What is a Warehouse management system?

This is a software application that permits control and management to the day to day operations of the warehouse. The software guides inventory receiving and put away optimises picking and shipping of orders and decides on inventory replenishment.

Type of Warehouse management system

Four types of warehouse management systems:

Standalone system:

A standalone warehouse management system is usually combined with existing or future solutions and is purchased solely for their features. It applies to industries beyond warehouse management as well. It is an on-premises type of system which is deployed on the native hardware and network of business.

Standalone systems can sometimes cause challenges like duplicate data entry, information delays, interface issues and even customisation expenses. But they are the lowest long term cost option and are ideal for a lower budget, but these lack the benefits of a more integrated system.

Cloud-based warehouse management system:

A cloud-based warehouse system is a web-based warehouse management software that uses enterprise cloud technology as a service module. These include better flexibility, disaster recovery, scalability and strong security. They also offer free software updates to the latest technology cutting down extra expenses.

Supply chain modules:

Supply chain modules help users manage everything from vendor relationships to business processes to even risk assessments. It also automates takes such as inventory management, material sourcing and product cycles. But choosing this system would require you to invest in supply chain planning applications which offer warehousing features along with it. If you opt for this route, it preferable to reduce overlaps with the existing software.

ERP modules:

ERP module is a powerful solution that also combines the capability of many other systems and offers more core applications like supply chain planning, accounting, customer relationship management, human resources and more. It is the recommended option if you are looking to expand, but it is relatively expensive. It provides warehouse management among other broader capabilities.

Benefits of the warehouse management system

Warehouse management software is a crucial must-have for your warehouse. Once you choose the right warehouse for you, it can offer various benefits like:

It will allow you to easily optimise your processes that would not only include finding the right processes to support your business, but they will also fit the types of material you manage.

  • They will allocate the on the floor tasks in the most logical and efficient way possible.
  • Structural support, such as warehouse management software also boosts employee morale. When an employee is aware of where they should and what task they are supposed to be performing, it will help them find fulfilment in their work, thus pushing them to do it.
  • An efficiently run warehouse improves supplier and customer relationships since it decreases order accuracy errors and delivery lead times, making the customers more satisfied with their services.
  • A good Warehouse management software can also help reduce waste by identifying what units need to be used first and which may require a sales push. It also helps in terms of efficient use of space and labour. The more extent you can push out the fewer people you need to be assigned to each part of the supply chain.
  • A good warehouse management software eliminates scrap, waste and unwanted material, thus keeping an efficient inventory balance.
  • Helps with integration. If the outgoing orders placed are accurate, the dead history isn’t loaded with repeat shipments, replacements, or shipping issues. The best Warehouse management software for this would be ERP.
  • A good warehouse management software system also improves security and safety.
  • It also increases transparency and visibility. WMS eases up on some of the manual work, thus giving them some time to accurately handle problems and questions from the customers.
  • Warehouse management software allows a warehouse to be in a state of continuous improvement, which can only be beneficial.

Competitive advantages of using warehouse management software

From a competitive point of view, the warehouse management software also allows a couple of advantages such as:

  1. It is cost-effective, business competes on price.
  2. It has a value advantage, where the business provides a differentiated offering that also perceives to be of superior value.
  3. It also offers a focused advantage where the business focuses on a specific market niche, with a tailored offering designed specifically for that segment of the market.

These are sustainable competitive advantages that are the key to a successful business. It allows you to have greater focus, more sales, better profit margins and higher customer and staff retention than competitors.

The best warehouse management software is:

Fishbowl warehouse

QuickBooks Commerce

Cin7

Zoho Inventory

Veeqo

Business sizes using warehouse management software

The warehouse management system is on a positive trajectory and is set to grow at a CAGR of 15% during the forecast period 2020-2025 and projected to reach $5.54 billion by 2025.

Features of Warehouse management:

Inbound and Outbound operations

A WMS allows you to have a strong system in place for a quick check-in that also prevents mistakes. It improves customer satisfaction and reduces the load on inbound resources.

Inventory management

A good WMS gives you a clear and comprehensive view of your stock to keep up and minimise errors.

Integration

Upon choosing the right system, integration becomes the biggest help in the warehouse with the help of WMS.

Labour management

Labour management can firstly help reduce human error during labour and reduce the repetitive process of picking up or putting away by hand. It is an asset to every warehouse.

Analysis and reports:

It’s a significant component for business now and accesses from anywhere and not just the warehouse. Sometimes it is impossible to find the root of a problem without the cause or extent of an issue without precise analytics. Without analytics, we may not even be able to create a report comparing signs of progress which is also important in business now.

Internet-enabled

The immediate access and control of all information such as receipt information, new orders, inventory levels, reports etc. can be accessible through a web browser from anywhere, especially the web-based warehouse management software.

Real-time capabilities

It is crucial to receive information in real-time, especially in a competitive market. Through WMS products integrates to enable real-time inventory processing, especially now with the help of web-based warehouse management software.

FAQ

What is the key purpose of a warehouse management system?

The key purpose of a warehouse management system are:

General Inventory Maintenance

Inventory Adjustments

Placing Products on Hold

Kitting and Product Conversion

Stock Rotation Methods

Cycle Counting

Physical Inventories

Inventory Reporting

Inventory History Transaction Logs

System Security

Important questions to ask vendors when estimating warehouse management software are:

Whether the order be sent to the warehouse automatically or if it’ll be a manual process for the sales team

Can picking routes be optimised by chosen product locations?

Are variance reports views to managers only?

Is it possible to obtain an inventory audit history from the system?

Do inventory counts automatically sync with core inventory levels and accounting.

Does this system offer industry-specific functionality for the unique needs of your operation?

Its functions are usually more catered to a warehouse, but it is flexible to all businesses.

How much support will the vendor offer after you purchase the software?

It is necessary to be open with the vendors. The more open with the vendors you are, the better it will be to make the right decision. You should select a vendor that will be beneficial to your business’ growth over the next decade.

Will the WMS user interface be easy to learn?

With the right vendor and successful installation, it can be easy to understand.