What Is a Warehouse Management System?
A warehouse management system has become a very key part of the Supply chain for many businesses that sell or store physical products. Having a computerised system enables very sophisticated tracking and management of the products as they come into and leave the warehouse.
Having a system allows a much more efficient process from the ordering of goods to logistics management and beyond. We are helped with the technology available today and there are a number of warehouse management systems that integrate with Automatic Data Capture Devices that can apply unique ids to products and materials and then read them at lighting quick rates.
Some of the Auto ID Data Capture (AIDC) devices include:
Barcode Scanners This is the same system as you would find in the supermarket, allowing individual products to have information stored about them and then be tracked
Mobile Computers Powerful handheld devices that process the information on the go allowing warehouse managers to track products and materials from anywhere in or outside the warehouse
Wireless LANs This stands for Local Area Network and can be a powerful way of linking all the information together so that the mobile devices communicate with the database, again allowing management to be carried out on the move
Radio-Frequency Identification (Rfid) This is the ultimate in tracking stored or shipped items. This allows automatic tracking of products and materials around the warehouse as the are received or shipped. It’s a very efficient Warehouse Management System
These allow seamless communication between what is in the warehouse and the database allowing very detailed reports about the movement of the products, what is in storage, and ultimately enable managers to make sure goods are reaching the customers in a timely fashion.
Some of the key features of a warehouse management system are Handling receipt of goods and stock, facilities management, racking/storage requirements, logistics management, pick and pack and shipping. An efficient WMS allows this to be a smooth process where everybody in the supply chain knows what is going on.
The WMS can integrate into an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system or can be installed by itself. These can be very sophisticated depending on your needs and the requirements of the business. It is worth researching early on to see if there is a solution that can integrate with your existing software solutions or whether you need to upgrade so the systems work efficiently together.
So you can see that employing a comprehensive Warehouse Management System can allow you to work more efficiently and always keep the business moving so that products are being ordered, stored and shipped out to allow the business to maintain profits and a good reputation.