What is a Warehouse Management System?
A Warehouse Management System (WMS) is a piece of software that helps businesses run their own warehouse more efficiently. It does this by implementing processes and workflows using the software that improves efficiency and therefore improves business performance and customer satisfaction. It can be based on premise or SaaS.
Which companies already use a WMS?
Sometimes its easier to use other similar companies as a reference point when you are looking at if you need a warehouse management system or not. Here are a few case studies of the companies we have personally helped.
Our Founder and CEO Jonathan talks briefly about when a company usually needs to start looking for a warehouse system in this video, we've also produced the WMS Buyers Guide which is a PDF explaining these points in a bit more detail.
3 hidden benefits of a warehouse system
So there are some benefits that are obvious when you install a warehouse management system such as improved picking and packing speed and accuracy, basically meaning you ship more orders out the door faster - this is the main reason a warehouse system is used the leaders in e-commerce.
1) Training new staff quickly
During peak periods you can often hire at least a few new staff members and its always going to be difficult to get them up and running quickly on a very bespoke way of working. By using a warehouse management system it means everything is foolproof and it only takes around 30 minutes to get people up to speed with picking in your warehouse.
2) Customer service tickets reduced
Because you will be shipping out more orders on time and more importantly sending out the right items you'll see a reduction in customer service requests. This has a positive impact on the office as well as the warehouse - and of course reduces returns which again can be another stress on the warehouse operation.
3) Reduced operational costs as you grow
Its always counter intuitive to believe that by spending more money monthly you are going to save money. But as with many things in life, by investing early you can save a lot of pain and money in the long run. By increasing efficiency in your warehouse you can reduce the amount of people you need to employ as you grow in both the back office and warehouse. By reducing errors and returns and knowing exactly how much inventory you have you can get the most out of what you have.
3 Benefits of a WMS
Here are some of the more common benefits talked about when reviewing warehouse management systems.
1) Goods Receipt Processing
Having a WMS means that you can scan goods into your inventory as they arrive through the door. You can reconcile them against a purchase order to check you are receiving the correct items and they can then be directed to the correct location in the warehouse.
2) Optimising your warehouse layout
As part of the process of implementing a system its usually best practice to do a full review of the current warehouse space and then plan the layout of the warehouse based on a number of different factors - these include type of product, number of SKUs, number of items per order and picking method etc etc.
3) Multiple picking methods & paperless processes
installing a warehouse systems means you'll have access to a number of in-built picking methods or strategies. Depending on your type of business you'll usually pick one of these methods that suits your business. We have written a useful blog post on 12 simple ways to sort eCommerce warehouse orders for picking which can be a useful starting point.