Let’s Understand What is Warehouse Management
Warehouse management includes all the processes and activities involved in running the day-to-day operations of a warehouse. Daily operations such as managing the warehouse layout, labor, inbound and outbound inventory, order fulfillment, coordination with the shipping partners, etc., get covered under its ambit.
When done properly and effectively, warehouse management can optimize all the warehouse operations, and deliver many benefits such as:
- Increased productivity and efficiency
- Reduced errors through automated shipping and labeling processes
- Optimized warehouse processes
- Detailed reports to track & control costs
- Streamlined workflows
- Increased visibility of inventory stock levels
- Improved material handling & tracking
- Fast and accurate order fulfillment
- Enhanced customer experience
- Reduced waste
What is Warehouse Management System (WMS System)
To manage the daily warehouse operations, most businesses these days rely on WMS software. A WMS system automates the warehouse processes, and integrates its different moving parts, like staff, equipment, inventory, and orders.
It comes both as a part of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, or as a standalone product available on the cloud or on-premise. A single WMS system can help you manage multiple warehouses, and facilitate the seamless movement of items between them.
The ‘Basic’ Needs Your WMS Most Certainly Meets
Your WMS software should meet all the ‘basic’ warehousing needs of your business, i.e., it must allow you to manage the different warehouse operations such as receiving the inventory, storing it, managing the daily schedule, etc.
But every business organization has certain unique warehousing needs, so it is only apt that different companies use WMS software differently. Some may use it to automate their inventory tracking and fix their long-standing struggles with manual tracking and spreadsheets.
Some others may use it to organize their warehouse layout most effectively, to facilitate the workers to store, move and pick more items in less time so that they can keep up with the increased customer demand. Since the objective of this blog is to comprehensively discuss your business’ warehousing needs, which includes the ‘specific’ needs as well, so let’s take a look at…
The ‘Specific’ Needs Your WMS May or May Not Meet
Seamless integration with ERP software:
A quality warehouse management system seamlessly integrates with your existing ERP system, sharing data and information in real-time and eliminating the need for data replication. This meets certain peculiar needs of your employees and customers, who rely on information from a WMS.
Businesses that require advanced tracking capabilities such as license plates — unique IDs that can be barcoded and assigned to a pallet or a location — turn to WMS software that can allow them to track inventory that needs to be tracked at a more granular level than just a location. Robust inventory tracking capabilities enable them to act swiftly in the case of recalls or warranty issues.
Picking, packing, and shipping:
A modern WMS software ensures that only the right product gets picked based on the business’ preferred method such as wave picking, FIFO/FEFO-based picking, etc., gets packed in the appropriate packaging, and subsequently gets shipped to the right place at the right time. Maintaining the accuracy in picking, packing & shipping, keeps at bay the costly transportation errors.
Time to Change Your WMS!
If your WMS system isn’t meeting your specific needs and instead requires costly customizations and add-ons that may not integrate well, then there’s a red flag right there. Even if you do opt for software customizations, they can take a lot of your time, money, and effort, and worse, might be difficult to maintain.
Also, if your staff has created workarounds that don’t involve the software, and goes back to manual ways of doing their day-to-day tasks, your current system isn’t the right fit anymore. In such scenarios, the up-to-date functionality of the new WMS software is what your business needs.