November 28, 2011

Top 10 reasons for implementing WMS and WFM together

Here's why more companies are looking to implement a warehouse management system (WMS) and a workforce management system (WFM) simultaneously.

By DC Velocity Staff

Thinking about buying a warehouse management system (WMS) or a workforce management system (WFM)? Maybe you should consider both. Many companies are successfully making the business case for acquiring and integrating both simultaneously, says Dawn Andre, director of industry marketing and strategy, consumer packaged goods, life sciences, and chemical for the supply chain software vendor RedPrairie. Based on her observations, Andre has put together a list of the top 10 reasons why more companies are implementing WMS and WFM together:

  1. 1. It can make your supply chain "smarter." Companies don't want to invest in a system that simply captures data. Bringing WMS and WFM together provides a more intelligent view because the systems can continuously make suggestions for improvement.
  2. 2. It accelerates the ROI for the WMS. The return on investment for a WMS typically is around two years, but the ROI for workforce management software is often just a few months. Combine them and your WMS will pay for itself faster.
  3. 3. It improves quality control. Together, the two systems can assign tasks based on workers' qualifications to operate specific equipment or handle restricted items. If there's a recall, you'll not only know where products are but also who touched them and when, helping to narrow the scope of the recall to only the affected products.
  4. 4. It improves training and safety. Information the systems provide on individual performance helps workers learn faster and indicates when they're ready to move to the next level. A knowledgeable workforce means a safer warehouse.
  5. 5. It creates a single, comprehensive warehouse "map." When combined, the solutions can produce a virtual warehouse map that considers products, people, and equipment. This allows them to consider a task's proximity to actual travel paths to determine the most efficient routes.
  6. 6. It improves dock scheduling. Companies with WMS and WFM can use the intelligence from both systems to schedule their docks more efficiently. For example, they can plan labor for receiving based on advance ship notices (ASNs) and data about unloading times.
  7. 7. It helps you schedule labor for wave picking. The combined WMS and WFM give managers the ability to look across other departments to pull qualified resources if needed to ensure the picking wave is completed within the allotted time.
  8. 8. It makes operations faster, more accurate, and more productive. Documented benefits of combining the two packages include improvements in order fill rates, productivity, inventory, picking accuracy, and throughput, along with reduced or reallocated headcounts and less overtime.
  9. 9. It lets you see the whole picture. Dashboards that include data from both systems provide real-time visibility into plans and performance metrics for both product and labor.
  10. 10. It makes software implementations faster and cheaper. Joint implementations and upgrades save time, eliminate duplicated efforts, shorten the testing period, and require less hardware.

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