Barcode Warehouse Management Software

Posted July 28, 2014

Barcode warehouse management software is used to control the movement and storage of products or goods within a warehouse and process the associated transactions including, but not limited to, shipping, receiving, put away and picking through the use of barcode automatic identification and data capture (AIDC) technology.

Warehouse management systems manage the following core functions:

  • Receiving – The ability to properly handle a shipment when it arrives. This process can be individualized to each warehouse or product type. In some cases, goods are not received into a facility, but rather cross-docked, which is a logistics procedure where products from a supplier or manufacturing plant are distributed directly to a customer or retail chain with marginal to no handling or storage time.  Cross docking takes place in a distribution docking terminal; usually consisting of trucks and dock doors on two (inbound and outbound) sides with minimal storage space.  The name ‘cross docking’ explains the process of receiving products through an inbound dock and then transferring them across the dock to the outbound transportation dock.
  • Put Away – Put-away is normally thought of as the process of moving received inventory from the dock, kitting area, or production department to a storage bin. The put-away process is also used to relocate inventory within the warehouse and to replenish dedicated storage bins with inventory from a reserve storage bin. Any time inventory is being placed in a storage bin it is being put away. System directed put-away is when the WMS chooses the destination storage bin rather than the operator.
  • InventoryInventory Technology refers to the supervision of supply, storage and accessibility of items in order to ensure an adequate supply without excessive oversupply. It also helps companies keep lost sales to a minimum by having enough stock on hand to meet demand. The inventory can be real-time or in the form of a cycle count, which is an audit procedure designed to verify the inventory accuracy for a small subset of inventory in a specific location on a specific day, thus providing an ongoing measure of inventory accuracy.
  • Picking – Picking consists of taking and collecting articles in a specified quantity before shipment to satisfy a customer’s order. The following are different types of picking:
    • Piece Picking (or Pick to Part) – Order pickets move to collect the products necessary for one order.
    • Zone Picking – Each order picker is assigned to one specific zone and will only realize order picking within this zone.
    • Wave Picking – Order picker moves to collect the products necessary for several orders.
    • Sorting Systems Method – No movement of the order picker, as the products are brought to picker by an automatic system.
    • Pick to Box Method – No movement of the order picker, as the picking area is organized so that there are a number of picking stations connected by a conveyor. The order picker fills the box with the products from his station and the box moves to the other picking stations until he customer order is complete.
    • Packing – Packing occurs after the picking process and entails prepping a product or good for shipment by re-packaging, affixing with a shipping label, including an invoice and staging in preparation for shipment. Additionally, for certain goods or customers, there may be the requirement for kit building.
    • Shipping – Shipping entails the delivery of the right product or good to the right customer or location using the right method of shipment, all while minimizing the cost. If a customer is doing their own delivery, incorporating proof of delivery allows for more accurate information and quicker confirmation to the customer. Furthermore, our software has the ability to integrate shipment tracking for customers.

Inventory systems consist of the following core components:

  • Warehouse Management Software and/or Voice Picking Software – Software is the backbone of any system and will determine what features and options are available. When choosing warehouse management software you want to consider reporting detail and whether or not the software supports batch or real-time updates, as well as whether it needs to be integrated with an ERP system. Voice technology has enabled workers to do their jobs hands-free and heads-up.
  • Mobile Computer, Barcode Scanner, Vehicle-Mounted Computer or Wearable TerminalMobile computers and barcode scanners are used across many areas of a warehouse, to include, but not limited to, receiving, put away, picking, packing, shipping and inventory. Having all areas automated helps achieve the goal of warehouse management. Vehicle-mounted computers are used to mount on forklifts for increased mobility. Wearable terminals are another option for companies looking to use a smaller form factor or voice picking software.
  • Barcode Printer – Warehouse items come in all shapes, sizes and quantities. Barcode printers are designed to print labels to meet every business size and print volume.
  • Consumables – Warehouse items need unique identifiers to ensure they are stocked in the proper place, along the right phase of the production line or being received/shipped to the correct location. Barcodes labels are the easiest and most cost effective option, while being capable of meeting environmental and regulatory requirements.
  • Wireless Networking – Having a wireless network enables a business to get real-time information from their mobile devices to their back-end systems.
  • Access Control System – Businesses want to protect their process and product secrets and having an access control system to limit who gains access where is vital to maintaining that security.
  • Surveillance Camera System – Businesses want to prevent theft of their high value assets and inventory. Surveillance systems allow businesses to maximize their security. Having a security system in place to protect their process and product secrets and having an access control system to limit who gains access where is vital to maintaining that security.

When evaluating barcode warehouse management software, it is best to consider a cloud-based warehouse management solution. Some of the benefits of cloud-based software include reduced capital expenditures, painless and cost-free software updates, lowered IT costs (i.e. no need to house multiple servers) and improved accessibility to the data through the Internet.

If you’re looking for a cloud-based barcode warehouse management software that can fulfill all of your warehouse requirements, look no further than Barcodes Inc’s topShelf! TopShelf is a warehouse management, inventory, route accounting, asset tracking and online ordering application that caters to small up to enterprise-sized businesses. Our barcode warehouse management software has the ability to integrate with ERP systems (SAP, Oracle, etc.), Accounting systems (Sage, Quickbooks, etc.), CRM systems (Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, etc.) and eCommerce Systems (Channel Advisor, Shopify, Amazon).

To request a demo of topShelf or request more information on our barcode warehouse management software, contact us at Barcodes Inc.

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