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Get Your Money's Worth

March 7, 2007
Warehouse management systems can do far more than they're being asked to do.

Too many companies are underutilizing their investment in warehouse management systems (WMS), according to a best practices survey conducted by the Supply Chain Consortium, which represents consumer goods manufacturers and retailers. "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," observes Tom Singer, a principal with supply chain consulting firm Tompkins Associates.

Although most WMS solutions are being used to support receiving, putaway, picking and shipping, the survey indicates that companies have been slow to adopt other functions within these systems, such as cycle counting, packing, slot management, labor management, dock management and yard management.

By The Numbers: Warehouse Management

5 Companies that use warehouse visibility systems are five times as likely to have lowered their warehousing costs as all others.

3 Those that use distributed order management systems are three times more likely to have reduced cycle times.

2 Users of automated dock management systems are twice as likely to have reduced cycle times as those using a manual system or no system.

Source: Aberdeen Group

"WMS functionality can help improve packing, order and shipment consolidation, value-added services, carrier selection, and quality assurance processes," Singer points out. However, the mere acquisition of a WMS will not automatically translate into measurable benefits; as the survey makes clear, a WMS -- like any other solution -- needs to be properly implemented, managed and utilized to deliver desired results.

Functionality Used In A WMS

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