Warehouse management systems (WMS) are not new to the organization and effective running of warehouse operations. They have been around since slightly after the introduction of computers; however they have greatly improved over time. Through the advancements of technology, these systems still rely on those same basic principles, but have been taken to a new level. Not only do they perform much of the same things, but things such as complex radio frequency identification (RFI) and voice recognition are now present. This makes the system more user friendly, increases productivity and can be used either as a standalone system or in conjunction with others.
The Selection & Processes Of The WMS
There are a number of vendors and software products on the market today. Because each and every one claims to provide the most efficient warehouse it is important for the company to have a process of selection. There are number of requirements that should be taken into consideration before purchasing or implementing any type of WMS. Of course the overall requirements of the warehouse operations should be considered, but there are others as well. Before shopping, companies should collect data on the warehouse, operations and any specific area that needs to be addressed. This information is not generally kept handy in the office so the process of collection can be time consuming as well as tedious. Data should be collected on the warehouse, arrangement and set up itself, first. Other information needed is that of inventory, such as pieces, parts, products and materials. Companies should also identify current strategies of operation, how processes are currently handled. Anything that could hinder or increase productivity should be recorded, an unknown is hard to solve for. And even the best WMS cannot tackle unknowns! Even small things such as how materials or products are stored, are they stored on the floor, in a pallet or in a box, are all important information to consider.
The Actual WMS Implementation
After choosing the WMS, it is important to realize that the implementation process is generally not an easy one. This can be a time of strain because not only is change coming, but the processes much continue. Shipping or product storage cannot stop because a new WMS is being implemented. To rectify and deal with these warehouses should have the needed personnel as well as a contingency plan during this time. Prevention is the best key, understand that there will be slight snafus and plan accordingly. Remember the implementation process is a short one, so the strain will only last a short time, however the benefit to the company is well worth it. The WMS reduces labor costs, increases productivity, improves accuracy and speeds ship times, meaning bigger profits!