The Benefits of a Warehouse Management System

A Warehouse Management System (WMS) will bring a range of benefits to many different types of organizations. Any operation where there is a need for stock control can benefit in a variety of areas.

Staffing Levels
Warehouse labour costs can be extremely high when there is a large throughput of items. Implementing a WMS will mean that companies can reduce staffing levels in two ways. Normal operational conditions will see reductions in staffing levels and seasonal peaks in demand are more likely to be met and managed by the system as opposed to the recruitment of temporary staff.

Equipment Levels
With a reduction in the workforce comes a reduction in the volume of equipment required to run a warehouse facility. This results in a significant reduction on annual maintenance budgets and future capital purchases of new equipment can be reduced. Workforce reductions can, in some circumstances be so significant that shift reductions are not uncommon after the implementation of a WMS.

Inventory Accuracy
Providing the customer with the goods they want, at the time they want them will be facilitated in no small way by a WMS. System driven routines monitor stock levels accurately and can be responsible for placing timely orders that ensure stock is always available to the customer. An inventory that can be depended upon means that an organisation can reduce inventory levels to the bare minimum and see the benefit of reduced operating costs as a result. In some organisations those costs can be reduced by as much as twelve percent.

Maximise Use of Facilities
As a business expands it needs to be capable of managing larger volumes of inventory throughput. This need not mean going to the expense of bring new warehousing on stream. Although it’s important to understand what a Warehouse Management System is, a WMS can sit at the heart of a function that is optimised to make the maximum use of facilities. The ability to manage inventory more accurately translates into a better use of existing facilities. Automated routines for stock rotation and picking also mean there is a decreased requirement for space, leading to more efficient use of existing facilities.

Effective Management Control
Real time reporting from a well implemented WMS can provide warnings of stock control issues in advance. Historical productivity reports can be used to provide intelligence based system of warning reports that make costly mistakes less likely. Effective management control in this way provides opportunities for enhanced customer service. Backordered inventory can automatically be released, picked and delivered according to a customer’s exact requirements. A good WMS will also provide a rigid backbone for any distribution or stock control operation. The rigid backbone can then be used to drive further process improvements in areas once thought to cost ineffective to address. As fewer steps in an operation remain informal there is decrease in the need for training and lower error rates.

Even with the significant investment in technology a WMS can bring significant improvement to an organisations profit levels through efficiency and quality improvements as well as overall improvements in management control.

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