New Warehouse Management System FAQs
So, you’re thinking about implementing a new warehouse management system. Whether you’re finally taking your warehouse online, or are simply upgrading your current warehouse management system to this year’s model, there are some things you should consider before making that proposal.
Is our company ready to take the leap to new warehouse technology?
If you’re already thinking about implementing a new warehouse management system, then the answer to this question is probably “yes.” But it could take some effort to convince management that the time is right, so developing a clear strategy for your new management system before you propose it is essential. According to Sage Software, “while most executives agree an accounting system is a must-have, the sentiment does not always apply to Warehouse Management Systems. You probably have to sell the idea of a new system to the rest of your senior management team. They may be skeptical about whether the investment is really necessary.”
If your company is ready, the best way to prove it is with statistics. Consult with your warehouse team to identify current problems and how technology can help you solve them. Is your business lagging behind your competitors when it comes to order turnaround? You could be losing valuable time to searching or wrestling with outdated equipment. The cost of this inefficiency could far outweigh the cost of upgrading your warehouse management software or automatons. Numbers don’t lie, so take thorough stock of your current warehouse output rate and be prepared to compare that to how much faster your supply chain could turn around with a fresh warehouse technology makeover.
How far do we want to take technology in our warehouse?
The range of technology available for warehouses today is staggering. Of course, you want your warehouse to be on the cutting edge, but understanding the right scale for your company can mean the difference between getting the warehouse management system you deserve and another quarter of waiting.
If your warehouse is fairly large-scale, you may be able to make the jump to a fully automated warehouse. Companies like Zappos have seen serious success with the little Kiva Systems robots that rule their warehouse floors. By bringing needed products straight to employees, rather than asking those employees to waste valuable hours and energy wandering the aisles in search of faceless boxes and SKUs, warehouses have been able to up their productivity rates exponentially.
Keep in mind, however, that technology comes at a price. If your warehouse is fairly small and you’re not pumping out massive amounts of orders every day, going full-on robotic with an automated warehouse could cost your company more than they’re worth – and the fact that they dance on command may not impress your CEO as much as you’d think. You may have to be willing to make some compromises, but even just new warehouse management software can make a huge improvement on your production, and as your business grows you can revisit the full scale robot arsenal in time.
Is the warehouse technology we want cost-effective?
When proposing a new warehouse management system, making it jibe with your company’s budget is paramount. Will your investment pay off, or will you be paying for it later on?
The truth is that upgrading your management warehouse systems will ultimately save your company money. A faster turnaround time between orders and delivery will only heighten customer satisfaction, leading to more return orders, but good logistics goes far beyond that customer service alone. There are several ways in which a management warehouse system can reap a return on your investment – a modern and efficient warehouse management system can save you money everywhere, from a reduction in lost product due to shipping mistakes to a reduced need for live employees on the floor over time.
A strong warehouse management system keeps the supply chain flowing, which in turn benefits everyone involved. Now is the time for one of your own, if you only know how to broach the subject.
UK Food Supply Chain to be Exempt from COVID-19 Isolation
Vital workers in the UK’s food supply chain will be exempt from isolating after contact with COVID-19 under new emergency measures announced by the British government.
More than 10,000 people working in supermarket distribution centres, manufacturing plants and other food logistics services will be affected by the initiative. Staff who are told to isolate by test and trace or are notified by an official app will be allowed to continue working as long as they test negative.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said the scheme would undergo a limited trial this week after consultation with the country's biggest food retailers. It plans to extend the measures through a wider roll out next week, impacting around 500 sites dedicated to stocking supermarkets and producing staple foods such as bread and milk.
“Food businesses across the country have been the hidden heroes of the pandemic,” said Environment Secretary George Eustice. "We are working closely with industry to allow staff to go about their essential work safely with daily testing.”
Speaking to Sky News, Eustice added that the exception would not be extended to other sectors.
"The reason we have made a special exception for food is for very obvious reasons,” he said. "We need to make sure that we maintain our food supply. We will never take risks with our food supply."
UK Supply Chains Under Strain
The news follows reports of empty shelves and widespread shortages in British supermarkets after a record number of people were told to isolate via the NHS app. Branded the ‘pingdemic’, more than 600,000 alerts were sent out to phones and mobile devices in the week beginning 8 July, warning people that they had come into contact with those infected by the virus.
It left already strained food supply chains under staffed and unable to cope. The mass alert has also caused disruption in other supply chains, exacerbating a prevailing shortage of drivers and other essential logistics professionals.
Savid Javid, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, who was appointed last month following the departure of MP Matt Hancock, said: “As we manage this virus and do everything we can to break chains of transmission, daily contact testing of workers in this vital sector will help to minimise the disruption caused by rising cases in the coming weeks, while ensuring workers are not put at risk.”