Warehouse Management Systems
Using the right Warehouse Management System will help you ships orders accurately and on time, reduce scrap or spoiled inventory, and produce more form your existing workforce. A warehouse management system consists of the warehouse management software, mobile scanning computers, and the wireless infrastructure in the warehouse to allow your workers to perform their tasks wirelessly at the exact spot in the warehouse where your inventory sits.
Operations today are divided into three basic groups:
No Warehouse Management System
This group are those operations that run with no warehouse management system software.
For Group 1, those companies without warehouse management system software, deciding whether or not you really need one and then selecting the right one can be a bit overwhelming. It is important that you consider the ERP or accounting package that you may or may not want to interface into as well as whether you want to system to be based on a hosted or subscriptions model.
Some Form of Warehouse Management System
Group 2 is those that run with some form of warehouse management software but don't have the right system for their operation.
For Group 2, that has a warehouse management system, but does not love every component about it, it is important to understand and assess what you do like and what is missing to make it a perfect fit. It is possible that the wrong warehouse management software was selected, but more likely it may just be some smaller components that are missing, such as reports or certain interfaces with the ERP or other aspects of the operation.
The Best Warehouse Management System
Group 3 is those companies that have selected the best warehouse management system, including the warehouse management software and hardware and love their warehouse management system.
For Group 3 that has a warehouse management system that is working well. You are already experiencing the benefits of increased order accuracy, reduction in inventory levels and spoils, and efficiency from your workforce. You may or may not benefit from some of the latest technology in warehouse management systems, such as wearable scanners or a voice interface.
- "Lost in Space" - Your system shows product in inventory, buy nobody can find it.
- "Where's Waldo"- Wasted labor as Warehouse workers perform the "walk & gawk" looking for product.
- "Who's on First" - Operations slow significantly when your best workers are out sick
- "Closed for Repairs" - Warehouse closes down for physical inventories
- "I really need my eyes checked" - Admin spends hours deciphering handwritten orders, entering data, and invoicing
- "Not Cross Docking" - Manual Receiving and Put Away processes are extremely time consuming
- "So how many warehouse pickers does it take to fulfill an order?" - Your ratio of workers to order pickers seems too high
- "The check in NOT in the mail" - Invoices are not sent at the time that product ships
- "Nightmare on RMA Street" - Returns are a nightmare because you don't have an automated RMA process in place
- "Who moved the Cheese" - LOST company profits from inventory mistakes
10 Signs you might need a WMS
Top 3 Benefits of a WMS
1. More Items out the Door: When team members are told exactly where to go to find a particular item, they will spend less time “hunting” for the particular item. This will enable them to ship more orders.
2. Improved Order Accuracy: When items cannot be found in a warehouse either the order ships incomplete or is delayed until the items are found. Either option negatively impacts order accuracy.
3. Reduced Waste: Even though the system says that there are units on hand, if they cannot be located at the right time, they will not ship. Often these items remain “hidden” until they are eventually found and often outdated and need to be scrapped.
There are a variety of other benefits that are gained by using a WMS. They may include: increased storage capacity of your facility, reduced inventory, reduced labor costs, improved customer service, improved inventory accuracy, increased employee morale, etc.