Five Key Steps to Optimizing Warehouse Management
With budgets getting tighter and executives being more methodical in their investment and allocation of funds for improvement projects, many organizations are taking a closer look at supply chain operations to identify strategic drivers that can have immediate impact. In order to shed some light on these actions, Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company (NYSE:HHS), announces the release of the latest supply chain report, "Five Key Steps to Optimizing Warehouse Management." The focus of the report is around the adoption of warehouse management systems (WMS) and peripheral applications and examines how successful companies have leveraged this technology to achieve superior performance.

Surveying more than 200 respondents, Aberdeen found that the top pressure pushing businesses to take action around the adoption of WMS technology is the need to support increased sales without increasing staffing or space.

"The pressure mounting on today's warehouse managers isn't that different than yesterday, but the speed at which change is occurring is increasing and the time to adjust to those changes is shrinking," said Brad Wyland, senior research analyst, Aberdeen. "By automating many of the manual procedures necessary to process and distribute activities throughout the warehouse, today's warehouse managers can focus their labor force on improving operations and managing exceptions, versus spending countless hours managing paper trails." When examining Best-in-Class companies--those who have outperformed their peers in key performance areas--the report notes that they are:...
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WMS Market May Climb Back in 2010
Despite the global recession, the worldwide market for warehouse management systems shrank just under one percent in 2008. ARC Advisory Group is forecasting a much more substantial downturn in 2009, before the WMS market begins to grow again in 2010. Because of the two-year downturn, the market is...
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RedPrairie Updates Warehouse App; Combines Fleet and Parcel With Transport
RedPrairie has issued a new release of its Warehouse Management software. Version 2009.1 is intended to help retailers address the complexities of multi-channel operations. A new optimized outbound repacking tool is aimed at sites that send out one or two products to a large number of end customers, where efficient packing is critical. The parcel-packing module enables integration with multiple carrier systems, to provide labeling and carrier selection. The software upgrade also includes support for...
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Video Game Technology Comest to Warehouse Management System Market
Video game visualization technology has come to the Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) market. These new products and modules are not merely "slick" packages that are "nice to have" additions to a WMS solution. Whenever a software solution's usability improves, new forms of productivity are enabled. The personal computer revolution, after all, was based as much on improved user interfaces as it was on increased computing power. These new video game-like graphical user interfaces are apt to lead to improvements in slotting, warehouse congestion detection, and error prevention.

Next View Software was first vendor to introduce visualization technology to the WMS market. When I first saw this technology demonstrated, it struck me as one of the most innovative solutions I have seen in logistics software industry over the past several years. Interestingly, Next View was not the only software vendor with this idea. In recent weeks, I've seen...
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Which Warehouse Management System Do You Need?
You already know that a good WMS is a real-time solution that helps with such functions as shipping, packing and putaway. And you know that voice recognition and RFID technology can be a part of these systems as well. So, what size WMS is right for you?...
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Kranz Cleans Up as Everything Goes Green for Company
The distributor of packaging and cleaning supplies extends a green philosophy to the operation of its supply chain--and saves money in the bargain.

A company that sells "green" products ought to move them to market in a similar fashion. That, at least, is the philosophy of Kranz Inc., a distributor of industrial packaging and cleaning supply systems.

Founded in 1850, Racine, Wis.-based Kranz predates the era of environmental awareness. In fact, the company claims to be the nation's oldest continuously operating distributor of supplies and materials. Today, it directly serves a market that covers much of Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana, with wider exposure by way of an industry cooperative known as Network Services Co. Customers include companies in the healthcare, education, manufacturing, hospitality and contract cleaning sectors.

Even with 159 years of experience, Kranz hasn't grown complacent. It regularly benchmarks its logistics operations against others in the industry, with a goal of staying in the top 10 percent in terms of performance.

One recent benchmarking exercise gave Kranz cause for dissatisfaction. It found itself lagging competitors in the efficiency of its warehouse and delivery operations. "We noted that we were spending a lot more money on that function than other companies," recalls Jeff Neubauer, Kranz's chief executive officer. "So we knew we had an issue."

Some of the symptoms were obvious. A number of pallet loads were being handled twice within the warehouse. Certain orders were arriving too late in the day for Kranz to route them optimally. Company trucks were returning to the warehouse with unloaded product, because they didn't make it to the customer's location in time. Then they would deliver a second time. Not only was the system wasting money, it was burning extra fuel and generating additional pollution--hardly a favorable situation for a self-professed "green" company.

"We wanted to reduce our carbon footprint," Neubauer says. "A huge part of sustainability is all about eliminating waste."

Seeking an outsider's perspective, Neubauer turned for help...
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