Warehouse Management Systems are becoming more popular as supply chain logistics become ever more complication along with increasing customer demands. With an escalating volume of inventory movement, many organizations are turning to technology to streamline operations and meet these challenges.
Advanced technology through Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) allow companies to respond to evolving market pressures and deliver on ever-shrinking time to delivery windows. These systems efficiently capture every scan, every movement of inventory and are designed to make both accuracy along with cost reduction a top priority. The following article can give you some insight into methods, obtained through warehouse technology, for achieving better warehouse management that are key to modern business supply chain logistics in addition to reaching your organization’s goals.
The proper and correct movement of inventory in your warehouse is critical for accuracy while also ensuring elevated customer service levels in addition to remaining competitive. Consider the basic warehouse step of receiving goods as an example and how WMS can be of great assistance.
Receiving is a key functionality designed to migrate the paper receiving process to a wireless device. Once a purchase order has been entered into an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system, it is seamlessly transferred to the Warehouse Management System where receivers await shipment. They are armed with wireless mobile computers that have integrated barcode scanners. After an inbound shipment arrives at the warehouse, the receiving team will typically unload the truck and grab the paperwork to identify which purchase orders are being received.
The first job of the WMS is to receive items accurately into the warehouse and then reconcile the shipment against the original purchase orders entered into your ERP system. Rather than using pen and paper to reconcile physical receipts, the receiver will bring up the purchase orders on a handheld computer. Once this is done, the receiver only needs to start identifying the product that is being unloaded (in no particular sequence).
With “best-in-breed” WMS Software, the receiver counts down against items being received right off of the container. It validates items against multiple purchase orders in the background, and then seamlessly updates your ERP system. No more paperwork!
Because a receipt is recorded as soon as items are entered into the handheld, stock may be immediately put away to a bin location. Bin location assignment following receipt may be automatic; stock can be transferred to a temporary receiving location if receipts are to be staged prior to put-away.
Most of the time, stock will be put-away following goods receipt. If there are back orders waiting for product (standard or non-stock) or there is a “low stock alert,” stock may be put away directly to pick locations. Otherwise, stock handlers will move pallets into bulk locations (typically up in the pallet racks or on floor stacks).
Some of the highlighted benefits for accurate and efficient warehouse receiving include:
- The ability to receive multiple orders simultaneously in no sequence, without paperwork.
- Scanning product bar code or use quick lookup functions to identify products as they are being received.
- Printing carton or pallet-ID labels as product is being received.
- Receiving multiple pack-sizes on the fly.
- Cross-dock non-stock items to forward pick locations. (We will discuss cross-docking next).
- Immediately put product away without staging.
Efficient receiving is just one area in which WMS can greatly improve accuracy and control the proper flow of inventory. Warehouse technology encompasses receiving, picking, packing and shipping goods in the best manner possible. This not only saves time and money, however, also keeps your company competitive along with being up-to-date with the latest supply chain movement standards.
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