K-Store blog

What is a Warehouse Management System?

Spread the love

The fundamentals of warehouse management systems – part one

In our new three-part blog series we’re going to discuss the role and benefits of warehouse management systems (WMS). In our blog series we’ll cover:

  • What is a warehouse management system
  • What type of warehouse management system is best for your business
  • How to choose the right WMS supplier

What is a warehouse management system ?

warehouse management system (WMS) is a software application that helps control and manage the day-to-day operations within a warehouse. These operations can include managing inventory, picking processes and auditing stock and performance.

What does a warehouse management system do?

From the moment goods or materials enter a warehouse until they’re despatched, a WMS will keep track of individual items, provide guidance on put-away locations and replenishment, direct picking activities and manage order shipping.

Types of warehouse management systems

There are many different types of warehouse management systems – they vary in size and how they are implemented. Some are simple, stand-alone systems; others integrate into larger enterprise planning suites (ERP) which will perform a wider remit of tasks, such as accounting, order planning and shipping management etc. Some are cloud-based, others will be supported by a server platform. Some will simply focus on tracking goods, others may be integrated into warehouse conveyor systems and processes.

Real-time warehouse management systems

Many companies are now implementing real-time warehouse management systems. These allow data to be communicated throughout a business in real-time. They usually utilise barcode readers to record and track the movement of goods, sending data back to a central database in real-time, so an accurate picture of the entire warehouse can always be provided, even when stock is on the move.

General features of a warehouse management system

As previously stated, all WMS will perform slightly different tasks and work in different ways. But, generally speaking, all will help you to:

  • Receive and put-away products – record incoming goods and log them into the WMS, reconciling them against purchase orders.
  • Warehouse storage locations – identify the most efficient locations to put away stock, based on your business’ needs.
  • Picking – direct pickers to pick in the most efficient manner, whether you use batch, zone or wave picking methodology.
  • Stock control – keep track of all product locations in the warehouse and automatically provide guidance on replenishment and re-ordering requirements.
  • Despatch – generate despatch notes and packing lists, ready for shipment.
  • Data management – provide data and reports to help managers understand the performance of warehouse operations and monitor equipment and employees’ performance.

What type of warehouse management system do I need?

The type, size and complexity of the warehouse management system you will need typically depends on the size and nature of your organisation. Many companies will buy a WMS off-the-shelf; others will take a generic system and have it tailored specifically to their own needs, whilst some will look to build their own from scratch. In our next blog, we’ll look at the questions you should ask to determine which route is best for your business.

At Keymas we offer two options – K-Store, our off-the-shelf warehouse management system, or our bespoke WMS solution, specifically designed and configured by Keymas programmers.

If you’d like to know more about both options please contact us for further advice and support.

Leave a Reply

Find out more about K-Store Expert advice and product information. Contact a K-Store representative today. Contact K-Store