Warehouse management operations are the core of any product and service oriented company. Managing the flow of accurate inventory data is proving to be a costly challenge for companies faced with cumbersome, error-prone, manual-based processes that lead to higher operation costs, excess inventory and inefficient use of storage space
Datametric warehouse management system automates manual based processes from purchasing to shipping and delivery to customers, having complete visibility and control in a mouse click away.
Warehouse management solutions has been deployed to customers across a variety of industries including logistics service, wholesale, distribution, manufacturing and automotive among others.
From inventory control, shipping and receiving, to order fulfillment, a WMS is vital to improving the efficiency of a company’s warehouse operations. Datametric, offers WMS software packages that can be customized to fit the needs of companies of any size. By combining a WMS system with a wireless network, mobile computers, radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, Datametric can help fully extend your enterprise to the mobile worker, while increasing operational efficiencies and enhancing your customer service.
Gain insights into shipments that have been delivered, but that are not yet at their final location. Make sure items at low stock levels are staged and put away first, reducing the impact of out-of-stocks and inefficient fulfillment processes.
Know the location of all inventory on your shelves. Route your workers to the right location, set up their picks in the proper order to minimize travel time, and increase the number of orders they can pick each day.
Improve error-proofing and productivity in the picking process. Workers receive their picks on a mobile device that routes them to the proper location. Scanning items when you pick them verifies that the right item at the right quantity is picked.
Ensure the accuracy of each order that is picked and reduce material costs by determining the right sized shipping carton.
See that each order is properly packaged and shipped to the right destination and delivered on the right date.
Through Mobile Computer Inventory count can be done by scanning each item barcodes. At the end of operation system generates material variance report location wise, Item wise.
The Warehouse Inventory Tracking System is designed to provide a wide range of useful enquiries and reports based on specific data analysis including current stock, item movement, etc.
The Warehouse Inventory Tracking System is designed to provide a wide range of useful enquiries and reports based on specific data analysis including current stock, item movement, etc.
Now with latest emerging technologies in the field of hardware and software, installing/implementing a WMS is not a costly investment, you will quickly recognize its value. After a warehouse management system has been up and running for only a few months, many of our customers say that they cannot envision their operations without it. From achieving real-time visibility into inventory and orders, to decreasing the time it takes to invoice and receive customer payments, a warehouse inventory tracking system package extends mobility to each worker in your warehouse and prepares you to scale your business.
Relying on paper trails and manual data entry to manage your warehouse compromises worker productivity and inventory accuracy. Once received via printer, orders are picked, packed and shipped, with a paper trail tracking every step of the process. That information is then manually entered it into the system and filed. Should a discrepancy appear in a customer’s order or invoice, pinpointing the problem requires cross referencing the data in both the system and file cabinets.
With Datametric’s Warehouse Management System, you can enhance warehouse profitability and inventory management by decreasing inventory levels, improving order fulfillment, reducing order cycle time, and improving productivity.
Decrease turnaround time with order pooling and pick planning
Maximize order fill rates through improved inventory accuracy and visibility
Ship the right product to the right place at the right time
Track smaller, more frequent orders so your customers get exactly what they need
Eliminate costly annual physical inventories
Reduce carrying costs through accurate product tracking and placement
Lower shipping costs by reducing shipping errors
Decrease time and money spent correcting employee errors through an extensive audit trail
Optimize employee and equipment resources through intelligent workflow management
Maximize efficiency in product placement with configurable storage rules
Permit primary and secondary product locations with rule-driven bin replenishment
Ensure accurate product tracking with configurable cycle counting, throughout the warehouse
Enable quick availability of received items with Advanced Ship Notices and UCC standards compliance
A simple definition of a warehouse is:
‘A warehouse is a planned space for the storage and handling of goods and material.’
In general, warehouses are focal points for product and information flow between sources of supply and beneficiaries. However, in humanitarian supply chains, warehouses vary greatly in terms of their role and their characteristics.
The policies contain hard and fast rules and regulations that define the general conduct of the warehouse operation. Examples of the types of policies that organizations will define are as follows:
Organizational specific warehouse management policy and procedures guideline outline
Health and safety
Human resources management
Warehouse maintenance and cleaning
Record keeping and reporting
Reverse logistics – Return of goods and exit strategy in the event of downscaling or shutting down operations
Disposal of obsolete and damaged goods.
The procedures’ document defines step by step how the activities in the warehouse should be carried out and clearly defines the processes to be adopted. These can be adopted as ‘best practice’.
The procedures provide visibility of the operations for managers and donors.
However, in creating such procedures, care must be taken to avoid constraining the use of local initiative which might be required to deal with local conditions. Procedures should be considered as streamlining the business processes and providing checks and balances. They provide guidance to warehouse managers and must have some level of flexibility to cater to unique situations. This can be achieved by limiting the level of detail that the procedures document defines, allowing more flexibility and/or by arranging ‘dispensations’ to allow departure from the procedures in order to optimize local performance, especially in emergencies.
The procedures will normally provide the step by step guidance on how to manage each aspect of warehousing and may cover:
Receiving and issuing of supplies;
Quality control or verification;
Storage of goods;
How to control stock movement (stock control);
How to detect and deal with stock losses;
How rejected material will be managed; and
How to deal with unwanted material, obsolete and scrap, disposal.
Commercial: in rented building used for business.
Government or state: such as at the ports or harbors. This is common in emergency situations.
Transit: for temporary storage of goods destined for different locations and need storage for a very short time.
Bonded warehouses: for storage of goods whose duty is unpaid and especially where the goods are destined to another country. Pre-positioned stock is often held in bonded warehouses so that export is quick and can sometimes be stored for long periods.
Open storage: not ideal for perishable products but in emergencies, sometimes the only alternative.
Space that is owned and managed by the organization.
Pre-fabricated warehouses where there are no permanent structures available. This is common practice in emergencies.
Planning inbound receipt procedures.
Storage formalities e.g:
occupational health and safety
Outbound delivery procedures.
The areas that should be planned are both the general storage areas and the areas for goods receipt, consignment picking and goods dispatch. It is also desirable that space should be set aside for the following activities:
Equipment maintenance and parking
Charging of equipment batteries such as pallet trucks
Refueling of trucks
An area for garbage disposal e.g. empty packaging
A quarantine area for keeping rejected goods, goods to be sent back or destroyed
An employee rest area
An administration office.
It is worth keeping these requirements in mind during the planning of the main operating areas. Planning consideration needs to be given to the following:
Allocate space for each type of product and locating number
Allow sufficient space for easy access to the stacks for inspecting, loading and unloading. Stacks should be one meter from the walls and another meter between stacks
Sizing the goods receipt and dispatch area
Allow space for storage of cleaning materials and supplies
Allocate areas for damaged items by consignment number
Allow sufficient space to repackage damaged items and place it in separate stacks
Sufficient free space is needed to operate a warehouse effectively. When planning the size of a warehouse consider
Planning on having about 70-80% utilization of available space, whilst considering
Number of stock keeping units (SKU)
Handling characteristics of items, etc.
Special storage needs
Some relief items require special attention in terms of the type and security of the storage area. For example:
Medical supplies and drug shipments can contain a large number of small, highly-valued and, often, restricted items, many with a limited shelf-life. Thus, a secure area is required, as well as judicious attention to expiry dates.
Hazardous products such as fuels, compressed gases, insecticides, alcohol, ether and other flammable, toxic or corrosive substances must be stored separately, preferably in a cool, secure shed in the compound but outside the main warehouse.
Antibiotics and vaccines may require temperature-controlled cold storage arrangements, with sufficient capacity and a reliable, as well as a back-up, power source.
With combustible items, such as alcohol and ether, specific attention is required when storing and handling. Inventory management techniques need to be implemented to prevent wasteful surpluses and to ensure proper stock rotation to avoid costly losses due to expired goods. Procedures for controlling, preserving and releasing medical supplies and drugs should be established in consultation with the medical experts.
Space utilization and handling
As shown above, the warehouse operation is composed of four key work activities:
To estimate the resource requirement for the whole warehouse, one should start by estimating the requirements for each of the key work activities in turn and the level of demand. Then, the resource requirements for all activities should be combined together, taking into account the way that the activities are phased during the working day, in order to make an estimate of the total resources required.
It has been established that the role of inventory management is to ensure that stock is available to meet the needs of the beneficiaries as and when required.
Inventory represents a large cost to the humanitarian supply chain. This is made up of the cost of the inventory itself, plus the cost of transporting the goods, cost of managing the goods (labor, fumigation, repackaging, etc) and keeping the goods in warehouses. The inventory manager’s job is to make inventory available at the lowest possible cost.
In order to achieve this, the inventory manager must ensure a balance between supply and demand by establishing minimum holding stocks to cover lead-times. To achieve this, the inventory manager must constantly liaise with the programs to keep abreast of changing needs and priorities. The warehouse must always have sufficient stocks to cover the lead-time for replacement stocks to avoid stock-outs.
There are two methods of inventory control that are applicable to emergency situations:
Both are applicable to humanitarian situations and have associated pros and cons. Note that economic order quantity (EOQ) in practice only works in a fairly stable environment where demand variability and replenishment lead-time are reasonably stable and predictable. This is not the case in an emergency. Economic order quantity is applicable in more stable environments such as refugee camps and perhaps later in a relief/recovery phase.
Inventory management in an emergency is more ‘project based’, matching supply with demand in a rapidly changing environment. This requires building a supply chain that has a high level of flexibility and adaptability, with rapid identification of need and rapid fulfilment of that need through the supply chain.
In managing this sort of system, inventory should be considered in relatively small quantities (inventory packages of associated relief items) that are attached (pegged) to an identified need then moved (and tracked) through from source to the identified need (the user).
Optimisation comes from having logistics systems that can configure, procure and consolidate these packages quickly and a distribution chain that is flexible and can adapt to changing requirements quickly and at least cost.
Information systems that facilitate transparency of the supply chain inventory levels, location, and demand provide the necessary visibility to facilitate good planning and effective decisions that maximise services and reduce costs.
The warehouse/inventory manager is responsible for monitoring the movement of goods as they are transported from the supplier and for the control of stock movement in the warehouse facility.
The vital stock control measurements include:
Establish levels of operating stocks based on consumption/rate of usage. The stock levels shall be reviewed from time to time depending on current needs. (See “Inventory control above)
Ensure that weekly and monthly stock balances reports of each stock item and the total value are prepared;
Maintain monthly stock usage report of each item kept in the store and the overall in the usage trend in last six months;
Review and report on six monthly basis slow moving items indicating the last movement date the unit value and total value and liaise with user department;
Establish quantity, lead -time and availability of each item supplied on the market;
Keep a record of all non- stock items received from suppliers, returned to suppliers and issued out to users.
Monitoring Goods in Transit
Order lead time
Tracking orders for goods
Controlling stock movements:
Establishing minimum stock levels and monitoring the same;
Goods receipt quality inspections;
Physical stock control in the warehouse;
Controlling Specialized Items; and
Releasing stock from storage and goods Dispatch.
In addition to the work methods, equipment and space requirements it is essential that the warehouse is adequately resourced. This is done by planning or estimating the requirements for people and equipment in order to operate the warehouse facility.
There is a trade-off to be made between the people and handling equipment requirements for any given workload.
In global warehouse operations, which are run like commercial operations, the focus is on minimising the cost of running the operation. In this situation, it is often better to invest in handling equipment and reduce the dependence on people resources.
However, in field operations, many humanitarian organisations prefer to hire local labor which provides employment instead of relying on handling equipment.
The requirement for the total amount of resources required will be determined by the amount of goods flowing into and out of the warehouse, as shown in the diagram below.
Basic Warehouse Equipment
Various types of equipment are required to ensure the smooth execution of work in a warehouse. All equipment should be properly stored when not in use and a regular maintenance schedule posted. Warehouse staff should be trained in standard daily maintenance practices and the correct use of equipment. Where necessary, they should be equipped with personal safety equipment such as work gloves, work boots, goggles, etc.
Required equipment may include:
Sufficient quantities of standard forms, calculators and stationery to keep proper storage records
Small tools for opening cases, such as hammers, pliers, crowbars, steel cutters
Tools and materials for store repair and simple maintenance
Supplies for reconditioning damaged packaging, such as bags, needles, twine, oil containers, stitching machine, strapping machine, adhesive tape and small containers or cartons
A sampling spear for inspecting foodstuffs
Scales for weighing goods
Standard wooden pallets in sufficient numbers – ideally international
Standardization organization’s “Euro” type (120 × 80cm)
Two-wheel hand trolleys for moving supplies within the warehouse
A pallet-jack to move pallets
A forklift where pallets are to be loaded and offloaded from trucks
Brooms, dust pans, brushes, shovels, sieves, refuse bins for cleaning and disposing of collected waste
First aid kits, flashlights, fire extinguishers and other fire-fighting equipment both inside and outside the warehouse
Weighing scales and
Care of Warehouse equipment
Warehouse equipment is maintained to prevent accidents and breakdowns from occurring.
Maintenance activities consist of inspections, regular servicing and monitoring performance for failure trends, as this will enable symptoms to be recognised before failure occurs.
Equipment maintenance has a strong health and safety bias. Often health and safety legislation will impose on management an obligation for safe systems of work. Ensuring safe policies and procedures of work will require an examination of men, machinery, methods, materials and environmental aspects.
Some areas to pay attention to:
Completion of maintenance records
The warehouse is a key component of the supply chain in emergencies. It buffers uncertainties and breakdowns that may occur in the supply chain. When properly managed and appropriately stocked a warehouse provides a consistent supply of material when it is needed.
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