Infosys’ blog on industry solutions, trends, business process transformation and global implementation in Oracle.

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Task Of Avoiding Stock Outs- Task Management

Out of Stock is a common problem that has smitten retailers immemorial. It is a part and parcel of the industry dynamics. One of the core WMS concepts can come in really handy and act as a panacea.

At the heart of operation of a modern WMS is the concept of task management. Put simplistically this concept ensures the right person at right place at the right time. WMS then doles out the work electronically via RF devices, voice systems or light systems to the best warehouse operator for the task and receives an acknowledgement that the work was performed. The system then switches to the next task. This may happen for many operators at the same time. Task interleaving is also common where different types of tasks can be combined to optimize efficiency.
Efficient task management could be put in place to avoid stock out situations. Task management could be linked to employee scheduling to optimize what staff is needed where and when, based on sales history and other factors. RF devices could be easily tied to a WMS and used effectively to avoid the stock out situations for a retailer. What is needed is an inventory source of record, wireless infrastructure and a WMS with a Task Management engine.

Consider a common business situation. A replenishment activity indicates that a location needs replenished based on the threshold level set for the SKU, and a specific task is set for the move. It goes into the queue, and is prioritized based on other variables. If it is a hot selling SKU, meaning it is increasingly in danger of going to zero at the shelf, the task rises in the queue. Warehouse operators will be instructed for their tasks at their RF terminals and they confirm it is done electronically. A task management engine would certainly provide order to the high entropy prevalent in the retail world.

Oracle WMS provides a robust task management system and a rules engine that could be used to alleviate the problem discussed above. A Warehouse Management Control Board is a tool that is available with WMS that could be used to monitor, plan, control, and execute various warehouse operations. The Warehouse Control Board enables us to view workloads across the entire warehouse, manage exceptions, and review, release, reassign, and re-prioritize tasks.

I think, problems at hand need just the due attention and a simple solution is around to address them. Retailers pan globe are using the task management concept to provide world class services to their customers. Customer is the KING, right!!

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