The Benefits of Warehouse Management Systems by Mike Zapp

Warehouse management systems (WMS) have long been focused on efficiencies in distribution /supply chain industries. Many manufacturers do not focus on the benefits that can be derived by WMS. After all, every manufacturer is a distributor. Once produced, products must still be delivered in an efficient manner. One of the greatest benefits of WMS is the relatively quick ROI. The hard cost savings alone could provide a return within 90 days, not to mention soft-cost savings which include improved customer service through reduced shipping errors.

WMS impacts the inventory processing from receiving at the dock through put-away processes, picking, packing and shipping processes, item transfers (bin or site) and product location. Directed pick tells the picker where the item is located, which item should be picked next – all in an organized routine for efficient travel through the warehouse. No bouncing from one end to the other just to pick through the list of items for an order. Wave picking is generally supported which provides for picking multiple orders in a single pass through the warehouse. The side benefits include reduced human error through validation of fulfillment; including correct items picked, correct serial/lot numbers identified all updating the system directly without separate keying of information.

There are several aspects to WMS that need consideration. Bar coding is the fundamental basis for the process. Planning for vendors to provide barcoded products at the receiving dock can speed implementation. Talk with vendors about making some adjustments to the labels or box printing that they are already performing. Adding your company’s item number and lot/serial number in barcode format can speed the flow of all processing from put-away through the pick/pack/ship processes, reducing touch time, searching for product and item validation.

For manufacturers, a WMS system can just as easily make the issuance of raw materials or components, shop floor movement and work order status updating processes just as efficient.

Consider an investment in a warehouse management system to reduce operating costs or manage investment in additional personnel.

Mike Zapp Microsoft Dynamics GP ConsultantMike Zapp is a Microsoft Dynamics® Certified Professional at Bond Consulting Services with 20+ years work experience.

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