This Wizard Isn’t Named Harry

Aug 01, 2003 9:30 PM  By

ANYONE FAMILIAR WITH a certain (rather popular) series of books will recall the magical map that figures prominently in several of them. It shows not just how to get around, but who is getting around: Anyone within the area shown on the parchment actually appears on it, identified by name, moving around in real time. Now wouldn’t that be a useful warehouse management tool!

In fact, it already is. Developed in-house by Jacksonville, FL-based third-party logistics provider TMSi, the appropriately named Warehouse Wizard is a Web-enabled warehouse management system that offers comprehensive, point-and-click visibility of relevant inventory and operational information at multiple sites. It allows organizations to receive information about orders, inventory levels, product transfers, and employee productivity and accuracy, in real time. TMSi executive vice president Mark Swenson says that one very large client currently uses the Wizard.

According to Swenson, Warehouse Wizard’s sophisticated reporting analysis allows companies to respond quickly to inquiries. “The system allows operations managers to see how many orders are being picked, packed, and not queued,” says Swenson. “A manager looks on a screen to determine the number of orders being processed by function: received, put away, picked, packed, shipped.” Instead of displaying a weekly or monthly log of activities, TMSi’s Wizard enables users to view operations minute by minute, facilitating good business decisions about resource allocation. This, adds Swenson, has allowed a reduction in clerical staff and increased productivity.

The “very large company” subsidiary deploying Warehouse Wizard offers outsourcing services and solutions, supply chain management, logistics, product planning, and technical expertise. Although the Wizard is a recent development, TMSi, which specializes in WMS programs, distribution center management, and dedicated contract carriage, has been around for 20 years. The company currently reports $40 million-plus in revenues, employs more than 1,100 people nationwide, manages 20 warehouse operations, and operates 10 private fleets. Other customers include Creative Packaging and Edison Electric.

Where does TMSi go from here? According to Swenson, the firm is looking at rolling out Warehouse Wizard to some other huge companies, and expects an announcement to be “imminent” about its implementation at a corporation with “multiple locations around the world.” Sounds like this could be the biggest Wizard since Harry what’s-his-name.

Supply Chain System Investments
ERP 71%
Inventory/warehouse mgmt. 54%
Order management 40%
SCE systems (e.g., EDI) 37%
Advanced planning systems 31%
Marketplaces/exchanges 26%
Other 23%
Source: Booz Allen Hamilton