Foundation of strong, visible supply chain is warehouse management


warehouse managementVisible and adaptable processes can be considered new keys to supply chain management. With a need to move goods across greater distance than ever before and customer expectations of speed growing, attaining a supply chain that can keep up with demand has become less optional and more a matter of survival.

Software executive Chuck Fuerst, writing for Logistics Viewpoints, stated that a great supply chain strategy begins in the warehouse. Warehouse management systems, as one of the basic tenets of a supply chain, offer a great opportunity for speed and efficiency boosts. Whenever an object is not in transit or at its final point of sale, it is in the care of a WMS.

Foundation in the warehouse

Fuerst laid out series of guidelines that companies can follow when selecting systems for a warehouse environment. He specified that a WMS should be able to change in relation to industry standards. Each field is different and, especially in cases where restrictions and regulations are extensive, Fuerst values the ability to change workflows and processes to make sure that the software and business goals are properly aligned.

To gain the kind of adaptability that Fuerst highlighted, warehouse management products must be easy to upgrade. Fuerst explained that managers should try to avoid systems requiring changes to the source code or costly and frequent updates. Such systems will cause disruption and slow processes in a supply chain environment that is only growing faster. Fuerst described the quest to attain agility as the factor that will divide "thriving" companies from firms that are simply "surviving."

Demands spur new model

There are many supply chain-centric demands on retailers based on a new generation of customer expectations. According to the recent Commerce In Motion study, companies still do not have the visibility needed to perform important inventory tasks, including executing recalls. The study found that, while the best companies can track recalled items through their supply chain in a matter of hours, 51.6 percent of companies must still spend multiple days trying to locate goods.

The study ascertained that companies are aware of the dangers that a failure to quickly find recalled goods could bring. When asked which of the consequences is the most worrying, more than a quarter of companies chose financial risks. Another 24 percent stated that the loss of brand reputation is a greater danger.