Hardware, WMS

Key features of a warehouse management system

Picture of Posted by Bill Denbigh

Posted by Bill Denbigh

July 22, 2022

For distributors, third-party logistics providers (3PLs) and retailers, the warehouse is the cornerstone of the journey to operational success. At the heart of your warehouse operation is a warehouse management system (WMS). It’s what ensures you can deliver the level of service your customers expect and demand. That’s why you need to make sure your WMS is in good health.

How can you tell if your WMS is in good health? I’ve outlined the key features of a sound warehouse management system to help you determine what you need to do to achieve success in warehouse operations.

5 key features of a warehouse management system

1. Streamlined Inbound and Outbound stock flow

Most modern warehouse management systems come with inbound and outbound functionality. But stop for a moment and think about the changes you’ve seen in order size and volumes with the rise of e-commerce and direct-to-consumer shipping. Review how many small orders versus medium orders you now have to manage. Your WMS should effectively support a wide mix of small outbound orders and easy returns of goods. Perhaps your WMS also needs to manage Value Added Services, such as packaging, product samples or flyers.

2. Stock resource optimisation

Making the most of all the resources available to you in your warehouse is increasingly the key to operational efficiency. Your warehouse management system should ensure the most efficient use of your manpower, space and equipment, both as a function built directly into your WMS and as a reporting tool.

3. Open and flexible automation integrations

With labour shortages and rising costs a reality, your warehouse’s ability to support automation will be a key factor in your future success. Your WMS should work well with automation and have built-in integration capabilities. As your warehouse operations grow and scale, you need this key feature of a warehouse management system for the flexibility it provides when introducing new technology.

4. Easy training

Speaking of growth, a warehouse needs to be able to expand and contract due to seasonality and expansion. Avoid spending too much time on training when hiring new employees or temporary workers. That’s why it’s important that your inventory management system is quick to implement and easy to learn. But remember, your WMS can’t be too simple – it still needs to support your requirements for complexity or functionality.

5. Ownership

Finally, but most importantly, gone are the days when a change or configuration to your warehouse management system requires the supplier to come by to make adjustments. You need to be able to manage your inventory management system without expert technical support. If you can make the WMS your own, you can support your changing business needs.

In conclusion

Your warehouse and supply chain are critical factors in the success of your business. As warehouse management systems continue to evolve, you’ll see innovative new features designed to save time and support customer demands. In the meantime, make sure you have at least these five key features of a warehouse management system to support your operations today.

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