Associated with the physical handling and storage of materials is an information- and document-control system.The information- and document-control system provides for:

1. Acknowledging receipt of material for accounting purposes
2. Verifying the quality and quantity of received material
3. Updating the inventory records to reflect receipts
4. Locating all material in storage
5. Updating the inventory records to reflect shipments
6. Notification to the accounting function of shipments for billing purposes

Many information- and document-control systems are standard features of current warehouse management systems (WMSs).The cost-effectiveness of such systems over manual systems depends on such factors as:

1. The number of line items in storage
2. The number of customers served
3. The volume of material shipped
4. The speed and accuracy required to process orders

Generally, WMSs, technology, and automation are cost-effective for industries and distribution centers having many line items in storage, many customers, and a large volume of goods shipped.

Distributors in many diverse industries often utilize WMSs, technology, and automated systems. Examples of technology include bar codes, radio-frequency (RF) tags, and RF mobile computer terminals.

Examples of automated systems include automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RSs), “pick-to-light” systems, high-speed sorting systems, and conveyor systems.

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