Management Report

MANAGEMENT REPORT
1.0 Introduction
Business enterprises are increasing their reliance on information technology systems to facilitate the execution of the business processes. Information technology systems cab used merge the functions of finance, manufacturing, supply chain, and business logistics (Alexis, 2007). IT systems can be integrated as a whole as in the case of ERPs or deployed independently in order to meet the specific requirements of the business functional unit. This report discusses warehouse management and the associated benefits of a warehouse management system for a business enterprise. In addition, the report discusses the details of SAP WM and offers two case studies regarding the use of SAP WM.
2.0 What is Warehouse management?
Warehouse management is an important element of the supply chain activities that refers to the process of optimizing the warehousing functions through the use of technology and operating processes (Ellen & Dana, 2009). Warehouse management fundamentally entails the management of the process of storage of finished products within the warehouse of a business enterprise. The warehousing functions are diverse in nature and include the suppliers’ receipts, inventory movements and information flows, and the shipment of the goods to the customers. The main objective of relying on warehouse management information systems is to facilitate the process of monitoring and controlling the movement and storing of the materials and associated transactions involving the stored items. The warehouse management systems usually entail comprehensive tracking of information relating to quantity, the standard unit of measure and location (Hompel, 2006). In addition, the WMS systems are also used for synchronizing the factors such as the location for stocking and picking and the order of execution of the warehouse processes. WMS deploy technologies such as Auto ID Capture and Radio Frequency Identification in order to examine product flow. After the relevant data has been collected, it is transmitted into a centralized database, which is used to provide helpful reports regarding the status of the various warehouse processes (Joreon, 2010). Therefore, warehouse management systems harmonize the warehouse processes using computerized procedures in order to facilitate the handling of the stock receipts and returns to a warehouse facility. The WMS also facilitate the process of modeling and managing the representation of the logical and physical warehouse structure such as racking. In addition, WMS helps in stock management in order to ensure that there is a flawless link towards order processing and logistics, with the objective of facilitating activities such as packing, picking and shipping. Businesses can deploy WMS as independent systems or as part of the larger Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems (Joreon, 2010).
3.0 Benefits of Warehouse Management Systems
The first significant benefit of WMS to a business enterprise is that it ensures faster inventory turns. Warehouse management systems can plays a significant role in reducing the lead times through imposing a limitation on the inventory management and enhancing the accuracy of the records of inventory. This implies that using a warehousing management system eliminates the need for warehouse safety, which in turn helps in increasing inventory turnover and the utilization of the working capital (O’Leary, 2000).
The second benefit associated with the use of WMS is that it ensures that there is efficient utilization of the existing warehouse space. WMS reduces the safety stock requirements and also helps in increasing the available warehouse space through increasing the efficiency of locating products with respect to receiving, assembling, packing and the points of shipping. The increase in efficiency can help in improving the productivity and reducing the costs associated with inventory holding (Richards, 2011).
The third benefit concerning the use of WMS is that it reduces the inventory paperwork. This is achieved through the deployment of a real time WM information system that automates most of the warehouse processes. In addition, WMS ensure that there is increase accuracy and speedy flow of inventory and relevant information. Most of the inventory records that were maintained using hard copies can be maintained electronically after the implementing a warehouse management information system (Shenja, 2007).
The fourth advantage of using WMS is that it ensures that there is enhanced cycle counting. Business enterprises can make use of the WMS to acquire relevant information such as the rate of inventory movement and locations, which can be used for scheduling personnel to undertake cycle counts. Such an approach to cycle counting does not only help in improving the accuracy of the records of inventory for purposes of planning, they can also be used in eliminating the need for physical inventories that are mostly costly.
The fifth benefit associated with the use of WMS is that it reduces the reliance on warehouse personnel. The implementation of a WMS that is comprehensive ensures that there is standardization of the warehousing processes such as the methods of picking, inventory movements and locations of inventory. Standardization of the warehouse processes helps to reduce the dependence on informal practices, which in turn results to reduced training costs and rates of error occurrence during warehouse operations (Stair & Reynolds, 2008).
WMS also helps in enhancing the customer services through streamlining the warehouse operations such as effective and timely order delivery. In addition, business enterprises can use the WMS to determine the availability of the product and practical rates of delivery. A warehouse management system automatically identifies and releases inventory that back-ordered, which helps in reducing stock returns by increasing the shipping accuracy.
WMS also results to an improvement in the labor productivity within the business enterprise because it helps in the optimization of information flow. This is facilitated using cross-docking or an integration of numerous inventory picks into one. Cross docking is used in the routing of shipments that are incoming to the location that is near to the outbound shipping dock, this helps in reducing warehouse handling (Joreon, 2010).
4.0 Details about SAP WM solution
SAP WM solutions is mainly used for the optimization of the warehouse activities, such as internal and external warehouse processing, management of the warehouse facility, storage, undertaking physical inventory and cross docking that is either planned or unplanned. SAP makes use of data collection technologies and workload balancing tools. The business enterprise can use the SAP WM solution to receive and process goods that have been procured externally into the warehouse by use of a single scan using the RFID technology. In addition, the firm can acquire comprehensive information concerning deliveries that have been procured internally. External/outbound also ensures effective management of the activities related to distribution and proof-of-delivery (SAP, 2011).
Additionally, the SAP WM solution offers a framework, through which employees of the firm can direct goods that are inbound using the cross-docking processes, which is used in the routing of shipments that are incoming to the location that is near to the outbound shipping dock, this helps in reducing warehouse handling. The cross docking processes can help in the reduction of cases of duplicate goods movement in the warehouse, and optimization of the products flow and reduces the routing paths within the warehouse. In addition, cross docking processes helps in optimizing the internal movements and goods storage in the available warehouse space. Cross docking also facilitates the planning and execution of physical inventory and cycle counting (SAP, 2011).
The SAP WM solution also offers labor management functionality that can be used in maximizing and utilization of the warehouse personnel. This functionality helps in tracking the performance of the employee in accordance with the established performance metrics. Employee activities can be measured through direct indirect and indirect labor tracking and offering a precise overview of the warehouse activities of employee activities (SAP, 2011).
5.0 Case studies regarding the use of SAP WM solution
5.1 The use of SAP WM at Dade Behring
Dade Behring is a global manufacturer of diagnostic equipment for medical purposes, the company needed to relocate its facility after a consolidation across the state. In addition, the company needed ample time to implement the SAP WM solutions in order to enhance the current IM based solution. The implementation of the SAP WM solution was driven by the quantity of work regarding the management of the 100 storage facilities. The implantation of the SAP WM at the company during 2010 as part of the corporate strategy helped in improving the efficiency of managing the various storage facilities of the company with a central database (Richards, 2011).
5.2 Phillips Electronics
Phillips electronics is a global company that specializes on the production of consumer electronic such as TV sets, DVDs and so on. Phillips Electronics applied the use of SAP WM to as part of its business level strategy to ensure effective warehousing operations. The company decided to deploy the use of SAP WM as part of its global warehousing management strategy to address the significant management challenges in the supply chain business unit of the company.
6.0 conclusion
It is arguably evident that reliance on the warehouse management system is significant boost to the business efficiency because of the advantages associated with the implementation of WMS such as automation of warehouse operations, reduction of inventory errors, enhancement of the customer services and a reduction on the reliance of warehouse personnel. Therefore, the SAP WM is a perfect solution for addressing the warehousing management challenges at the business enterprise (Richards, 2011).

References
Alexis, L. (2007). Enterprise Resource Planning. New Delhi: Tata McGraw-Hill Education.
Ellen, G., & Dana, L. (2009). Essentials of Business Communication. New York: Cengage Learning.
Hompel, M. (2006). Warehouse management: automation and organisation of warehouse and order picking systems. New York: Springer.
Joreon, V. (2010). Integral Warehouse Management: The Next Generation in Transparency, Collaboration and Warehouse Management Systems. New York: Springer.
O’Leary, D. E. (2000). Enterprise resource planning systems: systems, life cycle, electronic commerce, and risk. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Richards, G. (2011). Warehouse Management: A Complete Guide to Improving Efficiency and Minimizing Costs in the Modern Warehouse. New York: Kogan Page Publishers.
SAP. (2011). WAREHOUSE MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE. Retrieved August 21, 2011, from http://www.sap.com/software/warehouse-management.epx
Shenja, Y. (2007). Information communication technologies and emerging business strategies. New York: Idea Group Inc (IGI).
Stair, R., & Reynolds, G. (2008). Fundamentals of Information Systems. New York: Cengage Learning.

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