Warehouse management plays a vital role in the efficiency of the downstream supply chain in the oil and gas industry. It involves processes relating to the monitoring of stock and inventory levels, storage of product and equipment maintenance, all of which can affect the profitability of the business and the effectiveness of the overall supply chain. In recent years, the importance of warehouse management has come to the forefront. As a result, there have been several technological and software developments that have been designed to specifically optimise warehouse management operations to reduce costs and losses, save on time and enhance productivity.
The importance of Warehouse Management and the challenges it faces in the oil and gas industry
Warehouse management ultimately keeps products flowing efficiently through the downstream supply chain, which becomes essential in ensuring customer satisfaction and securing an increased profit margin. When warehouse processes are optimised and running as they should, the company can ensure that the supply chain is reliable and that shortages, hold-ups etc. are a rare occurrence. This can only be done if there is full visibility and optimisation of all the elements and processes related to warehouse management.
To ensure that you have full visibility you need to have insight into processes related to inventory management and location, warehouse layout and space, picking methods, quality control as well as your employees and their skills levels. Each of these elements can negatively impact the warehouse management processes in the following ways:
Efficient warehouse space and layout
Picking, receiving, and put-away tasks are interlinked. If put-away tasks are not managed effectively, the wave picking process will not be effective. If the product is not found on the correct shelf or rack, it could hold up the entire picking, distribution and transport process. This, in turn, has an impact on customer satisfaction levels and overall productivity.
Highly qualified staff
These challenges heavily impact warehouse management and the overall supply chain. If one process is not working as it should, there will be delays experienced throughout the entire system. There have been several technological and software advances, like Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), that have been designed to overcome these challenges.
How to improve Warehouse Management processes?
Warehouse management is complex with many moving parts, but there are several ways to optimise and improve these operations, which includes implementing a Warehouse Management System (WMS). By implementing this software solution, you can ensure:
Better utilisation of warehouse space
The use of Warehouse Management System (WMS) software assists in optimising the design of the warehouse. This allows companies to customise workflows and picking logic to make sure the warehouse is designed for optimised inventory collections and distributions. This also creates an optimised storage location for inventory and stock.
Inventory management and tracking
There are several types of inventory management systems available that allow for real-time intelligent information processing in the warehouse to maximise efficiency. These tracking systems make use of different types of technology like RFID and barcode scanners to track and monitor inventory in your warehouse. They are useful in locating inventory in relation to receiving stock, customer orders, order picking, and order distribution.
Minimise the need for paperwork
Warehouse management software allows for all information that used to be maintained using hardcopies/paper, like tickets, packing lists etc. to be tracked, uploaded, maintained and managed digitally. This saves on time, storage space and resources.
Enhanced cycle counting
This type of software system provides insight into data related to locations, movement, storage etc. This data will allow you to schedule cycle counts in a proper and organised manner. This software also enables you to increase cycle counts and the accuracy of the inventory recorded, which assists in planning and forecasting.
Procedures and processes are optimised for productivity
Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) assist in optimising the material flow. They can integrate and automate different processes to enhance accuracy and productivity.
Benefits of optimised Warehouse Management
There are several benefits to implementing a Warehouse Management System (WMS), that relate to the optimisation of warehouse operations. These include:
Reduction of costs – as mentioned above, Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) allows you to optimise the layout and space of the warehouse. This will potentially reduce the waste of premium floor space and the time taken to move materials, pick and distribute products. By considering the best locations to store products and designing the warehouse to fit your unique operating needs, you can lower operating expenses and enhance productivity.
Boost in transparency – this type of software solution will provide you with accurate real-time data relating to inventory levels. This will assist in inventory forecasting and planning to ensure that you can meet customer demands and needs.
Increase in accuracy and productivity – by optimising warehouse management processes, you can efficiently and more accurately find inventory availability and their location. This ultimately enhances the speed of order fulfilment and reduces any delays due to human error.
Proactive problem solving – warehouse management software will provide you with accurate and real-time data relating to your warehouse, which can be used to track productivity and distribution. This will enable you to proactively identify and manage any potential problems or issues a lot faster.
Enhance customer service – Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) positively impact sales channels and customer service. Through the optimisation of warehouse operations, customers are able to have their orders fulfilled efficiently and effectively, ensuring that they get what they ordered on time.
Warehouse management technology has become essential in ensuring that your downstream supply chain is running productively, accurately, and efficiently. Many of the warehouse management challenges faced by those in the oil and gas industry can be answered by implementing a Warehouse Management System (WMS). The software solution needs to be tailored to the unique needs of this dynamic industry. Adapt IT Energy has years of experience and knowledge in the industry and will be able to provide you with a Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) solution geared not only to this industry’s needs but your specific business requirements.
Shireen Regal leads the Transportation and Distribution portfolio for Adapt IT Energy. She has gained experience and knowledge in the Energy industry, through working with Oil Majors both locally and globally. Shireen experience spans across business & systems analysis, business process & solution design, implementation and optimisation, with a strong focus on project management as well. Shireen also possess profound market leadership and expertise in the Adapt IT Transport and Distribution solution stream.