6 considerations for choosing an adaptable warehouse management system

Posted by Steve Bayley 25-Jan-2016 10:00:00

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We know there are plenty of Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) on the market. So many, in fact, that it can be difficult to decide which one suits your business best. That’s why we’ve shared six quick questions that everyone should ask themselves before they commit their annual IT budget to a new WMS…

  1. Will your warehouse management system cover multiple warehouses?

Having multiple warehouses can reduce the distance between your products, your suppliers and your consumers. For businesses working across different regions, multiple facilities can significantly cut the time and costs associated with transportation. They also represent a form of risk management, in the rare event that an accident occurs in one location.

However, inefficiently handled inventory across multiple warehouses can cause chaos. It’s easy to overlook issues arising at one location when you are focused on another, and can be difficult to set up clear communications between them.

Find effective multi-warehouse management software to simplify complex processes, minimise errors, and ensure each warehouses has the right inventory to meet demand.

  1. Does your warehouse management involve multiple inventories?

For some companies, their warehouse is theirs alone. However, 3PL companies must manage the inventories of multiple owners. These service providers need to know what client stock they have, where it is located, and how they should be dealing with it throughout the warehouse lifecycle.

All 3PL providers face the challenge of adapting business processes to meet varying client standards. They therefore need a WMS solution that is easy to configure for multiple owners.

  1. What does your warehouse management system integrate with?

Dwight Klappich, research vice president for Gartner, recently told Modern Materials Handling: “Companies are starting to view logistics more holistically instead of thinking in silos.”

As consumers expect more from the retail industry, the demand for supply chain integration is growing. Tasks cannot be performed in isolation without consideration of their impact on other processes.

A good WMS should therefore work harmoniously with other logistics software, such as Transport Management Systems (TMS) and Electronic Proof of Delivery (ePOD), in order to enable efficient operations. This can result in quicker pick, pack and ship processes, and better alerts for events such as vehicle arrivals and departures.

“There is no question that WMS and TMS should be tightly integrated,” stated John Reichert, senior director for TECSYS. “There should not be a line between the two areas. Ideally, you want them to blend together.”

  1. Are you looking for cloud or on-premise warehouse management systems?

It’s important to consider whether your business needs an on-premise WMS, or if it would be a better idea to implement the solution as a managed service.

Cloud based WMS can simplify implementation and offer fast deployments, according to Supply & Demand Chain Executive. No infrastructure needs to be purchased and installed, and internal IT teams do not require training on system administration, recovery or upgrades. This reduces the need for investment in terms of time, cost and risk.

On the other hand, Technavio argues that some companies prefer to store sensitive material on their premises, rather than allow third-party vendors to handle the data in a cloud-based WMS.

  1. Do you need automation from your warehouse management system?

Sometimes, a WMS will force companies to transition from a primarily manual environment to a highly automated one. This demands that employees adopt a completely different working style to the one they are used to, and can actually harm productivity.

A sophisticated WMS should offer various levels of automation to cater for a range of operations - both highly automated environments, and more manual set-ups. Monitor warehouse service levels using pre-defined or bespoke KPIs.

  1. What can your business afford?

Flexibility is important to most businesses, so it can be helpful to find a WMS provider whose pricing models can be tailored to reflect your specific requirements.

CALIDUS WMS is designed to meet the demands of multiple industries, including 3PL providers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers. For a free consultation to find out how it can benefit your warehouse, contact us today

Topics: Warehouse management

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