Warehouse Management — September, 2007
Systems, Services and Software

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Most Companies 'Fail' to Use Their WMS to Full Capability
From Supply Chain Consortium

Too many organizations under-utilize their warehouse management systems or do not make sound upgrade and replacement decisions, according to a recent Supply Chain Consortium benchmarking and best practices survey of 100 top retail and related companies.
The survey also finds that WMS solutions vary in cost and complexity, but there are three basic sources: (1) best-of-breed software vendors, which offer stand-alone WMS products or extended supply chain execution software suites; (2) enterprise resource planning vendors, which offer integrated warehouse management modules; and (3) custom solutions developed by the end-user organization or a third-party contractor.
"Although companies are implementing these solutions to enhance operations, too many do not take their investment to the next level by continually evaluating how well they employ their WMS and seeking improvement opportunities," says Tom Singer, Tompkins Associates principal and author of the WMS survey report.
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How Investing in Automation Can Cut Your Costs
From Multi Channel Merchant

Dan Kaplan, president of New York-based SMC Data Systems, a provider of supply chain management solutions, says that many companies and their WMS providers are not properly utilizing advances in warehousing and inventory technology to optimize their supply chains.
While today's competitive business environment dictates that companies should be lowering their operating costs to increase productivity just to survive, many are reluctant to upgrade their warehouse computer systems, remembering past experiences and not wanting to incur new expenses. What they fail to realize, he says, is that having aging software will result in higher operating costs companywide and excess inventory in the warehouse--meaning a decrease in profits.
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Hidden Benefits of Accurate Inventory Control

The importance of inventory accuracy needs to extend past the stockroom walls, according to Debra Hansford, president of PreCrest LLC, a consulting and training firm. Inventory accuracy is a common theme at many companies, she says, with familiar topics including calculating accuracy, starting or improving a cycle count program, and debating the feasibility of conducting cycle counting rather than an annual physical inventory. While other benefits to inventory accuracy may be discussed less often, they should be considered as well, as they may well fall into the "hidden and overlooked" category, she says.
The idea of delivering parts directly to the point-of-use area may be gaining momentum and reducing the safety net of a secured stockroom with limited access, she says. Regardless of inventory location, maintaining accurate inventory records is imperative. Without increasing costs, methods should be implemented so that transactions are recorded correctly and on time to ensure the inventory balance is accurate and as close to real time as possible. She offers the following "musts" for achieving accurate inventory benefits:
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Avoiding Litigation in a Diverse Workplace
From Douglas Publications

As our world turns, nightly news programs, newspaper headlines, and electronic newsletters often showcase bold diversity headlines. Workplace chatter has no trouble keeping up with the media.
Whether it's a comment from a coworker, boss, or customer, we are all prone to getting "hooked" on an issue that's near and dear to us, and expressing our views. The problem is that some of our opinions can unconsciously be hurtful to others and create tense workplaces that undermine teamwork, performance, and client service.
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MS vs. LMS
From SC Digest and Manhattan Associates

According to Dan Gilmore, editor of Supply Chain Digest, there is no single manner in which to integrate WMS and LMS into your supply chain system.
"Most experts and companies that have implemented WMS and LMS will strongly recommend that you do WMS first," he suggests, "although there is a part of me that could lobby for doing it jointly. The usual answer offered is that you can't develop the best methods and standards until you have your distribution processes down."
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The New Face of Outsourcing
From C.F Lynch & Associates

According to Clifford F. Lynch, principal of C.F. Lynch & Associates, a provider of logistics management advisory services, and author of Logistics Outsourcing-A Management Guide, the logistics outsourcing business used to be about providing transportation and warehousing services to the masses. Today, it's about providing complex, technology-rich logistics solutions to targeted audiences.
The logistics outsourcing business used to be about providing transportation and warehousing services to the masses. Today, it's about providing complex, technology-rich logistics solutions to targeted audiences. As The McKinsey Quarterly so succinctly put it, he says, "Outsourcing is moving from economies of scale to economies of skill."
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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

The Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC) 2008 Annual Conference
May 4-7, 2008
Hyatt Regency Hotel
Chicago, IL
For more information, contact: Susan Levand, 630.990.0001

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