What exactly is a Warehouse Management System (WMS)?
Is it just another name for inventory control? Is it only for large companies? We’ll answer these questions, explain how WMS can benefit your organization.
A WMS Crash Course
A Warehouse Management System (“WMS”) helps to automate your supply chain – in other words, moving products from your suppliers to your customers. It controls the movement of inventory in a warehouse and processes all associated transactions including receiving & put away, inventory control & replenishment, picking & packing and shipping. Note that inventory control (i.e. tracking quantities) is only one component of a much broader warehouse management strategy.
A critical piece of the WMS puzzle is capturing information without human involvement. Bar coding and Radio Frequency Identification (or “RFID”) are technologies that must be considered. Similar to bar coding, RFID leverages wireless technology that reads an item’s RFID tag that contains a tiny silicon chip and antenna. Although more costly in some cases, RFID offers advantages over bar coding in that information can be read, processed, and transmitted more quickly and efficiently.
More Affordable Than Ever
Historically, only large companies had the deep pockets required to implement WMS. But thanks to the maturity of this technology, scalability, and increased competition, the price tag has been drastically reduced making it affordable for small and medium-sized businesses. And while various WMS solutions offer a range of features and price points, smaller companies need only implement WMS functionality that makes sense for your particular warehouse environment.
The Benefits of WMS
The benefits of a Warehouse Management System can be enormous. Because warehouse data is automatically and accurately collected, manually keying data is unnecessary which eliminates errors and can improve data accuracy by 99%.
By streamlining your warehouse operation, your customers will be impressed with quick and accurate order fulfillment thus improving customer retention. Detailed information can tracked for both “pick” and “overstock” bin locations so that pickers can easily move through the warehouse in a single pass, processing several orders at the same time. Shipping personnel can be redirected to other tasks, since WMS can generate packing slips, bills of lading, and carton content labels before the carton is packed.
WMS For Sage 100
Whether you run a small warehouse or a large, highly complex distribution center, there are several WMS options available that can help you automate your warehouse, improve customer service and gain better visibility into your entire supply chain.