Just as consumers often fail to take advantage of the more advanced features of their cell phones or digital video recorders, so it appears that DCs are missing out on features of their warehousing software. A new Supply Chain Consortium survey reveals that all too frequently, organizations under-utilize their warehouse management systems (WMS). The study, a benchmarking and best practices survey, was conducted among 100 large retail and related companies.
Among the features commonly overlooked is dock scheduling. The survey found that less than half of the respondents use their WMS systems to schedule appointments for their receiving docks. And it seems they're missing out on other opportunities as well. Other functions that often go unused include cycle counting, packing, slot management, labor management, dock management and yard management.
Why are these companies failing to use warehousing systems to their full potential? Unlike consumers and their home electronics, it's not usually a matter of failing to read the manual. It's more likely to be a case of lax follow-up. "Although companies are implementing these solutions to enhance operations, too many do not take their investment to the next level by continually evaluating how well they employ their WMS and seeking improvement opportunities," says Tom Singer, a principal at Tompkins Associates and the author of the WMS survey report.
Singer notes that only 60 percent of the survey respondents report that they perform a post-implementation audit of their supply chain technology investments.