Building a Warehouse?  You Probably Need a New WMS

Building a Warehouse

 

The industrial real estate market, more specifically, warehouse construction is booming largely due to the surging popularity of e-commerce.  For fulfillment warehouses, today’s must-have elements of architectural design include larger floor plan footprints with taller ceilings in warehouse storage buildings.  Even with sprawling square footage, supply chain businesses are often challenged to determine what type of technology needs to be incorporated into warehouses buildings and distribution centers to produce the needed efficiency and order fulfillment rates.  Material handling solutions are often implemented during new warehouse construction and require careful planning.

Developing a warehouse design plan that provides the details of how technology will be integrated requires a clear understanding of the objectives as well as the warehouse storage space layout and how the technologies all work together.

Examine & Document Your Current Operation

  • Consider your current warehouse facilities in terms of processes, organization, layout, flow and technology.  Given the chance, what would you like to change and what would you like to duplicate?
  • Will your company service the same type(s) of customers and handle similar type(s) of inventory or work in an entirely new line of business?
  • Evaluate and keep a log of all the equipment in your existing warehouse.  Have you been satisfied with each item or find that improvement is needed? 
  • Consider talking to warehouse workers and other employees to gain a thorough perspective of your operations and uncover areas that require improvement.

Evaluate & Consider Technology Options

1.

Have your current operational processes been successful in planning and predicting inventory quantities, warehouse layout and inventory storage?

2.

Determine if a different methodology would be beneficial for organizing inventory, after giving special consideration to seasonality, fast moving products and other factors.

3.

How has your existing technology performed?  In the new warehouse, will you need to purchase new mobile devices, printers, RFID, weighing systems, etc.?

4.

Will your warehouse or 3PL benefit from implementing material handling solutions?  Robotics?  Will a consultant be needed to help you determine this?

5.

How has your current warehouse management software performed?  Is your warehouse workforce using manual workarounds?  Can you capture and bill automatically for all the value-added services you perform for every customer?  Do you have a customer portal which enables your clients to act independently instead of relying on your customer service team?

6.

To which systems will your business need to be connected? Can you build or have access to customized reports and dashboards that provide you with a deep dive into your operations in real time?

Take Action Now

Although concerns such as building codes, fire sprinklers and sprinkler systems, building costs and ongoing operational costs are important when planning warehouse construction, figuring out the correct blend of technology can reap huge dividends over the life of warehouse operations in industrial space.  While office space is usually limited in refrigerated warehouses as well as in other types of warehouses, incorporating a wireless network must be carefully planned to meet the needs of executives, customer service representatives and workers in the industrial space.

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