At worst, a warehouse is just that and nothing else – and its significance as an important value-generating function for the company is not understood.
An ERP system (Enterprise Resource Planning) supports warehouse operations mainly via receipt of purchase orders and delivery of sales orders. Sometimes ERP also incorporates shelf locations to make work easier for warehouse staff. Still, it is easy to ignore the fact that there are a large number of activities between the receipt, shelving and delivery of goods. Control and monitoring possibilities for these activities in the ERP are very limited and their effectiveness in an ERP controlled warehouse is determined directly by the qualifications of the warehouse staff.
Of course, the operations of a warehouse can be made more efficient up to a point by developing warehouse processes and professional skills of warehouse staff, but in addition to ERP, a WMS system (Warehouse Management System) is required in order to achieve full efficiency.
WMS digitalizes warehouse operations so that receipt, shelving, fill-ups, collection and picking, packaging and shipping can be handled either with a tablet computer or other terminal. Achievements are recorded directly with WMS in ERP, and after this WMS calculates optimal shelf locations for various items according to their pick-up times. This eliminates unnecessary thinking and walking to find a suitable shelf location, so that collection and picking becomes more effective. WMS creates picking lists, calculates the shortest picking route, and controls picking of multiple orders all at once. At the system control level, warehouse fill-ups are also carried out in a timely manner so that pickers always have orders to pick and unnecessary loitering about is completely omitted.
The common nightmare for warehouse staff, and sometimes for office staff too, i.e. the inventory calculation, is handled during picking under the guidance of WMS. Especially in commerce, where the trendline is increasing number of orders of smaller lot size, it is a lifeline for maintaining competitiveness that efficiency of warehouse management can be improved.
For us at Leanware, a warehouse is not just a warehouse. We understand that efficient warehousing enhances the company’s profitability, enables growth using the same or smaller resources and adds to customer satisfaction through improved delivery reliability and accuracy – not forgetting better staff satisfaction thanks to modern and easy-to-use WMS.
If your warehouse is just a warehouse, you might want to reconsider the whole concept. If you have second thoughts about it, we would be happy to give you an assessment of the current status and potential of your warehouse.