What is Warehouse Management Software?
Warehouse management software helps businesses control and administrate different operations, from the moment goods enter to the time they leave. Warehouse management system is capable of supporting and optimizing warehouse functionality, and facilitates functions like planning, organising, and directing the utilization of available resources. Additionally, warehouse management software also manages the moving and storing of materials into, within, and out of a warehouse and supports staff in their warehouse roles & responsibilities.
A warehouse management system is often integrated or used alongside a transportation management system or an inventory management system.
Who needs Warehouse Management?
Warehouse management software can be used by any company that stores raw materials and final products in bulk. Retail businesses, FMCG products making companies, logistics & supply-chain companies, freight & transportation service providers, distribution centres are a few examples of who can benefit from warehouse management software.
Warehouse management is important primarily in the retail industry, but it also benefits those in the telecommunication, health care, pharmaceutical and security services sectors.
Why you need Warehouse Management Solution?
Warehouse management software provides in-depth visibility into the current location of inventory, whether in a storage facility or in transit. It also assists in managing supply chain operations from manufacturer to the warehouse, and then to the retailer or a distribution centre. The best warehouse management software
comes with tools that allow businesses to successfully administer warehouse operations right from scratch- when goods enter a warehouse until the time they move out. Top warehouse management systems include modules like inventory management, order fulfilment tracking, order pickup and shipment, auditing and accounting, among others.
With a robust software, organisations can reduce labour costs, improve inventory planning, decrease errors order pick-up & shipments, and improve the overall customer service. Top Warehouse management software provides organisations with real-time data, allowing them to manage activities like order shipment, storage planning, receipt generation and the movement of goods.
The final goal of using a warehouse solution is to automate, streamline, and simplify warehouse management activities with a comprehensive digital bundled application.
Modules in Warehouse System
A warehouse inventory management software offers organisations with a unified interface to manage different verticals of goods management operations. Its key features include: -
- Warehouse Design: The warehouse design module enables organisations to view and design the ideal layout suitable for maximum storage and efficiency. With this module of inventory management system, organisations can customize workflow to ensure that their warehouses are designed & optimised for efficient inventory allocation. The warehouse management module establishes bin slotting, which maximises storage space and accounts for the seasonal inventory.
- Inventory management: The inventory management module helps organisations in effectively utilising their storage space, improving product flow from supplier to consumer and maximising productivity and revenue. Activities at a warehouse are not limited to putting everything in its designated place. It’s also about increasing productivity, and saving time and money to maximise inventory accuracy.
Most importantly, warehouse inventory management software ensures that your stock is placed in a way that moving it is easier. You can use this module to place the stock at the right place, which allows your employees to easily and safely access it. Simple tasks like placing fast moving SKUs in shelves between waist and shoulder height so that they can be quickly retrieved, is made easy with this module of stock management software. You can also designate areas where damaged items can be disposed easily. Rather than waiting for operations to slow down before you decide to reorganize, make warehouse optimisation a priority with stock management software.
With this module, employees can track the exact location of each and every product placed at a warehouse with ease. You can learn more about this in the tracking capability module.
- Order Management & Fulfilment: Are orders dispatched from warehouse reaching customers on time and in proper condition? That’s the process in which the order management & fulfilment module assists you with. It details out the status of dispatched orders, including the last location or live location for accurate tracking.
The order management & fulfilment module streamlines & largely automates order processing for businesses. It provides real-time inventory information, a vendor information database, customer database, records of customer returns & refunds and billing and payments information. It also provides order processing records and ledger information. Using this module, businesses can improve sales visibility, enhance customer relations, and conduct efficient order processing with minimum delay or back-orders.
- Labour management: The labour management module comprises enterprise tools, which help businesses efficiently plan their daily work schedule and processes. This module facilitates with labour productivity reporting and analytics.
The labour management module assists businesses in closing the employee engagement gap. With this module, companies can keep a track across every function in real-time, from the office or on the go. Warehouse managers can use it to view and analyse employee performance data, assign tasks, track employee schedule and perform leave management for faster and more responsive decision. Using this module, businesses get improved workforce efficiency, reduced turnover and increased productivity in the warehouse.
- Tracking Capability: Tracking inventory is an important task for staying afloat & profitable in today’s omni-channel world. To successfully operate in a multi-channel environment, synchronisation of product, shipment, cost and financial data is necessary. The tracking capability of warehouse logistics management software helps businesses accomplish this with granular track and trace technology. Top warehouse management software provides date & time stamps, as well as, assigns unique ID numbers to inbound and outbound products. Assigned IDs range from RFID tags to barcodes. This module tracks registered numbers automatically (using RFID) as they enter and exit a warehouse facility. This helps businesses catch problems faster, such as tracing an item that was loaded onto the wrong truck and tracking inventory accurately so you know when to reorder.
Features in Warehouse Management Software
- Analytics & Reporting: Managing a warehouse is a herculean task, mostly because of the high maintenance and operational cost. As a business, it is your priority to ensure that things are running smoothly at the warehouse and the consumer success rate is high. Otherwise, it’s simply a waste of space, time & revenue. The reporting module helps businesses by providing detailed reports of inventory stock. Reporting module offers different forms of reports, based on a user’s criteria. These include stock status, stocks in transit, stock ordered, storage space available & used, order dispatch & fulfilment information. Aside from storage information, other factors that can be used for report generation include supply chain management, expense information, employee productivity and more. Businesses can use this data for analysis and for improving inventory planning and reducing overheads.
Warehouse management software comes with some key features which help warehouse staff in more ways than one. Some of its features include:
Advantages of Warehouse Management Software
- Basic Inventory Control- Top warehouse management software offers a truly systematic way to manage and control your inventory functions across sales channels. Sales channels is the cumulative process of product movement from manufacturer to consumer, and warehouse software eases that with robust inventory, logistics and supply-chain control.
- Barcode & RFID Scanning- You can assign unique IDs to each new product with barcode strips and RFID tags. This allows you to keep track of product movement, whether it’s entering or leaving the warehouse.
- Demand Forecasting- Demand forecasting is key to planning inventory layout and order volumes. It allows you to predict what products to order for getting the maximum dividend. With the proper tools in place, you get a clear picture of products that are selling and channels that are performing. With the ability to drill into the attributes of sales success, such as size, colour or material, you get all the essential information needed to keep accurate levels of stock. Make better decisions about what products to buy and how much to buy with top warehouse management system.
- Accounting Integration- You can keep a detailed track of invoices and finances with top warehouse management software. It allows you to easily maintain your general ledger account, manage finances of the supply chain management process and keep track of your business expenses, besides inventory.
- Lot Tracking- Organisations with fast moving products understand the importance of identifying specific stock products. If products get recalled, the lot tracking feature lets you know which of those products are in stock and have to be pulled from the inventory. You can also use warehouse logistics management software to track customers who have already or are about to receive an item from the recalled lot and notify them of the same. This ensures the safety of your customers.
- Kit Support- Often, retailers have added kits to their product mix wherein the product is not a single item, but a combination of items sold as a kit, like a gift basket. Managing such products is complex from an inventory standpoint. Warehouse management solution supports managing bundled products, with which you can view the number of kits assembled, kit items need to be re-ordered, and items that have to be assembled for a kit.
- Backup and Integration- You can create a backup of your warehouse’s data on a remote server for safe-keeping. Data backup and protection ensures that come hell or high water, your data is secure & out of prying eyes. Additionally, you can integrate & use other third-party software for accounting, transport management and expense tracking with a warehouse software.
With warehouse management software, organisations gain benefits like reduced labour cost and improved inventory accuracy. Also, you can be more flexible and responsive to issues, reduce errors in picking and shipping goods, and improve customer service.
Q. How fast can warehouse management software be deployed?
- Inventory tracking: Warehouse logistics management software comes with advanced tracking systems, including radio-frequency identification (RFID), automatic identification and data capture (AIDC) and barcode scanners. These ensure that goods can be found & tracked easily when they need to be moved within the supply chain management process.
- Product Receiving and Put away: Warehouse staff can put away and retrieve products at will, with the best warehouse management software. Using scanners and schedules, employees can verify if a product should be received or rejected at the main gate. Additionally, defective & on-hold products can be IDed and moved to the put-away section of your warehouse.
- Picking and packing goods: Warehouse software can be used to classify product pickup based on zone picking, wave picking and batch picking. Employees can use it to guide the pick-and-pack tasks in the most efficient way.
- Shipping: Before any shipment occurs, this software sends bills-of-lading (B/L), generates packing data and invoices for the shipment, and sends shipment notifications to customers.
- Labour Management: Managers can use warehouse software to monitor employee performance by using key performance indicators (KPIs). You can easily figure out those workers who have performed above or below set standards.
- Yard and Dock Management: Warehouse software can be used to assist truck drivers entering a warehouse to find the right loading & unloading docks. More complex solutions come with the ability to use cross-docking across yard and dock.
- Efficient Reporting: Managers can use this software to analyse their warehouse operations’ performance and identify areas which can be improved, using MIS reporting capabilities.
Depending on your requirement, it can take between a day to a couple of days. If you’re a small enterprise with an average sized warehouse, deployment can be done within 24-72 hours. In case of larger companies with massive storage space, additional hardware & infrastructure is required. In this case, furbishing the solution could take a little bit of time (5-10 business days).
Q. Is warehouse management software worth it if I’ve a small number of employees at my business?
Yes, you can benefit from warehouse management software even with a small employee base. It is a powerful business tool that streamlines processes, gives valuable business insights, and virtually connects employees at your company, enabling them to collaborate in real-time as a team.
Q. Do I need to dedicate a lot of resources to train my employees in using warehouse software?
On purchasing a warehouse management software, you and your employees will be trained and guided by professionals on how to use the solution. Most warehouse solutions come with readable user guides, which you can refer to as well. So, no you don’t have to dedicate a lot of resource into training your employees.
Q. How is supply chain management affected by warehouse management?
Warehouse management is key in the supply chain management process. It’s the important bridge between product manufacturing and delivering it to customers. Warehouse management helps businesses organise products and ensure that they’re shipped to the right customer. This is the most important effect of warehouse management software on supply chain.
Q. What does logistics mean in warehouse management?
Logistics is an umbrella term used to denote various tasks pertaining to transportation, warehouse management, inventory, expense management and more. It also includes various supply chain management processes which occur before, during and after warehousing.
Q. What is the difference between inventory management and warehouse management?
There’s a good amount of similarity between warehouse management software and inventory management solutions. However, the basic difference between the two is that warehouse management solutions are more robust & can handle all verticals of a warehouse, including inventory, transport & supply chain. On the other hand, inventory management solutions have lesser features than warehouse management software. Further, inventory management solutions need more manual data entry, as there are limited features for big data management.
Q. As per my business requirement, I don’t need all the modules in a warehouse management software. Can I only get the ones I need?
Yes, you can purchase a warehouse software customised with just the features you require.
Before you buy a warehouse management software, there are a couple of important things you need to consider. This section outlines the things you should consider before buying a warehouse management software
- Understand Your Need: Why are you looking for the best warehouse management software? What are your expectations and requirements? Are you looking to improve the supply chain process of your company? Is warehouse planning & design your need of the hour? When you understand your need from a warehouse management software, you can make the right choice best suited to your business.
- Ease of Use: Using a particularly difficult software will be a truly asinine move for your company and the warehouse management process. A difficult solution will cause a dent in your revenue, as employees will struggle with training and using the solution. A warehouse software should help you increase your business’s profitability and stay ahead of the competition. As a result, always look for a solution that you can easily use without any complication.
- Vendor Support System: Response time from vendor is crucial to a warehouse management software’s compatibility with your business. That’s because, if you face problems while using a warehouse management software, you will require immediate support from the vendor. Delay in support can take a serious toll on your work flow. Ensure that whatever vendor you choose, their response time is quick, effective and supportive.
List of Best Sellers
- Get a Demo: Using a demo/trial version of any product is an excellent way to assess its positive and negative characteristics. Before buying a warehouse management software, ask vendors to give you the demo/trial version, and acclimatise yourself with the solution.
- PALM Warehouse Management System
- D' Katia Warehouse Management
- Focus WMS
- Omex Cold Storage Management
- Jayman Cold Storage & Warehouse Software
- WebInfo Warehouse
- Vin eRetail WMS
- MicroDot Warehouse Management
- Daksh Cold Storage Software