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Software - Part 1
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Software - Part 2
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Warehouse Management Software - Part 2
For a warehouse management system to operate at peak efficiency, it must be viewed as an extension of every other department within an organization. All other departments are affected by the functioning of the warehouse, from purchasing, to order entry to accounting and even information systems. It is wise, therefore, to keep all departments informed. Teamwork and alliances between all departments, which are ultimately interrelated to one another, simply increases the potential for success at all levels. Further, it is critical that companies emphasize teamwork from the very beginning of the software purchasing and implementation process. Before a company decides on a particular software package to purchase, all departments need to be informed and involved in selecting desired functionalities that will stand to benefit everyone in the long run.

For example, involvement from the purchasing department is critical because of its setup, receiving and cycle counting functions. The purchasing department will have to provide information for the warehouse management system regarding product dimensions, quantities and reorder quantities. Purchasing personnel need to be knowledgeable about some aspects of receiving and putaway functions, in order to understand proper ordering quantities. That knowledge will enable them to understand that purchasing ten pallets of a particular product may not be the most cost effective just because there happens to be a good deal on them at a given time. If these products cannot be effectively warehoused or take up space that is needed for another product, the purchase was not a good one. In addition, buyers can be invaluable in providing appropriate querying information for the system to aid in cycle counting functions.

Sales department involvement in purchasing and installing a warehouse management system is also crucial. After all, the sales department knows most about customer needs and buying trends. The sales department can provide critical information about establishing priorities for orders and return processing. Oftentimes, the sales department is involved in entering information into the warehouse management system. They need to be aware of how their errors can potentially impact the entire system, not just their own department.

Information systems personnel are the ones that have to implement the system and keep it functioning effectively from a software standpoint. That is considerably easier if they have at least a working knowledge of warehouse functions. At a minimum, information systems people need t be familiar enough with the terminologies used in the warehouse to be able to communicate effectively. If an IS representative is involved in the function specification and software selection process, the whole department may be able to gain a greater appreciation of warehousing needs and requirements.

Forming a cross functional team composed minimally of the warehouse department, purchasing department, sales department and information systems, allows everyone to experience and react to everyone elses needs and concerns. All company personnel will understand the entire supply chain and each departments crucial link in it if all departments participate in the team. This cross-functional approach can be the difference between a successful implementation and a implementation that was a terrible failure.



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