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What is a warehousing management system?

A warehouse management system (WMS) is software that helps businesses manage their warehouse operations. These systems make it easy to track everything happening in your warehouse, including what items are coming in, where they’re stored, and where they’re going. 

Warehousing management systems can help with:

What are the benefits of a WMS?

Warehousing management systems offer several distinct benefits that businesses should keep in mind, including the following:

  • Enhance customer satisfaction by making it easier for your warehouse to pack and ship orders reliably, accurately and on time.

  • Improve flexibility and responsiveness as you group orders to improve warehouse operations and efficiency. 

  • Reduce costs by optimising operations, including how you manage inventory, pack, ship and staff your warehouse. 

  • Save time with a system that tracks every item in your warehouse, automates tasks and activities, and provides suggestions on how to improve your processes. 

What are the key functions of a WMS?

Track inventory in real time

The ability to track your entire inventory is one of the most common reasons businesses look for warehousing management systems to begin with.

Most warehousing management systems use RFID tags, which workers can scan with dedicated scanners or apps on their mobile devices. As the worker scans the item, your inventory system updates automatically. 

As workers pack items, they scan them again. This process not only prevents packing mistakes but also ensures you know exactly what you have on hand at all times. 

Many WMS tools make it easy to track inventory by allowing you to:

  • manage inventory locations and plan storage

  • plan or schedule product moves

  • plan and manage outbound order release and route planning

  • manage inventory counts

  • track inbound receipts and putaway.

Analyse warehouse operations to customise workflows 

Businesses can use WMS tools to find opportunities for improvement. You may realise, for example, that proper scheduling and wave planning (grouping order picking based on common factors like shipping date or warehouse zone) can significantly improve packing efficiency amongst your team. 

Monitor workers’ performance

You can use a warehousing management system to monitor workers’ performance. See which team members are completing hourly or daily quotas, and who’s making potentially expensive mistakes. This feature keeps managers up to date on performance and allows them to intervene when necessary. 

Generate reports

Warehousing management systems let you generate reports that reveal how your inventory is moving, so you don’t need to do a physical stock count each week.

5 steps to implementing a WMS

1. Identify warehousing needs

Before you choose warehouse management software, you need to consider what you need out of it. Why are you looking for a WMS, and what specific features do you need? Consider listing everything you need in a WMS, and make sure you get your team’s input around specific features or capabilities.  

2. Choose the right software

When reviewing different software options, pay close attention to the requirements you listed in the last step. You want to make sure that the software meets all your essential needs. 

You’ll also need to account for factors like the following:

  • the software provider’s track record

  • how well the system can scale to meet future needs

  • your budget

  • customer service and technical support 

  • automation capabilities.

3. Set up the system

After you’ve chosen a WMS, it’s time to set it up and configure it to your requirements. Your software provider should be able to help you with this and offer self-service support resources in the form of user guides, help articles, how-to videos, webinars and more. 

4. Train staff

Training your staff can be the most challenging part of any solution implementation, but the right software with an intuitive user interface will make the process easier.

First, teach your warehouse managers how to use the tool and what the new warehouse operations processes involve. A live demonstration is often a good choice. As your team adopts the new system, be on the lookout for potential errors and have your managers watch initial progress carefully. 

5. Monitor performance

Set goals that you expect employees to achieve after implementing your WMS, and use the software to track progress against these key performance indicators. For example, you might define acceptable turnaround times for order fulfilment.

Improve warehouse management with MYOB

MYOB Advanced Business is a cloud-based enterprise resource planning system that allows you to manage all aspects of your business – from your purchasing and inventory through to your sales and financials. 

Gain the functionality you need to manage your inventory, wholesale and distribution processes across your warehouses. With MYOB Advanced Business you can handle complex supply chains and get real-time access to company data to make the best decisions for your business.

Get in touch to find out more. 

Disclaimer: Information provided in this article is of a general nature and does not consider your personal situation. It does not constitute legal, financial, or other professional advice and should not be relied upon as a statement of law, policy or advice. You should consider whether this information is appropriate to your needs and, if necessary, seek independent advice. This information is only accurate at the time of publication. Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of the information contained on this webpage, MYOB disclaims, to the extent permitted by law, all liability for the information contained on this webpage or any loss or damage suffered by any person directly or indirectly through relying on this information.

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