Cloud Computing Has Made Software As A Service Affordable
Warehouse managers are under constant pressure to reduce costs without compromising service quality. Technology such as automation, robotics and software has contributed to the evolution of warehouses with the promise of greater efficiency and effectiveness. However, the huge diversity of warehouse operations globally has made the effective use of technology a challenge. Managers understand warehouse operations are about trade-offs such as cost versus service, speed versus accuracy, efficiency versus responsiveness, or volume purchase versus storage cost and availability. Several processes within the warehouse provide opportunities for reducing costs by using advanced techniques and technology.
A real-time warehouse management system (WMS) is a must for staying competitive. These systems may be stand alone or part of an enterprise resource planning systems and modern WMS’s support advances in technology such as automation, RFID and voice recognition. Real-time systems allow effective control, accurate verification and efficient registration of data. Gwynne Richards, the author of ‘Warehouse Management,’ says that WMS’s provide advantages including accurate stock, accurate reporting, automatic replenishments, stock visibility and traceability, remote data visibility, reduction in mispicks, reduction in returns, and better customer service. Jeroen Van Den Berg, the author of ‘Integral Warehouse Management,’ says that flexibility is one great advantage that outweighs all other advantages. For example, it is relatively easy to reconfigure the parameters should the business demand process redesign from time to time.
Cloud computing has made software as a service (SaaS) affordable for even those with the smallest budgets. Companies can rent Warehouse Management Systems on a monthly basis subscribing only the functionality they need. The choice of WMS should be based on key business requirements – important considerations such as improved stock accuracy, the potential for increased productivity and cost savings, improved traceability, and improved customer and client service. The decision to purchase or rent should also include the return on investment.
A good Warehouse Management System software allows easy control of activities such as put-away, order-picking, replenishing or other value added functions. The system makes use of barcode and wireless technology to capture relevant data on shipments, inventory, and the warehouse itself to automate functions in the warehouse. It should also have radio connection with radio frequency (RF) terminals to display commands, and operators can respond by typing a response or scanning a barcode. Another great option would be that it assigns tasks to organize warehouse operations – keeps track of goods to be shipped or tracked and reminds managers or automated systems to execute them. It should also enable real-time updates on activities in the warehouse, and minimizes errors by verifying tasks in real-time.
Richards, G. (2011). Warehouse Management. U.S.A.: Kogan Page Ltd.
Van Den Berg, J. (2007). Integral Warehouse Management. The Netherlands: Management Outlook Publications.