While QuickBooks may be great for keeping track of financials, it’s not always the best tool for keeping track of inventory processing—there’s no way to track inventory by serial number or track inventory across multiple warehouses. Luckily, IntelliTrack has a QuickBooks Silver developer status.
QuickBooks can easily integrate with IntelliTrack’s family of WMS products—the WMS RF standard, WMS RF professional and ISRP. Having WMS that allows for easy QuickBooks integration enables businesses to import item numbers and descriptions, purchase orders and sales orders. In addition, when an order is shipped or received, IntelliTrack WMS communicates with QuickBooks to begin invoicing and/or paying customers and vendors.
In addition, the IntelliTrack QuickBooks plug-in features:
- Real-time transfers via timer settings or user-enabled manual transfers
- QuickBooks purchase order entry into WMS or ISRP as receiving orders
- Automated item receipt creation in QuickBooks once orders are received and closed
- Automated closure of purchase orders in QuickBooks once orders are received
- Automated retrieval of QuickBooks sales orders and entry as a picking order into WMS or ISRP
- Automated invoice creation in QuickBooks once orders are picked and closed in WMS or ISRP
- Automated closing of sales orders in QuickBooks once orders are picked
Learn more about IntelliTrack ISRP and WMS Quickbooks integration.
Manufacturers make their supply chains the epicenter of their business strategy in order to provide a solid platform for operational efficiency. However, in KPMG’s 4th annual Global Manufacturing Outlook Competitive Advantage, it was found that 54 percent of U.S. manufacturing executives admit that their companies do not have visibility of their supply chain past their Tier 1 suppliers. What’s worse is that a mere 7 percent surveyed stated that they have complete visibility of their supply chains.
“Obtaining real-time visibility across all tiers in the supply chain can significantly increase speed to market, reduce capital expenditures and manage risk,” said Jeff Dobbs, Global Sector Chair, Diversified Industrials and a partner with KPMG in the US.
What’s truly shocking is that nearly half of all respondents admitted to still using email, fax and mail as a way to communicate supply chain issues. And if something should go wrong? Only 7 percent said they were able to handle the issue within a few hours, with 32 percent choosing 1-2 weeks before the issue was dealt with.
Using an updated warehouse management system would allow manufacturers to gain 100 percent visibility into their supply chain, seeing and handling issues as they arise and maximizing efficiency.
Read the full report, Global Manufacturing Outlook Competitive Advantage: Enhancing Supply Chain Networks for Efficiency and Innovation.
The future of RFID in the warehouse is a very promising one—market demands are increasing and with these demands, come needs, which RFID offers a solution for.
In today’s supply chains, RFID readers and passive UHF tags are used capture electronic product codes (EPC), which contain information about the product and serialization. Unlike with a barcode, EPC codes do not need to be extremely close to the reader, allowing them to be read quickly and thus, increase efficiency.
However, despite the fact that RFID is a proven time-saver, its adoption into the supply chain has been slow. It’s only been in the past few years where big-name retailers have started to implement item-level RFID. The success of these retail pioneers, such as American Apparel and Macy’s, have truly set the tone for other companies’ interest in RFID to be peaked.
Early item-level RFID adopters are now tweaking their process to make RFID even more efficient for them. However, it’s not always easy to get vendors on board. Sometimes, retailers will have to mandate the RFID as a requirement of doing business in order for suppliers to integrate RFID into their business.
If you already made the switch to item-level RFID, how have you gotten your vendors to do the same? Share your tips with us for all to see on our Facebook, twitter and LinkedIn pages.
Managing Min. & Max. Inventory Levels
One of the biggest issues in inventory management is knowing how much inventory to have—your min. and max. levels. Too much inventory results in too much cash laying around, but too little could result in missed opportunities. Setting and sticking to an appropriate min. and max. inventory level is crucial to properly managing cash.
Training for Inventory and Warehouse Management Software
While many companies will invest thousands of dollars on their inventory management software and warehouse management software, they often fail to spend just a bit more to properly train their employees on how to use it. Don’t let your investment go to waste—maximize your ROI and invest in the right training that allows your workers to take full advantage of warehouse management software.
Rearranging the Warehouse for Maximum Efficiency
Warehouse arranged inefficiently could be wasting thousands of dollars. Simply rearranging inventory in the warehouse could have a huge impact on the bottom line—high-selling items should be closest to the shipping dock, saving employees time in walking and forklift transportation.
Performing Physical Inventories
Rather than performing annual physical inventories, businesses should check their inventory more frequently, in smaller amounts. By choosing one section a day to match product levels with information in the inventory software, a company no longer needs to shut down.
Have other inventory management issues? Share them with us on Facebook and/or twitter.
Mega-warehouses are becoming increasingly popular worldwide. Take Target for example—their warehouse is the second largest building in the world, totaling 185,800 square meters.
When the recession hit, many companies needed to consolidate their distribution networks and combine warehouses, creating larger sites. Although there are companies that like to split their inventory over many sites, taking a multilocal warehousing approach, mega-warehouses acting as the national distribution center are what a lot of companies are doing to cut costs.
Regardless of industry, the goal is always to satisfy the customer as quickly as possible. Many large warehouses are often built on the outskirts of major cities, allowing for products to be easily transported; yet still offering slightly more affordable land.
However, there can be one major drawback to having just one mega-warehouse instead of using a multi-local approach, and that’s natural disasters. If a natural disaster hits your warehouse hard, your production and consequently, supply chain, could be affected well after the event is over. Despite this risk, mega warehouses are very efficient and effective ways of cutting costs and keeping customers happy.
Does your warehouse used a centralized, or multi-local approach? Why? Share your reasoning by commenting on our Facebook or twitter pages.
On Jan. 4, 2011, President Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Two years later, on Jan. 4 2013, the FDA published drafts of two of the new regulations—Produce Standards and Preventative Control. At the basic level, the regulations aim to prevent outbreaks and food-borne illnesses. And while affected organizations, such as farmers’ groups, are reviewing the guidelines for commentary, there’s no doubt the new regulations will affect how companies monitor their supply chain.
Currently, the draft of the regulation for preventative control would affect facilities that manufacture, process, pack or hold food for human consumption. Organizations must have written plans in place, including:
- Hazard analysis
- Risk based preventive controls
- Monitoring procedures
- Corrective actions
Record keeping needs to be very thorough though—organizations must be able to identify when and where a product was received and when and where it was shipped in order to more easily trace food.
So, what’s an organization to do? In order to properly track and trace food to meet the new FSMA requirements, a good WMS is essential. With a WMS, LOT control and complete history tracking of an item is easy. For smaller operations, ISRP software can easily determine exactly when items are received, picked, put away, moved or inventoried. If a food item does ever need to be recalled, it would be easy to see exactly when and where it was sent with the right WMS or ISRP software.
So, don’t wait around for these regulations to be finalized—sooner or later, they will be implemented. Be prepared and contact us to start exploring how a WMS or ISRP solution will help you prepare for the new FSMA regulations.
The term “supply chain” isn’t really that accurate for what goes on in todays’ manufacturing and distribution centers.
Gone are the days of one company making one item and simply sending it to another company to be a part of something bigger. Todays’ manufacturers and suppliers are often working together to build things that they collaborated together on. In addition, operations are no longer done one step at a time, but rather, simultaneously in parallel with other steps.
In a recent article, Forbes suggested we use the word “network” rather than “supply chain.” It makes sense in that products could not be produced without a network of people—partners, software providers, manufacturers, suppliers and distributors working together. And while it’s doubtful the word supply chain will instantly be tossed to the side, it is important to think of a supply chain as a network for maximum efficiency:
- Collaborate with your network quickly by investing in a cloud computing solution.
- Think of everything in real-time—companies can’t afford to wait if they want to stay competitive.
- Be proactive, rather than reactive—you don’t have time to fix something once its already gone wrong.
Are you thinking of your supply chain as a network? Share your thoughts on our Facebook or twitter pages.
While cloud computing continues to increase in popularity, most businesses do not realize the actual savings it provides. Did you know businesses could save up to 50% of their budget for maintaining their IT infrastructure?
Infrastructure maintenance consumes approximately 70% of an IT department’s budget, but with cloud computing, shared resources allow the end user to benefit.
Cloud computing provides a huge return on investment, allowing companies to not only reduce the number of servers and amount of software upgrades purchased, but also work more efficiently. In addition, it is more accessible for the mobile workforce and those who work from home.
For those worried about security issues with cloud computing, even the US Navy is moving to the cloud. The Navy recently issued a memo stating that in order to increase efficiency and achieve cost savings, they would switch to a cloud computing solution.
Has your business moved to the cloud? Tell us why or why not by commenting on our Facebook or twitter pages.
If you’re debating whether or not you need to replace your WMS system vs. doing an upgrade, there are many different factors that should be considered. First, analyze whether your WMS is truly helping, or is it hindering your ability to use newer technology and make strategic enhancements. Then, make sure there are no issues with RF response time—you don’t want your system running behind from being over burdened, causing a loss in efficiency. These days, WMS software is being considered “legacy” faster and faster—your WMS needs to be able to keep up with todays’ technology and drive value for both the organization and its customers.
Should You Really Spend all that Time and Money on a WMS?
If you’re suffering from any of the aforementioned problems, then yes! Inefficiencies such as wait times and not being able to take advantage of new technologies could be costing you more than you realize, and your partners and customers aren’t going to wait around. If you find yourself creating more and more workarounds for issues that come up, you could easily be saving time and money by investing in a new WMS that would offer what you need.
Should You Invest in a WMS if You’ve Spent Years on Customizing Your Current Solution?
Again, if you’re experiencing any of the inefficiencies mentioned—absolutely! Even if your current WMS solution is highly customized, there could be a newer solution that has everything you need, right off the shelf! There’s always a better way to do what an older custom solution does with newer technology, and you can always improve your efficiency through better automation practices. In addition, if your legacy WMS has a lot of intricacies that are dependent on the knowledge of select staff, then its definitely time for a new WMS!
What’s New with WMS?
Current trends in WMS are labor management and voice. Companies that have had WMS for a few years now want to achieve the next level of efficiency—they’re expanding their workforce and want to get the most from their labor. In addition, companies are becoming more comfortable with voice technology as its getting integrated into both picking and replenishment.
What Should You Look for When Choosing a WMS Vendor?
When selecting a WMS vendor, do your research—select a company with a proven track record and talk to their existing customers to ensure they are happy and their solution works as promised. In addition, make sure their warehouse management software can be modified to fit your company’s specific needs and once it is customized, it can be upgraded without adversely effecting the modifications.
Learn more about warehouse management systems.
We recently discussed the aesthetics of warehouse design, but what about the practicality? What should be considered when designing a warehouse?
Before even thinking about the design of your warehouse, it’s important to choose the right location—your company needs to be close to its customers. If you already have one warehouse that serves the entire country, you wouldn’t put the second one nearby, you’d opt for a different coast, depending on your client base. When considering locations, choose one that will allow for:
- Providing a high-quality network
- Operating a low-cost network
- Designing a superior network to competitors
Trying to design a network with lowest possible distribution cost isn’t always easy, but striving to deliver to 90% of customers within 3 days and 10% within 10 days is a realistic approach.
Once you’ve chosen the most appropriate location for your warehouse, it’s time to start thinking about design. First, start collecting operations data to see if facility throughout can be modeled based on daily shipments and production/receiving cycles. Examine the volume of receipts and shipments and determine what is inbound vs. outbound.
Projecting inventory levels can be difficult, but its one of the most important steps in order to properly size and design a warehouse to fit your needs and adapt to future operations.
Creating a green, sustainable warehouse will help with creating a sustainable supply chain. Some companies will consider putting their warehouses near public transportation; others will reduce the amount of artificial light used, but whatever is done, should be flexible. Facilities need to be able to easily adapt in case of future requirements.
Once all of your warehouse needs are met, you can then start focusing on the wants.
Learn more about creating an ideal warehouse for your needs.