Warehouse Management Systems
Read the following two articles in ProQuest along with the others in the background materials:
Forger, Gary (2005, Apr.) “Kirkland’s New Home,”Modern Materials Handling(Warehousing Management Edition), Boston Vol 60, Iss. 4: pg 22.
Modern Material Handling’s annual Productivity Achievement Awards honor three companies that have made outstanding strides in improving operations through materials handling and related information systems. Modern’s Editorial Advisory Board chose this year’s winners from more than 20 candidates. Companies were judged for their ability to deliver top-level customer service, respond rapidly to changing conditions, deliver orders that meet customer requirements, and improve their operations. New is what home decor retailer Kirkland’s is all about. “At any time, 70% of the SKUs [stock-keeping units] in our DC are new items,” says Todd Weier, vice president of logistics. “We didn’t have a warehouse management system (WMS) or any mechanized equipment to manage and move inventory,” says Weier. All that has changed since Kirkland’s consolidated the three warehouses into a single 770,000 square foot DC. It used to take three days to pick a single SKU for all stores. Now, that can be done in a day. That change has had a strong impact on retail stores. Before, each store had its own mini-warehouses of 500 to 5,000 square feet. Now, almost all of those satellite facilities have been eliminated, resulting in more inventory than ever arriving at stores directly from the DC. In addition, distribution productivity has improved considerably. Throughput by shift has increased 40%. Last year’s peak shipments to stores for the holiday season moved from August to November.
Napolitano, Maida, (2007, Dec.) “Value Turns Warehouse into DCs”Modern Material Handling(Warehousing Management Edition). Boston: Dec 2007, Vol. 62, Iss 13, pg.55.
The warehouse has certainly entered an evolutionary process. It is no longer a four-walled beast intended to store “mistakes” in forecasting—called inventory—but is now an entity morphing into a more appropriately named “distribution center” (DC) designed to better enable product flow, and to reduce—even eliminate—storage. According to Don Derewecki, president of Gross & Associates (G&A), a logistics consulting firm based in Woodbridge, NJ, 80% of respondents are currently dealing with some form of value-added services (VAS) in their DCs. VAS is a collection of specific requirements mandated by customers, involving additional processing of a product or an order, above and beyond the simple picking of the product for an order. The results of Logistics Management’s 2nd Annual Warehouse Operations Survey show VAS is rapidly becoming the norm rather than exception. With the rise of VAS, small manufacturing cells are inevitably making their way into the layout of what were once pure storage and distribution operations. This year’s survey, based on the responses of more than 750 Logistics Management readers (79 percent of whom are mid-level or upper level logistics and supply chain managers), uncovered even more illuminating details regarding today’s distribution centers. This article describes what today’s distribution center looks like, how operations are changing, expounds on the importance of productivity rewards, assesses the role of technology, dissects the impact of the green movement, and shares how logistics professionals are preparing to meet future DC demands.
Based on the readings, write a paper discussing contemporary warehousing functions and Warehouse Management Systems.
Include discussion of the following:
- Contrast the differences between contemporary warehousing functions versus those of the recent past (25 years ago).
- Explain the role and importance Value Added Services (VAS), Cross-Docking, and other innovations play in contemporary Warehouse Management Systems (WMS).
- Assess if Kirkland’s new warehousing operations exemplifies a “state-of-the-art” warehouse.
The paper should be 3-4 pages.