Often people think that every warehouse management system software (WMS) is the same, but nothing could be further from the truth. Effective warehouse management involves a lot more than simply knowing where material has been stored. In fact, choosing the right WMS for your operation can have profound effects on your business and deliver important benefits.
1. Optimized Processes
The correct WMS will allow you to optimize your processes to suit your business and the types of materials you manage.
There are many ways to pick material, and the correct WMS will allow you to pick using a variety of algorithms, including wave, zone, and batch picking.
In addition, a WMS must accept a variety of input methods, including bar codes, RFID or smart scales and equipment automation.
2. Efficient Labor Allocation
Depending on the size of your facility and any special material handling requirements, it may make sense to distribute picking and put away tasks differently or interleave them for maximum efficiency.
The pick/pack/put away combinations in most warehouses are endless, and a good WMS will help you to make the best use of your available resources without wasting effort.
3. Improved Supplier and Customer Relationships
An efficiently run warehouse helps to reduce delivery lead times and order accuracy errors. Perfect orders mean happier customers. Suppliers are happier too when they can make deliveries without long waits for a dock or someone to accept the delivery.
"The correct WMS can help improve relationships with all parties in your demand and supply chain."
4. Reduced Operational Expenses
By ensuring perishable or expiring inventory is picked first, a good WMS can help reduce waste.
Efficient use of space and labor also reduces
5. Better Demand Planning
When you ship perfect orders, your demand history is not cluttered with repeat shipments or replacement materials for incorrectly shipped items, helping to ensure that your demand history is clean.
The correct WMS not only improves your perfect order rate, it can use the history to predict future demand using a “best fit” algorithm to calculate demand.
6. Better Balanced Inventory
Ensuring inventory is stored in the proper environment and used in the best order helps to minimize scrap, waste, and obsolescence. Improved record accuracy allows you to minimize safety stock, on hand quantities and lot sizes so you can achieve the cost and efficiency savings of a JIT strategy.
7. Improved Security
A good WMS system requires workers to enter transactions using their own user account. The result is an audit trail that ties transactions to the specific worker, which helps to reduce pilferage and other forms of shrinkage and provide opportunities for coaching.
8. Employee Morale
A WMS helps provide structure in the workplace, and through our research, we learned that this structure boosts employee morale.
When an employee knows exactly what they are supposed to be doing, they are more fulfilled by their work. They respond well to the efficient processes, increased accuracy, and situational autonomy provided by a WMS.
9. Transparency and Visibility
Providing visibility into inventory usage and on hand balances helps suppliers plan their own production, reducing lead times and costs of excess inventory. Additionally, this visibility allows customer service staff immediate access to real-time data enabling better end customer support.
10. Continuous Improvement
You should be able to rely on your WMS vendor to keep abreast of trends in the industry and to support new ideas with a continuous stream of new functionality that helps you to reduce costs, improve operations, and optimize processes with each new release.
To Sum It All Up
Before selecting a WMS, make sure that the system you are considering has the right capabilities and fits your business model and culture to provide you with all of these benefits. For help with selecting, check out our free white paper: Best Practices Selecting and Managing a 3PL—it will ensure you find the best 3PL and management system for your company.