20 Questions Manufacturers Should Ask When Selecting a WMS/WCS Integrator (part 2)

Modernisierung_Kleinteilelager_ODU_b14_NRThe second critical decision about a new warehouse management system (WMS)—whether it is best-of-breed, or SAP LES or EWM—or a new (or integrated) warehouse control system (WCS) to track and control inventory and its movement within your manufacturing operation, is how it will be installed. Careful evaluation of the software supplier and/or integrator of a WMS/WCS solution for your company should happen either before or during software selection (although it sometimes happens after the software is chosen, for myriad reasons). [Read more…]

18 Questions Manufacturers Should Ask When Selecting WMS/WCS Software (part 1)

viadat_WMS_Weltbild_NRIf your manufacturing operation is in the market for a new warehouse management system (WMS) (either best-of-breed or SAP LES or EWM) or a new (or integrated) warehouse control system (WCS) to track and control inventory and its movement, there are several considerations to keep in mind. When evaluating an investment in a new warehouse execution system (WES) that combines WMS/WCS software, or an upgrade to an existing system, you have a lot of choices. Further, your level of material handling automation (either existing or planned) can have a critical impact on your ultimate software selection.

To help figure out which WMS/WCS solution is best for your application, here’s a checklist of 18 questions to ask. Use them as you navigate your software selection process. [Read more…]

New Automated Warehouse Helps Santa Keep Christmas Promises

'The North Pole'

viastore, a leading material handling automation systems and software company, announced that it has completed the installation of an automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS), at a super-secret location inside Santa Claus’ Village at the North Pole. Santa Claus is the world’s largest international distributor of Christmas gifts to children of all ages, delivering an estimated 1,829,256,297 presents annually during a 24-hour period on the night of December 24. [Read more…]

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…]

Three Ways Automated Tote Storage Systems Solve Throughput Challenges

viastore mini-load AS/RS tote storageIdeal for handling high volumes, automated tote storage systems—such as a high-density mini-load automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS)—maximize the amount of broken case (or eaches) storage in a given facility footprint. This type of material handling automation holds individual stock keeping units (SKUs) in dimensionally consistent plastic totes or trays; alternately, with the right load handling device, a mini-load system can handle cardboard cases of products. [Read more…]

When testing conveyor gets too realistic

The WalkTesting on conveyor system installations doesn’t always have to a boring, uneventful affair. At viastore, we take testing a system to make sure its operational very seriously, but we still like to have a little fun.

[Read more…]

Steps into Goods-to-Person Order Picking Systems

Picture1In the typical conventional warehouse, only about 40% of each order picker’s time is spent actually picking products to fill orders; the other 60% is taken up with walking to, between and from picks. That means these same associates are only engaged in revenue-generating activity about 40% of the time. That’s one reason more companies are taking a closer look at goods-to-person (also sometimes called goods-to-man) order fulfillment solutions.

As a basic rule-of-thumb, the ideal application for automating your warehouse with a goods-to-person system is one with a high number of SKUs and an increase in demand for just-in-time ordering—such as e-commerce. As with all automation implementations, there is a range of complexity levels associated with different goods-to-person technology installations. These levels, or steps, are built upon scalable warehouse automation technologies, allowing each to be integrated into an operation progressively, as a business—and its order fulfillment needs—grows. [Read more…]

Back to the Future Day…for Automation

BttFHappy Back to the Future Day. If you don’t know what this means, is was on this day 30 years ago in the ‘Back to the Future’ movie trilogy, where Marty and Doc Brown traveled 30 years into the future to…today. While they saw what the future looked like around Hill Valley, they didn’t happen to visit a distribution center. [Read more…]