Dashboards in the Supply Chain – Warehousing

warehouse_conveyor_belt_200pxWarehousing or Warehouse Management is one aspect of the supply chain for which a myriad of KPIs can be indentified and monitored. As most of these don’t have to be real-time, I have tried to call out those which I believe could be monitored real-time via a Dashboard:

Order Status

The aim of most warehousing operations is to be able to fulfil an order when it arrives, and complete an on-time delivery. Seeing how orders are on or off track, in terms of picking and packing, is one way to ensure that any backlogs don’t get worse. Additional resources could be put towards bringing the orders back on track if required.

Priority Orders

These orders tend to be urgent by their nature and have tight deadlines. The amount of delay tolerable on these are minimal, hence it helps to see how these orders are progressing. Any issues with these orders should be addressed faster than the normal orders.

Order Turnaround Times

The turnaround times of an order can also be monitored via a dashboard. If a trend is noticed during the course of a day, it can be investigated, addressed and brought back to acceptable levels.

Items Running Low on Stock

This is especially important if these items are fast moving. Most ERP/WMS systems these days have rules for automatic order placement, and many warehouses run lean. If not properly managed, orders requiring these items could hold up progress in a warehouse.

Current Incidents

An incident could be anything from a jammed conveyor belt to an injury to a staff member. Being aware of the incidents and how that affects the warehouse operations could in turn help management decide how to change the processes/priorities of what needs to be done.

Monitoring these incidents also helps to identify blackspots within the warehouse and to address them in the long run.

Warehouse Space Utilisation

Monitoring this measure would indicate if the warehouse is likely to run out of space (or reach set thresholds) anytime soon.

 Being aware of how much space is available or being used is also important for operational decisions such as how to make more room (e.g. focus on completing the current orders before receiving any more good in), or which area of the warehouse floor should be used next.

 The unit of space could be measured as a single tray or rackspace, a shelf, a bay or a whole warehouse.

Total Warehouse Metrics

Depending on where the warehouse is, what it is constructed from, and other criteria, there may be limits as to how much weight can be placed on the warehouse floor (or on a shelf). Dashboards could be used to monitor and alert on any of these breaches.

Financial Metrics

Various incidents, delays, etc have a cost associated to it as there could be fines or penalties imposed on the business. It should be the goal of any business to reduce or eliminate such incidents, and in turn reduce costs or expenses. A dashboard can help flag issues as they happen, or in some cases before they happen.

All businesses would be insured for the total stock it carries at any one time. However knowing the actual value of goods in a warehouse at any one time will also identify if the business is under insured or over insured. A dashboard should be able to show this information real-time.

Again, a good starting point to identifying what to include on a dashboard would be KPIs for the organisation/business unit.

As always, I’d love to hear from you with any examples you wish to share.