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WAREHOUSE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM:

A BIBLIOMETRIC STUDY

Carlos Francisco Simoes Gomes (UFF )

cfsg1@bol.com.br

Priscilla Cristina Cabral Ribeiro (UFF ) priscri@hotmail.com Kyane Alves de Matos Freire (UFF ) kyanea@gmail.com

Warehouse Management System (WMS) is an subject currently discussed. Its use is a good option for companies in all sectors improving the control of warehouse operations. In the last years some articles discussed about WMS infrastructure, opperations and the integration of WMS and other information technologies. A bibliometric study can be used to investigate the structure, characteristics and patterns of the underlying science and technology. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to verify the completeness of the literature with regard to the treatment of WMS. With this purpose, a bibliometric research was conducted using bases in ISI Web of Science, Scopus and Scielo. The collected data were analysed to show where the articles were published, the number of papers published per author, the number of papers published per year, and other analysis. The authors discovered that Asia and Europe concentrated more than 70% of issues, there is no concentration by year, subjects (in spite of ‘operations’ concentrated the papers), journals or authors, from 2006 to 2015, with Warehouse Management System keywords, using ‘AND’ as a connective.

Palavras-chave: WMS, bibliometrics, information technology, WMS infrastructure, WMS operations

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1. Introduction

Nowadays the use of Information Technology (IT) is increasing, because people need faster communication, also storage information and fast data processing. ITs are an important way to achieve these goals, but depends on the activity in a company, some of them are more appropriate to implement.

According to Ribeiro et al. (2006, p. 528), logistic operations include different activities:

customer service, location, storage, transportation, distribution, and warehouse. In a warehouse, some goals have a conflict as maximization of space utilization, and the minimization of the average length of the tours on which the request items are collected (HENN et al., 2013).

To improve the issues in a warehouse operation, Warehouse Management System (WMS) is a good option for companies in all sectors. In a study, Shiau and Liao (2013) implement a WMS and reach the elimination of storage buffers and the reduction of operation time.

The purpose of this article is to verify the completeness of the literature with regard to the treatment of WMS. With this purpose, a bibliometric research was conducted using bases in ISI Web of Science, Scopus and Scielo. It is compounded by four items: this first, with problem; the second, literature review; bibliometric analysis is the third ones; the results are presented in the fourth; finally, the fifth is the conclusion.

2. Warehouse Management System: infrastructure, integration, and operations

2.1 Infrastructure

Due to rapid development of globalization makes the supply chain management more complicated (KUO and CHANG, 2015) making necessary the Warehouse Management System. This IT provides the bridge between corporate level production, scheduling, purchasing, logistics planning and order management systems, which allows the dynamic response to order demand essential to supply chain management. With barcode, voice data entry and radio frequency identification (RFID) data communications technology, WMS transforms conventional warehouses improving their efficiency and productivity (GONÇALVES, 2009).

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Wilson (2011) did a case study where the implementation of WMS integrated with voice picking resulted on a better organization, helping the company to determine all the variables and based on them, make the best decision on inventory and shipping.

Reaidy et al. (2015) explain the importance of warehouse planning in IT. They propose a bottom-up approach for collaborative warehouse order fulfilment based on a multi-agent system and IoT infrastructure. Advances in ambient intelligence and RFID technology have enabled development to new approach in the logistics and production domain called “Bottom- up”. It is based on information recovered from products and resources at the bottom of the chain which is then transmitted to the upper levels and impacts decision making across all supply chain areas.

Cheng et al. (2006) proposed a WMS based on Aspect Oriented Programming (AOP), saying that AOP with WMS produce benefits: simplify system structure, increase agility, expansibility and maintainability, and solve some existing problems in current WMS.

WMS play a critical role in supply chains and large production processes, when a company applies variability modeling techniques in WMS, in order to improve the degree of reuse and shorten the delivery time to customers. Software product line engineering (SPLE) has proved to effectively increase the degree of software reuse in software development (FANG et al., 2013). The authors conclude that feature modeling effectively supports the layering of features, tracing to core SPL assets and configuring high-layered features in the WMS domain. Liu et al. (2013) explain the importance of real time information in WMS; Trujillo and Vázquez (2008), with the same conclusion, explain the construction and use of an IT Infrastructure based in a Data Warehouse and OLAP Technology that can be used in the decision making processes for continuous improvement applied to a quality management system of a manufacturing company

2.2 WMS and other ITs

Moeller (2011) shows that automation for order picking processes in warehouses is only deployed to a limited extent. This is because of the need of large and long ranging investments, dynamic market demand requires more and more systems flexibility, and the products characteristics like size and/or weight may change significantly over time. This is the reason for the majority of order picking systems still be manually operated. He explains the importance of order picking strategies as a core function within a WMS. He concluded that

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there is no conditions to apply routing heuristics in storage areas. For the cases of routing heuristics application, he suggested the use of Line Sequence Optimization (LSO), which calculates the line sequence with the minimum travel time. A case study showed that the LSO is planned to be integrated as a supplementary functionality into an existing WMS of a supplier, and this functionality will enhance the supplier‟s product offer to the market.

Wu et al. (2013) proposed a WMS based on QR code with the objective of improving the efficiency of warehouse management. They showed how the WMS function with QR code integrated. They provide a basic design thought and scheme of WMS based on QR code and discuss several key problems in the process, given many solutions and relevant code.

Zapata Cortés et al. (2012) show fuzzy extended analytical hierarchy (FEAHP) applied to a WMS. They explain how the method of FEAHP function and how to select a software with FEAHP considering administrative aspects of the product. They chose the software quality assurance (SQA) and showed how to implement the FEAHP with this software. They showed that the tool presented involve many alternatives and criteria to be considered. According to the method used they concluded that FEAHP can be used in selecting information tools associated with logistics, involving a large number of considerations and a group of experts.

Chen et al. (2013, p. 532) present the integration of lean production and radiofrequency identification (RFID) technology to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of warehouse management. First of all, “RFID has become a critical technology for efficiency and effectiveness improvement in production, logistics, and supply chain management. RFID can identify, classify, and manage the flow of materials and information throughout the supply chain wirelessly without human intervention in order to avoid human error. Information of an object‟s current location, condition, and history can be stored and retrieved on a real-time basis, giving better visibility for decision making.” So they explain how WMS is without lean and RFID and after they explain how WMS is with lean and RFID. The case study showed that using lean management and RFID to reengineering and change the operation processes resulted on benefits to the logistics operations in warehouse, as reduce of the processing time of data transmitting to WMS at receiving and shipping docks, and on the total operation time from current stage to future stage.

2.3 Operations

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According to Faber et al. (2013, p. 1232), “high costs of land and labor, and increasing labor shortages are forcing companies to invest in people and automation systems with a relatively long-term investment horizon”. The authors considered warehouse management as a combination of planning and control systems and the decision rules used for inbound, storage, and outbound flows. The most important tactical issues in warehouses include: stock planning, storage-location assignment planning, transport planning, and capacity (personnel and equipment) planning.

Stock planning decides which products are kept in storage in what quantities, and determines when shipments arrive. Intelligent stock planning may reduce warehousing costs. Storage location planning decides the location types and the zones within these storage areas where the products will be stored. An effective storage-location assignment plan may reduce the need for space and the mean travel time for storage/retrieval and order picking. Capacity planning and transport planning determine the required personnel, equipment, and transport capacities (FABER et al., 2013, p. 1233).

During the process, some changes happen, so a control system is necessary, which includes monitoring, analyzing, reporting and intervening. To increase the control operations, accurate and timely information on the shop floor is essential. As the speed of the transformation of data into information increases, the control system becomes more sophisticated.

In most warehouses, information systems (IS) support warehouse management and its data. They could be ERPs, for broader applications, or WMS for specific operations in warehouses. Both of them can be developed fora a warehouse (tailor-made) or bought off-the-shelf (standard software package). For warehouses, a WMS has to consider the specificities of the facility: the number of different products (SKUs) handled in the warehouse; the number and variety of the processes carried out by the warehouse; and the number of order lines processed by the warehouse per day. In a external point of view, to build this IS, the variables to be considered are: the unpredictability of market demand; and the rate of change in the taste and preference among customers.

WMS is a database driven computer application, which is used by logistics personnel to improve the efficiency of the warehouse by directing cutaways and to maintain accurate inventory by recording warehouse transactions, thus supporting the daily operations within the warehouse, helping to manage inventory, storage locations and workforce (SHIAU and

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LEE, 2010; DOTOLI et al., 2015). So, it is used to physically control the warehouse database improving its system. WMS also directs and optimizes stock put-away based on real-time information about the status of utilization (DOTOLI et al., 2015).

In addition, this system (WMS) optimize all activities (operational and managerial), such as:

receive, inspection, address, storage, separation, package, shipping, documents sending, and others. Therefore, this system leads to cost reduction and customer service level increasing, because the productivity can increase. WMS works in real time among different and multiple warehouses, allowing the status of goods visibility local or far. This could be done by remote terminals or by Internet, producing documents, leading to a global view and by sector about goods (RIBEIRO et al., 2006, p. 530; SHIAU and LEE, 2010, p. 383).

Shiau and Lee (2010, p. 382) define missions of a WMS: achieving transportation economies, achieving production economies, taking advantage of quality purchase discounts and forward buys, supporting the firm‟s customer service policies, meeting changing market conditions and uncertainties, overcoming the time and space differences that exist between producers and customers, accomplishing the least total cost logistics commensurate with a desired level of customer service, supporting the just-in-time programs of suppliers and customers, providing customers with a mix of products instead of a single product on each order, providing temporary storage of material to be disposed or recycled, providing a buffer location for transshipment.

In the end of nineties, electronic commerce (EC), the Internet had had an obvious influence on warehouse management. The Internet-based stores are less likely to require physical place of selling. However, warehouses are still required to store the goods. On the Internet, direct contact with customers means many small orders; this is a different situation from stores which would normally order large numbers of goods. Simply stated, warehouses change from shipping large quantities of goods to shipping large numbers of small quantities of goods. Even though EC involved new technologies to change from physical to virtual market, the methods used are still very simple (MICHALAK et al., 2009).

Although some methods could be simple, e-retailers, as an example for a complex logistic operations because when they receive purchase orders from customers in different locations, they already know what purchase orders have already been placed. In principle, this allows them to offer a combined delivery service to buyers whose purchase orders arrive later, thus

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overcoming the informational cost. Therefore, optimal stock levels are affected adversely by the introduction of a combined delivery shipment (CDS) service; for a retailer with lower stock levels, coalitions can be formed less frequently than for those with higher availability of items, ceteris paribus (MICHALAK et al., 2009). So, in a physical or virtual market, WMS has to be implement to make the issues of logistic and accounting activities possible.

Guarnieri et al. (2006) applied WMS in reverse logistic operations. Some products return to warehouse without any use, because expire date, warranty, quality, damages during transportation, to be processed to produce a result by recycle. This shows that this IT has a broad field of research.

3. Method

This paper was built using a bibliographic and documental research using a qualitative analysis and a deep bibliometric research. Bibliometric is a set of laws and empirical principles that contribute to establish the theoretical foundations of information science and utilizes quantitative analysis and statistics to research the distributed architecture, quantitative relation, varying pattern as well as a quantitative analysis of the document information (GUEDES, 2012; MAO et. al., 2015).

Bibliometric methods can be used to investigate the structure, characteristics and patterns of the underlying science and technology (MAO et. al., 2015). The main bibliometric laws are:

Bradford‟s Law (journal productivity analysis), Lotka‟s Law (author scientific analysis), and Zipf‟s Law word frequency (analysis) (GUEDES, 2005). These methods have been used for providing quantitative analysis of written publications (ELLEGAARD and WALLIN, 2015).

According to Ellegaard and Wallin (2015), bibliometric methods have been benefited greatly from computerized data treatment and in the recent years there has been a huge increase in the number of publications within the field. This is partly due to the computerized methods but also to the fact that a bibliometric method has to include a certain volume of data in order to be statistically reliable.

A bibliometric analysis was done focused on WMS, period 20062015. After select keywords “Warehouse AND management AND system” in three search basis (Scielo, Scopus, and ISI- Web of Science), the sample was compounded by 52 articles. One of them could not be accessed, and three of them were wrote in Asian language, and the authors could not read.

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Within them, 24 did not explore the subject „WMS‟. The other articles, 28 have as main aspects in common: subjects; countries; authors; years when they were more published.

According to the subjects, the authors join the papers in four sets of subjects: ITs integrations (WMS/RFID) (5 papers); WMS operations (17 papers); WMS/ IT infrastructure and design (4 papers); others (2 papers).

4. Results

The countries where the authors are working on WMS subjects and are included in 31 articles are: USA (3); China (5); South Korea (3); France (1); Mexico (1); Colombia (3); Germany (3); UK (2); Italy (2); India (1); Brazil (3); Malasia (1); Netherlands (1); Poland (1); Taiwan (5). Some authors are from different countries and wrote the same paper, so the total is higher than 31 (Table 1).

Table 1 Number of papers by countries

Country

Number of papers

Percentage

China

5

14,3%

Taiwan

5

14,3%

EUA

3

8,6%

Coreia do Sul

3

8,6%

Colombia

3

8,6%

Brasil

3

8,6%

Alemanha

3

8,6%

UK

2

5,7%

Itália

2

5,7%

França

1

2,9%

Holanda

1

2,9%

India

1

2,9%

México

1

2,9%

Polonia

1

2,9%

Malasia

1

2,9%

Total

35

100,0%

Source: prepared by the authors

After joining the papers in continents, on Figure 1 a concentration in Asia and Europe is showed, which have around 71% of the papers in this sample. Figure 1 shows the percentage of papers per continent:

Figure 1 Papers by continent

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_ Pessoa/PB, Brasil, de 03 a 06 de outubro de 2016. . Source: prepared by the

Source: prepared by the authors

After observe countries and continents, this paper analysed how many papers were wrote by the authors who are in this sample, and can see this on Table 2.

Table 2 Papers by authors

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Author

Number of

Author

Number of

papers

papers

Pan, J. C. H.

2

Leyh, Georg

1

Shiau, Jiun-Yan

2

LI, Zhenwei

1

Wu, M. H.

2

Liao, Tzu-Ching

1

Accorsi, R.

1

Lim, Man-Ku

1

Adarme Jaimes, Wilson.

1

Lin, J. H.

1

Arango Serna, Martín Darío

1

Liu, Jun

1

Arce, A. I. C.

1

Maiti, Manoranjan

1

Benvenuto, SR dos S

1

Maity, K.

1

Chen, J. C.

1

Manzini, R.

1

Cheng, C. H.

1

Maranesi, F.

1

Cheng, L.

1

McBurney, P.

1

Choi, Hoon-Young

1

Mcginnis, L. F.

1

Chrusciack, D.

1

Michalak, T.

1

Connoly, C.

1

Mingyong, L.

1

Correa Espinal, Alexander Alberto

1

Moeller, K.

1

Costa, E. J. X.

1

Oliveira, I. L. D.

1

Costantino, N.

1

Park, D. U.

1

DAS, Barun

1

Parra, Octavio J. Salcedo

1

De Koster, M. B. M.

1

Pereira, L. A. M.

1

Didi, X.

1

Reaidy, P. J.

1

Doerr, J.

1

Rhyu, K. S.

1

Dotoli, M.

1

Ribeiro, Priscilla Cristina Cabral

1

Elsner, Christoph

1

Rodriguez, Luis G.

1

Epicoco, N.

1

Sanchez Alzate,

James Ariel.

1

Faber, N.

1

Scandelari, L.

1

Falagario, M.

1

Shih, P. H.

1

Fang, Miao

1

Silva, A. C. S.

1

Galeano, Rita Milena

1

Silva, Leonardo Alencar Ferreira

1

Gerking, H.

1

Smidts, A.

1

Goetschalckx, M.

1

Spalanzani, A.

1

Gomes Montoya, Rodrigo Andres

1

Tan, Hui

1

Goomas, D. T.

1

Tech, A. R. B.

1

Gu, J.

1

Ting, T. C.

1

Guarnieri, P.

1

Trujillo, J. L. G.

1

Gunasekaran, A.

1

Turchiano, B

1

Hatakeyama, K.

1

Tyrowicz, J.

1

Henn, S.

1

Vázquez, G. N.

1

Huang, C. J.

1

Wang, K. J.

1

Huang, P. B.

1

Wäscher, G.

1

Jang, J. H.

1

Wooldridge, M.

1

Jiang, Tian

1

WU, Jun

1

Kang, Kyung-Sik

1

XU, Dan

1

Kim, H. S.

1

Yan, W.

1

Koch, S.

1

Yang, Hua-Yun

1

Lee, C. H.

1

Yeow, P. H.P.

1

Lee, D. Y.

1

Yoo, S. H.

1

Lee, Ming-Chang

1

Zapata Cortés, Julián Andrés

1

Lee, S.

1

Zhang, J. L.

1

Source: prepared by the authors

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We can observe on Table 2 that just three authors, a total of 96 authors, have two papers published in journals indexed on the research basis where we found the papers. The majority wrote just one paper about WMS from 2006-2015. There is no concentration by authors. There is a concentration by Asia and Europe.

Another filter what could be used to this analysis is the quantity of articles published per year, which is showed in Table 3 and Figure 2:

Table 3 - Papers by year

Year

Number of papers

Percentage

2013

9

29%

2010

4

13%

2015

4

13%

2006

3

10%

2009

3

10%

2008

2

6%

2012

2

6%

2014

2

6%

2007

1

3%

2011

1

3%

Total

31

100,0%

Source: prepared by the authors

Figure 2 Papers by year

Total 31 100,0% Source: prepared by the authors Figure 2 – Papers by year Source: prepared

Source: prepared by the authors

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We can see an oscillation of the subject published from 2006 to 2015. During 2013, we have the highest number of the papers, followed by 2015, and 2010. Even though the quantities are different, we can see that from 2010 to 2013, and from 2013 to 2015 the publications reduced, but increased again. There was a publication increasing from 2007 to 2010, another increasing 2011 to 2013. There were three years with a big publications explosion, 2006, 2010 and 2013. The year after a big contribution is a year with less contribution. We can suppose that 2016 and 2017 can increase contributions, and 2018 will be a year with few contributions.

The journals that published the articles is another criteria to analyze how the subject WMS has been having published from 2006 to 2015 (Table 4):

Table 4 Journals what published the articles

 

Number of

Journal

 

papers

Computers & Industrial Engineering

3

Journal of the Korea Safety Management and Science

2

Produção

2

Computers in Industry

2

Journal of Digital Contents Society

1

Logistics Research

1

Mathematical and Computer Modelling

1

Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences

1

Proceedings of the 2013 International Conference on Computer Sciences and Applications

1

Safety Science

1

Sensor Review

1

Service Operations and Logistics, and Informatics (SOLI)

1

Tecnura

1

The International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology,

1

International Journal of Production Economics

1

20th Asia-Pacific Software Engineering Conference

1

Archivos de zootecnia

1

Dyna

1

Electronic Commerce Research and Applications

1

Engineering Management Conference

1

European Journal of Operational Research

1

Information Engineering and Electronic Commerce

1

Information Technology

1

Ingeniería e Investigación

1

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

1

Journal of Applied Sciences

1

Total

31

Source: prepared by the authors

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We can see another dispersion after the analysis of journals. Just four journals published more than one paper during all these years, which means that WMS has different markets.

5. Conclusions

WMS is an IT implemented to improve the results in logistics activities, mainly warehouse operations. The software leads to better issues in the activities (receive, inspection, address, storage, separation, package, shipping, documents sending), registers, warehouses, and sends to other IS accurate information, reducing errors, and, as a consequence, costs. Therefore, this system leads to a higher customer service level, because the productivity can increase. Because the quantity of data is high, this IT has to be integrated with other ITs, as some software with FEAHP, QR Code, ERP, and some hardware (RFID).

To research in this subject, the amount of data is high, because the quantity of scientific and technical papers, news, case studies, reports, and so on. To improve the results data, a bibliometric analysis was applied to select papers and to show how the subjects around WMS has been publishing.

This stream of research, in the sample of this paper, has a dispersion in countries and authors, though Asia and Europe concentrated more than 70% of issues. There is an oscillation by number of publications by year. There is no concentration by year, but during 2013 more papers were published. The subjects were different, in spite of „operations‟ concentrated the papers. We can conclude this is a dynamic research area, with applications in many sectors. There was not a concentration in a specific journal or specific group of authors.

REFERENCES

CHEN, J. C.; CHENG, C. H.; HUANG, P. B.; WANG, K. J.; HUANG, C. J.; TING, T. C. Warehouse management with lean and RFID application: a case study. The International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology, v. 69, n. 1-4, p. 531-542, 2013. Available at: < http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00170-013-5016-8#/page-1 > Access: Nov., 09th, 2015.

CHENG, L.; DIDI, X.; MINGYONG, L.; YAN, W. Design and implement of warehouse management system based on AOP. Engineering Management Conference, 2006 IEEE International. IEEE. p. 243-246, 2006. Available at:

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XXXVI ENCONTRO NACIONAL DE ENGENHARIA DE PRODUCÃO Contribuições da Engenharia de Produção para Melhores Práticas

XXXVI ENCONTRO NACIONAL DE ENGENHARIA DE PRODUCÃO

Contribuições da Engenharia de Produção para Melhores Práticas de Gestão e Modernização do Brasil

João_Pessoa/PB, Brasil, de 03 a 06 de outubro de 2016.

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XXXVI ENCONTRO NACIONAL DE ENGENHARIA DE PRODUCÃO Contribuições da Engenharia de Produção para Melhores Práticas

XXXVI ENCONTRO NACIONAL DE ENGENHARIA DE PRODUCÃO

Contribuições da Engenharia de Produção para Melhores Práticas de Gestão e Modernização do Brasil

João_Pessoa/PB, Brasil, de 03 a 06 de outubro de 2016.

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