Although manifesting systems are vital to achieving shipping efficiency, they are, in their “pure” state, by no means an ubiquitous presence in distribution centers. In a recent survey of shipping and delivery practices conducted by Multichannel Merchant/O+F, only 40% of the 155 respondents reported using stand-alone manifesting systems in their operations. One reason may be that the functions associated with these programs — label printing, verification, tracking, and shipping rate comparisons — are often featured as part of other supply chain applications. Our 2004 survey of warehouse information technology revealed that 52% of the 131 respondents had installed warehouse management systems; 25%, enterprise resource planning systems; 21%, supply chain management systems; and nearly 18%, transportation management systems. (The total exceeded 100% due to multiple answers). Clearly this allows for considerable duplication of functions and features.
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