Ask somebody with eye-glasses to play darts without their spectacles and they are likely to miss the mark. The same thing can be said for supervisors in a warehouse managing without real-time information.
It may not result in darts stuck in the wall, but without visibility into operational reality on the DC floor, managers and supervisors will find it impossible to avoid bottlenecks and other problems that lead to poor labor utilization and possible delays in shipments. It doesn’t have to be that way…
Warehouse management systems aren’t designed to provide up tp the minute work execution data
Most warehouse management systems provide a good, basic foundation for inventory and work planning at the macro level, but they aren’t designed to support flexible work execution, nor do they provide detailed, up to the minute views into everything that is actually happening on the floor.
Warehouse execution systems or warehouse optimization solutions provide your WMS planning information with real-time operational data. Here we highlight two common DC challenges and how they can be tackled using the Lucas management console included in our warehouse optimization suite.
The Problem: Uneven Work Distribution
Once work is released from your WMS, things rarely go exactly as planned out in the DC. Different picking zones may fall behind for various reasons, forcing managers to react to imbalances as they arise. Clearly, it would be better if they could prevent those imbalances.
The Solution: Visibility Into Status of Work
With the Lucas management console, managers can view the status of work in different areas and reallocate labor to prevent areas from falling behind before it is too late. And since the console is available on a tablet, supervisors have the information they need even when they are out on the floor.
Prior to implementing the Lucas solution, supervisors at Imperial Distributors relied on twelve line leads to monitor workflow in each of their work areas, but the supervisors still had to manually check in, so they didn’t have a true real-time view of work across the DC.
By equipping supervisors with the management dashboards on a tablet, Imperial was able to give supervisors the information they needed without checking in with twelve different line leads spread across the warehouse. They were able to avoid production bottlenecks and improved labor utilization, greatly reducing labor costs and improving overall productivity.
They also were able to transition those twelve line leads to other roles in their operation. Download their case study.
The Problem: Delayed Exception Handling
Empty pick locations, shorts and other exceptions are a fact of life in most DCs. Beyond eliminating these exceptions, DCs have a lot to gain by improving how quickly they can react to them. Poor exception handling affects productivity, and it can also impact customer satisfaction by resulting in late shipments or short-shipping even though the products were available somewhere in the DC. If your WMS doesn’t provide real-time exception information, Lucas can help.
The Solution: Instant Supervisor Alerts
The Lucas management console instantaneously alerts supervisors and/or replenishment staff when a short is reported by associates, allowing them to immediately replenish the pick location.
Additionally, supervisors can “mark out” empty pick locations until a replenishment occurs so that pickers are not repeatedly being directed to an empty slot.
Through these capabilities, several Lucas customers have achieved unforeseen, downstream productivity improvements by instantly accelerating the replenishment of shorts and the handling of other operational exceptions.
These are just two examples of how the Lucas management console can equip your supervisors and managers with the tools (and visibility) they need to ensure your operation hits the target and gets complete, correct orders out on time, every time.