The Supply Chain Execution Systems and Technologies (SCE) Industry Group of Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA) has released it's Fall 2011 Quarterly Report titled Data Collection: More Information = A More Efficient Supply Chain. The report asserts that the flow of goods in today’s manufacturing and distribution facilities is paralleled by a virtual flow of information about those goods — and the amount of available information directly affects how efficiently the goods are handled.
Here is an excerpt from the report:
“Software systems managing the movement of goods in the supply chain receive data from several sources,” explains Quantronix’s Clark Skeen, vice chairman of the Supply Chain Execution Systems & Technologies Industry Group of Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA). “Some of that data is passed from a company’s fundamental data processing host systems, such as accounting and order-entry systems,” he says.
To this primary data, companies can add secondary data elements that are collected within their facilities using automatic data capture (ADC) technology. Bar code scanners, radio frequency identification (RFID) readers, voice systems, and the like provide real-time information about the location of goods in the facility. Weighing and dimensioning systems provide detailed information about the goods’ physical attributes. “This secondary data,” says Skeen, “makes operations more economical and productive.”
A warehouse management system (WMS), for example, uses weight and dimensional data to help determine the most efficient place to store goods in a distribution center. Later the WMS can use that same data to determine the most efficient sequence for the picking process—instructing the order picker to select heavier items first so those items can sit at the bottom of the repack carton or pallet. Weight and dimension data also helps the WMS choose the smallest possible shipping container, reducing dunnage and shipping costs. Such data also allows companies to correctly calculate their shipping expenses, avoiding costly charge-backs from their carries.
View the complete report, Data Collection: More Information = A More Efficient Supply Chain.