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he subject of warehouse management systems (WMS) is something that should be evaluated by every DC operations team, every year. The IT team should be involved, but more importantly, it’s the operations team that uses the tool and determines the gains from a new system or upgrade. IT should be the services group that supports the task, but all too often, the IT department is the group that determines when to upgrade the existing system or when to look at a new one. Speak up, operations team! You need a voice in this decision because an antiquated system causes rework, costly errors, and your business will find it hard to keep up with today’s competition without throwing people at the task, which becomes very expensive. Not to mention, throwing

12  MAY-JUNE 2017

the new hardware to malfunction and not operate efficiently.

people at the task in today’s environment is harder. Trained workers that can assist in the immediate emergency of getting orders out the door are harder to find, which brings on many headaches and non-performance. Modern technology and new apps can streamline the process of implementing much-needed functionality. If your current system is inflexible and the support is lousy, don’t even think about upgrading the current system. If the support is bad now, it is likely that the support will be bad later, no matter what the salesperson promises. Plus, if you are going from an old platform to a new Java or more current platform, it’s not an upgrade — it’s a new install, so you might as well investigate the new tools and systems that are available. Below are some tips by functional area that justify looking at a new system. 1.

If you have an older system that has a problem with handling large volumes of data or you are experiencing a need to reboot frequently, you have an issue. Immediately start investigating or, more importantly, budgeting for a new system.

2. The system or process you are currently using will not accept new hardware interfaces easily, causing

3. The receiving process will not accept ASNs or purchase order receiving; therefore, you must create a receipt. This process creates at least 30% and up to 60% additional work. 4. The system will not allow you to store and pick from multiple locations. This creates inflexibility and increases walk times and touch times. Today’s WMS systems should have ultimate flexibility so that your operation can do multiple types of picking, especially if you have gone to multi-channel operations as many companies have in order to compete with e-commerce. 5.

Putaway of product after received is not directed, thereby allowing the receiver to put it in whatever spot possible. Most companies that have this restraint have created rules to avoid havoc. Rules are always helpful and are usually followed when you have tenured employees, but new people tend to look for ways to avoid the rules.


You are not verifying replenishment, which means that when your pickers go to a location to pick, they could be picking the wrong product.

PARCEL May/June 2017  

PARCEL May/June 2017

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