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Managing Contemporary Warehouses Problem Solution Essay

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Updated: Jan 26th, 2020

The dynamics of a globalizing world continue to press operations and supply chain managers to realizing efficiency in moving and receiving goods (Anonymous, 2002).

In the Twenty First Century, modern warehouses present many challenges that lead to loss of time and business opportunities or competitive edge (Leinbach & Capineri, 2007). A major challenge presented by contemporary warehousing business entails inventory management proficiencies.

Warehouse managers need to have complete control of warehouse inventory to be efficient. Lack of this vital insight can cause overstocking and backordering that may result to unhappy customers and lost business.

Another challenge facing modern warehouses entails clients who are more demanding. In contemporary supply centers, businesses need to meet customer’s specific needs. Warehoused that cannot comply with these demands face the threat of losing business from such clientele.

Warehouses, which face this challenge, need a WMS (Warehouse Management System) that accommodates the unique needs of customer (Emmett, 2011). Outdated systems of manually labeling products with consumers unique specifications cause loss of time and labels may get lost or misplaced resulting to delays.

Warehouses that face this challenge need automated cataloging systems that reduce time wastage and facilitate management of different consumer needs.

Globalization also presents a new challenge in warehouse management. The warehousing business attracts new entrants every day, meaning the number of warehouses or sellers handling similar commodities across the globe increase the level of competition each moment (Leinbach & Capineri, 2007).

With globalization, traditional local markets and their competitive advantages are no more or decreasing, because consumers can order goods from any part of the world and have them delivered on time, and in some instances faster than goods ordered from local warehouses.

Warehouses that cannot compete favorably by maintaining low overhead face the threat of losing trade to foreign, and local competitors. Warehouse Management Systems offer a solution to warehouses that need to maintain their competitiveness in the global economy.

Global dynamics have led to warehouses facing the challenge of product diversification. As global markets expand and evolve, modern warehouses are forced to stock different commodities in terms of size, variety and form (Leinbach & Capineri, 2007).

Product change may lead to warehouse managers and outdated inventory systems missing some commodities because they might be left out during stocktaking.

Without a WMS, a business operating a warehouse may miss on balanced growth. As trade starts to grow, a warehousing business may find itself fielding additional commerce.

However, without the use of WMSs the business may start engaging more workers on the assumption that sales improvements mean extra income, but it may not be the case. Therefore, a business without a WMS may hire new workers without knowing the cost to the business in terms of training and education.

A WMS helps warehouses overcome this challenge by keeping workers schedule at a basic minimum as well as letting workers operate at top capacity, and reducing training cost (Emmett, 2011).

Contemporary warehouse businesses face the challenge of e-commerce. Currently, most business transactions and operations have migrated or are transitioning to the digital platform, and use of hi-tech technology. Currently, consumers place order on the internet.

Warehouses lacking modern WMSs are missing many business opportunities. Traders, who accept EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) from clients as well as ASNs in their warehouses, have a unique economic advantage over traders who do not embrace these e-commerce tools (Qin, 2007).

Significance of Modern WMS in Managing Contemporary Warehouses

Warehouse managing is the skill of moving and storing items in a warehouse. Warehouse managing entails monitoring the movement of merchandises within and outside the warehouse. It encompasses warehouse arrangement, tracking logistics, items control and exchanges between product locations (Atkinson, 2002).

Warehouse administration deals with receiving, storing and moving commodities, such as raw materials and ready products and comprises operations, such as warehouse master inventory, documentation, transferal in process, safety stock, and transfer head time (Knolmayer, Mertens, & Zeier, 2002).

Before the introduction of WMS in supplies and operations management, warehouse managers and employees depended on paper and clipboards inventories.

Records and operations needed to transfer merchandise were also restricted in their capacity (Richards, 2011). Currently, the scale of stocks that can be managed within encloses of a warehouse employing a WMS is infinite. The functionality accessible in modern WMS makes the aforementioned aspects possible.

A hi-tech WMS is important in managing modern day warehouses because it helps in scheduling, material-management controlling, inventory management, locating, and shelf life managing (Richards, 2011).

Scheduling

In warehouse management, scheduling is a very important function. A scheduler found in WMS facilitates warehouse management by allowing managers to reserve sea and land ports time for cargo ships or trailers.

A scheduler allows managers manage time based on supplies metrics, such as cargo arrival to a destination and departure times from ports (Richards, 2011).

Other aspects of a WMS scheduler allow supply chain managers know when commodities will be ready for shipping or transportation, time needed to package, label, present and consign goods and other functions. No modern WMS is all-inclusive without a scheduler module.

Material management Controller

A material-management control service is another key aspect of modern WMS, which help in managing warehouse.

The fundamental functionalities of this service are to monitor the accessibility and whereabouts of the resources necessary to moving products (Richards, 2011). Such resources comprise forklifts, hauls, portable devices and wagons.

Stock Locator

A stock locator is a WMS component that allows warehouse managers and employees to locate merchandise inside warehouses. A stock finder module comprises many features, such as a quick stock search, a compound whereabouts search, and a replacement notification among other services.

Additionally, a stock finder has the ability to detect when new merchandises or items will be delivered and when a warehouse inventory empties (Richards, 2011).

Catalogue Pick Controller

Most hi-tech WMS comprise a catalogue pick controller, which allows automatic regulating of merchandise volume to be transferred from a production zone onto a conveyor or other inventory selecting formations, and depend on whether a product is selected by means of bar code imaging, speech technology or RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) (Manthou & Vlachopoulou, 2001).

Shelf life Controller

A shelf life manager is a vital component found in most modern WMS, particularly in foodstuffs and drinks or consumer package commodities processes where the number of hours a commodity stays on a warehouse shelf is critical.

Shelf life controller module functionalities routinely route commodities from the relevant production zone and forces bulk exchanges between production zones depending on product expiry date (Emmett, 2011).

Other functions contained in WMS diverse modules include cycle tallying, record auditing and computations, databank maintenances, peripheral hardware interfaces, statement making among other functions (Richards, 2011).

Businesses operating warehouse need WMS, especially in the Twenty First Century, where business activities occur over the internet and use futuristic technology. Warehouse management systems remain one of the tools warehouse businesses must invest in, to remain competitive in the global economy.

Annotated References

Emmett, S. (2011). Excellence in warehouse management: how to minimize costs and maximize value. London: John Wiley & Sons.

This book addresses various themes on how to make warehouse managing efficient. The author discusses WMS, and way in which they can be used to reduce operating costs and capitalize on on value.

This book is appropriate for warehouse managers because the author, Stuart Emmett, has included self-assessment problems and case studies about supply chain management to help the reader understand the main topic.

Leinbach, T. R., & Capineri, C. (2007). Globalized freight transport, intermodality, e-commerce, logistics and sustainability. Cheltenham, UK; Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing.

This book is comprehensive in investigating key issues that drive global supply chain operation, such as e-commerce and modern technologies, logistics, as well as sustainability of worldwide transport industry.

It conclusively captures issues influencing the feasibility of freight structures and their influence on the global economy. This book is ideal for today’s managers in the supply chain business, policy makers and scholars studying supply chain systems.

Qin, Z. (2007). Introduction to e-commerce. Berlin: Springer Berlin.

This book highlights various aspects of e-commerce and way in which they influence business operations in modern economies. Some of the topics addressed by the author include internet marketing and transactions.

The book is effective because it focuses on what managers need to know as regards e-commerce infrastructure, policymaking and enactment, technology models, and public strategy questions.

References

Anonymous. (2002). WMS drives efficient parts distribution. Modern Materials Handling, 57(12), 55.

Atkinson, W. (2002). Value-added services from 3PLs and public warehouses, what to look for. Logistics Management, 41(10), w8.

Emmett, S. (2011). Excellence in warehouse management: how to minimize costs and maximize value. London: John Wiley & Sons.

Knolmayer, G., Mertens, P., & Zeier, A. (2002). Supply chain management based on SAP systems, order management in manufacturing companies with 19 tables. Berlin: Springer.

Leinbach, T. R., & Capineri, C. (2007). Globalized freight transport, intermodality, e-commerce, logistics and sustainability. Cheltenham, UK; Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Manthou, V., & Vlachopoulou, M. (2001). Bar-code technology for inventory and marketing management systems: A model for its development and implementation. International Journal of Production Economics, 71(1-3), 157-164.

Qin, Z. (2007). Introduction to e-commerce. Berlin: Springer Berlin.

Richards, G. (2011). Warehouse management: a complete guide to improving efficiency and minimizing costs in the modern warehouse. London; Philadelphia: Kogan Page, 2011.

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