Fleet Management & Forklift Safety Blog

If you think your WMS can do it all, think again

Posted by Richard Sorenson, Product Director on Mar 3, 2016 4:00:00 AM

Puzzle1.jpgPicture driving a car at night with the speedometer missing. Although the headlights would guide you to your destination, you would have no way of tracking your speed along the way.

If you rely solely on a Warehouse Management System to run your warehouse operation, you are similarly missing important pieces of information. Although the WMS may have helped you achieve inventory accuracy, it does not, for example, collect data on fleet utilization and driver productivity.

A telematics solution, on the other hand, with the ability to interface with your WMS would instantly provide greater breadth and depth of real-time insights.

But let’s back up for a second. The traditional focus of a WMS is on inventory management, the movement of pallets within the facility. It essentially answers the question, “What is happening?” Some of you probably complement the WMS with a Labor Management System, the “Who?” of your operation.

  • But how accurately does a WMS really reflect the actual time, duration, and location of inventory transactions? You may have achieved perfect inventory accuracy but what price did you pay in terms of time spent completing each task? How long did it take your operators to transport each pallet? Which route did they choose? Is there a more optimal one? Was your fleet used at capacity? While WMS software puts some focus on efficient utilization of the warehouse space itself, it is less apt at capturing the efficient utilization of resources such as staff and material handling equipment (MHE).
  • How “directed” is your WMS? Does it allow operators choices of orders, tasks, sequencing or locations? Can you rely on the record of their transactions as accurate? Or are they even “gaming” the system? If they are able to pick up pallets, drive around with them on the truck, and then scan the bar codes at a later time, you cannot analyze and compare transaction speed and the exact time and location of each pallet at all times. And without such fundamental knowledge, you will struggle to make targeted improvements to fleet utilization and driver productivity.

Cue the SX/VX Advanced Telematics Platform. It answers not only the “Who” and “What” in more detail, but also the “How.”

The addition of a telematics solution gives you data and information about lift activities and utilization in the execution of WMS order processing. You will receive data on specific lift activities such as pallet on/off triggers and timing, lift motion start/stop. SX/VX serves to marry data from all three elements that make up your warehouse operation – inventory, people, and hard assets – and, thus, paves the way for more comprehensive, broader, and more detailed insights and analysis.

The SX/VX is the conduit for productive change in your warehouse.

Topics: warehouse productivity, driver productivity, real-time tracking, SX/VX Advanced Telematics, WMS