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Optimize Business Processes with Blue Yonder Warehouse Management



Optimize Business Processes with Blue Yonder Warehouse Management

Optimize Business Processes with Blue Yonder Warehouse Management

Here are some ideas on how you can better align and optimize your processes if you currently have or are considering buying Blue Yonder (formerly JDA RedPrairie Software) Warehouse Management (WMS). We’ll cover:

  • Directed work
  • Tribal knowledge
  • Inbound dock
  • Reporting
  • Cycle counting

Directed work

Especially if you’re moving from a paper-based system to a WMS, directed work can be an enormous change in how things get done in your warehouse. Directed work is specific types of tasks that are assigned parameters and priorities. These are put into a queue and given to users who qualify to do that work based on a set of criteria (i.e., things like priority and proximity). Typically in a paper-based environment, workers might go to a supervisor to get a report to work from. Then that worker might decide what order in which to complete those tasks on the report.

Directed work means the system directs people instead of putting decisions in a user’s hands. You can set your WMS so that specific users can do specific tasks based on criteria. This is true for any kind of process including picking, inventory transfers, cycle counting, etc. How much more efficient could your end users be if they didn’t have to stop their work, travel to their supervisor’s office and then resume work after receiving their directive? A WMS will drive efficiencies throughout your operational processes.

Supervisors that have time to Supervise

But wait. What will your supervisors do now when they’re freed up from their desk? If you optimize the system, the system optimizes the work and then the supervisor can monitor what is actually happening. How much more efficient could your supervisors be if they didn’t have people coming to them for a report or a label in order to do their work? Your WMS will now drive how people move through your process and coaching people and remediating issues will become a supervisor’s or manager’s primary activities. No more being stuck behind a desk running reports or labels.

Tribal Knowledge / Cherry Picking Orders

Do you struggle with tribal knowledge or “favorite” tasks that end up driving how work gets done in your warehouse? It can be a mixed blessing, right? When a system directs work, it eliminates those issues. The WMS can be set to not only tell employees what to do but also in what order to complete that work, including travel paths. Locations are set up in the system for the most efficient travel sequence and can be set to help eliminate things like deadheading.

System-Directed Putaway

The same goes for putaway. You’ll no longer have to rely on tribal knowledge when your putaway is system-directed. Without a system, sometimes users may get an item number and look up the location in their inventory without regard for whether it’s a pick face or reserve location. Workers might be tempted to put away items so it’s more convenient for them as they do their work. The problem gets even bigger if  you don’t have good inventory footprint data. Hint: This is where systems like Cubiscan come in handy to get accurate product dimensions into your WMS without manual effort.

With system-directed putaway, you can build a set of parameters that lets the system decide on the optimal location for inventory based on what you need (FIFO, FEFO, etc.).

If you’re in the food industry and follow expiration dates for food or perishables, you want to keep the different expiration dates in different locations so you don’t need to dig for the oldest. This is called mixing rules.

Storage Location Sizes

Let’s take the problem of environmental issues like humidity. Have you ever experienced packaging that allows for stacking pallets three high but because of humidity, it can only be safely stacked two high? Your WMS can be configured with a maximum pallet stack height. The system will know how many pallets can fit in in a particular location. This can help reduce the amount of damaged product in your facility.

Inbound Dock

System-directed putaway sets you up for success with outbound processes like with your inbound dock. You can create rules in your WMS that say, “I have a certain set of item parameters and based on the rules for putaway, the WMS can tell me what dock door is optimal for putaway based on travel time and distance.” This kind of putaway can come in handy in situations such as receiving cases of water. Let’s say the trailer contains regular and sparkling water (a 40/60 split). In your facility, those are stored in two different areas. If the trailer contains mostly sparkling, it can be put at a dock door that is closest to the sparkling locations. It’s better to optimize your 60% than your 40%, right? This particular approach works well for 250K square feet or higher facilities.

Streamlining Reports

Most facilities, even those with a system, still use paper reports like BOLs, packing slips, etc. All of these things can be set to auto-print at a certain part of your outbound process, capturing the relevant data and also near to the individual(s) handling it. It’s a bit of a head-scratcher but we often see incomplete reports getting printed and then workers have to handwrite missing information. Why insert a manual process? Have the report automatically print the needed data the first time.

Reports are still often used for receiving. Did you know that you can print reports with bar codes? This can eliminate the need to type information such as item number, lot number or expiration dates into an RF gun. Instead, it can be click, scan and GO instead of the more time-consuming manual entry.

Cycle Count Templates

Are you aware that you can create cycle counting templates within Blue Yonder WMS? You can set criteria such as, “I want X counted (set of parameters, item attributes”) every Monday at 9:00 a.m.” By having the system automatically assign this task as part of directed work, a supervisor no longer needs to direct these types of tasks manually.

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Jeremy Hudson

Vice President of Client Services

Jeremy’s focus is on the products and services clients need to stay competitive. Open Sky Group’s mission is to deliver technology-enabled solutions that allow our customers to achieve more while having the flexibility to adapt to change. Jeremy lives the core values and mission by bringing the best experience possible to our clients. He is an essential member of implementation teams, working alongside clients, and encouraging them to use innovation and best practices instead of customizations for success.

Jason Yantiss

Vice President of Client Services

Jason provides leadership to a variety of teams focused on implementation and integration. With 27+ years of experience holding operational and technical management roles in transportation, billing, and warehousing across a vast array of industry verticals, Jason is adept at driving multiple complex projects, understanding customer needs at all levels of the operation and providing viable solutions. Jason’s resume of 150+ implementation projects include Warehouse, Labor, Transportation, Yard Management and multiple AR/AP Freight Pay and Customer Billing systems. 

Eric McPherson

Vice President of Client Services

Mac works to oversee implementation and integration projects. A former Marine officer and military police officer, he brings over 27 years of supply chain experience, including 11 years at Blue Yonder in both delivery and service sales. Mac is a dedicated, team-oriented professional with a background in business management, professional services, customer service, and supply chain technology. His specialties include sales support, supply chain execution systems, project management, fulfillment operations, distribution operations, and GSA contracts.

Shannon Caflisch

Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing

Shannon is responsible for the strategy and management of all sales, business development, and marketing programs. With over 25 years of sales experience and 15 years focused in the supply chain space, Shannon focuses on building strong relationships with clients and partners and strives to deliver the right software solutions to help conquer supply chain challenges. Shannon believes in learning by listening to understand clients’ goals, struggles, and what is important to their business to build lasting, successful relationships.

Alan Prillaman

Senior Vice President of Client Services

As Senior VP of Client Services, Alan oversees all consulting services and account management at Open Sky Group. Possessing over 30 years of combined industry and consulting experience, Alan leverages his unique background in IT, logistics, quality management systems, manufacturing and distribution operations, and facility and strategic account management to provide clients with creative resolutions to complex challenges. His core philosophy and passion are to deliver tangible value for and establish long-term trusted partnerships with our clients.

Mike Noble

Senior Vice President of Technology

As Senior Vice President of Technology, Mike leads Open Sky Group’s Managed Services, Software Services, Infrastructure Services, and Information Technology teams bringing 35+ years of experience in Supply Chain Execution and Information Technology. Mike and his teams ensure we maintain the highest levels of customer service in a secure and reliable environment, constantly reviewing and evaluating new technologies, their appropriateness and applicability so we can safely and securely transact our own business – and help our clients accomplish the same.

Chad Kramlich


Joining Open Sky Group in 2015, Chad, served as Chief Revenue Officer for three years prior to his appointment to CEO in 2022. With over 25 years of experience delivering results for high-growth software and consulting organizations, Chad is leveraging his background in building efficient and effective implementation teams, establishing high-impact services operations, achieving revenue growth, and deepening executive-level client relations to help propel Open Sky Group into a very successful future.