Using internet retail technologies, companies of all types and capacities are able to sell their products to customers around the world.
Your business can grow with the right e-commerce strategy, but you must first decide how you will handle customer support and inventory management.
An appropriate solution, in this case, is a warehouse management system (WMS). You have all the resources you need with these tools to manage items, economize on labor, and control costs.
Now let’s dive deeper into what exactly a warehouse management system is and what you can benefit from it.
- 1 What does the warehouse management system mean?
- 2 What does a WMS do?
- 3 Types of warehouse management systems
- 4 Features of warehouse management systems
- 5 Warehouse management system benefits
- 6 Summary
What does the warehouse management system mean?
A warehouse management system (WMS) is a software application that provides access to all of a company’s inventory and controls supply chain fulfillment activities from the distribution center to the retail shelf.
By integrating and optimizing resource consumption and material movements, warehouse management (WMS) systems also give businesses the opportunity to get the most out of their investments in people, space, and equipment.
In particular, WMS systems are created to serve the requirements of a full global supply chain, including enterprises engaged in asset-intensive manufacturing, distribution, and service activities.
Today’s connected customers want to purchase anywhere, fulfill everywhere, and return anywhere in the dynamic, omnichannel fulfillment industry.
Businesses must have the capacity to react swiftly using warehouse management software that maximizes fulfillment capabilities in order to satisfy this demand. You can become ready for the supply chain of the future now with the help of our industry-leading, cloud-based warehouse management solution.
The only requirement is having access to the Internet. WMS Cloud expands supply chains to match inventory management and fulfillment services with contemporary purchasing techniques and enables real-time insight into a full inventory, accessible through smartphones and browsers.
What does a WMS do?
The objective of a warehouse management system is to help businesses create an efficient warehouse by determining the best configuration for storage and operations.
Every aspect of warehouse management, including receiving, put-away, pick, pack, and shipping procedures as well as inventory tracking and replenishment, can be streamlined with the help of a robust WMS system. Additionally, it unifies various tasks through a single user interface.
It takes account of all inventory categories so that items can be quickly retrieved, and by tracking what is needed and when it helps with supply chain management.
It makes it possible to use RFID tags, barcodes, and serial numbers. By using WMS software, even the need for recurring manual inventory counts may be eliminated.
WMS software improves warehouse processes by providing standardized methods for receiving, choosing, storing, and shipping commodities. This lowers errors and increases employee happiness.
It can also communicate with other departments, like customer care, to provide better customer service by keeping them updated in real-time on the status of orders. A warehouse management system uses automated processes and improved communication to save costs, increase production, and improve services.
Types of warehouse management systems
Standalone vs. Integrated WMS
To keep track of all of your incoming and existing product activities, you can use one of 2 kinds of warehouse management system software.
The addition of an integrated WMS is often offered by your current Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) supplier. ERP systems control accounting, inventory management, and invoice generation.
The warehouse management system receives the orders, controls inventory, and oversees product receipt and shipment. It is much simpler to keep track of which orders are the greatest ones to make investments in when everything can integrate into a single system.
If a product is doing well yet has a low-profit margin, your company might decide to replace it with one that has a larger profit but somewhat fewer sales. With an integrated warehouse management system, you can monitor all of these financial metrics.
Software with several features that are solely used for warehouse management is known as a standalone warehouse management system.
As a result, it could only be partially usable for other facets of your company, such as bookkeeping or inventories. This kind of WMS might include extensive reporting tools that will assist you to move up your warehouse because it is designed specifically for warehouse management.
Ultimately, it relies on how you organize your warehouse’s priorities.
Cloud-Based WMS vs. On-Premises WMS
An on-premises WMS, in its simplest form, is one where you are in charge of hosting and managing the hardware and software connected to your system.
This allows you total control over aspects like uptime and security, but since you are in charge of every component, it also has a high upfront cost. Additionally, your WMS has to be periodically maintained.
Using on-premises WMS might be pleasant for very small organizations, but handling everything yourself could be challenging.
As an alternative, cloud-based WMS systems are hosted on a distant server and are often billed on a subscription basis. Bug fixes and software upgrades are taken care of by the vendor, and then when you create an account, you often receive a service level uptime that is guaranteed.
You must consider the most efficient technique to manage all of the items as your online retail firm expands.
Nowadays, customers get high expectations for delivery and sometimes even order packaging, so it’s critical to remove any uncertainty in the warehouse. Saving the time and money required by on-premises systems can be an effective method to do that.
Features of warehouse management systems
We went through key features that any excellent WMS should offer before. Here is a closer examination of each attribute.
Design of Warehouses
Warehouses that are disorganized lose space and extend the pick-and-pack process. The picking logic and workflow may be customized using a variety of WMS technologies to ensure that the warehouse is configured for effective inventory allocation.
A WMS may even implement bin slotting to optimize storage while taking seasonal inventory requirements into consideration.
A WMS platform will keep track of inventory information recorded through barcode scanners as well as radio frequency identification (or RFID) tags, providing information in the dashboard software so that the most recent data is easily available to anybody with the proper permissions. It also guarantees that goods are straightforward to find when they must be relocated.
Picking and packing
Using a WMS, wave picking, zone picking, and batch picking may all be improved. In order to help warehouse workers complete the pick-and-pack operation as quickly and efficiently as possible, it could additionally provide lot zoning and job interleaving functionalities.
Reception and Put-away
Via pick-to-voice (PTV) or pick-to-light (PTL) technology, this feature, which is available with some WMS platforms, expedites the storage and retrieval of inventory.
- PTL: There are light fixtures built within the shelves and storage shelves at each permanent pick point. The indicator units turn on one at a time to let pickers know which order line to select.
- PTV: A computerized voice guides pickers to the proper location and offers them instructions on the amount to be picked, among other things, via a headset.
The shipment’s packing lists as well as invoices will be created by a WMS platform, which will also communicate the bills of lading (B/L) beforehand and alert the receivers to the shipment’s imminent arrival.
Who needs to do better and who deserves to be praised a lot? A WMS platform may monitor employee performance by utilizing key performance indicators (KPIs) which show who is performing better or worse than expected.
Yard and Dock operations
Truck drivers can receive assistance from WMS platforms by being directed to the proper loading docks while entering a warehouse for larger operations. Cross-docking as well as other inbound and outbound logistics services are included in certain WMS solutions, which organizations can use as they expand.
WMS solutions have the ability to automatically provide reports that assist managers in evaluating the efficiency of warehouse operations, staff, and other factors. They are able to identify aspects for improvement and future issues as a result.
Warehouse management system benefits
A warehouse management system is necessary if you operate a distribution center or warehouse and want to stay competitive. Relying on a manual, paper-based method is ineffective. If you can’t execute properly, you run the danger of losing customers.
On the contrary, a company with on-hand inventory needs a strong, digital warehouse management system, which can also save a lot of money and create new advantages in many other areas. These are the top five advantages of a WMS system:
Enhanced operational effectiveness
For greater productivity, more streamlined operations, and the capacity to handle bigger quantities, WMS solutions automate and simplify warehouse processes from inbound receipts to outgoing deliveries. They remove duplicative and pointless labor and decrease mistakes in product choosing and shipment.
A WMS also exchanges information with ERP and transportation management systems, providing you with a comprehensive perspective that goes beyond your warehouse and accelerates the movement of products.
Decreased expenses and waste
WMS software can determine which things need to be chosen first or which could need sales to push if you have perishable or date-restricted merchandise in order to save waste.
Furthermore, it may assist you in choosing the best transport routes and merchandise positioning for the warehouse area. Advanced simulations are provided by certain systems to build floor layouts and put pallets, shelves, and equipment in the most effective spots for maximum productivity and cost savings.
Inventory visibility in real time
A WMS system offers you real-time visibility into your inventory as it travels into your warehouse, around it, and to the next site using RFID tagging, sensors, barcoding, or other site tracking methods.
With this insight, you can execute a just-in-time inventory strategy, estimate demand more accurately, and enhance traceability, which is crucial in the case of a recall.
Effective labor management
The proper work may be assigned to the right person based on skill level, location, and other characteristics with the use of a WMS. It can also help you estimate labor demands, make timetables, save transit time inside a warehouse, and more.
By fostering a more laid-back, well-organized, and secure atmosphere where employees feel their time is valued and being spent effectively, a smart WMS system may also help to increase staff morale.
Better ties with suppliers and customers
Customers experience better order fulfillment, quicker delivery, and fewer errors with a WMS, which boosts customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
Reduced wait times at ports and loading bays benefit suppliers and foster better relationships.
Although practically all industries employ warehouse management systems, major distributors, eCommerce fulfillment centers and third-party logistics (3PL) providers—often with several warehouses—rely on them the most heavily
Indeed, in terms of efficiency and accuracy, warehouse management systems (WMS) can do a great deal for a business, and so many warehouses ultimately benefit in ways they may not have anticipated.
But choosing the best option for your business might be challenging, and some might be even complicated.
After reading the foregoing, you might be asking which of the finest warehouse management systems is ideal for you.
Keep in mind to take into account both the potential expenses associated with implementing a WMS and the long-term needs and objectives of your business.
Consider everything, and you’ll discover the solution that fully meets your requirements.