A successful e-commerce business is built on efficient supply chain management. And warehouse management is critical to this process.
Warehouses are critical to the profitability of any company involved in the supply chain. To remain competitive, modern businesses require modern solutions. Many businesses are implementing Warehouse Management Systems ( WMS ) to facilitate efficient supply chain and fulfillment operations.
Warehouse Management System can assist in addressing common warehouse management challenges such as time management, capacity management, inventory tracking accuracy, and redundant processes, particularly when multiple warehouses are involved.
So, readers, this blog covers the complete tutorial on Warehouse Management Systems.
Table of Contents
What is Warehouse Management System?
An effective e-commerce strategy can help businesses of all sizes grow and succeed. One important aspect of this strategy is a warehouse management system (WMS), which provides tools and features to manage inventory, streamline processes, and save money. With a WMS, companies can effectively manage their online retail operations and provide excellent customer service.
What is WMS Software?
A Warehouse Management System is a collection of software tools designed to optimize warehouse operations as a whole. Its software facilitates the control and management of day-to-day warehouse operations.
It handles everything from inventory tracking to order pickups and shipping to return processing. Such tools may be included as part of an ERP suite or as stand-alone software. Its software works differently, but the integral underlying functions and operations are equivalent.
This software includes features for processing and tracking shipments, barcode and RFID-based inventory management, and warehouse staff support.
To summarize it aids in the real-time optimization of the entire process from distribution centers to consumers and allows for extensive customization to meet your company’s needs. It also aids in reducing errors during warehousing, shipping, and returns.
When these functions are amalgamated it can help you to fulfill the orders faster and tracks them more efficiently in the warehouse.
The eventual goal of this system is to streamline warehouse workflows through efficacious automation and inventory control. Warehouse Management System solutions assist in the creation of paperless warehouse processes, allowing for automatic and optimal picking, putaway, and product shipping.
Dig into the past of Warehouse Management System evolution
Warehousing has been a part of our life since they evolved past vagabond hunters or gatherers and agriculture became a way of life. Warehouse management and managing inventory in the past few centuries have seen tremendous progress in terms of innovation and efficiency.
19th and 20th century
With the emergence of railroads and telegraphs, WMS began to improve at an exceptional rate. There was a sudden increase in long-distance trade where the goods are shipped from one country to the other within a week.
With more resources coming in, production/innovation time is reduced, and efficiency is enlarged. Meanwhile, Warehouses send telegraphs to factories, refineries, mines, etc to send items to depot stations to maintain the flow of input.
WMS in 1925
Evolution of Pallet racks which permits for vertical storage of goods. Management of the warehouse history shifted to optimize warehouse cubic footage and build upwards. This significantly increased total warehouse storage.
The forklift was also introduced in that year to move these pallets so that large quantities of product can be moved with ease by increasing its efficiency.
WMS in 1967
IBM developed the first computerized information warehouse management system. Aerospace firms and NASA used this to handle complex, high-volume transactions like order entry, warehouse inventory management, and other transaction-oriented applications.
WMS in 1971
Walmart established its first distribution facility. This broadened the supply chain’s perspective. the supply chain’s perspective.
Storing commodities in locations where they could be more rapidly accessed to reach the end location and user saved time for shipping and restocking and allowed the company to move product to specific locations based on the needs of that location.
WMS in 1974
The first UPC barcode was utilized for Wrigley’s Chewing Gum in Troy, OH. UPC barcodes, which store information about the product coded, changed the way inventory in a provided warehouse was counted, tracked, and recognized by every employee.
Every employee was no longer required to memorize product attributes or use a reference sheet. Suddenly, the barcode contained all pertinent information.
WMS in 1975
First, the real-time Warehouse Management System was developed by J.C. Penney which was game-changing. .C. Penney reduced the time spent looking for a product that wasn’t there and focused efforts on other areas to grow their business by using warehouse stock software that updates stock inventory in real-time.
WMS in 1988
Walmart pioneered thecross-dockingsystem. Cross-docking added another list to Walmart’s achievement by reducing time spent on put-away, storage, and selection warehouse operations, thereby significantly lowering distribution costs.
WMS in 1990
The emergence of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems fueled the logistics surge even further. As a result of this emergence, data availability and accuracy have greatly improved.
The new ERP software significantly increased and highlighted the need for better logistics planning and integration. As a result, a new generation of “Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS)” software was created.
WMS in Present Day
In today’s world digital Warehouse Management System is a hub of integrations, linking warehouse inventory to all areas of the supply chain, and can be retrieved online and frequently via the cloud.
In 2006, 3PL central the first cloud-based WMS has been a player in the online WMS space since then.
It reduced the process of manual paperwork, stored warehouse information in a centralized location that can be accessed by many people at different terminals ( i.e., online and cloud ), and saved the labor costs of the warehouse.
The most vital characteristics of today’s WMS are it is integrated, fast, and offer accurate information.
An integrated Warehouse Management System provides access to multiple software programs from a single platform (AKA single sign-on). No need to remember dozens of login credentials to perform seemingly simple but critical tasks such as sharing inventory with shopping carts, retrieving carrier tracking numbers for shipping labels, and more.
Third-party logistics (3PL) warehouses can achieve 100% order-picking accuracy with SmartScan, assuring that customers are satisfied with the orders they receive.
Future of WMS
As WMS is doing an excellent job by reducing the manual tasks that consume many labor hours in a warehouse but there is still hope for improvement and a supply chain that connects to WMS.
A Warehouse Management System can automate areas such as employing robots, drones, and other hardware to not only pick, pack, and put away products, but also to run cycle counts.
As image recognition software strengthens, robots will be able to perform cycle counts to physically double-check inventory tracking, which has traditionally been a time-consuming job done by humans.
WMS in the coming years will most likely include some form of artificial intelligence that uses big data, outside industry trends, and real-time inventory counts to determine how quickly a product is progressing and when to reorder it.
Features of WMS
1. Order and Fulfillment management
Among the key WMS features is the ability to optimize the order and fulfillment process. Because the Warehouse Management System controls the flow of a product through the warehouse, it can aid in order fulfillment. Reorder features can also help by allowing you to automatically place orders for parts or products that are frequently needed for re-supply.
Other WMS platforms offer easy access to carrier networks, which can speed up shipping practices. With the growing acceptance of automation integration, warehouse managers can finally eliminate time-consuming manual input tasks.
2. Backups and Intersystem Integration
Most Warehouse Management System platforms now support disaster backup, which is an important feature. Additionally, full integration with several other kinds of enterprise software architecture can provide the required backup information.
Some of the most prominent vendors also offer integration with accounting software such as QuickBooks, customer relationship management platforms such as Salesforce, and other applications.
3. Monitoring and Analysis
Many prominent of its platforms enable manufacturers to gather business intelligence from warehouse operations. Real-time tracking can greatly assist in maintaining optimal inventory and obtaining a comprehensive real-time view to always keep updated on when inventory levels are incredibly low or when surplus stock exists.
Numerous workflow management tools detect what is happening in a warehouse and where attention is required. Using appropriate, high-quality data can assist manufacturers in making rapid choices on changes to key business processes while also assisting them in planning for the future.
4. Labor Management
This feature can help factory workers with tasks and identify areas for efficiency improvement with lesser manual effort. Workers can clock on and off using simple QR codes or pins that track work hours and attendance.
Several distributors are integrating advanced labor management modules into a few of the better Warehouse Management System platforms used by businesses as a portion of enterprise automation solutions.
5. Operations – Inbound and Outbound
Certain of its feature is designed to handle the very preliminary step of the warehousing process, which involves working with several vehicles that dock in physical products and materials. Truck manifest tools assist in entering data into the inventory system and preparing the warehouse for incoming goods.
After that, barcode scanning, radio frequency ID tagging, and other physical processing can assist in organizing items for storage. Several Warehouse Management System platforms label and identify each item as it arrives.
Benefits of WMS
However a WMS is challenging and costly to implement and maintain, organisations reap numerous benefits that outweigh the complexity and costs.
Incorporating a WMS can assist an organization in lowering labor costs, improving inventory accuracy, increasing flexibility and responsiveness, reducing errors in picking and shipping goods, and improving customer service. Modern warehouse management systems use real-time data to provide the organization with the most up-to-date information on activities such as orders, shipments, receipts, and any movement of goods.
Best WMS Suppliers
WMS software is sold as a standalone product or as a module in comprehensive ERP suites by a variety of large enterprise software vendors. Here are a few:
Other notable WMS software vendors exist, with many focusing on particular industries or company sizes, such as SMBs. Here are a few:
Top Warehousing Companies
India’s warehousing sector has been experiencing strong growth due to the increasing demand for storage and distribution services. The entry of domestic and foreign industries in India and the development of manufacturing plants have created a need for warehouses to store goods for export.
As a result, many companies have entered the warehousing market in India. Some of the top warehousing companies in India include:
VRL Logistics Ltd
Fly High Logistics
JUSDA Supply Chain Management
To wrap it up
These systems provide everything a warehousing operation requires to succeed. Give it your best shot when searching for the ideal solution, as one size does not fit all, and keep your specific WMS system requirements in mind.
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What are the six fundamental warehouse management principles?
The 6 basic principles are; accuracy cost control, efficiency, cleanliness, safety, and security.
How should I get ready for a warehouse management system?
Make certain that your warehouse is well-designed To make operations easier, use SKUs. Spend money on automation. Create a streamlined workflow for your operators.
What are the types of Warehouse Management systems?
Standalone System ERP Module Cloud-Based Supply Chain Module