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Assignment Questions

Changing Technologies of Warehousing Management

From the background material you notice that warehousing technology and warehousing management styles are changing. Warehousemanagement systems (WMS) are also coming into common practice to be critical to the successful operation of today’s warehouse.

After reading the articles on the Module Background page and doing some of your own research, write a 3-4 page paper discussing the following question:

Why is a state-of-the-art WMS critical to the operation of a modern warehouse?

Assignment Expectations

Research the topic with information from the background readings as well as any other resources you find on your own. The paper should be 3-4 pages in length and have a cover sheet and a reference page. Clarity of presentation is important, as well as your ability to cover the topic in a succinct, organized manner with research to back up your points. Use at least 3 different sources of information and annotate your sources of information appropriately on your references page and within the text as necessary. You will be assessed on how well you demonstrate your understanding of state-of-the-art warehouse management tools and the benefits and challenges of implementation.

Background information below:

Here is a good article that discusses value-added services that 3PLs and warehousing organizations are starting to offer:

Atkinson, William, 2002, Value-added services from 3PLs and public warehouses: What to look for. Logistics Management, Vol. 41(10):W8-11.

Abstract: A lot of warehouses are still just offering traditional services – putting away and picking, explains Evan Armstrong, vice president of Armstrong & Associates, Inc., which provides strategic consulting services to shippers, 3PLs and carriers and also publishes Who’s Who in Logistics. Still, though, while many providers remain in the stone age, most are moving forward with new value-added services. With the advent of the very time-sensitive supply chain model, there is a move away from traditional warehousing with shelves and racks for storage to more of a flow-through operation, such as cross-docking, plus some light manufacturing or assembly and kitting, notes Adrian Gonzalez, senior analyst with ARC Advisory Group.

This article takes an in depth look at the functional utility of warehouses.

McKnight, Douglas, 1999, A practical guide to evaluating the functional utility of warehouses. The Appraisal Journal, 67(1):29-37.

Abstract: Many appraisers fail to address some forms of functional obsolescence in warehouse space. Details on interior and exterior layout, dock design, and safety and security issues play an important role in the highest and best use and functional utility of a warehouse. The practical considerations of good warehouse are described in clear and helpful detail, including modes of delivery and scheduling. The oversimplified process of considering only clear heights in the appraisal of such properties is cautioned against.

This article will be used for the case study assignment:

Anonymous, (2002). WMS drives efficient parts distribution. Modern Materials Handling, Boston, 57(12).

Abstract: When Toyota set up a spare parts distribution facility to support its operations in the UK, the automobile maker realized that a state-of-the-art warehouse managementsystem (WMS) was critical. The WMS that Toyota chose not only tracks parts location, but produces a tag label, which gives part details and subsequent locations.

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