Warehouse management is the management and control of daily operations in a warehouse such as receiving, putaway, picking, packing, shipping, counting. Warehouse management is not the same as inventory management. Inventory management is a smaller portion of warehouse management which you control inventory. Warehouse management represent all the activities in a warehouse including inventory management.
A WMS means warehouse management system which is the operating system that helps you manage your warehouse and distribution centers effectively.
A WMS is a software solution that centralizes and controls a warehouse’s data and operations. Consider these basic tasks that happen within a warehouse:
Incoming goods must be entered into the inventory record and physically put in the right location
The location of received goods must be recorded so that workers can retrieve them later when orders come in
A pick list based on customer orders must be generated each day so that workers know what to pick and pack in time for shipping
Then consider all of the management activity that makes these tasks happen:
Liaise with carriers regarding transportation schedules so there is enough staff on hand for processing inbound freight
Liaise with LTL,FTL and parcel carriers to plan outbound shipments to ensure orders get to customers on time
Compile pick lists that consider things like the day’s labor force, the number of next-day or two-day shipping orders that need to be
bumped up higher on the list, etc.
Create packing processes to ensure packing materials are used efficiently (e.g., small items aren’t thrown into oversized boxes)
Monitor inventory levels within the warehouse (or multiple warehouses) and reorder at the right time
Calculate safety stock levels to ensure there are no stock outs while also avoiding excess inventory to minimize carrying costs
Central to all of these activities is data - or information.Think about all of the information managers need access to in order to run their warehouses:
Carrier rates and transportation schedules
Customer orders and shipping information
In the early days of a business, all of this information likely exists in multiple spreadsheets. A manual workflows like spreadsheets make it difficult - if not impossible - for business leaders to make data-driven decisions in real time because it takes so long to consolidate, clean up, and analyze information.
With a WMS, all warehouse data exists in one place with a centralized record of how goods move through your warehouse. You can track a good from the moment it:
Arrives in your warehouse
Gets placed on a shelf
Is flagged in the system as part of a pick order (i.e.,a job)
Gets packed in a box
Is marked as ready to ship
Warehouses may be known for storing goods, but in today’s e-commerce world, they’ve become a hot commodity.
Warehouse and distribution center availability is at the lowest it’s been since 2000. As people buy more products online and consumers demand faster delivery and response times, analysts expect the market for warehouse real estate will continue to tighten.
With limited new space available, companies are forced to optimize their existing warehouse space, which is often easier said than done. Warehouses are complicated environments—they bring people, products and heavy-duty machinery together in a frantic attempt to get the right product to the right customer at the right time.
Simply gaining visibility over every process in a warehouse is a challenge, let alone optimizing the entire beast.
Companies are turning to warehouse management system (WMS) software as a solution for improving efficiency and accuracy in their warehouses. A good warehouse management system:
If you’re new to WMS systems, transitioning might sound intimidating. The good news? It doesn’t have to be!
Warehouse management systems exist in all shapes and sizes. Some WMS solutions are massive tools designed to manage an enterprise’s entire warehouse operations and seamlessly integrate into adjacent supply chain management tools.
Others are simply enhanced inventory management systems that eliminate manual entry and save time for small business owners.
Whether you’re curious about how large enterprises organize warehouse operations or you’re interested in leaping from spreadsheets to cloud-based apps, we’ll give you the ultimate primer on WMS systems.
If you've been running your own warehouse with an outdated system or an ad hoc collection of spreadsheets, a new comprehensive WMS will be a revelation. Because a WMS is such an integral part of the operation, it's not a quick-fix solution. It will play an essential role in the operational efficiency of your company, so take some time to learn about the best WMS systems in the market.
A leading WMS system will increase inventory visibility, improve order fulfillment accuracy, support automated data collection and boost productivity across your operation. With Logiwa Warehouse Management System, your warehouse management operations will experience a number of critical benefits, including:
Improved inventory management efficiency, including enabling continuous inventory counting vs. periodically shutting down to take inventory.
Reduced shipping errors
Automatic ordering and replenishment using real-time information.
Reduced paperwork (and administrative expenses)
Reduced product returns
Improved customer service with better warehouse control and improved pick and dispatch accuracy.
Improved trace-ability in both directions.
Effective labor planning
The type of WMS that's best for your company varies by your industry, current size and your growth plan. You'll want to choose a solution that can scale with your business as it grows so that you don't have to go through the process again within a short time frame. Logiwa is a cloud-based WMS solution that scales as your locations and shipping volumes grow. Look for a WMS that will support different sales and shipping channels such as e-commerce, brick and mortar, flush sales, and have the flexibility to accommodate new sales channels in the future.
Your system should make it easy to add new devices like scanners and printers and accommodate new technology like RFID and Bluetooth tags. Look for a system that will easily connect with emerging technology like warehouse automation and robotics.
If you already have existing warehouse equipment and third-party software solution, you will want to make sure your new WMS is compatible. Some WMS providers charge development fees to build integrations between the WMS and your current systems. Logiwa offers integrations with more than 70 of the most popular services including online marketplaces, shipping solutions, accounting and ERP and other common applications. You won't have to invest in time and resources to create integrated data sharing links.
As a tactical execution system, a WMS will generate positive ROI in a short time frame. As a strategic business investment, a robust WMS can transform your shipping and fulfillment operations. The more pallet moves and pick per day, the higher the ROI. Improved efficiency can mean lower labor and equipment costs by doing more with less. We've seen shippers boost their volumes 2.5 times with the same equipment by using Logiwa.
Since different companies require unique solutions, most WMS vendors won’t show a price breakdown online or in marketing materials. That said, there are specific guidelines to keep in mind when determining your warehouse management system budget:
BONUS: Before you read further, download our WMS Requirements Template to help you identify which WMS provider meets your unique needs.
"Easy-to-configure WMS, in-depth functionality, capable of responding to various industries, top notch in retail and e-commerce, very knowledgeable team of supply chain engineers.."
"We are using Logiwa WMS for 5 years in multi-client and multi-warehouse environment. It is easy to use and there are a lot of built-in functions. I recommend it for all in 3PL fulfillment operations in online and retail."
"Focus on your business processes, Logiwa WMS handles the rest. The project was a good opportunity for us to redesign our inventory processes."
"One of the absolute best support teams I've ever worked with. They can build or fix anything you need very easily."
Find out why businesses choose Logiwa for their WMS.