Inventory management is not the same as warehouse management systems (WMS). The two are related, so let’s look at them separately to see what distinguishes them and how they work together to provide the benefits your company requires.
First and foremost, a WMS must be capable of receiving goods. This feature reduces receiving errors by tracking mismatches between the purchase order and the products received. This warehouse application is directly linked to your ERP system, allowing you to view inventory in real-time. You will place purchase orders and fulfil sales orders from the back office.
Labelling is the foundation of any good warehouse management system. A racking label and a pallet or case label are required. Depending on the type of product, these labels include product information, lot number, product expiration date, and serial number. Your WMS must be able to wirelessly print these labels from the scanner.
Sorting and picking
A good WMS will sort bin locations and configure the most efficient pick sequence based on your product rotation policies, whether FIFO, LIFO or FEFO. It must also be able to move products between different areas of the warehouse. These features will reduce costs by shortening the picking process and reducing errors.
Physical inventory / Cycle count
A full physical inventory count is a time-consuming process that brings the warehouse to a halt. That is why most warehouses employ the “Cycle Count” method, in which workers count a portion of a company’s inventory as if it were the entire inventory. A good Warehouse Management System will help with cycle counting by suggesting products to count, where they should be counted, and making the necessary adjustments in the ERP system.
These advantages can be realised when you select and implement the best WMS for your company.
Efficient labour allocation
You must approach efficiency differently at each stage of the workflow due to variables such as the size of your facility and special material handling requirements. Your WMS should be able to assist with arranging these on-the-floor tasks most logically and efficiently as possible.
Even if your system only provides metrics, you will be receiving critical decision-making data that you can shape into the best possible approach.
You can easily trace inventory materials using a lot, batch, and serial numbering with the Improved Tracking WMS. These numbers identify the group where the items were manufactured, while the serial number identifies a specific item.
Improved shipment management
Managers can use WMS to pick and pack products more efficiently by selecting zones or batches. Customers can also receive early notifications about shipments and how the products are delivered; such options allow for a shorter customer order cycle time.
Improved efficiency and continuous improvement
WMS systems are designed in a way that allows for continuous improvements – it efficiently maintains the warehouse while keeping up with current modifications. When you use cloud-based WMS, it automatically updates, reducing the need for an IT team.
Importance of Inventory Management
The process of storing, ordering, and selling goods and services is referred to as inventory management. Management of various supplies and processes is also part of the discipline.
Having a proper inventory management system is critical for any business, regardless of its size. It can assist you in keeping track of all of your supplies and determining exact prices. It can also assist you in managing unexpected changes in demand without jeopardising customer experience or product quality. This is especially important for brands that want to become more customer-centric.
Balancing the risks of overstock and shortages is a particularly difficult task for companies with complex supply chains. Inventory is typically a current asset that a company intends to sell within a year. To be considered a current asset, it must be measured and counted regularly.
How WMS Improves Inventory Management
- Inventory optimal location
WMS examines all items in inventory and all existing demands for that inventory over time and suggests bin locations near the point where that stock item will be required. Items that are frequently used will be kept in the front of the warehouse, while items that are rarely used will be kept in the back. The calculation of the optimal location is repeated regularly, and WMS makes suggested stock movements in coordination with required movements to meet immediate demands.
- Pick, pack, and ship sequence optimisation
WMS will plan routes through the warehouse that select all items required and guide picking to collect them in the best sequence to capture all so that every outbound order can be filled on time, whether you handle picking by equipment or any combination. Then, as the picked items arrive in your packing area, packing personnel receive a sequence of orders to pack based on when all of the ordered items arrive and when the packed order is due to ship. Next, after orders are packed, WMS guides the sequencing of those orders so that orders destined for certain carriers move to certain locations. Other orders to be shipped by the company’s trucks are relocated.
- Utilization of labour and equipment
When particular material handling equipment is needed at any time, WMS will schedule the inventory movement around equipment availability, always working to ensure the entire order is delivered on time.
When a specific person’s skills are required for an inventory movement, WMS considers those skills and schedules the movement around that person’s availability. WMS keeps track of each employee’s skills, training, and certifications. WMS also notifies individuals and management when certifications need to be updated. WMS also considers in-demand skills and will recommend that new people be hired or trained if there is a future shortage of a required skill. As a result, there is a link to human resource management as well.
- Strategy for ongoing optimization
In a warehouse, time is everything: time to examine processes, time to switch up methods, time to train employees, and time to ensure a quality product reaches your customers. Your WMS saves you time on inventory control, staff management, and product space management, allowing you to focus on team building, training, and process optimization.