Systems Integration

Database Systems talking to each other

 

Some companies try to avoid keying data into two systems.  Generally they do this by having their Warehouse Management System (WMS) or Transport Management System (TMS) generate the data required to raise transfer offs.  They are likely to be already using their WMS or TMS for raising con notes, delivery dockets, etc.

Generating transfer off pallet dockets is often straightforward but it can become a can of worms if you try to build a pallet reconciliation system in your WMS or TMS.  The Australian pallet control industry is very complex and, unless you are immersed in it every day you can be caught out.

Some companies have had spectacular failures when they have attempted to develop a full blown reconciliation system in their WMS or TMS.

To avoid this minefield the transfer off data generated in a WMS or TMS can be exported to a specialised pallet control system such as PalletWatch.  This can be as simple as sending a daily file from the WMS or TMS to the pallet control system.  In the case of PalletWatch this can be an automatic process

Companies who use large systems such as SAP often have many projects in the pipeline and pallet control could be well down the list of priorities.  You thus need to be very careful in specifying what you need as modifications may take a long time if you get it wrong.

Some things that need to be considered are:

  • The docket number sequence.  CHEP provide a docket number prefix which is unique to a particular account.  Your WMS or TMS will have to be able to make use of this.
  • The pallet docket.  It needs to look like a pallet docket.  One company lost thousands of pallets because the pallet dockets generated from their mainframe system looked more like delivery dockets and as such receivers often threw them away and then rejected the transfers when they were invoiced.
  • If a change is required, e.g. new equipment to be added, can this change be quickly put in place or will it take several man years to get it in.

There are a number of advantages of using your WMS or TMS to generate pallet dockets,  These include:

  • Avoids double entry.
  • Operations staff only have to learn one system.
  • Reference numbers and delivery details are tightly linked between the WMS or TMS and the pallet control system.
  • Pallet control software licensing can be cheaper as it may only need to be used at one site.  You should check the licensing arrangements with your pallet control system supplier as they may charge you for sites where there software is not even used.