Why Implement a Warehouse Management System (WMS)?
The operations within your warehouse are the core foundation of your supply chain and inventory movements. Making the sale is half of the equation and once the hard work of selling is done, it is then crucial to monitor the warehouse activities and inventory forecasts within your organisation. Make sure you fulfil your customer’s orders and efficiently send them out the door in a speedy manner, without the use of pen and paper, with minimal to no errors and of course with a cost effective operational efforts.
By implementing a Warehouse Management System (WMS), you are helping to optimise your warehouse performance and activities and as a result will benefit your overall business performance. Take a look at the below summary the top 10 reasons to implement a Warehouse Management System (WMS).
Top Ten Reasons to Implement a WMS:
- Hundreds of orders on backlog and you have no idea which orders have been fulfilled and which ones haven’t
- Orders have become so piled up and messy, you don’t know where to begin, who to direct and how to direct
- Inventory items keep arriving from your suppliers and your workers are running around like headless chickens flustered and confused resulting in even more errors, labour costs, loss of inventory items and angry customers waiting for their orders
- Your warehouse has become full of products piled up in every corner of your business including the toilet and lunchroom, forcing your workers to sit on pallets rather than tables during their breaks
- The demands on your products change rapidly that you begin to employ more people to help ease the stress and pressure from others, which results in even more confusion and costly business liabilities
- Inventory forecasting and productivity of picking is so poor, you end up undermining your workers which ultimately effects their moral and result in resignations
- Products in your warehouse get moved around so often that they start to wear and damage, resulting in selling them as used products
- You start investing in hardware devices and latest forklift technologies to help streamline the warehouse activities and realise that this only contributes to more losses and heaver liabilities given the lack of a proper Warehouse management System (WMS)
- Your auditors (stock-takers) are so busy looking for misplaced and nowhere to be seen inventory items that by the time they finish their stocktake, they have to start all over again resulting in an endless roller coaster ride
- Your warehouse becomes an absolute doghouse, you end up moving to a larger warehouse to cater for the much needed space
What Can a Warehouse Management System Do?
Having a Warehouse Management System (WMS) in place, all of the above challenges can easily be eliminated. Such systems are designed to completely keep track of inventory items within a warehouse. WMS have been around for decades, the extent of WMS functionality can also vary, from basic practices in pick, pack and ship functionalities to advanced solutions coordinating sophisticated interactions with material-handling devices and inventory management.
A warehouse management system can eliminate or at least reduce the possibility of errors that occur when a product is receipted, put away, picked, packed or shipped. These systems can help fulfil orders efficiently, and rapidly trace and forecast inventory items within the warehouse.
Ultimately, the objective of a warehouse management system is to upgrade a disordered pen and paper environment and direct an organisation’s warehouse automatically in all aspects of stock and inventory management.
Available Warehouse Management Systems:
Depending on the organisation’s business scale and diversity, the type of business, the types of products and business velocity, there are a number of Warehouse Management Systems available to suit:
- Off the Shelf Standalone WMS Systems
- Off the Shelf Cloud Based WMS Systems
- ERP Systems
- Custom Developed WMS Systems
Off the Shelf Standalone WMS Systems:
An Off the Shelf Standalone WMS system is a type of system that is generally perpetual license based, meaning it is a one off payment and you get given an installation package. Standalone WMS are generally installed on your company’s computers and network allowing you to fully control and implement its installations and configurations within your network.
With Standalone WMS, perpetual license usually involves an annual maintenance fee which covers the system’s upgrades and support by the software vendor.
The advantage of standalone WMS systems is the long term cost saving, however the upfront cost is generally higher than cloud based systems.
Off the Shelf Cloud Based WMS Systems:
Similar to the Standalone WMS Systems, Cloud based WMS are not perpetual licensed, instead are subscription based, meaning they are sold and paid for annually, biennially etc. The advantage of Cloud based WMS is the low upfront cost however, in the long term it will will add up.
The main difference between Standalone WMS and Cloud WMS is that with standalone, a company would own the license of the software and receive an install package, whereas with Cloud you don’t own the license and the entire system is web-based and accessed via internet.
Some ERP systems offer a complete all in one solution to meet all business needs and potentially includes all asset tracking, customer and lead management, taxation, accounting as well as a warehouse management module. Such systems can be quiet costly however, extremely efficient and beneficial given all data is kept within the one software system and centralised database.
Custom Developed WMS Systems:
A custom developed WMS system is usually the last resort for an organisation. This option is acquired when the organisation has very distinct requirements and no off the shelf product is deemed suitable. While this is a completely tailored and a perfect match to an organisation’s requirements, it can be very costly at the beginning when developing the system as well as potential ongoing maintenance. The downside to such solution is that there are no global upgrades or updates and therefore, any required change or upgrade must be implemented by the same development team.
For more information and WMS solutions to manage your warehouse, check out our barcode solutions page here: https://www.scopelink.com.au/barcode-systems/