What to Do with an Overstocked Warehouse – Can a Warehouse Management System Resolve This Problem?
Peter Bílik, EMANS Solution Designer, ANASOFT
Company Internal Logistics
The issue of excess stock is not unique and many manufacturers face the problem of piling up components, raw materials or their spare parts. In some manufacturing halls, buffer storerooms and annexes take up more than a half of the entire area. As a result, manufacturing sites surrounded by palettes remind one of a battlefield rather than a pleasant and ergonomic working environment. Introducing the WMS - Warehouse Management System can be the right solution.
Large Scale Tetris
The size of stock will naturally lead to increased costs. First of all it ties up capital in the form of stored goods. In addition, a warehouse must be equipped with the relevant technology including palettes, crates and other necessary packing material... Transporting stored stock represents another cost in itself. If the warehouse is full, moving around becomes more difficult and the transport of goods within the warehouse can become more complicated. When receiving goods in a warehouse, the warehouse operator becomes a scout for empty space or a player in a large scale version of Tetris. If needed material must be searched for or mined for in the warehouse, the shipping itself can also be a source of waste.
Excess stock increases costs for something that does not add value to the product. In certain cases it can even reduce the value of a product since the lifespan of materials is not endless and storage can have an impact on the quality of the final product.
Control over the Entire Warehouse – Warehouse Management / Inventory Management
However, many causes of excess stock can be eliminated or at least their impact on costs and manufacturing effectiveness can be reduced with the help of modern technology. Manufacturing Management solutions already available on the market are directly targeted on or have integrated modules for Inventory Management or Warehouse Management.
The basic elements of such systems are:
- Use of automatic identification through barcodes or RFID
- Precise localization of goods in the warehouse
- Real time recording of all movement in the warehouse
- Optimizing algorithms for placing stocks in warehouse locations
- Adhering to FIFO, FEFO or other specific rules for shipping stock from a warehouse
- Automation and expedition of the stocktaking process
- Measurability of various indicators concerning productivity and costs
Thanks to a warehouse management system, you can gain control over all of the activities in the warehouse and enhance overall labor productivity. Given that warehouse operations are carried out mostly through mobile terminals operated by specific workers, the performance of individual warehouse staff members can be measured and evaluated. This provides the managers with a sufficient amount of quality information necessary for evaluating, planning and improving warehouse processes.
Other benefits of a managed warehouse include the simplification of operations, the distinct reduction of human errors up to the reduction of paper documents. All this results in improved services provided to the customer for whom the goods are prepared on time and in the required quality and quantity.
Addressing Logistics with Logic
The EMANS system platform is one of the most comprehensive manufacturing information systems. Nowadays, the fourth generation of this manufacturing software is available. It was designed with respect to the most recent trends in connection with the introduction of the Industry 4.0 concept and in compliance with the internationally accepted ISA95 standard.
The EMANS Manufacturing Executions System enables the flexible creation of a warehouse map. The nature of stored goods is frequently diverse and the breakdown of a warehouse into locations and larger units such as zones, sectors and departments must take this into consideration. Such sophisticated breakdown is implemented through the integration of automated manipulation technology as well as specific requirements for the storing of goods regarding their quality, temperature regime, turnover rate, etc.
However the main benefit from the introduction of EMANS is optimum warehouse operation control. And thanks to the coordination of individual operations, there is a logical sequence which results in significant savings in time and money thanks to the better use of the time of the operators and manipulation technology.
A suitable strategy can be used for receiving operations thanks to which the system is able to designate the most suitable available location for the received goods. Pick by Light technology which guides the operator by light signals to the right location with the right component can simplify the work of the operator when preparing shipments. In addition, the operator can clearly see what he/she should prepare for shipping and since there is no need to scan barcodes, the operator’s hands are free to handle the goods. The system also monitors the quantity of the goods in the warehouse for required discharging. If the supply drops under a set limit, EMANS will automatically plan for the transfer of goods in order to replenish the relevant warehouse location and set this assignment to the specific warehouse operator.
Stocktaking in a managed warehouse is simpler due to the fact that actual stock in individual warehouse locations is fed into the system directly through the mobile terminal. Thus the need to print paper materials as well as the subsequent manual copying of results in the system is eliminated. Stocktaking is faster and more precise.
The End of Printed XLS Files
There are many ways to tackle internal logistics. However, if the total volume and complexity of logistics operations go beyond certain limits, keeping warehouse records in paper form or in several XLS is not enough. This is when it’s time for specialized solutions – such as EMANS, which will handle all warehouse processes.
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