3 Key Features to Look For in Warehouse Management Systems
For those who send, store, or receive shipments, a warehouse management system (WMS) can make life a lot easier. A WMS is a program designed to track and manage inventory. It handles much of the paperwork involved, reducing both the clerical work involved and the chance for human error in maintaining the records. A good WMS can speed up processes in the warehouse; storage and retrieval become easier, inventory lists are always accurate, and customers always receive the product on time.
The key is picking a management system that meets the needs of the company. While individual requirements may vary, there are some features that are critical to anyone looking to manage their inventory electronically. Here are three that are “must haves” for any WMS.
In large warehouses, it’s almost as important to know the “where” as it is to know “how many.” Knowing the location of items in the warehouse speeds up picking times dramatically, and is an essential time saver. A good management system lets you manage the locations of items electronically, indicating where you’ve stored them, and allowing you to move their digital location when you move them physically. Added lot control features include marking different pieces of inventory for different customers, listing expiration dates, and so forth.
Electronic Data Interchange
One of the most important features of any computer system is the ability to communicate. In the past, documents had to be printed and mailed and then entered manually back into the system at the other end. But now, the same technology that allows your doctor to electronically prescribe your medications at the pharmacy also allows purchase orders to automatically update the system of a supplier. Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) standardizes the paperwork, allowing information to flow freely from one machine to another. The same document that’s created on one end (like a purchase order or invoice) is sent directly to the recipient, where it’s immediately processed into the system. As purchase orders come in, the WMS can automatically commit inventory, so you’re never overselling your products. It saves the user a lot of needless time and effort, so it’s definitely one to have.
24/7 Customer Support
As anyone who works in the back room of a business can tell you, the trucks run all night. Shipping doesn’t keep office hours, so having someone you can call for assistance when you need it is a must. A good WMS will have 24/7 support, allowing you to call in with questions and resolve issues at any time. So whether it’s 11 a.m. and you need to print a report, or it’s 3 a.m. and the driver can’t get the handheld to work, a system with around-the-clock support can give you the help you need, when you need it.
If you have more questions about how to find a good warehouse management system, contact Elite Ops today. We are a Utah-based logistics service provider. We can help you find a system that works for you, and help you decide if contracting logistics services will make your life even easier.