Warehouse Management Off the Skids

June 3, 2020


Jim, the COO of OffTheShelf Co, distributors for kitchenware, was whistling a happy tune as he walked through the warehouse. The shelves were neatly labeled, and the boxes were stacked high, ready to fly!


Angie, the warehouse manager, came trundling toward him. “Jim, we have a problem,” she blurted out. “The order from MassMerch has to ship this Friday and the delivery from the supplier isn't scheduled to arrive until next Monday."


Jim looked up at the rafters for a moment to keep his cool. Angie had been with the company for 20 years and was terrific at management but was not great with the new computer system. In fact, she avoided every training and openly talked about how ‘we don’t need an upgrade’ and ‘the system stinks.’


Does this sound like a scene at your company? Read on; it gets even more nerve-wracking.


"Is that all?" Jim asked. Knowing Angie, there would be more.


There was. “In addition, our new customer, SuperSales, rescheduled their order for delivery to next month," Angie continued. “That means we don’t have any room to unload the delivery from our supplier on Monday. And, because we won’t deliver on-time to MassMerch, we are going to get a ding from MassMerch that will sting!


“Why is the supplier coming on Monday?” Jim thought to ask for some facts before jumping on the agitation bandwagon.


“Well”, said Angie, “the supplier was supposed to deliver on Thursday, but they are always late…”


Jim interrupted Angie with, “Are you using the Warehouse Management System? It has a scheduler and that’s where you should be putting in time buffers.”


Angie looked to the left and replied, “Look, I can do this without a system. It’s just that…”


Again Jim interrupted. “Angie, our business is five times larger now than back in the day. That’s why we need the system – we can’t afford to accumulate missed delivery fines when we could avoid the pain by using the