Warehouse management involves physical warehouse infrastructure dealing with receipt, storage and movement of goods within an operation and then process the associated transactions. Knowledge about inventory control and warehousing systems, transport management, order management, mathematical calculations for optimum storage, risky goods management and entire accounting system.Do you want to learn more? Visit exotrac.
A Warehouse Management System (WMS) is an important part of an effective Supply Chain Management system. Implementation of WMS along with data collection will increase accuracy, efficient labor utilization to save costs without affecting goods movement cycle.
Implementation of a WMS:
The basic logic of any WMS software is combination of items, location, quantity, unit of measure, order information, where to stock, to pick up from and in what sequence to perform these operations. It is all about directed movement before you set up the extensive warehouse system by assigning specific logic to the various combinations of item/order/quantity/location and information in correct sequence.
Location Sequence: Define the pick up flow through the warehouse and assign a sequence number to each location.
Zone Logic: It designates an area; combine this with exact location logic within the zone to direct picking, put away, replenishment to and from specific areas of the warehouse.
Fixed Location. It uses pre-determined fixed locations per item piece picking, case-pick operation, put away and replenishment.
Random Location: It generally refers to areas where products are not stored in fixed locations. With combination with other logic, exact location can be determined.
FIFO: Directs picking from the oldest inventory first. First-In-First-Out.
LIFO: Last-In-First-Out is very relevant for overseas customers because of longer transit time. Especially useful for distribution of perishable goods for both domestic as well as overseas customers.
Quantity or Unit of Measure: Allows you to pick directly the same item based upon the quantity or unit-of-measured order from different primary picking or reserve storage locations.
Few Locations: This logic is primarily used for productivity. It determines least number of locations needed to pick the entire quantity or to stock the entire quantity. The only drawback of this logic is poor space utilization.
Pick-to Clear: Great for space utilization as it directs pickings to the locations with the smallest quantities on hand.
Reserved Location: It predetermines specific location to move inbound or outbound shipments, even to an awaiting outbound trailer.
Nearest Location: This directs goods for picking/put away to the closest available location to that of previous set up.
Maximize Cube: Slightly impractical, but uses unit dimensions to calculate cubic inches per unit to cube capacity of the location. Units can then be stacked in a manner that it fills every cubic inch of available space.
Consolidate. It creates additional moves to consolidate, such as, products stored in multiple locations.
Lot Sequence: This logic uses lot number or lot date to determine locations to pick from or replenish.
Other Functions/Considerations of WMS:
Activity-based costing/billing for shipment, storage or transaction
Labor tracking/ Capacity planning in manufacturing
Yard management for cross docking of trailers
Slotting of packages in best locations
Pick cartons is best for similar size and weight cartons
Cycle counting for operational functionality
Advanced shipment notification to automate receiving process
Automated data collection with bar codes
Task interleaving and order picking to obtain maximum productivity
Combine multiple logic methods to determine best location for pick up, put away to optimize space utilization and productivity.
The functioning of WMS has many operational constraints, but is essential to serve the customers better and maintain the competitive edge.
Alexander Gordon is a writer for http://www.smallbusinessconsulting.com – The Small Business Consulting Community. Sign-up for the free success steps newsletter and get our booklet valued at $24.95 for free as a special bonus. The newsletter provides daily strategies on starting and significantly growing a business.
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