Successful Selection and Implementation of WMS for Manufacturing and Distribution

Posted by Gerry Poe


Supply chain managers have been trying to get visibility into their operations as long as there have been supply chains. In an omni-channel operating environment, visibility is more critical than ever. When a customer places an order, you need to have some degree of confidence that the inventory is going to be there. The value of a warehouse management system is quickly obvious which brings us to the questions of “which system?” and “who will implement the system?”

When selecting a warehouse management system (WMS), there are an abundant number to choose from. After working with the best (and worst), we understand the frustration of how expectations can be exceeded (or broken).

If you currently operate an ERP system, the WMS functionality may be part of that suite, or you can use a bolt-on WMS package or an extended WMS for convergence. We have implemented both and believe the choice of WMS software should fit exactly to the requirements of your warehouse operations. (vs. changing the operation to meet the demands of the WMS software)

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What is “convergence”?

As Extended WMS takes on a broader management role, they are integrating with other systems to make more intelligent decisions and create more optimized supply chain processes. The market calls this process “convergence”.

When solutions converge, a change in one system—like an increase for an order from 1,000 to 2,000 cartons—flows through all of the systems associated with that order. In a conventional supply chain execution system, you need to recreate the new order in the transportation system, the WMS and any other system. If the systems have converged, a modification in the order management system will update every other system.

Too complex?

Implementation of a WMS is often complex. Project planning is critical to the success of any WMS implementation. The project requires warehouse resources to collect data on the physical warehouse, materials, inventory as well as defining the strategies required to operate the warehouse.

The complexity of a WMS implementation varies with each business.

The physical dimensions and characteristics of each item to be stored in the warehouse should be collected and entered into the new system.

Capacity calculations require the physical size and weight of the stored item, as well as the dimensions of all the storage bins or racks in the warehouse.

The storage options for each item are required, for example if the item can be stored separately, in box, pallet, or if it can be stacked.

Each item must be reviewed to see if it is physical limitations on its storage, such as requiring refrigeration. 

Hazardous material information needs to be collected so that the item is not stored in certain areas.

The above is only part of the requirements of WMS implementation. The system requires decisions or configuration to be made on how items are to be placed or removed from the system, in what order, for what types of materials and what methods of placement and removal should be used.

A great option

collect-wms-product-details.jpgWMS COLLECT is an advanced inventory and data collection solution that integrates easily to SYSPRO ERP and many existing ERP systems. With COLLECT WMS software, you can look forward to: 

  • A warehouse management application that provides basic or complex
  • The ability to serve your unique needs whether it is for simple bin and location management support to more advanced load planning or rules based picking logic.
  • The use of license plates in inventory greatly eases data entry for those customers who need to record lot/serial number data.
  • You can expect shipping systems to provide shipment documentation preparation that eliminates almost all manual effort in the preparation of delivery note, bills of lading and export paperwork including:
    • Shipper export declaration
    • Pro-forma invoices
    • Free trade certificate of origin
    • Hazmat documents.

The extended capabilities of implementing COLLECT WMS software will allow you to preserve your business software investment. COLLECT's product lines have been designed to meet all shop floor data collection needs, for almost any type of manufacturer or distributor, and extend their SYSPRO and business applications with:

  1. Warehouse Management
  2. Shop Floor Data Collection
  3. Shipping Systems
  4. Barcode Products and Services

Whatever data your organization requires, from Time and Attendance, Work-in-Process, through Real-Time Data from automated production machinery, we implement the COLLECT WMS family of products to meet your needs.

IMPLEMENTATION

Our implementation is on-site, meaning we carefully examine your requirements, workflows, processes, and procedures, then deploy based upon your environment. This gives you a customized experience that melds our software to your business practices, rather than trying to meld you to our software.

Functionality includes:

  • Manufacturing picking/receiving
  • Disassembly
  • Vicinity and Horizons manufacturing capabilities
  • Barcode label printing capability
  • Order allocation and order fulfillment for Purchase Orders and Sales Orders
  • Assign picker/packer for visibility to sales documents
  • Print shipping labels straight from your RF device
  • Real-time visibility and lot level traceability from cradle to grave. From raw materials receipts to finish goods shipment to your customers, and every step in between.  

Who Uses This Software?

Manufacturing and Distribution companies needing warehouse management functionality as well as real time integration to shipping carrier systems.

Benefits

  • Improved inventory count accuracy. Using concepts such as license plates, errors are reduced
  • Unique customer mandated labels prevent errors in shipping
  • Rules based inventory allocations to enforce stock management or picking strategy
  • Wave pick to pack improves overall efficiency of operations and reduces redundant trips
  • Shipper export declaration, pro-forma invoices, free trade certificate of origin and hazmat documents

COLLECT WMS gives distributors and manufacturers the tools they need to streamline warehouse operations, increase productivity and meet the requirements of their most demanding customers.

COLLECT Advanced Shipping significantly reduces manual effort in preparing shipping documentation including export and hazmat documentation. Integrates to most carrier systems including UPS, FedEx, and USPS.

… and after implementation

After a successful launch of the WMS system, many find that resources required to operate the system are restructured due to more productive results with process consolidation.

Why this happens…

This might be as a result of the data intensive nature of the WMS software combined with how warehouses are in a state of flux. Examples include:

  • Lean processes and document handling reduction
  • Paperless with Directed Picking and ship processes
  • Racks are moved or reallocated
  • Placement and removal strategies changed
  • New items added
  • New processes developed


What to watch for

Warehouse accuracy is paramount for the software to operate. To do this, it is necessary to enter data accurately and in a timely fashion. We expect WMS implementation will reduce labor costs in regard to the placement and removal of materials and tasks focused on warehouse management function required are centralized, reducing oversight; streamlining material handling operations.

 

What’s changed

For decades, a WMS has been a real-time application. What’s changed is the technology structure. Today’s WMS talks to components, to conveyors and WCS systems, to ERP systems and to store systems. The communication is more real time and easier to enable and manage.

Also, small manufacturers and distributors are being pushed by their retail customers to participate in custom labeling and shipping initiatives and to drop ship retail orders. They now need the ability to receive an EDI (electronic data interchange) feed to share order information, to pack orders differently for each customer and to generate unique workflows for replenishment and direct-to-consumer orders.


We have a solution

Most ERP software systems were not designed to deal with the complexities of the warehouse and supply chain.

Our WMS software system provides the functionality to support warehouse management within your existing ERP framework. COLLECT® WMS software will meet the challenges of your simple to complex warehouse management needs while preserving your existing financial investment in business software. 

Learn more about COLLECT's world-class WMS software extension to your existing ERP software here

 

Tags: Warehouse Management, WMS, Warehouse Software

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