A WMS Warehouse Management System, as used in 3PL Logistics, Supply Chain, Distribution, Wholesale, Manufacturing and Retail warehouse operations, has a number of basic functions that it needs to fulfil. It also has several modern key features that allow it to be scaled to all system types, from simple storage units to large automated distribution centres.
No matter the industry or sector, a WMS Warehouse Management Software has the primary function of making warehouse operations as optimised and efficient as possible.
Warehouse operations cover everything that goes on inside a warehouse, from intake to despatch (also dispatch), including stock or inventory storage, internal transfers, adjustments, as well as transport and delivery of goods.
In the digital age, WMS Warehouse Management Systems have evolved to provide Business Intelligence and analytics reporting services, such as reports on stock/inventory, orders processed and completed movements. This helps warehouse operations managers to get an overview of business progress and make strategic, and sometimes immediate, business decisions affecting operational performance.
As supply chains have grown to a global scale, the flow of goods in the 3PL Logistics and Supply Chain sectors has increased exponentially. WMS Warehouse Management Software helps to improve and streamline operations and facilitate the efficient management of resources. This reduces OpEx and drives warehouse business revenue.
For more information on WMS Warehouse Management Systems, please call 0800 170 1161 or contact ProSKU online.
What Does A WMS Warehouse Management System Do?
A WMS Warehouse Management System is a software application that monitors and controls every warehouse operation – even the performance of the employees.
It must minimise the amount of manual errors that occur, reduce costs, optimise the use of resources, reduce lead times and provide data transparency. It comprises the policies, procedures and organistional/organizational tools that are important for keeping track of goods / inventory / stock throughout the whole supply chain.
In order to do its job, modern WMS Warehouse Management Software must be integrated with other applications – such as manufacturing control or order management systems, as well as external third-party customer systems – so that data can be shared between departments, benefitting every actor along the supply chain.
A WMS Warehouse Management System can be tailored to the business it serves. It can be used in almost any industry sector or environment, including shipping, manufacturing, wholesale, transportation and 3PL logistics, eCommerce and third-party fulfilment. Its software is used for anything from bulk commodity products, like sand, grain or coffee, to fine jewellery and secure documents.
Although software functionality can vary considerably depending on cost and market sector, the fundamental functions of a WMS Warehouse Management System remain the same regardless of business sector or stock /goods/ inventory managed.
Essential Functions of a WMS Warehouse Management System
Intake and Efficient Inventory Storage
The design of a warehouse should optimise stock / inventory /goods allocation and storage, making the most of all resources available. The flow of movement within a warehouse is dependent on its design and should take into account current demand, product weight and volume. For example, it would be more practical to store heavier items and those that have a faster turnaround nearer the floor and closer to the despatch bay.
WMS Warehouse Management Software is responsible for logging goods / stock / inventory as it arrives and storing them in an optimal location within the warehouse. Inventory is usually recorded in the system via a barcode label which can be scanned by hand-held devices (HHTs) and managed by voice /speech recognition enabled devices and used for tracking purposes.
A WMS Warehouse Management System automatically allocates space, eliminates unneeded put-away, and helps warehouse staff to manage distribution and procurement, increasing storage efficiency.
WMS Warehouse Management Software is responsible for keeping track of all stock / products stored in the warehouse. The inventory tracking function monitors the following warehouse operations: inventory movement and adjustment, internal transfers, stock-take activities, inventory removal, available storage space, quantity of orders processed and the tracking of information such as use by and best before expiry dates, and serial numbers. The WMS Warehouse Management System can facilitate periodic cycle counts without disrupting day-to-day operations.
This function avoids over or under stocking the warehouse and optimises the use of storage space, helping warehouse operations managers to determine the best time for restocking based on the availability of stock, stock processing and stock replenishment needs.
BI Business Intelligence, Reporting and Analytics
Real-time reporting and analytics in a WMS Warehouse Management System enables actionable insights and allows managers to oversee resources and warehouse movements, isolate areas of improvement, track the performance of the business, forecast future needs and make strategic decisions. And business improving decisions can be made instantly.
The WMS Warehouse Management System stores and analyses data delivering reports on operations, such as customer orders, stock / inventory, orders processed and completed movements. It helps to gauge the balance of supply versus demand throughout the year.
Picking, Processing and Dispatch
A WMS Warehouse Management System initiates the stock picking function when it receives a customer order. Picking can be tailored to business procedures and can be carried out in different ways: wave-picking, cluster picking, bulk picking, last-in-first-out and first-in-first-out picking.
Stock is extracted from its storage location and processed as specified in the order. The processing function covers any necessary modification of the product, consolidation of the item with other goods, quality inspection, packing and labelling. A WMS Warehouse Management System also needs to facilitate physical dispatch (and despatch) from the distribution centre (and center) and track the delivery of the product.
A WMS Warehouse Management System is not just beneficial for 3PL Logistics, Distribution, Wholesale, Manufacturing, Retail and Supply Chain business operators, but for customers as well. When flow of goods runs smoothly, customers get the correct item delivered to their door step, on time and as described. Good WMS Warehouse Management Software ensures the satisfaction of existing customers, while attracting new prospects and converting them into loyal customers. It also has the capacity to process personalised orders, tailoring the product to the customer’s specifications and creating an enhanced customer experience. The business will avoid incurring extra costs due to mistakes and will receive a good reputation among its customer base via improved customer experience levels.
Labour management, load bay and yard management and transportation management functions provide data about the efficiency and performance of staff. These functions assess key performance indicators, such as the number of orders packed or items picked, the time taken to transport product, and the use of pin/QR codes to record when an employee signed in or out.
Labour management is useful for staff scheduling purposes, defining labour standards and formulating incentive policies that focus on enhancing employee productivity.
Integration and Real-time Access
WMS Warehouse Management Systems need to be integrated with other software, such as ERP Enterprise Resource Planning and SOP Sales Order Processing software for warehouse operations with complex business rules around purchasing, sales and stock / inventory handling. Having a fully integrated network of software systems enables efficient and cohesive management across the business and supply chain.
The requirement for WMS Warehouse Management Software to be integrated makes hosted or cloud-based systems the most effective. In the modern era, paper-based warehouse management systems do not provide the speed and access necessary to keep track of every operation.
Cloud-based hosted WMS Warehouse Management Systems do not require an on-premise server like self-managed, standalone systems and their software can be accessed using web-enabled devices with only internet access, via an easy to use interface, providing real-time visibility.
With this technology, real-time access to the most current data from across the business and the supply chain is available instantly.
ProSKU WMS Cloud
The ProSKU Cloud WMS, Warehouse Management System, is a modern, cloud or hosted system, able to be accessed anytime, anywhere.
ProSKU WMS Cloud provides end-to-end functions that manages the receipt, storage, picking/rotation and despatching of physical product / stock, ensuring customer satisfaction. ProSKU WMS Cloud also offers the analytical and reporting functions that are so important to business success; gain true/accurate stock analysis and make your buying decisions based on secure and accurate information.
The ProSKU WMS Cloud system has been developed by an experienced logistics software company, Chess Logistics Technology Ltd, with over 30 years’ development experience. It is faster and easier to implement than other systems, reducing the time between decision and go-live to a matter of weeks.
ProSKU WMS Cloud is an on-demand, monthly-rental, SaaS product that can be funded from operating budgets to preserve essential capital for other investment areas. Manage greater volumes of goods without increasing costs.
ProSKU WMS Cloud hosted integrates with other software platforms including marketplaces, eCommerce websites order management systems, ERPs, carriers and accounting software.