The key part of the supply chain is the warehouse management system or WMS. It primarily aims to control the movement and storage of materials and/or products within a warehouse and process the associated transactions, which include shipping, receiving, put-away, and picking. It involves the physical warehouse infrastructure, tracking systems, and communication between product stations. The WMS monitors the progress of the materials and/or products through the warehouse. More precisely, it involves the receipt, storage, and movement of the goods to intermediate storage locations or to a final customer.
With the use of automatic identification and data capture technology, such as barcode scanners, mobile computers, wireless LANs, and potentially radio-frequency identification (RFID), companies can efficiently monitor the flow of products. After the data is collected, there will be either batch synchronization or a real-time wireless transmission to the central database. Although installation of a full-scale warehouse management system can be costly investment, companies will be able to recognize its value. Companies will be able to: achieve real-time visibility into inventory and orders; the system will direct and optimize stock put-away based on real-time information about the status of bin utilization; decrease the time it takes to invoice and receive customer payments; extend mobility to each worker in the warehouse; and be able to balance the business.
Warehouse management system helps streamlining of multiple functions in a company:
- Receiving: Companies will be able to monitor the shipments that have been delivered, but that are not yet at their final location. In this part, companies will be assured that there will be a reduction in the impact of out-of-stock incidences and inefficient fulfillment processes because the items that are low in stock levels will be staged and put away first.
- Put-away: This will help in the identification of the location of all inventories on the shelves. Workers will be able to reach the right location, pick the proper order to minimize travel time, and be able to increase the number of orders that they can pick each day.
- Picking: Workers will be able to receive the list of the materials and/or products and its proper location that they should pick through their mobile devices. By scanning the items, it will be then verified if it is correct and the right quantity is picked. Thus, it improves the error-proofing and productivity in the picking process.
- Packing: Determining the right sized shipping paraphernalia is important, so that each order that is picked is accurate and the material costs will be reduced.
- Shipping: It will monitor if the package was properly shipped to the right destination and at the right date.
Based from the benefits of the WMS system stated, the company will be able to avoid experiencing:
- Delayed access to information in the system if it has been entered days or weeks late
- Inaccurate information in the system
- Late invoices
- Difficulty in locating items as they are moved within the warehouse
If your company doesn’t have a comprehensive WMS system, it can be very difficult. You have to rely on paper trails and manual data entry to manage warehouse documents like worker productivity and inventory accuracy, which can be easily compromised if not properly done. There is also the processing of orders that a paper trail will track in every step of the process, which should be manually entered into the system and be filed. If there is a discrepancy, it requires cross referencing of the data in both the system and file cabinets. This kind of work can really affect the business. Nowadays, there are several companies that are offering their services for providing the best warehouse management system. Some of them are Accellos and Barcoding Inc. In terms of shipping materials and/or products, it is really important to use Google maps. You can easily put one in your website. If you want one, you can use the Google Maps generator at embedgooglemaps.com and it is for free.