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Choosing a Warehouse Management System.

Let’s face it, your process manufacturing business landscape has already changed whether you realize it or not. Warehouse management system digitization is not an option but a necessity. Real time tracking and keeping human error to a small roar is critical to compete in today’s competitive market.

6 items to consider in choosing a Warehouse Management System solution.

“Using digital WMS/SCE we have 100% order fulfillment accuracy. It has cut our truck load times by 45 minutes and significantly improved our productivity.”

Warehouse management systems (WMS) improve overall workflow, from receiving to returns. These technologies can be used to scan incoming products, determine placement, standardize packing/pallet sizes, and provide customers with tracking information, as well as monitor returns/recalls when necessary. A solid solution should include:

1.) Data collection that reduces costs while increasing inventory accuracy. It should virtually eliminate the tedious data entry associated with manual processing of warehouse transactions and ensures that the data is 100% accurate.

2.) Shop Floor Management and Warehouse Management that reduces material handling costs and increases productivity. A solid WMS solution should direct material handlers to optimal locations for picking and putaway, reducing travel times and increasing throughput.

3.) Reducing standing inventory which enables increased inventory velocity. Combined with improved inventory accuracy, this enables standing inventory to be significantly reduced. With inventory carrying costs estimated at over 20% of inventory value, inventory reduction is a substantial source of savings.

4.) Eliminating product loss from expiration. You always want a solution that enforces both first-in-first-out (FIFO) and first-expired-first-out (FEFO) distribution models and ensures that each customer receives product that matches pull date requirements.

5.) Real-time ERP integration. This is huge and a must for any WMS system worth its salt. It needs to instantly and seamlessly integrate all inventory transactions into an ERP system. Real-time integration eliminates manual data entry, increases accuracy, improves planning, and enables shop-floor users to query the ERP system for up-to-the-minute data on production orders, shipping orders, etc.

6.) And last but not least it should improve customer service and increase customer satisfaction. Increases to shipping accuracy and reducing the costs associated with meeting customer-specific demands is a must. Your WMS solution should enable the user to set customer-specific rules for shipping, lot tracking, pull date, etc.

Something to think about.

Warehouse managers would do well to evaluate how well their internal LAN/WAN/security system works continually. Sophisticated hackers are real which can lead to significant financial loss.

Also some multi-warehouse facilities implement different WMS programs, which can be a big headache overall. Recommendation would be to require all facilities to utilize the same programs.

To stay in line with best practices, warehouses should implement technology to reduce errors and increase processing speeds, but even the best WMS solution requires oversight by human workers to ensure optimal efficiency.

With the right combination of technological innovation and skilled human input, warehouses can keep customer satisfaction, and company profits, high.

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