How to Know if You Are Ready for a Warehouse Management System
Selecting the proper warehouse management system (WMS) application for your organization should consist of evaluating which system supports your key business operational functions, your information technology strategy, and a strong value proposition/return on investment. A WMS can have many potentials cost savings impacts.
Benefits of a Warehouse Management System
- Real-time inventory tracking at the discrete warehouse location or pallet position. With a WMS, your warehouse associates know exactly where and how much of a particular item is available, thus saving them non-value added time searching for a viable location for put-away, replenishment or order fulfillment.
- Automated business rules capable of driving inventory movement. This feature allows the experienced warehouse associates, as well as new workers, to quickly execute transactions while maintaining all product and customer requirements.
- Batching warehouse work transactions together. A WMS will optimize travel time for your associates by grouping multiple transactions for the same item to and from a single warehouse location; this approach requires less time than single-threading transactions, requiring multiple trips and more time to complete the same work.
- Warehouse associate transaction and performance history. A WMS will allow your organization to track direct and indirect labor, including how each associate performs against the allotted. Companies that do not have a real-time inventory system driven by a WMS will utilize a variety of manual tracking approaches, like a static inventory sheet, to off-set this lack of available data. time calculated for the task; this visibility can increase daily productivity for each worker by as much as ten percent.
You Might Need a WMS
Does your organization currently have a WMS? If not, do you need one? Consider the following criteria to see if you might need a WMS.
- If you print out a report at the beginning of each shift that identifies a list of the total amount of available inventory for each item currently in your facility and then distribute this list to each warehouse associate allowing them to manually adjust the total item quantity as they move or adjust items…you might need a WMS.
- If your current inventory system of record shows only one logical location holding inventory for an item, but you actually store the item in multiple locations…you might need a WMS.
- If your organization’s solution to address spikes in order volume is to throw more bodies at the problem…you might need a WMS.
- If at the end of the day, there is still inventory on your receiving dock that has not been put away or orders on the outbound dock that have not been shipped…you might need a WMS.
- If you still conduct non-mandated physical inventory counts… you might need a WMS.
- If expiration date management, lot control, or serial number tracking are guidelines as opposed to the rule…you might need a WMS.
Selecting the proper WMS application for your organization should consist of evaluating which system supports your key business operational functions, your information technology strategy, and a strong value proposition/return on investment.
If you are still unsure if a WMS is right for your company, read more about our warehouse management system case studies.