The core function of a WMS is to ensure goods move through a business’ warehouse function seamlessly, efficiently, and cost effectively. By streamlining processes, automating tasks and tracking inventory, picking and putaway times, your WMS has the ability to vastly improve your supply chain workflows.With multiple moving parts to warehouse operations, a WMS plays a crucial role in ensuring goods are delivered to your customers without issues, which is why it’s important to understand the features and the types of WMS before investing.
What are the features of a good WMS?
Easy to use
There’s no point introducing a new system if the software is too hard to use. If you are investing in a WMS you want to know that your staff will both use it and benefit from it. A good WMS will not only be user-friendly and intuitive, but it will also have readily available instructions and technical support to ensure a seamless transition into the system.
Effective WMS integration will provide your business with relevant data and metrics that are useful to warehouse operations, so you can leverage them to make informed decisions about staff allocation, transportation, workflows and budget allocations.
Ecommerce business practices rapidly change, and a WMS needs to keep up with these changes. They also need to keep up with the changes of the business, whether that’s adapting to busy periods, adapting to expanding the business or adapting to the introduction of a new product.
Maximize productivity and ROI
The core purpose of a WMS is to ensure maximum productivity and output with minimal expenditure. There should be a clear ROI that comes from your WMS, and the system needs to be able to collect the right information to streamline workflows and increase throughput.
Warehouse operations need to be translated into all other business operations to ensure centralized information and transparency. A good WMS will offer effective integration across a range of other software. An even better WMS will allow businesses to customize their integrations to suit their needs.
The different types of WMS
There are four main types of WMS solutions available that vary in scope and features.
Standalone systems are a lower priced option that only focuses on one core element of your business, that is inventory management or warehouse operations. They include only the essential features of a WMS, such as barcode scanning, cycle counting, receiving, picking, packing and shipping. Standalone systems are suitable if you only require a select few WMS features and don’t require scalability in your operations.
Supply chain modules
Warehouse management is just one area of the supply chain, so supply chain modules are able to support the management of multiple areas of this supply chain. These systems focus on automating tasks like inventory management, sourcing materials and product cycles, and will require investment into supply chain applications that provide warehousing features.
Enterprise resource planning software is a broad-scoped system that combines a number of features of other systems, acting to manage the day-to-day activities of a business as a whole. Its scope of features and flexibility make it one of the best options for businesses looking to improve and consolidate their solutions. Core features of an ERP include supply chain planning, accounting, customer relationship management and human resources. When integrated with a WMS, ERP modules can offer immeasurable benefits to your supply chain and business as a whole.
Cloud based systems
A cloud-based system is a centralized model utilizing cloud technology. As a web-based portal this option can easily be implemented, customized and is usually at a lower cost to a more traditional WMS option. Cloud-based systems suit businesses with multiple locations or businesses looking to scale and grow.
A cloud-based WMS is an excellent option for businesses of all sizes, given its versatility and scalability. Being completely adaptable to your web server, these systems do not require additional equipment or IT functionalities and can easily be integrated into other systems of your business. Cloud-based systems may also feature other modules that offer additional functionalities to help streamline your supply chain. These will typically be labor management systems (LMS), yard management systems (YMS) and transport management systems (TMS).
Da Vinci integration
With the right WMS provider you can set your business up for success. Warehouse operations are a vital moving piece of any organization. Da Vinci empowers businesses of all sizes to streamline and optimize their warehouse and supply chain operations. Get started by organizing your free Da Vinci demo today.