Is your warehouse management first class

Advanced warehouse management system can help the warehouse operation in the best condition.Here are 10 questions from ARC Advisory Group that can be used to diagnose whether a warehouse management system is capable of providing first-class warehouse management support.The best companies in the industry should answer "YES" to most questions.

1. Can your warehouse handle multiple orders simultaneously

In warehouses managed with paper media, operators can only process one order at a time.

In the United States, about two-thirds of medium-sized warehouses (10,000 square meters) and one-third of large warehouses (70,000 square meters) are still operated and managed by paper-based instruction.

In order to improve the productivity of the warehouse and reduce the operation of operators in the warehouse, it is necessary to carefully design the sorting strategy and route.

However, it is too complicated for paper management to implement staggered tasks, fast sorting or two-way sorting in peak period.

The use of RF and barcode technology allows warehouse operators to pick up multiple orders at the same time.

In the United States, less than 1 percent of warehouses also use acoustic sorting guidance technology, which can improve the productivity of sorting items that are difficult to move, but may reduce the accuracy of inventory control.

2. Whether the accuracy of the inventory exceeds 99%

All warehouses should achieve 99% accuracy in inventory control.The best 10% of warehouses can reach 99.95% accuracy.To this end, periodic cycle counting is a fundamental first step.Initially, the system should determine the sample number of cycle counts based on Pareto analysis of the value of each SKU.The system should then be able to help managers lock in error-prone inventory units.A better approach is for managers to count when the state of the warehouse is easy to count, for example, immediately after sorting to see if the space is empty or if there are a few items left.Of course, because each inventory unit is required to be accurately counted, it needs to reach 99.95% accuracy also requires changes in counting methods.Because the inventory unit may be mispositioned, it is best to count by channel.

3. Whether can give the customer a completely reliable promise of delivery time

Batch integration of deliveries once a day or twice a day between a warehouse management system (WMS) and an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system cannot support reliable deliveries when a customer is promised same-day or next-day delivery.

Therefore, the inventory data of WMS and ERP should be basically kept in sync.A particularly advanced system enables a salesperson to change delivery commitments given storage capacity and shipping conditions.

4. Can identify opportunities to improve performance through collected data

Warehouse management personnel should be most familiar with the basic standards of warehouse operations, such as the number of pieces per person per hour of handling, the order completion rate determined at the time, the time of pressing and the handling cost of each piece of goods.By comparing the results of changes in operations or operations personnel, warehouse managers can continuously find better operations, such as adjusting the storage space of goods that are being moved at the same time, adjusting operations personnel tasks or changing sorting procedures.

5. Can balance the workload between different areas of the distribution center

Poor warehouse management can result in a severe imbalance of workload in the distribution center (DC) districts.

Managers should plan, monitor and adjust the workload between each zone.

Monitoring warehouse operations is common.

Most warehouse managers who automate material handling have a near-instantaneous grasp of the workload in each area and reassign operators to balance the workload if necessary.

But planning is less common.

About one-fifth of the largest warehouses in the United States use time-and-action based engineering labor standards to calculate the theoretical time required for each task and compare it to the time spent on actual operations.

In general, these criteria determine the base salary of the operator, but using the data to better plan daily labor requirements requires managers to set a target completion time for specific tasks, such as calculating labor resources required during the sorting peak and determining the completion time of each task.

6. Can combine cargo items to simplify the work of downstream partners

Poor warehouse management makes the warehouse look like a place for stock.

Good warehouse management can bring the activities of upstream and downstream partners into the distribution center.

The use of carrier approved labels, export documentation and appropriate packaging will simplify the work of the shipping partner.

There are also more advanced loading and marshalling techniques with specialized technical experience, such as loading according to the order of unloading, and even providing roller brackets for retailers' display goods.

Some U.S. retailers require distribution centers to select suitable delivery destinations and carriers based on the weight and volume of the goods being shipped.

Modern distribution centers should be able to delay assembly, add product functions, increase product configuration selectivity and customer customization of core products, such as customized components.

7. You or your customer is not a one-time scan receipt

Poor receiving operations scan and test each item received.

The best receiving operation can be done by scanning only a label that contains or gives full information about the goods delivered.

Typically, a single scan of a receiving operation can be aided by wireless reading identification (RFID) or bar code identification

System, and the supplier and customer agreement between the prior notice of shipment.

8. Whether each warehouse manager can support each other in the multi-point distribution network

Poor management made the warehouse look like an isolated facility.

However, good management enables warehouse managers to see the inventory status of all distribution centers in the network system, and customers can check the status information of orders at any time.

The more advanced warehouse management system can also identify problems and within a few minutes to the management of the warehouse network system alarm.

If the system is out of stock, customer orders can generally be delivered between adjacent distribution centers.

A good warehouse management system does not drown the management in the alarm signal, but filters it first and then submits the alarm problem to the appropriate management.

More advanced warehouse management systems also include automated execution and completion of decisions by experienced warehouse managers, such as peak and trough adjustments for receiving and sorting based on the order in which delivery trucks arrive.

Of course, such systems are rare.

9. Whether the manual quality test has been cancelled

A warehouse with average management level often requires manual quality inspection of goods, while a well-managed warehouse can reasonably eliminate non-value-added additional processes.

There are two ways to eliminate manual quality testing.

One is to establish a complete set of reliable operating procedures, the system should support the sampling process of frequent sampling errors.

For each sample, the system should require the operator to go through the testing procedure, and the system should also specify what sampling operations are reliable and when quality testing does not add value to the product.

Second, if the cost of the error is far greater than the value of the goods themselves, then the quality inspection process should be automated.

Automatic weighing is common in the pharmaceutical industry, and it will be adopted by other industries.

It certainly requires accurate data.

However, in some industries, such as the semiconductor industry, due to the weight of the monomer cargo is too light, so it is not necessary to use automatic weighing method.

10. Whether the supply chain has the ability to handle reverse logistics

In Europe, legislation requires companies to track and recycle packaging.

Those who fall short could face a $30,000 fine.

The packaging is usually returned to a designated, often outsourced, waste disposal center.

For returns, poor management will double the shipping operations, such as first to the shipping warehouse and then to the return processing warehouse.

Good warehouse management requires customers to be authorized.

When goods pass through the consignee's warehouse entrance, the consignee shall follow the procedure to identify problems such as package or product damage, wrong quantity or product quality defects.

There may be an opportunity to increase sales.

The consignee is then told where the goods should be sent.

The consignee then USES his PC printer to generate a barcode label containing the receiving and disposal instructions and sends the goods to the designated place.

Based on the number of "YES" (1 point for each "YES") that the enterprise answers to the above questions, ARC consulting recommends the following diagnostic criteria for warehouse management system job optimization: 1.If the score is less than 3, there are many opportunities to improve performance and profitability.A score between 4 and 6 indicates that your company has used some viable technologies, and your supply chain performance may be in the middle.3.A score of 7 or 8 indicates an early adoption of the most mature warehouse management techniques.4.A score of 9 or 10 indicates that your company is leading the way in using the latest technology, but may also be overusing it.


Peter Lin