup time or default scrap percentage.

Learn more about Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2017 Manufacturing Capabilities

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Edition Pricing

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is the next generation of intelligent business applications that enable organizations to grow, evolve, and transform by combining both ERP and CRM.  This new could-based business management systems allows you to add modules as they become available or just start with certain features.   The Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Edition for Financials and Operations  makes ordering, selling, invoicing, and reporting easier—starting on day one with tight integration with familiar Microsoft applications such as Office 365 and the Outlook Add-In.  Microsoft Dynamics 365 is available in 2 version; Enterprise and Business Edition.

Business Edition is an ideal solution for companies that want rich functionality across financials and operations in a cloud solution that is affordable.  Core functionality includes Financial Management, Inventory Management, Sales, Purchasing,  Project Management, plus additional capabilities.  The Business Edition is optimized for companies with 10-250 employees.

The below pricing is for the Business Edition of Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Full Users = $40/per user/month Full Users leverage the majority of business apps’ functionality. They have also been referred to as “power users.” All licenses include automatic product updates. The Full User license includes the rights for one external accountant user to access the service at no additional cost. The license for this user has to be requested separately.

Team Members = $5/per user/per month Team Members predominately consume data and reports and complete light tasks like time entry.  They cannot make changes or edits to functionality such as financial management, purchases, payable, sales, inventory management, ect. “core functionality” applications.

External Accountant License = 1 Free with Full User.  Can access the service at no cost.

Next Steps:

Download the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Edition Licensing Guide:

Ask about how to Get Started with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Edition

Learn about Support for Microsoft Dynamics 365

Warehouse Space Utilization

 

Do you have too much warehouse space? Chances are you are either out of space or getting close to it. It happens all the time… inventory (and other stuff) tends to expand to fill the amount of available space. When you do run out of warehouse space there are many options to consider including expanding your warehouse, building a new facility, or leasing outside space. Alternatively there are many proven, low cost concepts you should consider to improve the utilization of your existing space.

Random vs. Dedicated Bins

There are two primary material storage philosophies…fixed or dedicated bins and random or floating. In dedicated bin storage, each individual stock keeping unit (SKU) or item is assigned a specific storage bin. A given SKU will always be stored in a specific bin and no other SKU may be stored in the bin, even though the bin may be empty. Dedicated bin storage is analogous to a classroom where each student is assigned a specific seat.

With random storage, any SKU may be assigned to any available storage bin. An SKU in bin A one month might be in bin B the next and a different SKU placed into bin A. Random bin storage is analogous to the assignment of rooms in a hotel. When a guest checks in they are randomly assigned a room (based on the guests pre-defined criteria).

The amount of storage space required for a SKU is directly related to the storage philosophy. If dedicated storage is used, a given SKU must be assigned sufficient space to store the maximum amount of the SKU that will ever be on hand at any one time. For random storage, the quantity of items on hand at any time will be the average amount of each SKU. In other words, when the inventory level of one item is above average, another item will have a below average level; the sum of the two will be close the average.

Often the storage philosophy chosen for a specific SKU will be a combination or hybrid based on where the SKU is in the storage process. A grocery store is an excellent example. Dedicated bins are used on the store shelves where the consumers can easily find what they are looking for, and not stored (on purpose) in any other bin (promotions excluded). In the back storeroom however, the excess stock is usually stored randomly, wherever there is a bin. Because combination storage bin is based on a mix of fixed and random storage, its planned inventory level falls somewhere between the fixed and random quantity.

Choosing one storage philosophy over another means making a number of trade-offs between space, accessibility, and material handling efficiency.

Use of space in a dedicated bin model is poor because space for the maximum amount of inventory that will ever be on hand is allocated, although actual on hand inventory will normally approach the average inventory level. Therefore excess empty space and bins are common in dedicated storage. Random storage is extremely space-efficient because the space requirements are only 15% above the average amount of inventory expected on hand.

Material in dedicated storage has excellent accessibility. Blocked stock is not a problem because each bin contains only one SKU and the bin of each item is known (remains constant). Accessibility to stock in random storage can be good but requires more management especially if a materials tracking system is not in place or kept up to date. Without good management or a tracking system, using random storage will result in blocked stock, lost material and eventually obsolete inventory.

Dedicated and random storage score equally well for material handling. With either, inventory is typically handled during the put-away process and then again during picking. Combination storage is typical of a forward pick and reserve storage strategy requiring a replenishment flow. This replenishment adds another product touch as inventory is moved in smaller loads from the reserve (random) bins to the forward (dedicated) bins for picking.

In summary, dedicated storage trades space efficiency for better inventory accessibility and vice-versa for random storage. Combination storage trades material handling efficiency for middle of the road efficiency in space and accessibility. Which is best for your operation is unfortunately not a clear cut decision and will depend on several other factors. The only general conclusion to be made is the poor use of space in a dedicated bin strategy is a big negative. Compared to the use of space in a random strategy, a dedicated bin strategy will generally require 65-85% more space. With the escalating cost of money, land and construction, few companies can afford to design fixed bin storage warehouse. This factor alone can justify the investment in technology to help manage a random storage warehouse.

Learn more about Ideas for Improving Warehouse Performance