Nine Reasons Manufacturers Should Invest in (or Change) a WMS/WCS, Part 2

Warehouse_Management_System_viadat_b1_NRIn a previous post, we discussed why technology limitations and/or strategic initiatives might prompt a manufacturing operation to consider investing in a new warehouse management system (WMS) and warehouse control system (WCS) to track and control inventory and its movement. This second post covers the types of manufacturing process optimization objectives that can be met by an investment in a new or upgraded warehouse execution system (WES) that combines WMS/WCS functionality. [Read more…]

Nine Reasons Manufacturers Should Invest in (or Change) a WMS/WCS, Part 1

Manufacturing operations that store component parts—either made in-house or supplied by another facility or vendor—may or may not rely on a warehouse management system (WMS) and warehouse control system (WCS) to track and control inventory and its movement. Whether your manufacturing operation is considering investing in a new warehouse execution system (WES) that combines WMS/WCS software, or upgrading an existing system, there are a variety of reasons to do so. Generally, these reasons fall into one of three categories: technology limitations, strategic initiatives or process optimization. [Read more…]

Three Benefits of Warehouse Automation Duplication for Multi-Site Operations

Although it’s not often that “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to implementing warehouse automation in different facilities, installing the same brand and configuration of material handling automation equipment can deliver benefits to multi-site operations.

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Phoenix Contact’s Indianapolis distribution facility was automated by an AS/RS and Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) from viastore.

Take manufacturer Phoenix Contact—a maker of industrial electrical and electronic technology products that power, protect, connect and automate systems and equipment—for example. As a global entity, the company has three regional supply chain hubs located in Germany, China and the U.S. When it came time to better support business growth in both North and South America, the company decided to automate its Middletown, Pennsylvania manufacturing and distribution facility and chose to mirror its automation installation already in place in Blomberg, Germany. [Read more…]

What Warehouse Execution Can Do for Your Supply Chain

Over the years, as new software tools came out that would automate your distribution environment, each touted that they would optimize their respective space. The problem is that while the solution DID optimize it’s ‘world’ (i.e. the warehouse operation), it would sub-optimize the areas that worked with the warehouse (i.e. transportation or TMS). Each of these solutions created ‘islands’ of automation throughout a company’s supply chain.

Another issue for these disparate systems is that they operated on a batch mentality, meaning that orders and work were planned in advance, and then the work was done. If something changed during the course of the work, the plan (the batch) was not adjusted for re-optimization of work.

In today’s new world of Omni-Channel distribution, this can’t continue. The solution for true overall facility optimization, is the Warehouse Execution System (WES).

[Read more…]

It’s Not all about that Bass…It’s all about the Software

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While ‘All About that Bass’ was one of the biggest ear worms of last summer, when it comes to supply chain automation, there is a different new tune being sung.  It turns out that it isn’t all about that bass, but all about the Software.

This isn’t just a supply chain story either. Willy C. Smith, in a recent Harvard Business Review post, ‘Does Hardware Even Matter Anymore?‘, sums it up: “In more and more businesses, physical objects are no longer the primary basis for innovation and differentiation. They come second to innovations in computer code.”

[Read more…]

A three-year payback on an automation installation?

It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? That an automation installation could pay for itself in just 36 months—or sooner?

But it’s true. Depending on the level of automated system installed and the specific circumstances surrounding an operation’s current mode of operation, an investment in automated material handling systems and technologies could very well produce a three-year return on investment (ROI). [Read more…]

ProMat ’15 – Grease isn’t the word, it’s Software

PrintAnother ProMat has come and gone. With ProMat 2015 now in the books, the theme that seemed to resonate throughout the show was software.

While many vendors don’t like it said, the differences between the mechanical product offerings each has aren’t all that much any more. Its the software that is the new separation point. [Read more…]