Study of Retailers Claims that Warehouse Management Systems Are Under-Utilized

A recent study of 100 retail and related companies that participate in the Supply Chain Consortium (Raleigh, N.C.) found that many of the organizations under use their warehouse management systems (WMS) and do not make the best upgrade and replacement decisions.

"Although companies are implementing these solutions to enhance operations, too many do not take their investment to the next level by continually evaluating how well they employ their WMS and seeking improvement opportunities," said Tom Singer, author of the WMS survey report. Singer is a principal with Tompkins Associates (, a supply-chain consulting firm based in Raleigh, N.C., that manages the Supply Chain Consortium.

A few of the findings from the WMS benchmarking and best practices survey include:

  • 45% of the reported WMS in use are custom developed.
  • 12% of respondents use a third-party hosting service to access their WMS solutions.
  • Only 60% of the respondents report that they perform a post-implementation audit of their supply chain technology investments.
  • Less than half of the respondents use their systems to schedule appointments for their receiving docks.
  • 88% of the respondents indicate that their warehouse management systems are integrated to a customer or store order management system.

Although the survey reportedly found that the vast majority of respondents use their WMS solutions to support receiving, put-away, picking and shipping, other functions such as cycle counting, packing, slot management, labor management, dock management and yard management, are under-utilized.
The Supply Chain Consortium has 102 participating retail and retail supplier companies, which sponsor benchmarking tools, online analysis tools, topic forums and peer networking for supply chain executives and practitioners. The group's advisory board includes representatives from Campbell Soup, Hallmark, J.C. Penney, Molson Coors, Polo Ralph Lauren, Rite Aid, Target, The Coca-Cola Co. and Whirlpool.

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