Warehouse Management Systems for Cold Storage
Just-in-time inventory management systems used in distributions centers are critical for today’s production facilities and raw materials suppliers. Vendors that provide raw, perishable products need access to accurate, real-time inventory management information. This information is critical to meeting their customer’s ever changing production needs. Modern warehousing technologies are designed to track the activities performed in a distribution center and provide the detailed, real time data these vendors require.
Inventory managers that use cold storage facilities to process and fulfill orders, will look to modern warehouse management systems to provide the flexible solutions their supply chains need. The advanced Warehouse Management Systems, or WMS, provide this state of the art technology. Vendors that need to track their products through receiving, putaway, order batching and waving, picking, consolidation, staging, and loading rely on these systems which are often coupled the latest in radio frequency, or RF technology, sophisticated software, hardware and networking technology. The WMS supplies time critical data via the web, email, or other documentation available for remote desktop monitoring.
With most Warehouse Management Systems, the pallets of raw product are tracked with bar codes or RF technology as they are processed through the cold storage facility, enabling product counts to be followed in real time as orders are being filled and shipped. Frequent changes in production schedules demand that warehouse facilities have the ability to pick a multitude of products, often from numerous vendors’ inventories, and ship to one or more manufacturing or processing facility, often within only hours of the request from the production floor.
At the warehouse facility, operators use wireless, handheld bar code scanning computers to confirm receiving, picking and shipping. These computers are networked to provide data in real time via web based systems to their customer’s desktop or wireless monitoring terminal. Customers are able to access inventory, transaction histories and order status, and review reports that can be printed in Adobe format or exported to an Excel spreadsheet for further analysis.
The use of RF technology enables vendors to track the movement of their inventory through the warehouse without relying on their staff to scan each pallet with a handheld computer. Using the available software, they can time shipments to the warehouse based on orders being fulfilled by the storage facility. For a company supplying raw produce, this information can be delivered right to the fields.
The sophisticated software utilized in these systems can be customized to meet each customer’s specific inventory management needs. Available wireless web technology allows supply chains to be monitored by the customer whether they are in the office or in the field. Orders from a production facility can be sent to the field quickly, insuring the continuous flow of raw materials from vendor to customer.
As the economy begins its upswing, companies are looking for ways to spend money on improvements. Updating existing software for more convenient usage could be a first step towards more productive and efficient warehouse management