A Warehouse Management System supports the digitizing of all aspects of inventory control, driving reductions in both cost and fulfillment times. That said, it can’t streamline the operation on its own. In order to achieve maximum productivity and accuracy, its needs to be integrated with wider ranging business processes.
A company’s WMS is a key part of their supply chain, controlling the movement and storage of materials within a warehouse and processing the associated transactions. The software continually monitors products’ progress as they move in, through and out of the warehouse system, ensuring the receipt, storage and movement of goods are all firmly under control, even in a multi-echelon storage scenario.
Cutting edge technology
Key process support typically includes the standardization of shipment receipt, optimization of stock levels (new and returns) to prevent unnecessary capital being tied up or businesses failing to meet demand, modeling and managing of physical stock locations for optimum order turnaround (e.g. most popular products nearer the delivery area to speed pick and pack), optimal communication of data with order and logistics management, and the tracking of product location and shelf duration to maximize smart use of space, and be prepared for irregularities in demand.
In order to maximize efficiency, WMS often works in tandem with auto-ID and data capture technology, making use of barcode scanners, RFID or even voice recognition systems to simplify the monitoring of product flow. This information can then be synced with a database to support real time reporting and drive efficiency from all angles.
Create the complete business picture with ERP integration
Doing this effectively ensures the warehouse doesn’t operate as a stand-alone entity. Wider departments from manufacturing to customer services and purchasing can all quickly pull real-time data on the warehouse system and use it to make better decisions. Manufacturing teams can, for example, better adjust their schedules on the basis of real-time raw material availability. And customer services teams can ensure they give accurate answers to customers based on stock level and order demand at that moment.
Effective business-wide communication
With full integration, warehouse activities can feed the next stages in the chain – electronic notifications to purchasing based on what has or hasn’t been delivered, or to customer services to keep customers in the loop. All information from freight manifest systems and carriers can be tightly aligned with the sales order system to increase billing speed and accuracy – shared with customers if online sales portals are available.
And with mobile technology, it’s also possible to bring down the barriers between the manufacturing shop floor and the warehouse. RF and bar code activities can be carried out in either location, minimizing information leakage and properly aligning production with inventory.
The complete toolbox
Implemented correctly, such a set-up has all your bases covered – goods receipt, put away, location management, order pool management, picking, replenishment, reporting on physical and cycle counts and vendor returns and SKU Management. Whether goods are used for production or sales or both, such a system can ensure they’re optimally organized for the best use of physical space and employee time.
WMS-ERP integration creates one system for all your needs, cross linked for optimal insight and control, and providing the rest of the business with the information they need to create value. With a single source of truth, double entry of data is ruled out, everyone works from the same information, and in many cases, the paperless work environment can become a reality.