Adoption of a WMS ( Warehouse Management System ) has been at the heart of technology advancement in supply chain since few years. Here is what I learnt, functionally distinguishes a great WMS from an ordinary one:
Integrations – Businesses are calling for specialization and no one software can do it all in a highly volatile world. We need WMS which does its core job – warehouse management par excellence and integrates for other jobs such as order management, transport management, and customer management with specialized softwares.
Manages all internal transactions– Beyond the basic inward outward transactions which any WMS would manage, a great WMS handles and provides visibility on all interim transactions of job work such as kitting, screen printing etc. within the warehouse.
Goes Beyond SKU (Stock keeping unit) for managing inventory– The product variety is every increasing, making it important to manage them efficiently within the warehouse. A great WMS can handle inventory not just at SKU level but even at an attribute level such as batch, price, color etc.
Avoids errors through inbuilt quality check systems – A great WMS would have capability to run automatic quality check on all key warehouse operations to prevent errors like intelligent sample checks or weight-based checks.
Allows you to customize your process – A great WMS opens multiple possibilities of dealing with warehouse processes and offer options like pack after picking or pick according to predefined packing slip etc. depending on the requirement.
Manages inventory like a pro – Not just providing cycle counts and stock audit capabilities a great WMS would store live information about variances and automatically adjusts warehouses processes based on the cycle count inputs.
Finding such a WMS for your supply chain could be an expensive and a laborious journey, a 3PL partner which understands and has developed such capabilities could be a better choice provided there is larger alignment on other goals.