Every day, we spend a lot of time looking around for things in our lives and if you think about it, we waste a lot of time doing this activity. Yes, some of us have routines that we stick to (trust me, I am guilty of that), but there are times the routine just does not work. For example, we try to always put food in a certain place in the cabinets and make sure that our keys are on the hook, etc. But as humans, we have our moments where we fail in this due to something else taking its place or we just get rushed. Unfortunately, many of us are all too familiar with that moment of panic when we realize the keys are not where they belong and so we must play everyone’s favorite game: Hide and Seek. Now take a moment and think about the manufacturers out there who are doing this on a massive scale in their warehouses.
Most organizations have some process for arranging their warehouses, but as I always say, “life happens.” Couple misplaced inventory with growth in the product mix or in the employee base because sales are going like gang busters and now you are also trying to train new people or deal with rearranging your space. Add in the demands of shipping and receiving product on a busy dock and this is just the start of the inventory control challenges that most manufacturers experience daily.
The mess grows exponentially when you mix in the desire to reduce the amount of materials or products that are kept on hand or at the production floor. The thought of reducing waste introduces associated challenges such as product movement, space, time and even expense. How does a growing organization manage all of this? Simply put, the answer is better technology and planning across the supply chain.
The first step is realizing what the supply chain consists of. For most of our customers, it is the supplier and the warehouse providing raw materials and WIP, followed by the plant floor that is busy creating finished goods that move either directly to a truck or back to the warehouse for storage. Don't forget product that must move between plants or warehouses and of course, “billables” that ship out to the customer. With all of those moving pieces, how do we reduce waste in our supply chain?
A big piece of the solution is an Advanced Warehouse Management System (WMS). In the newest version of our manufacturing ERP and MES software, EnterpriseIQ, we introduce a whole new level of inventory control with our Advanced Warehouse Management module. This next level of WMS is a system based on rules and logic that helps reduce all of the challenges mentioned above.
Imagine telling someone where to go and meaning it. The Advanced WMS solution does just that, including ways to schedule your dock doors, determine what needs to go into an inspection location and what needs to go directly to the floor or a truck for immediate usage. Imagine the system telling your material handlers when something needs to be picked up from the floor or dropped off. How about planning your shipments so you can more effectively use your resources? Those of you who know me know I am very militant about inventory control and this new module can give your business the tools you need to help reduce waste.
IQMS' development team, the Automation Group, has spent thousands of hours looking at best of breed concepts and then incorporating only the greatest features into this exciting new module. And since EnterpriseIQ is a comprehensive, extended solution, Advanced WMS will have the same capabilities of a Tier 1 WMS system plus the added bonus of being completely integrated with your ERP software for enterprise-wide traceability and visibility.
The new Advanced Warehouse Management module will be discussed and demonstrated at User Group 2014. Please be sure to stop in the WMS sessions and learn more (Haven't registered for User Group? There is still time! See below).
This guest blog post was written by Senior Application Analyst, Stephen A. Morse.