Warehouse Management Software
Warehouse Management Software (WMS) systems deliver powerful tools to streamline the process of storing and moving goods. Companies that implement optimized and strategic warehouse planning and management enjoy benefits such as efficient coordination and execution of all warehouse processes, as well as reductions in unnecessary stock and the associated costs of excess inventory.
The pressure to keep supply chains smooth and efficient is as high as ever. The distribution channels and production centers that feed supply chains often experience fluctuations, creating a need to effectively manage warehouses for optimal performance. At the same time, warehouses and distribution centers must rapidly turn over their goods to ensure that they remain profitable.
Under such pressures, the use of an optimized Warehouse Management system becomes more compelling. Benefits of a robust WMS system include a shorter storage period for goods (achieved by quickly and intelligently guiding goods through the warehouse) and a smaller amount of goods movements throughout the warehouse (including stock transfer, putaway, and picking). This leads to reduced stock throughout the supply chain, lowering costs and increasing efficiency.
To stay in business, many companies with complex warehouse operations must adapt quickly to change. Business models change as products evolve, which causes the expectations for your warehouses to change too. No matter your business, products, or customers, a warehouse management system is necessary to help you respond to both expected and unexpected circumstances.
Even if your organization currently uses a warehouse system, you may have noticed that your warehouse processes require that the system perform an increasing number of functions, such as assembly, manufacturing, and repair. These extended value chain processes may also include procurement, manufacturing, transportation management, order management, asset management, maintenance, and spare parts and repair operations.
Today, customers want goods created to their specifications and delivered in their desired timeframe. This means that warehouses must handle more items and fulfill increasingly complex orders at a faster rate than before.
To address these business challenges, organizations must turn to a scalable and robust solution that will optimize their operations.
A Warehouse Management system can help manufacturers and distributors automate and better manage their warehouse and fulfillment operations, enabling them to fulfill orders faster and improve customer service.
The benefits of a WMS system are clear. The next step is finding the best solution for your unique Warehouse Management requirements.
A WMS solution should provide planning, real-time execution, and operational monitoring tools to help organizations effectively manage complex warehouse operations. This, in turn, will lead to optimal resource usage, driving down costs while driving up efficiency.
When selecting a WMS software solution, consider both leading solutions and integrated extensions. The solution should support a dynamic operating environment with multiple warehouse flows. It should also serve as a multi-functional and transparent link to the supply chain.
Selecting the right WMS can lead to a huge payoff. Companies that have implemented advanced WMS systems have seen benefits such as increased warehouse space utilization, reduced items, higher warehouse turns, and improved reliability in delivery.
Businesses should select a WMS solution that fits the unique requirements of their operations. However, there are some features that should be included in the WMS software system you choose, no matter what type of operation you run. Below are some of the features you should consider:
- Demand-based and Multi-location Inventory Management. Intelligent control over inventory replenishment will ensure that you will always have enough items ready to fill anticipated orders, while at the same time keeping excess stock to a minimum. Data points such as historical or seasonal-based sales demand, average lead time, and number of days’ supply to stock should be used to dynamically set the reorder point and preferred stock level for each item. The application should also allow for atypical circumstances that may arise by disabling or overriding these calculations when needed.
- Bin and Pick Management. A WMS solution should have functionality to organize your warehouse with the use of bins, which lets you easily track the location of stocked items. Each item can be stored in multiple bins, or different items can be stored in the same bin. With bin management, warehouse employees can quickly pick and fulfill orders since they know where to find the items they need. As a result, orders can be more quickly shipped to customers. The use of bins also helps in creating a put-away list for goods received, streamlining the restocking process. Bins can be used in a single warehouse or within a multiple warehouse environment with a multi-location inventory feature built into the application.
- Integrated Inventory Management. A good WMS solution should easily allow you to define the characteristics of any new inventory item. These characteristics can include images, pricing, captions, and more. The WMS system should also deliver complete and current views of inventory levels to your sales representatives, partners, and any other stakeholders.
- Customer and Volume Pricing. Your WMS system should allow you to assign different prices based on wholesale, retail, or online sales, as well as on the different types of customers your organization serves.
- Dynamic Ordering Queue. When looking for a WMS solution, look for a feature that allows you to order inventory when you need it with a single click.
- Matrix Items. Your WMS software should include functionality to handle different combinations of the same item, allowing you to input various values for pricing, description, and inventory status. With these feature, you can more easily meet the different demands of your unique customer base.
- Lot Numbers. A WMS solution should provide a complete history of each lot number and should also maintain a database of these histories throughout the product lifecycle. Each lot number should be assigned an expiration date, along with any relevant notes. With lot numbers, lot items and costs can be more easily tracked as products are bought and sold.
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