It is found that
there are overlaps in the functionality of the warehouse management
and the enterprise resource planning, distribution requirements planning,
transportation management systems, supply chain planning and scheduling.
If all these are to have separate software the company that is using
the software will get confused with the software solution provided separately.
Hence there is a need for an integrated system that will have warehouse
management and other related operations of the company.
There are many software
vendors who provide warehouse management software. Although there are
many vendors the basic functionality of the warehouse management system
is not changed. The primary purpose is to control the movement and storage
of the materials. A good warehouse management system would have a flexible
location system, get user defined parameters to direct warehouse tasks
and uses live documents for execution of the tasks. Some form of integration
with other devices is possible so that the warehouse management system
gets live data from other devices connected to it.
Not every warehouse
will need a warehouse management system. If the operation of the warehouse
is continuous and very frequent with a lot of transactions per day then
a warehouse management system would justify the cost involved in setting
it up. A lot of initial setup is to be done to keep the data warehouse
management systems to run and to keep the current operation on the run.
There must be a smooth transition from the current system to the warehouse
management system. Often a separate department is setup to monitor the
operations of the warehouse and to use the information system related
to that of the warehouse management system.
Automated data collection
in the warehouse management system would reduce the cost in the labor
and increases the accuracy of the data. It increases the effectiveness
of the service provided to the customer by reducing the cycle time.
Inventory reduction and increased storage capacity are less likely.
The level of safety stock can be reduced while increasing the efficiency
of the system. Customer services like first-in-first-out, cross docking,
order tracking and automated material handling are some of the area
that finds an increase in the efficiency.
The setting up of
a warehouse management system is an extensive task. Similar items and
locations are categorized. More details of the items are maintained
such as exact dimensions, weight, rack in which it is stored, hazard
classifications, whether it is a finished goods or a raw material, whether
it is a fast mover or a slow mover etc. these data about an item have
to be stored in a database. The given parameters are only tentative
and it will vary from industry to industry. For example if you are distributor
of washing machines, you may be required to have details like top loading
or front loading, the weight of the dry clothes that it can take, the
make of the machine, the features provided for a particular model, the
weight of the machine, etc. it is not that you will be storing only
a particular type of product in the warehouse. Different types of product
mix are possible in a warehouse and accordingly the warehouse management
system has to be configured. Since warehouse management system is all
about directed movement, the location from which the product has to
be picked up and where to be delivered are also to be keyed in to the
system. Hence warehouse management systems are gaining importance in