What is a warehouse management system?
A warehouse management system (WMS) is a software solution that provides inventory visibility and oversees supply chain fulfilment activities from the distribution centre to the retail shelf.
By coordinating and managing resource usage and material movements, Warehouse Management (WMS) systems also assist firms to maximise their labour and space consumption, as well as their equipment investments. WMS systems are specifically intended to meet the demands of a worldwide supply chain, encompassing distribution, manufacturing, asset-intensive, and service industries.
Connected customers want to buy everywhere, fulfil anywhere, and return anywhere in today’s dynamic, omnichannel fulfilment market. Businesses must be able to respond fast using warehouse management software that improves fulfilment capabilities in order to satisfy this demand. Our cloud-based warehouse management solution, which is industry-leading, helps you get ready for tomorrow’s supply chain today. WMS Cloud extends supply chains to match inventory management and fulfilment services with current purchasing methods, and provides real-time insight into a whole inventory through smartphone and browser, with the only requirement being Internet access.
Where WMS fits in the supply chain
The supply chain can only work at the speed, accuracy, and efficiency that warehouse operations allow. A warehouse management system (WMS) is critical to supply chain management since it oversees order fulfilment procedures from receiving raw materials to exporting completed items.
The supply chain may be impeded or disrupted if raw materials are not received properly or parts are missing at a warehouse. WMSes are essential for ensuring that these operations run successfully by managing inventory and ensuring that things are correctly kept, sorted, transported, and monitored.
The WMS’s purpose is to assist users in completing fulfilment, shipping, and receiving duties at a warehouse or distribution centre, such as taking items from shelves for shipment or putting received items away. Its job in inventory is to track inventory data from barcode readers and radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, and to update the inventory management module in the ERP system with the most up-to-date data. The inventory data contained in the ERP system and the WMS are synchronised via an integration connection.
The ERP system, on the other hand, is in charge of accounting, most invoicing, order management, and inventory management. The shipping procedure is controlled through the TMS. It’s a transactional and communication system for planning, executing, and tracking shipments, as well as a repository of extensive information on shipping carriers. A TMS may be coupled with a WMS to improve coordination of inbound and outgoing logistics processes such as palletization of goods, labour scheduling, yard management, load building, and cross-docking that occur at the interface of warehouses and freight carriers.
Orders are often received automatically from TMS-integrated ERP or order management systems. The TMS uses the order information from the ERP system to prepare and execute shipments. Aside from basic information such as the customer’s name and address, data from the ERP system also includes detailed information on items to ensure that the correct products are shipped. The TMS provides the tracking number, carrier name, and cost information that the ERP system requires for its accounting and order management tasks. The shipping information might also be sent to a customer relationship management (CRM) module to keep customers informed about their orders’ status.
Types of warehouse management systems
Warehouse management software comes in a number of shapes and sizes, with different deployment techniques depending on the size and nature of the company. They can be stand-alone systems or components of a broader ERP or supply chain management package.
The intricacy of WMSes can likewise vary greatly. Most larger organisations, from small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to enterprise companies, use complex WMS software. Some small businesses may use a simple series of hard copy documents or spreadsheet files, but most larger organisations — from SMBs to enterprise companies — use complex WMS software. Many manufacturers provide versions of WMS systems that can scale to different organisational sizes, and other WMS installations are developed expressly for the size of the company. Some companies create their own WMS from the ground up, but it’s more normal to use a WMS from a reputable provider.
A WMS can also be customised to meet the needs of the company; for example, an e-commerce vendor might utilise a WMS with different features than a traditional shop. A WMS may also be created or configured expressly for the sorts of items sold by the company; for example, a sports goods shop will have different requirements than a supermarket chain.
Benefits of warehouse management systems
- No need to update with a cloud-based WMS: With a cloud-based system, you’re always running the most recent software version. Regularly scheduled upgrades and no IT infrastructure costs are included in software-as-a-service (SaaS) pricing. In the cloud, everything exists. Updates function similarly to applications on mobile phones, ensuring that consumers are constantly working with the most up-to-date codebase.
- Rapid adoption of the fulfilment process: You must change swiftly to be competitive in the new fulfilment economy. You can quickly scale up your supply chain using a cloud-based system. Instead of months, powerful logistical capabilities are available in weeks. To handle complicated, multichannel fulfilment operations, Oracle Warehouse Management System Cloud is pre-integrated with different platforms. It provides the same degree of warehouse management capability as an on-premises solution, but without the associated IT costs. Cloud computing reduces the need to pay for hardware, software, and IT professionals to keep the system running. You’re up and running in no time—and at a lower cost.
- Warehouse management and ERP are seamlessly integrated: The Oracle Warehouse Management Cloud Service is designed to be easily integrated. Integration with the host enterprise resource planning (ERP), merchandising (MMS), and supply chain applications is possible (SCM). Oracle WMS Cloud was designed for collaboration rather than isolation. Data may be provided and received via RESTful web services and XML, which are industry standard practises. Material handling equipment providers may simply use these connectivity points to create automated warehouse integrations.
- Scalability and flexibility of supply chain operations: Today’s global market demands speed. Oracle’s cloud-based solution provides you the scalability to swiftly grow your supply chain operations to suit changing market conditions. Scale up or down as needed to deal with peak seasons and other adjustments. You’ll be prepared when new possibilities arise. This business agility is yours without paying an on-premises charge. There are no capital costs for in-house gear, software, or personnel. As a result, you may focus your scarce resources on your business rather than your IT.
- Lower upfront expenses by connecting logistics: Cloud-based multitenant solutions provide a fast return on investment and a lower total cost of ownership. There is no need for gear, software, or IT expertise with the cloud. It’s pre-configured to work with a variety of platforms and link all of your logistical operations from beginning to end. A corporation with an on-premises WMS, on the other hand, may easily have paid for many adjustments and upgrades over the course of five years. When it comes time to update, that organisation will have to reinstall and configure everything from scratch.
Features of warehouse management systems
- Warehouse design: This allows businesses to adjust workflow and picking logic in order to ensure that the warehouse is set up for optimal inventory allocation. The WMS provides bin slotting that maximises storage space and adjusts for fluctuations in seasonal inventory.
- Inventory tracking: This allows for the use of modern tracking and automated identification and data capture (AIDC) technologies, such as RFID and barcode scanners, to ensure that items are quickly located when they need to move.
- Receiving and putaway: It enables for inventory storage and retrieval, sometimes using pick-to-light or pick-to-voice technology to assist warehouse employees in finding items.
- Picking and packing goods: Zone picking, wave picking, and batch picking are all options. Pick-and-pack jobs can also be guided in the most effective way by using lot zoning and task interleaving techniques.
- Shipping: This allows the WMS to send bills of lading (B/L) ahead of time, prepare packing lists and invoices for the shipment, and notify recipients of the cargo in advance.
- Labor management: It aids warehouse managers in monitoring workers’ performance by displaying key performance indicators (KPIs) that show who is performing above or below expectations.
- Yard and dock management: which directs truck drivers arriving at a warehouse to the appropriate loading docks. Cross-docking and other incoming and outbound logistics operations are made possible by a more comprehensive usage of yard and dock management.
- Reporting: It aids managers in analysing warehouse operations and identifying areas for improvement.
Future of warehouse management
Warehouse management software is used by businesses to optimise and automate inventory fulfilment procedures while also reducing expenses. A solid WMS system, which is dynamic and easy to configure, may take use of the cloud for a quick, cost-effective setup that achieves the following benefits:
- Increased operational efficiency—with cloud-based warehouse management software controlling fulfilment operations, supply chains have real-time visibility into their inventory and operations, allowing them to meet how their consumers interact in purchasing with appropriate technology.
- Lower Total Cost of Ownership—Using a cloud-based warehouse management system helps firms keep expenses under control since they don’t have to worry about paying for costly maintenance and updates.
- Improved customer experience—shorter fulfilment times translate to a better customer experience and more revenue. Customers may make purchases at any time and from any location. Cloud-based warehouse management solutions assist firms in meeting demand dictated by market conditions.