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The Modern WMS: What Features Are in the Modern Warehouse Management System?

The warehouse management system (WMS) has evolved dramatically over recent years. While systems were once barely able to recognize their own inventories, today’s systems can tell you more about what is in stock, future demands, issues identified by customer service representatives, packaging and supply needs, inbound vendor programs, outbound freight costs and ways to improve operations in real time. But, not all modern WMS systems are created equal. As a result, it is important to understand the standard features you should expect from your new WMS.

Tracking and Tracing Capabilities.

A modern WMS should maximize tracking and tracing of products, employees and shipped items, regardless of their current location. Tracking and tracing leads directly into the use of automated systems, reports Supply Chain 24/7. This will reduce the workload in collecting, managing and reviewing information from the warehouse and help managers gain a 360-degree view into their current operations. In fact, this application of a modern WMS should allow for new, innovative picking processes too.

Order Streaming, Not Just Wave Picking.

Warehouses have traditionally used wave-style picking to handle incoming orders. In wave picking, order tickets are released in batches, resulting in various peaks and lulls in operations and activity. Unfortunately, this means wasted time during lulls and greater chance of inaccuracies in pick totes during peaks. However, today’s WMS solutions should allow for order streaming, slowing releasing pick tickets as the day progresses, making the most of team members and reducing the “rush” during other peak times.

Enterprise-Wide Integration.

Enterprise-wide integration is essential to modern WMS solutions. If the system is not connected to all departments, ranging from inbound freight compliance programs to customer service, problems may arise. However, a modern WMS should have the capacity and scalability necessary to be used across your enterprise. As a result, problems, like inaccurate or incomplete orders by consumers via customer service, can be traced back to their origin and addressed.

Meanwhile, e-commerce is growing steadily, and consumers continue to demand an omnichannel shopping experience. As a result, today’s electronic data interchange (EDI) and application programming interface (API) WMS solutions need to have the ability to communicate with other parts of the supply chain. This will reduce delays and help consumers get the products they want, when they want them, and at the price they want.

Mobile Deployment and Use.

Another feature in modern WMS solutions is mobile applications, deployment and use. Mobile technologies, ranging from wearables to voice-command prompts for picking, should be included with your WMS, reports Sage Software. This breaks the “office chains” and encourages managers and team members to work together on warehouse floors and in the field. Furthermore, real-time data capture, analysis and application in today’s WMS solutions across your company will enhance the productivity and efficiency of your warehouse.

In a Nutshell.

A modern WMS should have all the bells and whistles you need to make the most of today’s omnichannel sales strategies. By understanding the most common features, you can find a system that will suit your company’s immediate and future needs.