Logistics Maximization of Cargo

These days, it’s not enough for a logistics operation to purchase new software, get it up and running, and then hope that it meets or exceeds expectations. There’s employee training to plan for, integration with other systems to assess, and a wide range of software functionalities to consider.

Getting the most out of a warehouse management system (WMS), for example, requires a bit of extra elbow grease and initiative to ensure that operations are fully leveraging all that the software has to offer. Ignore one step and you could wind up owning and utilizing a WMS that never lives up to its full potential.

However, even if an organization is not realizing maximum benefit from its existing WMS, firms are certainly aware of the software’s value. According to the Logistics Management 2013 Technology Usage Study, 50 percent of logistics operations are currently using the systems—the highest percentage of any supply chain software solution.

And of the 33 percent of logistics professionals who say they plan to buy supply chain software this year, 44 percent will be looking to acquire WMS. For most logistics managers, the key functions a WMS will handle include label printing, warehouse equipment, freight/package rating, and slotting.

Over the next few pages we’ll learn how two very different logistics operations implemented, currently utilize, and are now benefiting from an optimized WMS. One essentially “layered” an optimization option on top of an existing WMS, and the other purchased a new WMS and integrated it with an ERP that was already in place to realize more bang for their buck.

Both companies rely heavily on fast inventory turns to keep their bottom lines healthy, but each also has its own unique set of requirements when it comes to warehouse management. Here are their stories.

1. Harvard Drug: Improving inventory turns
Harvard Drug Group, LLC, of Livonia, Mich., has had its WMS in place since 2005, but it wasn’t until 2011 that the wholesale distributor of prescription and over-the-counter drugs truly began getting the most out of the system.

With four U.S. warehouses handling its retail, private label, chemical, and veterinarian product distribution, the 550 employee company depends on common carriers, UPS and FedEx to deliver its goods throughout North America on a partial shipment basis.

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