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Supply chain software: Getting more from your WMS

Even if you're not ready to invest in a new warehouse management system, you can leverage your existing investment by adding new functionality.

By Bob Trebilcock, Executive Editor -- Modern Materials Handling

After years of consistent growth, the warehouse management system (WMS) market contracted in 2008. That comes as little surprise to Steve Banker, service director for supply chain management at ARC Advisory Group (781-471-1000, www.arcweb.com). "You're looking at a five-year payback for a complex materials handling solution and a 2-½ year payback for a traditional WMS," says Banker. "In normal times that's acceptable, but in a down economy, people want a one-year payback or less."

End users may not be willing to invest in a system upgrade or a new system in this environment, but they may be willing to invest in new modules that will leverage the investment they've already made in technology while extending the functionality of their existing system.

Labor management uses labor standards to plan the right amount of labor for a group of orders.

Some WMS vendors say that message is resonating with the market.

"We're seeing customers and prospects who are interested in making incremental investments for incremental gains, whether you're talking about warehousing, transportation management or supply chain planning," says David Landau, vice president of solutions strategy for Manhattan Associates (770-955-7070, www.manh.com). "They're looking for ways to squeeze more juice from an orange."

What's more, says Landau, if end users look closely at their existing systems, they may find they have functionality already on the shelf that they haven't yet turned on.

We asked five suppliers for ideas on how end users can get more from their WMS systems.

Read Full Article "Supply chain software: Getting more from your WMS" in Modern Materials Handling