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Warehouse with many products on shelves

What is a WMS and why does it matter?

13/11/14

WMS

Warehouses can be messy places if not managed properly – stock piling up, equipment lying around, not to mention orders coming in and out at all times of the day. It’s easy to see why companies fall behind and lose customers, as well as income.

This is where a good Warehouse Management System (WMS) can make all the difference to a company and help towards maintaining a stable and well run business.

Manual paper-based or spreadsheet stock control is not only fast becoming a thing of the past – it’s also highly inefficient for a modern, forward thinking business.

What is a WMS?

WMS stands for Warehouse Management System (or software), and automates, improves and increases many areas of your business.

It can integrate with:

  • Other areas of your business such as your:
  • ERP and accounts systems,
  • Ecommerce website, and the other websites you sell on such as Shopify, Amazon and eBay
  • Couriers, whether individual couriers or Courier Managements services like MetaPack or GFS

This saves you a lot of time and money, to make your warehouse much more efficient and effective.

So how do modern WMS systems work?

Barcode or chip technology is used to track the production, movement or sales of items in a warehouse and many WMS can break orders into batches based on the physical location of the product, the status of the order, or other criteria that can be determined in advance.

Put simply,

  • A full stock check is carried out and numbers are then amended, updated and even renewed, depending on future orders and deliveries
  • Using remote, hand-held devices, workers can access all the information needed when picking, packing and preparing an order or conducting a stock inventory
  • Pickers can also log into their handheld scanners, which will guide each worker around the warehouse, telling them where to go, where the item is, how many to pick, and where it should go

Once all this information has been added – a WMS should notify the computer system, which then updates stock levels automatically.

What are the benefits of a WMS?

There are a number of benefits to automating the control of stock in a warehouse, but without doubt the two most important are vast improvements in both accuracy and efficiency.

With profit margins constantly under scrutiny and always being squeezed, there is an ongoing need to improve processes while driving drive down costs, something which a WMS can improve massively.

  • Labour costs can also be reduced by up to 30%, with employees spending less time than if they were using out-of-date paper based stock control
  • Quicker processing times will also see your productivity increase, allowing your business to grow and prosper

As well as all of this an effective WMS can also give you more of something that any business needs to succeed – time. Optimum use of staff and warehouse capacity will mean you have more time to focus on the day-to-day management of your business.

How would a WMS benefit your business?

For anyone who has a warehouse or a distribution centre, then an automated way to track your stock, your employees, and your orders is an obvious benefit.

Knowing what you have and controlling the optimum level of stock not only improves accuracy, but you can have as much or as little access as you wish.

  • Remember, implementing a WMS means your orders are fulfilled quicker, more accurately, with less errors – meaning fewer returns and complaints.

What to do next

If you’re convinced that your business needs a WMS, then Contact Us now on 01270 500777.

What do you need your WMS to do?