Archive for warehouse management system

Powering the Smart Warehouse

Consumer behaviors are evolving in an increasingly digitalized marketplace with substantial impacts taking hold in the warehouse, including accelerating service levels, shifting order profiles, and increased personalization and value-added services. The need to respond to these challenges is provoking heightened interest in warehouse management system (WMS) platforms with a focus on preparing for market challenges that lie ahead. Vendors are preparing for the next level of customer expectations in a digital supply chain landscape by […]

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Guest Commentary: A New Best Friend for Santa’s Elves: How a WMS Drives Efficiency in Omni-Channel Retail

This time of year, many children have high expectations for what they hope will be delivered for the holidays. For those of us adults who are buying for them or anyone, our expectations aren’t any lower: We want the ability to purchase however and wherever we want, and receive it as fast as possible in the most convenient location. For retailers that don’t have an army of elves to cater to the needs of each […]

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Warehouse Management System Supplier Selection

Earlier in the year, ARC developed a supplier selection tool for Warehouse Management Systems. Our goal in developing this tool was to have it enable the cross functional, end-to-end process of developing supplier selection criteria, sending those criteria to suppliers, getting responses, evaluating the responses, and making the final selection. I did not develop the process flow tool, but I did come up with the criteria for judging WMS solutions and suppliers. I found that […]

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Yard Management Solutions Impose Control on an Inherently Chaotic Process

As Chris Jones from Descartes said in a Logistics Viewpoints column, the Forrest Gump quote — “Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get” — applies to the challenge of managing a yard, particularly inbound dock operations. A yard management system (YMS) controls the yard attached to a warehouse or distribution center (DC). YMS functionality includes dock door scheduling, check in and check out, location of trailers in the […]

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DC Managers: Use the Right Kind of Metrics to Protect Your Job

ARC Advisory Group surveyed 52 logistics executives and asked them if their companies were using any sort of warehousing costs per unit measurement, defined as “total warehousing costs/total units shipped.” Thirty-seven percent of the respondents were not using this this metric type, which is far too low. Ideally, if a company is doing pallet shipments, it would measure “cost per pallets shipped” to evaluate that zone of the warehouse; if it is building mixed-case pallets, […]

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The Dreaded Platform Upgrade

A while back I wrote a posting where I claimed that if a top-tier Warehouse Management System (WMS) has not been too heavily customized, the costs associated with an upgrade would be about 15-20 percent of the original implementation cost. But this is only true if we are not talking about the dreaded platform “upgrade”. What is a platform upgrade? Things change. And things in technology change particularly quickly. I won’t list all the significant […]

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Creating Waves of Work in the Warehouse (Part 2)

When it comes to supply chain management, anytime you can take discrete pieces of work and group them together intelligently, you have the opportunity to optimize. The more time you have, and the more discrete pieces of work you can group together, the larger the potential savings from optimization.  I recently wrote about waving in the warehouse. Wave management is based on intelligently grouping together a batch of warehouse activities for later release to the […]

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Labor Management at DSC Logistics

I recently spoke with Jim Chamberlain, the Director of Engineering at DSC Logistics about their rollout of RedPrairie’s Labor Management System (LMS) solution. Jim began his career at Kraft where he worked to develop labor standards. Based on that experience, he knew this was a big opportunity for DSC when he joined them. In 2005, DSC evaluated the major suppliers of LMS solutions. They selected RedPrairie’s solution because they viewed it as the most comprehensive […]

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Changing How We Look at the Risks of Selecting and Implementing Software

We were briefed a few months ago by BabbleWare, a new entrant to the Supply Chain Execution (SCE) market. BabbleWare sells warehouse management, manufacturing execution, and mobile execution applications. It offers both software-as-a-service (SaaS) and license pricing. BabbleWare’s solution integrates to paper-based systems (as well as systems that generate telnet/terminal emulation, XML transactions, and even Excel spreadsheets), pulls the data needed to create mobile scanning applications with the appropriate process logic, then puts the data […]

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WMS Architecture and Total Cost of Ownership

In 2006, I interviewed 22 companies that had implemented or upgraded a Warehouse Management System (WMS) solution at a single site or across many sites. These interviews clearly suggested that the architecture of the solution affected its Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). I looked at the type of WMS solution that was implemented—traditional configuration versus Business Process Modeling (BPM) configuration. The latter should really be described as “micro BPM” because the workflows are not used […]

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