Warehouse managers are under constant pressure to reduce costs without compromising service quality. Technology such as automation, robotics and software has contributed to the evolution of warehouses with the promise of greater efficiency and effectiveness. However, the huge diversity of warehouse operations globally has made the effective use of technology a challenge. Managers understand warehouse operations are about trade-offs such as cost versus service, speed versus accuracy, efficiency versus responsiveness, or volume purchase versus storage cost and availability. Several processes within the warehouse provide opportunities for reducing costs by using advanced techniques and technology.
A real-time warehouse management system (WMS) is a must for staying competitive. These systems may be stand alone or part of an enterprise resource planning systems and modern WMS’s support advances in technology such as automation, RFID and voice recognition. Real-time systems allow effective control, accurate verification and efficient registration of data. Gwynne Richards, the author of ‘Warehouse Management,’ says that WMS’s provide advantages including accurate stock, accurate reporting, automatic replenishments, stock visibility and traceability, remote data visibility, reduction in mispicks, reduction in returns, and better customer service. Jeroen Van Den Berg, the author of ‘Integral Warehouse Management,’ says that flexibility is one great advantage that outweighs all other advantages. For example, it is relatively easy to reconfigure the parameters should the business demand process redesign from time to time.
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