What Are Your Warehouse Management System Priorities?

A recent Aberdeen Group study listed five priorities for an effective warehouse management system: cycle counting, real-time putaway, paperless receiving, bin-level location management, and order picking with mobile devices. We asked three operations experts to find out what their priorities are to run an effective warehouse management system.

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Multichannel Merchant
Multichannel Merchant
Multichannel Merchant
O+F Operations and Fulfillment

John Caplinger, vice president of operations for health and footcare merchant Benchmark Brands, listed his five priorities for effective warehouse management below.

Paperless/ASN (Advance Ship Notice) receiving: With the traffic to the web continuing to climb it is mission critical that we get our goods from dock to stock as fast as possible. The store is always open.

Directed bin management/slotting tool: Having the right product, in the right place, with the right quantity is key to maximizing your labor dollars.

A strong BI (Business Intelligence)/reporting suite: You cannot manage what you don’t measure.

A strong RF (Radio Frequency) package: The more mobile we can be the more efficient and accurate we will be.

A strong workforce management suite: It is critical to give our front line operation management as many tools as possible to achieve the overall highest efficiency. Making sure we have the right number of folks scheduled for the work available while helping them manage cost is very important to any business.

Jeff Hill, warehouse manager for outdoor gear and apparel merchant Moosejaw Mountaineering, listed his top five priorities below.

Flexible wave planning: We bulk pick our single line orders and batch pick our multis. To meet our customers’ needs, we have to be able to create waves of each on the fly, using various combinations of order channel, order date, carrier, service level, and destination.

Real-time bin level inventory: With a thorough cycle-count regimen thrown in, this is crucial to maintaining our perfect pick accuracy goal, particularly during retail peak season when we take on a high volume of seasonal workers.

Labor management: Needed to advertise target productivity levels and hold staff accountable for them.

Paperless transactions: We’ve been there, done that, with paper. The labor savings since going paperless speak for themselves. Not to mention all those poor trees.

Customizability: You can certainly argue one way or the other for customization. As a growing company of our size, we are currently on the “for it” side, and find it important to partner with a provider that excels in meeting our customization needs.

Anne Embrey, vice president of fulfillment operations for Replacements Ltd., said her company built its own system.

“For us, flexibility in the order pick is key,” Embrey said. “Getting the right balance between replenishment and pick face slotting is next in line. These probably fit under bin-level location management and order picking. We’re in the process of updating the flow of our order pick right now. And accuracy by location is key.”

Jim Tierney (jim.tierney@penton.com) is a senior writer for Multichannel Merchant. You can connect with him on Twitter (TierneyMCM) and LinkedIn, or call him at 203-358-4265.

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