Selecting the Right Warehouse Solution for Your Business
Warehouse efficiency and performance are key factors in determining the success of your business. Creating a process that combines the interaction with your vendors, customers and employees is essential to achieving maximum return on investment (ROI).
Adding to these challenges has been the evolution of the Internet which contributes additional complexity to logistics and supply chain management in all industries including retail, wholesale, e-commerce and distribution based business models.
A warehousing management system (WMS) utilizing the latest technology innovations can be an extraordinarily powerful asset for assuring competitiveness in today’s challenging markets. To be most effective, this WMS must adapt spontaneously to the changing needs of the logistics and warehousing industry.
Why Ferber Warehousing:
More than 20 years of serving the warehousing and distribution needs of a diverse group of industries puts us in a unique position to evaluate and enhance the warehousing processes our clients have come to depend on. Ferber Industries developed Conveyorware Business Distribution Software for the management of warehousing and distribution complexities created by the automotive and electronics industries, liquor distribution, e-commerce product fulfillment, and many more. The Conveyorware management solutions conforms to a broad spectrum of vendor compliance requirements and incorporates EDI integration at all levels of fulfillment including integration with ERP (Enterprise Resource Management) systems.
With Conveyorware as our WMS we met the needs of web based businesses. Online businesses experience high transaction volumes and significant customer expectations. The material handling needs of web based businesses are different from those of industrial clients. Web based shipments generally go direct to consumers. These orders are typically small parcels and quite often are sent to residential addresses. Industrial clients ship direct to businesses or assembly plants often in a Just in Time (JIT) manner.
As shipping times become shorter new requirements such as cross docking emerge (http://www.ferbercrossdocking.com). This is the practice in logistics of unloading materials from incoming semi-trailers, trucks, or containers, then consolidating and re-loading these materials in outbound trailers, trucks, or containers with limited or no storage cost. Our facilities are uniquely tailored for cross-docking operations.
We have observed, over many years of providing services to a diverse array of businesses, the value of automating processes. The time to enter warehousing activities into the accounting and inventory databases manually slows down businesses. This is unacceptable. The management solutions Conveyorware developed allows our clients to monitor warehousing activities in real time, minimizing entry errors and maximizing the efficiency of data throughput.
Rather than relocate to a new warehouse and attempt to implement the complex systems required in today’s warehousing and distribution environment, business’ often opt to utilize a third party provider who can deliver physical space and technologically relevant real time software, for a fraction of the cost. Imagine having access to an automated warehouse enhanced with the latest technology such as RF inventory tracking as well as online real time information directly input to an accounting system that is accessible via the web, for only the expense of the physical space and product movement cost.
Welcome to Conveyorware, Ferber’s warehousing and distribution solution of the 21st century.
What to watch for:
Prior to finalizing a decision on a warehousing fulfillment and distribution system provider, a checklist of required features both for the warehouse building and the technology being used, should be created. Based on our experience with hundreds of customers from varying industries we have learned that the following basic features form a solid foundation for a successful warehousing, fulfillment and distribution solution.
Warehouse Building Needs:
- Security – alarms, camera’s, fire detection system, smoke alarms
- How are the security systems monitored (on-site, off-site, tape, etc.)
- Climate Control
- Reinforced floors
- Hours of operation
- Ceiling Height restrictions
- Racking systems available
- Warehouse equipment available (ie: conveyors, scales, shrink wrap machines, banding machines, heat tunnels, etc.)
- Hi-lo capacity (ie. Weight limitations, fork length, post, clamps, etc.)
- # of docks available and dock height
- # of roll doors available
- Is building equipped with Cranes, what is the weight restriction
- Types of services offered with space
- Are there limitations to the type of trucks that can be off loaded
Software or Technology Needs:
- E-Commerce integration including web-retail or Business to Consumer (B-2-C)
- Fulfillment & Distribution services for Business to Business (B-2-B).
- Multiple picking and packing methods (i.e. First in First Out (FIFO), Last in First Out (LIFO), Serial Specific).
- Vendor compliance labeling (automotive AIAG, retail, distribution center, product barcode etc.)
- Inventory accuracy in cross-referenced manufacturer item numbers.
- Full integration with advanced radio-frequency (RF) and bar coding technologies.
- Parcel and freight shipping with automatic e-mails supplying tracking numbers.
- Scalability to accommodate future business growth.
- Advanced reporting functionality and the ability to define custom reports.
- Ability to set up easily and rapidly.
- Available 24/7 from any web enabled device.
- Multiple management reports for revenue and costing evaluations
- Real time inventory with pending and re-order point quantities
While all of the above features are essential, their combination does not carry the same effect if the system is not user-friendly and logical. Being browser based, being able to drill down into warehouse operations with a few clicks, and the ability to integrate with the front office accounting systems, are a few examples of Conveyorware’s user-friendliness.
In addition to the above requirements in evaluating a warehousing solution, determine if the solutions provider has experience and knowledge in a cross spectrum of warehouse operations. Consider the time frame over which the solutions provider has been in business. Make sure that the provider you select outlines a path for growth.