Warehouse Management Systems and Warehouse Control Systems Improve Inventory Accuracy

HOLLAND, MICHIGAN – In the current issue of AccountingSoftware 411, manufacturing journalist TR Cutler noted, “Warehouse management systems must deliver efficient and lean material distribution operation systems through unrivaled personnel, inventory, and equipment management. Few warehouses experience 99.9% inventory accuracy and up to 35% productivity improvement from an automation environment.”

According to Mark Stevenson, “Warehouse Management Systems must link the logistic environment and the equipment available in the warehouse and consists of two main modules.” Stevenson is Vice President for Egemin Automation, Inc., a global provider of Automatic Guided Vehicle Systems, Material Handling and Automation solutions. For the past twenty years, Stevenson has worked with many of the world’s largest corporations on the design and implementation of automatic guided vehicle systems, including two of the first automatic trailer loading system in the United States, and he holds a patent as a co-inventor of ATL technology. Stevenson is recognized as one of the foremost authorities and subject matter experts on the design and application of automated trailer loading systems and warehousing automation with automatic guided vehicles. “Warehouse Management Systems must be specifically designed to work with all forms of automation, as well as forklift truck fleets,” noted Stevenson.

Core Inventory Management

An inventory management module must store product according to the carrier and compartment number, product attributes (owner, lot, quality, abc qualification), storage zone, etc. Cross-docking operations move products of a specific customer from reception directly to dispatch. Warehouse management systems must allocate warehouse inventory to order lines based on intelligent allocation algorithms: least remaining stock per carrier, FIFO, FEFO, capacity distribution and optimization. Orders must be automatically reallocated to another carrier in case of unexpected product shortages.

Examples of automatic storage applications with AGVs include:

  • Block storage of pallets, containers, racks, boxes and tubs
  • Pallet storage in warehouse racks
  • Vertical storage of reels
  • Horizontal storage of reels in cradles

Automated guided vehicles are the ideal transport solution from end-of-line equipment to shipping in distribution centers. All of the benefits of AGV’s are only realize when the WMS solutions are comprehensive and allow for add-on elements such as a track and tracing module, statistical KPI management reporting, trailer patterning, yard management, equipment alarm management, warehouse control systems, and satellite storage.

Stevenson suggests that, “Warehouse Control Systems integrate all automated equipment in a warehouse into one well-oiled and efficient transport system.” Supported storage methods must be fully compatible with all standard storage methods such as pallet racks, mini-loads, block stacking or drive-in racks, but also support more complex methods like satellite storage, double deep storage, roll-through racks and paternoster systems. “The entire transport assignment should be split in several smaller track segments per transport means (such as conveyors, shuttles, cranes, forklift trucks, and AGV’s) and should control each sub-transport fully autonomously.”

Companies in the food, beverage, plastics, consumer goods and big box retail distribution markets purchase Egemin Hybrid Automated Guided Vehicles for flexibility, familiarity, reliability, and affordability. Combined with Egemin’s Warehouse Management System (E’wms), organizations realize better than expected returns on investment.

About Dematic Egemin

Dematic Egemin (formerly Egemin Automation) manufactures, implements and services mobile automation solutions that improve warehouse, production and distribution center processes to optimize the supply chain. Product solutions include Automatic Guided Vehicles (AGVs) and in-floor towing solutions. Dematic Egemin comprises the Mobile Automation group within Dematic, with a Center of Excellence located in Holland, Michigan.

About Dematic

Dematic is a leading global supplier of integrated automated technology, software and services to optimize the supply chain. Dematic employs over 6,000 skilled logistics professionals to serve its customers globally, with engineering centers and manufacturing facilities located across the globe. Dematic, Egemin and Retrotech, now integrated under the roof of KION Group, have implemented more than 6,000 integrated systems for a customer base that includes small, medium and large companies doing business in a variety of market sectors.

Headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Dematic is a member of KION Group, a global leader in industrial trucks, related services, and supply chain solutions. Across more than 100 countries worldwide, the KION Group designs, builds and supports logistics solutions that optimize material and information flow within factories, warehouses and distribution centres. The company is the largest manufacturer of industrial trucks in Europe, the second-largest producer of forklifts globally, and a leading provider of warehouse automation.


John Clark
11818 James St.
Holland, MI 49424
616 393 0101