Warehouse management has gone through several changes over the course of the last two decades. Tracking inventory, supplies and completed orders used to be a complex process that required reporting on paper where items were, leading to sometimes costly errors and a lot of time spent handling materials. With automatic data capture, enterprise resource planning and other forms of technology, the process of managing products and parts inside the warehouse has become a lot simpler and less time-consuming. Still, different strides are being made to increase productivity in inventory control. All of these are seeking to maximize the uses of technology in the field.
A platform with full automation
For many manufacturers, warehouse management systems are being seen less as a software suite and more as a platform, according to Supply Chain Digest. This is because WMS software is seen more as logistics management, labor management and overseeing a significant portion of the supply chain. Whereas before these systems were run as separate modules within an ERP solution, increased integration has allowed these aspects to communicate with each other as a single cohesive unit.
This process ensures parts and products are effectively monitored throughout the production and fulfillment process. It allows a greater degree of customization that can result in better handling of specific orders, which improves customer service. At the same time, it allows for better control of the supply chain by having an exact amount of materials as needed based on current demand. This saves on overstocking that adds material costs to the entire operation.
Along with this, automation is becoming increasingly popular among manufacturers, according to the publication Logistics Management. What has been noteworthy about even mobile warehouse management is that for the most part, the solutions have been designed with a focus on people-driven processes, with laborers scanning barcodes to check inventory and driving forklifts in order to move pallets around. Now, there are an increasing number of businesses that are relying on automated machines that sort, check and move inventory around the warehouse with far greater efficiency than human labor. All are powered by warehouse control systems that manage the machinery with even less room for error. This process, called materials handling automation, has become increasingly prevalent within the manufacturing business as the machines used for it become increasingly affordable. With this in mind, WMS has begun to adapt by adding materials handling to their regular processes.
For more information on improving efficiency with barcode technology, download the free white paper entitled "Keeping the Physical World and the Virtual World in Sync" from DMS today.