All warehouses perform whether they do so well, or badly. So when we discuss performance we’re usually talking about ways to improve it. In other words creating measurable improvement in the activities that take place in the warehouse.

From a WMS provider point of view this typically involves focusing on the ways a WMS can help achieve you achieve it!

There are warehouse performance areas over which a WMS can have little or no influence. These are things like geographic location, which affect rates and rental costs, and factors like size, shape, age and condition.

Is your warehouse energy efficient? Are you maximising available space with the correct storage systems?

Is your MHE fleet modern and fuel efficient? These are all valid questions in the overall quest for performance.

Those areas where WMS can influence warehouse performance can be examined in several categories. There is performance in terms of labour and mechanical handling equipment (MHE). There are specific areas like accuracy and error reduction. And there is performance in terms of the efficient storage and handling of goods. A warehouse after all, is just a conduit to channel goods from source to consumer.

A WMS is no ‘magic wand’, and achieving performance improvement is as much about combining people, processes and technology as the system itself. People are the always the key factor in embracing and carrying through change. What a WMS offers is the best framework for developing the most efficient process and applying the most suitable technology. Combining these elements means warehouse performance can be improved to levels that ensure maximum competitiveness.

In Part Two we’ll be looking at the way WMS driven processes can deliver performance improvement.