What is a Warehouse Management System?
A warehouse management system is nothing more than a system for managing one or more warehouses. A warehouse is used for the storage of goods and often there is also distribution of these goods. Warehouse management encompasses all business processes that relate to goods that are stored in a warehouse and possibly also distributed there. It is therefore not only the management of the available stock, but also the administration of goods on arrival or departure. For example, goods must be given a place in the warehouse and be packed for shipment. Certainly the coordination within a warehouse can be a complex process that must be as efficient as possible. A good WMS is indispensable in this operation.
When is a warehouse management system useful?
Companies that implement WMS implementation are usually companies that do not have an overview with a traditional (non-automated) administration. Often a company starts small and the stock in the warehouse is still managed with simple systems. As the stock and therefore the warehouse grows in size, the wish, or should we say, need, for a good WMS increases. Several employees will be busy in the warehouse with import, management and export of products, so that factors such as overview and efficiency are becoming increasingly more challenging. All products in a warehouse are provided with a scannable code so that employees with scanners can inventory and ‘pick’ the products. The implementation of a warehouse management system is possible in practically every business environment. Manufacturing companies, transport companies, retail chains and wholesalers all use a warehouse management system.
How can a WMS improve business processes?
Warehouse management systems contain all kinds of intelligent features that make the storage of goods more efficient. This reduces the chance of errors and also makes the stock smaller because management can be better mapped. When the WMS is well set up, the warehouse staff will be able to work more efficiently because everyone always knows how much inventory of what product is in the warehouse. In companies with warehouses at multiple locations, the WMS will also show how the stock is divided over these locations. It is not difficult to imagine that this may cause the necessary journeys between warehouses.
How do you choose the right WMS for your organization?
Choosing a warehouse management system can be a difficult task. There are many suppliers on the market and in fact every solution for each warehouse is just a bit different and therefore tailor-made. It is important to ensure a good preparation that accurately maps out what the desired WMS must meet. In addition, there are a number of tips that we always give:
- Involve and inform employees prior to purchasing a new WMS package. Make it clear to everyone why you are considering this investment, what it should bring to the organization and how it will be implemented. More than 30% of a WMS system is not used after implementation because it does not cooperate internally or is even counteracted. Fear of change, afraid of own work and / or functioning.
- Long-term vision of the company is of great importance when considering a WMS. Avoid long-term limitations by incorporating all strategic goals into the potential of the WMS system. To give you a few examples:
- 39% of companies with WMS systems want more locations.
- 33% of companies want larger surface areas in m2.
- 25% wants to roll out to E-com or E-fulfillment (fluctuations require the process to be flexible within the standards).
- Select WMS vendors with proven and very broad industry experience. Ask for references and which industries they have proven track record. What were the best practices and how were they implemented in the WMS system?
- Choose a Basic WMS system with simple fixed core elements and connectable to all other internally running IT systems. Connect WMS, TMS and ERP! You want to combine this with accessible, transparent and scalable – customized – options that meet your needs. Use the experiences of the WMS supplier to get feedback when it comes to extra custom wishes for your organization.
- WMS systems in CLOUD solutions, yes or no? It is very important that ALL systems / apps can be linked for maximum OUTPUT, such as Business Intelligence and Business Analytics.
- 58% of companies with a WMS system do not use all active systems and applications.
- 44% of companies with a WMS system prefer an on-premise (BI solution on local server instead of in the cloud) when it comes to business intelligence.
- Cloud solutions generate much more output, cheaper (cost per user) and are more flexible (from 10 users to 15 users). No excessive licenses and implementation costs.
- Choose a WMS system that provides sufficient capacity for optimization layers. Returns become a growing part of the business (depending on denomination per customer) IN AND OUTGOING returns packages have been a subordinate part for years of automation, while there is increasing pressure on it. As deliveries become ever more crucial and increasingly efficient, faster and above all, they must be flawless.
- Invest in a WMS system that supports new technologies, both in software and on location.
- High wireless network and uninterrupted link to the BackOffice.
- Boost order picking Handy and easy to use scanners or smartphones/tablets.
- Devices with real-time communication options (eg voice bar code – pick-to-light).
- Bluetooth sensors to improve the speed of the process by specifying the location.
At Aratus we have years of experience with the implementation of various systems in different industries. This enables us to help customers quickly and efficiently and prevents ‘beginner errors’ within organizations. In addition, we have developed scalable and affordable software based on these experiences. Contact us and we will tell you all about it.