Warehouse management is a complex field, encompassing a wide variety of advantages and risks for firms. Keeping items in storage represents a delicate balance between finding space for everything where it will be immediately accessible when needed. Advanced warehouse management systems (WMS) can help resolve any troubles that may arise.
Convenience Store Decisions recently went inside the mid-Atlantic chain Wawa to determine the secret to the company's considerable warehouse success. The source discovered a system rich in automation and able to track items throughout their life cycle.
Supply chain secrets
Convenience Store Decisions focused on Wawa because of its ability to effectively manage its bottled drinks distribution processes. The source stated that the liquid shipping part of the organization processes 2,400 crates of drinks every hour. The warehouse is kept at 35 degrees at all times and boasts 99 percent uptime. The delivery accuracy rate of the system is more than 99.9 percent. The source discovered that one of the keys to such an efficient system is uncommonly deep WMS integration.
"Everything that we operate in the warehouse is driven by the WMS," beverage logistics head David Mann told the news provider. "From the moment the products come off the production line, through storage and through shipping."
Automation is a heavy part of the Wawa warehouse experience. The source stated that automated cranes move crates of drinks through the 35-foot high, chilled warehouse. The company has entrusted all of the stacking and loading to mechanical devices, eliminating the danger and possible inefficiency that would come from placing human workers in those roles. The cranes and WMS interact to make sure stock readings are always accurate.
Time of need
The current industry climate calls for optimized supply chain management and warehouse software and applications. According to the most recent National Retail Federation Port Tracker, there will be significantly more imports to U.S. companies in July than the same period in 2011. Firms will need effective and cost-efficient ways to move and keep that extra inventory.
With inventories on the rise, customer confidence and buying habits unpredictable, and high-speed online commerce on the rise, having an effective method of inventory management can be seen less as an optional improvement and more as a key component of an effective strategy. Companies can save time and money everywhere in the corporate structure, and the warehouse is no exception.