In this WERC Webinar, The Midwest WERCouncil and Alpine Solutions’ Brenda Stoltz and David Fredericks, experts in operations management conducted a webinar on How to Establish and Sustain SOPs in Your DC. You can watch now on demand.
Brenda and David dive into:
- Why standardization and consistent execution of procedures are important
- How to assess and document your current state
- Identifying and validating improvements
- Implementing new standards
- Managing ongoing oversight, compliance and continuous improvement
Supply Chain Management Review and Modern Material Handling sat down with Michael Wohlwend to discuss WMS.
Modern: You’ve been around the supply chain software space throughout your career. Tell us about the different roles you’ve held.
Wohlwend: I was a warehouse distribution supply chain consultant for the first third of my career, and I installed my first warehouse management system (WMS) in 1994. That was followed by 7.5 years at Manhattan and 6.5 years at SAP. Now, I’m back to the consulting side.
Modern: Since you’ve worked in both the enterprise resource planning (ERP) and WMS spaces, what have been the most important developments during your career? We’ll start with ERP.
Wohlwend: Originally, an ERP system was finance and accounting. And then, they added manufacturing resource planning and planning. After that, ERP tried to be all things to all people and address the end-to-end supply chain. That had its limitations and opened the door for best-of-breed solution providers, especially with the Cloud.
Great examples of that are Salesforce.com for CRM and Workday for HR. Now, we see ERP companies buying Cloud-based software companies with a subscription model to offer best-of-breed solutions under the ERP umbrella. The technology is evolving.
Modern: How about the WMS space?
Wohlwend: For a time, CIOs trying to reduce their overall software footprint were getting the WMS module from an ERP provider like Oracle or SAP. In situations that weren’t complex, like pallet in and pallet out, the WMS from an ERP was good enough. Now, there’s a resurgence of WMS. The real trend I’m seeing is global manufacturers moving to a 3PL for their distribution and deferring to the 3PL’s WMS. And, most of the 3PLs will have a low-cost WMS, with less functionality, and a higher cost version. Depending on complexity, the 3PL will choose which version to roll out for their customer.
Modern: What are your clients struggling with today, particularly with WMS systems?
Wohlwend: Whenever you’re implementing a WMS, you run out of resources, time or money. So when people install a WMS, they never turn everything on because they run out of one of those three. Then, they run into an issue and don’t realize they have the functionality.
I recently went to a site that wasn’t doing directed putaway or batch picking because they’d never turned on the functionality. It cost them $52,000 and they had an ROI in two weeks. The No. 2 reason is that they business model changed. For example, with Covid-19 now they may need to turn on each picking and need to configure along with cartonization. Their WMS has the functionality but needs to be configured.
Modern: Given all the changes in fulfillment processes, what should a company do?
Wohlwend: The most common thing I see is that they didn’t turn on all the functionality, and they haven’t upgraded, so now they’re at a pivot point. Do I keep an existing system and “add on modules” like voice, labor management, or slotting modules? Or, do I rip and replace? There are companies adding “Add on Modules” on top of old versions of EXE and Catalyst.
The problem with ripping and replacing is that a lot of the new systems are in the Cloud. That sounds good, but I just worked with a 3PL that couldn’t get Internet access at their site. They had to have a server on site. And when you’re talking about an automated system that requires sub-second response times, I believe it has to be on-premise. You just can’t risk your order fulfillment system on a connection that could go down.
Michael Wohlwend, Managing Principal of Alpine Supply Chain Solutions sat down with Russell Goodman, Senior Editor of Supply Chain Brain to discuss Goods-to-Person Technology and how Alpine is using tools from several providers to meet clients implementation needs.
“All verticals and all sizes of companies can benefit from implementation of goods-to-person technology”, says Michael Wohlwend, managing principal of Alpine Supply Chain Solutions.
- Storage Analysis identify size and quantity of Pick Locations
- Storage Analysis identify size and quantity of Reserve Locations
- Slotting Optimization
How it works:
“The goods-to-person concept is simple: incoming goods are removed from pallets, either manually or automatically. The cartons and/or pieces are then placed into totes (smaller goods) or into trays (larger goods), and stored in high-density automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS), carousels or robotic systems. As orders are required to be fulfilled SKUs are automatically retrieved from storage and brought to the picker, either at a pick station where the operator picks into an order container or to an ergonomic palletizing station where items are placed on a pallet. Since the picker does not have to walk, the focus at the pick stations and pack stations is on ergonomics and high productivity.” – Material, Handling, & Logistics
Alpine is growing! We are pleased to announce that Dave Kressin joined the Alpine team and will be supporting both the Supply Chain Strategy and Supply Chain Systems Practices. Dave Kressin is a very talented and driven supply chain leader with over 30 years of logistics industry experience, including a background of planning, designing, and product management for software companies. He can see the true potential of new processes, technology, and provide an ROI based on the strength of that knowledge. Dave’s experience as a software product manager combined with his vast operations experience is a unique skill set that will add value to our customer’s projects.
Dave is a very talented and driven supply chain leader with a proven track record of helping others recognize their potential for success and making it happen. His strong expertise in managing distribution, procurement, accounting, transportation, technology, inventory production, inventory control, operations and safety projects in the Logistics industry gives him a strategic perspective of the business, their processes and best practices. Dave’s professionalism, approachability, tenacity and positive attitude is contagious and affords him a reputation for cultivating high functioning teams that exceed their potential delivering projects on time and on budget. His management style is based around mentorship and providing an understanding to both executives and line managers.
Dave’s 30+ years of experience includes planning, designing, and product management for software companies. This combined with business analysis and implementation experience gives him a unique perspective of the industry. This experience and knowledge allow him to assimilate new technology quickly and apply it to his projects. He can see the true potential of new processes, technology, and provide an ROI based on the strength of that knowledge. He enjoys working in a fast-paced environment and excelling at unique challenges. Dave is a true business partner and critical thinker that leads by example and makes the tough decisions.
To choose cost or customer service can be difficult. Alpine makes it so you don’t have to! Alpine Managing Principal, Michael Wohlwend, is featured in the current issue of Inbound Logistics in the “Good Question” section. When posed the question, “When choosing a logistics provider, what’s more important: cost or customer service?” Alpine makes it so you don’t have to choose.
Michael responded “Why must you choose one? Why not have both?” Customer Service is vital in a partnership to ensure the right product gets to the right place, at the right time, and on value! Today with the volatility of the order profile changing, and the new metric of next-day delivery, it is extremely important that you and your selected logistics provider perform a detailed design session to align on the key metrics of success, and on how when volumes go up, so does the price.”
More About Michael:
Managing Principal, Michael Wohlwend spent six years with SAP running the Mid-West Services business, where he was the executive sponsor on 3 SAP EWM installs. Michael also spent seven years with Manhattan Associates where he was involved in over 30+ installs. In addition, his responsibilities included RFID in a BOX. Prior to that as a member of consulting and software firms, he provided supply chain solutions for more than 30 top companies including Technicolor, Warner Brothers/Elektra/Atlantic, Sargento Foods, Johnsonville, IKON Office Solutions, Depuy, Schwarz Pharma, Long’s Drugs, Ross Stores, QVC, eLuxury, Alliance Beverage and Churchill Distributors.
In his 25 years of experience in the supply chain industry, Wohlwend has authored numerous articles for trade publications and has presented more than 70 seminars and speeches at key industry events. These events include National Conference of Operations & Fulfillment (NCOF), Warehouse Education Research Council (WERC), Council of Logistics Management (CLM), ScanTech, Distribution Computer Expo and ID Expo. He has been a board member of WERC since 2008 and Past President in 2014.