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Revamping The Digital Toolbelt: On Technology in Field Service
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One of the ways that many European, and specifically British, companies are increasing their companies efficiency is by using a warehouse management system. A WMS is a critical link in the supply chain; its purpose is to keep track of, and direct, movement and storage of materials. This system also maintains shipping, receiving, and retrieval of stock. A warehouse management system is usually run using AIDC (Auto ID Data Capture), such as bar-code scanners and RFID. Once this information has been collected by the AIDC, the datum is sent to a database that collects and organizes the status of the stored products; this enables the database to provide reports about the flow of goods and materials in the warehouse. These systems can work on a stand-alone basis, or as a part of a supply chain execution program.
The goal of a WMS is to have a set of automated processes to handle receiving and shipping of stock in and out of a facility, while maintaining a model of where materials are within a storage location. So, in addition to keep track of how much and of what is in a warehouse, a WMS will also keep tabs on where everything is within a warehouse, down to a particular shelving unit or storage pallet.
These systems are not limited to one particular location; they can work with several storage locations, and keep track of a multitude of raw materials and finished products, from beginning to end of the chain. Even if you have a materials storage center in Wales, and a final product distribution center in London, a WMS will link these two, and follow the transition of goods accordingly.
The advantages of using a WMS is that it can follow the production from beginning with materials, to the end with a finished product. By using a warehouse management system you can also keep track of inventory planning and cost management. This system monitors not only the product being stored, but the storage area and containers themselves. Using this system will allow you to make better predictions about volume of materials, and prevent shortages and/or over-ordering from occurring.