A Warehouse Management System (WMS) is an application which helps control and manage the day-to-day operations in a warehouse. WMS applications guides inventory receiving and put-away, optimizes picking and shipping of orders, and guides on stock replenishment. A warehouse management system may be a standalone application or part of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.
What Can a Warehouse Management System Do?
In the beginning, warehousing software in the Philippines may only provide simple functions, largely just storage location details. Nowadays, the extent of WMS functionality can vary greatly, from basic best practices in select, pack, and send operation to complex programs coordinating innovative interactions with material-handling devices and yard management.
A warehouse management system can reduce the likelihood of mistakes that could occur when an item is shipped. The system can also assist a business to meet orders more quickly and immediately trace ordered products inside the warehouse.
In the end, the entire goal of warehouse management system in the Philippines would be to achieve a paperless environment which directs your employees automatically on the ideal picking, put-away, and shipping of products, as a guide on stock replenishment, as well as sophisticated programs coordinating advanced interactions with material-handling devices and area management.
There are several kinds of warehouse management systems, each with its own pros and cons. Here are the most well-known types:
- Standalone System
- ERP Modules
- Cloud Storage
Standalone Warehouse Management System
It’s your typical system that is deployed on the native hardware and community of the business. Many WMS systems are third-party, standalone packages that must be incorporated with the rest of your business management software (such as ERP). While integration of outside applications can work, the procedure is frequently fraught with challenges like duplicate data entry, data flaws and silos, interface issues and customization costs. These programs are often the cheapest long-term cost option, but lack the advantages of a more integrated WMS alternative.
Cloud-Based Warehouse Management System
This is a web-based software as a service (SaaS) model using enterprise cloud technology. The advantages of this custom software WMS cloud computing offers users the capability for automatic software upgrades without additional capital expenditures, which provides better technology competitiveness.
Some ERP vendors, such as Quadrant Alpha, offer a warehouse management system that is built in their ERP solution. This solution provides embedded EDI, accounting, sales orders, MRP, and transport management with no cluttered non-real-time interfaces.
Benefits of an Integrated WMS and ERP System
The advantages of a united WMS and ERP software system are far-reaching. Using a native WMS software, you get business-wide traceability, employee accountability, real-time status and responsiveness.
Through scan guns and barcodes, you can move from pen and paper into a complete WMS environment that eliminates re-keying of data along with the inevitable human mistakes that accompanies it. There are a lot more advantages that fully define an ERP hosting model and needs to be taken into account before deciding what setup option is best for your company.
The benefits of a complete WMS include:
- Reduced overall labor time
- Increased inventory accuracy
- Improved customer support
- Greater space usage
- Better warehouse productivity
- Decrease in labor cost
Two important questions to ask yourself are:
- Does your WMS software automatically alert your warehouse in terms of incoming orders that take into consideration incoming EDI files, display on-hand inventory quantities, and their actual location?
- Could it keep you updated in real time of the amount of components left to the manufacturer before the order is filled and ready for dispatch?
If you answered no to either of those questions, you might want to consider implementing an incorporated WMS/ERP solution.
WMS Software Tiers
When deciding to implement a WMS program (or update to a stronger one), how can you decide which system is best for your facility? Just like HRIS system in the Philippines, each warehouse management tier, from basic to advanced, offers a higher degree of control.
Below is an overview of the three most frequent WMS tiers, with a specific focus on shipping, receiving, and put-away, as well as stock replenishment capability.
Tier Three – Basic
In the basic level, a tier three WMS program data collection programs can help you automate your warehouse. By delegating grid codes to locations in your warehouse, your computer can record where every item is located. But that is the limit on the level of sophistication your system can manage.
Since the WMS only verifies an item’s location, put-away is unguided and seemingly arbitrary. Order picking is based on packing slip and managed with no built-in trace. Inventory listing amounts are based on receipts from purchase orders and stock replenishment is figured from a straightforward minimum and maximum order amount calculations.
Tier Two – Intermediate
WMS system at this tier provides led pick and put away trace to allow you to maximize your warehouse area and employees’ time. For example, instead of simply verifying where material has been placed, tier two warehouse stock applications will utilize slotting optimization to evaluate a blend of product, place, quantity, unit of measure, and purchase details to tell you where you should be stocking the goods. As a result of their higher depth of functionality, tier two WMS programs are generally implemented by medium to large enterprises.
WMS bundles at this level offer directed task tracking to assist you to determine where to stock goods, where to select and also the arrangement in which to choose something. When inventory is received, a grade two WMS provides guided put away based on the rate of motion of this inventory to help eliminate expired materials.
Tier two WMS also supports more complicated picking (task interleaving and runs for JIT pick up), including information on best pallet and carton configurations based on specific customer requirements. Delivery is predetermined by the customer and can be managed with staging and dock scheduling tools.
Tier One – Advanced
The largest and most complicated, yet efficient of all three. Unlike the previous two tiers that are designed more for huge and multiple warehouses, which makes on-site delivery much easier, tier one WMS programs are for wholesale distributors and warehouses that store and send merchandise from multiple businesses, which can also be synced to your purchasing management sytem.
Tier one systems provide powerful versions of this tools in a tier two WMS, plus the additional advantage of interacting with automatic material handling equipment such as conveyor belts, sorting equipment, and automated storage and retrieval systems. Tier one WMS software allows wave picking for queuing subsystems and manage complicated yard management.
How to Pick the Ideal Warehouse Management System (WMS)
Your organization needs to choose from options in order to maximize your setup and support your organization’s growth and business objectives. Your comparison should have a comprehensive look at the following:
- Software functionality and fit over everything else
- Purchase arrangement (perpetual or subscription licensing)
- Implementation and training
- Your guidelines on IT and internal IT footprint
- Software update control
- Data access and possession
- Value of ownership
Now that you are armed with the knowledge of these different options of warehouse management system, it’s time to take stock of exactly what your warehouse needs. Start by calculating the frequency of your own inbound and outbound products. Warehouses that boat just a few times a day will have different WMS needs than a manufacturer who fulfills an arrangement every four minutes. What exactly are your needs for your warehouse on a daily basis?
Finally, when selecting your WMS software, don’t neglect to evaluate future expansion. WMS implementations do not happen frequently, so select software that will serve your company well in five or ten years (instead of just fitting where your organization is currently at). A fantastic way to begin is to look over the specification sheet of an exceedingly robust Tier 1 WMS bundle and pick the features that fit your business needs. Then find out the extensive ERP solution that provides that performance and you will be on the path to success.
Learn more by reading the article from the previous month titled “ERP Philippines: A Beginner’s Guide.”