Warehouse Management System Explained

Warehouse Management System Explained



A WMS or Warehouse Management System is a software solution that is used to manage, control and automate warehouse functions and operations. Essentially a WMS system should manage the flow of goods from the moment they are checked/booked into a warehouse until the moment the leave.

In some instances, warehouses can be in disparate locations, but a single warehouse management system can be layered over the top.

The single most important aspect of a Warehouse Management System is the real time visibility it provides for your inventory whether in transit or stationery.

These systems do more than manage the process, they also provide tools to help with booking in, picking and processing of inventory.

A WMS will ensure the most cost effective and resource efficient movement of goods through your warehouse.

You can view some of the top warehouse management system providers here. 


What Are the Main Features of a WMS?

Some of the features of a warehouse management system should include:

Inventory monitoring and tracking – look for advanced tracking with Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC) capability. Support for QR, RFID and barcode is integral for inventory logging.

Automated Goods Receival – with technology to automate and improve “putaway” making is simple to find and retrieve goods.

Warehouse configuration and design – These are features that enable warehouse operators to customise and adapt workflow and picking logic to ensure inventory allocation, storage space and time to pick is always optimised and accounts for seasonal and special offer induced variation.

Zoning and task interleaving – Providing analysis to optimise efforts by bringing related inventory together to make pick and pack tasks more efficient.

Shipping integration – fully integrated to produce Bills of lading (order bill of  materials information sent in advance to shipping companies), invoices and packing lists etc.

Dock management – to automate the process of ensuring trucks coming into your warehouse are directed to the correct docks.

Reporting and Analytics – This is possibly  the most important feature of a WMS as the data gathered can be used to drive efficiencies and change across every warehouse function. The reporting capability of a WMS is the aspect that provides warehouse operators with levels of visibility into their workflow that is not possible without a WMS.



What Are the Benefits of WMS?

These features also reap benefits. The benefits that warehouse operators should expect to materialise from implementing a Warehouse Management System Includes.

Reduced Wastage

Reduced Costs

Improved efficiency

Improved Operational Workflow

Real Time Inventory and workflow visibility.

Improved total “big picture” visibility

Improved staff and resource management.

Better supplier management

Better customer experience


A Word on Cloud Based WMS

Just like most software in the digital era, Warehouse Management Systems are available as Cloud Based SaaS offerings and deliver many of the benefits you would expect from the SaaS delivery model.

Some of the benefits of cloud-based WMS include.

Speedy implementation – generally cloud based SMS can be implemented in weeks as opposed to many months with on premise.

No concerns with maintenance of upgrades – these happen at the supplier end, with upgrades being rolled out by your SaaS/Cloud WMS provider.

No need to invest in local hardware/infrastructure – This generally means the upfront capital expenditure for a cloud-based WMS is significantly lower than an on premise solution

Scalability  - As your demands grow it is usually far easier to expand the capability of a cloud-based system.


A Word About WMS and IoT.

Sensors and devices enable automation and speed of operations as well as accuracy of inventory management. Developments of the Internet of Things (IoT) has meant that placing sensors into warehouses is now within the budgets of many more organisations.

It is important that a warehouse management system is able to integrate with and leverage IoT technology.




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