Warehouse Management — October, 2007
Systems, Services and Software

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Capacity Planning for Your Warehouse Facility

According to author William T. Walker, CFPIM, CIRM, CSCP, capacity planning is fundamental to production and inventory planning and control, but those of us who started in the factory tend to equate capacity with labor hours or machine hours. We rarely think about cubic volume as a capacity constraint. Yet our fellow practitioners who started in logistics know full-well that constricted space is the capacity constraint. Following are three reasons why a DC might get into such a space jam.
The first major issue affecting DC space is inventory turns. Every inventory contains A, B, and C stock keeping units (SKUs) along with excess and obsolete SKUs.
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Top 8 Myths of Small Business Warehouse Management Systems
From HighJump Software

According to a White Paper published by HighJump Software, the era of manual warehouse operations is drawing to a close-with good reason. No matter how efficient your employees are, managing space and maintaining inventory with ad-hoc spreadsheets, paper-based operations, or legacy systems doesn't provide the accuracy, or visibility, into the supply chain that your managers need to succeed.
Today, as businesses of all sizes grow in sophistication, they are turning to best-of-breed warehouse management systems (WMS) in an effort to reduce costs and boost productivity in the face of increased globalization, regulation and competition.
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Automating the Future
From APICS/Elizabeth Rennie

Elizabeth Rennie, senior editor, APICS magazine writes that playwright Karel Capek introduced the word "robot" in his 1921 play R.U.R. Derived from the Czech word for "servitude," Capek's robots were characters in a utopian society, where machines initially brought humans numerous benefits but, eventually, caused the dehumanization of society. The far-reaching success of the play instantly popularized the word-and it hasn't lost its status decades later.
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ROI and the Elephant in the Room
From Supply Chain Digest

How can companies best navigate the people issues-more specifically, headcount reduction-when it comes to new automation that in the end really depends on those moves to deliver the ROI? That's the question Dan Gilmore, editor of Supply Chain Digest, posed recently. He points out that ROI is often the proverbial "elephant in the room" when it comes to implementing new initiatives and achieving the expected results turning productivity gains in a distribution center into true bottom line benefits.
It seems we are in an era now where it is relatively easy (or at least easier than in the past) to shutter whole factories or outsource large functional areas or processes, but still (understandably) very difficult to do at a more micro-level. In many cases, things are a little easier in distribution, where for lots of companies turnover is quite high, often approaching 50%.
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Ready for Prime Time: More Stakeholders Taking a Critical Interest in the Complexities of Supply Chain Management
From Supply & Demand Executive/Bruce Proctor

Bruce Proctor, head of global trade services for JPMorgan Chase says that supply chain integration is quite a popular topic these days for good reason: the definition of supply chain management has evolved and matured to encompass more than the physical movement of product, the ongoing process improvements related to simplified sourcing, the faster transportation of raw materials and finished goods, and the fine tuning of just-in-time inventory practices.
Indeed, supply chain integration has assumed a much broader importance in the commercial world, with corporate treasurers, government officials, technology providers, bankers and logistics and WMS professionals all sharing a critical interest in the many facets of the worldwide flow of goods and services. Enter the role of technology.
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Getting Smarter About Business
From bMighty/Mike Bohlmann

Mike Bohlmann, IT Manager at the University of Illinois, reports that perhaps one of the hardest things about being an IT leader is keeping the technology from playing too large of a role in the decision-making process. The most important part of an IT decision is not the technology, but working smarter. It's easy to tell if an IT decision was made inappropriately, he says. If a new system doesn't get used by a large percentage of the targeted users, it's a good sign that at least some part of the decision was the wrong one. When there is no positive return in the form of cost savings, revenue generation, or new opportunities, an IT project could be said to have failed since every IT project is an investment of time and resources that are in limited supply. When executive management talks to IT for the first time about a large project only after it is done, it's a sign that something is fundamentally wrong. The root cause starts in business-IT alignment.
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Import Warehouses-The Next Bottleneck in Global Supply Chains?
From Supply Chain Digest

As port congestion eases, other factors are complicating the transloading and distribution process, according to the editorial staff at Supply Chain Digest. At one level, global logistics managers have been able to relax a bit in 2007, as congestion at U.S. ports has been substantially reduced from the levels faced by importers in previous years, they report. However, a variety of factors are causing throughput challenges in many "import warehouses" the facilities used to process and transfer inventory coming in from offshore supply sources.
For example, the "mega" cargo ships increasingly being used to move goods from Asia have altered the incoming container profile for many importers who now receive fewer shipments of more containers, playing havoc with labor requirements and workload balancing. With ships continuing to get larger and congestion likely to worsen again, these problems are not likely to disappear any time soon.
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Upcoming Events

APICS 2007 International Conference and Exhibition
Denver, CO
October 21-23, 2007

The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) 2007 Annual Conference
Philadelphia, PA
October 21-24, 2007

WERC Lean Warehousing Essentials Workshop
Austin, TX
November 8-9, 2007

100th Annual Meeting & TransComp 2007
Atlanta, GA
November 9-14, 2007

The Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC) 2008 Annual Conference
Hyatt Regency Hotel
Chicago, IL
May 4-7, 2008
For more information, contact: Susan Levand, 630-990-0001

Past Warehouse Management Issues:
September, 2007

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