Finding the right WMS system for your business can be a minefield
Today, more than ever, warehouse efficiency is a critical success factor to effectively managing your supply chain and achieving peak performance. Implementation of the latest technologies can significantly improve warehouse operations, employee productivity and customer satisfaction. By installing the right WMS system and realigning how your warehouse interacts with your employees, customers, and vendors, you can streamline your warehouse operations while achieving a high return on investment.
The core functionality of a WMS system is to support warehouse staff to accurately guide inventory through receiving, put-away, picking, packing and shipping; and as such, the primary decider for choosing a WMS should be based on the objective of delivery to the end customer, improved accuracy, and right first time, to ultimately improve internal efficiencies.
Knowing where to start looking for a new warehouse management system (WMS) can feel like a overwhelming task. There is a wide array of suppliers, all claiming to be the best solution for your business, even though these solutions each have different functionality and offer unique benefits.
So how do you establish which WMS system is the best?
You need to break through all the hype and sales pitches surrounding these suppliers to discover the warehouse management system (WMS) that will address your business requirements. The right solution can help improve order fulfilment, boost inventory visibility, and automate data collection.
What are the potential benefits of having a WMS ?
Warehouse management systems (WMS) can process data quickly and coordinate movements within the warehouse. They can also produce reports and handle large volumes of transactions, such as those inherent in e-commerce operations.
Key benefits include:
- Efficient and effective labour management
- Stock visibility and traceability
- Accurate inventory counts
- Fewer picking errors
- Fewer returns
- Accurate reporting
- Improved responsiveness
- Remote data visibility
- Automatic replenishment
- Improved customer service
- Minimised paperwork
A WMS system is not a quick-fix solution, and it is more than an inventory control system and data collection tool. It is a system that helps automate your warehousing operations as much as possible.
When identifying which WMS system is the best fit for your company, several factors come into play:-
- Setting your budget / ROI
- Integration & Evaluation
- Reporting Data
- User-friendly Interfaces
- Server based or Web-based Data Storage
- Technical Support
Make sure the WMS system you decide on can be easily integrated into your current systems.
Modern WMS are highly configurable—typically by the end user—and should be capable of working in virtually any type of warehousing environment.
If your enterprise resource planning or business system already has a WMS module, analyse it first. The same due diligence applies to this selection as to any other system, but normally any small shortfalls in functionality are outweighed by reducing any risk of systems not interfacing with each other reliably and accurately.
Similarly, if your warehouse is highly automated—with cranes, conveyors, or sortation systems—you may wish to focus on which WMS system is the best provided by the equipment’s automation systems company. This is typically known as a warehouse control system.
The right support
A warehouse management system is obviously a big investment, both in terms of time and money. Choosing the wrong software will only add more zeroes to the total bill and hurt your operation. That’s why it is so crucial to identify and implement the right solution the first time.
You should be able to rely on your WMS vendor to keep abreast of trends in the industry and to support new ideas with a continuous stream of new functionality that helps you to reduce costs, improve operations, and optimise processes with each new release.
A modern cloud based system can offer the functionality to a business that needs a solution without big upfront costs and long timescales. With effective handling procedures and advanced multi-location control, you’ll know how much stock you have and where to find it. You’ll be able to optimise storage space, increase pick efficiency and achieve near total despatch accuracy. A product that’s intuitive and easy to learn will need minimal time to commission, but once up and running it will deliver benefits which transform the efficiency of your business.
Planning, planning, planing
The justification process of ROI is important because it helps you set a budget for your project, and focus on the functional must haves rather than the nice-to-haves when selecting suppliers.
The key areas to consider are:
- The potential for a WMS to provide improved stock accuracy by reducing errors, providing real-time information, and enabling perpetual inventory counting.
- The potential for increased productivity and cost savings through improved labour, equipment, and space utilisation.
- The need for improved traceability. A WMS can provide two-way traceability, almost as a by-product of being in place.
- Improved customer service through overall improved warehouse control, and greater pick and dispatch accuracy.
Whether you are sourcing software to automate your warehouse operations for the first time, or to upgrade to a more robust warehousing system; adequate research should be conducted, prior to selecting the best WMS system to fit your environment. To be successful, a good piece of software should not only accommodate your company’s present activity, but also address scalability to accommodate future business growth.
The benefits of finding a good WMS include increased productivity, reduced operating costs, and improved inventory control and visibility. This makes your selection critical to growing your business and taking your operations to the next level.
Speak to one of our team to understand how Clarus’ WMS system can cost effectively support best practice warehouse management processes, better customer service and highly efficient working for a range of warehouse operations with pay per month options and no IT infrastructure needed.
Our platform can scale from a one user, small depot system to a 100’s of user distribution centre operation. The ClarusWMS platform will cost effectively scale with your business based on demand.
ClarusWMS is a UK based supplier of warehouse management solutions with a wealth of industry experience in third party logistics, wholesale / retail distribution, online fulfillment and manufacturing warehousing.