7 Things That Will Go Wrong in a Distribution Center without ERP

Today we’re going to visit Murphy’s Distribution Center. You already know Murphy. He coined the concept that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. I wonder how well his business operates without a distribution ERP system to manage his distribution centers.

Dock Scheduling Issues

There is a commotion over at dock 48. What is going on? Here is a 48’ reefer backing into a dry dock door. He says his boss told him he didn’t need an appointment and he can’t wait for one of the refrigerated doors to become open. Suppliers can provide ASN’s to your distribution ERP and dock scheduling will keep your business running smoothly.

Compliance Failure

Look at those pallets. They seem to have the same product but I see at least three different boxes and the labels are haphazardly applied. Your ERP should have the ability to track supplier compliance. Standard boilerplate requirements can, and should, print on every purchase order.

Paper Processes

Paper. Paper. Paper. Everyone I see has paper in their hands. There is paper for receiving. More paper for picking. And still more paper at the shipping docks. Papers get lost, they get dirty and unreadable. A modern distribution ERP will give your business the ability to be paperless. Packages can be read by RFID and the receipt transaction completed. Picking is scheduled by the ERP, the wave assignments are made by the ERP and specific picks directed to the user.

Under-the-Radar Transactions

Over to the left I saw people moving pallets and I did not see any transactions recorded. Every move should be recorded by the ERP. Without the transaction records, how can you ensure the product can be located in the future? If you don’t record moves, you have spent money that cannot be allocated to a customer. How can you measure profitability?

Lack of Cycle Counts

That woman I just spoke to said they never take a cycle count here. How do they know where products are? How do they measure the accuracy of their inventory controls? ERP for any kind of warehouse will have a cycle count application. You only need to use that tool.

Disorganized Docking

Did you see what I just saw? They unloaded boxes from the train car at dock 22 and put them on the shelf. Then only 30 minutes later a picker pulled some of the same boxes and moved them to the outbound dock 135. Cross docking is an important part of creating an effective schedule for any distribution business. A distribution ERP should have the ability to schedule a receipt with a put away directly to an outbound dock.

Slotting Is Not in Place

I have to leave soon. There are a lot of things this place could do better. Just now I watched a train of workers pulling pallet jacks of materials all the way from the far side of the building. It looked like a rush to make a shipment. Don’t they know about slotting? Anticipating where a product will be needed later and scheduling a move to the best bin for that shipment.

Murphy really needs an ERP system. I wonder – does he have one and not use it? Or, does he simply try to do without?

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Tom Miller

About the author…

Tom completed implementations of Epicor, SAP, QAD, and Micro MRP. He works as a logistics and supply chain manager and he always looks for processes to improve. He lives near San Francisco Bay in California and can be found on the water in his kayak or on the road riding his motorcycle. Contact Tom at customerteam@erpfocus.com.

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Tom Miller

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