A warehouse management system (WMS) is a software application, designed to support warehouse or distribution center management and staff. They facilitate management in their daily planning, organizing, staffing, directing, and controlling the utilization of available resources, to move and store materials into, within, and out of a warehouse, while supporting staff in the performance of material movement and storage in and around a warehouse.
At Efacec, we master the whole spectrum of software development, from the lowest level PLC controls, through Material Flow Control systems (WCS), SCADA Supervision Software, Warehouse Management Software (WMS) up to the integration with different ERPs.
Efacec WMS is based in standard modules which have been applied in different operations worldwide, but it may be configured to best fit any customer’s specific operational requirements or different languages. It maximizes supply chain efficiency by automating key processes from inbound goods arrival and processing through inventory storage to fulfilling outbound shipping orders. The software is based on Oracle or Microsoft SQL server databases and runs under Windows operating system. Different types of common host systems and subsystems can be easily integrated with our WMS through our standard interface or by means of customized protocols. Besides automated warehouse systems and distribution centers Efacec WMS supports manual warehouse operations which may be, for example, equipped with Pick-by-Voice, Pick-to-Light or RF data transmission.
The WMS provides a simple process that is to be followed when handling a shipment that has arrived at the warehouse. The process can be customized to suit different users’ requirements but its core function is to ensure that all shipments are handled properly to minimize on losses and also save on time.
A WMS enables warehouse owners to keep a tab of all the stock in the warehouse. This is important because it ensures that the warehouse manager is able to know when there is enough stock in the warehouse and know when to order for more stock to prevent shortages. This saves on space as overstocking is prevented and also ensures that resources are well distributed to ensure a smooth running of the warehouse.
Slotting for Efficiency
A WMS enables users to model an efficient way of storing different products in a warehouse depending on different factors like demand and weight. This ensures that the warehouse is arranged in such a way that products that move faster or are heavier are stored close to the door for faster processing of orders, and products that are used together are stored in close proximity. This makes running the warehouse easy and efficient.
The WMS system eliminates the need to get more labor to undertake some of the functions that are managed at a central point in WMS. Probably the biggest labor savings is eliminating full inventory counts which can often happen monthly or even weekly. A WMS can allow you to do periodic cycle counts without interfering with day to day operations. Reducing on labor can obviously greatly cut back on expenditure simply because the system is not labor intensive.
A WMS automates most of the different processes, eliminating the need for paper documents that are bulky, and eat up quite a huge chunk of money when it comes to purchasing them and storing them appropriately. By giving visibility to the system to everyone simultaneously, everyone has the data needed to do their job at their fingertips.
Picking and Shipping
A proper WMS ensures that the right product is picked based on your business rules (LIFO or FIFO). A good WMS will make sure that the right orders are shipped to the right people at the right time. With this accuracy, the mistakes that can arise when transporting goods are avoided and ends up as a more efficient and less costly transport system.
A WMS improves the overall customer service by ensuring that orders are received and processed on time, and the right products are delivered to all customers when and where they need them. The quality of products is maintained enabling users to retain their customers and attract new ones.
Tracking and Visibility
For industries that require advanced tracking capabilities, a WMS will allow you to track lot information, expiry dates, UPC, and serial numbers. Each data point adds to the cost to maintain, but often comes with great returns when advanced visibility is required. Recalls and warranty issues are quickly resolved by solving the root problem through trace back instead of just a payout to the customer.
The best Warehouse Management Systems will be in an easy to use database, like Microsoft SQL and include many reports out of the box. One hidden advantage to having systems is the ability to look at data in new and exciting ways. What percentage of your warehouse is utilized? Should you expand, or find a smaller space? How many transactions are each employee doing per hour? Can you reduce headcount? Can you negotiate better rates with your parcel service based on your cube and weight throughput? Is your pick path setup to be as efficient as possible for your pickers?