There is a lot of information online about ERP and more often than not a lot of it seems to contradict each other, with everyone defining it in their own way. This is largely because of how the system has been implemented and in many ways this highlights the strengths and flexibility of the software itself.
In order to understand the many ways in which ERP solutions can benefit your business it helps to get a grounding in what ERP is and the fundamentals of how it works. Below is a brief overview of ERP and why it can play an important role in the success of your organisation.
What is ERP?
ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning, although even that term sounds a little vague. Gartner were responsible for creating the phrase back in 1990, but the actual concept goes back even further to the 1960s manufacturing sector. This is when programs created by software engineers monitored inventory, helped to reconcile balances and provide status reports. Material Requirement Planning (MRP) was the next stage of the evolution in the 70s, which allowed for the scheduling of key production processes.
MRP expanded further in the 80s to cover even more manufacturing areas, its name changing to MRP-II or Manufacturing Resource Planning. The 90s saw these systems move beyond inventory and operational functions to encompass admin areas such as accounting and HR, which created the platform for ERP as we understand it now.
Today, ERP has the ability to integrate many of the essential processes that go into running a successful organisation. This includes everything from accounting, human resources, inventory and order management, customer relationship management (CRM), sales force automation (SFA), ecommerce and marketing automation.
Thought about at its most basic, ERP software is able to bring all of these together into one system, streamlining work processes, access and use of information across the business as a whole.
All ERP systems contain a central database that can be shared across multiple departments and units within the organisation. The idea being that everyone is able to work on the same page at the same time, regardless of the division they are based in.
Synchronising automation and reporting
ERP software also has the capability to synchronising reporting and automation. This provides more flexibility for staff who instead of having to create and maintain separate spreadsheets of information which are then manually merged together to generate a report, they can extract the required reports from a single system.
A good example would be related to sales orders that are automatically tied into the finance system, removing the need to manually enter in the data. This will enable the order management team to process the orders far more efficiently, with the finance division able to close the order a lot quicker. Another common ERP feature is the inclusion of a dashboard that allows staff to have immediate sight on the performance levels of key business metrics at any time.
ERP software and the cloud
Although ERP systems were primarily designed for enterprises, mid-to-large size businesses have begun to heavily rely on the software. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions – otherwise known as cloud computing today – have proved to be the driving force behind this. This is because cloud-based solutions have made ERP systems more cost effective as well as making them easier to install and manage over the medium-to-long-term.
Cloud ERP provides the opportunity for reporting in real-time and business intelligence, making it an extremely valuable tool for management executives to gain a precise insight into where the company stands in the moment.
Various sized businesses from a vast range of industries are now becoming more interested in what ERP software can offer to them. In fact, it is estimated that the global SaaS market will be worth around $164.3 billion by 2022. When you start to take into consideration the many benefits that ERP can provide to your business, it is easy to see why it will continue to grow exponentially.
Some businesses are only just coming round to the idea of implementing a WMS system, while the real forward thinkers are already looking towards the next stage of their technological evolution. Cloud based Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) are seen by many as the logical progression, removing many of the associated costs and operation headaches that come with the installation of a WMS.
Whether it’s investing in new hardware, paying out for new software updates or dealing with down-time and maintenance, investing in a traditional WMS takes time and money to set-up and get running. Cloud based services are changing the way we live and work and it is already improving the infrastructure of a growing number of warehouse facilities. Below are six key reasons why you should be looking towards the cloud in 2018.
The cost effective choice
Many smaller, traditional organisations are keen to evolve and invest in a WMS but are deterred by the investment required upfront. Even though the long term returns will make it worthwhile eventually, budgets are either too tight for the initial payment, or they believe the funds can be best put to use in other areas of the business.
A cloud based system removes the cost of installing new equipment and the set-up costs, instead charging a small monthly fee based on how many users will be accessing the platform. It is a far more cost effective method which opens up the software to an even wider audience.
Being able to access your supply chain data from any location means there is no delay in making key decisions that can impact on performance levels. Controlling the WMS from a workstation, mobile phone, tablet or laptop ensures management can remain actively in the loop even when they are not on the premises.
Growing with your business
Another cost-related pain is having to invest more into software upgrades, patches and technical staff if you reach the point of expansion. The cloud allows businesses to quickly scale up (or even down) based on your immediate needs within the business. This sort of flexibility ensures you can react quickly to changing demands without affecting performance levels.
The vast majority of business experience forecasted financial highs and lows across any given year, especially those linked into physical retail outlets. Price packages in traditional WMS systems are usually more rigid in comparison to cloud based solutions, which makes it harder to adjust to the different needs through these periods. In the cloud, user licenses can quickly be added when demand is higher, and removed when business returns to normal levels.
Unless you are an extremely large business, the security measures around your WMS platform usually remain the same until upgraded annually, or sometimes even longer, leaving valuable data vulnerable as new methods are found by hackers to by-pass existing systems. A cloud-based WMS is constantly updated using the latest updates and patches, ensuring your core business information is constantly protected against any potential threats.
And should anything happen within your facility that damages hardware, such as fire, natural disasters or even power outages, all of the data remains securely in the cloud ready to be accessed again when you are back up and running.
Increased IT productivity
Most IT departments find themselves stretched as management tend to underinvest in staff numbers, which can affect the integrity of the work being carried out. Installing a cloud system lessens the burden on staff and ensures they can focus on other areas of the business to be more productive. With less attention needed on supporting an internally hosted WMS system, it will improve the quality of their work in other departments and improve overall efficiency across the entire organisation.
With warehouse shuttle systems the handling of goods is carried out by using a remote controlled pallet shuttle. The shuttles contain diagnosis software for troubleshooting issues and run on rechargeable batteries.
Shuttle systems works on either a FIFO (first-in-last-out) or LIFO (last-in-first-out) basis. The system automates the placement of pallets in the storage lane reducing loading and unloading cycle times. The operator controls all the processes for storing and extracting pallets simply by using a remote control or Wi-Fi enabled tablet
Racking can be set up against a wall of the warehouse which allows for more space. This system allows for loading to be done from one side with a forklift truck and the unloading on the opposite side with another.
Here at 2hssl we offer a free site survey and would be happy to advice you on the system for your warehouse operation.
Advantages of Warehouse Shuttle Systems
- Unique high-density functionality
- Larger number of product types can be stored
- Time required to store and extract pallets reduced
- Reduces operating costs
- The number of fork trucks and operators required is reduced, no need for lighting about racking, less damage to goods including racking repair & maintenance, running costs of temperature/humidity controlled systems and reducing the storage cube required with the associated rent/overheads
- Damage Reduction
- Forklifts never enter into the aisles like they do in Drive-In racking reducing damage.
- Higher product flow produces increased productivity
- Maximised productivity
- Can be combined with other racking systems
- Ideal for cold storage warehouses
There are many kinds of businesses that require conveyor systems, and these are used as a way to move goods from one place to another. The most common place that these are used is in factories and warehouses, where things need to be moved as a part of the automation process. There is no doubt that the right conveyor system can make things much easier, and because of this you should take the time to consider which of the systems would be best for the company that you are running. With this in mind, we have put together a list of the different systems that are available, which will help you to consider your options.
This is the type of system that is most commonly found across many industries, and this is because of the fact that you can transport almost anything with this kind of system. This works by having a belt which is extended across two drums, and then carries items along it. There will usually be a half turn at some point to protect the life of the belt as a whole, so that some of it doesn’t wear more quickly than other parts. This type of conveyor can be great no matter what kind of size or weight of item you are looking to transport.
This isn’t something that you would usually see in a warehouse environment, however it is still an important conveyor system to discuss. This kind of system uses a pulley system, and can be seen in use in places like dry cleaning companies, to get the clothes through the cleaning process. One thing that is so positive about this kind of system is the fact that the items being moved can be fixed in one specific place, meaning that there is no need to be concerned about them moving.
You may have seen this kind of conveyor system in airports, at the point at which baggage is collected. In addition to this, some shops are now choosing this kind of system in place of a belt conveyor, if it suits the types of items that they transport. This system is best for any company who needs to transport larger items, as the rollers can deal with these perfectly.
Vibrating Conveyor Systems
In some kinds of longer systems, you will need to take your items across a number of different conveyors in order to get it to where it eventually needs to be. The vibrating aspect of the system allows anything that shouldn’t be on the conveyor to be shaken off, and this means that the items will be much cleaner when they get to their destination. This means that the items will be in a better condition, and this will improve the process as a whole.
When it comes to conveyor systems, there is no doubt that there are a few different options to choose from, and the one that you go for will depend on the kind of industry you’re in, and also on the type of items that you are going to want to transport, as this can make a big difference to what the right choice would be.
When you are running a business, every single decision that you make will have an impact on the eventual success of the business as a whole. This means that the decision needs to be thought about carefully if you are just in the process of having a new system set up, so the information above should help you to come to a decision that you will be happy with.
2H Storage Solutions supplies automated conveyor systems and distribution solutions for warehouses. We manage the entire process of your automation project, from design through to implementation. So if you want the experts to help you decide what type of automation system is suitable for your business objectives, give us a call today.
The way that we think about the workplace is changing, and now there are more offices than ever who are taking the decision to use partitions rather than putting walls in place. There are a number of reasons that this could be a good choice, and we have put together a list of some of the key benefits that you should think about.
Make the most of any natural light
If you have walls in your office, then unless you are on the outside of the building, you won’t have any kind of natural light in the room. This can have a negative effect on the room as a whole, so it is worth thinking about having glass office partitions – as these can allow you to make the most of the natural light from the outside of the office. This can make the space you’re in feel much more open, and will make a good first impression on anyone who may want to visit your office; and this can mean great things for the future of your business.
When you are running a business, particularly if you are only just setting up for the first time, there are many things you will need to consider when it comes to the amount of money that you are going to be spending. Office partitions are a fantastic way of making a saving, as it is much cheaper to use this as an option than it is to have walls built. This saving that you will make will leave you with money to use for other aspects of your business, which can be a great thing for you.
Gives you the chance to be flexible
Your business needs may change all the time, and if you find that the office that you have set up is no longer suitable for your needs, then office partitions give you the chance to change things around without having to spend a lot of money or take a lot of time on it. This means that no matter what you think might happen to your business in the future, you will be able to change the way you have things in your building to match your needs, and this is something that can indeed be a huge benefit in many ways.
There are lots of things that you might need to do in an office space, and this includes taking phone calls or holding meetings with people who might need to pay you a visit. If you have an open plan office, then despite the fact that there are some positive benefits to this kind of setup, you will find that it is severely lacking in privacy, which could be a problem. Office partitions can help with this, as it gives you the privacy that you need for exactly this purpose. It also helps to block out any unwanted noise from the general area, which can allow you to focus on everything that needs to be said during your meeting. Office partitions can also provide a great space for people to work on projects that they may be involved in with other members of staff, which can improve their productivity.
Generally, if you are looking for a way to try and improve your office environment, office partitions could be a good thing to choose. There are clear benefits to making this decision, and you will start to notice the benefits immediately. When it comes to investments that you may wish to make for your company, this is one that is more than worth thinking about.
When you are running a warehouse or office, you will want to be able to get the most out of it that you possibly can, because it is vital that you have the chance to improve productivity and increase profits at every opportunity. With this in mind, you may have thought about what mezzanine flooring could bring to your company. If this is indeed a consideration, then you might be interested in hearing about what some of the benefits of this type of flooring may be. We have put together a list for you, which will help you to decide whether it would be the right choice for you.
Give yourself some added space
In a world where you probably pay for your warehouse space per square metre of floor space, it is vital that you can make the most of every single metre that you are paying for. The majority of warehouses are quite tall, and this means that if you are just working on one level, you might be missing out on using a lot of the space. Instead of buying a bigger warehouse, you can just add space to the one you have by having a mezzanine floor put in. This will increase your space a lot, and will give you the chance to enjoy making the most of this space.
There is no need to move
If you don’t feel as though the warehouse you are in at the moment is good enough for your needs, then you may consider moving. If this is true, then you will no doubt be dreading just how much it can take to move in this way, and therefore mezzanine flooring might be the answer. This gives you a much better chance of being able to shape your warehouse into exactly the kind of space that you need, and it is much better than having to move completely. This could save you a lot of effort, so it would be more than worth it.
An easy way to keep an eye on safety
There is a lot that has to be done within any kind of warehouse environment, and with this being the case you need to make sure that there is somewhere that you can go to oversee everything that is happening. Sometimes, sitting in a room with a selection of cameras is a good idea, but at other times it can be good to be able to sit higher, above everyone else who is working below you. A mezzanine floor can be a great option for you in this respect, as it gives you an excellent view of everything that is going on, and this should improve your safety a lot.
It is a cheaper option than many others
No matter what kind of business you might be involved in, one of the things that you will be thinking the most about is how you can cut back on the amount of money that you have to spend. This means that if you know that you need more space, you can avoid having to build costly extensions on your property, as a mezzanine floor is a much more affordable option for you.
No matter why you decide that having a mezzanine floor is the best choice for you, there is no doubt that there are a number of benefits. A mezzanine floor would really give you the chance to make the most of the warehouse space that you already have, and this is sure to mean positive things for your business in the future, so it should be a thing that you consider.