May 17, 2020

Streamlining Warehouse Functions

Freddie Pierce
3 min
Warehousing & Storage

Warehousing is just one of many links in the supply chain and it can be a complex part of the entire chain. The warehouse is where all goods are stored...

Warehousing is just one of many links in the supply chain and it can be a complex part of the entire chain. The warehouse is where all goods are stored prior to being transported to their final destination. So it makes sense for companies to streamline the management of this vital link in the chain.

Today’s warehouse is a highly technical space. Increasingly, warehouses are adopting technology to improve picking and sorting, and to reduce overall costs.

Warehouse management systems (WMS) are commonly implemented in response to the changing requirements and demands from other areas of the supply chain and from consumers.

Dominic Regan, senior director of value chain execution at Oracle Western Europe, acknowledges that warehouses are being asked to perform more functions.

“Warehouse management systems must respond quickly to business requirements, from customers’ changing behaviour to conserve operating cash in a constrained credit market, to demands to ship products with the longest remaining shelf life to the best customers,” he explains.

“Warehouses therefore have to handle more items, with greater velocity, in increasingly complex orders,” he continues. “To address these challenges, businesses need robust and scalable solutions that will help them optimize their operations.”

Oracle has its own warehouse management system that has been utilized by companies worldwide.

Supply Chain Digital profiles the system alongside those offered by Manhattan Associates and Infor.


Key Features:

  • Oracle WMS offers rules-based directed putaway and slotting capabilities. These minimize storage fragmentation, enforce hazardous material rules and reduce obsolescence.
  • Oracle WMS also recommends optimal storage bins for order fulfillment. The system offers Push and Pull based replenishment to enable warehouses to efficiently pick a high volume of order lines.
  • It can identify cross-docking opportunities in the warehouse by matching expected receipts with outbound shipments and manufacturing component requirements.
  • The system provides out of the box support for RFID and EPC technology. Oracle WMS also offers the framework in which to automate any warehouse transaction via RFID.

Key Features:
  • Slotting optimization is also a key feature of Manhattan Associates’ management system, helping to shorten fulfilment cycles and use warehouse space more effectively.
  • The system can coordinate the entire fulfillment cycle inside and outside of the warehouse using distributed order management.
  • Its transportation lifecycle management is another feature of the company’s warehouse management system. It manages shipments to and from the warehouse.
  • Manhattan Associates’ Supplier Enablement is an online portal that opens up the lines of communication with suppliers, speeding up time to market and reducing errors.

Key Features:
  • Infor’s warehouse management capabilities include inventory management, which collates multiple unites of measure, lot control and catch weights to improve inventory accuracy.
  • Its cross-docking function allows flow-thru, transhipment and opportunistic process capabilities.
  • Infor also has a range of value added services that include deferred manufacturing, preparation of store-ready pallets, light assembly and kitting.
  • Voice-directed picking is another key feature of Infor’s system. It offers voice-enabling order selection, replenishments, put-aways and transfers to improve productivity and accuracy.
Warehouse management systems have achieved significant results over relatively short time spans. Oracle reports that its system helped Chang’an Motors save $3.4 million through improved shipping and inventory. Meanwhile, Denby Pottery Company saw picker productivity improve by over 200 percent.

Martin Fagerström, IS manager for Attends Healthcare AB, said that the company’s investment in Oracle Warehouse Management will pay for itself in less than two years.

Manhattan Associates has recorded similarly impressive results, including inventory reductions of between 5 percent and 20 percent. Labor productivity has been
reported as increasing by 15 percent to 40 percent using the company’s management system.

The results certainly demonstrate that, for larger warehouse operations at least, there are significant benefits to be had from the implementation of warehouse management systems. As warehouse space becomes more complex – and it undeniably will – systems that can streamline and improve the many faceted warehousing and storage sector will be an extremely effective tool.

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