Companies Not Up To Speed On Warehouse Management Systems

Dec. 1, 2006
Need to evaluate systems and find improvement opportunities.

Many companies are under-utilizing their Warehouse Management System (WMS) investment or do not make sound upgrade and replacement decisions, according to a recent Supply Chain Consortium benchmarking survey.

"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," said Tom Singer, Tompkins Associates principal and author of the WMS survey report.

A few key findings from the WMS benchmarking and best practices survey include:

  • Only 38% report using task interleaving functionality within their WMSs.
  • Only 60% of the respondents report that they perform a post-implementation audit of their supply chain technology investments.
  • Less than half of the respondents use their systems to schedule appointments for their receiving docks.

Although the survey finds that the vast majority of respondents use their WMS solutions to support receiving, putaway, picking and shipping, other functions such as cycle counting, packing, slot management, labor management, dock management and yard management are under-utilized.

And 87% of the respondents indicate that their WMSs are integrated to a customer or store order management system.

According to the survey, Radio Frequency (RF) picking using mobile hand-held or vehicle mount terminals remains the most popular picking technology. However respondents report low usage of RF pick carts and voice picking. "WMS functionality can help improve packing, order and shipment consolidation, value-added services, carrier selection, and quality assurance processes," noted Singer.

The Supply Chain Consortium sponsors a repository of 9000-plus benchmarks. Its advisory board includes supply chain executives from Campbell Soup, Hallmark, J.C. Penney, Molson Coors, Polo Ralph Lauren, Rite Aid, Target, The Coca-Cola Co. and Whirlpool.

Supply Chain Consortium

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