What is a warehouse management system (WMS)?

What is a warehouse management system (WMS)?

Warehouse management systems are an essential part of the warehouse operation, but what is a warehouse management system and what operations does it perform in the warehouse? We have a look below.

What is a warehouse management system?

A warehouse management system (WMS) is a software application that helps control and manage the day-to-day operations within a warehouse. These operations would 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.

What is a warehouse management system

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 scanners 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.

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

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