Managing the Global Supply Chain
The use of traditional warehousing techniques is still prevalent in warehouses today. Picking and putting away products, followed by clipboard documentation worked well for many businesses though out the years and they have a hard time with embracing the change that technology and its efficiency would bring to their warehouse operations. Many warehouse operations are incorporating this change, “There is a move away from traditional warehousing with shelves and racks for storage to more of a flow-through operation, such as cross-docking, plus some light manufacturing or assembly and kitting,” noted by Adrian Gonzalez, senior analyst with the ARC Advisory Group of Dedham, Mass. The days of picking, putting away items as they arrive or depart are over if a business wishes to keep themselves competitive in today’s time-sensitive supply chain. A state-of-the art warehouse management system is critical to the operation of a modern warehouse, let’s try and understand why.
First and foremost, the functional utility of the warehouse must be addressed to avoid any obsolescence in the layout of warehouse space. Common sense tells us that state-of-the art has far more advantages than traditional measures within warehouse operations. Interior/exterior layout, dock design/equipment, and buffer/staging areas are just a few of the areas that must be looked at very closely when addressing the functional utility of a warehouse. The usefulness (functional utility) of each of these operations that I have mentioned can make or break the implementation or use of a state-of-the art warehouse management system. The days of honeycombing, ingress and egress tractor trailer issues, and inadequate number of docks positions within traditional warehouse operations are moving out as the emergence of state-of-the art operations are moving in. Another key component to the selection of a state-of-the art WMS is to first conduct a business needs assessment, before you go through the process of selecting a WMS, you must match business requirements to functionality (Ruriani, 2003). Guarding against future obsolescence is a must in the selection of a state-of-the art WMS, it must be able to accommodate future sales and growth and is adaptable to the next generation of technology that is available. Technology is ever changing and it does not wait on anyone, failure to embrace it will only leave your WMS and business well behind your competitors. It is essential to pick the right level of technology for your business to keep cost at a minimum, and performance at a high level,...