F. Curtis Barry & Company Blog

New Warehouse Management System Preparedness

I was recently shopping online from a large Outdoor Specialty retailer, and at check out the shipping warehouse management systemtime was estimated to be 10-14 business days. To see the least I was shocked. All of the products were listed as being in stock and none of them were too large or heavy. I thought to myself that this was way too long in this day and age where a customer is looking for instant gratification and expecting merchandise to arrive in 3 or 4 days or at most a week if coming from one coast to the other. Having previously shopped with this retailer, I remembered that the shipping timeframe use to be about half of what they just quoted me.

I decided to give the company a call to see why the shipping time has about double of what I expected. When I finally reached customer service they told us that the warehouse is having some huge issues in getting any product out quicker than 14 days due to a new warehouse system that they have installed. I asked about expedited shipping to get the products sooner, and I was told they cannot overnight or 2nd day air out anything either because of the new system issues. WOW!

How could a large company implement a new warehouse management system and have these types of issues? I can think of at least one answer and that is more or better testing to be sure you are ready to launch a major new system.

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Topics: order management system, warehouse management system

Assessing IT Skills Needed to Install New Order Management System

With the implementation of a new order management system, companies need to assess user order management systemdepartment and IT skill sets as they plan their system conversions. The skill sets are often dramatically different from what is required to support the current legacy systems. Additionally, the user department manager will have the challenge of learning the new applications and potentially upgrading their knowledge about using the new platforms, data repositories and reporting applications.

It behooves you to assess how much change there will be for the IT staff and user management. This learning curve impacts not only the cost of the project but the timeline to install the order management system. Here are 5 points to assess:

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Topics: order management system

Operational Assessment Will Identify How to Better Utilize Your Space

Industry Question: My company has just acquired another catalog and the inventory is pouring in. Management has challenged the distribution center with fitting the new business in our existing footprint until we see if it is going to be successful. I think we are getting close to storage capacity. Do you have any tricks of the trade?

Fulfillment Doctor’s Answer:  Captain Kirk stated it better than anyone - “Space, the final frontier!” The question you ask is one we get asked during an operational assessment we conduct. It is rare that we meet a warehouse manager who isn’t trying to fit 10 lbs of product in a 5 lb sack. Here are several tips which can help you to maximize your distribution center capacity.

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Topics: operational assessment

Successful Order Management System Install through Project Management

For any organization taking on the implementation of a new order management system is always challenging and a bit stressful at times.  There are a myriad of articles on how to successfully implement a new system but one item we recommend to our clients is to have organized a strong implementation team. 

You, as the client, need to start with a strong Project Manager (PM).  This person may have already been the lead for the order management system selection process and understand the total business.  Without this leadership role your company will have paid out most if not all software license costs and not achieve successful implementation.  With most contracts, the company pays most all of the license costs well in advance of the “Go Live” date.  Professional or Implementation Services from the vendor often require a deposit and are invoiced as they are used.  This means that 85% to 100% of the total system costs are paid before “Go Live”. 

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Topics: order management system

Operational Assessment - Distribution Center A Safe Place To Work?

I will never forget this accident. On a Sunday I got a call from a client, “Can you come immediately to our distribution center?” several hours away. Literally a wall of improperly stacked product had collapsed from cartons being crushed. The falling wall created a “domino effect” knocking down 8 aisles of 3 level pallet racking. Luckily no one was hurt or worse – killed. True story.

As we do operational assessment for clients, we see many issues routinely that need to be rectified.

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Topics: operational assessment

Learning From Companies' Order Management System Installs

I’ve had two extensive projects with two new installations of a commercial order management system. While it may raise questions about how prepared companies are as they embark on implementing systems, I think that everyone can learn from them. Let me share with you some highlights:

The first is a company with sales of $75 million annually; evaluated both Tier 1 ERP and order management system capabilities. This company selected a large scale Windows-based client server system. What were some of the issues?

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Topics: order management system

How Well Are Your Inventory Management Techniques?

Inventory is most likely the largest balance sheet asset in your company. How well you use inventory management techniques to plan, purchase, and manage your inventory largely determines your level of customer service and profits. But selling goods in multiple channels and titles means dealing with channel- and title-specific planning and inventory management needs.

Based on our inventory management best practices assessments with clients, we've come up with some inventory management techniques to consider when managing multichannel inventories.

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Topics: inventory management system, vendor compliance, inventory management techniques

Inventory Management Techniques From a Financial View

Inventory is the largest balance sheet asset in your business: If your margin is 50%, that means your cost of goods is 50%. In other words, 50% of your net sales are spent on inventory and inbound freight.

So why aren't merchants more aggressive in dealing with inventory? In particular, marketers need to do more to liquidate aging inventory, and look closer at how to achieve the optimal balance point between high order fill rate and increased inventory.

Most multichannel companies have plenty of room for improvement in how they manage inventory. These 10 inventory management techniques will allow you to deal with inventory more aggressively and make more profit.

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Topics: inventory management techniques

Accurate Budget Estimates for Implementing Order Management System

As we have written many times, 50% of large scale implementations end up over budget and well behind the original proposed implementation schedules. Typically, we have always identified investment in several areas: hardware, operating software, third-party software, professional services and applications licenses. In order to plan initial new system implementation budgets for large scale order management system and enterprise resource planning systems (ERP), it’s prudent to go well beyond these categories of expense and engage in broader based planning and due diligence. Here are 5 ways to improve your planning and bring the implementation in closer to plan and schedule:

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Topics: order management system

Operational Assessments Show Important Operation Managers Skill Sets

As distribution center consultants we have been in a lot of facilities over the years, and have been brought on to conduct operational assessments. Within these assessments we typically get asked to evaluate operations and warehouse managers and their skills. We have met a lot of  managers with varying roles and skill levels. Throughout all of these operational assessments, there are 4 critical skills that we feel operations managers should possess in order to be successful. The days of top down, controlling management are hopefully far behind us. It is no longer the role of the manager to “keep the staff in line!”

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Topics: operational assessment