Choosing a WMS system for a small business is a strategic decision that should not be taken lightly. This choice will have a direct influence on the efficiency and effectiveness of warehouse operations as well as the whole business. Having a lot of options and information might make it tough to choose the right software, especially if you’re not sure what you are looking for in a new WMS.
Before you start negotiating with Warehouse Management System vendors, you should have a clear idea of the goals you want to achieve with a WMS and the specific capabilities you’ll need to meet those goals. First and foremost, examine why your firm is in the market for a new WMS in the first place. There may be several reasons why your small business should deploy a WMS system or upgrade to a more sophisticated one.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Is your small business growing in terms of orders and inventory, and you are finding it difficult to keep up using time-consuming manual picking methods?
- Do you utilize a legacy system that the vendor no longer supports and that lacks the capabilities you require?
- Are you using barcodes and scanners, or are you thinking about adding barcode scanning to reduce picking errors?
- Do you want to reduce the amount of time it takes to finish a single order?
- Perhaps you want more sophisticated capabilities, such as the ability to choose the same SKU from numerous locations within your warehouse or from multiple locations outside of your warehouse
Answering these questions is essential for creating a technological strategy and reducing down options.
Basic vs. Advanced WMS Requirements
The size and structure of your warehouse plays a vital role in determining the sort of WMS capabilities you require (Basic or advanced).
A complicated warehouse management system may be overkill for a small company that manages a few thousand SKUs and ships 50 to 100 orders per day. Basic warehouse management features can assist in meeting the goals of less complex warehouses.
Here are some examples of Basic WMS Features:
- Workflow management for pick/pack/ship
- Management of in-transit goods
- Printing shipping labels
- Scanning for verification
- Merging of pick slips
If your business and warehouse operations require dealing with large inventory counts and order quantities, it may be time to start researching modern warehouse management solutions.
For example, a particular SKU may be stored at different warehouse locations due to product ownership or for specific supply chain planning purpose. You must be able to choose the correct and accurate SKU from several locations.
As the inventory count and order quantity grows in the warehouse, barcode scanning and handed picking become necessary to handle the receiving, picking, packaging, and shipping processes. In such scenarios, advanced warehouse management features can assist in meeting the goals of complex warehouse operations.
Advanced WMS Features include the following :
- Storage location availability – the system will provide suitable and available bin and shelf location when receiving products.
- Integration with barcode scanning devices is possible on PCs, iOS, Android, and Microsoft tablets. Tablets can be mounted to carts, forklifts, and other objects to be used when choosing merchandise.
- Establish stocking and non-stocking locations – The ability to establish stocking and non-stocking sections within the warehouse.
- Prioritizing stocking sites entails the ability to rank and prioritize stocking areas for more effective selection. The algorithm will build a selection list for the most efficient pick route based on these criteria and ratings.
- Product movement tracking in the warehouse – the system tracks all product movements in the warehouse. When you choose a product off a shelf and add it to your cart, the system depletes the shelf units and adds the product to your cart.
- Cross docking is the ability to acquire and carry objects without having to put them away, as well as view where you have available shelf space.