Technology is ever changing. Competition is ever increasing. Choices to consumers are increasing thus customer loyalty is decreasing. Consumers are connected and are exchanging views, information and insights about the products and brands.
In today’s environment, people want to consume, own, experience instantly in virtually if possible, and at the earliest in reality as described.
Consumers who remain connected all the time want to buy anywhere, fulfill anywhere, and return anywhere based on their interests, convenience and moods. Now, result and as a consequence of the Internet of Things, machines will act on behalf of consumers. Machines are going to order the things.
Consumers are becoming savvier by the day, however, companies want to match them, but most companies are not succeeding as they want. The market is ruthless and thus wiping many good companies for one or two reasons. Supply chain management is one of them. For reliable supply chain management, warehouse management system is a non negotiable.
A warehouse management system (WMS) is a software solution – with associated hardware- offers real time visibility to business entire inventory. WMS is a must for warehouse management as it helps control and manage the day-to-day operations as it guides inventory receiving and put-away, optimizes picking and shipping of orders and advises on inventory replenishment. A warehouse management system can be a standalone application- in house or in cloud - or part of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.
A warehouse management system (WMS) helps companies to offer the appropriate product, service to the end client in a timely manner at a price that is comfortable to all parties involved. WMS helps to ensure the right product is available to the end consumer. WMS facilitates the businesses to respond quickly and completely. WMS helps in alignment of diverse process in the business to serve the consumer.
Digital technologies transformed everything, particularly the way we all make purchases. They added randomness, besides increasing volatility (who does not like a great deal and that too with a additional discount), changing buying patterns (Buy anywhere all the time- no more Weekend/ Sunday evening shopping), increasing complexity in the decision making, thus increasing challenge and complexity to supply chain, while adding woes to the adaptability and to the market reactivity.
WMS did evolve historically. They evolved from humble beginnings of providing only just storage location information to current situation where its functionalities have multiplied immensely. Now they can provide best practices in pick, pack and ship functionality to sophisticated coordinating of diverse processes and advanced interactions with material-handling devices and yard management. They come in different scales, and formats.
Warehouse management systems can be on premises or in cloud. No solution suits to all contexts as markets are too speedy, dynamic in omnichannel, and in fulfillment economy, any guarantees and certainties are for a few months at best. WMS can have various features and levels of sophistication.
There is a cost to everything and businesses expect returns for their investments. Cloud technologies may eliminate the need to pay for hardware, software, and IT specialists to maintain the system, besides up and running quickly—at a more affordable cost, with quick returns. Cloud offers scalability, disaster recovery, versatility and security. However, data security remains a issue and may not be as tailor made as one wants. Updates need not be as and when needed, smooth and bug free.
In contrast, counterpart of cloud-based apps is a standalone, on-premises WMS, implemented on a computer’s hardware and network for which the company could have invested in time, effort, money, and assets for starting from scratch, and for several customizations and modifications over a certain period and when it is time to upgrade, that company is looking at a total reinstallation and configuration. Legacy and maintenance issues cannot be denied. Expenditure cannot be predicted. Protecting and preserving one’s own profit margins are not a surety. Scalability and flexibility are other issues to consider. Scale is needed to handle peak seasons, as we all know demand in most sectors is never going to be uniform and always fluctuating.
Some WMS systems come as third party, standalone solutions that need to be integrated to your present business management tool like SAP. This may sometimes post problems and complications like delay and silos, customization expenses, duplicate data and user-interface glitches.
Some ERP vendors do offer a warehouse management system that is built into their ERP solution. This type of hybrid solution provides embedded Electronic Data exchange (EDI), accounting, sales orders, and shipping management with -real-time interfaces.
Invest in warehouse management software, as a priority, only after consideration of diverse factors in deciding what option is best for your business, scale, complexity and your goals. Some of the factors to consider without fail are
- Fit issues:
- • Is that suits to your goals- Purpose and Scope Fit.
- • Process and Integration functionality Fit
- • Frequency of inbound and outbound products, and delivery requirements.
- • Present requirement and future growth possibility
- Economics: Purchase agreement (perpetual or subscription licensing), Total cost of ownership, Expected returns, quantifiable monetary wise,
- HR issues: Change required for success- the less the better - Implementation and training issues
- Software related: Capacity, Backup & redundancy; Customization, Update control, and crucially privacy, security and Data access and ownership
Many EDI development companies across the world are providing EDI development services. As the company that started and managed by EDI professionals, we offer better service to our clients.
- • WMS automates inventory management to a large extent, thus saves time and money. It provides information about your top-selling products and no so selling products so that you can plan your back end purchases accordingly. WMS can trace ordered products within the warehouse instantaneously. Time is money, particularly in business.
- • You can buy SMART with a real time WMS. It also helps in overstocking prevention; reduce the cost of stock storage. WMS also help in procuring what is selling and can promote to sell in order using the First in and First out Principle (FIFO). It also helps inventory system through which manage product batches, expiry dates, multi-matrix item variants, and complex measurement units can be managed. Thus, profits can be maximized.
- • Inventory Updating will be automatic and error free.
- • You can monitor, track from anywhere, if it is cloud based. It provides location based freedom. Thus, you may outsource at reduced prices and work across countries.
- • You can set restock levels dynamically. You can use the information provided by WMS to plan your marketing campaigns, to direct to appropriate channels and customers. WMS helps you in forecasting and streamlining the supply of your popular products.
- • Human errors can be minimized. You can streamline the entire stock management process, improve delivery efficiency, and enhance customer satisfaction by keeping them updated and inform about the progress of their order.
WMS also helps to streamline and automate inventory fulfillment processes as it increases inventory accuracy, thus no loss due to confirmed orders cancellation.
WMS also helps in controlling costs by increasing operational efficiency as it helps in greater space utilization, increased warehouse productivity and reduced labor cost and no wastage of products due to expiry dates etc. thus profits.
WMS is always evolving, and companies must keep up with new possibilities, opening of new opportunities in and out of the industry they are in to serve customers deeply and hopefully to outlast competitors.
We see increasingly linked supply chain platforms with deep capabilities to share data in real-time at all points - from raw materials purchasing and inventory, through delivery, warehousing, store and delivery to customer. The Internet of things (IoT) - where all sensors send data which need to be transformed into valuable information that needs to utilized to extract value and leverage. RFID revolution is already happening and data analytics and predictive data analytics with big data is going to create even more opportunities for technologists, businesses and customers.
Retain your customers and increase your business reputation through faster and guaranteed fulfillment, delivering exceptional customers buying experience through improved customer service every time, anywhere, all the time- all with the help of WMS.
WMS is an investment. See as an investment only. Investment in a warehouse management system is needed. It often takes a considerable amount of time and resources to choose and execute do so than you want to believe or expect. However, choose wisely. You feel happy for choosing a right warehouse management system as that provides confidence, calm, and profits.
Engage with practitioners and get even deeper insights.
EDISquare developed and has been refining a modular WMS which can be modified to suit your particular requirements and evolving context.
If you are a domain expert and wants to make a career in logistics, electronic data exchange and warehouse management, why not share your aspirations and interests with us to help you. Reach us. Contact us now.