The goal of any warehouse is to control the movement and storage of goods in the most efficient manner possible. The days of pen and paper are gone. Software driven warehouse management solutions allow you to incorporate real-time data capture, automation and printing technologies into your warehouse infrastructure. The common warehouse tasks of raw/finished goods inventory management, directed picking and put-away, replenishment, packaging and supply chain logistics can all be optimized to save time to make for greater profits.
Warehouse management systems can be standalone applications or integrated with an existing ERP system. WMS software, mobile computers, scanners, labeling equipment and wireless infrastructure are all essential components to create a robust and efficient system. With the right solution in place you can scale your system as your business needs grow.
A fully integrated warehouse management system provides the efficiencies and cost saving benefits of:
• Real-Time Communication - Data collected on mobile computers in a WLAN-enabled environment can be transmitted immediately to the database.
• Accuracy - Remove human error from the equation with automated data capture.
• Productivity - Increase productivity through terminal messaging, sequenced pick and put away procedures and paperless picking and receiving.
• Integration - Interface with existing accounting and ERP software to reconcile shipments received against orders placed.
Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) are an indispensable part of the supply chain in all businesses. With a building full of product that is constantly changing, a WMS aims to control all movements with processes like receiving, put away, picking and shipping. Historically, all these functions were carried out manually on paper. These systems were useful to a certain degree but with such high room for errors, lack of speed and limited visibility into the overall system, only so much efficiency was possible.
The evolution of WMS is very similar to that of many other solutions in that it was motivated by the need for greater accuracy to provide a better customer experience and greater returns. Utilizing Auto-ID technologies like barcode scanners and printers, mobile computers, wireless networking and more advanced software, allows for the design of dynamic real-time systems to control the movement and storage of materials within the warehouse. The speed and volume of products that a warehouse can process, greatly increases with a fully integrated software and hardware solution.
The expanded efficiency of a WMS has extended its functions to include light manufacturing, transportation management, order management and even accounting systems. These additional functions can also be done in external applications that the WMS can sync and share data with. Even though it continues to gain added functionality, the purpose of a WMS remains intact. Directed picking, replenishment and put away are the core of any WMS. The detailed setup and processing within a WMS will use a combination of item description, location, quantity, unit of measure and order information to determine where to stock, where to pick and in what sequence to perform these operations.
When putting together an effective and suitable warehouse management system there are a few key questions to answer:
• What type of inventory are you tracking? Palates, cases, individual items?
• Do you need real-time updates or can batch collection be used?
• Will you need to track batch, lot, or serial numbers?
• Is the inventory already labeled? Will you create your own sku or part numbers?
• Do you have a wireless network in place already?
• What type of reporting will you need from the system?
• How many users will you have?
• Will the inventory database need to sync with other software systems?
All warehouse management systems consist of 5 main components:
• WMS Software - The functions that are available and the general process flow are determined by your management software. Many applications are modular and can be expanded with additional functions like real-time transactions, wave picking and integration to an ERP system.
• Mobile Computer - Mobile computers provide the tools and information a warehouse worker will need on the fly for every task they work on. Choosing a unit that is easy to use and can handle the ruggedness of your environment is central to the effectiveness of your WMS.
• Barcode Scanner - Not all functions in your warehouse may need mobile devices but still require scanning. Scanners offer a range of durability, long range or 2D scanning and cordless operation to fit your specific needs.
• Wireless Infrastructure - Many businesses need system updates to occur in real-time and a wireless network required to do so. No matter the size of your facility, a network can be scaled to accommodate it and your bandwidth needs.
• Barcode Printer - Inventory and shipping labels are necessary for any warehouse to process inventory. Fixed and mobile printers can be utilized to ensure that everything has and scannable ID so it can be sorted and shipped properly.
At BarcodesInc, we're warehouse management specialists! We can help you configure a tracking solution no matter what your line of business or industry is. We'll deliver a complete system that fits the specific needs of your application and your budget. Our years of experience delivering complex solutions across industries mean that you'll get a comprehensive solution and a trouble-free implementation, guaranteed. Go ahead, give us a call!