Executive Briefings

5 Tips for Moving Beyond the Traditional Warehouse Management System

For decades, companies have relied on warehouse management systems (WMS) to control inventory and material handling processes within their warehouses. Historically, retail distribution centers have been built upon plans that included predetermined transportation routes that outlined the number of stores on a route, what product those stores would get and the quantity and configuration of those products. Consequently, distribution centers have had similar designs, process methodologies and IT infrastructures for years. E-commerce has changed the game, though.

5 Tips for Moving Beyond the Traditional Warehouse Management System

With more traditional distribution centers, retailers may run the risk of having to discount and liquidate product when various channels become overburdened with inventory, according to material-handling company VARGO. Conversely, having too little inventory results in lost margins. So a flexible fulfillment system that can pull from multiple channels to meet customers' demands can benefit everyone. Below are five tips to consider if you’re thinking about making a change in your fulfillment center.

1. One Inventory, One Labor Force — The best warehouse execution systems (WES) combine waveless fulfillment with a single inventory and labor force, says Bart Cera, VARGO’s chief operating officer and chief financial officer. This type of system orchestrates and balances labor and machinery across the distribution center’s picking, packing and shipping processes in real time.

2. Waveless/Continuous Processing — To ensure maximum efficiency, it is important to find a WES that creates a continuous flow, Cera adds. This can be accomplished by using waveless processing techniques. This type of processing, unlike traditional picking operations, enters all orders into an order well as they are received at the facility. Orders are then sorted and fulfilled based on priority, shipping requirements and picker locations to minimize order completion times, thus promoting flexibility and greatly enhancing processing and order fulfilment speeds.

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With more traditional distribution centers, retailers may run the risk of having to discount and liquidate product when various channels become overburdened with inventory, according to material-handling company VARGO. Conversely, having too little inventory results in lost margins. So a flexible fulfillment system that can pull from multiple channels to meet customers' demands can benefit everyone. Below are five tips to consider if you’re thinking about making a change in your fulfillment center.

1. One Inventory, One Labor Force — The best warehouse execution systems (WES) combine waveless fulfillment with a single inventory and labor force, says Bart Cera, VARGO’s chief operating officer and chief financial officer. This type of system orchestrates and balances labor and machinery across the distribution center’s picking, packing and shipping processes in real time.

2. Waveless/Continuous Processing — To ensure maximum efficiency, it is important to find a WES that creates a continuous flow, Cera adds. This can be accomplished by using waveless processing techniques. This type of processing, unlike traditional picking operations, enters all orders into an order well as they are received at the facility. Orders are then sorted and fulfilled based on priority, shipping requirements and picker locations to minimize order completion times, thus promoting flexibility and greatly enhancing processing and order fulfilment speeds.

Read Full Article

5 Tips for Moving Beyond the Traditional Warehouse Management System