A Warehouse Management System (WMS) is a software application specialized in supporting day-to-day warehouse operations. The app does this by allowing users to have a centralized system where various warehouse management tasks are managed through an interface on a handheld device or tablet working in the warehouse. This makes warehouse operation efficient and easy and also ensures minimum losses in various warehouse processes.
The global warehouse management systems market size was valued at USD 2.94 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.1% between 2022 and 2030.
How does a Warehouse Management System fit into your supply chain?
In a fully integrated solution, you will have your raw materials received into your Warehouse Management System, consumed by your material requirements planning system, and finished goods stored back into your WMS. A WMS will facilitate the tracking of product through movements and cycle counts in the warehouse, after which it will eventually be picked and sent to either a shipping system or a traffic management system to route your trucks. All the while your Enterprise Resource Planning system will track values, orders, sales, and invoices with all systems.
What to focus on in a Warehouse Management System (WMS)?
There are different types of Warehouse Management Systems, from simple uncomplicated systems to more complex systems that are better suited for large warehouses. When looking for a Warehouse Management System for your warehouse, there are various factors to consider before settling on one WMS:
Different WMS systems can perform different functions and are built for different industries. What functions must your business fulfil to meet the needs of your customers, regulators, and shareholders? Look for a configurable warehouse management system that can scale behind you, but where you plan to be in five years.
2) Warehouse size:
More activities and functions are performed in a large warehouse, and all such activities and functions require a more detailed system. The larger the warehouse, the higher the cost of traveling between locations, making detailed tracking more important.
3) Customer needs:
By identifying the gaps in your current system, you will be able to determine the features you require in a WMS and select a WMS that will ensure you can better serve your customers with the services provided. Are you an e-commerce site that needs automatic allocation so that your available inventory is always accurate? Need to send tracking numbers to your customers? Do you need batch tracking to comply with FDA regulations?
The cost of installing a WMS system varies greatly depending on the complexity of the system and the vendor of the system. Choose a WMS system that will better serve your warehouse by fulfilling all the required functions and also one that your business can afford. Choosing a WMS system that is too expensive for you will only put your business in trouble and ultimately compromise the quality and efficiency you so desperately want to improve. On the other hand, choosing a basic WMS system may not serve you well, especially if you have many functions in your warehouse. When choosing the right WMS for your business, you need to strike the right balance between price and features. Don’t get caught up in thinking about what your business needs today, think about where you want your business to be in 5 years and choose a product that will take you there and beyond.