Order Manager Upgrade from FKI Updates Support for RFID, Inventory Control

Software provides beefed-up order management and productivity reporting capabilities; targets both small, manual stockrooms and automated warehouses

Software provides beefed-up order management and productivity reporting capabilities; targets both small, manual stockrooms and automated warehouses

St. Louis — April 18, 2006 — Material handling specialist FKI Logistex has rolled out a set of upgrades to its Order Manager software solution, a combined warehouse management system (WMS) and warehouse control system (WCS) that now includes updated capabilities for radio frequency identification (RFID) support, order management, inventory control and productivity reporting.

Intended as both a solution for small, manual stockrooms and a mission-critical application for warehouses that require an automated equipment interface with a short implementation time, Order Manager was designed to eliminate the need for multiple connections to a company's enterprise business systems (EBS). An EBS can communicate with Order Manager directly, avoiding multiple hardware and software vendor connections, FKI said.

The solution provider said that Order Manager can be deployed in less time than a traditional WMS. Whereas traditional systems often require special programming to support automation equipment, the modular Order Manager provides this capability as a standard detachable component. FKI also asserted that Order Manager offers a lower-cost solution to hardware automation when compared with traditional WMS-WCS collaborations.

Material Handling Support

Order Manager supports the control of various types of material handling systems, including small- and large-scale manual carousel and bulk/flow rack handling systems using manual and/or radio frequency (RF)-directed activities; traditional paper-based and paperless manual warehousing operations; order consolidation and put systems; in-line and end-of-line manufacturing applications; automated buffer storage and retrieval systems; fully automated warehouses and manufacturing operations; and combinations of the above.

The solution offers order processing capabilities and functions as a conduit between an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, WMS or EBS when used in conjunction with material handling equipment. Through order and inventory data, Order Manager directs and controls the building, picking and in-house routing of customer orders from forward pick locations all the way to the truck or ship staging areas in either automated or non-automated applications, according to FKI.

The inventory and order management module of Order Manager provides the capability to receive, track, pick and ship a customer's goods. Inventory management functionality includes receiving and put-away, replenishment, cycle counting, order management and fulfillment, picking, order consolidation, packing operations, shipping, cross-docking and quality assurance (QA).

Finding "Intelligent" Routing Solutions

FKI said that one of Order Manager's greatest strengths is its ability to manage the routing of containers and orders throughout a facility. Using path search algorithms, optimal container and order routing can be achieved by supplying the source and destination. Order Manager "intelligently" searches the list of available options and chooses the one that is most appropriate.

In cases where desired equipment housing the inventory may be out of service and unavailable, Order Manager looks for another path to direct product. If inventory is located in equipment that is out of service, such as an automatic storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) aisle, Order Manager attempts to find the product in other areas of the facility under its control to satisfy the requirements for the customer.

Supported equipment interfaces in Order Manager include RF (hand-held, truck-mount or wearable) and wireless devices (PDA, verification scanners); passive and active RFID support; barcode scanners; demand-driven label and report printing; pick/pack list and manifest printing; pick/put-to-light systems and devices; automated storage-and-retrieval systems (AS/RS); conveyor PLC interface; advanced sortation systems; manual and robotic carousels; gantry and conventional depalletizers/palletizers; gantry and articulated robotic systems; inline label print-and-apply systems; and marquee displays.

FKI said that Order Manager was designed as a set of interlocking modules that can be turned on and off as the demands of the solution require. The solution also provides a common look and feel across all applications and includes diagnostic, transaction and alarm tracking.

Additional Articles of Interest

— Businesses today continue to look for ways to reduce their logistics costs, but in order to identify further costs savings, companies need to tap into new information. The answer? Benchmarking. Read more in "Freight Cost Benchmarking: The Final Procurement Level," in the February/March 2006 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.

— To build a competency in supply network design, this consumer products company first had to build confidence. Read more in "Designing the Best Supply Chain Gillette Can Get," in the February/March 2006 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.