A warehouse management system is bringing a revolution in the warehouse industry. While they are important for improving the bottom line and productivity of a warehouse, not every warehouse management system is built the same, just like not every warehouse operates in the same way. Choosing the right WMS system can be instrumental in the success of a warehouse and it is imperative that you undertake thorough research to find out the one that suits your needs and objectives.
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How to choose the correct warehouse management system
It is important that your business receives significant benefits by implementing a WMS solution. These solutions require substantial investment and it is thus vital to choose the right WMS solution for your business. Here are a few things to keep in mind before making a decision.
1. Calculate the Return on Investment
Although it might be difficult to calculate the exact Return on Investment for a WMS system beforehand, it is a good practice as it will help you understand the budget of your project. You need to analyze what functionalities your business needs and which is the best solution for that. There are other costs like licenses, professional services, development costs, and support costs associated with a WMS system that you should be aware of before investing.
2. Decide on the Process
Modern WMS are highly configurable. End users, such as your business, can tweak the solution to fit their needs and requirements. Go for WMS systems that provide you with the flexibility of bringing changes to meet the customer demands and keep up with the changing business dynamics.
3. Analyze your Existing systems
It is a good idea to analyze the systems you already have working in your warehouse as some of them can be reused or used in collaboration with the WMS system to increase the efficiency of the warehouse even more. The existing infrastructure of devices and software inside your warehouse will also factor in choosing the kind of WMS you need.
4. Evaluate the In-house development capability of each vendor
While a world-class WMS system will help businesses a lot, each company is slightly different from the other and can have different goals and objectives. Consider the in-house development capability of your WMS vendor as you wouldn’t want to get stuck with a one-size-fits-all solution when there are specific problems related to your business that still need solving.
5. Request information
Now that you’ve shortlisted some candidates, it’s time to prepare a short Request for Information document for them. Write down what your business is, the future direction of the business, plans for the warehouse, challenges faced, the total number of transactions every day, and other vital information and send it to your vendor. Potential suppliers will pitch you their idea of bringing all this to your business and you can then decide whom to choose.
6. Create a Shortlist
There can be several different WMS clients waiting for your response after they’ve submitted their proposals. It is good to create a shortlist of them of say 3-5 vendors and then during further selection from thereon. This is also a good time to get the price and availability sorted out.
7. Make the final choice
Select the WMS that ticked the most boxes from the shortlist and is best suited for your business.
Benefits of Warehouse Management System
Implementing the correct WMS system in your warehouse can pay huge dividends in the long term. Here are some of the benefits of a warehouse management system.
- Optimized warehouse processes to reduce manually induced errors and reduce the time spent for picking, packing, shipping, and more.
- Allows warehouses to make the best use of their existing warehouse space in order to store more inventory.
- Allocates labour and work duties efficiently so that everyone in the warehouse understands what their role is to reduce the time and effort needed.
- With optimized warehouse processes, errors are reduced, orders are picked, packed, and shipped quickly, and the overall customer relationship is enhanced.
- A good WMS system helps in reducing warehouse waste as well. With accurate inventory tracking, it can prevent stock-out or dead-stock situations to occur. This way perishables and other date-restricted stock are cleared before their expiration date.
- Demand forecasting is an important process for warehouses and a WMS system can analyze market trends efficiently to make accurate forecasting of customer demand.
- WMS systems integrate with CRM, ERP, and other software and tools present in the organization.
A warehouse management system provides several benefits which makes it impossible to ignore. If you are considering implementing a WMS system in your organization, make sure that it has all the features and functionalities you need to attain growth in the business. Not only should it provide innovation, superior management, and accurate insights, but it should also be within your budget.