“Supply Chain is Like Nature; it is All Around Us.” – Dave Waters
‘Are you in a supply chain and logistics industry zone?’
‘Is the correctness of your inventory a question?’
‘Do you continuously face varying supply chain needs and compliance rules?’
If yes, then you need a comprehensive warehouse management system (WMS). Being a very strong part of supply chain and logistics IT solutions, an ideal warehouse management system is competent to address these hurdles and offer a real-time warehouse infrastructure that is trustworthy and robust.
In any supply chain and logistics industry, the inventory and warehousing functionality is highly significant since it acts as a connecting link between the suppliers and the clients. More than before, warehousing now holds a higher value and hence needs to be looked at, with enhanced focus.
Most of the inventory lies at the warehouses and hence competence of the warehouses plays an important role in determining the effectiveness of the entire supply chain. Also, the warehouses are in charge to bundle, pack, a label based on client needs and thereby, satisfy most of the marketing and purchaser needs.
“Worldwide sales of warehouse automation technology (robotics, logistics, etc.) reached $1.9 billion in 2016 and are expected to reach a market value of $22.4 billion by the end of 2021.” – Tractica
What Is a WMS and What Are Its Key Features?
“A warehouse management system (WMS) is a software application, designed to support and optimize warehouse functionality and distribution center management. These systems facilitate management in their daily planning, organizing, staffing, directing, and controlling the utilization of available resources, to move and store materials into, within, and out of a warehouse while supporting staff in the performance of material movement and storage in and around a warehouse.” – Wikipedia
A warehouse management system is the foundation stone of a supply chain and logistics industry unit. It primarily manages different aspects of storage, distribution, inventory, materials management, auditing, etc. There is too much to manage and hence there is an incessant need for a WMS to assist these organizations. Without the help of a comprehensive WMS, it is a challenge for the industrial units to achieve excellence in their business processes. What they need is a standardized set of processes customized to fit their business unit and gelled into a single solution – the warehouse management system.
“44% of respondents state that the Amazon effect is having a dramatic impact on their logistics, supply chain and transportation operations. To stay competitive in the shipping world, businesses must utilize shipping software which can help streamline outgoing shipments to customers.” – Forbes
How Does WMS Work in a Supply Chain & Logistics Chain?
The warehouse management procedures rely upon the physical built up of the organization and the system that manages the entire physical unit. The WMS focusses on the inventory functionalities at different levels and with different parameters like SKU, carton, pallet, etc. It also offers to adopt different mechanisms of inventory management such as first in first out, last in first out, etc.
Operationally, it also handles the different sets of processes like inventory allocation, the process of picking up products, packaging them ad then shipping them off. This assists the management in scheduling and managing all operations for a variety of groups and teams, based on work distribution and trends being followed, including resource allocation.
Here are a certain core set of functions that the WMS handles in a supply chain and logistics setup:
|Stock Availability and Taking|
|Following Accurate Business Rules|
Top Reasons Why WMS Is Vital for Supply Chain Management
Inventory Management and Maintenance
Being one of the vital components of the supply chain industry, inventory management is one important area that needs to be focused upon. A good WMS aims at augmenting the inventory management process by reducing inventory levels, enhancing order completion and lessening order cycle time. It looks at almost all vital activities in the warehouse and helps organizations go into the deepest details of each unit for better performance and inventory correctness.
Inventory maintenance and management thus, become much swifter, efficient and simplistic. It becomes easy for the distributors, vendors, customers, wholesalers, and all relevant stakeholders to grab the exact position of the warehouses, the stock inventory, replacement details, and its location.
Client Experience and Accurateness
After all, customer happiness is what we aim for, on the forefront. The warehouse is an integral element when it comes to ensuring customer satisfaction. It is, from the warehouse, that the client gets the orders fulfilled and the exact product that is needed. A warehouse management system helps big time, to organize, track and deliver shipments faster and better. With this, orders are sure to be precise and on time. Management and tracking of different strategies like shipment paths, task allocation, real-time tracking, and monitoring, etc. are handled in the best way possible.
Enhanced Organizational Efficiency
The warehouse functionalities and its performance have a direct impact on the productivity of the organization. Due to a competitive WMS, there is sure to be increased effectiveness, reliability and quality control in all procedures involved. The movement of products, through the system, would be faster, efficient and accurate. Owing to the right information at the right time, it is easy for the workers to offer a better work output.
Maximized RoI Generation
Thanks to WMS, there are augmented sales, increased profit margins, accurate order delivery and hence happier customers and business owners both. This creates a direct impact on maximizing the return on investment by fastening and simplifying processes, making them more accurate.
Seamless Integration with Other Systems
There are multiple systems that are working together to give a proper output. A WMS is essential for covering up all warehouse related functionalities, which are prime to this industry and further, integrate seamlessly with other involved systems.
Make the Most of Festive Times
The best part about getting seasonal business right is that the customers get what they need, at that time. And if it is known prior, it becomes easier for businesses to work accordingly. Working with a WMS will help make the most of festive times by tracking the complete production procedure and observing customer needs. Without any extra expenses, with the help of this solution, organizations can leverage their potential to garner maximum results. Profits can escalate and so can the RoI.
Easy Risk Handling
There are certain risk factors that are involved while executing any supply chain business. This solution helps in ascertaining those risk factors, well ahead in time, to mitigate them or solve them as early as possible. With the assistance of the real-time information collected, the demand and supply ratio can be worked upon.
Transparent And Accurate Working
This is a huge advantage that a warehouse management system comes with, it offers a lot of transparency and accurate working mechanism to all stakeholders involved. Procedures involved in this industry are all open to stakeholders and hence there is real-time information available as and when needed. Even the customers can leverage the potential of data to their best.
How to Choose the Best WMS for Your Organization?
There are multiple warehouse management systems floating around. Choosing the ideal one for your organization is a tough call. Here are certain checklist options that will help you make your decision in a fast and accurate manner:
- Is the proposed solution functional and simple?
- Is the system flexible, adjustable and scalable?
- Are all your warehouse functionalities being met in the proposed system?
- Are all dynamic functionalities being fulfilled?
- Is the system offering you a return on your investment with respect to customer satisfaction, product supply, warehouse management, etc.?
- Is the system flexible enough to easily integrate with other systems?
- Is there enough domain knowledge and technical expertise available with the service provider?
- Are all cost factors properly accounted for, while calculating the budget?
- Are all important warehouse processes like order management, inventory calculation, product packaging, and shipping, etc. covered properly?
Warehouse Management of the Future – A Peep into It
Warehouse management systems are in vogue today and will continue to rule the supply chain and logistics industry in the future to come. Yet, it won’t remain the same. Here are certain key trending happenings that will enhance the WMS experience for all involved stakeholders:
- Smarter technologies will get in. Artificial Intelligence will change the way WMS operates, bringing in different gadgets like drones, robots, etc.
- Internet of Things (IoT) will garner more emphasis on the physical and digital world coming closer
- Augmented reality will attempt to offer a visually appealing experience to the customer, increasing business multi-fold
- Smart wearables, devices, and connected devices will increase warehouse effectiveness
- The warehouse will leverage the potential of the cloud and its characteristics like its flexibility, elasticity, transparency, scalability, and manageability.
At the Bottom Line
As an integral part of the overall supply chain management solution, an effective, flexible, and feature-rich Warehouse Management Solution (WMS) gives out a comprehensive solution to all the warehouse management and control actions. It can mechanize and modernize procedures, excellently accomplish complex processes, improve productivity, and control all the happenings with superior agility.
Planned with a goal to streamline distribution management, inventory management, and all the warehouse operations right from the process of shipment receiving, inventory, to shipment unloading, a WMS is the face of the future, especially for the supply chain and logistics industry. No wonder, it forms the core part of the chunk of logistics and supply chain software solutions.