The SearchManufacturingERP.com IT Challenge of the Month for November 2011:
My company is about to begin a warehouse management system (WMS) implementation. What software systems should we be connecting to the WMS software? Are there any other systems that can help us gain further advantage from the new WMS?
Do you have a solution to this challenge? Have you encountered a similar issue at your business? If so, please contact the SearchManufacturingERP.com editors and share your suggestions or experiences.
IT Challenge respondents will receive a free copy of a new book from SAP Press.
And be sure to check back here all this month -- we'll be posting solutions from experts and readers as we receive them.
From industry expert Steve Phillips:
The answer depends on the requirements of the business, customer expectations and the equipment used in the warehouse operation. Some software functionality might be baked into the WMS or purchased as a separate bolt-on, depending on the WMS package. The following are a few examples:
- Integration with sales orders, purchasing and inventory in the enterprise system
- Integration with the software managing physical conveyors or sorts, for processing WMS pick and load commands
- Transportation management
- RF mobile devices
- Customer-specific labeling
- Customs paperwork
- Staffing requirements
From industry analyst and CEO of Constellation Research Ray Wang:
The key systems that align with WMS should follow your business process flows. At the top level we're dealing with cross-channel commerce, which means there are four main flows with significant systems:
- Opportunity to order capture: CRM, eCommerce, demand forecasting software, order management software, partner and supplier management
- Order capture to order management: supplier management, inventory systems, logistics, and distribution
- Order management to order completion: scheduling, warranty management, returns, repairs
- Order completion to cash: ERP, finance and accounting
A key system that will help with WMS is sales and operations planning (S&OP), which will allow you to conduct collaborative planning and forecasting.
From reader Joseph Begley, IT Manager for Warehousing and Logistics at Diebold, Inc.:
I just came back from our Shanghai operations to evaluate this question. We use Oracle e-Business suite, so Oracle runs our VMI/Consigned systems, as well as our scheduling systems, purchasing and WMS. We also have a customized MES.
However, what I find is that even though we do use Oracle e-Biz products, even the modules we have are not well integrated.
So my primary linkages are focused on process links with MES and purchasing.